Doctors: Episode 13
We’ve got more romance, some doctor-ing, and a couple more laps around the inferiority circle for Seo-woo. Hye-jung and Ji-hong ease into their romance, but it’s no easy task to involve themselves in each other’s lives. There are fine boundaries in the workplace and in their personal lives that they’re learning to navigate. All the while, our doctors take on a new case, reminding us that they’re capable neurosurgeons and multitaskers.
EPISODE 13 RECAP
We get quick glimpses of Hye-jung and Ji-hong in their childhood and fast-forward to where they are now. Hye-jung runs after Ji-hong and wraps her arms around him in a back-hug. She narrates: “Dating is a joint history written by a man and woman. Understanding and accepting each other’s past scars in the present is key to this history.”
In the neurosurgery department, Young-kook and Nurse Su-jin yawn in exhaustion as Hye-jung approaches. She receives a call from Kang-soo in the ER about a patient and orders him to prepare a surgery room. As she waits for the elevator, Hye-jung calls Ji-hong, who’s at home watching a surgery, but she hangs up shortly after since she’s entering the elevator.
Their quick conversation reminds Ji-hong about a recent voicemail that was accidentally recorded and sent from Hye-jung. In the voicemail, she asks why he hasn’t asked her out a second time, as he’d promised, and asserts that yes, she will date him. Ji-hong smiles as he hears her freak out in the voicemail that her message got recorded.
Hye-jung performs surgery while Kyung-joon dozes off next to her. She catches him nodding off and benevolently threatens him with a countdown to leave the surgery, insisting that she’s fine on her own.
In the break room, Joong-dae clears off the table at the arrival of their late night snack and enthusiastically greets the deliveryman (cameo by Namgoong Min). Before he leaves, Deliveryman turns around to ask the doctors about his seven-year-old son’s limp. His local clinic recommended that he take his son to a bigger hospital, and Kang-soo offers to schedule an appointment with Ji-hong.
Speaking of Ji-hong, he enters the hospital and finds Hye-jung after her surgery. Nurse Su-jin admires his commitment to his patients even when he’s not on call, but we’re not under that same oblivion. Ji-hong looks around for spectators before taking Hye-jung’s hand and leading her out. But then, a nurse passes by and Hye-jung shakes him off, acting nonchalant.
They go for a walk outside, and Ji-hong shows off his heart-shaped headphone splitter. He plugs it into his phone and plays no reply’s “Where is Love” as they walk hand in hand. They sit down, and Ji-hong gently strokes her hair. Inevitably, their romantic moment is cut short by a call from Kang-soo about another patient, so they walk back to the hospital together, milking every moment they have.
The next day, Deliveryman watches his two sons giggle and play with each other in the hospital lobby. The nurse calls for the younger son, Dal, and they enter Ji-hong’s office. Ji-hong asks Dal to walk to him and back to his father, and his smile falls after watching Dal drag his feet.
In the directors’ meeting, Myung-hoon compliments Tae-ho for bringing up the neurosurgery department’s profits. It seems that the video of Ji-hong’s DBS surgery on the Olympic archer really marketed their department. Myung-hoon reissues their department credit card and vacation time as a reward, and he announces the continuation of the geriatric center project, much to Tae-ho’s dismay.
Ji-hong tells Dal’s father that he needs an MRI to assess the exact cause of Dal’s walking abnormality, and suddenly older brother Hae frantically says that he has to go to the bathroom. His father tries to calm him down, but it’s an emergency and Hae runs out. Dal’s father asks if the MRI is covered under insurance, and Ji-hong clarifies that the costs will be covered if the disease is identified after the scan.
As Hae runs in the hallway, he bumps into Seo-woo and falls. She helps him up and directs him to the bathroom, and he runs off, dropping his phone behind him. Seo-woo waits for him outside the bathroom and hands giggly Hae his phone. She takes his hand to walk him back, and he continues to giggle as he compliments her: “You’re pretty.” Seo-woo admits that she’s been needing some affirmation recently.
Seo-woo asks Hae if he always laughs and giggles this much, and he says yes but adds that it also makes him feel sad. He explains, “My name is Hae (sun), and my brother’s name is Dal (moon). Dal is sick, but I still laugh. I feel sorry because I laugh even when he’s sick.” Then, he proceeds to laugh more.
His father calls for him, and Hae runs to him as he giggles. Seo-woo looks at the child strangely and beckons Yoon-do towards her. He seems reluctant to approach her, given their rocky relationship, but Seo-woo just shares her suspicions about Hae’s behavior. She approaches Hae’s father and tells him that she suspects Hae’s laughing to be associated with a disease. Yoon-do agrees that it could be a gelastic seizure and recommends that Hae get more tests.
Myung-hoon walks through the hospital preaching to his entourage and stops when he sees their hospital in the news for unfair hiring practices. The hospital seems to be undergoing investigation for nepotism, and Myung-hoon erupts with anger, smashing the phone in his office (Nam Gyu-man style).
Kang-soo receives a call from a producer of a documentary show, looking to interview the inspiration for the main character of his webtoon. She insists that this heroine with a difficult past becoming a successful doctor fits with her show’s concept perfectly. Kang-soo says that this doctor wouldn’t be interested and tells the producer to appreciate the webtoon as it is and leave it at that. Even after shutting the producer down, Kang-soo worries what will happen if Hye-jung discovers the webtoon that’s all about her.
Hye-jung walks down the hall on the other side of Ji-hong and signals him to go eat lunch together, but she’s intercepted by Joong-dae and Kang-soo. They suggest going to the cafeteria together, and Hye-jung scolds them for wasting precious time. That scares them off easily, though Hye-jung looks apologetic. She texts Ji-hong that it’s so difficult to eat together, and he responds with his signature puppy emoticon telling her to cheer up.
She signals him again to meet at the cafeteria, and Ji-hong blows a kiss from the other side. Giddy and embarrassed, Hye-jung starts to run off and Ji-hong mirrors her. She tries to get herself together, but she’s smiling like a fool.
Ji-hong grabs a table at the cafeteria, only to be called over by Pa-ran and In-joo at the next table. He’s clearly disappointed but calls over a reluctant Hye-jung to their table when she arrives. Pa-ran senses that they just interrupted the two from sharing a meal together, and Ji-hong confirms his suspicion. Then, he proceeds to introduce Hye-jung to them as his girlfriend. And Hye-jung reciprocates by introducing herself as Ji-hong’s girlfriend. Omo.
In-joo and Pa-ran tease them, saying that they’re going through their honeymoon phase now and then it’s all downhill from here. But In-joo sincerely congratulates them, especially Ji-hong at his age. They promise to keep their secret, and Pa-ran teases them more by making kissy faces, before they high-five each other for being great friends.
Director Jin bursts into Myung-hoon’s office, angered by the bad press surrounding the hospital. A resentful former employee must have reported this, but Myung-hoon assures his father that the prosecutor on the case is a patient of their hospital, so the damage will be minimal.
The hospital scandal seems to be affecting the doctors too — Kyung-joon keeps getting comments from patients about doctors being hired through nepotism. Nurse Su-jin says that she’s heard those comments directed to her as well. She brings up the possibility of Kang-soo’s webtoon turning into a book, and Young-kook says that they should get on Kang-soo’s good side in case he makes it big. So Kyung-joon makes Joong-dae do all the tedious check-ups. Aww, poor Joong-dae.
Yoon-do spots a malformation in Hae’s brain scans and confirms that he has a gelastic seizure. He compliments Seo-woo for recognizing the symptoms, and she notes that he’s already complimented her twice today. Yoon-do admits that she’s becoming a little pitiful, but Seo-woo knows that pity isn’t love. Yoon-do asks if she still likes him, so she asks if he still likes Hye-jung. He laughs and acknowledges that she knows his weakness.
Seo-woo tells Yoon-do that Hae’s brother is a patient of Ji-hong’s, and he tells her to call him. Seo-woo then looks at him earnestly and confesses that she detests him but likes him a lot. He presumes that she likes him because of his desirable circumstances, but Seo-woo explains that at first, that was the case. It was a change from what she’d experienced with suitors who liked her for her position. Yoon-do advises her to consider whether her feelings for him are love or reassurance.
Seo-woo asks what the difference is, and Yoon-do tells her that having confidence in a person and loving a person are different. Even without confidence, you can make it to the end with love. She finds this too reckless, but Yoon-do says you love because it’s reckless.
As In-joo and Pa-ran advise our lovebirds on their workplace romance, Hye-jung gets a call from Seo-woo about their patient. They’ll need to meet together to discuss the treatment options for the brothers, so Ji-hong and Hye-jung head out. Kang-soo runs towards them and tells Hye-jung that he has something to tell her alone, and Ji-hong teases her that it must be nice, implying that everyone has a crush on her. He leaves with a grin, saying that trust is important.
Kang-soo makes Hye-jung promise not to kill him and then shows her the webtoon. She’s not too fond of how her character looks, but she’s mostly irked by how he used her story without permission. He tries to point out the pros and says that he could make her into a star, but she orders him to keep her identity hidden from these producers.
Hye-jung enters the office, and Ji-hong immediately stands up for her to take a seat. Both Yoon-do and Seo-woo sense something different with these two, but Ji-hong claims that they’re just diagnosing their patient. Ji-hong tells Hye-jung to relay the diagnosis to the father, since she’ll be operating on the patient. She smiles widely as she agrees to do so, and Yoon-do looks at them with sad envy.
Hye-jung tells Dal’s father that they need to remove the tumor in Dal’s brain before it further debilitates his motor functions. Dal’s father understands the urgency of the surgery, but he worries about the cost. He’s a single father, and with both of his sons in need of medical care, it’s likely to be a financial burden. Hye-jung tells him to have both his sons admitted to the hospital and says that she’ll talk to the social work office about the costs. He thanks her and moves on to Yoon-do’s office for his consultation for Hae.
Yoon-do tells the boys’ father that Hae also needs surgery to remove a gelastic tumor that’s affecting his behavior. Dad didn’t realize that Hae’s laughing was an expression of pain, but Seo-woo says that he shouldn’t feel guilty, since a gelastic seizure isn’t easy to recognize. Yoon-do recommends treatment as soon as possible, since this tumor may affect Hae’s development, but Hae’s father knows that it’s not financially feasible. He decides to get Dal’s surgery done first, and then he’ll reconsider Hae’s treatment.
Hae and Dal’s father calls all of his contacts, asking to borrow money for the surgeries because loans alone can’t cover the cost. He tears up as he watches his playful young sons, unaware of the burdens their father carries.
Myung-hoon meets with Tae-ho and demands some plans to repair their hospital’s image. The PR director enters the office and informs Myung-hoon that there’s an offer from a TV show to cast Hye-jung because of her fame from Kang-soo’s webtoon. Myung-hoon likes the idea and orders Tae-ho to persuade her into taking this gig.
Seo-woo and Young-kook take a coffee break on a bench outside, and he shares his suspicions about Ji-hong and Hye-jung dating. Seo-woo doesn’t seem to care and says that she’s not trying to compete with Hye-jung anymore, since she’ll lose anyway. Young-kook says that Hye-jung is likable and adaptable, saying that she had to see Hye-jung at their staff dinner. He takes out his phone to show her a video, and they bump heads as they try to look at the screen. They stare at each other for a moment, and Young-kook’s eyes linger on her as she watches the video. Oooh, this boy’s got a crush.
Seo-woo wonders how Hye-jung became this way, and Young-kook affirms that Seo-woo is prettier. She takes that as a friendly compliment (though it seemed more sincere) and proceeds to answer a call from her father. He tells Seo-woo to bring Hye-jung to meet him, and that seems to deflate Seo-woo’s mood once again.
Hye-jung’s father drops by the hospital to drop off food from his restaurant, and Ji-hong greets him. Ji-hong asks if he remembers him and invites Hye-jung’s father to his office. Hye-jung’s father finally remembers him from Grandma’s house, and Ji-hong also reveals that he was Hye-jung’s homeroom teacher. Ji-hong asks Hye-jung’s father if he called his daughter, but he says that Hye-jung doesn’t like him and would probably avoid him.
Hye-jung receives a call from her father, and as expected, she rejects the call. Then, she receives a call from an unknown number. It’s the secretary summoning her to meet with Myung-hoon.
Hye-jung and Seo-woo meet with Myung-hoon, who says that Seo-woo lacks social adaptability and insists that the two should become friends. They remain silent, but Myung-hoon bulldozes on and suggests that Hye-jung take the offer to appear on TV. She says she already refused the offer, but Myung-hoon demands that she should take it to help the hospital during hard times. He says that he would have Seo-woo do it, but she’s not qualified for the appearance. Ouch.
As they leave the office, Seo-woo tells Hye-jung that this is how she lives. She doesn’t gain everything easily, as Hye-jung had once argued. She walks away, and Hye-jung looks regretful.
Ji-hong waits for Hye-jung in the corridor and suggests that she take him home this time. She likes his suggestion and says that it lifted her spirits instantly to see him. She explains that she just met with Seo-woo and Myung-hoon and says, “A person’s life looks good from afar. Up close, it’s cruel.” He asks if she still wants to enter his life, even with this realization, and she’s determined to do so.
Hye-jung opens the passenger door to her car, and Ji-hong bows in honor of her chivalrous gesture. As they drive home, Ji-hong extends his hand outside the window, and Hye-jung narrates with anticipation: “This adventure into another person’s life has begun.”
Yoon-do pulls up to his apartment complex, and Seo-woo is there waiting for him. She’s crying and admits to Yoon-do that she tries to resist but keeps yearning for him when something difficult happens. She hugs him and asks why they can’t be together — they get along and know each other well, after all. He pulls her away and clarifies that it won’t work for him.
Seo-woo insists that she’s just the right height for him. He laughs as he acknowledges this and tells her to head home, since the neighbors could see them. He continues by explaining that there are two options for people like them: to obey their parents’ wishes or disobey them. Seo-woo can’t disobey her parents, but she also can’t meet their expectations. Yoon-do says that it’s a selfish desire to demand others to meet your expectations, and tells Seo-woo to live outside of her parents’ shadows. He heads inside and leaves her alone to cry.
Joong-dae happily puts together rice balls, but he’s interrupted by Kyung-joon, who scolds him for not taking proper care of a patient. Joong-dae insists that he ordered the necessary CT scans, but Kyung-joon scolds him anyway for his miscommunication. Tired of being the punching bag, Joong-dae grabs a fistful of rice and storms out of the room. Kang-soo says that Kyung-joon was a little harsh, but Kyung-joon says that he’s tough so that they don’t make serious mistakes in the future.
Unhappy Joong-dae enters Soon-hee’s bar and orders drinks alone. He asks a favor from her, that she not let any of his staff know that he’s here. He takes a swig of his beer and cries to himself.
In-joo walks into Yoon-do’s house just as he comes out of the shower and makes herself at home. She says she’s comfortable here and warns Yoon-do not to fall for her, claiming that she has a pretty colorful backstory herself. He calls her “aunt” again and assures her that he won’t. Yoon-do is flabbergasted and even more so when his uncle Pa-ran enters the house. In-joo and Pa-ran enjoy hanging out at Yoon-do’s place since he’s so fun to tease, and they fist-bump in solidarity.
Hye-jung parks her car, and Ji-hong keeps his seatbelt on so that she can unbuckle it for him. She gets close to undo the seatbelt but springs back when she realizes their proximity. He undoes the seatbelt himself and baits Hye-jung with his claw machine. She can’t resist the offer, so she joins him inside.
Hye-jung successfully navigates the claw machine, and Ji-hong explains that he wanted a claw machine to compensate for his unfulfilled childhood. Hye-jung says she probably needs something like this, and Ji-hong admits that he met her father earlier that day. She flatly states that she doesn’t like her father and says that she doesn’t want to make amends. He asks if it’s okay for him to meet her father, and he explains that he misses Grandma’s cooking and wants to go to the restaurant.
Hye-jung admits that she misses Grandma’s cooking as well and confesses that she doesn’t cook because she’s afraid that she might be good at it. That would remind her of Grandma, and thinking about Grandma would make her cry. As she tears up, Ji-hong says that he doesn’t know what to do in this situation, and Hye-jung appreciates his honesty. She says that she’ll teach him and wraps his arms around her. Ji-hong comforts her in a warm embrace.
The next morning, Dal’s father assures the boys that surgery is not scary. Hae laughs, and this time his father looks at him with a better understanding. Ji-hong enters the room and shakes Dal’s hand before they head into surgery.
In the surgery, Ji-hong allows Hye-jung to prepare deeper into the brain before starting the official procedure. As he begins to remove the tumor, Hye-jung warns him about the nearby areas that could result in other behavioral deficits. Suddenly, the BAEP machine shows unstable electrical signals and Ji-hong orders his surgery team to take all hands off. He closes his eyes and waits for a moment before checking the signals again. They’re back to normal, and Ji-hong proceeds with the surgery. He gives Hye-jung a quick wink and asks if he’s good. She responds that he is very much so.
Ji-hong exits the surgery and tells Dal’s father that it went well. Ji-hong looks to Hae, who has fallen asleep while waiting, but continues to laugh in his sleep.
Tae-ho meets with Hye-jung and admits that he’s feeling pressure from the higher-ups to persuade her into participating in the TV show. Since Tae-ho is requesting this, she easily decides to follow his wishes. She claims that she has clear likes and dislikes, even with people, and Tae-ho seems pleasantly surprised at her easy concession.
After her meeting, Hye-jung finds Ji-hong outside and leans on him in exhaustion. He feeds her his coffee and offers to cook whatever she wants for dinner. They go to the grocery store and Hye-jung throws in whatever she wants as Ji-hong puts back some of the food. He pretends to feed her a sample before putting it into his own mouth and flinches a little too much at Hye-jung’s mock-hitting fist.
At home, Ji-hong cooks as Hye-jung watches, enamored. He brings over the soup, and Hye-jung gives it a taste. She recognizes it, takes another spoonful, and asks where Ji-hong bought it — it tastes just like Grandma’s cooking.
He tells her that it’s from Granny’s Restaurant, aka her dad’s restaurant, and Hye-jung puts down her spoon. She looks at Ji-hong and narrates: “Entering the other person’s life is the start of dating. Conversely, it’s also welcoming the other person into your own life. It seems like an amicable welcome will be difficult.”
This romance has reached a nice balance, which is something I wasn’t expecting, given the inherent power imbalance between these two. While Ji-hong is still clearly the older and wiser doctor, his relationship with Hye-jung doesn’t necessarily reflect that teacher-student dynamic anymore. They’re starting from scratch, and I’m appreciating the honesty in their growth together. I enjoyed the giddiness throughout this episode (as proven through my collection of screencaps), but that much romance means that we have to compensate with some unfavorable realities. Ah yes, the time has come for this relationship to be a little more real. That’s not to say that the romance in this episode wasn’t real. It was real, fun, and very cute.
I only half-joke that Seo-woo is running around the inferiority circle of doom because she does seem to be making some progress in figuring out herself outside of her parents’ expectations, but she quickly reverts back to digging herself deeper into her self-loathing hole at a moment’s notice. Yoon-do really dropped the mic with all the truths he told Seo-woo, but I don’t know how well her sensitive ego can take his bluntness. It’s a frustrating circle of doom because everything Yoon-do says is the simple truth but Seo-woo just doesn’t know how to take it. And I can’t hate Seo-woo entirely because we’ve gotten front-row seats to her ego being smashed by her father. We’ve seen the cruelty that Hye-jung just realized after witnessing Seo-woo’s life up close, and I think I just need to be patient with Seo-woo’s character. I’m constantly ambivalent about her, but I want to like her a little more.
I loved Namgoong Min’s cameo as a single father, and I’m amazed that I believe his acting despite all the memorable characters he’s taken on recently. It helped that his cameo role had a lot of pathos with those adorable sons who had the cutest matching names, who both needed brain surgery. But I’ll have to admit that I couldn’t help but think back to crazy eyes Namgoong Min when Myung-hoon (the actor also worked with Namgoong Min in that show, remember?) broke his phone in his anger fit. I’m hoping that was a tribute to the crazy character and his anger management problems.
The popularity of this show in Korea doesn’t make too much sense to me, but I appreciate it for what it is. Personally, I’m a big fan of the cast and the show’s execution. I love the chemistry of the cast as a whole, even though we only get bits and pieces of our side characters. The writing of the show isn’t incredible, but I do think it challenges some of the norms with drama heroines. Love her or hate her, Park Shin-hye is the real star of the show. She kind of gets treated like Hye-jung in real life — a lot of people love her, those who linger in the past don’t like her, and some hate her because everyone loves her. It’s a whole mixed of bag of reactions that are as different as night and day, sun and moon, Hae and Dal.