* This review contains spoilers for Episode 7 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 7: The Left Behind
In this emotionally-charged episode of Daily Dose of Sunshine, the story picks up with Go-Yun (Yeon Woo-Jin) laying bare his feelings to Da-Eun (Park Bo-Young), hoping to take their relationship to the next level. However, before Da-Eun can respond, she gets a phone call informing her of the death of Kim Seo-Wan (Roh Jae-Won).
We then cut to a scene of psychiatrist Cheol-Woo (Im Jae-Hyuk) being called to the emergency ward. A patient named Choi Joon-Gi (Kim Dae-Gun) was just admitted after a suicide attempt, driven by hallucinations. His sister’s intervention saves his life, but the incident earmarks him for psychiatric care once his physical wounds are treated.
Meanwhile, the hospital staff are reeling from Seo-Wan’s death. His parents direct their anguish towards the medical team, with Dr. Im (Kim Jong-Tae) becoming a focal point of their grief. Dr. Im’s stoic demeanor during a subsequent meeting draws criticism from Cheol-Woo. He feels they should be more open about the situation. Yeo-Hwan (Jang Ryul), in a moment of candor with Cheol-Woo, confesses the emotional toll such losses take on them all, despite their outward composure.
Da-Eun is not coping well
Da-Eun (Park Bo-Young), overwhelmed by the events, retreats from the world. Her absence from work is soon noted by her concerned colleagues. Go-Yun, similarly affected, drowns his sorrows in alcohol, leading to a vulnerable moment where Yu-Chan (Jang Dong-Yoon), cares for him. While still sore over losing a chance with Da-Eun, he wishes he could find it in himself to hate Go-Yun.
Da-Eun eventually returns to work, but the other nurses worry for her mental health. They speculate she might be immersing herself in work to cope, and decide to leave her alone for now. While treating new patient Joon-Gi, Da-Eun is haunted by memories of Seo-Wan, but she says nothing.
We also learn the heartbreaking reason for Joon-Gi’s situation. His life unraveled following the death of his child to Sudden Infant Death Syndrome. His devastated wife eventually committed suicide, leaving him in profound despair. Yeo-Hwan concludes that his hallucinations are a manifestation of his grief.
Finding the light
Dr. Im, recognizing the significance of Joon-Gi’s case, assigns Yeo-Hwan to lead a presentation on PTSD, using Joon-Gi’s experience as a case study. Yeo-Hwan’s presentation becomes a poignant tribute to Seo-wan, with its message having a deeper meaning for all the staff affected by his passing. That evening, Go-Yun tries to talk to Da-Eun about dealing with the grief. She brushes off the situation, which puzzles him.
Meanwhile, Seo-Wan’s father returns to the hospital to find closure, and has a heart-to-heart talk with head nurse Song Hyo-Shin. She encourages him to join a support group for those affected by suicide.
In a powerful group therapy session, Joon-Gi finally confronts his guilt over surviving his family. Dr. Im helps facilitate a symbolic farewell to his late wife, allowing him a chance to say goodbye and find closure.
However, all is not well as it is revealed that Da-Eun is suffering from a form of dissociative amnesia. She has seemingly forgotten that Seo-Wan has died, drawing concerned looks from those around her.
What we thought
This episode of Daily Dose of Sunshine deftly handles the delicate subject of suicide, weaving together the threads of loss, grief, and the psychological impact on those involved. The love triangle between Da-Eun, Go-Yun, and Yu-Chan takes a backseat, while the story foreshadows more focus on Da-Eun’s handling of her trauma in the episodes to come.
The episode delivers plenty of emotional impact, setting the stage for the unfolding drama and the characters’ journeys through their personal and collective hardships.