‘Dr. Romantic 3’ Review: Finding Inspiration to Withstand Harsh Reality

dr. romantic 3 reviews

Edited by Seo Hae Lan
Translated by Hana Lee

*Spoiler alert

dr. romantic 3 reviews
Credit: SBS

The statement “Kim Sa Bu is back!” transformed three years of anticipation into pure joy. After a three-year hiatus, Dr. Romantic 3 returned with its compelling and thought-provoking theme that mesmerized viewers while also introducing new characters who engage in exciting new relationships. What are some key highlights to look forward to in the new season?


Kim Sa Bu and the Dol Dam Hospital family have been working tirelessly to establish a regional trauma center since they separated from a large charitable foundation. After three years of anticipation, a magnificent building has finally been constructed, signaling that the center is on the verge of commencing its operations pending approval. Director Park Min Gook, who has been searching for talented individuals to work at the trauma center, offers a job to renowned thoracic surgeon Cha Jin Man. Interestingly, Cha Jin Man is revealed to have a personal connection with the Dol Dam family. He and Kim Sa Bu were not only university classmates but also longtime rivals with notable differences in their principles and approaches as doctors. Furthermore, Cha Jin Man is also the father of Cha Eun Jae, who has grown into an outstanding doctor under Kim Sa Bu’s guidance. Therefore, his appearance will undoubtedly impact not only the solidified mentor-student relationship between Eun Jae and Sa Bu but also the sweet relationship that she and Woo Jin have built over the past three years.

Viewers notice one more main place in the show once the excitement from the first incident settles. While the Trauma Center embodies a sense of reality, Doldam Hospital serves as a vibrant and passionate environment for its staff members. The two buildings, connected by a passage, go beyond mere differences in size or age of facilities. As dreams come true, workers in the hospital find themselves facing realities that passion and dreams alone can no longer overcome. Cha Jin Man represents this dark side of reality exceptionally well as a character.

When Kim Sa Bu passionately exclaims, “I will save them, I will save them at all costs!” while making choices for the patients from start to finish, Cha Jin Man persists in his principles and confronts reality. To him, doctors are as valuable as patients, and he despises those who neglect doctors’ best interests and choices simply because they are desperate. He criticizes Kim Sa Bu for not protecting doctors for the sake of patients and fails to comprehend the Doldam members who, like moths drawn to a flame, eagerly partake in surgeries with little chance of success. If the villains of Seasons 1 and 2 were individuals obsessed with personal success and fame, the antagonist of Season 3, Cha Jin Man, unveils the harsh reality faced by those working in the medical profession. His unflawed logic presents a significant challenge to the intense passions and emotional drive exhibited by the doctors. It raises the question of whether Cha Jin Man will succeed in keeping the Trauma Center separate from Kim Sa Bu and his team, or if he will inadvertently become entangled with their unwavering dedication.

dr. romantic 3 reviews
Credit: SBS

An engaging growth story is an indispensable part of Dr. Romantic. Kim Sa Bu’s magic of nurturing skilled wielders of the scalpel into true doctors takes a slightly different direction this time. The protagonists of this growth story are Jang Dong Hwa, a general surgery resident, and Lee Sun Soong, a thoracic surgery fellow doctor whose skills fall short of his enthusiasm. In the early stages, Jang Dong Hwa, who seems to have learned social skills from books, gains knowledge and insights through a series of lectures from Woo Jin and Kim Sa Bu. Sun Woong, who came here as a great admirer of the professional Doldam Hospital staff, must quickly find his place among the best in both skills and passion. What sets this new season apart from others is that these aspiring doctors do not learn not directly from Kim Sa Bu but from their experienced seniors, Woo Jin and Eun Jae.

The relationships of the official couples at Doldam Hospital, which have grown stronger over the course of three years, are also worth noting. Will the two couples — Woo Jin and Eun Jae as well as Ah Reum and Eun Tak — who have shared whispered words of love amidst their busy schedules be able to endure the significant changes unfolding at Doldam Hospital? Of particular concern is the influential presence of Jin Man, who holds the dual roles of a father figure and a superior, and has enough power to potentially disrupt Woo Jin and Eun Jae’s relationship. In particular, the narration in Episode 5, where Jin Man and Woo Jin review a surgical scene, hints at the conflicts they will face in the future. As a viewer who has laughed and cried along with the love story of Woo Jin and Eun Jae, I can only hope that they, who have worked hard in both their work and love life, can continue to nurture their love without significant challenges.

Now that six episodes have aired, there may be viewers who are still adjusting to the slightly different atmosphere of the new season, while others find the world of Dr. Romantic 3 more captivating. Some may not find the growth story of the new characters compelling and may even feel frustrated with themselves for agreeing with the villain’s thoughts. However, despite any minor flaws that may be apparent, Dr. Romantic remains powerful in its very existence. Although it exists within the realm of drama, Doldam Hospital will always be a space of unwavering passion, with Kim Sa Bu firmly holding the fort. As the luxury of dreams and passion gradually fades from our lives, the messages that Dr. Romantic has conveyed over the past seven years – respect for life, the calling of doctors, and the essence of ‘aspiration’ – become all the more precious. (7/10)

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Editor Seo Hae Lan: I’m not picky and like all genres. I am in constant search of a balance between criticism and a fan’s heart.

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