Emergency Couple: Episode 21 (Final)
Lots of nice tidy little bows are wrapped up in this finale, even if some of those endings are just promises for the future. There’s nothing surprising or unexpected in this final episode, but it goes out with all of our characters having grown as people and feeling optimistic about their futures, whether in work or in love.
FINAL EPISODE RECAP
Chun-soo watches as Chang-min and Jin-hee step off the bus and kiss, right in his line of sight. He tries to keep his poker face, but fails as he turns to walk away.
After their date Chang-min and Jin-hee exchange cutesy goodnight texts: “Dream of me.” “No, then I’ll miss you.” Jin-hee sees that she missed a call from Chun-soo earlier in the evening.
Young-ae is at work the next day staring at a Request for Divorce form when Jin-hee finds her looking obviously upset. She tells Jin-hee that she and her husband aren’t on the same page these days – he only thinks of himself and what he wants. Jin-hee invites her for a woman-to-woman talk.
Sang-hyuk is talking with Yong-gyu about the same thing, because apparently “hurting for a few days” is now grounds for divorce? Yong-gyu urges him to think about it some more.
The ER Director comes to talk with Chun-soo in his office. He mentions Ji-hye’s going back to the States, saying that the decision came from higher up than him, though this hardly seems to comfort Chun-soo.
Jin-hee shows Chang-min an ultrasound of an unborn baby, cooing over how cute it is. Chang-min is more interested in how cute Jin-hee is, and asks her if Baby Guk isn’t enough for her. He playfully offers to make one for her too, which causes the nurses to cough and Jin-hee to yank him out of the room for a chat.
She fusses at him in the hallway not to say that sort of thing in front of people, and he laughingly agrees not to do it again. They run into Chun-soo who calls them into his office. There’s a rural hospital that’s in an area where other hospitals are closing, and they need some help in the ER – he would like for them to go and work there for a week.
After they agree and Chang-min leaves, Jin-hee stays to apologize for missing Chun-soo’s call the night before and asks why he called. He pretends that it was nothing and that he handled whatever-it-was himself.
A patient is wheeled into the ER after getting drunk and falling down some stairs. Chun-soo declares that the patient needs immediate surgery and asks a nurse to notify Professor Ahn. He’s called to another patient and orders Jin-hee to assist Professor Ahn with the surgery when he arrives.
Of course, being the lovely human being that he is, Ahn refuses to do surgery on a patient with no guardian (the patient appears to be homeless). Jin-hee goes to tell Chun-soo while Chang-min tries to convince Ahn to do the surgery, and the four of them face off.
Ahn insists that the surgery is too dangerous and they could be in trouble if something happens, but Chun-soo argues that they should save the patient first and worry about possible legal repercussions later. Ahn just leaves (how did this guy even get to be a doctor, much less one with authority?) so Chun-soo offers to be the patient’s guardian.
Chun-soo goes back to his office and calls Ji-hye while she’s out running errands to prepare for her family’s visit. She can tell that something’s bothering him, but he just says that there’s a big empty Ji-hye-shaped hole at the hospital. Pretty sure that’s Chun-soo-speak for “I miss you.”
A woman runs into the ER looking for her father. It’s the fall patient’s daughter, and she storms in to scream at Chun-soo that it’s his fault that her father is in bad condition because his surgery was delayed. Chang-min jumps to Chun-soo’s defense for agreeing to be the guardian so the man could have the surgery. She demands to know: Who delayed the surgery?
Professor Ahn of course doesn’t say anything, but later admits to Chun-soo that he was embarrassed. Chun-soo agrees not to make a big deal of this, if Ahn will allow Ji-hye to quit on her own (as opposed to being forced out) and let her to come back whenever she wants.
Chun-soo finds Ji-hye shopping, and requests that she make him bean stew. She promises to make him great food from a mother’s hands, but he says that to him they’re a talented surgeon’s hands. They shop together like an old married couple, and while she cooks dinner he cleans to get ready for her daughter’s visit. It’s very domestic and sweet.
Chang-min and Jin-hee share a meal and discuss the difficulties of the new ER where they’re working temporarily. Apparently the doctors there make Chun-soo (the Devil) look like a cream puff.
Later they bike back, and come across a group of people frantically milling around someone on the ground. The man is unconscious with a bad head wound and a bleeding leg injury, and Chang-min and Jin-hee go into action. Their teamwork is impressive as they perform triage surgery on a bleeding artery right there on the pier.
Chang-min’s mother calls Jin-hee’s mother to lunch to discuss the past hurts she’s caused Jin-hee. Jin-hee’s mom says that she’s had a heavy heart since Chang-min’s father’s funeral, having been through the loss of a spouse herself and knowing what it’s like. They both agree that marriage is hard enough without outside pressure, and that if the kids want to try it again they’ll leave them be.
Chang-min and Jin-hee have dinner and talk about how things must be going at the Seoul hospital in their absence. Jin-hee wonders if Ji-hye will really go back to the States, and tells Chang-min about her discovery that she and Chun-soo used to date.
Jin-hee comments that being in this little town feels a bit like a honeymoon, and they joke about whether or not they’ll invite the other on their second honeymoons.
Inside after dinner, Jin-hee gives Chang-min a backhug and says that being together again is fun, but thinking about marriage again is scary. Chang-min assures her that there’s no rush: marriage is not a finish line, and it’s been hard enough for her to get this far so she should just enjoy life. She teases that if she takes her time he’ll just marry someone else, and he kisses and hugs her.
Ji-hye meets her parents and daughter at the airport, and Chun-soo surprises them by showing up and offering her parents a ride home. He meets Ji-hye’s daughter Ji-min for the first time, and they seem to take to each other.
In Ji-hye’s car, her daughter immediately asks who that ajusshi is and if her mom likes him and whether they’ve kissed. She’s clearly her mother’s daughter with that direct no-nonsense manner. Ji-hye tells her that they’re just good friends.
Ah-reum brings food to the club, where Yong-gyu has been helping out Jin-ae’s band during rehearsals. He admits that he’s tired but that pursuing music makes him happy. Ah-reum asks when Yong-gyu will be finished for the night, and when asked why she wants to know, boldly admits that she’s asking him on a date. Yong-gyu is rendered adorably speechless.
At the hospital, Jin-hee calls Chun-soo to ask about a patient at her temp hospital who was sent home with gastroenteritis but she suspects may actually have appendicitis. Given the child’s young age, Chun-soo says that it’s highly likely it’s a perforated appendix and advises Jin-hee to get the patient back to the hospital for more testing. Chun-soo reminds Jin-hee to talk to her superiors before acting.
Chun-soo’s phone rings again, and this time it’s Chang-min with a question…about the same patient. Chun-soo grouches that he already told Jin-hee what to do and why is everyone calling him when they have professors there to ask? The residents overhear the call and laugh that his interns must be anxious to be separated from Chun-soo, and suggest that he make a trip to the rural hospital on his day off.
Ji-hye and Ji-min pick up Chun-soo after his shift to take him out to dinner, and it’s so cute how charmed Chun-soo is by the tiny little outspoken Ji-hye clone. Dinner was Ji-min’s idea, being curious about her mom’s “friend,” and she’s not at all shy about asking the “bearded ajusshi” personal questions and instructing him to treat her mom well. He agrees with a pinky swear.
Ah-reum and Yong-gyu sit in a park and Ah-reum pouts that he let Kwang-soo eat all the food she brought without having any himself. She accuses him of being too selfless, but he counters that he doesn’t give up the things he really wants, such as the person he loves. This time she doesn’t stop him to tell him she just wants to be friends. Dude, green light!
Ah-reum shares her earbuds to play a song for him, and Yong-gyu steels himself and takes her hand, then goes in for a kiss on the cheek. Cute. She puts her head on his shoulder and they watch the lights on the river.
In his hotel room, Chang-min sends Jin-hee a text and sees that she read it but she doesn’t answer. He knocks on her patio door, worried that she’s angry at him. She flings open the curtains and flashes her bathrobe to show him the very slinky teddy she has on.
She asks how she looks but he claims that he didn’t see it and asks her very politely to show him again. Ha! She closes the curtains in his face, but then flashes them open again to show him tantalizing peeks of the teddy. She strikes a number of sexy poses until the poor man is literally begging and scratching at the glass when she closes the curtains again. And then she just leaves him like that? Cruel woman!
Chun-soo and Ji-hye drive to the other hospital to see how the interns are faring. The four of them sit down to dinner (that Chang-min brags about cooking mostly himself) and Chun-soo honestly says that Ji-hye’s cooking is better. Chang-min asks if she’s really going back to the States, and Jin-hee says that she wishes she’d learned more from her while she was here.
After dinner, Chun-soo says that the hospital has been nice while Chang-min and Jin-hee have been gone because he hasn’t had to worry about them. Ji-hye asks them what specialty they want to go into and they both say emergency medicine. Ji-hye teases Chun-soo that he’s stuck with them, and that it’s his fault for being such a good teacher.
Ji-hye pulls Chang-min aside, and asks him to help Chun-soo as much as he can when she’s gone. She says that seeing him and Jin-hee together reminds her of herself and Chun-soo as interns, and asks if they’ll get married. Chang-min says he isn’t sure, because things are good the way they are now.
Chun-soo and Jin-hee sit outside and she small-talks that it will be busier at the hospital after Ji-hye leaves. Chun-soo brings up that time he called her at night, and finally admits that he had wanted to see her. He says that he meant to thank her for his feelings for her because now he knows he’s capable of giving his heart to someone, and can imagine himself even getting married someday. He’s so sweetly awkward I just want to snuggle him.
Jin-hee says that she hopes that he becomes even happier in the future, and Chun-soo lets out this great big relieved sigh that he’s finally said what he needed to say. Jin-hee tells him that she’s happy to have met someone she likes and respects as much as Chun-soo and that she’s sure Chang-min feels the same way.
Chang-min and Ji-hye come back out, and joke-worry that the air between Jin-hee and Chun-soo is still weird and that they’re jealous. They try to sneak up behind them to eavesdrop but the two are instantly onto them. Jin-hee loudly calls Chang-min a jealous child, and Chun-soo says that Ji-hye should meet a man, which causes her to blow their cover to protest.
Soon enough, the Oh doctors are back at their own hospital and it’s obvious the staff honestly missed them. The married couple tells them that they decided to stay married for now, and Ah-reum breaks the news that Yong-gyu quit medicine to study music abroad.
Chun-soo receives a postcard from his father in response to the letter he sent – he’s in a foreign country photographing children with no parents. Chun-soo lets his tears fall as he reads his father’s admission that this makes him feel a lot of regret. He mentions that places like the village he’s in are desperate for good doctors like Chun-soo.
Chun-soo runs to the airport, and finds Ji-hye with her daughter and parents. She asks if something happened, but Chun-soo just tells her, “Have a good trip. And come back, whenever you want. You have to.”
Jin-hee and Chang-min cross paths in the stairwell in front of the kitten wall on their way to different departments. Chang-min grabs her for a good hearty kiss, but then they’re both paged to a multi-patient emergency in the ER.
We get a slow-motion shot of Jin-hee standing in the ER watching the chaos all around her, and a voiceover by both her and Chang-min describing the ER as a battlefield where life and death intersect multiple times a day. They call it a place where people do their utmost towards the goal of saving lives, where miracles happen.
Jin-hee: A perfect life doesn’t exist. As you live, unexpected accidents happen and irreversible mistakes are made.
Chang-min: But every time we fall and get hurt in life, we always discover the confidence to change.
Jin-hee: We realize other people’s pains…
Chang-min: Or we realize ourselves maturing.
Jin-hee: Could that not be where love starts? So, even if we make mistakes and fail again, we will continue to grow and challenge ourselves.
Chang-min spots Jin-hee watching the activity around her, and he stops to look at her. She runs towards him, and they head off to the ambulance and take charge of a patient together, finally an equal team.
Well, it’s a cute, satisfying ending for a cute, satisfying show. I know a lot of us were hoping for more – more depth maybe, or more realism – but in the end we got what we came here for: a sweet story about two people rediscovering love a second time around.
The big emotional moment in this episode was Chun-soo’s late confession to Jin-hee. He wasn’t at all intending to change anything, or make her feel bad about her choice. He just wanted her to know how he felt, and to tell her that he discovered something about himself because of his feelings for her. I truly believe that out of all of our characters, Chun-soo is the one who changed the most even though outwardly he’s still the same old grumpy-gus doctor we first met. Learning to open your heart to another person when you’ve been closed off for most of your life is no small thing. Even if the relationship doesn’t last, or never even gets off the ground, I think we all hold a special place in our hearts for the first person who showed us how to love.
I do admit some frustration with the character trajectories of many of our other characters. Chang-min and Jin-hee for example; both of them seemed to have good, valid reasons for eventually deciding to give their relationship another try, but I never felt like they had a good reason to start, if that makes sense. It’s like one day Chang-min just decided he wanted Jin-hee back, with no compelling reason given other than that another man showed a little interest. Jin-hee at least had Chang-min’s father’s death to make her realize that she still cared for him and losing a loved one is a serious thing, but I wish Chang-min had been given a sufficiently compelling reason to want her back besides “that’s MY woman” jealousy.
I do appreciate that after they decided to try again, they genuinely seemed to have changed for the better. I believe that Chang-min now sees Jin-hee as an equal, in work and in life, and that he won’t shove her feelings and opinions to the back burner in the future. I also believe that, even if he tried, Jin-hee is no longer the doormat that she was when they were married and would never stand for it. I’m satisfied that they changed enough as people, and in the right ways, to make a second go at it successful. So in that sense at least, I give the writer props for giving our romantic leads the maturity they’ll need moving forward. It was nice to watch a drama where the characters truly did change for the better.
I felt as though the rest of the side characters were treated very abruptly here at the end. One minute we see Yong-gyu on a date with Ah-reum getting up the nerve to kiss her, then a few days later he’s quit his job and moved to a different country? Considering that the time logistics are extremely unlikely, that he supposedly made this whole entire life change while Chang-min and Jin-hee were gone for one week, it just seems like the writer suddenly decided, “I need one character to decide not to be a doctor…where are my dice?” And what, they don’t have good music in Korea that he can study (as a kpop fan, I KNOW that’s not true)? And why did they spend 20 freaking episodes on his heartbreak over Ah-reum, then when she finally becomes interested, he up and leaves? I just don’t understand what the point was supposed to be.
And the married couple…again, I’m failing to see what purpose they served other than to be mildly annoying and have the opposite relationship to whatever Chang-min and Jin-hee’s relationship was doing at the time. When the main couple hated each other, everything was happiness and rainbows in Newlywedville. When the main couple were happy together, the married couple was getting divorced, because one argument is totally grounds for divorce I guess. If they served any purpose in the story, I have yet to figure it out. Not that characters-as-filler is a bad thing when done right, but at least make them interesting, huh?
Like Ji-hye: now there’s a second lead I can get behind. She was never jealous, never nasty to the leading lady, and actually had the best interests of the man she loved at heart. If he wanted another woman then dammit, she was going to help him get what he wanted. I think Ji-hye is probably one of my favorite second leads of all time, in the sense that she didn’t have unrealistic expectations of getting her man at any cost. If she lost him then so be it, as long as he was happy. Dramaland could use a few more outstanding characters like her!
For the most part, I found Emergency Couple to be a sweet, if technically flawed story, and I’ve enjoyed it very much. There was lots of funny, lots of cute, and the characters were mostly engaging and interesting to watch. I cared about Jin-hee and Chang-min, and Ji-hye and Chun-soo, and I’m happy that they all found a way to face the future with love and humor.
- Emergency Couple: Episode 20
- Emergency Couple: Episode 19
- Emergency Couple: Episode 18
- Emergency Couple: Episode 17
- Emergency Couple: Episode 16
- Emergency Couple: Episode 15
- Emergency Couple: Episode 14
- Emergency Couple: Episode 13
- Emergency Couple: Episode 12
- Emergency Couple: Episode 11
- Emergency Couple: Episode 10
- Emergency Couple: Episode 9
- Emergency Couple: Episode 8
- Emergency Couple: Episode 7
- Emergency Couple: Episode 6
- Emergency Couple: Episode 5
- Emergency Couple: Episode 4
- Emergency Couple: Episode 3
- Emergency Couple: Episodes 1-2