Yong-pal: Episode 7
Injuries need time to recover, and this episode slows things down so that hearts can heal before they’re broken once more. I’m talking about our hearts, because this show continues to take us on a never-ending emotional ride.
It helps to know people in high places when you need medical attention, because hell if anyone scheming to claim Yeo-jin will give up on her doctor. Someone get that guy an emergency X-ray—stat.
SONG OF THE DAY
Kim Tae-hyun – “한걸음 한걸음 (One Step by One Step)” [ Download ]
EPISODE 7 RECAP
Down in the basement level, nearly everyone is shocked to learn that they’ve been transporting a dummy instead of Yeo-jin, who’s been pronounced dead moments ago. Much to Do-joon’s confusion, President Go chuckles in response, however, saying that they begin negotiations now.
Unable to bear the pain from his bullet wound, Tae-hyun collapses to the ground. He struggles to get back into the elevator and hobbles down the hall, clutching his bloody side.
Meanwhile, the operating team hurries to prepare the operating team for Tae-hyun’s return. The anaesthesiologist worries that they’ve missed their window of opportunity, but the head nurse is convinced Tae-hyun will follow through.
And Tae-hyun shows up after all—that is, following some self-treatment and injecting himself with adrenaline. He isn’t deterred that it’s been over twelve minutes since Yeo-jin’s heart has stopped beating, and settles in to begin surgery.
When the ICU tries calling in Chief Shin about how the female Hanshin Electric factory worker has just gone into cardiac arrest, he tells them that surgery is too risky for that patient before abruptly hanging up to resume his night out.
The crew is able to temporarily revive her, but Nurse Oh has had enough and orders that Tae-hyun be called in for an “emergency X-ray” aka surgery.
Back in the operating room, Tae-hyun grits through the pain to continue operating. He ignores the team’s concern about him bleeding through his scrubs, telling them to focus instead.
When Nurse Oh comes barging in, Tae-hyun tells her to ready the room next door. Thinking back to his promise to Yeo-jin that no one dies on his operating table, he works quickly, then looks to the monitors, which register nothing.
Looking desperate, he asks the anesthesiologist to deliver another dose of epinephrine, even though the latter has tried four times already. Tears fall from his eyes before Tae-hyun gets back up to start manual CPR.
Memories of Yeo-jin and his determination to save his ailing sister fill his thoughts (from his sister’s words to his willingness to serve under the hospital director and Chief Lee—bah, we’re knee-deep in live-shoot territory now, aren’t we?) as he keeps giving chest compressions.
He keeps at it, fighting tears and the operating team telling him that it’s no use. A few more emotional minutes pass until Tae-hyun finally passes out. His tireless efforts are worth it, however, because Yeo-jin’s heart miraculously starts beating again.
Over in the adjacent operating room the patient flatlines, and Nurse Oh’s attempts to revive her are unsuccessful.
President Go and Do-joon share a drink in the VIP suite, where the former believes that they can still spin a win-win situation out of Yeo-jin’s “death” — they’ll have the public believe that she’s still alive and equally divide her stocks between them.
Do-joon doesn’t see why he should agree to such a deal, and chuckles at the proverb of destroying one’s own supplies for one last stand and hope to be victorious. He points out that President Go has lost everything in this battle, but the older man corrects him—it was Do-joon’s supplies that were lost.
While Do-joon was solely focused on reducing the inheritance tax (which he’d get upon procuring Yeo-jin’s wealth), President Go has done his part toward the company’s ruin: If they were to publish Yeo-jin’s obituary as soon as tomorrow, the public would know about Hanshin’s ratio of total debt.
President Go can guarantee that the numbers will take Do-joon by surprise, and Hanshin stocks will certainly crash as well. Furious, Do-joon clenches his glass and has to restrain himself when asked if he’ll reconsider the offer to go halvsies now.
“So your plan was to get rid of Yeo-jin all along?” Do-joon asks. He’s told that situation would have played out differently had Yeo-jin been in President Go’s possession, and thanks to Do-joon’s little intervention, now the older man can wipe his hands clean of any responsibility.
Do-joon can only let out an empty laugh at the offer to join forces and wipe out any common enemies. It grates at his nerves when President Go laughs victoriously in return.
Yeo-jin opens her eyes only to find them covered with bandages. She can barely see while being told of her “new identity” as the factory worker who is believed to still be in a coma. Nurse Oh figures the role will be a piece of cake for someone like Yeo-jin.
Nurse Oh simply introduces herself as a fan of Tae-hyun’s, whom she explains is currently being operated on because of Yeo-jin. He’s lost a lot of blood, and Yeo-jin should prepare herself if he doesn’t make it.
Chief Shin is the man for the job, since he returns to operate on Tae-hyun, and is surprised by how long the bullet wound has been left untreated. We enter Tae-hyun’s dreamscape during the surgery, as he imagines himself waking up in a beautiful meadow.
He walks through the peaceful scenery and sees Yeo-jin there as well. She turns around and smiles warmly at him.
Chief Lee wheels “Yeo-jin” back to her suite while Chae-young looks on, fuming. He stops in his tracks upon seeing President Go, but doesn’t appear any more relaxed when told that Do-joon has joined forces with President Go.
Do-joon peels back the sheet to take a gander upon the dummy, and then a bloody fist grabs his hand. His mind imagines a pale-looking Yeo-jin looking up at him and muttering “Devil” before he snaps out of the hallucination.
He downplays the moment of momentary psychosis, though the brief episode doesn’t escape Chief Lee’s notice.
Down in the morgue, the head nurse verbally confirms that the dead woman is Yeo-jin (though in reality, it’s the factory worker), and agrees not to speak a word of tonight’s events. As far as anyone else is concerned, Yeo-jin is still presumably alive.
Time for a comedic break: Doo-chul and his lackey have survived last night’s fight with various injuries. Their greatest threat? The inept nurse who somehow screws up his pain medication. Hahaha.
Chief Shin and the other residents check in on Tae-hyun during morning rounds. Even though Tae-hyun’s not in great shape, the chief is hopeful that he’ll pull through. He does cheer up, however, to see that who he thinks is the factory worker is doing just fine.
But when they reach to remove her bandages, Nurse Oh puts a stop to it, citing that the VIP floor is now responsible for this patient. That gets Chief Shin to scoff at how ungrateful those fancy doctors are, but backs off anyway.
Moments later, Chief Lee and Do-joon arrive to check in on Tae-hyun. Yeo-jin is awake for this conversation, and when Do-joon says that he’s in Tae-hyun’s debt, she wonders what that could mean.
Chief Shin tries to score some brownie points in mentioning how he operated on Tae-hyun, only to be teasingly-ish told how that also makes him responsible if Tae-hyun should die. Do-joon’s eyes fall upon the adjacent bed where Yeo-jin lays, and he winces upon being told what we can only assume is the factory worker’s story.
Do-joon has another visit to make today—his wife Chae-young, who pulls up her airhead cover with ease. She gets teasingly upset when he interrupts her story about the all the ruckus here last night, and when Do-joon says he loves her, she verbally returns the sentiment.
“No,” he corrects her. “You don’t love me.” Ack, did anyone else just get chills? “We both know that you don’t love me.” But now he’s truly become the owner of Hanshin, will Chae-young genuinely love him now?
Chae-young keeps up the dumb innocent lamb act, telling him that he’s scaring her. “You probably find me laughable,” he replies. He doesn’t miss her curled lip she gives in response, then rises to tell her that she can keep pretending for the rest of her life but she won’t ever be able to leave his side.
Once he’s gone, Chae-young says aloud, “I pity you, my dear. I wonder what it’s like to love someone who has never loved you in return.”
Detective Lee looks like the happiest boy on Christmas morning when he overhears a gangster talking to Man-shik about “that quack” who let his stitches get infected. He sits Man-shik in the interrogation room, and tries playing the sympathy card on him—why, he was only deceived by Yong-pal, wasn’t he?
Man-shik keeps his lips sealed though, and so Detective Lee encourages him to say anything before it’s too late. Soon, they’ll rip through his phone records. Reminded of Doo-chul’s threats to keep his trap shut, Man-shik doesn’t spill.
Detective Lee seems pleased when his partner walks in with the phone records in hand; however, all of the so-called numbers lead to burner phones. But he doesn’t lose hope and asks for the general location, which does point to a certain hospital—Hanshin.
Chae-young is told that it’s a relief she wasn’t in her room during last night’s fiasco because someone bursted into her room, too. She’s told that Tae-hyun is still in critical condition, but had asked after Chae-young’s safety last night.
So she runs down to the ICU where Tae-hyun lies unconscious, realizing that he was trying to keep her safe last night by sending her away. She scolds the resident (who had sweetly asked to take care of Tae-hyun) for not doing anything, then tells him to call over anyone and everyone to save him.
As for Yeo-jin, she’d been transferred to another room with restricted entry, but is still somewhat near enough Tae-hyun.
After Nurse Song squeals that Tae-hyun has a bright future ahead of him if he ever wakes, Tae-yong joins in on the case briefing on Tae-hyun, which apparently includes practically every physician in the hospital.
Chae-young keeps a watchful eye as the staff cares for Tae-hyun, saying in voiceover that this is only the beginning of the many things she can do for him. She agrees to head back upstairs per Chief Lee’s suggestion, but has him promise her that they’ll save Tae-hyun.
The days pass by until one night Tae-hyun rises out of bed and gazes upon the bandaged Yeo-jin lying in her bed on the other side of the glass. Er, how d’you know that it’s her? You kinda passed out before they covered her up.
In any case, Tae-hyun walks over and sets down a lavender plant before sitting on the edge of her bed. Scared, she asks who’s there. He playfully replies a person in a coma shouldn’t talk lest she be caught. She smiles, utterly relieved.
He plays soothing music for her, and we see more of Tae-hyun’s dream: Yeo-jin walking through the grass barefoot, surrounded by nature. Tae-hyun’s dream self awakes in that meadow, then trails behind Yeo-jin. He recalls walking towards her along the wooden path on top of the algae-filled water, at which moment Yeo-jin turns towards him. They exchange warm smiles.
In the present, Yeo-jin sheds a tear while Tae-hyun watches over her. Just outside the door, Nurse Oh smiles at the sight of them.
Now that he’s awake, Tae-hyun’s also feeling a bit spontaneous. He sneaks Yeo-jin out to the patio, where he unfurls her bandages. He tells her to open her eyes, and Yeo-jin takes in the outside world for the first time in over three years.
She hardly listens to him talking about how one can’t really see any stars in the city, and gets up out of her wheelchair instead. Despite her slightly unsteady gait, Yeo-jin puts one foot in front of the other to walk toward the railing, her eyes still fixated on the view.
Her eyes fill up with fresh tears and she looks up and out into the cityscape. She breaks into a smile, and the look of happiness on her face just warms my heart. She hobbles along, tears falling from her eyes, until her legs buckle from under her.
Tae-hyun rushes to her side, and her eyes are filled with tears of joy and gratitude. “Thank you, Tae-hyun-ie,” she tells him.
A little later, Tae-hyun tries and fails at explaining the constellations she can hardly see because of the city lights. Yeo-jin still smiles even when Tae-hyun expresses his frustration toward her, but then they’re interrupted when Cynthia spots him.
She had heard that he was in critical condition, but he must be feeling a lot better if he’s out enjoying late-night dates. She’s here to pick up her things and to say her farewells (nooo, don’t leaaavve) because she’s headed back to the States for her studies.
She’s received her payout from President Go, and Tae-hyun was paid with a gunshot wound. Cynthia takes in the sights and takes note of the woman sitting nearby. When asked if she’s his girlfriend, Tae-hyun refers to Yeo-jin as his patient.
Cynthia peers over to say hello, and Yeo-jin turns her face half-way to nod in response. As a last request, Cynthia asks him for a cup of coffee—surely he can do that much if he betrayed her earlier.
He steps aside, albeit with some reluctance, and Cynthia sits down next to Yeo-jin to ask if she’s his girlfriend. When Yeo-jin denies it, Cynthia says it’s a pity because Tae-hyun seems the best out of all the men she knows.
She encourages Yeo-jin to grab hold of him if she can, because Tae-hyun forfeited a great sum of money all because of one woman. He had wanted the money to pay for his sister’s medical bills, but that’s men for you—they can be such fools when they’re head over heels in love.
Tae-hyun may be naive, but that’s also a part of his charm, Cynthia tells her. Oh my god, Cynthia’s the best wingwoman a guy could ever ask for. “So if you have the opportunity, make him yours… Han Yeo-jin.” Oh snap.
“He’s the best kind of man for you if you are to spend the rest of your life in hiding,” Cynthia finishes before getting up to leave.
Tae-hyun returns with coffee in tow and wonders where Cynthia has disappeared off to. He picks up on Yeo-jin’s startled expression, and when he asks if something happened, she answers. “What have I done?”
It may have been a slower hour pace-wise, and yet Yong-pal still continues to hit all the right emotional beats for me. I’m always a fan of action and dramatic tension, but when a show can pull me in its quietest of moments, that’s when it has my heart. And you guys, this show has stolen mine, flaws and all.
How sad then that we’ve been seeing the early signs of strain of the infamous live-shoot system for Yong-pal. There have been the editing mistakes (which I still hope is the result of a rookie editor who fell asleep on his mouse), and now we’re starting to see the flashback fillers via our characters’ contemplative moments. But first things first: even if Tae-hyun spent at least three-quarters of this episode lying unconscious in a bed, I’m just so glad Joo-won got some sleep because Lord knows the actor could use some rest from all those consecutive all-nighters he’s been putting in for this show.
So even with the show’s booming success with viewers both in Korea and abroad, I worry about how the whispers of an extension (whether it will happen or not) will affect the actors’ health, especially when we suspect the show hit live-shoot territory early in its run. Speaking of which, I truly hope that this show doesn’t a ruin a good thing by taking any plot point—especially the central revenge—that needn’t be extended to account for any possible additional episodes. I understand that dramaland is a money-makin’ business, and yet, I can’t help but cry out in protest, “Preserve the story! Preserve the characters!” So drama gods, hear my plea!
Turning back to the episode, I’m glad that we got a bit more insight into President Go’s dealings with Do-joon. His character is useful in making a formidable challenger to Do-joon, and it was amusing to see Do-joon cornered into a reluctant partnership, especially after he thought that he won at the end of the previous episode. I keep getting the feeling that Jo Hyun-jae is having so much fun playing Do-joon, and perhaps isn’t as much of an evil mastermind as we might’ve been initially led to believe. But then again, it’s always possible that he has other cards to play in this game of Hanshin Group acquisition.
So it’s also nice to see Tae-hyun and Yeo-jin temporarily removed from those politics so that we can see their relationship deepen and blossom. I love that Yeo-jin was the one who feared for Tae-hyun in this episode, even when there was nothing she could actually do for him. His dream sequence was a lovely display of how much Yeo-jin means to him that extends beyond their business partnership, and the way they smile at each other both in the dream and in reality is heartwarming.
Now we have Chae-young beginning to care for Tae-hyun as well. It’s both intriguing and a bit sad that Do-joon knows that his wife doesn’t love him, and that she knows he loves her. If you can call his crazy possessiveness love, that is. But what’s important is that Do-joon knows that Chae-young is putting up an act with him, so it’s as much a battle between them while they’re also fighting over Yeo-jin.
Speaking of whom, it doesn’t surprise me that Cynthia was so sharp and tactful in letting Yeo-jin know she knew who she was. But now it makes me sad that she’ll be leaving, and leaving the sluggish minds to crack the puzzle. Maybe you can forsake your medical studies mid-way through the semester, and come back to be Tae-hyun’s wingwoman again. Or live happily ever after with him. No pressure… just come back soon.