“Hospital Ship” is the new kdrama on the block with a stellar cast ready to steal your heart.

This is Ha Ji Won first time working with such a young cast, her male lead is 13 years younger than her *gasp in Korean*, “Hospital Ship” premiered with a bang and was the top drama in its timeslot, so was it worth the hype?

Today, I am discussing “Hospital Ship”, so before we begin the review, lets go through some of the major events in the first and second episode before diving deep into the review.


Episode 1 Recap

The episode starts with a ship crew stuck in the middle of a storm and one of its members’ hand is pressed by what appears to be a giant gate that leads to a storage room of some sort, the crew then decides to enlist the help of the doctors in “Hospital Ship” so that the young man can keep his hands.

We then see the back of Doctor Eun Jae as she runs towards the patient waiting to be saved by her.

We’re than taken back in time before all of that happened, doctor Eun Jae ‘miraculously’ stumbles upon an accident while she is running, she runs to the scene and tries to save the patient.

Meanwhile, our other main male characters are drafted to work in the “Hospital Ship”, despite the fact that they’ve prayed and prayed, they were chosen to work in the worst possible place.

the walk of shame..

Meanwhile, Doctor Kwak Hyun is on his way to work, his mother purposefully crashes into his car in attempt to bring him back to Seoul, she begs her son to come back with her but he refuses to do so, his mother tries to draw his sympathy using something his father did to her, but she fails.

Doctor Kwak Hyun has volunteered to work in the “Hospital Ship”, the one place all men try to run away from. He is nice to everyone as he greets them; he seems to be happy with the place he’ll work in.

Meanwhile, in the operating room Doctor Eun Jae is showing great leadership skills while operating on the patient, she saves the patient using her quick hands. After she’s done her chief takes credit for the work she’s done while talking to the press, she doesn’t seem to mind it.

The doctor who worked with her in the operation room tries to get her to bad mouth her chief who is taking credit in front of the press but she isn’t fazed by his attempts.

Because of her dream to become the youngest female chief of surgery department, she is doing the best she can to be on the current chief’s good side, even if it meant he’s taking credit for something she did or making her work extra hours while he rested.

Doctor Kwak Hyun comes from a wealthy family from a ‘star’ doctor, he is known for traveling to remote and dangerous places all around the globe to help those in need even when he knows he doesn’t have to.

He gets well with his ship-mates, Korean medicine doctor Jae Gul and dentist Joon Young. They seem to be enjoying the life on deck while nurse A Rim blood boils because of their laziness.

Meanwhile, Doctor Eun Jae’s mother sends her another patient from the island she resides in, her daughter calls her complaining about how much she’s putting her in a difficult position.

Her mother blames herself for asking too much of her daughter, who scolds her through the phone, she says that her daughter is the one who supported them both when her husband went missing after committing bank fraud.

Later Doctor Eun Jae  meets the father (CEO) of the patient she saved earlier today; she is welcomed with open arms and praised in front of the big business man, while his son flirts with Doctor Eun Jae from his bed side.

oh! the mean guy from Yongpal!

She uses the bonus she got from this surgery to help the patient her mom brought her, which basically tells us that she is kind at heart even when she pretends otherwise.


Episode 2 Recap

Doctor Eun Jae’s mother  suffers from a bad ingestion, her younger sister asks her to visit the hospital ship tomorrow to get free medicine and a free consultation.

There the mother meets Doctor Kwak Hyun who is nice to her and hears out her story, he advises her to check her heart through a thorough examination because she might be suffering from something bad.

She shows him a picture of her daughter, and brags about her, he is courteous and nice to the lady, they have a pleasant conversation.

Her little sister finds out that she might be having issues with her heart so she advises her to go to Seoul to visit her daughter and get a thorough check-up.  The next morning she goes to Seoul to visit her daughter but isn’t properly welcomed, her daughter again scolds her, complains and hangs up the phone while her mother was still talking.

The mother leaves Seoul without getting the examination she came for. By now anyone who has watched enough kdramas knows the mother is going to die…

Not long after, her aunt calls her screaming for help, her elder sister collapsed and she doesn’t know what to do. Doctor Eun Jae rushes to the hospital her mom was taken to using a helicopter, but she is a little too late.

She finds her mother lifeless body just as the doctor was about to announce her mother time of death. She tries hard to save her life but fails.

While morning the loss, she remembers that her mother had called the other day and she was the patient she was supposed to treat. She feels guilty about it to the point where she wonders if she has the right to cry over the loss of her mother.

Fast forward to….(idk! They don’t specify, so we’re assuming it’s a month or two?), we see the back of Doctor Eun Jae as she boards a ship hinting that she has decided to work for ‘hospital ship’.

We see our three doctors carrying out their main duties with difficulty. A grandfather is rushing to the ship bringing his grandson who seems to be hurting from a stomach ache, we find out that its something more serious and he needs to have surgery ASAP ‘duh!’.

Doctor Eun Jae interferes and makes her grand entrance as she announces that she can save the kid through surgery while Doctor Kwak Hyun tries to stop her from going through with it.


The Review

“Hospital Ship” is a cute drama. A predictable cute drama.

I didn’t have expectations of the drama, I was mostly happy because Min Hyuk oppa was finally starring in his first EVER male lead role in a drama since he shifted to acting back in 2010, FINALLY!

It was about time we saw a mean main female character this 2017, and we finally got our girl, Ha Ji Won plays a rude cocky bitch and as expected she pulls it off beautifully. The other cast all look comfortable in their characters, everyone seems to be hiding something beneath the surface.

Starring with Doctor Kwak Hyun, its clear to me that he’s avoiding his ‘father’ who is a star due to something bad that has taken place in the past, we don’t know what it is yet but it seems like he might’ve caused trouble and that’s why he volunteers everywhere as if he’s running away from something  or someone.

Doctor Eun Jae is a character that has been through a lot, because of her father’s bank fraud we suspect that her mother and the society gave her a difficult time; her mother pressured her to give her money and pay for her education herself.

Having been through such difficult circumstances, its no wonder our Eun Jae is so tough and critical of everyone around her, she is a determined female character with a purpose and won’t stop until she gets it. She is a fierce character, and I like that! She isn’t someone we can easily hate, because we already know of her difficult past, yet this doesn’t justify her actions towards her mother.

The death of her mother was out of the blue for a first episode of a drama, although I expected the mother was going to die when I saw her in the hospital, it was still a shocking way to introduce us to the drama.

I wished that the mother would’ve died later on (I can’t believe I just typed this) so then I can actually relate and sympathize more. As you’d expect I didn’t cry, I only saw a glimpse of everything and everyone, making the audience go through such a difficult emotional experience should be done when least expected not when we’re just about to start warming up to the characters.

I get it though, the writer wanted to give us more reasons to tune in, but I would have still preferred she delayed it a bit, it would’ve had more impact and I would’ve cried or not laughed at least.

I love seeing the more mature side of Kang Min Hyuk oppa, he emits this ‘grownup’ aura I haven’t seen from him before, until now he has only played young lively characters, it was nice to see him try something so different, a grounded mature polite character.

I must say I liked that he wasn’t the mean one here, I was growing tired of the never-ending supply of the same plot, mean hot rich male lead, nice hardworking female lead, I liked that the writer was trying to switch things up, I wished she had switched it up even more.

There is another talented idol on board, AOA’s Min A is a wonderfully annoying character, she has her own charm and I like her acting. I am (as you may already know) not a fan of AOA Seolhyun acting for a variety of reasons.

Min A from the first glance is at least a 100 times better as an actress, she’ll go places one day if she chooses the right projects, she is a natural.

However, having said all of this, something feels missing with this drama, nothing excites me! This is the main problem, it isn’t boring but its not thrilling, its not bad but its not exceptionally good either.

Its an average drama to be honest with you all. I know I shouldn’t be judging so fast, but I still feel like the writing is a bit too predictable (aside from the sudden death of the mother), there is nothing wrong with the cast but the script itself is not that thrilling, at least not that thrilling to me.

I looked through the writers’ previous work, she hasn’t written a drama for about 3 years, she has been writing for a while but none of her dramas have really hit the jackpot in recent years, this is her second time working with Ha Ji Won, they worked on a historical drama back in 2004, it featured Jang Geun Suk as well (it was well received by the public).

So there you have it, I recommend this drama to someone who hasn’t watched too many medical dramas. To me medical dramas don’t pull me in easily, I already know that the talented doctors will be faced with splattering blood and a rare case every 2 episodes or so, basically nothing surprising, repeating this same pattern over and over again doesn’t really thrill me.

The best thing about this entire script is the basic idea, the ship idea, I find it rather interesting that a ship is providing medical care and travelling to reach remote places, the drama is going to be 40 episodes (30 min each), meaning it’ll be 20 2 hour episodes long, its too long.

What is the writer gonna write about for 20 long episodes? That is the main question, unless you have a good reason to outline a 20 long episode drama its preferred you don’t go that route because you can easily lose the interest of audience if you lag.

Soon enough (in late September) it’ll face Suzy and Lee Jong Suk highly anticipated drama “While you were asleep”, for now I think it’ll continue to lead the ratings while facing “Reunited worlds” but I believe it’ll struggle if unless it spices things up.

MBC Wednesday-Thursday dramas had led the ratings battle since early on this summer with “Ruler: master of the mask”, it might lose its status for SBS who will be heavily advertising “While you were asleep” that will replace Reunited worlds” once it wraps up its final episode.

It’ll be an interesting battle to look forwards to.

So this wraps up episode 1 and 2 recap and review, have you guys seen the drama yet? What did you think of it? Let me know in the comment section below.