The School Nurse Files is bizarre. It’s a confusing, unnecessarily obfuscated 6 episode fantasy series that never quite settles into its rhythm. Much like the jelly-creatures this show depicts, there’s no consistent form or explanation to anything going on. The result is something as weird as it is forgettable, showcasing a Korean drama that loses its way before its even begun.
The story revolves around a school nurse called Eun-Young who enlists the help of her fellow teacher In-Pyo, determined to search out what lies in the basement.
As we soon find out, the school is infested by strange ghostly apparitions known as “jellies.” Only Eun-Young can see them though and she has the ability to ward off the creatures.
Armed with a BB gun and a toy glow-in-the-dark sword, she learns the school is actually a fighting ground for 2 companies vowing for control of this hallowed place.
It’s worth noting this before going into the show as this final point isn’t actually revealed until the middle of episode 6. Given that’s a basic plot synopsis, it tells you all you need to know about the lack of explanation to what’s going on here.
Instead, The School Nurse Files stitches together a bunch of pretty, well-shot action sequences with little rhyme or reason. The result is a somewhat disorientating and largely disproportionate series, leaving all its explanations for the final episode but little reason to care when you finally make it to that point.
If you want an example outside of Game Of Thrones Season 8 over the importance of good writing, this is it. You can have the best characters and special effects out there but if the story fails to grip you or leaves big question marks then everything falls apart.
Unlike the conventional 16 episode Korean drama format, this new Netflix idea of splitting a 12 episode show between 6 episode parts brings a whole wave of problems. You see, with a stand-alone show the writers are given time to flesh everything out and provide adequate explanations to what’s going on. The story gives you confidence that it’ll be wrapped up at the end and, with a few exceptions (looking at you Vagabond), delivers a concise ending in sight.
Unlike Love Alarm (which was actually good), The School Nurse Files doesn’t have enough to carry this one and instill confidence for its second part. It’s such a shame too because there’s actually some nice ideas at work here but they’re never given the time to actually flesh out into a decent story.
For example, partway through the show we learn one of the teachers actually has his own agenda. It’s an interesting twist but one that’s written out the show after an episode and a half, never to be spoken of again until one throwaway line in episode 6. Another time, an early mission to sever a “jelly tie” between two students is successful… until episode 6 when things are reversed but no reason given as to how or why.
These examples crop up constantly throughout the series, undermining any sort of world-building given. These thin snippets of exposition are about the extent of reason to what’s happening and it’s just not enough to make this anything other than an utterly forgettable proposition.
It’s a shame too because The School Nurse Files is a show I’ve been looking forward to for a while. Unfortunately, this series hits the dreaded Korean fantasy curse, joining Melting Me Softly in the “utterly forgettable” category.
Whether there’ll be enough fans left over at the end to come back for part 2 remains to be seen. For everyone else, this is a tough sell indeed.
Verdict - 4/10