* This review contains spoilers for Episode 12 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 12: Daily Dose of Sunshine
The final episode of Daily Dose of Sunshine begins with Da-Eun (Park Bo-Young) and Go-Yun (Yeon Woo-Jin) confirming their relationship by holding hands all the way to the hospital. However, once Da-Eun reaches the ward, she sees a harrowing scene. The young patient Byeong-Hui has attempted to harm herself, and is transferred to a protective ward.
Byeong-Hui’s mother has now finally warmed up to Da-Eun, and the two reconcile after the events of the previous episode. Head nurse Song Hyo-Shin (Lee Jung-Eun) tells Da-Eun that she believes Byeong-Hui’s actions are a cry for help, or her way of punishing herself for being ‘sick’.
Stress levels rising
Da-Eun struggles to connect with Byeong-Hui, especially after the girl brings up the death of Kim Seo-Wan. She is also surprised to find out that Deul-Re (Lee Yi-Dam) is leaving and feels that things around the ward are changing too quickly.
She takes a morning walk with Go-Yun in order to help with her wellbeing, and they run into Yu-Chan (Jang Dong-Yoon) as he heads to his new job. He tells them that he has accepted their relationship, but teases that they will not last.
Da-Eun learns that Byeong-Hui’s dream is to become a pilot, and she began self-harming after her classmates teased her for her low test scores. Her mother insists that she take an IQ test at the hospital, which reveals a lower than average IQ.
Byeong-Hui is upset by the test score and begins hurting herself again. Da-Eun teaches her a ‘safer’ way to express her pain, by snapping a hairband on her wrist instead of cutting herself. Byeong-Hui’s mother later admits that she doesn’t want to encourage Byeong-Hui’s dream, which she knows will never come true.
Da-Eun eventually has a heart-to-heart talk with Byeong-Hui, and convinces her that she doesn’t need to become a pilot in order to fly.
Everyone finds their way
Things seem to progress well for everyone else. Yu-Chan begins to feel overwhelmed at work, but eventually stands up for himself. He tells his boss that he will only work the required 8 hours as per his contract, and then head home. It is a powerful moment, with Yu-Chan taking charge of his mental wellbeing.
Meanwhile Yeo-Hwan (Jang Ryul) is supportive of Deul-Re’s ambition to become a cruise ship performer. She lands a gig that will take her away for one year, but is hesitant to leave because of Yeo-Hwan. Instead, he tells her that her happiness is more important than their relationship, and that he will support her dreams.
The nurses hold a farewell dinner for Deul-Re, and it is an emotional moment, with everyone joining in a group hug as they bid her goodbye.
A new chapter begins
The next day, Da-Eun is at the airport to see Deul-Re off. Da-Eun says that she always wanted to be a good nurse like Deul-Re. To her surprise, Deul-Re tells her that seeing how determined Da-Eun was when she returned to work, made her realize that she could never do the same. The two part as friends.
Da-Eun then bumps into Byeong-Hui, who is working for the airport’s information services. She still has not let go of her dream, but is willing to try other ways to get there.
In the final scene, we return to the hospital and see that Deul-Re’s replacement is Seung-Je, the trainee who was suffering from anxiety in Episode 3. He gives them a hopeful smile, as Da-Eun narrates that each person is “standing on the border between normal and abnormal”.
What we thought
This was a sweet conclusion to the series, which had plenty of light-hearted moments, as well as deeply emotional ones. The episode ties up the various storylines neatly, while also leaving the door open to further stories in the future.
Park Bo-Young was especially good in this episode, managing to portray a Da-Eun who has the weight of experience behind her, while still retaining her kind nature. We also loved her chemistry with Yeon Woo-Jin, who managed to turn a comedic character into an empathetic and devoted suitor.
We also loved the bittersweet resolution to Deul-Re and Yeo-Hwan’s situation. Instead of tears and heartbreak, their story ended on a hopeful note, leaving us with the promise that they will be reunited someday.
Daily Dose of Sunshine deserves all the praise it is getting. We highly recommend it for everyone who wants to get a new perspective on mental health and the challenges faced by patients and caregivers.
n case you want to relive the experience of Daily Dose of Sunshine, why not return to the very beginning of our recap and review series: