Live Up to Your Name: Episode 5
Now that Yeon-kyung has become disillusioned by Im, he’s determined to make his way in the modern world without her help. However, the more he tries to find a path for himself, the more attention he attracts, and Im has no understanding of the danger he faces in modern-day Seoul. And no matter how much Yeon-kyung tries to stay detached, she keeps getting pulled back into the messes Im makes.
EPISODE 5 RECAP
As Yeon-kyung rushes to the hospital, Ha-ra’s mother and Professor Hwang try to convince Ha-ra to have the surgery, but she insists that she wants to wait for Yeon-kyung, growing increasingly upset. As she screams, her chest begins to hurt. The concerned doctors try to lift Ha-ra onto a gurney, but she grips her bed with both hands and refuses to be moved.
Ha-ra continues to resist, gasping and looking expectantly at the door, but Yeon-kyung doesn’t appear. Just as Ha-ra looks ready to give up, Yeon-kyung bursts into the room, disheveled and missing one shoe. Tears in her eyes, Yeon-kyung takes Ha-ra’s hand and apologizes for being late.
As Yeon-kyung scrubs in, she recalls the fiery inferno she just escaped, and her hand trembles. In the OR, Yeon-kyung grasps her scalpel and remembers Im stopping her from cutting that patient in Joseon, but she shakes the image away. Professor Hwang asks worriedly if she’s all right, and she assures him that she is, but he makes her recite the important points of the surgery before they begin.
Meanwhile, Im enters Shinhye Eastern Medicine Hospital, looking around in wonder at his surroundings. The scene (of men running around in traditional Joseon garments) reminds him of his home, but he makes a face when he realizes that they’re just actors showing how things were done in Joseon.
Im finds his way to the patient rooms and pops his head into one where a man is being examined for a stiff neck. Im barges in when the doctor has the patient lie on his front, saying that the needle needs to be applied on the front, but Im has the man turn on his back instead. The doctor stares at Im in disbelief, and both men keep turning the patient over until the poor man leaves angrily. The doctor is livid, and Im runs away.
Yeon-kyung finds the situation worse than expected once she opens Ha-ra’s chest. Professor Hwang advises that they stop and check with her parents in case something goes wrong and they have to take responsibility, but Yeon-kyung continues, determined to keep her promise to the girl. Hours pass, and Yeon-kyung sweats over her patient in the tense operating room.
Im returns to the lobby, feeling hurt that he was chased off when he only wanted to help. He spots the information desk and hurries over, asking the receptionists how one might get a job as a doctor here. Taken aback, they tell him he has to be skilled if he wants to be scouted by the director. Overhearing, Jae-ha approaches, the two men recognizing each other from their previous encounters.
Jae-ha asks Im if he’s a doctor, which Im confirms, but when Jae-ha asks what university he’s from, Im replies that he heard where one is from doesn’t matter here. Jae-ha agrees that skills are most important, and tells him that he needs to submit the proper documents to apply for a job.
Ha-ra’s surgery ends successfully, and her mother thanks Yeon-kyung, saying she’ll put in a good word for her with the chairman. Yeon-kyung politely declines, asking her to keep her promise with Ha-ra instead, and apologizes once again for being late.
Yeon-kyung escapes to an office and slides down the closed door with a sigh, losing some of her composure now that she’s alone. She fans at her watering eyes, remembering all the strange and scary things she experienced in Joseon, but she ends up telling herself that it was all just a dream.
Director Shin, from Yeon-kyung’s hospital, pays a visit to Director Ma of the Eastern medicine hospital to find out whether his rival saw the video of Im before it was deleted. Director Ma brings up the video immediately, remarking on the irony of such a life-saving application of acupuncture happening in Shin’s hospital. Director Shin pretends that this is the first he’s hearing of it.
Yeon-kyung arrives, surprising Director Shin. Ma explains that she’s an old friend of his grandson, and he had a question for her. Shin pleasantly says that’s fine, but he vows to find and punish the man who dared to perform acupuncture in his hospital, and glares at Yeon-kyung as he leaves, warning her to be clear about where she belongs. Yikes.
Director Ma asks Yeon-kyung about Im, and she thinks quickly, saying that Im never finished his degree in Eastern medicine; he came to the hospital because of a hurt arm and happened to see Ha-ra collapse, and since he’d saved her, Yeon-kyung simply let him go.
As she’s heading back to her own building, she sees Im loitering outside and flashes back to the memory of him grasping for his treasure in the fire. But then she spots both hospital directors approaching and quickly grabs Im and pulls him behind a pillar, pushing him into the wall to hide him.
Im smiles bashfully at the close contact, but she throws him off her as soon as the directors have left. Im asks why the push and pull and walks closer to her, but she throws up her hand to stop his approach.
Yeon-kyung tells Im to go back to Joseon. At his confusion, she says, “We don’t need a doctor like you here. No—a person like you shouldn’t be a doctor.” He protests that she’s seen his skills, but Yeon-kyung objects that skills aren’t enough. If he really wants to be a doctor, she tells him, he can go be one in Joseon.
She knows that he’s a fugitive there, but she tells him to go home, pay for his crimes, and then return to medicine, since he’ll end up in jail if he stays here anyway. She tells him to go his own way and not burden her anymore.
When Yeon-kyung returns to her ward, Nurse Jung can tell that she’s not herself today, and that’s a good thing—for once, she seems human. Yeon-kyung assures her it won’t happen again.
Im arrives at Grandpa’s house just as the old man is wondering about him. He’s racked up a massive taxi bill that Grandpa is forced to pay, since he only knew the name of the clinic but not where it was (forcing the taxi driver to wander around the city). Im wonders if 87,000 won is a lot of money, and promises to pay it back soon. Grandpa notes that Im has changed his clothes and asks where he’s been, but Im says only that it was very far.
The old man asks if “Heo Ga-im” is really his name, but the younger man laughs and corrects him. Shocked, the old man says that Im can stay for the night, and retreats to his bedroom. “Heo Im?” he wonders aloud, and opens an old book written in traditional Hanja. The characters in the pages he opens fade and change, causing Grandpa to note, “It’s true. It’s Heo Im. How did such a great man come here? And why?”
Later that night, Yeon-kyung sneaks into Grandpa’s house and into her old bedroom without turning on the light. She snuggles into bed with a sigh, leaning into the warm body that’s already there… and then recoils with a scream. She starts hitting the person hard with a pillow, then grabs a candlestick threateningly and turns the light on to reveal Im. They stare at each other in shock.
Seeing that he’s wearing her pajamas too, she angrily chases him out of her room. Grandpa emerges at all this commotion, and a round of “How do you know this person?” follows. Yeon-kyung tells Grandpa that Im ignored a dying patient for money and is the kind of doctor that Grandpa calls scum. Grandpa scolds both of them, her for objecting to him giving Im a place to sleep, and Im for going into Yeon-kyung’s room and wearing her clothes. She glares and tells Im to take them off immediately. Im droops, having picked the clothes because he thought they were “elegant,” lol.
The three of them part ways for the night. Grandpa is disturbed that Im and Yeon-kyung are acquainted, but since they seem to hate each other, he tells himself that surely “such a thing” won’t happen again. Yeon-kyung eyes her pilfered pajamas and wonders with a groan why she keeps getting tangled up with Im. I can almost hear Fate’s mocking laughter right now.
In the living room, Im feels the sting of Yeon-kyung’s insults again and promises her that he’ll live here as a proper doctor, even without her help. He finds a pair of scissors and dramatically cuts his topknot off.
Im starts the next day with his usual routine, furiously polishing his needles on a whetstone. Yeon-kyung comes out and observes that he’s cut his hair, against the laws of his time—he must be determined to stay. He tells her that he’ll be gone soon, and she says she hopes so, deliberately calling him “Superintendent Heo.” She leaves after refusing Grandpa’s offer of breakfast.
Yeon-kyung checks on Ha-ra, who’s making good progress; the girl remarks that Yeon-kyung kept her promise after all. Yeon-kyung thanks Ha-ra for helping her keep it, and Ha-ra confesses that she went to the club on purpose to get Yeon-kyung in trouble. She’d hated the doctor at first, then was jealous, but she realizes now that that was when she began to want to live.
Ha-ra asks about “that ajusshi,” guessing that Yeon-kyung was late yesterday because she went somewhere with him. Ha-ra asks if they went far—perhaps to Joseon? Yeon-kyung laughs that that’s impossible, and Ha-ra reflects that Im would be happy to know that she had surgery.
Yeon-kyung exits the room, and a flashback shows us how relieved Im was when Yeon-kyung told him the procedure went well. “He was very happy,” she tells the absent Ha-ra. She thinks of him treating the poor at Hyeminseo, and of him burning his hands in his frenzy to collect his treasure, wondering which side of Im to believe.
Grandpa comes across Im carefully writing his “resume” on a page, and asks him what it’s for. Im shares his big plans: He’s going to get a job at a castle-like hospital and repay Grandpa’s kindness. Grandpa asks if Im thinks of medicine as way to achieve fame and prestige. Im points out that he’s not hurting anyone, and asks if it’s so wrong to gain those things with his own skills. Grandpa tells him crossly that he’d better not dream of leaving this house until he’s repaid that 87,000 won.
Later, when Im asks Grandpa’s assistants to lend him some travel money, they tell him to pay off the debt he has—if he does various household chores, Grandpa will knock 1,000 won off his debt each time. Ha, nicely done, Grandpa.
At Shinhye Hospital, Yeon-kyung sees another car accident victim arrive, and she begins to breathe heavily and have flashbacks of an injured man collapsed on the road, a young girl in a helmet leaning over him. (A motorcycle accident?) Jae-ha appears out of nowhere and embraces Yeon-kyung from behind, and she screams.
Jae-ha brings her tea and asks if she’s all right, telling her to relax a little now that she’s a fellow. He takes her arm to check her pulse, which reminds her of Im doing the same. He asks why she was unreachable yesterday, and she lies and says she was in surgery all day.
Jae-ha says he’s nervous for his symposium later and asks her to come. Yeon-kyung tells him it’s better to drink tea than coffee if his heart is racing, and gives him hers. He watches her go worriedly.
A group of old ladies comes to visit Grandpa for their regular checkups; Grandpa’s burly assistant Byung-ki explains that they come often to be treated for free. A latecomer arrives, cradling a baby pig in her arms, and the other ladies exclaim that she must have relapsed again. At that moment, the newcomer spots Im and exclaims, “Bong-tak-ah!”
Yeon-kyung pays a visit to her psychiatrist friend, asking her what it means if someone has a flashback to an event that doesn’t exist in their memory. The psychiatrist suggests that the memory might have been erased because it was too traumatic for the young child who experienced it, and has resurfaced because of a particular incident—perhaps a related place, object, or person appearing in their life.
At Grandpa’s, the newest old lady sits herself next to Im as she lovingly cradles his hand and calls him “Bong-tak.” One of her friends explains that she has Alzheimer’s; she lost her older son in the market when he was young, and her younger son, Bong-shik, abandoned her and emigrated to another country when he grew up. The old lady refers to the baby pig as Bong-shik, telling Im that his younger brother is sick and won’t eat anything.
She offers the squealing piglet to Im, who recoils in horror. But seeing her pleading face, he takes pity on her and promises to help Bong-shik. Holding the little piggy under one arm, he feels him all over and says that he’s constipated. Im applies a needle to Bong-shik’s backside, pronounces him cured, and sets him down on his little feet. The piglet climbs right back into Im’s lap… and poops on his legs. LOL.
Despite his disgust, Im smiles to see how happy the old woman is to see her “son” cured. She gives him a roll of coupons by way of thanks, telling him to buy something delicious to eat. Im’s eyes widen at finally having some money of his own. Oh, this is going to end well.
Director Shin meets with Professor Hwang to tell him about Director Ma’s meeting with Yeon-kyung. Director Shin thinks the other director is trying to gather information to attack them with, and says that they have to attack first by finding the man and making him testify that he did acupuncture without the hospital’s permission. Since Ha-ra is Yeon-kyung’s patient, they’ll use her to take the blame and take the heat off of Director Shin. Well you’re just as pleasant as your ancestor, aren’t you.
Yeon-kyung ponders the psychiatrist’s suggestion that the flashbacks are triggered by a new person in her life as she recalls her first meeting with Im, but she dismisses the thought as ridiculous.
She notices a commotion in front of the hospital: Im has given a taxi driver his “money” and the man is understandably losing it. Im apologizes and runs off, and the driver calls the police, but Yeon-kyung hurriedly offers to pay. (I love this running joke with Im and various types of transportation, and that the show doesn’t just conveniently find an out for what would be a legitimate problem for a time-traveler from Joseon.)
Im returns to the information desk, showing his resume to the bewildered receptionists. He hears some passing doctors discussing Director Ma’s grandson, and Im’s ears perk up at this mention of a powerful personage. He takes off in pursuit, and eventually finds his way to the hall where Jae-ha is speaking.
Ironically, as Im makes his way there, Jae-ha is extolling the virtues of historical genius Heo Im, the greatest acupuncturist in the East during his lifetime, and whose legacy Jae-ha wants to uphold. Im enters the hall as Jae-ha finishes his speech to thunderous applause. Afterward, Im watches from afar as the two directors flatter an important guest, each lobbying for his favor (I’ll assume he’s the chairman for now).
The chairman leaves for a tour, and Director Shin shares the news that the doctor of the patient in the video was Yeon-kyung, affecting dismay at the situation. Director Ma tells him not to worry and simply proceed according to the rules. Listening from beside his grandfather, Jae-ha frowns at this.
Yeon-kyung also comes to the Eastern medicine branch, worriedly searching for Im. She spots her quarry following Director Ma and Jae-ha, which alarms her, and she runs after them… but is forced to stop short outside the men’s room.
Grandfather and grandson finish their business, only to be confronted by a grinning Im lying in wait for them. Hahaha. He smiles widely and offers baffled Director Ma a low bow (ewwww). Introducing himself with his full name, Im ignores Jae-ha’s protests and gives Director Ma his unconventional resume.
Im says that he knows that his actions may seem strange and not the way things are done here, but explains that his circumstances are desperate, and obsequiously asks for Director Ma’s understanding.
Yeon-kyung cringes as she listens to all this from outside the bathroom door. As Im continues to explain how famous and talented he was in his world, she can’t stand it anymore and enters, covering Im’s mouth. She apologizes to Director Ma and Jae-ha on behalf of her “patient” and drags Im away.
Once they’re alone, Yeon-kyung asks Im if he really thinks he can get a job here. Im assures her that she doesn’t have to worry about him asking her for her help; he’s heard that skills will get you hired here, and all he wants is a chance. “A chance? To do what? To amass treasure again, here?” she asks flatly.
Im sighs and asks her, “Do you know what that money meant to me? Do you know what kind of life I led, why I had no choice but to live that way? Don’t judge me so recklessly based on what you saw and heard for half a day.” He walks away from her.
She runs after Im and stops him, saying that it will be dangerous for him if he goes back. “You said we should go our separate ways,” he reminds her, and this time, she lets him go.
Director Ma reads Im’s resume, which describes his medical career starting from age twelve. Elsewhere, Jae-ha digs up info about the CCTV clip, and Director Shin receives a tip that Im has been sighted.
Im wanders the halls of Shinhye’s Eastern medicine branch, dispirited after his conversation with Yeon-kyung. He passes the chairman, and noticing that the man looks unwell, he follows him in concern. The man takes a few more steps and collapses. Im rushes to his side, whipping out his needle case, and upon diagnosing that it’s his heart, he rips open the chairman’s shirt.
Director Ma, who was nearby, also sees him collapse and sends for a defibrillator. When he sees that Im is treating the chairman, he stops and watches from a distance, noting with approval that Im has placed the first needle correctly.
Yeon-kyung, who has been searching for Im since the two parted, finally finds him as well as Director Ma watching from down the hall. She hurries over to Im and grabs his wrist. He tells her to let go—he can save this man. But Yeon-kyung says that if he gets caught doing acupuncture again, he’ll really be done for this time.
He moves aside reluctantly and watches Yeon-kyung perform CPR before applying electric shock once the defibrillator arrives. Eventually, the chairman’s heart starts beating again, and he regains consciousness.
Director Shin arrives at a run with two security guards in tow, yelling for them to catch Im. Yeon-kyung pleads for Im to run away as the group inexorably barrels toward them.
This episode really brought the conflict that has been building between Im and Yeon-kyung to a head, as both of our protagonists had a bit of space to process their experience in Joseon from the relative safety of Seoul. It’s been clear since the beginning that the two doctors have very different philosophies about the practice of medicine, and now that Yeon-kyung has seen Im’s other face, she’s disgusted by what she sees as his betrayal of the profession. (Interestingly, despite Yeon-kyung’s rejection of Grandpa’s ways, she seems to get her medical ethics from him, as we saw when she described Im as a doctor who has betrayed Grandpa’s moral code.)
It’s a thoughtfully written conflict, because as viewers, we live in Yeon-kyung’s world, and can sympathize with her views about medicine and share her abhorrence of Im’s venality—the show certainly frames his greed for money negatively, with the reddish light reflecting on Im’s face whenever he glories in his treasure. And yet, this show constantly overturns our judgements of Im—we were quickly disabused of the idea that he was a noble healer who lived for the poor, and yet as we see more of his layers, we understand that his greed for money is a product of his circumstances and the unjust class system in Joseon. Nor was that initial impression completely wrong; he clearly cares about his patients, and genuinely finds happiness in their healing, and sadness in their pain.
Yeon-kyung’s harsh judgement of Im is also, as Im points out, a luxury rooted in her privilege as a doctor in today’s society. She has no idea what things are like in Im’s time for a member of his class, or she wouldn’t tell him so flippantly to go home and pay for his crimes, and then go back to medicine. She’s looking at things from a modern criminal justice perspective, clueless of the fact that Im’s life will probably be forfeit now that he’s crossed the king—as far as Im knows, there will likely be no medical career for him now, unless he finds one in 2017.
Despite being a bit frustrated by her attitude, I appreciated seeing Yeon-kyung recall all the good things she’s seen Im do and struggle to reconcile those with the image she saw of him in that burning warehouse. And I found it hilarious that no matter how uncharitable she feels toward him, she has an almost irresistible urge to protect him from danger and get him out of trouble. The chemistry between these two is so strong that at times it feels like they’re drawn into each other’s orbits like magnets. I love it. (And it also makes me nervous, because how can these two have a happy ending if Im has such an illustrious career ahead of him in the historical record?)
We were given a bit more information about Yeon-kyung’s strange episodes this hour; it seems that she experienced a motorcycle accident as a child, and erased the traumatic memory. I’m not a big fan of the repressed-memories trope, but so far the writing of this show has impressed me, so I’m willing to go with it. I wonder if the injured man is her father Heo Jun, and if so, maybe he had planned to stay in the future, but was forced to go back due to a mortal wound? But in that case, why didn’t he ever come back? Did he lose the needles, and if so, where were they all this time and how did they find their way to Im? So many questions, and I can’t wait to find out the answers. Also, more bedtime shenanigans, please.
- 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