After a choppy first episode with involved backstories, episode 2 takes place in the present (2015) at Taemin Cancer Center in South Korea. Dr. Park’s friend (Jung Hae In) has located information and identified the gravesite as Kochenia Drota Plains Gravesite where infected bodies have been secretly buried for 150 years. The gravesite was discovered in 1976, three years before Ji Sang was born. The date coincides with his family’s infection. Ji Sang’s friend thinks that someone has taken samples and there may be clues to creating a cure for the virus in all this.
Boss Man looks dapper in a suit. He comments to someone on the phone that the plan worked a lot faster than he thought it would. The use of these brief scenes is the PD’s technique to associate Boss Man’s overarching role in staging events over time and locations. We gather that Boss Man is luring Park Ji Sang for his yet unknown purposes and has kept track of him since he was born. After all, time is on a vampire’s side.
It is bustle-y day at the hospital. A panicked intern runs into an office and shouts, “Professor!” A female doctor (Gu Hye Sun) scolds him for his lack of protocol. He informs her that the surgery has been rejected. The hospital staff anticipates the arrival of the new Director, Dr. Lee Jae Wook (Boss Man). Additionally, a famous surgeon whose reputation precedes him is expected to arrive on the same day. The buzz is all about Dr. Ji Sang Park who has trained at Mayo, M.D. Anderson, Royal London, Meunchen, and volunteered at Kochenia. Their simultaneous arrivals make for a toxic cauldron of supernatural brew. In her rush to the conference room, the professor bumps into Dr. Park and knocks the lens from his sunglasses. There is a brusque exchange between them and she hurries off. The Associate Director meets Dr. Park for orientation. She has seen to his requests and informs him that his ID and pass will be issued tomorrow, but for today he will only have access to his lab. He points out the missing items from the list he has requested: drinking water pH level 8, custom meals, Major League cable channel installment, and season tickets for the LG Twins. Check.
An open discussion is underway to review the patient’s case whose surgery has been rejected. The professor leads the discussion concerning her patient. There is disagreement as to whether the treatment should be surgery or radiation. Dr. Park slips in during the discussion and it is not long before he suggests an alternate method, the Appleby operation. With all eyes on him, the Associate Director takes the opportunity to introduce him as the new Manager of Hepatobiliary and Pancreatic Surgery (HPB) Team 1. After more heated debate, the professor, Dr. Yoo Ri Ta, insists on treating the patient her way. She and Dr. Park have already locked horns. Dr. Park places the silver pill box in the safe in his lab and begins his rounds. Another surgeon, Dr. Woo, is already in the Associate Director’s office complaining about the shifts in team leadership. He is told he will manage HPB Surgery Team 2. Jostling hospital hierarchy has heightened the resistance for cooperation. Dr. Park and Dr. Yoo meet at the entrance of the surgery room and argue over who should call the shots for the surgery at hand. Although Dr. Yoo will be on Dr. Park’s team from now on, she proceeds with the decision that she and Dr. Woo made prior to Dr. Park’s arrival. Dr. Park warns her that the surgery won’t work.
A smug and overconfident Dr. Yoo heads up the team and begins the surgery. The Chairman arrives in the surgical observation gallery. Everyone stands. He and Dr. Park meet for the first time. He waves to Dr. Yoo who returns a very friendly wave. The Chairman comments that Dr. Yoo has a reputation as a genius although she thinks too highly of herself and is lacking. Smiling, he asks Dr. Park to look after her to which he replies, “I don’t think it needs to be me, specifically.” But the Chairman insists on the favor; after all, she is his only niece. It is no surprise when Dr. Yoo runs into problems with the surgery. Dr. Park calmly states that she is about to drop the grenade. Seconds later the artery ruptures. Dr. Park: “Ka…boom.” Panic. There is massive blood loss and erratic vital signs. Dr. Yoo starts a transfusion. Dr. Woo directs her over the mic from the gallery, but she doesn’t listen. Everyone grows nervous. Uncle Chairman realizes Dr. Park has disappeared. Dr. Park runs to his lab, opens the safe, and takes a pill from the silver box. Next thing, he appears in the operating room gowned, gloved, and ready to take over the botched surgery. It is tense in the operating room and observation gallery. Dr. Yoo argues with Dr. Park, but he tells her to set aside protocol. It is a standoff. Uncle Chairman steps in and tells Dr. Yoo to transfer the operation to Dr. Park. By now we know that Dr. Yoo is a bratty, prideful, poor sport who cares more about herself than the emergency situation she has created. She shamelessly flaunts her privileged status as the Chairman’s niece. However, when she stomps into the gallery and challenges her uncle’s decision, he holds up his hand and tells her to watch the surgery. Dr. Park successfully completes the Appleby procedure. On his first day he has validated his reputation.
In the hospital lounge, Dr. Yoo complains about Dr. Park’s disposition to a colleague and underplays his skill. When they guess his age to be 37 or 38, the colleague can’t get over how young he looks and comments that it seems like he’s in his 20s. (A reminder that a vampire adolescent stop aging several years after being infected.) We get a bad taste of what interactions between Dr. Park and Dr. Yoo are going to be like when they barely tolerate each other at the patient’s bedside in recovery. As colleagues, there is plenty they will have to do together, but neither one is going to tame personality flaws in consideration of the other. One good barb deserves another. Dr. Yoo is defensive, sarcastic, and won’t let things go. Dr. Park is cynical and lacks people skills. He lets her know that he will not cater to her like the others. As Team 1 Manager, he informs her that her performance review will have no empty spaces.
Ji Sang arrives home after his first day at the hospital. His cheerful friend greets him and takes his vampire vital signs: normal. He informs Ji Sang that the hospital database which he had previously hacked is suddenly locked. Ji Sang thinks his ID pass will fix that tomorrow. Uncle Chairman has picked up Dr. Wook who has arrived in town. Through their conversation we learn that Dr. Wook set up Dr. Park’s and his simultaneous arrivals. Uncle Chairman is delighted and wonders how he got Dr. Park to accept the position. It’s not clear how much Uncle Chairman knows or what his comment that the two of them “aren’t exactly friendly,” implies. Ji Sang’s friend presents LUUVY – a robot he has secretly built over the last two years. LUUVY greets Ji Sang, “It’s very nice to meet you, Master.” LUUVY is Ji Sang’s personal health care assistant and resource for oodles of love information. His friend cues LUUVY who spews a stream of forward and rather inappropriate “love” lines. Ji Sang humorlessly orders his friend and the perverted robot out. I anticipate that LUUVY will provide the comic relief for this drama. Meanwhile, a pack of hoodpires have been summoned by Dr. Wook and gather in the city by night. He retrieves his own vampire restorative from a safe and drinks up. There is a strong sense that his master plan is falling into place.
Alone in his room, Ji Sang tearfully watches the video his mother left him. There are recorded moments from his childhood with his family. In her message to him, his mother explains that because she and his father were infected, he was born with the virus. They were on the run because they didn’t agree with the ideology of others who were infected. While their attempts to find a cure failed, his mother assures Ji Sang that his father died protecting them. Now, it is up to him to use his abilities to do the right thing to help others and find a cure. How many times has he watched the video? Ji Sang is overcome by loneliness as he stands up against his mother’s face on the screen. “Hyun Woo!” (At last, Ji Sang’s adorable friend has a name.) LUUVY has greeted Ji Sang with a laundry list of statistics and he can’t take it. No insult can deter LUUVY’s cheerful programming. “Have a nice day, Master,” never sounded more sincere from a robot. We get a clearer picture of the relationship between Ji Sang and Hyun Woo. It is apparent that, 1) they have moved to this new location together; 2) they have been working on the information left by Ji Sang’s mother for some time; and 3) Hyun Woo makes Ji Sang’s medications and monitors his vitals. He knows about the vampire heritage. Hyun Woo hands Ji Sang a new compound he just whipped up to handle the increase in surgeries (more exposure to blood).
Ji Sang arrives at the hospital. A large welcome banner for the Inauguration Ceremony for Director Lee Jae Wook hangs across the entrance. Although Lee Jae Wook knows Ji Sang Park all too well, there has been no indication of what Ji Sang knows about him. Dr. Park logs in. A memo pops up: resident interviews. A panel grills several interviewees. Grades, internships, and assessments are reviewed. Miss Min Ga Yeon, the final applicant, seems to be lacking. She doesn’t speak English and her credentials are not up to par. When asked why she applied, her story about her mother’s illness and care at this hospital that inspired her to become a doctor brings polite sighs. Dr. Park speaks up, “You can start today.” He assigns her to his team and heads out the door. When Min Ga Yeon catches up to thank him, he bursts her bubble by telling her that he chose her because she looks like she doesn’t need much sleep.
Dr. Park introduces himself at the nurses’ station. As the nurses introduce themselves, Dr. Park cuts them off and replies that he only needs to know their positions, not their names. He walks away and the head nurse dubs him the king of jerks. Rubbing people the wrong way is his ill-mannered specialty. The hospital staff has gathered in an auditorium for the new director’s speech. Dr. Wook exudes charisma and captivates everyone with his confident flair. He flatters the Chairman for his generous project – a ward for the poor that will open shortly. Dr Park is running late. As he approaches the auditorium, he is physically affected by something. His vision is blurry and he’s woozy. He catches himself. Inside, he is even more disoriented. The inauguration wraps up and Director Wook calls out to Dr. Park to exchange pleasantries. Something isn’t right; Dr. Park is thrown off by this man. There is open discussion on a new patient case. Director Wook wastes no time in setting things up. An elderly patient requires immediate surgery that must be done quickly and with minimal blood loss. Dr. Wook points out that no one is better for the job than Dr. Park. Dr. Yoo protests, but once again, is overruled in favor of Dr. Park, who coolly agrees. Although the prep begins immediately, he glances at his watch says he’ll be right back as he dashes to his lab. Meanwhile, an unidentified figure enters the lab, opens the safe and switches the pill box, and escapes before Dr. Park gets there. Unaware, Dr. Park takes his pill and receives a call that they are ready for him in surgery. But first, he hurriedly checks to see if his ID allows him access to the database. Access denied. You are not authorized. Dr. Wook takes a front row seat in the observation gallery. The emergency surgery begins. As Dr. Park makes the incision, the sight of blood makes him sway. He steadies himself and continues, but is overcome by strong sensations and drops the scalpel. Shocked, he turns away. His eyes turn green and claws burst through the gloves. From the gallery above, Dr. Wook watches intently.
- It is obvious that Uncle Chairman Yoo thinks the world of his niece, Dr. Ri Ta Yoo, but also keeps things under control. Is there a reason for that more than meets the eye?
- The extent of the relationship between Dr. Lee Jae Wook and Chairman Yoo is unclear. Are they colleagues who have kept track of each other’s success in the medical world? Does Chairman Yoo know anything about Dr. Wook’s sinister side? I was surprised when Chariman Yoo referenced the cool relationship between Dr. Wook and Dr. Park which makes me wonder when and where their paths crossed before.
- What is the importance of the free clinic in moving the story forward?
- I luv LUUVY! It calls Hyun Woo, Father and Ji Sang, Master. LUUVY is sure to bring plenty of quirky moments and insert foot in mouth comments to keep things hopping.
- I Luv LUUVY’s creator, Hyun Woo. How far back does he go in Ji Sang’s story? Why is he so interested in helping and what keeps him involved? Is he the only human who knows Ji Sang’s vampire identity? The fact that LUUVY is patterned after Hyun Woo’s personality and speech patterns is like having your best friend be you (and two Hyun Woo’s is very cute).
- Min Ga Yeon is a resident to keep an eye on. We don’t know if there is anything she knows or anyone she is connected to, yet. Dr. Park’s selection of her was random and could not have been pre-planned.
- I am not all that interested in Yoo Ri Ta because she is such an unlikable medical princess! I wish she was portrayed more as an equal to Dr. Park as a surgeon rather than the nepotism route which makes everything she does look like it is based on her privileged status. There has been criticism about Gu Hye Sun’s acting and I agree, it’s painful. But, heck, she’s a doctor, couldn’t she just hand out painkillers for the rest of the episodes?
- Just how evil and far-reaching is Dr. Director Lee Jae Wook’s powers, anyhoot?
- The whole sunglasses thing was lost on me.
What are your readings for Blood’s vital signs so far?
*Boss Man Director Doctor Lee Jae Wook is referred to in this post as (our) Dr. Wook~