Now that I’ve finally watched the first four episodes of Good Doctor and Master’s Sun – both of which I’ve been meaning to check out for awhile – I can try and weigh in on both dramas. This post will probably be mostly incoherent and will contain spoilers because I’m just vomitting out all my feelings about both shows onto here.
I started with Good Doctor just because right off the bat, it seemed like the type of premise I’d enjoy. I’m a total sucker for a good underdog story and a hero you can easily root for and want to see succeed. I was going to paste the synopsis from DramaWiki but I’m not entirely comfortable with the way they’ve described our autistic lead as someone with the “mentality of a 10-year-old”.
While I admit that my knowledge on autism is limited, what I get from Joo Won‘s portrayal of Shi On (which I find so fascinating just because he’s so completely immersed in his character) is that rather than someone who thinks like a child, it’s more like the way he processes information and expresses himself is different from what is seen or deemed normal by society’s standards. For Shi On, it’s using medical lingo instead of simply going, “I’m hungry,” or “I care for him”. And most of the time, even though he does have feelings, he’s lacking a way to express them explicitly and even when he tries, his actions are often misinterpreted and perceived in a negative manner.
That’s why as a viewer, it does get aggravating to see Shi On constantly being pushed around in the hospital and belittled because of his illness since so many people are prejudiced from the start (though being doctors, you’d think they’d be a little more open-minded or knowledgeable about it). Thankfully, there are a few people around him who are inherently good, who either treat him as an adult or go out of their way to look out for him.
This drama reminds me a lot of Baby-Faced Beauty, which is another workplace drama where the heroine is great at what she does but doesn’t get the opportunity to showcase that and is instead treated like crap most of the time. But what made me drop that drama was how extreme the bullying got and I felt like there was not enough good moments where she could rise up to the occasion and prove all the baddies wrong for the show to be satisfying. So it ended up being mostly frustrating and difficult to stomach since it was essentially episode after episode of things going horribly wrong and people piling the blame onto her.
What I like about Good Doctor is that despite all the baddies that are commonplace in most workplace dramas where oversized egos are the driving force behind most if not all of their actions, at the end of the day, I just really want to see Shi On succeed and make everyone go, “I was wrong about you.” We’re with him 24/7 so we see him for who he is, his motivation behind becoming a paediatrician and because of that, I want him to achieve his goal of becoming one.
Even though all the plotting in the drama can get exhausting because it’s just your typical plotting to take over the company stuff blah blah blah, it’s Shi On I’m watching for (I just want to shower him with all of my love u_u), and the heartwarming moments when they’re able to save a sick child and the intense, exciting moments when the patient’s on the brink of death and we don’t know if our team of surgeons will be able to pull through and save him/her. And one of the things that gut me the most about the drama is Shi On’s backstory with his older brother because every time they flashback to the childhood scenes, the acting is so spot-on and their relationship was so enviable and great, it really gives added insight to why Shi On’s so set on wanting to save sick children and gift them with the opportunity to experience a good life and grow into adults — something his older brother never had.
I love Hong Sisters and even though Big was disappointing, there were still good parts that made it enjoyable so I was looking forward to Master’s Sun. I was excited to see Gong Hyo Jin and So Ji Sub paired together because they physically look great together and Gong Hyo Jin seems to be the type to have a natural chemistry with all her male co-stars, and mostly, I was just plain excited to see So Ji Sub doing something more comedy-like since his roles are so serious all the time.
I don’t have a whole lot to say about the drama but the verdict is: I love it! It’s right up my alley with a sizzling OTP and likeable lead characters. It’s breezy and fun and even though I understand the comparisons to Dating Agency Cyrano, I personally much prefer it because all! the! skinship! I like dramas with romance shoved to the forefront, but I think it manages what Cyrano failed to achieve, which is to make me feel invested in the characters and the development of their relationships. Like I’m really eager to find out just what Kang Woo‘s deal is (whereas I could actually care less about Master and his shiftiness and his whole gangster connection) and I feel like I’ve been talking about this since I watched the first episode but when on earth did Seo In Guk get so handsome??????? It’s the damn swimming movie istg but whatever it is, he is so fiiiiiiine and I completely understand why Gong Shil swoons each time he’s within sight.
At four episodes in, I’m not yet tired of the whole one ghost story per ep thing (even though sometimes they can freak me out by popping out randomly), because there’s enough progress on the relationship front between our four mains that I’m kept engaged (and when Kang Woo straight up told our top star Yi Ryeong that she’s not pretty I just–). And really, I just love our OTP OK????? I love them together, I love their banter and their dynamics and just omG please get together already, thanks. Gong Hyo Jin and So Ji Sub have so much chemistry together, I could watch entire episodes of just them interacting.
Gong Hyo Jin is one of those lovely low-key actresses that’s so naturally likeable and endearing, I just can’t imagine anyone who’d not like her in Master’s Sun. When she’s being pouty and cute, I don’t find it to be grating or put on, which says a whole lot since my tolerance for that sort of stuff isn’t exactly the highest. I think there was this one scene I was watching and for a moment, I imagined what it’d be like if someone like Park Shin Hye was playing Gong Shil instead and I internally cringed, because just no. So Ji Sub’s character, on the other hand, isn’t all that different from Cha Seung Won‘s in Best Love, in that they’re both assy and full of themselves but it’s a character type I’m kinda okay with, because you just know once he falls in love, he’ll fall so hard, it’ll be laughable. And hey, it’ll make for more cute OTP moments so all’s good in my book!
My only gripe is that the basic premise is very very similar to the spooky rom-com movie Chilling Romance with Sohn Ye Jin and Lee Min Ki, about a girl who can see ghosts after getting into an accident, and they often keep harrassing her until she does what they request of her. Because of that, she’s not had a proper day’s rest and has altered her lifestyle completely and became a shut-in. But overlooking that, I love love love the excuses for skinship in Master’s Sun — like, how great is it that when she touches Joong Won, the ghosts instantly poof and disappear? And I also like the introduction of their contract of sorts, where she’ll use her “gift” (using this term very loosely here) to find out about the money he’s lost 15 years ago, and in return, she gets to touch his body for solace (her gleeful exclamation of “Then I can touch you and everything?” was adorable). It’s so great.