Doctors: Episode 16
Hye-jung meets a new roadblock in her quest for justice as she learns that her enemies aren’t idling around as she prepares her next move. However, our heroine is no longer the powerless teenager from before. She’s matured, and learned that holding back her fiery temper will sometimes help her in the long-run. In the end, the thing that differentiates our heroine from the antagonists is that she stands by her principals and knows how to take responsibility for her actions.
EPISODE 16 RECAP
Hye-jung makes a call, asking about a document concerning her grandma. The file is faxed to her, and it lists the last person to access Grandma’s medical records: Chief Kim. Hye-jung narrates, “Danger doesn’t come and send a signal first. While I was digging up someone’s past, I thought mine would be safe. When I work, others aren’t relaxing.”
Kang-soo loses focus as he types on the computer, and the general surgery resident catches him seemingly dozing off. He pushes Kang-soo’s head, and taunts him for always being drowsy. Enraged, Kang-soo yells at the other resident to stop teasing him, and headbutts him in the nose. The resident sports a double bloody nose, and In-joo is aghast when she sees his face.
This leads to a meeting between departments, and In-joo scowls at Ji-hong for his subordinate’s behavior. Pa-ran also comes in to check on his department’s resident, and Kang-soo arrives soon after. In-joo and Pa-ran assume Kang-soo will be reprimanded for using violence, but to everyone’s surprise, Ji-hong takes Kang-soo’s side. Though In-joo and Pa-ran protest, Ji-hong shrugs and says that the arm bends inward (meaning that people aren’t impartial and will take their family and friend’s side).
By the elevators, Kang-soo starts to lose focus again, but Ji-hong reasons that he’s just tired. He gives Kang-soo a small pep talk and a high-five along with a chest bump. It successfully raises his spirits, and the puppy smiles again.
At the Jin household, Myung-hoon can’t believe his wife can eat when their daughter didn’t come home last night. Seo-woo’s mother isn’t too concerned since it’s a usual occurrence with Seo-woo because of work. Myung-hoon argues that this time is different since he scolded Seo-woo, but her mother simply states that a little argument between father and daughter is good. She adds that it’s not like he hit her, and Myung-hoon drops the subject.
After reluctantly receiving a call from Myung-hoon, Yoon-do visits him in his office. Myung-hoon notes that it’s hard to meet Yoon-do and asks if he heard the news from his father about accepting a position as a hospital director. Yoon-do immediately declines since he just wants to be a doctor. Myung-hoon drops the issue for now, and tells Yoon-do to at least check on the recently admitted Politician Nam in the VIP ward.
For a third time, Kang-soo absentmindedly stares into space, and like everyone else, Hye-jung assumes that he’s tired since he’s a first-year. She gets a call from the VIP ward’s nurse, and Ji-hong is already paying a visit to the politician when Hye-jung arrives.
The politician complains of backaches, and Ji-hong prescribes medication and physical therapy rather than surgery. The politician grudgingly accepts the instructions, and then tells Hye-jung to stay awhile. Once Ji-hong leaves, he asks about her income, and says that he could act as a matchmaker so she can get married. Excuse me while I barf.
Seo-woo and Yoon-do visit Myung-hoon in the VIP ward, and Hye-jung meets with them on her way out. Their interaction is brief, but in a petty attempt to irk Seo-woo, Myung-hoon doesn’t forget to mention how much he likes Hye-jung’s sociability.
Ji-hong is surprised by how quickly Hye-jung came out, and she tells him that the politician let her go since she didn’t talk. Ji-hong notes that she’s matured, and Hye-jung agrees that she’s all grown up. She then asks him if he took his vitamins and supplements, mentioning their nine-year age gap in the process. She makes him promise not to die before her since everyone important in her life left her first, but Ji-hong avoids answering by changing the topic to work.
The husband from the previous episode watches over his vegetative wife, and has a flashback to when she tried on her wedding dress. She told him she loved him, but when prompted to say it back to her, the husband shied away.
In the present, Ji-hong visits the patient with Hye-jung, though all they can do is continue monitoring the wife as the baby grows. In the hallway, Ji-hong and Hye-jung take turns giving orders to Kyung-joon, and he comments on their excellent rapport, which only gets him a scolding. Looks like his pandering backfired, hahaha.
The husband seeks out Ji-hong for a private word, and confesses that he regrets his decision. Ji-hong tells him not to blame himself, but the husband clarifies that he didn’t say “I love you” to his wife because he was saving it for their wedding vows. Now he’ll never get to say it, and regrets assuming he’d get a chance in the future.
The husband’s anecdote sparks a fire in Ji-hong, and he texts Hye-jung, asking for her whereabouts. She texts him that she’s on her way to the fellows’ office, and he tells her to stay still. Ji-hong runs towards Hye-jung, and from across the room, motions her to follow him.
He enters an auditorium, and once Hye-jung comes in, he declares, “I love you, Hye-jung!” She laughs, and he explains that he doesn’t want to regret a single moment. Smiling, Hye-jung opens her arms wide and says, “Come.”
They hug each other, and Ji-hong asks why she doesn’t say it, too. Hye-jung tells him that it’s too precious, so she’s not saying it yet. She exits the room, but then pops her head back in to blow him a kiss. Too cute!
At the front desk, Seo-woo asks Young-kook about a patient, and he answers her questions formally, without his usual playfulness. She calls him familiarly, which finally grabs his attention. In the stairwell, he asks if she got flustered by his behavior, and she admits that she did a little. However, she just wants to stay friends, and Young-kook agrees. Disheartened by his quick submission, Seo-woo asks about his true feelings, but Young-kook doesn’t share since they’re only friends.
Hye-jung visits Chief Kim, who’s frustrated to see her again. Hye-jung reveals that she knows he accessed Grandma’s medical records right before they were destroyed, which can only mean he has a copy of the anesthesia record. Chief Kim doesn’t deny it, and asks for some time to think about giving her the file.
Kang-soo looks for medication for his headache in the residents’ room, and Young-kook asks if he’s not taking too many pills lately. Kang-soo just says that he doesn’t like headaches and likes to take pills before the pain gets too severe, and the topic is dropped.
Yoon-do stops by Subway (because it’s the only fast-food place that exists in this dramaworld), and picks up his pre-ordered sandwiches. Back in the residents’ office, Joong-dae studies for his exams, and Young-kook gives him terrible (or perhaps sage) advice: Don’t study and just accept the embarrassment.
Kyung-joon asks if they want to order food. The other residents avoid him like the plague, pretending to be busy at work, which is both hilarious and sad for Kyung-joon. Just then, Yoon-do arrives with his sandwiches, and the residents are surprised by the sudden generosity.
Kyung-joon wonders if Yoon-do is acting strangely because of his rivalry with Ji-hong, and Yoon-do claims that he bought food for them before. All the residents disagree (Young-kook: “In my three years here as a resident, today’s the first monumental day I’ve received food from Doctor Jung.”), and Yoon-do harrumphs at their teasing.
Hye-jung prepares a simple egg dish at home, but it’s clear from her posture that she hasn’t stepped foot in a kitchen before. Soon-hee is excited to taste Hye-jung’s first dish, but then gives her friend the side-eye, asking if Hye-jung’s simply testing out her cooking on her before feeding Ji-hong. Hye-jung gives her the stink-eye and asks if she’s watching conspiracy dramas nowadays.
They enjoy their rare break together, and Soon-hee wonders if something good happened. Hye-jung admits that it feels like a weight was lifted off her shoulders, and updates Soon-hee about Grandma’s case. Soon-hee then tells Hye-jung that Seo-woo asked about why Hye-jung moved hospitals, and explains how she lied to Seo-woo.
Hye-jung says she really likes Soon-hee, and Soon-hee says the same. Soon-hee then confesses that bringing up Grandma is difficult, so she wished for Hye-jung to be happy with Ji-hong in order to forget about her grandma. Hye-jung tells her that Ji-hong actually helped her with Grandma’s case, and Soon-hee announces that she wants a divorce. Of course, she’s just joking, and Soon-hee states that she’s happy that Hye-jung looks happy.
At the hospital, Kang-soo accompanies Ji-hong, but excuses himself when he receives a call from his younger brother who’s serving in the army. Meanwhile, Hye-jung checks on a patient, and orders Kyung-joon to prepare a room in the ICU. He asks what will happen when the VIP ward calls during the operation, and like clockwork, Hye-jung gets a call from the VIP room.
Hye-jung decides to take Kang-soo along to the VIP room, but when they arrive, the politician is busy eating a lavish spread. He complains that his head hurts, but he feels better now that he’s eaten. Hye-jung tells Kang-soo to administer a shot for the politician, which, to his chagrin, is administered in the butt.
Before her operation, Hye-jung visits Seo-woo, and asks for her to take the calls from the VIP ward. Seo-woo protests since she has a conference to attend later, but Hye-jung promises to finish before then. In a game of hot potato, Seo-woo hands the task off to Young-kook because she’s leaving the hospital, and then Young-kook tosses the order to Kang-soo, who can’t seem to catch a break.
The politician suddenly feels dizzy, and the nurse frantically calls Hye-jung. However, she’s in surgery and ignores the calls, assuming they’re about menial tasks. The nurse finally makes contact with Kang-soo, and tells him to hurry to the politician’s room.
However, Kang-soo’s arm drops, and the scene around him blurs. The nurse hangs up thinking that Kang-soo received the message, but he stares at his blank phone in confusion. He receives a call from the ER and rushes off, completely unaware of the previous call that just happened.
Ji-hong rushes to the VIP’s room, but the politician is already unconscious. After completing her surgery, Hye-jung checks her phone and notices the five missed calls from the VIP ward’s nurse. In voiceover, we hear the nurse say that Kang-soo never showed up, and Hye-jung joins Ji-hong as the politician gets scanned.
In his office, Myung-hoon looks over a file containing Hye-jung’s background information, including her scandal with Ji-hong thirteen years ago. He smiles to himself, but his secretary interrupts his moment of happiness with terrible news: The politician lost consciousness.
To make it even worse, Seo-woo was supposed to take the calls while Hye-jung was in the operating room, but Myung-hoon barks at his secretary for implicating his daughter in this mess. The secretary informs him that Ji-hong and Hye-jung are about to perform a surgery on the politician, and Myung-hoon yells at him to stop the media from finding out.
Myung-hoon arrives in his scrubs and bars Hye-jung from assisting in the surgery since her irresponsibility caused this whole predicament. Ji-hong overrides his decision since he’s the main surgeon, and Myung-hoon concedes. However, he tells Ji-hong to save the politician if he truly wants to take responsibility. Meanwhile, Tae-ho talks with Kang-soo since the VIP ward’s nurse claims that she called him. However, Kang-soo has no recollection of a call.
Hye-jung begins the surgery with Young-kook assisting, and up above, Myung-hoon and Director Jin anxiously watch. Ji-hong enters, and in his usual, calm manner, he operates on the politician. In the balcony, Tae-ho joins and explains the details of the procedure as Myung-hoon and Director Jin tell the other to be quiet. The apple doesn’t fall far from the tree.
Ji-hong finishes, and as usual, he hands off the procedure for Hye-jung to wrap up. However, Myung-hoon interrupts and instructs Ji-hong to finish the surgery himself rather than the assistant who messed up. Hye-jung tells Ji-hong to do it, and though irked by Myung-hoon’s order, Ji-hong complies and finishes the procedure.
The surgery is a success, but the politician remains unconscious. Ji-hong orders Seo-woo to monitor the patient, but Myung-hoon complains in the back, asking if they can’t wake up the politician. Unfortunately, all they can do is wait, and Myung-hoon stomps out of the room.
In the fellows’ office, Yoon-do stops by to encourage Hye-jung since he heard she might be in trouble. Someone knocks on the door, and Yoon-do explains that he invited Kang-soo to come, too. Once the first-year enters, Yoon-do asks for the facts of the day since the VIP ward’s nurse claims she called Kang-soo. Indignant, Kang-soo yells that he didn’t receive a call, but when Yoon-do shows him the nurse’s call log, Kang-soo checks his own call log: He did receive the call.
Yoon-do asks if there’s something wrong with Kang-soo since he can’t remember, and Kang-soo apologizes and says he’ll take responsibility. Hye-jung tells him that she’ll deal with it since she was in charge. She then gets a call from Myung-hoon’s secretary, telling her to come to the office.
Myung-hoon tells Hye-jung that there will be a disciplinary hearing, and he’ll make her take responsibility. He then has the audacity to call himself reasonable and generous, and says that he can’t let her off the hook a second time. Hye-jung accepts everything he says, and leaves without making a fuss.
In Tae-ho’s office, Ji-hong asks what will happen, and Tae-ho explains that there will be a disciplinary hearing for Hye-jung. Ji-hong is against the idea since it’ll tarnish her career. Tae-ho knows that, too, but he can’t afford to have the whole department tangled in this mess.
Seo-woo catches Yoon-do leaving from the direction of the fellows’ office, and asks him if he went to cheer up Hye-jung. When he admits that he did, she wonders how Yoon-do doesn’t hate Hye-jung for rejecting his feelings. Yoon-do says that he does what he wants and Hye-jung does what she wants, so there isn’t a problem. Seo-woo scoffs, calling him a saint, but Yoon-do just laughs.
Seo-woo visits Young-kook, who mentions the unfairness concerning the politician’s surgery. He then adds that Hye-jung shouldn’t shoulder all the blame, and Seo-woo agrees with him. Young-kook smiles at Seo-woo, who seems to be growing up.
Kang-soo thinks back to his recent absentmindedness, and remembers his inauguration ceremony where he passed out drunk after chugging a bowl of mixed alcoholic drinks. He visits a senior doctor and asks for a favor using his best puppy-dog face.
Kang-soo hesitantly opens a file and looks at his brain scans. With shaking hands, he snaps photos of the scans with his phone. He then visits Ji-hong and shows him the photos, claiming that they’re his friend’s recent scans.
Ji-hong is surprised by the random request, especially since Kang-soo should be able to look at the scans and help his friend by himself. He asks what Kang-soo thinks the problem is, and Kang-soo says that it looks like meningioma (usually a benign tumor). Ji-hong concurs, and Kang-soo adds that “his friend” also shows signs of absence seizure. Concerned, Ji-hong advises that the patient quickly seek treatment, and Kang-soo sits in silence, unable to respond.
In an empty hallway, Ji-hong meets Hye-jung and tells her that he’s going to visit Myung-hoon. However, she doesn’t want him to interfere in this situation because as the doctor-in-charge, she wishes to take responsibility, especially in front of Myung-hoon. She thinks Chief Kim will come over to her side soon, and she wants Ji-hong to watch as she handles the situation by herself.
Ji-hong still wants to comfort her, but doesn’t know what to do. Smiling, Hye-jung slyly says that she taught him what to do in these situations, and they can do it somewhere private. Looking around, Ji-hong attempts to wrap his arm around Hye-jung, but she shrugs it off, joking that someone will see. Standing shoulder to shoulder, they smile at each other like the lovebirds they are.
The politician’s condition is on the evening news, and Tae-ho fields questions from reporters in a press conference. His answers are routine—the surgery went well but he can’t say anything definite at the moment—but the real issue is whether the politician will wake up.
Luckily, the politician wakes up, and Ji-hong announces that the worst is over. Myung-hoon barges into the room, and he giddily declares that he’ll use this opportunity to reestablish discipline in the hospital by using Hye-jung as an example. The other doctors don’t share in his pleasure, including Seo-woo.
In a stairwell, Kang-soo tells Hye-jung that he’ll take full responsibility. Hye-jung reassures him that it’s not his fault, and jokes that even if he wanted to, he’s not important enough to take responsibility, whereas she has the clout. Kang-soo finally cracks a smile at her attempt to cheer him up, and Hye-jung heads off to her disciplinary hearing.
Kang-soo finds privacy in a bathroom, and stares at his hospital identification card while his lip quivers. His younger brother calls, worried because of a dream he had, and Kang-soo assures him that nothing’s wrong. He tells his brother to take care of himself as tears stream down his cheek, and once he hangs up, Kang-soo allows himself to cry in earnest. Poor puppy.
Hye-jung arrives at her disciplinary committee meeting as Ji-hong makes his way there, too. She marches up to Myung-hoon, who’s standing outside the room with Tae-ho, and gives a curt bow. Staring at Myung-hoon, Hye-jung narrates, “As danger comes closer, I feel as if I’m one step closer to the truth I’m searching for. I have to turn danger into an opportunity.”
While I’m not surprised a doctor from the department is ill (it’s a common plot used in a lot of Korean medical dramas), it was still depressing to see the resident puppy look downtrodden and lost. He’s always been the giddy and overworked resident in charge of bringing sunshine and smiles to the department. Thus, it’s even more pronounced to see his decline. However, I thought the show could have done a better job in terms of writing and delivery, since the buildup felt a bit heavy-handed with a lot of foreshadowing crammed into one episode. Despite that, Kang-soo’s ending scene was still poignant because of the restrained performance. There was no big moment or explosion of emotions from Kang-soo, but rather, the steady accumulation of realizing his condition and the implications. The tipping point was when his younger brother called, and it seemed to finally dawn on Kang-soo that he was truly sick and weak right now. However, he felt that he had to hide his condition, which made that scene even more emotional because he was alone in his knowledge.
Grandma’s case continues to take baby steps (I can’t believe Chief Kim is still an unresolved issue), and it looks like the scandal from thirteen years ago will rear its ugly head again. To be honest, I don’t think it’s a big deal (former students have married their teachers before—it’s even shown in other dramas), but I understand how it can be damaging for the leads if portrayed maliciously. The only silver lining I’m hoping for in that particular arc (if it comes to pass) is Seo-woo and how she’ll redeem herself. Since she was the original poster of the rumor and now a colleague to Hye-jung, she could potentially quell rumors and make the scandal a non-issue. It would be a good chance for Seo-woo to right her past mistake, and finally make formal amends with Hye-jung. That being said, I’m really enjoying the small, forward progress the show is making with Seo-woo. I much prefer her as a begrudging colleague to Hye-jung, and it’s cute to see her slowly warming up to Hye-jung, especially since it looks like she’s doing it subconsciously. It’s like when they were first friends in high school, and Seo-woo felt a growing attraction to Hye-jung as she got to know her more. As Seo-woo is letting go of her prejudices, she’s beginning to see Hye-jung for who she truly is, rather than the misconstrued image she made before.
Since the beginning, I get the impression that Myung-hoon is a little boy. He’s not that bad when he’s harmless, but it becomes troublesome when he’s given power. The problem with a boy having too much authority is that he isn’t mature enough to claim responsibility. Thus, like all petulant children with a sense of entitlement, he wants the benefits of bossing people around and having power, but he doesn’t want to concern himself with actually being a good leader and supporting his subordinates. For example, the way he acted in front of Seo-woo when they met Hye-jung was disgustingly petty. He knew Seo-woo hated the comparison, yet he blatantly made that statement, in what I can only presume was an attempt to aggravate his daughter. Right now, he doesn’t even like Hye-jung, yet he’s willing to compliment her in order to bring down his daughter who’s “rebelling” against him. You don’t have to be an expert to know that that’s bad parenting. Myung-hoon is also really simple-minded, and fails to see the complexity of people and society. It seemed to me that the way he handled the situation concerning the politician was self-serving and short-sighted. He may think he knows how to make money, but he really doesn’t know how to foster positive relationships. It might work for him short-term, but as with his broken relationship with Seo-woo, he’ll eventually end up alone and empty. Fortunately, Seo-woo is on the path of escaping this fate, though it seems too late for her father and grandfather.
Ji-hong and Hye-jung continue to be cute, but I love Hye-jung and Soon-hee’s relationship more. They really don’t keep secrets from one another, and the love they have for each other borders on unconditional (they both did try to go to jail for one another). Their rapport is so comfortable, and most importantly, I’m glad Hye-jung’s had a friend like Soon-hee all these years during her ups and downs. Even more than Ji-hong, it’s Soon-hee who’s been a constant and reliable presence in Hye-jung’s life, and will continue to be a pillar of support for Hye-jung. It’s too bad that Seo-woo broke off her relationship with them, because she could also really use a Soon-hee and Hye-jung in her life as support. They could have been like the Ji-hong, In-joo, and Pa-ran trio, but I guess it’s still not too late, though I doubt anyone can come between Hye-jung and Soon-hee’s bond (not even Ji-hong).