Beautiful Mind Episode 9 Kwoncap [TriAngle]
In the world we live in a life may weigh differently depending on one’s status and class, but all are equal in death. The 9th episode was a modern Danse Macabre in motion and a torrent of hope, a quest for empathy and a microcosm expanding its territory somewhere between phone calls and lottery tickets.
“Anticipating that tomorrow will be different.
To me, that’s what hope is.
In that sense, you’re the most hopeful person I know;
You show me a different side of you whenever I see you.”
∇ Promises, hopes, ambitions and an ill-natured twist of fate. ∇
The long-awaited flashback bound to shed more light on Dr. Leenkenstein’s past finally came to the surface and I am glad it chased away my fears by not following assumptions I could neither express nor support because they had the potential to turn Beautiful Mind into a psychological circus. The 9th episode offered more answers than expected and set new foundations of mystery based on how things will develop from now on with Young Oh always being in the eye of the storm that keeps raging on in various ways. Lee Young Oh wasn’t always the 205th child at Grace Home, he was living with his parents until they decided to abandon him because of his health issues which were resembling Dr. Leenkenstein’s son’s condition. Dr. Leenkenstein was intending to take full responsibility and he would never step back from such a medical case since the probability of success would fill him with the hope to eventually save his own son’s life.
The operation was successful, or at least he thought so, but when he came out of the operating room a devastating “surprise” was waiting for him. While he was operating on another child his own son was dying and Dr. Leenkenstein didn’t have the chance to attempt the same operation or be there for him in the last moments of his life. His wife left him behind once and for all and condemned him to spend the rest of his life inside an operating room far away from a family’s warm embrace. He may had been “neglecting” his own family, but if we see things from his own point of view he was desperately trying to find a cure for his son. However, right when he was thinking that things would start changing for the better fate had a different opinion. On top of that, his operation wasn’t a success since he had harmed Young Oh’s frontal lobe and his medical malpractice was the reason why Young Oh would be unable to feel and empathize.
Dr. Leenkenstein may had been able to save Young Oh’s life, but he had ruined one of his life’s most precious aspects, the gift to feel and reply accordingly; with emotion. We already knew that Young Oh wasn’t his biological son, but the 9th episode clearly prove that Dr. Leenkenstein was an emotionally literate human being (with his own pros and cons) back in the days with the drama kicking out of the picture any slight possibility of him suffering from antisocial personality disorder or anything related. His humble bliss when he came out of the operating room and his ongoing devastation were clearly proving that he was able to feel, but having been overshadowed by the loss of his own son and the inability to treat Young Oh without causing any further issues eventually led to the ill-natured father-son relationship we are aware of at the present.
Indeed, he took full responsibility by adopting Young Oh and he would dedicate his life to help him live like a normal person. It was something he owed to Young Oh, his son and himself, but the methods he used weren’t the finest ones. Their relationship wasn’t built on healthy foundations to start with and the way things progressed throughout the years were just the reflection of a painful past that kept forming a sickening ongoing present. Eventually, he didn’t help Young Oh live like a normal person, he tried to teach him how to pass for normal while keeping his condition a secret. At the end of the day, Dr. Leenkenstein created a well-programmed and professional lying machine in emotional terms.
In one hand, Suk Joo supported and promoted the regenerative medicine’s healing expectations all along the way, but something like that didn’t mean that his internal conflict had ceased existing; the one between being a righteous man and a good doctor. Soon Ho approached him right after Ji Ahn left this world behind and Suk Joo’s judgement was clouded by his innermost feelings of despair as he was unable to save Yoon Kyung’s daughter. Many girls like Ji Ahn were eagerly waiting for a transplant and Soon Ho laid emphasis on the regenerative medicine’s miraculous nature that made Suk Joo pace with his flow. However, he couldn’t be certain that everything was fine and his outburst was revealing all of his concerns. He needed confirmation that the medicine would help patients like Ji Ahn live a normal and healthy life and he wanted to know that the regenerative medicine would live up to his expectations so that it wouldn’t make him wallow in his own regrets. Suk Joo sacrificed a part of his conscience for a greater good; saving as many lives as possible even if he’d be unable to remain the good person he was by letting the Hyunsung murder case drown in oblivious waters.
On the other hand, Dr. Leenkenstein wasn’t pleased with the fact that Soon Ho proceeded with the regenerative medicine’s announcement without the research team’s consent, but Soon Ho urged him to focus on the research itself and leave the rest to him. There was a mutually cryptic game going on throughout their conversation as Dr. Leenkenstein wanted to figure out if Soon Ho was behind Dong Jae’s death while Soon Ho was trying to misguide him by stating that the regenerative medicine would make him the first neurosurgeon to perform a stem cell transplant surgery. It was something that was far away from Dong Jae’s intentions to make surgeons unnecessary in the future since the medicine would take care of pretty much everything at a high success rate. Dr. Leenkenstein wasn’t caring about money or fame, all he wanted was to preserve his friend’s will to the fullest. Let’s not forget that the absence of a surgery had cost him his son’s life and another surgery had transformed Young Oh into an empty shell; had the regenerative medicine existed back then nothing like that would have happened. And who knows, maybe he’d like to see if the medicine will help Young Oh feel and empathize by regenerating his frontal lobe or at least a part of it.
Just because Hyun Joon and Soon Ho are allies it doesn’t mean that they share deeper bonds. Both of them strive for personal recognition and growth and while Hyun Joon seems to be having the upper hand it doesn’t mean that Soon Ho will sit down and watch. Of course, he wasn’t pleased with the fact that Dr. Leenkenstein became the hospital’s director. It was Hyun Joon’s way of preventing Young Oh from causing further trouble simply because Dr. Leenkenstein cared about his own reputation and would never let him loose. However, the doctor who had tried to prevent Dr. Leenkenstein from operating on Young Oh had returned and the information he wields is going to be a powerful weapon in Soon Ho’s vicious hands in an attempt to kill two birds with one stone when it comes to the ongoing power struggle inside the hospital. Young Oh finding out that Dr. Leenkenstein was the one responsible for his condition could deepen the chasm between them and their ill-natured relationship wouldn’t only wreak havoc on the hospital, it would also ruin their careers beyond repair and would pave the way for Soon Ho’s relentless success.
∇ Saving one’s life; a privilege or a given? ∇
Jin Sung became a member of the Violent Crimes Division and her squad leader kept praising her passionate and hardworking nature that had the potential to turn a former ticking bomb into a combative detective before reopening the Hyunsung murder case. He would be her mentor and her first case was right around the corner, but it wasn’t someone she didn’t know! Just like with all Korean dramas, it’s a small world and the same applies to Beautiful Mind. At first it was Chul Min’s son, now it’s Sang Joon, the patient who had attacked Young Oh! Sang Joon was about to surrender, but he collapsed and he ended up at the hospital where a whole tragedy started unvealing itself.
The world we live in isn’t fair and the absence of equality is omnipresent in various aspects of life. There’s always somebody above someone else and there are always people willing to spit and step on others below them for personal gain. Even if we live in such a menacing world, education and the healthcare system should be available to everyone in order to maintain that sense of equality the world lacks. Sadly, lives weigh differently depending on one’s status, connections and class, but death makes no exceptions and works as the harsh reminder of a natural form of balance against the futile inequalities of the living. The 9th episode was a modern Danse Macabre in motion, but it was also a torrent of hope Young Oh would start weaving after his insightful interactions with Jin Sung who remains his personal glade of meaning in the emptiness that surrounds him.
In one hand, we had Sang Joon, a patient who was suffering from stage four lung cancer that had spread to his brain and he couldn’t receive treatment because he had developed tolerance to chemotherapy, but he didn’t want to receive treatment either because he was well aware of his beloved family’s suffering and sacrifices. However, nobody wants to give up life so easily, especially at such a young age. While Young Oh thought that everything was fine because the physicians and the patient had evened up the treatment score Jin Sung was there to lay emphasis on the fact that his decisions weren’t always the right ones even though they appeared that way at first. Young Oh can’t empathize with a medical case’s fragile nature, but Jin Sung’s always there to make him think aspects he can’t take into consideration on his own. It’s something like a form of indirect empathy Jin Sung helps Young Oh adapt to without being forceful, but sincere.
The lottery tickets she had found were enough proof of Sang Joon’s desire to hold on to life and a sign of lurking hope whereas Young Oh’s opinion differed and the lottery tickets were meaningless pieces of paper. However, he never said that there was no treatment available and you have to love the smiling sparks that brightened up Jin Sung’s face! Unlike the neck-grabbing habit he seems to have left behind for a while, I actually found quite intriguing the way he was holding her like a wheel while he was learning how to drive! He made her aware that the treatment he had in mind wasn’t only expensive and dangerous, but also illegal and it was the necessary pass he needed to remind her that the detective in charge should keep meeting the doctor in charge quite often. Young Oh you subconscious player, you! On a side note, Min Jae was overhearing their conversation and the fact that she was keeping the wedding ring was proving that there were lingering feelings she could neither handle nor progress, but the pathway she had chosen was making it even more one-sided than it already was.
On the other hand, we had Ok Kyung, a demanding “lady” without manners and always ready to belittle everyone around her just like she did with nurse Jang and doctor Oh. Young Oh and Suk Joo would try to join forces in an attempt to treat her, but her condition was Sang Joon oriented. Ok Kyung’s only chance to keep on living was an illegal treatment method (osimertinib) Suk Joo would never approve as her attending doctor. It is true that such an expensive medication would deepen the chasm between the lower and upper chambers of the social pyramid and I could agree with Suk Joo up to an extent. However, Suk Joo decided to become a good doctor and not a professor about morals so he didn’t really have the right to interfere in Young Oh’s life-saving approach. Indirectly, Suk Joo was trying to justify his decision to support the regenerative medicine without being certain that everything would be fine in an attempt to live up to his personal expectations as a good person, but he was failing at it since he couldn’t oppose Young Oh’s logical flow of thoughts and reasons why they should proceed with osimertinib.
In addition, Suk Joo was putting the hospital and his very own sacrifice above a patient’s life because Young Oh using an illegal method could put the regenerative medicine in danger. While society had taken the easy way out for a non-existent and fabricated equality’s sake Young Oh was presenting a very interesting question. If the treatment method was illegal but could save a patient’s life, then letting the patient die was something legal? Doctor Oh became once again Ok Kyung’s attending neurosurgeon and he was well aware that osimertinib was the only option, but along with Suk Joo they decided to proceed with a biopsy no matter how life-threatening it was. Young Oh wouldn’t stand still, he met Ok Kyung and shut down her attitude with his very own temperament and made her aware of the treatment method he had in mind and the difficulties that were lying ahead since everyone else was against it. Eventually, doctor Oh’s personal experience after having lost his wife to the same illness made him pace with Young Oh’s flow and they were able to save Ok Kyung’s life by disobeying rules and regulations but living up to the very soul and essence of a doctor.
Young Oh would never proceed without a plan since he was well aware that Hyun Joon would be enraged. Hyun Joon was intending to deprive Young Oh of treating patients due to the fine the hospital had to pay, but Ok Kyung followed Young Oh’s plan by making a grandiose donation under Young Oh’s name. Since Hyun Joon wanted doctors who would help him make more money Young Oh wasn’t only a savior machine, but also a doctor who overshadowed the fine in a blink of an eye and left plenteous money behind for Hyun Joon to deal with in any way he’d want to. The deal was that if Young Oh would be able to save Ok Kyung’s life she would have to start embracing everything she was lacking: basic humanitarian values she had the power to support to the fullest by emptying her vaults and filling her heart.
∇ Empathy isn’t easy, but hope isn’t always a serum that never heals either. ∇
Young Oh was quite a troll in the beginning of the episode! He didn’t only appear as hilariously normal in front of the other doctors who were scared to death at his presence, he also tried to live up to the “an empathetic word is the beginning of treatment” card’s expectations! He tried, he tried really hard, but the patient would never admit that he kept drinking after his surgery and Young Oh had to elicit that precious information in his own way by throwing tremendous amounts of reality on that patient’s face! He’d simply have to choose between life and death; quit drinking until his visits at the hospital would lessen or keep drinking until he’d find himself at the morgue!
As I already said above, Young Oh can’t empathize with a medical case’s fragile nature, but Jin Sung’s always there to make him think aspects he can’t take into consideration on his own. It’s something like a form of indirect empathy Jin Sung helps Young Oh adapt to without being forceful, but sincere. While Young Oh was working on Sang Joon’s condition while trying to decipher what hope meant to ordinary people Jin Sung was trying to make Sang Joon understand that there was nothing shameful about asking for help in his darkest hour. All Sang Joon should be worrying about was his condition and how to get treated and not his problems with the police force since Jin Sung would plead for favorable treatment. Before proceeding with the illegal treatment method Young Oh wanted to be fully aware of Sang Joon’s intentions on whether he had really given up or wanted to live come what may. Sang Joon’s disarming sincerity would make Young Oh summon Ok Kyung’s newly acquired philanthropist nature and would eventually make the detective in charge report back to the doctor in charge as promised! At the end of the day, Young Oh had secured equality when it comes to treatment.
The magnetic field between Young Oh and Jin Sung becomes stronger with every passing episode and she starts receiving more vibes without necessarily understanding them. The same applies to Young Oh who keeps the soju bottle cap ring inside his drawer like a weird Jin Sung oriented lucky charm he can’t decipher! Now that she gave him the lottery tickets Sang Joon didn’t need anymore, because meeting Young Oh was like winning the lottery, evened up the phone call score between them! Just like Jin Sung should keep calling the doctor specializing in all the medical information she would need in the process the same applied to Young Oh, he should call her in case he won the lottery in order to split the treasure!
Jin Sung’s approach on hope was wonderful and quite insightful. If one doesn’t anticipate that tomorrow will be different then he/she may lose the game and eventually the desire to keep on living. In her eyes, Young Oh was the most hopeful person she had ever met because he was showing her a different side of his whenever she’d meet him; and it was all thanks to Jin Sung. He certainly has his own point of view, but Jin Sung is the prism that helps him filter all the information he receives in more multifaceted ways that broaden his horizon. Even though he doesn’t know how empathy feels like he shyly starts relating to it without having to pretend being normal. He’s simply being himself who gets one step at a time closer to an unknown truth. She’s also the only person who can make Young Oh smile in a more radiant and meaningful way even though he can’t understand yet what’s going on internally while Jin Sung occupies a bigger part of his mind.
Young Oh running after her and hugging her in such an expressive and full of longing way (and I repeat it, without being able to understand his instinctive reaction) led to such a powerful scene. He may had thought that he couldn’t feel anything and that he couldn’t change since the body signals he was receiving by putting his hand on his chest to feel his heart and checking his pulse weren’t resembling the ones of someone in love, but he was neglecting one parameter that was chasing away the bittersweet taste the overall scene was evoking and was making things a bit more heartwarming. I am referring to natural attraction and its own invisible wonders our main couple still has to decode; mutually and solely through their own unique characteristics. It was also a scene that was bringing back to the surface Young Oh’s question to his father back in the days: “will I ever be able to become normal if I try really hard?” All that longing was encapsulated throughout the overall ending scene of this episode from the moment Jin Sung entered Young Oh’s office to the moment he took her in his embrace and desperately tried to find signs that would point towards the direction that something inside had started changing for the better.
P.S. or Anatomy of a heart: While Doctors found itself one step closer to the 20% barrier with 19.4% Monster rated 9.9% and Beautiful Mind managed to achieve its second best ratings to date, 4.4% which is once again far from the ratings the drama deserves. Young Oh may had convinced himself that he can’t change, but the 9th episode strengthened the seeds of hope Young Oh doesn’t intend to stop watering. Judging from the preview, he doesn’t intend to give up trying to learn how to empathize (at least with his patients) and Jin Sung will be of major importance in his quest! However, it doesn’t mean that it’s going to be easy since there are many medical cases with different parameters and empathy isn’t something one-dimensional since many things may differ from the patients’ condition and background to their internal world and personal experiences. I am really eager to find out how things will flow with the child patient and I can think of two possible pathways the drama could walk upon: 1) child abuse or 2) having antisocial personality disorder. If the 2nd one will be the case it could pace perfectly well with Young Oh telling Dr. Leenkenstein that he finally empathized with a patient, but Young Oh stating something like that doesn’t mean that his father would ever believe him since he’s well aware of his condition. He never trusts Young Oh anyway. Young Oh trying to empathize and thinking that he was able to do so could also be far from truly empathizing with a patient’s condition and I can’t wait to figure out why he erupted at the end of the preview. Alright, 10th episode here I come!
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*Credits go to the one who sketched the yin-yang symbol I used on a picture.