Doctor Slump – K-drama Episode 1 Recap & Review

Episode 1

Episode 1 of Doctor Slump begins with a brief sequence about the future events in the show – Yeo Jeong-woo (Park Hyung sik) loses a patient and Nam Ha-neul (Park Shin-hye) collapses in the middle of the road, about to be hit by a truck. 

The scene changes and we are transported to Busan in 2009. Ha-neul has topped her mock exams and her family is celebrating her achievements. We meet Ha-neul as she runs to school with a book in hand. She’s an overachiever, making use of every second of her time – she runs to school with a book so she can save time to study, organises her clothes by the day to save time deciding what to wear, eats easily digestible food while studying, studies while stretching, working and so on. 

Alternatively, we meet Jeong-woo who is another student in school who has topped his mock exams as well. 

Back in Busan, Ha-neul’s paternal family members have come to pay their respects to her father’s death anniversary. They end up arguing over selling her mother’s factory and spitting the proceeds amongst them. In the backdrop of this chaos, Ha-neul is comically studying. She finally suggests to sell the factory and relocate to Seoul.

 Ha-neul’s relocation has sent vibrations in Jeong-won’s high school. Everybody is talking about the new student who is at par with Jeong-won. Ha-neul is introduced to the class and is immediately surrounded by classmates asking her questions only for her to scream, “shut up” as she is busy studying at break time. Everyone soon releases her preoccupation with studies and leaves her alone. However, Jeong-won feels threatened and there begins a healthy competition between the two rivals. 

In the present, it’s revealed that only Jeong-woo makes it to Hankuk National School, a prestigious institution for medical studies. We meet Jeong-won as a celebrated plastic surgeon who has become a phenomenon. It’s revealed that he once appeared in a documentary when he was volunteering overseas which led to his popularity. Soon after, he opened his own channel on “Neotube”, has millions of subscribers, opened a franchise of his clinics and is living a good life. 

Meanwhile, Ha-neul is working as a anesthesiologist. She is repetitively scolded and treated as trash by her superior doctor, works multiple shifts without a break at time and has been feeling sick for a while but unable to get herself checked. While on the way to meet her friend, she collapses in the middle of the road and is barely saved as a high speed truck stops near her. 

At the same time, Jeong-won is visited by a mysterious client from Macau who changes the course of his life. During the plastic surgery, she dies due to excessive bloodless, an uncommon and highly controversial case in the field of plastic surgery. Jeong-won repetitively denies malpractice  but to no avail.

The odds are highly against him – the CCTV footage from the surgery mysteriously stops working and at the court proceedings, traces of anticoagulant (a substance used to present clotting) are found. Further, despite Jeong-won claims that he never even bought anticoagulants, a bottle of the same is retrieved from the trash can of his clinic. 

Jeong-won’s world comes crashing down as his childhood friends, who manage his channel and are partners in the business, blame him for their loss. He now ends up with a huge debt of one billion won ($7.5 million), loses his practice, might have to pay compensation to the victim’s family and doesn’t even have his friends together anymore. 

Meanwhile, Ha-neul has had her gallbladder removed which was the source of her acute stomach ache. Professionally, she is unable to get a promotion that she deserved and due to nepotism, another doctor is promoted in her stead instead.  However, something has changed in her. Reluctantly, she visits a mental health clinic and is diagnosed with depression arising from burnout. 

She’s flabbergasted and screams that she is fine while coming back home and tossing her medicines in the trash can on the way. It’s quite clear that our girl has safely entered the stage of denial. She buys beer instead and goes to the rooftop to have some quiet time for herself. And there, she meets Jeong-won melancholic with a single tear sliding down his face. 

In a flashback, scene we see Jeong-won and Ha-neul competing to reach their class early one morning. Ha-neul falls to the ground and Jeong-won goes over to help her. She pulls at him instead, jumps over him and rushes to reach the class first. The episode ends with a voiceover:

Ha-neul: ” I met him again during the lowest point in my life”.

Jeong-won: “Right when I was hanging off the edge at the world’s end”. 

The Episode Review

Episode 1 of Doctor Slump begins quite strong. Both our leads are quirky and bright enough to interest the audience. Ha-neul is especially odd and watching her over-the-top methods to save time is extremely fun and entertaining. No wonder she burnt out years later! It is quite exciting to watch Park Shin-hye and Park Hyung-sik together after their first appearance in the The Heirs, isn’t it?  

This episode introduced the situations and background of the two characters and was a more of an extension of what we already know about the story through the trailer. The real deal starts tomorrow but the show looks promising as a feel-good romantic comedy! We’d love to know your thoughts on the first episode, do let us know in the comments below! 


Next Episode

You can read our full season review for Doctor Slump here!


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