Over the course of the last two weeks, the Winter season of K-dramas was finishing up with its current lineup of series airing their finales.
Some of them even made records for their respective networks such as Crash Landing on You in which its finale has earned the second-highest viewership ratings for the Total Variety Network (tvN) almost toppling popular 2015 K-drama, Goblin.
Now the Winter season of K-dramas has come to a close as the last major K-drama of the season, Dr. Romantic 2, has aired its finale.
In it, Teacher Kim (Han Suk-Kyu) finds a way to make all of Doldam Hospital’s “dreams come true” which in turn results in the final episode’s viewership being very popular both domestically and internationally.
Teacher Kim makes ‘dreams come true’
Before continuing, it should be stressed the following will contain spoilers for the penultimate and final episodes of Dr. Romantic 2 (also known as Romantic Doctor, Teacher Kim 2 and Romantic Doctor Kim 2). Fans of the K-drama should not proceed reading any further if they do not want important plot points of the series spoiled.
In the final episode, there were four major issues that needed to be resolved: Seo Woo-Jin’s (Ahn Hyo-Seop) debt, Cha Eun Jae’s (Lee Sung-Kyung) self-confidence, Director Park’s (Kim Joo-Hoon) fear and self-doubt, and the overall security of Doldam Hospital.
Starting with Seo Woo-Jin, we learn throughout the series that he is constantly working for money to pay off a huge loan. However, we learn that the loan is not his, but his father’s.
As each episode airs, Seo Woo-Jin receives help from others in paying off his debt which includes Teacher Kim paying him a huge amount of money in advance. Eventually, it is revealed that the loan shark company Woo-Jin owes money to is owned by Bae Moon-Jung (Shin Dong-Wook).
Apparently, Bae Moon-Jung decided to work long-distance from his wife and child to “get away” from the immoral practices of his father. He wanted nothing to do with the loan shark company or any of his father’s endeavors.
The unique thing about Seo Woo-Jin’s debt resolution is the resolution was more emotional than literal. Bae Moon-Jung does not want anything to do with Woo-Jin’s debt only wanting their relationship to be that of fellow doctors. This seems to be enough for both of them even though Woo-Jin may still owe money.
Next is Cha Eun-Jae. Thanks to Teacher Kim, he was able to figure out a way to help her with her issues in the operation room. However, Eun-Jae still had the shadow that she “wasn’t good enough” hanging over her head caused by her harsh exile from Geodae Hospital to Doldam Hospital.
After Geodae Hospital learns that Cha Eun-Jae is doing well in the operation room, they offer her a chance to leave Doldam Hospital and return to them. After receiving advice from her peers including Teacher Kim and her boyfriend Seo Woo-Jin, she decides to take the offer.
Over the course of two weeks, Cha Eun-Jae does splendidly in surgery at Geodae Hospital. The doctor she works under is impressed by her skills and even says he will take her under her wing. This is when Eun-Jae learns where she really belongs: Doldam Hospital.
In retort, Cha Eun-Jae explains that Geodae Hospital only cares about her now that she is doing well in surgery. However, they did nothing to help her when she was struggling. In short, they only care for her when it looks good on them.
In the end, Chae Eun-Jae chooses to go back to Doldam Hospital. She understands if it weren’t for Teacher Kim and the other Doldam staff, she wouldn’t be the doctor she is now. Geodae Hospital has nothing to do with her success.
Finally, and probably most importantly, are the issues Director Park has as a doctor. At the beginning of the final episode, we learn that Director Park is planning to retire from Doldam Hospital as his doubts and fears of being a doctor take hold of him.
About three years ago, Director Park was in the same bus accident Teacher Kim was in. Where Teacher Kim chose to stay behind and help the injured, Director Park fled to save himself. Since then, he has felt inferior to Teacher Kim. Taking the director position at Doldam Hospital was probably a means to “show he was better” than Teacher Kim.
As the series progressed, viewers learned that Director Park is actually not a bad guy at all. If he were under the tutelage of Teacher Kim, he would have been just as good, probably better than him by now. Unfortunately, he chose politics which put him under the tutelage of Chairman Do, the former less-than-mediocre doctor who used connections to politicize his position instead of earning it through medial merit.
Despite all this, Teacher Kim was able to see just how good of a doctor Director Park is. It was Teacher Kim who realized that Director Park is probably close to being equal to him in skill.
Ergo, Teacher Kim’s way of helping Director Park isn’t taking him under tutelages like Seo Woo-Jin and Cha Eun-Jae, but treating him as an equal. While Teacher Kim is resting from his surgery on his injured wrist, he asks Director Park to take his place and to stop “running away,” as not every situation in the hospital is like the bus accident they were in.
Teacher Kim’s words eventually take root in Director Park when Seo Woo-Jin asks him to help in an emergency in the ER that he has very little to no experience in. Director Park finally lets go of his self-doubt and fear and leads the other doctors while Teacher Kim is out.
Doldam Hospital freed from Geodae Institute
The aforementioned issues were ones the doctors personally had. However, there is still the underlying business issue for Doldam Hospital because it is owned by the Geodae Institute. As a result, the hospital is at the mercy of Chairman Do.
Throughout the final episode, we learn that Teacher Kim has been wanting Doldam Hospital to be its own independent trauma center. On his side of things, the plan for Doldam Hospital is centered on what is known as the Cornerstone Project, a collection of all past surgeries within the past three years. It details what works and what does not work when saving patients.
The Cornerstone Project was shown to be very successful when Seo Woo-Jin and all the other doctors pitch in to review all the past surgeries to figure out what is wrong with Teacher Kim’s wrist: multiple sclerosis.
Next is the business-side of turning Doldam Hospital into an independent trauma center. Apparently, that is also the same dream Director Park has if he is to remain with Doldam Hospital as its director. With his connections and knowledge in medical politics, he wants Doldam Hospital to be fully funded and supported by Korea.
The final piece of the puzzle in making Doldam Hospital an independent trauma center is to have it no longer be under the mercy of the Geodae Institute. Fortunately, Teacher Kim was very close to the previous chairman who wanted to protect Doldam Hospital when he was gone. Working with Geodae Institute’s primary family and legal team, he was able to make Doldam Hospital an independent medical institute spearheaded by Teacher Kim himself.
All of the aforementioned parts were put into effect to make Doldam Hospital an independent entity from Geodae Institute. Much to his chagrin, Chairman Do is by himself when he is given the news resulting in one of the most epic meltdowns ever seen in any K-drama.
Viewership is high but does not topple season one
Dr. Romantic 2 was one of the two most-popular K-dramas airing during the Winter season alongside Crash Landing on You. Just like the previous season, Dr. Romantic 2 was very popular among viewers both domestically in South Korea and internationally.
According to TNS Media Korea and AGB Nielsen Korea, every episode of Dr. Romantic 2 has earned over double-digit viewership for both Seoul and the country. The final episode earned the highest viewership ratings with TNS Media Korea earning 24.4 percent for the nation and AGB Nielsen Korea earning 27.1 percent for the nation and 27.2 percent for Seoul.
It should be noted that even though Dr. Romantic 2’s viewership ratings were high across the board, it did not top its initial ratings for its first season.
As for international viewership, at least for the Americas, it was one of the more popular K-dramas available. On Rakuten Viki, it is currently one of the top 20 K-dramas among its members with a rating of 9.7 out of 10 averaged out of 2,825 ratings.
Ultimately, Dr. Romantic 2 was a worthwhile sequel to the original that aired three years ago. Because of how it ended, many are hoping there will be a third season in the future.
For viewers living in Korea, Dr. Romantic 2 is no longer available as its timeslot is taken over by the upcoming Seoul Broadcasting System (SBS) K-drama, Nobody Knows. As for international viewers specifically those living in the Americas, Dr. Romantic 2 is available for free, with ads, on Rakuten Viki.