Doctors: Episode 4
Even after thirteen years, some things don’t change. The present is shaped by the past, and no matter how hard some people try to suppress unwanted memories, the past always seems to be interfering with the present. At times, the things of yesterday can teach us and motivate action, but it can also poison the things of today and hinder growth. It’s time for our characters to decide how they’ll let their past influence their present because the string of fate has drawn them all together again.
EPISODE 4 RECAP
Hye-jung struts down the corridor of a department store and narrates that people’s perception of you changes after you succeed. However, she’s learned that success without anyone to share it with is meaningless, but after losing her only family, she lost her will to make another.
Kyung-joon nervously stares at two brain scan images while Hye-jung sits off to the side and quizzes him about the patient’s condition. He meekly states the first condition correctly which boosts his confidence, so he gives his second answer with gusto. Hye-jung shakes her head at him, and can’t believe he was unsure about the right answer and confident with the wrong one.
She orders Kyung-joon to get a room prepared for an emergency surgery, but Kyung-joon tries to dissuade her because of hospital rules. Hye-jung doesn’t care about getting in trouble because the patient comes first. Once she leaves, Kyung-joon takes out his anger on Kang-soo by kicking him in the shin.
On their way to the hospital with the unconscious restaurant owner, Yoon-do chides Seo-woo for the way she reacted before. She explains her high school trauma where she nearly died in a fire because of a school bully, and now that memory causes her to freeze at signs of danger. He’s surprised by her confession since she appears bright, and Seo-woo says that girl is probably in jail by now.
Hye-jung preps for surgery and even shaves the patient’s head herself, leaving Kyung-joon with nothing to do. Her motions are swift and assured without a minute wasted. Kyung-joon is awed at her speed and precision, but Hye-jung dismisses his compliments like it’s no big deal.
Yoon-do and Seo-woo arrive at the hospital, and Kyung-joon rushes out to meet them. Yoon-do hears about the new fellow performing a surgery already, and yells at Kyung-joon for not contacting him. Seo-woo berates Kyung-joon for frustrating Yoon-do, but Kyung-joon says, with growing anxiety, that a blood bath will occur soon because there can’t be two suns in the sky.
Seo-woo enters one of the sleeping quarters where third-year resident PI YOUNG-KOOK (Baek Sung-hyun) practices his suture skills on a pig’s foot. The two are friends though Young-kook is still a resident because he spent ten years in medical school.
He wonders why she’s back at the hospital since she was planning to confess to Kyung-joon. She tells him about the emergency surgery, and Young-kook advises her not to confess. For one, Yoon-do’s not the type to be led, but more importantly, the timing is bad because the new fellow arrived. Seo-woo doesn’t think the new doctor will be a threat to her for the next staff position, but Young-kook tells her that the doctor was scouted by Tae-ho, the chief physician of their department.
Hye-jung finishes her surgery and lets the gangsters know that their boss is safe. They’re all smitten with her, but Hye-jung rolls her eyes at them.
Yoon-do prepares for his surgery and orders Kyung-joon to tell Hye-jung to meet him when she’s done. Kyung-joon tells him that she’s already finished, and sings praises about her speed. Yoon-do glares at Kyung-joon and reminds him that being precise is more important than finishing quickly.
Kang-soo runs down a hallway as Kyung-joon’s voice tells him to stop Hye-jung from leaving or die. He barges into the changing room and quickly twirls around since Hye-jung is changing. Standing with his back towards her, he delivers the message. Hye-jung puts an arm around him and tells him that she hates waiting. She leaves Kang-soo flustered, and he mumbles to himself that she smells nice.
Yoon-do finishes his surgery and gets a text message from Hye-jung telling him to meet her at a nearby cafe. Hye-jung is already there, and inside, Soon-hee sings to herself while cleaning tables. Hye-jung sneaks up on her and hands over a gift she bought earlier at the department store, which Soon-hee knows is a sign that she was thinking of Grandma.
Soon-hee asks about her visit to the hospital and can’t wait for the day Seo-woo realizes that Hye-jung has become a doctor just like her. Hye-jung thinks it’ll just be a bother to run into her, and they drink out on the terrace to wait for Yoon-do. Hye-jung sighs as she reads a new text message from him telling her to run back to the hospital.
Kang-soo looks up Hye-jung online and doesn’t understand why a staff member at a hospital would transfer as a fellow to their hospital. Nevertheless, she’s still his type, and Kang-soo giggles to himself as he stares at her picture. He gets caught in the act by Kyung-joon who reprimands him. A second-year resident, Ahn Joong-dae, tries to sneak out of the room unsuccessfully, and is also scolded by Kyung-joon. Last but not least, Young-kook saunters into the staff room asking the others about eating pigs’ feet, and Kyung-joon yells at him for being too old.
Hye-jung arrives at Yoon-do’s office and apologizes for her short-thinking in inviting him to a private place outside of work. Yoon-do hates apologies and showmanship, and in his eyes, Hye-jung has just done both. She defends her actions, but Yoon-do is unconvinced that the patient was in dire need of surgery without his approval.
He tells Hye-jung that she’ll have to explain herself at the conference, and if it turns out that the patient could have waited, then she’ll have to take responsibility. Hye-jung says that he’ll have to apologize to her if her judgment was correct. Yoon-do is taken aback by her antagonism and asks why she transferred to their hospital if she doesn’t want to become staff.
Looking him squarely in the eye, Hye-jung tells him that it’s private information she’d only divulge to a friend. Yoon-do guesses he’ll never know then since he doesn’t plan on being friends with her. Before they can trade more barbs, Seo-woo enters the room.
Seo-woo recognizes Hye-jung and when Yoon-do introduces Hye-jung as the new fellow, Seo-woo can’t believe she became a doctor. Hye-jung asks if she still gets mad just looking at her, and leaves.
Seo-woo chases after her and asks why Hye-jung came to her hospital. She can’t believe someone like Hye-jung is at the same level as her, and wonders if people know her past. Hye-jung calmly answers her questions, and then asks if Seo-woo will post something on social media since that’s her specialty.
Seo-woo asks if she’s still in contact with Ji-hong, and Hye-jung scoffs—she’s been too busy surviving to hold onto useless memories. Seo-woo doesn’t believe her and accuses her of coming to this hospital because Ji-hong has recently been appointed here. This seems to be news to Hye-jung who momentarily stands there stunned. She walks away from Seo-woo, knowing that words won’t convince her, but Seo-woo shouts out a final message: Ji-hong married In-joo.
A woman trembles on a plane, and sitting across the aisle is Ji-hong who starts to question her. She thinks he’s being a flirt, and ignores his attempts to check her health. However, as soon as she gets up from her seat, she falls to the ground and convulses. Immediately, Ji-hong takes control of the situation and instructs the flight attendants to contact Kook-il Hospital—the patient doesn’t have much time.
The gangster boss is awake, and everything seems fine from the way he complains and answers Hye-jung’s questions. He thanks Hye-jung twice—she pretended to not hear his first one—and she thanks him for waking up.
Kang-soo informs Hye-jung about the plane patient, and Young-kook briefs Hye-jung on the situation as they make their way upstairs to the helipad. He also tells her that he’s friends with Seo-woo. Hye-jung chastises him for talking about personal things at work, and Young-kook clams up instantly.
The helicopter lands, and in slow motion, Ji-hong steps onto the roof. Hye-jung stares awestruck, and Ji-hong finally notices her and walks up to her. After an intense moment of silence, he asks if she’s married or if she’s dating anyone. She says no, and Ji-hong says that’s good and just walks away.
Staring at the CT scans of the patient, Ji-hong decides to perform a freehand aspiration. Hye-sung thinks it’s too risky, but the patient doesn’t have much time. He’s set on his decision, and preps for surgery. Hye-jung joins him to assist, and Ji-hong tells her that he searched for her every time he came to Korea.
Trying to change the subject, Hye-jung asks him about In-joo, and Ji-hong is puzzled by her question. Hye-jung casually throws out that In-joo is his wife, but that only befuddles Ji-hong more. He flicks water at her, and asks when he got married.
Tae-ho is making his rounds, and a patient yells at him before twitching uncontrollably. In the background, Young-kook waves his arm to get Seo-woo’s attention, but he manages to catch Tae-ho’s eye in the process.
Tae-ho scolds Young-kook for wearing his scrubs in the hallways, and asks him what he wanted to say. Young-kook tells them about Ji-hong’s plan to do a surgical drainage by freehand, and Tae-ho allows them to go watch.
A group of doctors, including Seo-woo, watch Ji-hong’s surgery, and when Ji-hong inserts the catheter, they hold their breath. No blood comes out, and Young-kook announces the surgery a failure. After everyone gives up hope, blood starts to flow out, and the onlookers cheer.
Kyung-joon supposes that all the girls will be lining up to date Ji-hong now, but Young-kook tells the group that he’s married. Tae-ho interjects to say that Ji-hong is single. Seo-woo frowns at Young-kook’s abysmal intel gathering, and stares at Ji-hong and Hye-jung in a new light.
Hye-jung offers finishing the surgery, and Ji-hong takes a quick break outside. He meets up with Tae-ho who pulls him into a hug. They joke around for a bit, and Tae-ho suggests he drop by the conference today since he’s already here.
Ji-hong returns to the surgery room to watch Hye-jung, and he compliments her skills. She asks him to teach her how to insert the catheter freehand, and Ji-hong calls her rude for demanding things from her teacher on their first meeting.
Once outside, Ji-hong trails after Hye-jung and wonders what’s wrong. He mentions the last time he saw her driving off with the motorcycle boy, and asks how she’s been. Hye-jung just tells him to be good to In-joo because marriage is a sacred thing. She walks away, and Ji-hong talks aloud to himself about why she keeps trying to get him married.
Myung-hoon is now a director, and walks around the hospital lobby with an entourage. Director Jin, his father, greets him, and the two privately go up to their meeting. Now that they’re alone, Myung-hoon drops the formalities, and they worry about their upcoming plans for building a senior health center.
Myung-hoon gives his prepared speech to the board of directors about the new center he’s proposing, but Director Hong doesn’t understand why they’re investing more money just for their elderly VIP patients, especially since they already have a wellness center. Director Jin intervenes and bluntly states that the new proposal is for increasing revenue.
Tae-ho speaks up against the idea, but it’s Director Hong who addresses the elephant in the room. He bluntly says that a hospital is not a business, and he expresses his disapproval of Myung-hoon’s business-minded approach to managing the hospital. Before more damage can be done, Director Jin quickly proposes they vote on the matter to settle things.
In the privacy of his office, Myung-hoon complains about the elite doctors and their inability to challenge the status quo. Director Jin reminds him that they only lost by a small margin, and Myung-hoon firmly states that he won’t give up.
Director Hong stands on top of a hill with Ji-hong and says that he wants to build an organ transplant center. He acknowledges Myung-hoon’s ability in business, but thinks he’s too tawdry. Ji-hong suggests forgetting about the hospital for a while, and invites his father over tonight for dinner in commemoration of his new apartment.
Ji-hong slips in the back of a conference room where Kyung-joon gives a presentation about the gangster boss’s surgery. Yoon-do bombards Hye-jung with questions, and she finally puts a stop to his interrogation by citing her right as a surgeon to make judgments on the field. She says that if he doesn’t trust her as a surgeon, then nothing she says will convince him otherwise.
Tae-ho backs her up, and ends the conference there. He gets up to the front and introduces Ji-hong as a new addition to their department. He tells Ji-hong and Yoon-do to choose which fellow they want as an assistant, and advises Hye-jung and Seo-woo to appeal to the staff member they want to learn from.
Seo-woo greets Ji-hong, and Tae-ho is surprised that she and Hye-jung were both Ji-hong’s students. Tae-ho asks if Seo-woo is already trying to appeal to Ji-hong, but she denies it since she still has a lot to learn from Yoon-do. In flashback, Seo-woo met with her father, who told her to be extra friendly with Ji-hong because of a plan he was working on.
Seo-woo asks Tae-ho for a private word, and in his office, she voices her concerns about hiring Hye-jung. Tae-ho values Hye-jung’s skills regardless of school prestige, which is why he scouted her. Seo-woo wonders why a staffer at another hospital would join their department as a fellow, and even Tae-ho seems curious about why Hye-jung accepted his offer.
Kang-soo walks up to Hye-jung and asks who she wants to assist, but she doesn’t care who chooses her. He thinks she’s cool, and Hye-jung sees her old self in him, remembering how she looked up to Ji-hong in high school. Yoon-do and Kyung-joon are walking towards them, and sensing the tension, Kyung-joon pulls Kang-soo away so the two of them can have a word with each other.
Yoon-do says he won’t apologize for something he didn’t see, and Hye-jung laughs at him. She calls his actions childish and brushes past him. He calls out her name, and asks why she’s acting so disrespectfully towards him. Hye-jung explains that she always returns what she receives. Yoon-do takes a step closer to Hye-jung, and after giving a curt bow, he apologizes to her. He says that he also returns what he receives, so now they’re even.
Back in Tae-ho’s office, Seo-woo vaguely mentions that Hye-jung has a personal connection to Ji-hong, but that she can’t say more on the topic. Tae-ho asks Seo-woo if she’s afraid of Hye-jung, and tells her to be more relaxed given her background. He thinks Hye-jung will be a good influence on Seo-woo because competition will help her grow. Seo-woo tells him that she’ll prove his judgment was wrong.
Hye-jung looks for a medical record on the hospital computers, but is denied access. Kang-soo skips into the room, and Hye-jung asks about finding an old case file. He tells her to visit the operations department, and when he asks whose file she’s looking for, Hye-jung says it’s her grandmother’s records.
Hye-jung walks down a corridor, dejected after learning that the files she’s looking for are under heavy security. Myung-hoon and his entourage pass by, and he stops for a second and addresses Hye-jung. He reaches to unfold her collar, but Hye-jung fixes it herself. He tells Hye-jung to do a good job and doesn’t seem to remember her at all.
Kang-soo is wheeling a cart when Ji-hong stops him to ask about Hye-jung since he hasn’t received any of the other doctors’ numbers yet. Kang-soo offers to help him, and proudly states that he knows more about Hye-jung than anyone else in the department.
Hye-jung practices kickboxing in a ring as the scene of Myung-hoon daring her to prove he did something wrong with Grandma’s surgery flashes before her. Meanwhile, Ji-hong makes pasta for dinner with his father. Director Hong comments about the emptiness, and mentions In-joo’s recent divorce.
He wishes they had gotten married back then, and Ji-hong has a flashback to a rainy night. In-joo dashed out of the car, and Ji-hong followed, pleading with her to return to the car. She thought everything would work out with time, but she knew Ji-hong continued to harbor feelings for someone else in his heart.
Ji-hong plays with an arcade claw machine in his apartment, and his finger hovers over his phone before finally calling Hye-jung. He arrives at the gym and fumbles with the ropes while trying to join her in the ring. He wants to know why Hye-jung keeps thinking he’s married, and firmly states that he isn’t.
Hye-jung gives a half-hearted response, so Ji-hong attempts to stop her from leaving. She twists his arm behind his back, but Ji-hong has been practicing, and pulls Hye-jung into a choke-hold. Unfortunately for Ji-hong, he still has a lot to learn as Hye-jung flips him over and performs some impressive grappling techniques on him.
Ji-hong gives up, but uses that moment to flip Hye-jung and ends up on top of her. The close proximity and positioning suddenly make them both quiet, and Ji-hong stares at Hye-jung, his face just inches from hers. Hye-jung narrates, “Unresolved pasts will always come back to find you whether it’s love or resentment.”
The thing that I like about medical dramas is that there’s a wide cast of side characters that constantly show up because a hospital can’t be managed by one person. I’m really enjoying all the doctors in the neurosurgery department. I find Kyung-joon hilarious in his grumpiness. He’s pressured from above by Yoon-do and receives stress from below from the other residents. While I do wish he wouldn’t hit Kang-soo so frequently, he does make me laugh at his “woe is me” attitude and his ability to overreact to everything. Kang-soo is precious and reminds me of an overly eager puppy, and his admiration for Hye-jung is adorable. I liked the scene with all the residents because it expertly displayed their relationship and showcased a part of their personalities. Kang-soo is still the newbie who speaks his mind, Joong-dae is the timid one who wants to avoid conflicts, Young-kook is carefree and joking (and a bit of an oddball), and Kyung-joon is dramatic and self-pitying. It’s a fun group, and I can’t wait to see more of them.
My favorite doctor so far is Tae-ho. He gets automatic brownie points for scouting Hye-jung and realizing her value as a surgeon without letting things like school prestige and connections influence him. The thing that I really like about him is that he’s friendly and doesn’t act conceited to his patients or the doctors. I loved his surprised face when the patient swore at him and his matter-of-fact reaction afterwards. I also enjoyed his interactions with Ji-hong (they’re so affectionate with each other) and his scene with Seo-woo. I think he read Seo-woo like an open book, but it also seemed to me that he wasn’t trying to be spiteful towards her. He acknowledges Seo-woo’s strengths and tries to guide her, but he did appear to be a bit disappointed in her negative response towards Hye-jung.
I’m glad Soon-hee survived the time jump and is still around because she’s a great friend. Hye-jung needs a place where she can relax, and it’s cute to see that their friendship has grown even stronger over the years. I’m glad that Soon-hee seems to manage a café rather than have a job in the medical field because that would really push my suspension of belief. Maybe she and Kang-soo can meet each other and start a Hye-jung fan club.
The best thing for me about the present timeline and the hospital story is Ji-hong as a doctor. I appreciate him much more as a doctor than as a teacher because he seems happier in this environment. I also think he has more relationships in this field (like his father and Tae-ho) that bring out different sides of him, but in all honesty, it could just be that I feel more comfortable watching him interact with others as a doctor than I did when he was a teacher. It also helps that everyone is now an adult, and I no longer have to worry about moral issues concerning Ji-hong’s feelings. It’s refreshing to see him be open, and I look forward to seeing him pursue Hye-jung as a love interest. Joking Ji-hong who’s honest with his emotions is much more charming than conflicted Ji-hong who had to rein in his feelings (though for good reasons). I hope this time he takes his own advice and allows himself to be a little “crazy” while in love, otherwise another person might sweep Hye-jung off her feet before him because most of the men, from burly gangsters to pink-haired residents, seem to have fallen in love with her already.
It appears that Hye-jung’s reason for accepting Tae-ho’s offer was because of Myung-hoon and uncovering the secrets behind Grandma’s death. It seems that Myung-hoon is more culpable than he let on given that her records are under tight security. I’m actually curious about how much of the surgery was Myung-hoon’s fault rather than an unfortunate accident. It did seem like he was doing well until his phone call with Director Jin, so it’s possible that in his rush, he made a mistake. Despite wanting Myung-hoon’s sins to come to light, I don’t want Hye-jung to be consumed by revenge. She’s still clearly suffering from the loss of Grandma even when more than a decade has passed, and I feel like her need for revenge has deprived her of forming new relationships. Hopefully Ji-hong can help her uncover the truth and take some of the burden off her shoulders.