Just Bananas About: Week of 10/9/15

I’ve been cautiously optimistic about the natural disaster drama, D-Day.  I saw a preview right as Last was about to end and I thought it was interesting that a Korean cable network was trying to pull this off.

The drama centers around Mirae Hospital, a prestigious cancer hospital in Seoul, and the doctors who work there.  Lee Hae Sung (Kim Young Kwang) is a doctor who wants to help everyone he can lay his hands on.  However, the hospital prefers to use their resources to only help cancer patients, especially paying patients.  Hae Sung is often at conflict with the hospital’s director, Park Gun (Lee Kyung Young).  Park Gun’s stance is that paying a fine is often less than the money they would lose for helping an urgent care patient.

While Kang Joo Ran (Kim Hye Eun) admires Hae Sung’s efforts and respects his skills, she rides the fine line as the mediator between the two.  Han Woo Jin (Ha Suk Jin) is seen as the public face of the hospital.  Although Woo Jin is a good doctor, he refuses to take on any patients he knows the survival percentages are low.

Jung Ddol Mi (Jung So Min) is an orthopedic surgeon from Busan who ends up staying behind to help victims.  She decided to become a doctor after Woo Jin saves her life from a car accident.  During her trip to Seoul, she had hoped to meet up with Woo Jin but discovers that he’s not the same doctor that she remembers.

The story itself is very formulaic but considering the special effects scale of the drama, it’s not something that I mind very much.  When you’ve got a proven disaster movie template to work off of, why not use it, right?

It seems that the drama has a very logical approach to the story.  From the initial impact of the earthquake and how the doctors and first responders need to react in that moment to the hospital reacting to whether they will intake all these patients they don’t normally receive.  Now, the hospital must deal with the fact that they only have two days worth of power and we know that the doctors will battle it out over who is worthy of receiving medical care.

There are a lot of characters in the drama and different plotlines.  Some are more significant than others but the stories all overlap in some way.  While I can’t discuss all the plotlines, I’ll touch points on some major ones.  Currently, the drama mostly feels like a medical drama as it focuses on the doctors, their relationships and the politics.

Hae Sung and his parents were involved in a bad accident several years ago.  His dad died but his mom is in a permanent comatose state.  Woo Jin performed the surgery on Hae Sung’s mom at his request but it’s not clear what occurred during that surgery that kept her unconscious.  This causes a rift in several relationships, most significantly, Hae Sung and Woo Jin’s friendship.

The other relationship that is damaged as a result of Hae Sung’s mom’s surgery is that of Hae Sung and his brother, Lee Woo Sung (Song Ji Ho).  Apparently, the accident happened while his little brother was in the army but there appears to be a lot of questions, hurt feelings and very little answers.  Currently, Woo Sung works as firefighter.

I’m hoping that the drama will begin to focus more on some of other storylines happening outside of the hospital.  I love the little bits featuring the emergency first responders as they are out in the field, in ground zero.  Of course, it helps that Kim Sang Ho, who plays the Fire Chief Choi Il Sup, is such a great character actor.  There’s a wide variety of stories that they face from the various rescue missions their teams needs to tackle to trying to accomplish their jobs without many resources.

I also find National Assembly Member Goo Ja Hyuk (Cha In Pyo) an interesting character as well.  He’s married to Dr. Kang Joo Ran and for years, he’s been fighting with other parliament members about establishing procedure in case a natural disaster strikes.  He just hasn’t been doing a great job in getting people to listen, that is, until now.

I was also heartbroken by Kang Joo Ran’s storyline as she was shopping in a store with her young son when the earthquake hits.  She puts him in the car and they try to get away but he drops his toy and tries to go back to retrieve it.  Unfortunately, they lose each other.  She goes back to the hospital to try and save lives but really, she waiting for her son.

I love that dialogue she has with Nurse Park Ji Na (Yoon Joo Hee).  They know that if anything ever happens where they are separated, the son should try and make it to the hospital.  As she helps other helpless patience, she hopes and prays that a kind soul is out there helping her own son.  I’d just like to add that I love that I’m getting to see a different side of Kim Hye Eun as I’m used to her being marginalize as various, catty characters over the years.

More than anything else in this drama, I am finding that the special effects is actually pretty decent.  I find the drama enthralling and terrifying at the same time.  Even in NY, it wasn’t too long ago that we’ve felt an earthquake ourselves.  It’s something that I’ve never experienced living on the East Coast all my life.

While the story of this drama takes place in Korea, it begs the question whether any of us are ready.  I know that’s a question I pondered when watching The Day After Tomorrow and D-Day has been quite an interesting thrill ride so far.

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