Humanity has a very complicated relationship with death. There is an overhanging sense of mortality from birth that shadows our every step.
We fear death.
We make peace with death.
And sometimes, we even welcome it.
But can we truly love it?
The Thai BL Dear Doctor I’m Coming For Soul not only takes viewers into a high-paced world of life and death, it has one person face death, fall for death, and then sacrifice everything for it.
And I fell hard for that.
The moment the first episode of this drama aired, I knew I’d stumbled onto an underrated gem. And I think a lot of that has to do with my own relationship with death.
In my first impression for this series, I wrote about how often people talk about the power of love and dreams but less often about the power of death. Especially the fear of it. It’s like staring at the sun. We know the sun is there, but it hurts to look at it directly. We know that death is a part of life, but it hurts to think about.
And Dear Doctor I’m Coming for Soul not only manages to capture this perfectly, it carries it to the bittersweet end.
Starring Nut Nutchapon as Doctor Prakan and Karn Kasidej as the soul reaper, Tua Phee, Dear Doctor dives into a supernatural forbidden romance between a doctor trying to save lives and a reaper tasked with taking them.
Although Dear Doctor is a fast-paced medical BL drama, the romance itself was a slow burn, progressing over time. The series focused more on all facets of human emotion rather than just love by delving into the working lives of Doctor Prakan and the teams he worked with. From the competitive board rooms to the emergency room to the operating table, the doctors and nurses placed their hearts and medical licenses on the line.
Again I want to emphasize the same way I did in my first write-up for this that no televised medical drama is a hundred percent accurate. The only way for that to happen is for a series to be written, directed, and portrayed by real-life doctors. But what Dear Doctor does from the offset is take viewers into the human side of death and love, into the emotional turmoil of working a job that faces you day in and day out with the one thing most of us fear: Death.
And for Doctor Prakan, it not only faces him with death, it throws a soul reaper in his path that literally touches his heart. In more ways than one.
I won’t spend a lot of time breaking down the entire series. Instead, I will focus on why I think it’s great.
Although it had a few minor issues, the series never lost its focus, in particular with Doctor Prakan and the soul reaper, Tua. Their love story began when Prakan was a child needing a heart transplant. At the time, Tua was a human man fighting a terminal illness, a man who later lost that battle. Prakan received Tua’s heart, which becomes the defining reason why Prakan can see Tua as a soul reaper even when he isn’t making himself visible to humans.
Thus begins a complicated push and pull relationship.
Doctor Prakan is not an easy man to love. His fear of losing to death places him on a seemingly unending emotional roller coaster ride. He’s constantly pushing Tua away, blaming death, hiding from death, and angrily fighting with death. At times, it’s frustrating because the soul reaper, Tua, is the complete opposite of Prakan. Although he’s tasked with taking souls, he does so with gentle compassion while supporting Prakan’s work as a doctor.
And yet, despite how frustrating Prakan’s hostility could be, it made so much sense in the grand scheme of things. No matter how gentle, sacrificing, and beautiful Tua is, he’s still death. He still represents a fear many of us aren’t ready to accept.
To fall for Tua means accepting death. And that takes time.
I like that the love story between Prakan and Tua was more than just about two men falling in love. It was a symbolic story about a man faced with death since childhood finally coming to terms with it. It was about a man learning to accept that death doesn’t have to be scary while also showing that not being afraid of death doesn’t mean we should quit fighting to avoid it. Instead, their love stood out because they challenged each other.
I know I will probably be in the minority in saying that I was satisfied with the ending. But I was. For me, the end had significant meaning.
I’ve sat next to many death beds in my short life. The only immediate family member I have left is my twin sister, and we’ve done a lot of hand-holding as we watched our loved ones take their last breaths. However, the hardest was certainly our parents. There were times when I wondered if life was supposed to be this tragic, if death was something we were just supposed to be okay with.
There were times when I wondered if life was worth it at all.
And then there came a time when I realized death isn’t as cold as I thought it was.
Like Prakan in Dear Doctor, death became something I knew was following me around, something I knew could be inevitable for anyone in my life. But like Prakan, that didn’t mean I had to accept it fully.
And so I fought, especially when it looked like it may be coming for me.
To make a long story short, I won for now. But I know death is still there lurking. For Prakan, death became a love story that opened up avenues of forgiveness and self-acceptance. In the end, he chose to live as long as possible, save as many lives as he could in the process, and spend that long life with someone he knew may not be able to leave life behind with him.
And that was beautiful to me. In the end, Prakan moved on and was reborn, while Tua still gently collects souls and helps them to the other side.
As much as I would have loved to see them both reborn simultaneously, there is something poetically beautiful about the sacrifice each of them made. Tua is being punished for breaking the rules, including falling in love, but that doesn’t stop him from staying. And it doesn’t stop Prakan from trying to last as long as he could.
Death doesn’t always come to us the way we expect or want, but there comes a time we learn to make peace with it. And that’s what I got from the ending.
While the production itself could be smoother in areas and the secondary relationships could have been better fleshed out at times, Dear Doctor came together in a genuinely emotional way for me.
Prakan and Tua made peace with death. Prakan lived a happy, long life with the man whose heart he carried. Tua stayed committed to a man he knew he’d have to say goodbye to one day. Their love, like death, had limits.
They made love happen when all the odds were against them.
And their ending, while bittersweet, was also happy. Their love, like death, has possibility even with the limits.
Life has taught me that the goodbyes we say don’t always have to be painful moments. Instead, they can be the precursor to a much bigger, happier moment. Dear Doctor gave us a goodbye followed by a brief look at the happy moment that may come later. Even if we’re not there to see it.
For a bittersweet drama that delves deeper than expected into the complex relationship between life, death, and love, check out Dear Doctor I’m Coming for Soul on iQiyi.
Rating- 4 out of 5