[K-DRAMA] Dr. Jin

warning: may contain spoilers

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Seeing a drama showing surgery procedures is definitely not for one’s eyes. A time traveling drama to the Joseon Dynasty. Medical and history, all in one.

Dr. Jin is a brain surgeon in the present time. He was planning to propose to his girlfriend Yoo Mina, but one day she suddenly encountered a car accident which put her life in danger. Dr. Jin performed surgery to save her life but she was still in coma. That same night, he met a man at the hospital’s rooftop. That man was one of Dr. Jin’s patients. Dr. Jin removed a brain tumor from that man. The patient was carrying the “tumor” (that was placed in a bottle), kept on saying: “I must go back” and trying to jump off the building. Dr. Jin tried to stop him but he was the one to fall off the building instead. This was how he time traveled to the past; 150 years earlier during the Joseon Dynasty. He was not truly welcomed by the people; he was even accused as one of the bandits since he was carrying along his bag full of surgical equipments. He gained respect from the people after using his medical skills and capture the hearts of the citizens. He used his skills in healing the sick people, performing brain surgery on Young Hwi and even the Minister. He also saw a girl who looked so much alike his girlfriend– Hong Young Rae. Could she be the reason why he time traveled to the past?

I thought this was a comedy series after watching the first episode. This was due to Song Seung Heon’s acting. I was laughing so hard seeing him in those clothes and his overacting eyes. His acting gradually got better as the story developed. I’ve only watched one time travel drama so far. I enjoyed Rooftop Prince and that was because it was time traveling to the future. Now for Dr. Jin, it was time traveling to the past, and I personally didn’t like the concept because it was just ruining history. I wished that they ended each of the episodes with a cliffhanger. I don’t understand why they didn’t end it with a scene to look forward to. The editing also seemed lacking. I got confused with the start and the end; on how exactly did he time traveled back and forth. Nonetheless, I still enjoyed the story in between. The plot was very slow-paced; focusing first on building up Dr. Jin’s character and his medical skills. The following subplots were shown one by one and you could easily follow the story. Some usual subplots: sickly King, Queen Dowager, court fights/arguments, heir, etc. Only during the last few episodes where it became a bit messy. The drama was slow-paced yet easy to follow. I don’t feel that the story was too much dragged unlike other dramas.

The actors displayed great acting – from the lead actors to the supporting actors until the extras. The characters were efficiently used in the drama.

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Song Seung Heon as Dr. Jin Hyuk — Honestly, I watched this drama because of him and all I can say is Seung Heon doesn’t suit playing sageuk roles. I still prefer him playing oppa roles, or just any present time dramas. I think he wanted to give historical dramas a try, but after this failure, I’m quite sure that he wouldn’t take any more sageuk projects in the future. It’s true that he was sort of overacting in the drama. Even if I’m his fan, I hate to deny the reality. I did not like the way his eyes got bigger when he’s shocked or when he’s performing surgery. It was a little over. I didn’t see much of his potential as an actor here. He was overshadowed by Kim Jae Joong and Lee Bum Soo’s acting. Probably his worst acting project, if I must say.

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Park Min Young as Yoo Mina / Hong Young Rae — This isn’t Min Young’s best drama; I think she acted better in City Hunter and Sungkyunkwan Scandal. However, taking this role proved how she was so suitable to act in historical dramas. She has a face that I would love to see wearing hanbok (traditional Korean clothing). Acting wise, she was great and she cried so well, but definitely not her best drama. She had more opportunity to showcase her talent in other dramas though.

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Lee Bum Soo as Lee Ha Eung — I wasn’t familiar with Lee Bum Soo as an actor. I haven’t seen him in any other dramas, but he definitely shined in this drama. His acting was better and more realistic than Song Seung Heon. Although during the first few episodes, he was trying to imitate the old times’ laugh and way of talking. He finally stopped imitating after a few episodes and he became much more natural. I also loved his laugh. Lee Bum Soo was simply a veteran actor that I admire after watching this drama.

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Kim Jae Joong as Kim Kyung Tak — During the start, I was having second thoughts with his acting. I think he was just memorizing his lines without emotions. However as the story progressed, I was able to see his acting ability. He has the potential to be a great actor and in the future, probably a lead role. He portrayed Kim Kyung Tak’s role as a loyal illegitimate son. Regardless of what his father has ordered him to do, good or evil, he would do it. I guess he chose his father over his friendship. I’m hoping to see more acting projects from Jae Joong.

The ending was not really that satisfying. I was hoping and expecting for more. I was left with confusion and doubt. It didn’t actually make sense. Dr. Jin went back to the present time when he got stabbed and fell down. The one whom he met during the first episode at the hospital’s rooftop is his other self. It doesn’t give a justifiable answer on how he went back and forth. The brain tumor wasn’t also much explained. I didn’t quite understand Choon Hong’s words; that when Dr. Jin tried to change history, his brain tumor eventually gets bigger every time he made a mistake. And if the gisaeng Choon Hong died in the past, then the little girl in the hospital would be dead as well?

I’m a little disappointed with the use of the soundtrack. The soundtrack is actually well made; with songs which were personally sung by some actors like Song Seung Heon and Kim Jae Joong. Song Seung Heon lent his voice for this soundtrack singing the song: Last Love. Isn’t it the first time that he actually sung for a drama soundtrack that he’s acting in? I’m actually surprised that he could sing. Hey, it isn’t that bad! As for Kim Jae Joong, he sung the ending theme which I thought deserved some recognition. Well sung! The song which was sung by 2AM’s Changmin and Seulong is also nice. The instrumentals are soothing to the ears as well. The sad part, however, is that the instrumentals weren’t well utilized in the drama. There were many scenes which doesn’t have background instrumentals, but only the actors’ voices. I thought that instrumentals could help set the mood, but apparently, they didn’t make good use of it. I blame the editing for this.

Even though I got confused at the first and last parts, I still enjoyed my time watching it. Even if the whole thing was absurd, I’d say it was interesting. Definitely not the best sageuk or historical drama but at least you’ll know a part of Korea’s history if you watch this. It’s also educational because you will be introduced to different kinds of medical terms. Not really for those who hate blood and surgeries >.< Thanks to the actors, watching the drama was more worthwhile! Overall, slow paced but still enjoyable and not draggy!

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Rating: 6/10 

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