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Ghost Doctor review: Supernatural drama starring Rain ends comfortable journey where you expect it to

Ghost Doctor review: Supernatural drama starring Rain ends comfortable journey where you expect it to

One thing that never changes in Korean dramas is the central paradox that drives most of them: the resentment and distrust of the wealthy and the aspiration to ascend to their class.

K-drama heroes and villains exist within the same rarefied upper echelon of society and our gateway into that world is often a plucky young woman from the other side of the tracks who finds herself in their midst owing to happenstance or a fantastical situation.

Ghost Doctor doesn’t have that plucky young girl. This is a bromance between a star surgeon learning to shed his arrogant nature and a cocky young resident doctor learning to, uh, embrace the privileged circumstances he was born into on his way to the top.

What the show does have is the stock high-society villains that are recognisable in K-dramas: slimy corporate heir Jang Min-ho (Lee Tae-sung) with his slicked back hair and very loud clothing, who seeks to wrest control of his father’s empire through illicit means, and the nefarious hospital executive Han Seung-won (Tae In-ho), who attempts to thwart the leads at every turn.

Min-ho and Seung-won’s plot involved orchestrating a car crash involving Cha Young-min (Rain), the star surgeon. The incident left him in a coma and separated his consciousness from his body, forcing him to roam the corridors of Eunsang Medical Centre as a “coma ghost’.

Luckily for him, the young resident Go Seung-tak (Kim Beom) is secretly a medium who is able to see ghosts and Young-min is able to “possess” his body and continue to save lives in the operating theatre.

Young-min and Seung-tak quickly put their personality differences aside and align against Min-ho and Seung-won, a conflict that hasn’t changed all season. These heroes and villains are all privileged and male, but even wealth and social status aren’t enough to win the day, and our protagonists find their edge in their supernatural liaison.

When Young-min first becomes a coma ghost he is fairly constrained by the rules, as he finds himself merely an observer of the human world who can’t travel beyond the walls of Eunsang and can only interact with a few other coma ghosts.

That changes when he discovers he can possess Seung-tak, and he later learns how to open doors and indulge in physical-world creature comforts such as coffee.

The small changes eventually snowball as the links between the ghost world and the real world start to grow exponentially in the second half of the season. Several characters are revealed to be mediums or to be aware of the existence of ghosts.

Young-min was also possessed by a ghost doctor as a young resident and the genial senior ghost Oh Joo-myung (Sung Dong-il) turns out to be a guardian angel for the hospital as a whole, who can freely possess any living human and has been shaping events at or around the hospital for decades.

The broadening of the supernatural tapestry of the show occasionally comes at the expense of the narrative, which remains stuck at the same point for long tracts of the latter episodes. Young-min’s old flame Jang Se-jin (Uee) and Seung-tak attempt to revive him and Seung-won tries to stop them.

These stakes, which aren’t too high to begin with, never change. All we can do is wait for the inevitable moment when Young-min wakes up and doesn’t remember the last few months spent as a coma ghost.

Our attention is occasionally distracted by new patients that roll in through the hospital doors, but these side cases don’t add up to a meaningful distraction from the main plot, which remains on autopilot after the show’s stronger first half.

Given the light nature of the new cases they have to tackle, the partnership between Young-min and Seung-tak is also a case of diminishing returns. The pleasure of seeing them get over their differences and join together is later replaced by a slight feeling of ennui as they start to go through the motions.

There are still some highlights for the pair in later episodes, such as when Young-min teaches Seung-tak how to perform surgical sutures properly in a montage that involves practising on bananas and pillows, but in the second half of the season the focus shifts away from Young-min and Seung-tak.

The coma ghosts, who had mostly served as decoration, finally get their own stories. They include Lim Bo-mi (Yoon So-hee) and Hoon-gil (Choi seok-won), who have an unspoken attraction for one another and appear likely to wake from their comas. Will that ghostly attraction transition to two patients who don’t remember each other?

Joo-myung becomes more prominent and, as played by the veteran Sung, gets many of the show’s best scenes, which encompass flashbacks, his personal connection with another member of staff and a climactic emotional scene.

Ghost Doctor ends where you expect it to and the familiar journey has been comfortable and undemanding, but just like its coma ghosts, you may not remember much when you wake up.

More Information : https://public.flourish.studio/visualisation/8819034/




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