‘Doctor Slump’ Episode 1 Recap & Ending Explained: Why Is Ha-Neul Depressed?


The latest medical drama to join Netflix’s growing list of Korean medical dramas is the Park Shin-Hye and Park Hyung-Shik starrer Doctor Slump. It marks the return of the reputed actress after her marriage and childbirth. The actress returns in the role of an overly hardworking medical student turned doctor who can’t catch a break. The first episode of the show is both entertaining and intriguing, making us excited for what’s to come next. Doctor Slump immediately showcases the brutal realities of overworking oneself and provides a brief overview of the lives the two protagonists have lived thus far. For now, I can’t wait to see what comes next in this show, which seems to be a rollercoaster ride of emotions and excitement. Additionally, although we’ve already seen Park Shin-Hye and Park Hyung-Shik together before, it’ll be the first time the duo are paired as each other’s love interests, and we can already see the sparks. This is going to be an enemies-to-lovers thing that we’re all going to be swooning over.

Spoiler Alert

How did Han-Neul and Jeong-Woo meet?

In Busan, a young girl named Ha-Neul works so hard that she times her breaks and studies for 17 hours a day. Diligent Ha-Neul is the pride and joy of her mother. Ha-Neul lives with her mother and younger brother, and they’ve recently inherited a factory. Ha-Neul’s aunts aren’t happy that Ha-Neul’s family has inherited the factory and want it for themselves. When Ha-Neul gets the time to look up from her books, in the middle of a massive fight between the aunts, she tells her mother that they should sell the factory since it’s tanking anyway, and move to Seoul so she can go to medical school. Considering Ha-Neul is the apple of her eye, her mother decides to do as she says, and they move to Seoul, where Ha-Neul ends up going to a fancy school where a boy named Jeong-Woo studies. Now, for all this time, Jeong-Woo has been the top student in his grade, but with Ha-Neul in the picture, he’s got massive competition, which he isn’t used to. Their banter is going to be so fun to watch, though!

What Is Jeong-Woo Up To Now?

Back in the day, both the top students were trying to get into the prestigious Hankuk University to become doctors. We’ll probably know a little bit later in Doctor Slump what exactly happened at the time of the exams, but only Jeong-Woo eventually ended up going to Hankuk University. He then proceeded to become a world-famous plastic surgeon, not because of the profound quality of his work but because he’s an influencer and a businessman (ah, a dream life). Not only is he a great influencer, but he’s also got a very handsome face, which makes him even more worthy of praise in South Korea for winning awards for his philanthropy as a plastic surgeon and having his two best friends from school as his social media managers.

What Is Ha-Neul Up To Now?

On the other hand, Ha-Neul, the hardworking woman, has had to go through so much trouble to become a doctor; however, she’s living a terrible life. I suppose that even after not making it to the most prestigious school in the country, she still managed to become a doctor, only to be treated as a doormat by her superiors. This is probably partially due to her going to a “regular university.” Despite being treated like trash, Ha-Neul holds her head high and continues to chisel away, her sights set on a miraculous sculpture that seems like a far-off dream.

What Ruins Ha-Neul and Jeong-Woo’s Lives?

Ha-Neul can’t seem to understand that she’s actually suffering from a medical condition when she’s been having severe pain in her abdomen. She goes home to rest after long days of work and no sleep, and she blames those factors for her pain. However, she’s called back to work, and when her friend comes to visit her, Ha-Neul decides to go meet her for a bit before visiting a doctor to check out her condition. Unfortunately, after this much time, the pain has worsened, and she falls to her knees in the middle of the road. She sees a truck fast approaching her and ends up fainting from the stress of it all. The truck swivels at the last minute, and her friend, who also happens to be a doctor, immediately rushes her to the hospital. Ha-Neul learns that she has to have her gallbladder removed, and it’s not a big deal; however, something’s wrong mentally. Ha-Neul describes the moments the truck is arriving at her as the 3 minutes that ruined her life. Ha-Neul is worried because, at that last moment, when she thought she was going to die, she told herself that she should die. She visits the psychiatric clinic because she’s traumatized by the truck incident and can’t cross a road without fearing for her life. There, she learns she’s depressed, and she can’t believe it because she’s been living her life so diligently. The doctor tells her that she’s burnt out and needs medication to get better; however, she can’t accept the idea that she’s depressed and ends up ignoring the doctor.

On the other hand, in those same 3 minutes, Jeong-Woo is meant to be fixing the face of a patient from Macau. This patient was very mysterious when she arrived, but Jeong-Woo didn’t make anything of it, scheduling her surgery, etc. During the contouring surgery, somehow, the patient loses a lot of blood unexpectedly and ends up dying on the operating table. This is a completely shocking turn of events for Jeong-Woo, who couldn’t have imagined things would go so wrong. He gets tried for occupational negligence, and it turns out that there was an anticoagulant in the patient’s body. According to evidence, it was Jeong-Woo who purchased the medication and gave it to the patient; however, Jeong-Woo has never seen the medication and has never ordered such a thing from a pharmacy. What makes things worse is that the CCTV footage from the surgery is somehow messed up, making it look like Jeong-Woo has tampered with it on purpose. Jeong-Woo loses everything in a single moment. Even his friends don’t believe him because they have to pay a big penalty for everything that’s gone down. Jeong-Woo has to end up selling everything he owns in order to pay up.

How Do Jeong-Woo and Ha-Neul Meet Again?

When Ha-Neul returns home, ditching her prescription for some beers to share with her family, she ends up deciding to drink them alone on her roof. When she heads up, she notices a bunch of bags and sees a man standing in the corner. She asks a couple of times who he is, and when he finally turns around, it happens to be Jeong-Woo.

At the end of episode 1 of Doctor Slump, there’s a flashback of the younger versions of Jeong-Woo and Ha-Neul competing to enter the school first. In a voiceover, Jeong-Woo calls Ha-Neul the girl he fell in love with, even though she was also his enemy. The show begins with the two reuniting during the biggest slump of their lives. How will their reunion progress? We’ll learn in the next episode of Doctor Slump.

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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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