[K-DRAMA] Doctor Stranger (2014)

warning: may contain spoilers

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A strange doctor? A strange writer..

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Plot:

Park Hoon and his father Park Cheol were sent to North Korea. His father was a famous doctor and the North Korean authorities wanted him to perform the heart surgery of the North Korean leader. He had no choice but to do it because their lives were at stake. The surgery was a success and they continued to live in North Korea with a new beginning. Park Hoon was attending medical school when he met Song Jae Hee and they both fell in love. Years later, he became a famous surgeon and is working for the government. His father then died. Meanwhile, Jae Hee along with her father were arrested by the authorities and Hoon tried to escape with her to South Korea. His plans failed and Jae Hee ended up in the North Korean camps while Park Hoon was able to go to South Korea. Years later, Park Hoon was working as a doctor in Myungwoo University Hospital wherein he found a girl that looked exactly like Jae Hee, by the name of Han Seung Hee. She claimed that she doesn’t know him. What has really happened to Jae Hee that she was unable to recognise him? Will they be safe living in South Korea?

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Opinions:

I saw these familiar names on the cast so I decided to give it a try. The first few episodes were quite intriguing because I didn’t know that North Korea was involved. I thought that it was a unique medical drama. I was also amazed how they were able to cast Kim Sang Joong, a talented and veteran actor. There’s sort of a mysterious feel to the drama that kept me going. I wanted to know what actually happened to Park Hoon and Song Jae Hee. There’s really so much potential in this drama but the moment when Jae Hee reappeared as Han Seung Hee, it turned into a complete mess. The latter half ruined it. I mean, seriously is there any better way to write the parts cohesively? All we got were plans full of mysteries. There were many episodes that left me confused. I really don’t know what’s Seung Hee’s plan all about. I was frustrated along with Park Hoon as to what her plan was about. Why didn’t she want to tell him? It was until the last few episodes that the missing puzzle pieces began to make sense. I wished the writer emphasised on the story more and not let the viewers guess. And why does the latter half keep talking about the battle between Hae Jae Joon and Park Hoon. Is this some kind of competition that will never end? It’s like turning people’s lives into a game. Many parts were predictable. It’s not really exciting to watch anymore and I could see it coming. If I were the writer, I’d actually let the North and South fight one another. Why did they helped each other? The storyline, overall, was confusing.

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There may be a lot of complaints but allow me to give some compliments too. The love triangle among Park Hoon, Han Seung Hee and Oh Soo Hyun was sort of cute. I kind of felt sorry for Soo Hyun because it’s as if her feelings were being played, but actually Park Hoon didn’t mean to make her feel that way. At least she found out their relationship earlier or else she’ll be hurt so bad. Many people were against Park Hoon and Han Seung Hee. They wanted Soo Hyun to be with Park Hoon, but I didn’t feel that way. Park Hoon doubting Seung Hee’s actions didn’t made him change his feelings for her, at least in my perspective. I wondered if many people were tricked that Hoon would change his feelings to Soo Hyun. I could actually see the chemistry between Park Hoon and Han Seung Hee right from the start, so they were meant to be together. This love triangle was kinda amusing!

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Many dramas now only focus on casting and the setting, but to be able to draw the attention of the viewers, they need a good storyline as well. Doctor Stranger’s storyline started off well but it became confusing during the middle part to the end. Nonetheless, I still picked up a few lessons while watching this drama. Many hospitals don’t accept patients if they don’t have money to pay, but isn’t it the doctor’s duty to treat the patient? At one point yes, money is required to be able to treat patients, perform surgery, etc. but what about those who can’t afford them? It seemed like a dilemma for doctors and it was reflected through Park Hoon. When he was in North Korea, he was threatened to use his skills for bad purposes like killing innocent people and he had no other choice but to obey them. But when he came back to Seoul, he changed for good. He isn’t rich, but he doesn’t hesitate to help his patients. He’s even willing to use his own money for the sake of treating his patients. I wonder if these kinds of doctors still exist in reality– that it’s not always about the money, but it’s about saving people’s lives as well.

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Characters:

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Lee Jong Suk as Park Hoon — I’m not really into him but I’ve watched most of his dramas like I Can Hear Your Voice, Pinocchio and School 2013. He still looked like a high school student to me until now. Maybe because he always portrayed student roles so I got used to it. This time, he took the role of a young doctor. I thought that the role wasn’t suitable for him physically. He looked so young to be such a talented doctor and he is so slim like a stick! But as episodes passed, I think I got used to his thin body and his acting has improved a lot. He was able to show emotions during crying scenes. I’m glad that he’s taking different roles now, but if given the chance, I’d like another actor to take this role instead.

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Jin Se Yeon as Song Jae Hee / Han Seung Hee — Many people are annoyed to see her acting again. She’s always criticised for her bad acting. I’ve read that she ruined this drama. She was doing well as Song Jae Hee but her first scene as Han Seung Hee was soulless; like she was saying her lines without feelings. I couldn’t say that it was cringeworthy, but I could not feel any emotions. In Bridal Mask and Inspiring Generation, she was quite okay for me because she was scared or sad or just happy. She’s such a pretty girl that I wished her beauty wouldn’t be wasted just like this. From her past works to this drama, her acting seemed the same or maybe gotten worse. I wish that in her next project, she can improve her acting skills and prove those haters wrong.

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Kang Sora as Oh Soo Hyun — She looks like a hardworking girl to me. I’ve known her since her virtual marriage with Leeteuk in We Got Married and then in Dream High 2. She has gotten much prettier these days for staying slim indeed! She constantly works hard on her roles and it can be seen in this drama that she’s doing her best. I like her acting in here and her character is such a lively and likeable character. She’s definitely better than Se Yeon in terms of acting skills. I wish she can take different roles in the future.

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Park Hae Jin as Han Jae Joon — From You Who Came From the Stars and Bad Guys, and now to Doctor Stranger, he definitely left a good impression on me. I liked the fact that all these roles are so different from each other and yet he delivered each character really well, especially this role as Han Jae Joon. He fits the image of a doctor and his cold looks fits a mysterious person who wanted to seek revenge. He is an actor that is really likeable. I also like that he’s getting a lot of attention these days since he’s the male lead of a popular webtoon drama. I can’t wait to watch it soon.

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Ending:

Han Jae Joon wanted to seek revenge after what Chairman Oh did to his parents, but all his plans backfired after falling in love with his daughter. I don’t know what to do if I’m in his position. I don’t think I will let go of all those academic years studying to be a doctor go to waste that easily. But all for the love, he’s willing to let it go~ We don’t know if they’ll end up together, but we can say that they have forgiven each other. It ended in a good and peaceful manner at least. This was a good side story, by the way.

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For the main leads, I found it surprising that Jae Hee and Park Hoon were still alive after getting shot, tried to hang on the bridge, and fell deep into the waters for the second time. But of course, how can you let the main leads die right? Letting them live was no shocker at all, but the process of surviving was a big question mark. Let’s just say that someone must’ve rescued them immediately. I also read a lot about Park Hoon should’ve ended up with Soo Hyun and not Jae Hee. Like what I’ve said earlier, it was obvious right from the very start that Park Hoon would end up with Jae Hee. At least, they’re living a peaceful life together now.

Everything was wrapped up pretty well, and I could say it was a good ending. I just felt mad about Jae Hee not telling her plans to Hoon earlier. Her plans and decisions were so wrong that the writers made her look stupid.

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Final Thoughts:

Doctor Stranger isn’t only mainly about a medical drama, but also focused on romance and revenge. It had a potential to be a great drama; even incorporating ties between North and South Korea was such a brilliant idea. It had a good start, but everything just went downhill. So don’t expect too much on the development of the story. Fans of the actors would definitely enjoy this, but for non-fans, it is a forgettable one. Don’t be tricked by these popular names in the cast.

Rating: 5/10

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