Live Up to Your Name: Episode 3
Modern-day Seoul continues to surprise our Joseon doctor as he discovers that despite all the shiny new conveniences it contains, it can be a cold and unwelcoming place. Still, Im is relentlessly cheerful in the face of every obstacle—and he lets neither place nor circumstance stop him when he sees someone in need of help.
EPISODE 3 RECAP
Expecting to be thanked for saving Ha-ra’s life, Im is taken aback at Yeon-kyung’s anger. She slaps him in the face and yells at him for making Ha-ra run with her weak heart, adding that she’ll kill him if anything happens to her. Im stares forlornly after Yeon-kyung as she takes Ha-ra away, before security drags him outside. Ha-ra says, “Your boyfriend didn’t do anything wrong,” but Yeon-kyung ignores her.
A police detective (let’s call him Grumpy) arrives to arrest Im, and poor Im doesn’t understand as he explains that he only performed acupuncture on a critical patient. Grumpy points over at the Eastern Medicine wing of Shinhye hospital, and says that Im should have done it over there, then. The police force the protesting Im into their cruiser and take him away.
Yeon-kyung and hoobar Min-jae check the heart monitor Ha-ra wears and see that her heart had, in fact, stopped and restarted. Min-jae asks if Yeon-kyung brought Ha-ra out of cardiac arrest without a defibrillator, but Yeon-kyung remembers Im mentioning that he restarted Ha-ra’s heart.
In disbelief, Yeon-kyung goes to the security room and asks them to show her the CCTV footage of the incident. She and the security guard watch in amazement as Im brings Ha-ra back from the brink with acupuncture.
Meanwhile, Im cowers at the police station, and we see through his eyes the unexplained horrors he observes: detectives abusing people with their notebooks, people locked up like animals, a restricted area only staff can access. Grumpy asks his name, misunderstanding it and writing it as “Heo Ga-im,” and takes down his age (thirty years old). He reaches out a hand for Im’s ID, only for Im to tentatively reach out and take his hand. Ha!
Im hands over his actual ID, a wooden block with his name inscribed on it, which baffles Grumpy. As Grumpy excuses himself for a bit, seemingly having stomach troubles, Im miserably wonders why he’s being treated this way for saving someone’s life. Thinking back to Joseon interrogation methods, he wonders if he’s going to be flogged as punishment.
At that moment, Yeon-kyung’s grandfather enters the station with a police officer, dragging along a man he’s accusing for selling fake products. The man swears the branch Grandpa is waving around is genuine aloeswood, but Grandpa snaps that it’s obviously doctored. Im, watching the two men argue, also declares that it’s fake.
They all look at him in surprise, and he gives them an encyclopedic summary of the evidence. The police officer drags the man away, and Grandpa looks Im up and down as though he can’t believe his eyes.
Grumpy finally comes back and irritably throws Im into a holding cell. Im peers through the bars and, remembering feeling Grumpy’s pulse when he was arrested, says that the reason the detective’s stomach is upset is because he used too much “energy” (ahem) last night. Grumpy draws close and whispers, “How’d you know?” Im just gives him a cheeky grin.
Outside, Grandpa repeats, “Heo Ga-im?” but mutters that such a thing can’t happen twice.
Im places a warm cloth on a shirtless and twitchy Grumpy’s stomach, saying with a smirk that the man’s body parts (he glances down at the man’s fly, omo) are overtired. Im is in the midst of applying needles when Grumpy spots Yeon-kyung in the doorway and flinches, causing Im to stab his foot.
Outside the station later, Yeon-kyung asks him if he’s a con artist, or perhaps an unlicensed quack. Offended, Im says that he’s the best doctor in Joseon. Yeon-kyung says she noticed he pierced all ten of Ha-ra’s fingers, and asks who he learned that from. And for that matter, she asks, how long did it take him to learn it? Three months? (This is how highly she thinks of acupuncturists.)
Im asks why she’s interrogating him, and she asks who he thinks he is to save her patient with acupuncture. He tells her his name, his hometown, and that he is from Hanyang (old Seoul) in Joseon, but she just walks away from him, fed up.
He follows her, saying that he was simply answering her question. She turns around and says she doesn’t care if he jokes or lies, but he can’t fool around with acupuncture—someone could die. She warns that if she sees him doing it again, she’ll take him to the police herself.
She gives him some painkillers and anti-inflammatories, telling him that they’re for his arm, and he hunches over, near tears in sudden realization of the pain. Yeon-kyung can’t help smiling a bit at this, and she tells him to come to the hospital tomorrow so she can change his dressing.
Im is surprised at her kindness; he observes that although she doesn’t think he’s crazy anymore, she doesn’t seem to trust him either. Yeon-kyung replies that she’s taking responsibility like he said… er, as a doctor, that is, since Im got hurt because of her patient. Right.
“Responsibility,” repeats Im with a big smile. He mentions Ha-ra, but this makes Yeon-kyung angrily berate him for being proud of his dumb luck in saving her, especially when Im made her run to begin with. As Yeon-kyung warns him to stay away from the girl, Im tries to explain about Ha-ra’s emotional state, but Yeon-kyung is gone, and he pouts that she always speaks her piece and leaves.
Im begins his hunt for a place to stay for the night, announcing himself the way he would in Joseon by declaring himself a traveler in need of lodging for the night. But it doesn’t go so well: He tries a day care but gets scared off by the alarm when he knocks on the window, he rings the bell of a house and gets cursed at, and then, he stands in the parking lot of an apartment complex and resorts to calling out for whoever can hear. The residents just yell at him to go home if he’s drunk, and he’s soon chased off by security.
Yeon-kyung stops by her grandfather’s place to tell Bok-man (the dog) about her insane day, all because of a “very weird man.” Grandpa comes out to hear her asking why Bok-man didn’t finish his rice and grumbles that she cares more about the dog than her old grandfather. Grandpa gives Bok-man some kimchi fried rice instead and asks hopefully if Yeon-kyung will spend the night, but she says she has to go.
He reminds her to eat properly and gives her some herbal medicines, but she refuses them. Yeon-kyung says goodbye to Bok-man, but not before assuring him that she’s doing well so that he won’t have to worry.
In her car, she smacks her own head in frustration and remembers the time before her mother died, when she’d been fascinated by acupuncture and had dreamed of inheriting Grandpa’s clinic.
Now, she looks at a picture of herself with her mom. “Don’t be upset,” she says to the picture, as she promises her mom that she’ll become an amazing doctor.
Im wanders the streets, dismayed by the disappearance of hospitality. He finally finds a nook to relieve himself in… except on the other side of that wall, Bok-man perks up, and his owner comes out to see why. Seeing what Im’s doing, Grandpa is quick to scold him, at least until the two men recognize each other from the police station.
Back at Shinhye Hospital, Professor Hwang tells Yeon-kyung to keep quiet about Im saving Ha-ra, since he’s worried that Yeon-kyung will get in trouble. Yeon-kyung points out that he’s more worried about his own skin, while fellow doctor Kang Man-soo listens from around a corner.
When she returns to the ward, Yeon-kyung’s friend, Nurse Jung, tells her that Ha-ra has also asked that Yeon-kyung not tell her parents about Im. Nurse Jung adds pointedly that sometimes, it’s good to listen to one’s patients.
Yeon-kyung finds both of Ha-ra’s parents with her, and apologizes for what happened. Her father thanks Yeon-kyung profusely for saving his daughter, and then yells at his wife for leaving Ha-ra. As the couple argues, Ha-ra miserably curls in on herself, and Yeon-kyung firmly tells Ha-ra’s parents to leave so the patient can rest.
Back at the house, Im asks Grandpa why his clinic is called Hyeminseo (where he used to work), when he’s heard that establishment closed down long ago. Grandpa simply frowns at him, and Im assures him hastily that he’s not crazy. “Did I say you were?” asks the old man.
Im enters the gate, observing the paraphernalia of traditional Korean medicine, and Grandpa tells him he can spend the night outside. When Im’s stomach grumbles, Grandpa takes him to the kitchen, and Im marvels at the quantity of kimchi fried rice Grandpa sets before him. Grandpa just says that he’s lucky Bok-man didn’t want to eat it as Im gratefully falls upon the food. Oh dear.
Im also takes the medicine Yeon-kyung gave him, chuckling bashfully at the thought of her “taking responsibility,” although he grumbles about her moodiness. At the bitter taste, he downs a carton of milk he sees on the counter.
A man arrives at Shinhye Hospital the next morning, and he has the same face as Jin-oh from the royal infirmary back in Joseon—but this is YOO JAE-HA (also played by Yoo Min-kyu).
Jae-ha goes to the ER, where a tired Yeon-kyung is trading barbs with Man-soo, who is making sexist remarks about how unkempt she looks. Jae-ha teases that he’s seen her looking much worse, and Yeon-kyung punches him playfully, looking pleased to see him. She goes for a high-five, but he pulls her in for a hug, prompting giggles from nearby nurses.
She extricates herself, and he tells her that he came straight here from the airport to see her, referring to her by name. She puts him in a headlock for not calling her “Noona,” but he protests that they’re only a year apart, and besides, he’s not a kid anymore.
She counters that he’ll always be her younger brother and declines his dinner invitation, although she says she’s sincerely glad to see him again. He watches her leave, reflecting that after two years away, he only got five minutes with her.
Grandpa’s staff screams to find a snoring, half-naked Im passed out on the clinic floor. Their screams wake Im up, and he screams too—but suddenly feeling his bowels clench, Im rushes out to the bathroom.
Grandpa’s found the empty carton of (spoiled) milk, and shakes his head at the hapless man, telling his male assistant that he’ll need his help. When a pale Im exits the bathroom, Grandpa’s female assistant recoils at the mess Im has made… on the floor. Oh, gross.
Im sees Bok-man and excitedly goes over to him, petting him and hugging him despite Grandpa’s warning that the dog hates strangers. Im remarks happily that the dog is the first one to be glad to see him since he came here, and asks his name. Grandpa tells him, and Im compliments the name… until realization hits. Im sees Bok-man’s food dish and promptly gags.
Inside the building, Grandpa muses over the strange comments Im made as he searches Im’s belongings. He gasps when he finds the magical needle case. “How could this happen again?” Grandpa wonders.
Jae-ha visits his grandfather, who is the director of the Shinhye Eastern Medicine Hospital. The old man is preparing to set up VIP wards so he can hopefully beat the director of Shinhye Hospital for the chairman position.
Grandpa leaves Im with his male assistant, and Im proceeds to make a nuisance of himself in various ways, eventually getting himself thrown out onto the street. Searching for a way to get to the hospital, Im finds a child’s bike and mounts it, careening down the hill until he crashes into the front of a truck. He mumbles to the shocked woman inside to call for an ambulance.
Yeon-kyung watches Ha-ra, who has refused surgery, and thinks of the girl’s mother pleading for her to convince Ha-ra to get her lifesaving surgery.
Just then, Shinhye Hospital’s Director Shin Myung-hoon (identical to the corrupt war minister in Joseon and also played by Ahn Suk-hwan) calls Yeon-kyung into his office, furious at the video of Im saving Ha-ra that has been anonymously uploaded to the hospital website. Yeon-kyung says that Im is just a passerby and assures the director that he won’t be back.
Yeon-kyung runs into Man-soo next, who asks if she’s cheating on her boyfriend with Jae-ha. She asks Man-soo if he’s the one who uploaded the video of Im, and he freely admits it. He knows that Yeon-kyung bailed Im out, and pointedly remarks that treating someone without a medical license probably carries heavy penalties.
Meanwhile, Im is on his way to the hospital, clutching at the side of the ambulance and trying to convince himself he’s riding a horse. Im notices that the EMT looks ill, and though he keeps telling himself that he’s the patient, in the end, he’s unable to resist.
He has the EMT lie on the gurney and fights both his nausea and the rocking motion of the ambulance to treat the man’s indigestion. (Dude, needles in a moving vehicle?!) By the time they arrive at the hospital, both have returned to their places.
Yeon-kyung is paged to the ER, and she arrives to find the nurses giggling as Im proudly waits for her. She takes him outside to change his dressing and gives him the supplies, telling to do it himself once a day now that he knows how. She tells him to come back in a week to get his stitches out, but not before then, and to leave through the back gate.
With a hangdog expression, Im asks what he’s done wrong now. He asks if she knows what he had to do to return to the hospital as she asked, but she tells him he shouldn’t use an ambulance for such a trivial purpose, or keep lying that he’s her boyfriend—doesn’t he consider how embarrassing that is for her, at her workplace?
Im asks about Ha-ra, and Yeon-kyung sighs that she’s tired; she’s been looking after her patient all night, and now that patient is refusing surgery. She doesn’t have time to deal with Im’s questions, or wonder who he is, or whether she should get him put in jail. “So hurry up and leave before anyone sees you,” she tells him. “Get lost.”
Im finds a spot to sit down and bandage his knee, which he hurt in the bicycle accident. Just then, he spots Ha-ra leaving the hospital in street clothes and calls out to her. Ha-ra ends up fixing his wound for him as she scolds him for always getting hurt. Now a bit more companionable with each other, Im innocently asks Ha-ra what a “boyfriend” is, and she explains that it’s a term for a lover. Surprised, Im now finally understands why Yeon-kyung was so upset.
He asks Ha-ra if she has a place to go, and says he’s envious when she says (a bit too strongly) that she does. Suddenly spotting Yeon-kyung, Im scrambles to hide, but not before smacking Ha-ra on the head so that she cries out, alerting Yeon-kyung.
Yeon-kyung approaches, and Ha-ra asks if the doctor is here to convince her to get surgery. Yeon-kyung says that it’s Ha-ra’s decision, but there are many people who don’t get the privilege of making that choice. She tells Ha-ra that the future she’s thoughtlessly throwing away is one that many are desperate for.
Yeon-kyung admits that she doesn’t have the best bedside manner, but says that she keeps her promises: “My promise to save you. Because that’s why I became a doctor.” With that, she leaves.
Im, who has been listening from his hiding place, remembers little Yoon-yi, and now we hear the words he’d whispered in her ear: “Hang on a little longer. I will come back and save you for certain.”
A bit later, Ha-ra returns to her hospital room, where her parents and Yeon-kyung are waiting. She announces that she’ll have the surgery, as long as her mom and dad promise to get divorced. She tells them that she knows they’re unhappy together, and since she knew that they were only staying together for her sake, she’d wanted to die so that they could get divorced and finally be happy. Aw.
But now, she says she’s realized that she doesn’t want to die. “I want to ride a rollercoaster with my friends. I want to grow up and dance at a club,” she says, looking over at Yeon-kyung. “I want to have an awesome dream. Mom and Dad, let’s all be happy together.” Her mom hugs her, sobbing.
Later, Ha-ra tells Yeon-kyung that it was “that ajusshi” who convinced her to change her mind. We see how through a flashback:
Im had told Ha-ra that the hardest thing for a doctor was losing someone they wanted to and could have saved. “In my world, there are more people that I can’t save than people I can. But what can I do? Human medicine isn’t advanced enough to treat their diseases. But when I lose patients I could have saved, that day I cannot eat or sleep. I feel so resentful.” After saying this, he had laughed ruefully.
He went on to tell her that an illness can be cured only if the patient is willing to overcome it—the doctor’s job is only to help their patients in that fight. “That day, I didn’t save you. You saved yourself, with your will to survive,” Im had told Ha-ra.
Ha-ra finishes recounting this to Yeon-kyung in the present and asks if Im really is a doctor from Joseon.
Inside the neighboring Eastern medicine building, Jae-ha’s grandfather, Director Ma, watches the CCTV video of Im and orders his secretary to find out who the man is.
A hungry Im goes back to Shinhye Hospital, and upon seeing Yeon-kyung in the lobby, he’s about to flag her down when he sees her with Jae-ha. Jae-ha presents her with a bouquet, and as he watches her laugh and chase Jae-ha, Im’s face falls. “So she does know how to smile,” he notes with a sad smile of his own.
Im lingers outside, and soon sees multiple ambulances arriving with what the EMTs call traffic accident victims. Im doesn’t know what that means, but he remembers the word being mentioned during Yeon-kyung’s fainting spells. Jae-ha passes by and confirms that she’s in the ER, and Im darts over there.
He finds her in a daze in the center of the hectic ward, her stethoscope lying at her feet. Im sees a gurney headed straight for her, a long metal rod poking dangerously over the edge. He dashes forward, enfolding her in his arms from behind and catching the blow on his own back… and they both disappear.
Im awakens on a forest floor, Yeon-kyung lying unconscious next to him. With shock and dismay, he recognizes Hanyang in the distance.
And then he sees a very large tiger approaching them, growling softly. Panicked, he grabs for a confused Yeon-kyung, dragging her upright and telling her to run.
This episode really gave us more insight into both of our protagonists’ philosophies about medicine, and the relationship they each have to their patients. We’ve mostly seen Im in a comedic light so far, and while he plays the humor perfectly (I’m about to rename Kim Nam-gil the Man of a Thousand Expressions), here he shows us that in large part, his antics are a coping mechanism. I was struck by how he often laughs when he feels sad or uncomfortable, as during his deeply vulnerable conversation with Ha-ra. The mercenary doctor trying to escape his low birth is definitely one side of him, but now I can see that he’s also used it as a shield to survive in a world that has continuously rejected and mocked him. (We also got to see how hilariously cheeky he is in this episode, which I loved.)
Yeon-kyung, on the other hand, cares greatly for her patients and takes her responsibilities to them very seriously, but for her, that duty encompasses only the physical body. She’ll do whatever she can as a surgeon, but she doesn’t see it as part of her job to solve her patients’ psychological issues. And technically, it isn’t—but it’s interesting how this ties in with the contrast between Eastern medicine’s philosophy of looking at the body holistically, versus the Western tradition of dividing up the body’s systems and treating them separately. It may also be the reason why Im was able to reach Ha-ra when Yeon-kyung couldn’t; he was aware of the pain she was feeling in her heart, whereas Yeon-kyung could only see the illness in the girl’s body.
Im has clearly been crushing on Yeon-kyung since he first saw her, but in this episode we saw the first signs that she’s also interested in him. At the very least, she worries about him and wonders about him (and gets irritated at him every five minutes, which may as well be a flashing neon sign indicating “Fated Romance”). The two actors have wonderful chemistry, and I enjoyed their scenes together, although I started to lose my patience near the end of the hour with Yeon-kyung always asking him questions and not really listening to his answers—but then again, most of what Im says is pretty unbelievable, and she’s a sleep-deprived surgeon, so I can understand why she reacts that way. I’m glad she was able to learn a bit more about what kind of person Im is and of the shared passion they have for helping their patients through Ha-ra.
It seems clear now that Grandpa has seen a time traveler before, and all signs point to that person being Heo Jun. I wonder if this drama is planning to go the route of Heo Jun having gained some of his knowledge from his trip(s) to the future, and thus having great success and fame as a medical genius. There are also at least two reincarnations wandering around, although it’s strange that they’re both villains from Im’s past. I’m not sure what to think of the mechanism for time travel; as far as I can tell, one needs to have the magic needles and be in mortal danger to travel in time, and that seems cribbed right from Queen In-hyun’s Man. Now that our duo is in Joseon, I’m looking forward to seeing them navigate Im’s world, and for Yeon-kyung to be the fish out of water. I’m not sure it was necessary to have that random tiger at the end, considering Im is already wanted for treason, but I guess I’ll roll with it. Hijinks ahoy!
- Live Up to Your Name: Episode 1
- Premiere Watch: Manhole, Live Up to Your Name
- Acupuncturist versus surgeon for Live Up to Your Name
- Jaw-dropping, club-hopping Kim Ah-joong in Live Up to Your Name
- Kim Nam-gil flaps his wings to travel back to the past in Live Up to Your Name
- The needle vs. the knife for Live Up to Your Name
- Time-slip drama Live Up to Your Name gets a time slot on tvN
- Kim Nam-gil, Kim Ah-joong offered new tvN time-slip drama