Beautiful Mind: Episode 10
Our favorite neurosurgeon and newbie detective are downright winsome in this episode as they team up to solve another medical mystery. Young-oh makes the first jump trying to bridge the distance, but Jin-sung does most of the handholding. Together they delve a little deeper to understand what drives people apart, and what keeps them together.
EPISODE 10 RECAP
In the past, a young girl describes her symptoms to a teenaged Young-oh, which include dizziness, breathlessness, and a racing heart. She then confesses her feelings to him. Young-oh perks up at the mention of her heart, and begins to pelt her with questions. First, he confirms that her heart is pounding because she likes him. And if so, how fast is it going? Oblivious, he asks if he can feel it once, which earns him a swift slap to the cheek.
He continues to muse over the exchange afterwards, specifically, the biological mechanisms of falling in love and how it is a purely hormonal process. He relates the pulse rate of those in love to the similar rate found during light exercise. He notes that the interplay of chemicals released during this process—norephedrine, dopamine, and oxytocin—roughly expire in three years. After reducing love to a purely electrochemical process, he grins a little and tells himself, “I’m fine. I’m really fine.”
At home, Jin-sung tosses and turns in her bed. Still perplexed by Young-oh’s sudden hug, she asks her younger brother for his advice, presenting it as a hypothetical scenario. She adds that right after the hug, the man said, “I can’t feel anything.” When pressed for why she’s asking, she pretends that it’s for a case.
They decide together that she actually should be pissed off, because basically the man told the woman he doesn’t find her attractive in the least, or else he’d definitely feel something. Her brother guesses that she is talking about Young-oh, and although she denies it wholeheartedly, he isn’t fooled.
As she walks out the door, she tries to convince herself that she’s totally cool with being hugged. In fact, she thinks maybe next time she’ll initiate the hug. She practices her technique by pantomiming the motion, then stops short at the sight of Young-oh waiting outside. It’s her turn to act weird as she pretends not to see him and begins walking back toward her house.
Young-oh trots after her, confused. She makes a big show of acting like she’s seeing him for the first time, greeting him a little too enthusiastically. When she asks what he’s doing here, he tells her he is keeping his promise to report their lottery winnings. At the mention of the tickets, her enthusiasm becomes genuine and she asks how much they’ve won. He takes her hand and doles out approximately two dollars and fifty cents.
He then asks her to explain something to him: A man and a woman have met more than ten times, the woman has handcuffed him and even jumped into the water to save his patient, but then ignores the man when she sees him waiting outside her house. What is he to make of such behavior? The woman isn’t blind or anything…
She turns the questioning back to him and asks why he’s doing this to her. Does he just like teasing people? “What am I to you?” she asks. He pauses for a moment, puzzled, then she explains a little bashfully that these are things the woman might say in response. They share a laugh. Still smiling he says, “This is why I need you. You’re like my Wi-Fi.”
Young-oh explains that her advice on the suicidal patient was extremely helpful. He asks for her continued assistance in decoding his patient’s behavior, going so far as to offer to travel anywhere to seek her out. He only asks that she not ignore him like she did today. She nods sheepishly, agreeing.
In his office, Young-oh examines the lottery ticket, which was actually a losing one. He had fabricated the win. He adds it to the growing collection of keepsakes in his drawer.
Elsewhere in the hospital, Assistant Manager Chae and Dr. Lee’s colleague from the past examine Young-oh’s old CT scans. The man wonders what kind of face Dr. Lee would make if he were to see his old co-worker again.
Meanwhile, a little boy comes to the hospital after fainting at school. As he’s being treated, he asks one of the doctors what it takes to get into medical school, since he plans on becoming a doctor himself. Charmed, the attending physician bumps fists with the boy, who then hunches over in pain from the slight touch, completely surprising the staff. They aren’t sure what to make of it.
His mother rushes into the emergency room in search of her son. She quickly tries to usher him out of the hospital, but the attending physician stops her, telling her that they haven’t finished his examination. His mother continues trying to brush him off, saying her son is just pretending to be sick because he’s stressed out about his upcoming exams.
At this point, Young-oh steps in. He looks over the boy, then coldly tells the mother that she might think she knows everything that is going on with her son, including the reasons for his symptoms, but that is a parent’s delusion. The mother stubbornly maintains her declaration and starts storming out with her son in tow. Suddenly, the boy collapses. Young-oh diagnoses him with a subdural hemorrhage/hematoma, or the collection of blood between layers of tissues surrounding the brain, often caused by severe blows to the head. Young-oh prepares for emergency surgery.
The mother tries to call the boy’s father, but stops mid-sentence and decides against it, pretending that all is well.
Right before surgery, Young-oh tries to confirm that her son fainted at school because he felt dizzy. A weird look crosses her face as her logic suddenly flips, and she says she has no idea, since she isn’t with him while he’s in school. Young-oh points out the hypocrisy of her words and says that they’ll know what is wrong with him once the surgery is done.
During surgery, one of the surgical aides comments on how dark the boy’s blood is. Young-oh explains that the boy’s head was badly bruised over a prolonged period of time. Should he have left the hospital, he would have certainly died. The aide then asks Young-oh why he shaved part of the boy’s head that wasn’t necessary for the surgery. Young-oh responds with, “People may lie, but the body cannot lie. If someone abused them, the traces must remain somewhere.” Sure enough, in the spot where he shaved, a large bruise was hiding.
Outside the regenerative cell research center, Director Kang and Assistant Manage Chae meet with a well-known news anchor named CHOI SANG-HYUK. Director Kang explains that they plan to offer their innovative treatment to those most in need, free of cost. Anchor Choi isn’t moved by their purported altruism, fully aware that many hospitals use the same tactic to garner free publicity.
Director Kang suggests continuing their discussion over dinner, but the anchor shoots him down immediately, citing work commitments. Later, Director Kang complains about Anchor Choi’s attitude, but Assistant Manager Chae tries to reason with him. It seems this anchor is well respected and trusted by the public primarily because of his high morals and scandal-free personal life. These are precisely the reasons they need his endorsement for their new research.
Speaking of the research, Suk-joo meets with potential patients for the new treatment, but rejects every single one. He visits Dr. Lee, who wonders if Suk-joo’s excessive fastidiousness is not because he is looking for the best candidates, but rather because he doesn’t actually believe the treatment will be successful.
Suk-joo counters that once the treatment begins, it will no longer be research, but a marketable product. And in order for their product to be successful, they must raise demand.
Assistant Manager Chae enters the room and Suk-joo excuses himself. Assistant Manager Chae praises Suk-joo for being smart and for knowing exactly who he is, unlike some doctors who delude themselves into thinking they are noble. He tells Dr. Lee that he may not be noble, but at least he’s honest about wanting money—which, in his view, makes him more decent than those who pretend to be noble.
Young-oh meets with the boy after surgery, who feigns sleep. Young-oh repeats his line about how the body cannot lie, even if people choose to, then asks the boy who is abusing him. When he denies it, Young-oh presses a tender spot on his arm and asks again. This time, the boy seems to consider it, but before he can say a word, his mother bursts into the room.
She pulls Young-oh outside to berate him for meeting with her son without a guardian present and threatens to file a complaint against him. He pushes back and tells her that victims of abuse often require privacy in order to disclose their situation to others. Outraged by his insinuation, she demands to know if he’s accusing her of beating her own child. Young-oh replies that he doesn’t care about her—he only cares about the well-being and protection of his patient and the success of his post-operative care. The mother says warningly that the one who’s most dangerous to her son is Young-oh.
He leaves the mother and encounters Min-jae waiting outside the patient’s room. She imagines the boy must be cute for Young-oh to take so much interest in him after completing the surgery, when he never has before. Young-oh merely replies that since he can’t feel emotions, he isn’t affected by cuteness. Then they begin to hear the mother loudly reprimanding her son, demanding to know “who he’s told.”
Min-jae looks at Young-oh smugly, and tells him to come to her if he wants to understand the effects of child abuse in the brain.
He has a suggestion of his own, and reminds her of his inability to control his impulses or violent nature. He invites her to try and imagine how much he’s restraining himself from doing something to her right now. He pats her lightly on the shoulder, leaving her visibly rattled.
Depleted by the exchange, he calls up Jin-sung and sweetly says, “I need Wi-Fi, please come see me.” They go out to eat, where Young-oh discusses his patient’s case with her.
She agrees that the child is being abused and is protecting his abuser. She compares a child’s love for their parent to a person’s first love. Even if the child is being abused, “The heart always betrays the mind.” She says parents are like a child’s first love, and they’re the first people they trust.
Forlorn, Young-oh asks if these are conclusions easily reached by normal people. When he was younger, he viewed people with normal emotions as aliens. He wondered how people transmitted their feelings to one another; was there a kind of antenna only he didn’t have, and thus a frequency he could never understand?
She tries to cheer him up, saying, “I hear that earthlings have Wi-Fi,” which they use to connect to one another. A tiny smile creeps onto his face.
She offers to go down to the hospital tomorrow with an officer who specializes in child abuse cases. In the meantime, she says, they should stop worrying about the boy and enjoy their meal. Her statement makes Young-oh pause and ask if he seems worried about the boy. She nods gleefully, and says he seems realllllly worried.
The next day, Jin-sung shows up as discussed, but when they go to the boy’s room, he isn’t there.
In the parking garage below, the mother drags her son, still dressed in the hospital gown, to the car. He complains of pain in his head and asks if they really have to leave. She snaps at him for causing such a fuss with his fake illness even after she and his father have done everything they can to provide a perfect life for him. Anxious, he begins biting his nails, which further enrages his mother. She violently yanks his arm to stop him before slamming him up against the car. In a strange turn of events, the mother suddenly urinates, then accuses him of peeing his pants. Enraged, she raises her arm to attack her son again.
Young-oh intervenes just in time to restrain her. With an intense glare, he warns her not to touch his patient. He releases her to check on the boy, but when she tries to go after him, she suddenly collapses to the floor.
Young-oh kneels down to check on the mother, when Anchor Choi suddenly runs over and demands to know what Young-oh did to his wife.
The mother is wheeled into the emergency room, but once Young-oh begins firing off commands, Anchor Choi interrupts him to request that another physician handle his wife’s care. Young-oh tries to walk away, but the news anchor refuses to be ignored and again accuses Young-oh of attacking his wife. Around them, a crowd begins to form.
Unconcerned by the audience, Young-oh explains to Anchor Choi that his wife has a brain tumor and a problem with her right frontal lobe. These are causing her frequent mood changes and acute anger, resulting in the abuse of their son.
Anchor Choi looks stunned by the revelation, apparently having known none of this.
A little later, Anchor Choi coincidentally overhears some of the hospital staff discussing Young-oh’s disorder. With the leverage he needs, he immediately goes to Director Kang to seek help minimizing the spread of his scandal. Director Kang, still resentful that the anchor blew him off for dinner the other day, pretends that there isn’t much he can do.
However, when Anchor Choi says what he knows, adding that there must be some security footage of Young-oh attacking the anchor’s wife in the parking garage, Director Kang starts paying attention. The anchor accuses the hospital of trying to cover up Young-oh’s actions by claiming that his wife abused their son, and vows to drag this hospital down with him if Director Kang refuses to act.
Pushed into a corner, Director Kang drops in to tell Young-oh to mind his own business. Incorruptible, Young-oh cites the doctor’s responsibility guidelines posted on the wall, which includes reporting child abuse to the police. Even so, Director Kang orders Young-oh to cease his actions or be terminated. Before he leaves, Director Kang tells Young-oh that Anchor Choi knows all about him being a psychopath.
Interestingly, when he’s alone, Young-oh smiles to himself.
Although Young-oh should technically be off the case, the young boy comes with Jin-sung to talk with Young-oh. She tells Young-oh that they are postponing the mother’s investigation until her condition stabilizes, then leaves the two alone to talk.
Young-oh guesses the reason the boy wants to become a doctor is so that he can cure his mother. He tells him a secret: “Sometimes illnesses make a person’s true self disappear,” like what is happening to his mother. The boy asks Young-oh to return his mom to the way she was before.
Young-oh asks why he put up with his mother’s abuse without saying anything—at the very least, he should have told his father. The boy replies, “It was bearable.” He was afraid that if his father found out, he would hate his mother, and then he would lose her and end up alone.
As Young-oh walks the boy back to his room, a handful of medical professionals speed down the halls pushing a gurney right into their path. Young-oh pulls the boy into his arms and whisks him out of harm’s way.
Min-jae discusses surgery details with the boy’s parents, and in a surprising vote of confidence, she recommends Young-oh as the best person for this operation. Since it is a very dangerous procedure, anyone with less skill will inevitably put the patient’s life in danger. Predictably, Anchor Choi is vehemently against using Young-oh and threatens to go to another hospital if there is absolutely no one else up to the task. Meanwhile, his wife doesn’t say a word.
When the couple is alone in the hall, Anchor Choi tells his wife never to admit to abusing their son. Even if it was because of a brain tumor, no matter the reason, she must never confess because she is his wife.
Young-oh meets with Anchor Choi and tells him directly that at first he suspected him of abusing his son. He assumed Anchor Choi carried out the perfect crime and left no evidence of abuse on his son’s body, but Young-oh explains that the culprit was actually his son. We flash to a scene of the boy singing through tears under a blanket while his mother relentlessly beats him, enduring it all in secret to keep his family together. Young-oh asks the news anchor where he was while all this was happening.
He tells Anchor Choi that his son will need to be treated for the trauma he endured during his abuse, or else he may become like Young-oh.
The anchor’s wife comes in and asks Young-oh to please proceed with the surgery. She intends to file for divorce after the procedure, but first her husband needs to sign the operation consent form. She points out that he said it himself: The problem isn’t that she was sick, or that she hurt their son, but because she is his wife. She’s decided to admit to the abuse and receive treatment because she’s determined to return to being a good mother. With a shaky voice, she requests that Young-oh also remove the memories of abusing her son along with her tumor.
After Young-oh finishes another successful procedure, Dr. Lee swings by to ask if he really did the surgery against Director Kang’s orders. Young-oh confirms it, and in another surprising turn, Dr. Lee pats him on the back and says he did a good job. Oh wow.
He reaffirms that their responsibility to the patients must always be first and foremost. Touched, Young-oh attributes his success in part to his father, and admits that doctors need to empathize with their patients. His empathy for the young boy and his family enabled him to do the surgery, not his surgical skills.
Astonished, Dr. Lee asks with interest if Young-oh really was able to empathize with the child. On the verge of tears, Young-oh says he could relate because the boy’s situation reminded him of his own childhood. But at that comparison, Dr. Lee’s face falls.
The boy’s family is all smiles after the mother’s successful surgery; Anchor Choi even offers to make time to drink with Young-oh. Young-oh swiftly shuts down the offer but accepts the gratitude behind the gesture.
Young-oh feigns disinterest as they leave, but once they are gone, he watches the door. When the young boy comes back, Young-oh spins around and acts like he totally wasn’t waiting for him. The boy promises not to forget Young-oh, and to become a great doctor like him.
But Young-oh tells the boy not to remember him or the time they spent together. Instead, he should live happily as if this never happened. He then sends the boy on his way.
Young-oh calls up Jin-sung requesting more Wi-Fi, and they walk along the beach while he fills her in. He’s absolutely buzzing as he tells her how he was able to understand what the boy was thinking about without reading his body signals or saying anything. She’s distracted as he talks, and when he asks if she’s listening, she pulls him out of the way of an incoming baseball, and they embrace. She pulls away awkwardly, and says without verifying that he felt nothing, concurring that she too felt nothing. Nothing to see here.
He grabs her by the wrist and asks, “What is this feeling?” He tells her that even if it is impossible, he wants to try it once: love.
She bursts with excitement, thinking he means he is beginning to love his patients. But he disagrees, and clarifies that he’s talking about loving her.
In light of the recent episode cutdown, this episode is a bit bittersweet. I hope the unfairness of this decision still allows for these characters to live out their intended storylines while maintaining the spirit of the story. I think it might help to cut back on the patient of the episode stuff because it was pretty heavy-handed in this episode, but that’s not the say those aren’t important or immensely enjoyable. On the contrary, in other shows I’ve seen, these types of B-plot lines often serve as filler and force the stories of the main characters to take a back seat for a bit, but the execution here is always carefully crafted, purposeful, and filled with lots of heart-tugging moments.
I like how the writer is handling the way Young-oh is slowly questioning his deeply held beliefs about emotions. Based on the flashback, the teenaged Young-oh seemed almost smug about not being, in his view, restrained by the biological processes involved in falling in love. If we think back to the way Young-oh acted in the first couple of episodes, it brings into focus this idea that the concept of giving and receiving emotions is so beyond his understanding he’s convinced himself that he has transcended the need for them. But now, we see that it was some kind of overcompensation on his part in order not to feel inadequate. Thus, when his world came crashing down on him, it forced him to question all he had believed. This explains the childlike way Young-oh discusses his emotional issues.
On that note, man, Jang Hyuk is really selling this character. I didn’t expect him to disappear into the role of Young-oh so much, especially since he has a bunch of other notable roles under his belt, but he really draws me in and brings so much to this character. Those big emotional moments are great, but right now for me, it’s all about those little moments and small acting choices that make me buy into Young-oh’s emotional journey. The acting across the board is solid, and Park So-dam brings a naturalness to her role, so it’s fun to watch them together. I think this confession was well-timed—not too soon, and not painstakingly late. More importantly, it wasn’t overly emotional, almost matter-of-fact. Weirdly, it kind of helps that these actors don’t really match age-wise, because there is a palpable awkwardness between the two characters which makes them a kind of an odd pair. But since they are bonding over much deeper things than appearance or age, it makes those moments more impactful, because isn’t that so true to real life? Aren’t some of the strongest bonds we make in the world often with those we least expect?
Young-oh and Jin-sung’s relationship makes me so happy, but Young-oh’s relationship with his father messes me up inside. When Dr. Lee patted Young-oh on the shoulder and told him good job, Young-oh was so startled and confused by the gesture it made me ecstatic, but it also crushed my heart a little. There’s just a tapestry of emotions there that make each of their exchanges rife with tension and tragedy, especially when we see the flashbacks. Both men are so broken inside, and need the love they couldn’t provide each other to heal their wounds. There’s been some questionable behavior on both ends, but I’ve been rooting for these two to start communicating, and in this episode, it starts to pay off even if it was ultimately upended. That said, it makes me nervous that this means something bad might happen to Dr. Lee soon, by way of Assistant Murderer Chae. I won’t be super thrilled to see this transform into a revenge drama, but this writer is good at keeping things new and interesting, so who knows.
Speaking of another character showing some depth: Min-jae. I was pleasantly surprised to see her go to bat for Young-oh with the news anchor. I like that she doesn’t let her personal vendetta cloud her judgment regarding Young-oh’s abilities. But I’ll be really grossed out if she tries to win Young-oh back after everything she’s done, so I’m really hoping that’s not the direction we’re going with this character.
A couple of episodes ago, Young-oh implied that he and Director Kang looked like brothers. It made me hold my breath for some kind of birth secret reveal. That would be one way to mess with the status quo a little. Hopefully, it doesn’t become some kind of Battle of the Bastards, but I could see why the writer might choose to do this. I thought it was kind of funny to see Director Kang tell the anchor that basically, no one knows what to do with him, and that he’s resigned himself to that. He can’t seem to get rid of Young-oh no matter how much he tries, and after this drama, neither can the rest of us.