‘Doctor Slump’ Ending Explained & Finale Recap: Is It A Happy Ending For Ha-Neul And Jeong-Woo?


Don’t talk to me for the next 2 days because I’ll be in the corner crying about the end of Doctor Slump. After watching the final episode, I’m reminded of how fantastic Park Shin-Hye is as an actress. The show presents a realistic scenario of two wonderful people encountering burnout at the peaks of their careers and lives in general. It is a show that feels so genuine for the generation that is presently working hard to “make something of themselves,” and I feel a kind of relief with the ending of the show, almost as if it’s healed me a little bit, too. Doctor Slump tells the story of Ha-Neul and Jeong-Woo, two doctors who find themselves in difficult positions at the same time. Their rekindled friendship, or rather the start of a new friendship at their worst, leads to them becoming pillars for each other through the highs and lows of life. In the final episode, we’re left with the question: Are Ha-Neul and Jeong-Woo really healed? And will they be okay together? So let’s find out if Doctor Slump gives us the happy ending that we all deserve (at least in reel life TT).

Spoiler Alert

How’s Ha-Neul’s family doing now? 

Though we don’t learn much about Jeong-Woo’s family, the show realistically shows us that they will never change, and he’s now unbothered by their absence in his life because he’s found a new family in Ha-Neul’s. Now, Ha-Neul’s mother is at the proudest point of her life as a mother. Her daughter has not only become a professor but is genuinely happy for the first time in over 30 years of life. In the meantime, her son has finally grown out of his “serial quitter” stage and is making cold noodles just like his uncle. Of course, she wears her pride on her sleeve, especially while meeting her awful in-laws (that faux fur shawl, though; I love that for her!). Ba-Da is even willing to treat his sister to a meal and buy his mother a bag. The stupid boy has truly grown up. On the other hand, Ha-Neul’s uncle has a visit from an old lover, a younger woman he used to date back in Busan. Finally, the family can hope that his first love can manifest after all these years. 

Does Ha-Neul answer Jeong-Woo’s question? 

In Doctor Slump episode 15, Jeong-Woo rushes to ask Ha-Neul to marry him. At the time, overcome with excitement, she never really answered. Now, just as Ha-Neul decides to answer Jeong-Woo and agrees to take the next step in their lives together, she gets called by one of the senior doctors. Ha-Neul gets invited onto a project to start a new hospital, which would send her to the US for about 6 months. Ha-Neul is shocked by the offer, but it’s also a fantastic opportunity career-wise. So, when she’s meant to answer Jeong-Woo’s question, she tells him about this special invitation. Though he’s a little bit hurt that they’ll be apart for 6 months, Jeong-Woo’s genuinely overjoyed for Ha-Neul, and he tells her that he will never be the kind of guy to come in the way of her career and her growth. She should always do what she thinks is best for her. (I love them.) However, Jeong-Woo hilariously feels like he’s been rejected and acts like a 5-year-old for the next few days before planning out the perfect way he and Ha-Neul can spend time together before she leaves. They’re both devastated about having to be apart when they’ve just come the closest, but she accepts the offer. 

However, later, she’s told that the hospital is reconsidering because another doctor was initially offered the trip but had rejected it. Now, old Ha-Neul would never speak up for herself and admit to feeling bad about such a situation, but the new Ha-Neul has decided she’ll never hide her feelings and tell people how she feels at that moment. Repeat after me, kids, “I would also like to stop being a doormat like Nam Ha-Neul.” Jeong-Woo’s already planned a bunch of dates for Ha-Neul, including a surprise party with her family. Ha-Neul spends the whole day trying to tell him that she won’t be going to the US, but he doesn’t give her the chance to say it because he’s trying really hard to be a “good boyfriend.” Ultimately, during the family party, he sees a text message on her phone and then pretends he doesn’t want her to leave him, making her cancel the plan in front of her family. I guess he doesn’t want them to think she was rejected. Ha-Neul tells him what happened, emphasizing that she didn’t simply listen and, instead, spoke her mind. 

Has Ha-Neul recovered? 

Yes. Both Ha-Neul and Jeong-Woo seem to be okay now, though we see it only from Ha-Neul’s perspective. At the psychiatrist’s, Ha-Neul fills out a survey about her feelings, and the answers are all opposite from the ones she gave back when she first came in. According to the doctor, Ha-Neul is much stronger now and has gotten over her depression. Before she leaves, Ha-Neul looks at the many people in the clinic, all looking worn out. Ha-Neul wonders what it means to get better in such a situation, and the doctor very beautifully tells her that it’s knowing you’ll be okay even if you become miserable again. On the other hand, Hong-Ran and Dae-Yeong have also embarked on their journey together. Hong-Ran is finally open to the idea that she can be loved again, and this time by a really kindhearted man whom she wholeheartedly appreciates for who he is (need another show with these two oof). 

Do Jeong-Woo and Ha-Neul Get to See the Sunrise? 

During Doctor Slump‘s ending, Jeong-Woo opens up his own clinic. This time, it’s a small and intimate affair—the most personal clinic he’s ever opened. Now, he plans on building a rapport with his clients and growing slowly, with no pressure. To celebrate, he decides to take Ha-Neul to the beach and finally see the sunrise for real. I suppose this is how their slump ends, with both of them being the best versions of themselves together. Ha-Neul is learning how to do things for herself, and Jeong-Woo is learning to take things slow. Jeong-Woo even invites the anesthesiologist who helped him with the video cameras in his old clinic to solve the mysterious Macau case to come to work with him. As the sun comes up, Jeong-Woo asks Ha-Neul to give him her answer, even though they’re meant to be doing their pre-wedding shoot in a week’s time. Ha-Neul tells him that they should get married already, leaving him stunned by her blunt answer. We’re bombarded by adorable pictures of the couple for the pre-wedding shoot, which was taken at their school, and the places they had their dates during their difficult time. 

I suppose Doctor Slump leaves you with a sense of hope. Unlike other K-dramas we’ve seen recently with the subject of mental health (you know, it’s the latest trend the industry has taken on), this show has mostly been silliness and fun, yet it hits all the right spots when it comes to what someone should say to a depressed person, or how the family must react, or how mental health affects an entire family. At the end of the show, though Jeong-Woo’s parents never showed up for him, he is fully accepted into Ha-Neul’s family and looked after by them. He’s also found a best friend, a lover, and a family in Ha-Neul herself. Doctor Slump may not be serious, but it’s not unserious either; it’s just packaged in the most adorable and colorful way, maybe to get us out of whatever slump we’re in, too. 

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Ruchika Bhat
Ruchika Bhat
When not tending to her fashion small business, Ruchika or Ru spends the rest of her time enjoying some cinema and TV all by herself. She's got a penchant for all things Korean and lives in drama world for the most part.

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