* This review contains spoilers for Episode 2 of Daily Dose of Sunshine
The new K-drama series Daily Dose of Sunshine shines a light on the often-misunderstood world of psychiatric care. The Netflix drama is based on a webtoon by former nurse Lee Ra-Ha, and follows the story of Jung Da-Eun, a nurse who transitions from internal medicine to the psychiatric ward. Through her experiences, viewers are taken on a journey filled with empathy, humor and the raw realities of mental illnesses.
Episode 2: Not in the Mood for Work
The episode begins with a flashback of Da-Eun (Park Bo-Young) during her time as a nurse in the internal medicine ward. We see exactly what led up to her transfer to the psychiatric ward. Da-Eun was extremely attentive and caring. However, she focused too much on individual patients, leaving her colleagues to pick up her slack elsewhere. As Da-Eun’s former boss claims, it’s no use if Da-Eun is liked by her patients when she is such a pain to the rest of the staff.
Da-Eun is disheartened by the experience, and is worried about her next day at work. Her mother insists that she takes mugwort rice cakes to share with her colleagues. She takes the cakes on the bus, and ends up sitting next to Go-Yun (Yeon Woo-Jin). They have a conversation, and Go-Yun realizes that he did not feel the urge to crack his fingers while he was with her.
At work, Da-Eun’s confidence is at an all-time low, as she is worried about what her new colleagues really think about her. However, she has to push that aside when taking care of her latest patient, Kim Sung-Sik (Jo Dal-Hwan) a man with a severe anxiety disorder.
Sung-Sik developed his anxiety after prolonged harassment from his boss. This left him broken and unable to function normally, feeling as though everything he did was under scrutiny. Da-Eun is sympathetic towards him, and even tries to help him check on his beloved pet cat via video call.
However, this backfires when he panics over the thought that his cat is doing well without him. A violent struggle ensues, jeopardizing his impending transfer to another hospital, and causing Da-Eun to face the anger of her colleagues.
A despondent Da-Eun then has to attend a team dinner between nurses and doctors. Both groups are at odds, believing the other side cannot understand their responsibilities. Their respective heads decide to settle the matter with a drinking contest, which helps ease some of the friction.
Meanwhile, Da-Eun stays back late to find a new hospital that will accept her patient. This earns her the respect and admiration of her colleagues, and they help her finish her mother’s mugwort rice cakes.
Things left unsaid
We also see several subplots begin to take shape. We learn that Da-Eun’s former schoolmate, psychiatrist Hwang Yeo-Hwan (Jang Ryul) is in love with stoic nurse Min Deul-Re (Lee Yi-Dam). The two of them have been arguing throughout the episode, but it turns out to be a mask for deeper feelings. However, Deul-Re refuses to accept Yeo-Hwan’s feelings for her, saying that their social statuses are too different.
We find out that Go-Yun also knows Yu-Chan (Jang Dong-Yoon), and is a regular customer at the family chicken shop. One night, Yu-Chan ends up serving a group of office workers. One of them recognizes him, remarking that he used to be a work colleague. Yu-Chan later ends up having a panic attack outside the shop, and is discovered by Go-Yun.
What we thought
Episode 2 of Daily Dose of Sunshine had a lot of hard-hitting emotional moments. Da-Eun feels vulnerable for the first time, but is able to pull herself together to help her patient. We learn of the struggles faced by those working on the psychiatric ward, and see how they came together as a team. We also got our first hint of romance, as Go-Yun is very much interested in Da-Eun, and Yeo-Hwan appears undeterred by Deul-Re’s rejection.
The depiction of anxiety disorder in this episode was extremely heartbreaking to watch. However, it left us with a better understanding of the condition, as well as what goes through the minds of people suffering from it. Park Bo-Young did a great job in this episode, showing what makes Da-Eun such a wonderful nurse.
The episode ends on an interesting note, as it appears that Yu-Chan might be suffering from anxiety himself. There is also the matter of why he left an office job to work for his family. Will we find out the answers in the next episode?