Dr. Champ: Episode 14
Although it fell in some clichéd scenarios, played with our distrust and waryness for some possible upcoming tragedy and its romantic storyline was still a bit draggy; I felt this episode as something organic and logical for the most part. Finally, our two leading heroes are strongly standing on their feet, walking on the wild side and laughing at the face of danger. I don’t want to talk about the heroines, they make me lose my appetite.
SONG OF THE DAY
Nine9 – 끝의 시작 (Beginning of an end) [Download]
Episode 14 recap
Almost like two children after their first kiss, Ji Heon and Yeon Woo just look awkwardly to each other. They hesitate as to how to react until she decides to go first, only to take the wrong way to her car. Ji Heon notices this and indicates the right direction.
(They are so cute together)
At the car, it’s pretty obvious they’re suffering some post kissing shock, so he turns on the radio to cool things and kill the nefarious silence, but some random mega-corny “kiiissss meee” song is playing. LOL. Seriously, this scene is worth its duration in gold. He changes the station, and ta-da, the song she sang for him is playing (aww), so he uses this chance to break the ice and tease her for her lousy singing skills (awww x 2).
Yeon Woo leaves him at home, and then, at her own place, deliberates on what happened. The next day, still dazed, she talks to her mum about her two men: the one she supposedly likes and the one she actually kissed. Her mum’s reaction is priceless – is that what she’s doing these days? Heh. This sudden response forces her to use an abstract third person to talk freely – “a friend did it” – relieving her mum and getting her full, unbiased attention. Not being involved in this messy love affair, mum sees “her friend’s” no-reaction after the kiss as a clear signal of affection: not only she didn’t slap the kisser, but also the man must have felt her acceptance to make his move. Yeon Woo is now more confused and considers the possibility of harboring unconscious feelings for him.
Sang Bong, now fully focused on his rehabilitation, is trying for the first time to drive his wheelchair. Difficult as it is, he eventually succeeds albeit with a lot of effort while Ji Heon watches from afar (and my heart breaks [again] for my OTP).
Yeon Woo wants to clarify last night’s issue, so she calls him to meet in a park by an enormous monument to love (I guess), since there are flower-decorated hearts all over the place. Either she’s terrible choosing locations to refuse a guy’s heart or we should call Freud to tell us what this means. After justifying her acceptance of his kiss the night before as a rush accident product of the cold weather and that athlete’s condition, she says her goodbye and leaves.
He won’t let her slide this easily and follows her around with the excuse of having to buy something that needs her approval. She chooses one big, voluminous scarf, which she tries on for him to evaluate. Apparently, he liked what he saw (even when she looked so uncomfortable that it was insanely cute), because he bought it for her. She can’t help but standing frozen, like a human statue, while he leaves her first. Aw, he’s so smart and nice!
Yeon Woo suddenly reacts and calls his name to make him stop. The fact that he’s acting like this annoys her and it kind of overrides their professional relationship – she fears they won’t be able to be comfortable around each other as friends anymore. That’s where she’s failing to see the bigger picture; he doesn’t want her friendship, no matter how strongly she’s refusing to see him as something more.
At Taereung, the judo team is slowly transforming into a burning pit of hell. There’s the love/hate relationship going on with Ji Heon, but also the escalating bad mood between Taek Woo and Go Bum. Their reasons might be trivial (Go Bum accused the team leader of driving his car), but the hatred is getting more intense by the day.
Meanwhile, the medical team (minus Yeon Woo, clearly) is completely unaware of Do Wook’s upcoming departure as he’s not willing to inform them just now. On the other hand, he is willing to know what happened that night, when Yeon Woo left to go and meet Ji Heon. She tries to evade his questioning, but he teases her affirming that he sure knows why Ji Heon waited for her.
Realizing that the team is breaking because of all the tragedy that has fallen on them, judo’s coach makes new room assignments to improve the guys’ partnership. Thus, Ji Heon has been paired up with Woo Ram (wooo), but Taek Woo will have to put up with Go Bum’s nasty attitude (heh). Taek Woo protests, but it’s useless – he’ll have to prove that he’s a true leader, teaching the younger, inexperienced Go Bum the ways of a good athlete.
Finally, Yeon Woo reached her “graduation day” from Do Wook’s office, after successfully treating a patient. She’s not so happy about this, and wants to remain there, but you know what they say – do it once and it’ll become a habit. Therefore, he refuses to let her stay.
Unexpectedly, Hee Young calls Yeon Woo to let her know one interesting piece of news: today it’s Do Wook’s birthday. Considering he’s all alone in Korea, she asks her to spend time with him, but beware, it’s not that she’s giving a free pass for them to go beyond their professional relationship, it’s just for today. Yes, sure. Girl, if you hand him over, don’t complain later.
(I’ll say it once again: the girls in this drama are a complete mystery)
As a way to get rid of Go Bum’s annoying presence in his room, Taek Woo changes partners with Ji Heon (much to Woo Ram’s displeasure) in exchange for giving up the informal speech and a little favor.
Cake in hand, Yeon Woo arrives at Taereung, being noticed by Woo Ram and Ji Heon who were passing by. The latter’s “Frak my life” face is quickly caught by his friend who leaves them alone.
Still considering it’s uncomfortable for her to keep the scarf, she tries to give it back. Surprisingly for both her and me, he smiles warmly, wondering if the guitar wasn’t uncomfortable too.
Gah, I want my own Ji Heon.
Annoyed, she says that she’ll bring it next time, but he shows no concern over that; he just smiles again and leaves. She’s stunned at his behavior and I’m like, when did this guy learn how to be so insanely cool?!
The rumor that Do Wook will leave has spread through the medical team, so he doesn’t mind to deny it but asks them to keep it secret. On his way out, Yeon Woo runs into him – didn’t they have that pending dinner/drinking get-together?
Both doctors go on a standard date-like dinner, and she suggests eating seaweed soup without saying outright that she knows today it’s his birthday. Quick as ever, he wonders who the informant was, only to hear that it was Hee Young. After eating (and some teasing regarding his present), Do Wook makes some inquires about Yeon Woo’s oppa, letting her know that he remembers most of the things she told him.
Onto Yoo Ri’s side of life, it’s revealed that her cough hasn’t still disappeared, AND that Go Bum is frantically obsessed with her. In an attempt to get her number, Go Bum takes Ji Heon’s cellphone but to no avail – Ji Heon arrives just in time to stop him. Tough guy won’t back off, though, and he goes directly to face her in person. Oh, but he’s not there to be nice, not at all; he’s found out that the one who took his car was her (!!), so he wants a compensation for the scratches she put on his car. Now. Rejected, he tries to grab her by the wrist and drag her, but Ji Heon arrives just in time to stop him (…again). Ji Heon, who was unaware of the true story behind Go Bum’s approach, is left in shock.
Back to the doctors, Do Wook decided where to go next, the National Village’s ice skating rink. After his accident, he had never visited that place, still traumatized by his situation and, contrary to what he feared, his first thought when he entered was “How cool I was when I trained”. Having just skated twice when she was younger, she accepts his challenge to go and skate. At first, albeit with some difficulty, she slowly advances without any grace, but steadily. Alas, she had to fall, huh?! In order to get the doctor in the rink?! Bah! Well, I’m not so frustrated because it gives Do Wook the chance to smile openly at her clumsiness, and he’s adorable while doing so.
When I took this part as a metaphor for her career as a doctor, it made more sense for me. I don’t know if that was the original intention of the writers (I guess not), but it mirrors exactly her long path till this point – the steady moving forward, the downfall, and his arrival as her support.
As Yoo Ri’s begging Ji Heon to defeat the jerk, Yeon Woo passes by accompanied by Do Wook, who notices the exchange of glances between them.
Yeon Woo is about to return to the medical centre to grab the cake, but Do Wook kindly refuses. She protests – there’s an hour left – but he thinks she should spend time with the person who’ll stay by her side in the future, since he’ll leave her anyway. His words are quite enlightening, and reflects on them at home. Must she let him go? (all the fangirls out there say YESSSS!). She looks at the guitar, should she give it back, as Ji Heon previously suggested? (and now we shout NOOOO!)
The next day, Do Wook’s departure is not very well received by the Vice President, but there’s nothing they can do to hold him back. Turns out that the President had originally told him to stay there for the time he wanted, expecting it to be longer, so it’s worthless to talk him out of it.
Just to see if Yoo Ri was suffering of pneumonia or bronchitis, an x-ray exam was taken, prescribed by Yeon Woo. While they are waiting for the results, Yoo Ri asks the doctor if she likes Ji Heon, but understands her silence as a negative response. Relieved, she commands her not to change her mind. Ehem, too late sweetie.
Anyway, the results are here, and see those dark clouds approaching? It seems like Yoo Ri’s future might be in danger, due to both her x-ray results and the antecedents of lung cancer in her family (damn, cancer, REALLY? Did these writers run out of ideas?).
The probabilities of it being malignant are high, so she’ll have to undergo a biopsy to check if it’s a cancer or a benign tumor. For that reason, Yeon Woo meets with Hee Young and they agree that it’ll be best if the coach told her the bad news.
Upon hearing the disheartening news, Yoo Ri asks for some time to think about it before going to the hospital. At the pool, she calls Ji Heon to time her, and afterwards wonders what he would do if he had to go to the Asian Games but was sick. The (hypothetical) prospects of it being his last chance to attend, would make him go no matter what.
When they were returning to the dorms, Yeon Woo asks for some time to talk to her, but Yoo Ri doesn’t yield an inch – she’ll wait two months, and after the Asian Games are over, she’ll do it.
Ji Heon, after her puzzling questions and Yeon Woo’s private chat with Yoo Ri, suspects something’s not right. Therefore, he asks Yeon Woo what’s going on, but she evades the subject and affirms everything’s fine. Having cleared that lingering bad feeling he had, he is curious as to what has happened to her promise to return the guitar. She wavers a bit before admitting she’s grown fond of it, so she’ll give him the money later. As he continues with his cool attitude of okaying and leaving first, she’s left in shock all over again.
After Hee Young’s personal visit regarding Yoo Ri, Do Wook pays her a visit and presents her two options – she can either confirm it’s benign and train without worries or she can wait until the Games are over, and train full of stress. If it’s cancer, she can get the surgery done quickly, so the benefits of doing it right away are way better than waiting. The downside being, she’ll probably have to stop swimming altogether. She’s had up and downs throughout her swimming career, but it’s her passion and she won’t give up, even if her life’s on the line.
Yeon Woo can’t believe that they’ll have to wait till after the Games to further analyze Yoo Ri’s case. Regardless of Do Wook’s explanations and requests for secrecy and respect towards the athlete’s decision, she goes back to her fat mouthed self and informs the vice president (!!!!!!!!!).
This. Is. So. Disappointing.
Do Wook is visibly displeased at this turn of events, and doesn’t think it twice before blaming Yeon Woo for Yoo Ri’s and Hee Young’s possible dismissal. His words resound in her head, as she drowns herself in alcohol.
Finally, Taek Woo buys insurance from Ji Heon’s sis-in-law to compensate for the room’s swap. To celebrate, they were going for some drinks until Yeon Woo called asking for Ji Heon’s presence. He goes right away, only to find her deflated and depressed and with some strange request – he has to tell her that she made the right call, without asking any questions as to what she did. He complies, and prepares for his routine of smiling and leaving, but she calls his name twice – one to thank him, the other just because air’s free.
Ji Heon: If you call me one more time, I’ll take it as if you didn’t want to be friends with me.
He turns to go away but…
Yeon Woo: Park Ji Heon ssi.
And I say, don’t you dare say some stupid thing next episode or I’m gonna slap you in the face!
I wanna take this out of my chest first – where the heck is Sang Bong? Honestly, I’d rather see him throughout his rehabilitation, than receiving another sub-plot that involves cancer (again, REALLY?). They’d have much more place for deeper dramatic conflict – Ji Heon’s acceptance, Yeon Woo’s support and growth by his side, Do Wook’s experience helping matters. At the same time, some athlete’s cases here and there to spice up the storyline and not make it redundant, and I’d be BFF with this drama.
I’ll take what they gave me, and see how they tie everything up, then.
It sure took Yeon Woo a hell lot of time to open up to Ji Heon. He had to take the cool way out of her always bumbling feelings for Do Wook to make her realize that maybe she’s more inclined to like him than she had previously thought. I found his attitude both bold and refreshing; he knows he can’t go against her idealized image of Do Wook, but he also knows his heart – he absolutely can’t play the friend, so he’d rather be just a patient than a supporting character in her fairy tale. Frankly, while Yeon Woo’s attitude sometimes makes me wish that Ji Heon suddenly discovered his love for Yoo Ri, I can’t but hope these two end together. Their personalities complement each other perfectly, and Ji Heon has developed an amazing gift for seeing right through her.
Now that we’re about to wrap up the series, I’m pleasantly confirming that Do Wook is not just a House rip-off. And I would’ve liked if they hadn’t made the connection so easy for us viewers, so we could enjoy his character a little bit more. Anyways, he’s charming and witty, but at the same time extremely warm and human, always concerned over everyone’s worries. That’s why I found Yeon Woo’s attitude near the end of the episode so hurtful and unfair. He’s been training her, helping her, even bearing her ever changing mood, lack of passion for her work and constant mistakes, only to be betrayed without thinking it twice. I admit I felt somewhat uneasy when Yoo Ri decided not to check her condition. And yes, Yoo Ri being checked is something that’ll most certainly be better than waiting.
She didn’t weigh the consequences of her actions and showed no concern over the patient’s conscious decision. We’re near the end and I’m clinging onto the “this is benign” possibility, so everyone will end up smiling and stuff. However, we’re not left with the sensation that Yeon Woo has successfully learnt how to empathize with athletes and their dilemmas; she’s still the same stubborn girl who kicks her subordinates and thinks very highly of herself.
Still, I’m torn.
Her human side is quite honest, kind and deliciously clueless; that’s why these feverish decisions of hers break my heart – she has all the qualities for me to love her, but she can’t reach that higher status of “grown up heroine” just yet. We have two episodes left, and if there’s still a single minute left that could give us a hint of growth, I’ll keep my faith.