The Darkest Hour Is Just Before The Dawn
Episode 1 of Daily Dose of Sunshine begins with our first look at Da-eun. She’s suffering from insomnia, and even the handy host on Brainflix TV, who gives her some tips through online videos, doesn’t seem to help. She’s restless, as she’s about to start a brand new job.
This topic then skips over to the subject of mental health. In particular, the misrepresentation of those with issues like schizophrenia, as they only account for 0.04% of crimes in the country.
Jung Da-eun is a newcomer in the psychiatric ward, and she heads there after a bus ride to learn the ins and outs from the head nurse. When she sees all the patients, a big smile crosses her face. After, it’s onto the staff. Although she’s initially told to follow Charge Nurse Park Soo-yeon, the latter shrugs her off and passes her to Min Deul-re instead.
All the nurses are curious as to why Da-eun has transferred over to psychiatric care, but she’s tight-lipped over this. Just after, all the doctors show and start doing their rounds. Among them is Dr Kong, who has a recurring haemorrhoids issue due to the stress of it all. He heads over to psychiatry and begins interviewing a new patient, the same guy we saw earlier on the bus with Da-eun, muttering to himself and staring at his hands. This is Go-yun, as we soon come to learn, and he’s a big part of the story.
While this is going on, Da-eun is tested with a few more questions, before meeting Oh Ri-na, a new patient on the ward. She’s not sick in the conventional sense but her mother believes she has an extra case of bipolar. She came voluntarily and wants to leave, and in order to keep her there, Ri-na’s mother is told to sign a consent form to confirm it’s okay. Only, she forges her son-in-law’s signature. They need the proper signature in order to keep her, but Ri-na’s mum does have some grapes for her daughter, so there is that.
When Da-eun hands them over, Ri-na believes that she’s only been put in here because she loves someone other than her husband. She was having an affair and this is her mum’s way of punishing her. Da-eun is surprised but as she leaves the room, Yeo-hwan takes her aside and asks if she’s moved because of him. There’s definitely history between them but we’ll have to wait and see.
The situation involving Oh Ri-na continues to escalate, especially when they learn that Ri-na had been stalking some guy quite aggressively. Da-eun makes the mistake of speaking to Ri-na about this, and gets a slap to the face for her troubles. Ri-na then acts out, getting naked and wandering through the hallway. She eventually urinates all over the floor, which Da-eun slips on. Given she was the orchestrator of Ri-na turning like this, she’s berated by Soo-yeon for her part in this.
After work, Yeo-hwan and Da-eun meet for a drink. Yeo-hwan actually used to be her teacher back in the day. He helps explain how bipolar disorder works, with te most extreme cases resulting in hallucinations and delusions. It’s here where Da-eun claims that the head nurse at internal medicine decided she’d be a better fit in psychiatry so she moved over.
Yeo-hwan soon does a runner though when he notices a strange guy outside slamming his head into the window. Another case for the hospital? Nope, it’s actually Da-eun’s old study partner from back in the day, Song Yu-chan. He helps teach her ways of playing ping pong, and offers little tidbits of advice through the day, before eventually leaving her to exhaustion and recovering for the night.
The next day, Da-eun heads back to the ward to see Ri-na. She apologizes for slapping her and slips into a depressive state. The group have a meeting about it after, discussing possible ways to handle this and how to help Ri-na. While this is going on, the finger-snapping Go-yun returns for another session, and Dr Kong tries to suggest some outcomes to help him stop relying on cracking his knuckles quite so much.
In fact, it gets so bad that Cheol-woo’s haemorrhoids start to detriment his bedside manner. It turns out though that Go-yun is actually a doctor who works in the colorectal area, and this explains why he believes his finger-cracking can do harm to others. However, he does help Cheol-woo out with his condition, leading to a rather loud scream from the doctor!
Meanwhile, Ri-na and her mother meet again. There’s more to this story than we first realized, as it turns out Ri-na’s mum has been suffocating her, controlling every aspect of her life, which is why Ri-na initially lashed out and became bipolar. All of this stress was brought on from her.
Ri-na exasperates that she’s 43 years old and can’t even order her own coffee because her mum has done all of this. Her happiest memory was actually in the hallway, dancing about like crazy while naked, believing she was free – away from her mum.
This echoes with Song Yu-chan’s sentiments earlier in the episode, where he tells our protagonist that happiness is intrinsically linked with being free. Ri-na’s mum decides to do something a little different the next time she shows up at the ward, bringing her fruit but this time a different selection. It’s a small touch, but a start for the pair of them to mend their relationship and start anew.
While Da-eun likens herself to a stone, causing ripples through life and helping patients. Despite doing really well to help out another patient, Da-eun’s optimism takes a battering when she hears the head of Internal Medicine speaking to the head of Psychiatry. They discuss Da-eun, with the former apologizing for passing over “her burden”. She retorts that Da-eun is way too cheerful and optimistic, and our protagonist hears every word.
The Episode Review
Daily Dose of Sunshine gets off to a decent start here, with plenty of characters introduced, a simple but effective premise and an episodic format already developing. It seems like we’ll be getting a whole bunch of different patients pop up across the season, while there will also undoubtedly be romance and drama on the horizon too.
Da-eun is a good character to warm to and her optimistic attitude, along with learning the ropes in psychiatry, allows us to actually see the ins and outs of this job first-hand.
So far the show has got off to a good start, let’s hope this maintains through the season!