Live Up to Your Name: Episode 6
Im begins to adjust to his new life as he learns more about how today’s world works, and he’s coming to realize that while 21st century Seoul might not have the constrictions of Joseon, it has some harsh rules of its own. And as Yeon-kyung slowly opens her heart to Im, she struggles to decide what kind of relationship she wants to have with him—if she wants to have one at all.
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EPISODE 6 RECAP
Director Shin bursts into Shinhye’s Eastern medicine branch to tell his minions to catch Im, and Yeon-kyung tells Im to hurry up and run away. Im flees just as Director Shin arrives, but when the director sees the downed chairman, he abandons his pursuit. Im watches from behind a wall as Yeon-kyung and her colleagues transport the chairman away.
Jae-ha finds Im outside the hospital and takes him aside to talk. Spotting them, Director Ma (from the Eastern medicine hospital) orders his secretary to follow Im and find out where he goes.
Im asks Jae-ha when he can start work now that he’s submitted his documents. Jae-ha asks in disbelief if Im really thinks that one sheet of paper will allow him to work at this hospital, but Im just requests an opportunity to demonstrate his skills.
Jae-ha asks if Im has a license, and at Im’s confusion, points out that not only does Im not have a license, he also caused trouble at Yeon-kyung’s hospital—does he know how difficult he’s made things for her? Jae-ha tells Im that he’s a nuisance to Yeon-kyung.
Back at work, Yeon-kyung worries about whether Im got away safely. Professor Hwang arrives to berate her about helping Im escape, but she distracts him with their newest patient, the economic secretary to the president, who is in prep for a coronary bypass. Hwang immediately drops the subject, and they head to the OR, where Directors Shin and Ma watch the high-profile surgery from the viewing window.
Grandpa wakes Im with loud calls of “BONG-TAK-AH!” Im jerks awake and sulks that he said he didn’t want to be called by that name as he covers his ears.
He suddenly recalls Grandpa’s assistant Byung-ki telling him the previous day that a doctor who practices without a license will be arrested, and that the process for preparing to take the licensing exam takes twelve to eighteen years. Im hangs his head, and then violently takes out his frustration on his blanket and pillow.
A subdued Im emerges into the courtyard, where Grandpa asks if things went badly yesterday—did the hospital refuse to accept a quack like him? Im objects that Grandpa doesn’t know who he really is, but the old man tells him to get to sweeping the floor. Im pouts that he’s not a servant, but Grandpa points out that he has nothing better to do.
As Im trudges away, Grandpa watches him in pity, understanding that Im must have found out that it’s not as easy to achieve his dreams as he’d thought. “When you’re upset, physical work helps,” he says with a sigh. Aw.
Byung-ki waits for Jae-sook (Grandpa’s other assistant) to arrive for the day and offers her milk and bread for breakfast, but she wrinkles her nose at them. Jae-sook watches Im mope around the courtyard with his broom and gives Byung-ki and accusing look, but Byung-ki says defensively that he only told Im the truth.
Byung-ki offers Im some milk instead, but Im shakes his head with a pout, which Byung-ki mirrors. (These two are adorable.) Byung-ki then pats Im on the arm reassuringly, telling him that it’s not so bad here.
Im slumps down on a wall and remembers the rest of his conversation with Jae-ha, who told him that Yeon-kyung tried hard to protect Im, and that Im should disappear on his own before he causes her any more trouble.
Im thinks of all the times Yeon-kyung hid him from sight, covered for him, or warned him of danger. “She should have told me,” sighs Im. “I can’t work at the palace, and I can’t be a doctor here, either.” With that, he hangs his head.
Director Shin is in high spirits since the economic secretary’s surgery went off without a hitch, and because of that, he tells Yeon-kyung to take a day off. He beckons Professor Hwang close and tells him to forget about “that other thing,” and Yeon-kyung, overhearing, smiles in relief.
Jae-ha catches up to Yeon-kyung afterward, congratulating her on the successful surgery, but complains that she missed his speech yesterday. He asks if they can have dinner tonight, but she tells him to invite the girl he’s pursuing these days before sauntering off. He sighs to himself that he’s trying, but she keeps standing him up.
Yeon-kyung passes an EMT who recognizes her and asks if she’s okay, saying that he’s been looking for her. He was there that day Im saved her (and inadvertently took her to Joseon); the EMT describes how quickly Im flew to protect her, the metal rod piercing his back deeply.
With that in mind, Yeon-kyung remembers accusing Im of hugging her deliberately to take her to Joseon. “It must have really hurt,” she says to herself now.
Im spends the day morosely loitering around the clinic, cleaning half-heartedly and trying to help with grandpa’s patients, though he gets shooed away at once. The next morning, he wakes in the same mood, until an idea suddenly strikes him.
Im finds Byung-ki watching Jae-sook, who’s on the phone, and suggests that Byung-ki give Jae-sook green tea instead of milk to gain her favor, since she has a bad liver. Byung-ki turns to Im suspiciously and asks how he knows—are Im and Jae-sook close? Im points to Jae-sook, who is now cursing out the drug company rep she’s on the phone with. LOL.
Grandpa interrupts Im’s little consultation and gives him a medical bag to carry, telling him to come along.
Yeon-kyung sees an angina patient named Mi-young leaving the hospital, even though her surgery is scheduled for the next day, and asks her colleague Man-soo what’s going on. Man-soo says that he tried to keep the angina patient, but she insisted on cancelling her surgery for personal reasons.
Yeon-kyung follows Mi-young out and warns her that she needs surgery as soon as possible. She asks if the problem is money, but Mi-young, offended, asks if doctors only see their patients as money. Yeon-kyung responds, “No, we see them as lives to be saved.” She tells Mi-young to be careful and come back for surgery as soon as she can.
Jae-ha overhears a couple of other doctors sniping that he only got his position as the head of the new VIP ward through his connections, and he politely acknowledges it. Once in his office, he vows to start over fresh to prove himself.
Im follows Grandpa to the stretch of Seoul Station where the homeless gather, and Im grimaces in disgust as Grandpa treats them. Grandpa ignores Im’s attitude and asks each time where he should apply the needles, asking Im to pass them to him. One of the homeless men watches in amazement as Im answers each question correctly.
As Grandpa keeps working, however, Im notices that Grandpa’s hand has begun to shake, and noticing Im’s gaze, Grandpa sends him on an errand. The curly-haired man that’s been watching asks Grandpa if he’s preparing to hand over his clinic to Im because of the hand tremors, but Grandpa doesn’t reply.
As Grandpa and Im are leaving, a man named Heo, who has been sleeping sitting up the whole time, suddenly falls over. They rush to his side, and Grandpa diagnoses acute indigestion. He inserts needles into Heo’s hands, but when he goes to put a third in his leg, Grandpa’s hand begins to shake badly.
Im puts his hand over Grandpa’s, and asks a silent question. Grandpa yields, and Im takes the man’s pulse and says he thinks it’s not just indigestion. He asks what exactly Heo ate, and the curly-haired man replies that he only drank—a lot of alcohol, and then lots of water. Checking the man over again, Im describes what sounds like water intoxication. He recalls past patients with similar symptoms until he lands on the right treatment, dramatically pulls out the magic needles from his belt, and gets to work.
At the hospital, Jae-ha sees a patient with facial nerve palsy, and suspecting a deeper cause, he orders an MRI. The MRI shows a tumor that’s pressing on the man’s auditory nerve, causing the facial palsy. The tumor needs surgery, but Jae-ha claims that he can relieve the palsy himself.
We see the two doctors practicing their art in juxtaposition to each other. Im is precise and confident as Grandpa and the homeless men watch him in fascination. Im flicks a needle to make it vibrate, and Grandpa’s eyes widen to see a technique he’s only read about in books. Meanwhile, Jae-ha sets to work with modern acupuncture methods, using electric current on the needles, and a little heated pod instead of traditional moxibustion.
Heo comes awake with a gasp, and the men around him praise Im’s skills while Grandpa gives him a big smile. Jae-ha’s patient’s face has also returned to normal, and he and his wife thank Jae-ha profusely.
The curly-haired man repeatedly embraces Im, who stiffens awkwardly. A whistle sounds, and the homeless gather their belongings and run from the police, the curly-haired man pressing a plastic bag into Im’s hands at the last minute.
On the way home, Im looks inside the bag to see two half-cobs of corn and a sweet potato, and remembers a poor patient paying him in potatoes back in Joseon. Im mutters that they should have just thanked him with words, but Grandpa overhears, and tells him that’s a meal for those men. Grandpa points out how pleased Im was earlier after saving Heo, and says that he was born to be a doctor.
“Whether it’s a palace or a house, a satiated person or a hungry person, you feel happy when you save them, and enjoy treating them—isn’t that what a doctor does?” Grandpa says before leaving on an errand, instructing Im to go home without him.
Im ponders the word “home” as he walks back to Hyeminseo Clinic. He’s surprised to see Yeon-kyung folding laundry when he arrives (she addresses him as “Heo Bong-tak-ssi,” ha) and asks if she got fired because of him. She says she nearly did, and observes that he hasn’t left yet. He asks for a few more days.
Avoiding his gaze, she tells him he can stay for a while if he has nowhere to go. Im runs up to her in surprise, and she clarifies that it’s better than wandering around and causing trouble. Im laughs happily.
Spotting her bras, Im asks what they are, picking one up and guessing that it’s some kind of clothing. She tells him not to worry about it and grabs for it back, but he won’t let go since he’s curious. HAHA. They have a little tug of war and she slaps his hand, which is when Jae-ha arrives in the courtyard.
Im sits at a bit of a distance as Yeon-kyung and Jae-ha talk. Yeon-kyung describes Im as her grandfather’s guest, staying here for now. Im interjects that she just said he could stay, and Yeon-kyung glares at him. She declines dinner again, and says goodbye to Jae-ha.
Grandpa returns home in a good mood, reflecting that his guest is indeed the great Heo Im. He spots Jae-ha leaving, and wonders at the unpleasant look on the young man’s face as he stares at the house.
Jae-ha practices kendo on his own after, remembering all the times he’s witnessed Yeon-kyung and Im being cozy with each other. The memories do not make him happy as he angrily whacks his practice dummy.
Grandpa prepares a huge platter of meat for dinner, causing Im great excitement, but Yeon-kyung once again declines to eat with them.
Later that night, Yeon-kyung surprises Im when she finds him with his head in the fridge. He explains through a mouthful of seaweed that he was hungry; he barely ate dinner because things were so uncomfortable after Yeon-kyung refused to eat.
Yeon-kyung introduces him to the wonderful world of instant ramyun, taking him through the steps of her own ritual, starting with sticking her chopsticks behind her ear. She even shows him how to use the electric kettle as Im adorably copies her every movement.
He asks suspiciously if she’s going to kick him out after feeding him one last meal, but she just smiles and tells him to eat. She asks Im if they’ve met somewhere in the past, maybe when they were young, but he just shakes his head in reply.
Yeon-kyung turns the TV on, and Im joins her on the couch, fascinated by the box with people inside. They watch together as she flips channels. Im imitates her laughter at a variety show, embraces her in fright at a horror movie, and leans closer to the TV with a grin when he sees a K-pop girl group performing (Yeon-kyung side-eyes him and changes the channel, lol).
She gives him the remote and tells him to watch and learn, and laughs to see his animated expressions before she eventually falls asleep on the couch. Im falls asleep in front of the TV, and when Yeon-kyung wakes up a bit later, she observes that he must be tired from treating the homeless as she covers him with her own blanket. She examines his face, remembering him telling her not to judge him so easily, and wonders what kind of person Im really is.
In Joseon, Heo Jun, still in his cell, examines the picture of Yeon-kyung and her mom that he found in her bag. He notes that she still loves candy, and eats one that she left behind. “So he met our Kyung-ie. The two of them must be deeply connected,” he says with a smile.
The next morning, it’s Yeon-kyung who’s woken by Grandpa calling for Bong-tak, and she finds Im sweeping the steps. He’s taken aback by her sleep mask, but he says she’s still the most beautiful in the world before asking if she had sweet dreams… all in modern slang that he learned from TV. Hahaha.
She escapes inside once he starts nagging her to exercise and “wake up her organs,” and we flash back to the previous night, when Im awoke to find the blanket covering him. He looked at his hands, remembering the fire, when Yeon-kyung had told him to protect his hands because they’re a doctor’s life. Im looks at his hand again now and smiles.
Im attacks the cleaning with thoroughness this time, impressing Grandpa and making the staff wonder what’s gotten into him. Just then, the old lady with the piglet arrives, calling for Bong-tak, and Yeon-kyung is surprised to see Im happily greeting her as “Mother.”
Im talks and laughs with the old lady as Jae-sook and Yeon-kyung watch. Jae-sook says that Im said he hated pigs, but now he’s happily playing with little Bong-shik, making the old woman smile for the first time since her son left. Jae-sook remarks that she was annoyed by Im at first, but now she likes him, and Grandpa seems to trust him and have plans for him.
The old lady gives Im a cow bezoar, and he asks in shock where she got such precious medicine. She tells him to eat it, since he used to cry for it when he was little. Tears come to Im’s eyes, and he asks how she knew. “To give this to my mom… to save her…” he breaks off, too emotional to continue.
We see Im as a child, thrown out onto the street and accused of stealing. He cried and begged for the medicine to save his mom, but got kicked and beaten instead. Im tries to give the bezoar back to Bong-tak’s mother, but she pats him comfortingly and tells him to eat it. Crying now, he eats half and feeds the rest to her. Yeon-kyung smiles as she watches them together.
Meanwhile, little Bong-shik has wandered over near Yeon-kyung. Im hastily picks him up, saying bashfully that his little brother must really like her as he holds the little piggy to his chest. SO CUTE.
After they see Bong-tak’s mom off, Yeon-kyung takes Im grocery shopping with her. He gazes around the supermarket in awe, and then rides around happily on a shopping cart until Yeon-kyung stops him. They sample meat and try out massage chairs, Yeon-kyung grinning to see his ecstatic reactions. When they pass a t-shirt with English writing on the front, he rubs at his own chest wistfully, so of course she buys it for him. (Who would be able to resist, I ask you?)
At the same time, Director Ma shows up at the clinic to see Grandpa, although we aren’t privy to their conversation.
Im and Yeon-kyung sit on a park bench to have yogurt, and he asks her about English. She explains it as a universal language, then asks how he knows how to read Hangul. He says that his father taught him the traditional Hanja, while his mother taught him Hangul—a skill he used for the first time here.
She asks if he’s worried about his parents, but he tells her that they both passed away when he was a child. He says sadly that a cow bezoar would have saved his mother, but they seem common nowadays—people must not die in vain like his mom anymore.
Yeon-kyung looks down at this, and says she’s an orphan too. Im points out that at least she has Grandpa; he’s gruff, but he seems to love her dearly. Im adds carefully that she must care for the old man despite her ill feelings toward him since she still lives with him, but Yeon-kyung cuts him off and tells him to focus on being good to Grandpa.
Noticing that her wording implies the indefinite future, he wonders aloud if she means he can stay permanently as he scurries home after her.
They find the angina patient, Mi-young, waiting for them with an elderly lady in a wheelchair. Mi-young explains that her mother-in-law is paraplegic, and Nurse Jung referred her here. Grandpa checks her over and places a couple of needles, to no effect. Im suggests that since she’s old and weak, inserting one needle deeply may be more effective, and Grandpa nods. Im asks if he may try, much to everyone’s shock.
Im says to Yeon-kyung that he knows she’s an important guest, and after some hesitation, she nods. He sticks his long needle deep at the base of the old lady’s spine, and miraculously, her feet begin to twitch. Im removes the needle and touches her toes, and they move in response. Mi-young sobs in gratitude, and then suddenly faints, causing Yeon-kyung to call for an ambulance.
Im goes along in the ambulance, but on the way to the hospital, it suddenly brakes sharply to avoid a collision. They get out to see that the car ahead of them has hit a motorcycle, and the driver of the latter has collapsed in a bloody heap on the ground. The scene brings on one of Yeon-kyung’s spells.
She tries her best to fight it so that she can help the man, but she can only breathe heavily and stare at the blood in horror. Im shakes her, trying to make her come out of it.
Once they reach the hospital, Yeon-kyung collapses on the floor. She remembers the psychiatrist asking her if anyone new has recently come into her life. Finding her, Im urgently offers to treat her, but she tells him, “This is all because of you. After all I did to get here…Get out of my sight.” Stunned and hurt, he tries to protest, but she throws him off and tells him again to disappear.
Director Ma catches Im exiting the hospital and takes him to a fancy high-rise apartment. Im admires the view, awed, and Ma tells him that he can stay here from now on, if he wants. “You came here all the way from Joseon, so you should do big things in a bigger world, rather than at that shabby clinic.” At this, Im just stares at him in shock.
Yeon-kyung returns home and looks in on Grandpa in his room, informing him that Mi-young’s surgery went well. Once she leaves, Grandpa looks down at his book on Heo Im, from which more characters disappear. He sighs, “I hope he keeps him safe, and sends him back.”
Yeon-kyung looks around her at the kitchen table and the couch where she and Im were eating ramyun and watching TV just last night, her harsh words to him ringing in her ears. She slumps to the floor, burying her head in her arms.
A few days pass with no word from Im. One evening, Yeon-kyung hears the dog barking and runs out to the courtyard hopefully, but no one is there.
The next day, Shinhye Eastern Medicine Hospital holds its VIP ward opening ceremony. Director Ma speaks before Jae-ha introduces himself, and Yeon-kyung applauds from the audience.
Director Ma announces that one more person will join them, and the doors open to reveal the silhouette of a man dressed in a suit. It’s Im, clean-shaven and looking very modern, and Yeon-kyung stares in shock as he climbs the stage.
“Pleased to meet you,” Im says to the audience. “I am Eastern medicine doctor Heo Bong-tak.”
Damn, I didn’t see that coming. I can understand Im’s decision to leave Grandpa’s clinic though, even though it breaks my heart, and it was set up well throughout the episode with Im realizing the risks that Yeon-kyung has taken all this time to protect him. He clearly wants to do something for her in return, especially considering the way she softened toward him in this episode, and all the moments of closeness they shared. It was lovely to see them bonding over the small, ordinary pleasures of 21st century life—I asked for more bedtime shenanigans, and the show exceeded my expectations. But even more, I loved how happy they were in each other’s company, and how they spent Yeon-kyung’s day off opening up to each other by degrees, with her basically saying that he was welcome to stay permanently. Which was why it hurt so much when she told Im to disappear from her life.
I was especially moved by the scene between Im and Bong-tak’s mother—it was such a beautiful moment of human connection, and it was a rare moment of complete vulnerability from Im. We’ve known that he carries deep resentment from the way he was treated as a child, but he usually doesn’t show any of that on the surface, keeping his court jester’s smile even in the most serious of situations. Yet here we not only saw a scar that’s been hurting him all his life, but a moment of healing from an unexpected source, which was made all the more beautiful because he, too, was able to offer comfort to Bong-tak’s mother. And despite his initial hesitation, the enthusiasm with which Im embraced the persona of Bong-tak—and his little brother Bong-shik—was truly heartwarming to see. I can’t help thinking that his decision to keep the name even after becoming Director Ma’s man is a tribute to the makeshift family he found for a short while at Hyeminseo Clinic, even if he can’t be with them anymore.
Until now the only (minor) antagonist in the present has been Director Shin, but in this hour, Jae-ha showed signs of becoming a future stumbling block for our hero. He clearly suffers from an inferiority complex despite his skills, and is sensitive about the fact that he gained his position through nepotism (it probably doesn’t help that Grandpa disses his dead father and claims all the credit for Jae-ha’s talent).
Being upstaged by Im professionally in addition to his already raging jealousy over Im’s closeness with Yeon-kyung will likely bring out the latent malice in Jae-ha that we’ve already seen glimpses of. It’s a shame, because Jae-ha seems to take genuine joy in healing his patients, and as we saw in the juxtaposition of Jae-ha and Im as they carried out their treatments, they are both talented and could learn from each other’s methods. (Not to mention, Jae-ha idolizes Heo Im as a historical figure. I wonder what he’ll do when he finds out Im’s true identity.)
With Im’s dramatic makeover and his new identity (and the sad loss of all that hair), it seems the drama plans to keep Im in the present for now. I hate to imagine what will happen to him if he goes back home looking like this. I just hope Im doesn’t allow the power of his new position to go to his head and remembers the lessons Grandpa tried to teach him about the true meaning of medicine and a doctor’s duty. I also hope Yeon-kyung sees the error of her ways next week and brings her duckling back home where he belongs.
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