Live Up to Your Name: Episode 2
Getting thrown 400 years into the future is never easy, but our hero has a few tricks up his sleeve that just might make it easier. What won’t be making the transition any easier is one stubborn heroine, as our very modern doctor is already clashing with our fish out of water. They may have more to learn from each other than they think, but first, they’ll have to work on establishing trust.
EPISODE 2 RECAP
We rewind slightly to Im as he floats in the water after he was shot with arrows on the bridge. A flashback shows a little boy, eager to learn from a demanding master about the ways of acupuncture. As these memories flash, the needle case that followed Im into the water glows, the glow eventually surrounding him.
Im splutters awake in modern-day Seoul to a gawking crowd, in a river much shallower than it was back in Joseon. He looks around him in shock and lets out a loud fart in the water.
Back at the hospital, a shaken Yeon-kyung is hurried away from the woman who slapped her by her worried hoobae, Min-jae. In a bad twist of fate, it turns out that her assailant and the mother of the missing girl, Oh Ha-ra, is a friend of the hospital chairman’s wife. Yeon-kyung is more worried about Ha-ra’s health though, since it won’t be long before her heart condition becomes inoperable.
Fortunately, Ha-ra messages Yeon-kyung just then. Unfortunately, the message is a video of Yeon-kyung dancing in the club, along with an order for Yeon-kyung to meet Ha-ra alone in the same club wearing the same clothes she wore last night.
Exasperated but desperate, Yeon-kyung goes to the club, almost literally running into Im outside. Since he’s dressed in his traditional garb, Yeon-kyung assumes he is employed by the club, and asks if he has seen Ha-ra. Im can only mutely stare at her and the device she’s holding before Yeon-kyung hurries away.
Despite the message, Ha-ra is nowhere to be found in the club. Yeon-kyung spots a throng gathering outside and rushes over, fearing that the worst has befallen Ha-ra. Instead, she finds Im hovering over an unconscious man, ready to stab the man with one of his acupuncture needles.
Aghast, Yeon-kyung pushes Im out of the way. The situation is urgent enough that Yeon-kyung decides to administer emergency surgery, and luckily, she has all the supplies she needs in her handbag.
Im watches closely as Yeon-kyung pulls out all her sterilized scalpels and tools to make a small incision in the man’s side, where she inserts a tube that allows the air trapped inside his lungs to escape. “She really is an amazing woman,” Im notes to himself. “What kind of medical technique is that?”
When an ambulance arrives to take the unconscious man to the hospital, Yeon-kyung tries to follow, but Im stops her to ask, “Can you really be a doctor if you’re a woman?”
Not a woman (or doctor) of much patience, Yeon-kyung confirms that she is, before aiming a kick at Im’s shin to make him move out of her way.
Only, Im is now too fascinated by Yeon-kyung to leave her alone, and he stumbles after her down the street. Utterly bewildered by the cars and strange sights around him, Im ends up in the path of an oncoming bus. Yeon-kyung turns just in time to see the accident waiting to happen…
In flashback, we see a pink bunny fall to the ground and a man on a motorcycle about to collide with an oncoming truck. Yeon-kyung’s vision blurs at the memory, and she falls to the ground in a dead faint.
Since the bus thankfully stopped in time, Im rushes to Yeon-kyung’s side, but something about her pulse gives him pause as he asks himself, “Who on earth is this woman?” Just as he is about to help her return to consciousness with acupuncture, Im remembers the disgust Yeon-kyung had for his needles earlier.
Im’s hesitancy is reinforced by the gathering crowd’s negative whispers, and an ambulance pulls up before he can make the decision to continue. Despite being out of his depth, Im is quick on the uptake, and he readily tells the paramedic that he is indeed Yeon-kyung’s guardian just so he can jump in the ambulance with her.
It isn’t a smooth ride for Im in his first moving vehicle, as he crashes about in the back of the ambulance, unable to find purchase. Relieved to have made it to the hospital in one piece, Im immediately throws up on arrival. Ha.
A concerned Min-jae is there to greet the unconscious Yeon-kyung the minute the ambulance stops, and he demands to know what happened. Im intrudes on the paramedic’s explanation to say that Yeon-kyung will be fine, and that he would have treated her already if he hadn’t thought he would get in trouble for doing so.
Min-jae is too worried to do anything more than briefly question who Im is as they hurry Yeon-kyung into the hospital. Im hangs behind long enough to stop throwing up, and hilariously whines to himself about the ambulance ride. But once he gets his bearings, Im looks up in amazement at the sheer size of Shinhae Hospital.
Inside the hospital, Professor Hwang begrudgingly admits to the unconscious man’s girlfriend that Yeon-kyung did a great job with the emergency surgery. Both Professor Hwang and rival Man-soo are put out when the girlfriend requests that Yeon-kyung perform the follow-up surgery, but they have no other option but to agree.
But when Man-soo sees the unconscious Yeon-kyung being wheeled into the hospital on her own gurney, his grin is beyond smug as he explains why it might not be possible for Yeon-kyung to perform the operation.
While Im gets distracted by more modern technology (the air conditioning this time), Min-jae, Nurse Jung Yi-yeon, and Man-soo all wonder who the mysterious man could be. As Nurse Jung dismisses the possibility of Im being Yeon-kyung’s brother, Man-soo declares, “Well, he must be her boyfriend then.”
The man himself appears, and upon being quizzed, he agrees that he is indeed Yeon-kyung’s boyfriend… because to his ears, “boyfriend” sounds like “nice man.” But he does announce that he’s her “boyfriend” proudly, which has the rest of the group staring at him, utterly agape.
Awoken by more disturbing images of a crash, Yeon-kyung spares little time for herself and demands to know about her unconscious patient and Ha-ra from a concerned Min-jae. Min-jae tells her that she needs to think about herself more, but he confirms that they’re both fine.
Min-jae then broaches the subject of Yeon-kyung’s “boyfriend” and looks visibly relieved when Yeon-kyung just stares back at him blankly, not knowing who he’s talking about. However, Yeon-kyung’s expression darkens as she catches on that someone is going around pretending to be dating her, and demands to know where he is.
Meanwhile, Im discovers a host of modern delights, including water dispensers, revolving doors, and elevators. This last one terrifies him as he tries to negotiate with the closing doors and pleads, “There’s someone trapped in here. Save me! I’m sorry for my sins!”
Im curls up on a hallway floor out of the way, but it doesn’t seem to be all the new technology that startles him the most as he sighs wonderingly, “Can women really become doctors and nurses according to their own will in this place?”
In Ha-ra’s room, Yeon-kyung looks in on her wayward teenage patient, since it turns out that she never even left the hospital. Although Ha-ra is snippy with Yeon-kyung, Yeon-kyung is understanding as she tells Ha-ra she’ll let it go this time—but she won’t next time.
Yeon-kyung gently promises the defiant Ha-ra that since this is her job and responsibility, she will definitely save Ha-ra’s life. “And,” Yeon-kyung adds as she leaves the room, “I’m not an ‘ajumma,’ I’m your doctor.”
In a quieter part of the hospital, Im contemplates where it all went wrong for him. We flash back to when he was in Joseon attempting to treat the king, but his hand was too shaky to follow through. Next thing we know, he’s being dragged out of the palace amid accusations of treachery, and despite his pleas for another chance, Im is ordered to prison, while court physician Heo Jun looks on dispassionately.
In 2017, Im’s expression is thoughtful as he pulls out the offending needle… and winces in pain after he pokes himself with it. Speaking directly to the bag of needles, Im demands, “Did you know what a big opportunity it was?” Petulantly throwing the bag away, he declares, “This is all your fault!”
At her desk, Yeon-kyung looks up when she hears a bang from the floor above. As Yeon-kyung works on improving her surgical technique, Im laments about what he will do in this life, 400 years from everything he knows.
Im despondently interrogates a cleaner about the status of doctors in this time, but he perks right up when he hears that doctors are amongst the wealthiest people of society. He crouches over his abandoned needle bag to pet it fondly now that it might actually be valuable.
He pauses as he remembers being shot by arrows, but instead of being overly concerned with the fact he should be dead, Im just crabbily wonders why they shot him—twice!—when he was just running away.
Back in Joseon, rival Jin-oh gloats over Im’s disappearance and misfortune. Meanwhile, the missing shooter confers with an imprisoned Heo Jun, who mysteriously states, “We pulled the bowstring and everything is up to him now. Either he comes back dead or I do.”
Outside Im’s house, a rabble of sick people complain that it’s unlike the doctor to leave them waiting like this, but they are quickly cowed by the intimidating troop of soldiers that come to search the place for Im. Loyal servant Dong Mak-gae tries to tidy up the mess, only to become overcome with sadness as she begs Im, “Please wake up!”
In 2017, an aggravated Yeon-kyung finally catches Im as he snoozes on a hospital bed. Min-jae and Yeon-kyung speculate that he must be an oriental doctor since he performed acupuncture on Yeon-kyung and is wearing traditional garments.
Im starts babbling to his “servant Mak-gae” about the strange dream he had with the most beautiful woman he had ever seen. Yeon-kyung leans in close to ask, “Could that be me?”
Im startles awake to realize none of it was a dream. Immediately solicitous, Im tells an incredulous Yeon-kyung that he was so worried about her he couldn’t even sleep (hee), and asks if she has recovered. He even looks inordinately pleased at the lukewarm compliment she bestows on his freshly tied hair, when really she’s just weirded out by his actions.
Yeon-kyung cuts to the chase by thanking Im for helping her before asking what he wants. While asking her about her strange clothes and hair, Im also tries to learn more about the kind of money doctors make in this time period, but it comes off like he’s hitting her up for money.
The problem is compounded as Im thinks “100 nyang” (the old form of money in Joseon) should be enough, which to Yeon-kyung’s ears sounds like one thousand dollars. Outraged at his audacity and suspecting that he’s a scam artist, Yeon-kyung demands to know where Im works—which of course, he can’t answer.
Tired of Im’s antics, Yeon-kyung warns him that she’ll call the police the next time he follows her. Im’s rumbling belly stops Yeon-kyung from leaving though, and in frustration, she takes the pitiful Im to get food from the cafeteria.
Back in Ha-ra’s room, Yeon-kyung wheels in a gurney ready to take Ha-ra to her operation—only to find that the maid-guard fell asleep on duty, and Ha-ra has gone missing again.
But only slightly missing. Ha-ra is actually downstairs in the cafeteria, after unerringly picking out Im in the midst of his lustful ingestion of all the meat and rice he could want in a meal. Im oh-so-reluctantly offers to share the food with Ha-ra, whose eyes light up gleefully at the food. (That’s one way of dodging your surgery.)
In an effort to rile Yeon-kyung even further, Ha-ra sends a picture of herself eating the food. Yeon-kyung is disappointed and angry as she confronts Ha-ra, but Ha-ra only grows more defiant in answer. Slanting a furious look at a very confused Im, Yeon-kyung storms after Ha-ra.
Poor Im doesn’t know what he’s done wrong, and he runs after Yeon-kyung to ask what it is this time. When Yeon-kyung unfairly blames him for ruining Ha-ra’s chance at life-saving surgery, Im’s memory flashes to moments prior, when he had sensed that there was something wrong with Ha-ra’s heart after feeling her pulse.
Im sincerely asks Yeon-kyung to understand he tried to keep Ha-ra away from greasy food and apologizes for not knowing what surgery is yet. Expression alarmed, he asks what his punishment will be for the “crime” of feeding Ha-ra—perhaps a flogging, beheading, or exile?
Ha! His “punishment” is another little kick in the shin from Yeon-kyung.
Just as Yeon-kyung hustles away to find Ha-ra, an emergency patient is wheeled by, bleeding out. This triggers more visions of a crash in Yeon-kyung’s memory, and she takes herself to the bathroom to calm down as she wonders what these visions mean.
The observant Im scares her by following her into the women’s bathroom, but he persists in asking about Yeon-kyung’s symptoms. Im grabs her hand (to check her pulse again), and it almost looks as if the two are having a romantic moment… until Im admits that he doesn’t know what’s wrong.
Yeon-kyung’s demeanor immediately changes as she believes that Im has fooled her again, and next thing we know, Im is being unceremoniously dumped outside of the hospital by security. The guy just can’t catch a break and sighs, “Why does no one in this world listen to me?”
Inside the hospital, Professor Hwang is giving Yeon-kyung a hard time again for spending time with her “boyfriend” when she was supposed to be working, and for not even being able to control the teenaged Ha-ra before her operation. Yeon-kyung looks defeated as she accepts the criticism, but her spirits are raised slightly as nurse Nurse Jung cheerily hands her a nourishing drink for support.
Unfortunately, Yeon-kyung has to fend off Ha-ra’s passive-aggressive mother next, who warns Yeon-kyung to do a good job with her daughter. Ha-ra’s surly attitude takes a turn for the worse when it becomes clear that Yeon-kyung isn’t going to coddle her, since Yeon-kyung forces Ha-ra out of bed to work off the meat she ate earlier.
Outside, none of Im’s tactics to get back inside the hospital are working as he remains firmly on the wrong side of the door. Ha-ra finds him then, just as he ineffectively runs straight into the security guards blocking his way.
Happy to wheel Ha-ra around the hospital, Im unknowingly repeats that he is Yeon-kyung’s “boyfriend,” giving Ha-ra a good chuckle. However, Im is too busy feeling guilty when Ha-ra confirms that she can’t have her surgery today because of him to notice Ha-ra’s expression turn cloudy when he compliments Yeon-kyung’s skill as a doctor.
Yeon-kyung lurks outside a door marked “neuropsychiatry,” but before she can work up the courage to enter over her recent visions, she ducks away after being greeted by someone she knows. From the high window, Yeon-kyung spots Im fooling around with a playful Ha-ra, and rushes out to corral her errant patient.
Unfortunately, Ha-ra’s animosity for Yeon-kyung—and her mission of self-destruction—takes a dangerous turn when she exploits Im’s brief inattention to push herself, still in her wheelchair, down a set of steps. Yeon-kyung is too far away to do anything but fearfully watch as a panicked Im runs in front of Ha-ra to break her fall with his body in the nick of time.
Im’s needle bag ends up on the ground during the fall, and in the confusion, Im doesn’t notice it missing.
After Yeon-kyung makes sure Ha-ra is all right, an extremely pitiful Im manages to grab Yeon-kyung’s attention for his bleeding arm, childishly repeating the word “Blood, blood!” as he looks at it. Im lays it on a bit thick as he tried to emphasize that he’s Yeon-kyung’s patient right now, which means that she should treat him nicely. (He’s also wowed by the X-ray of his arm, even if he can’t quite understand what it is.)
Unimpressed, Yeon-kyung just tells him to sit down so she can stitch him up. Nervously eyeing up the equipment Yeon-kyung is wielding, Im tries to protest that his wound is actually fine, thanks. (Lol.) Yeon-kyung is efficient as she ignores him though, and Im looks on with wonder as he realizes he can’t feel the stitches thanks to her anesthetic shot.
This is a strange enough thing for a doctor to be curious about that Yeon-kyung is reminded of Ha-ra telling her that Im thinks he’s a doctor from Joseon. Yeon-kyung casually asks what Im would use to treat such a wound in Joseon, and carefully schools her expression as he answers her honestly.
Yeon-kyung humors Im while she fixes his arm, and encourages him to open up to her about the fact he is from “Haeminsoo.” Poor Im looks overjoyed at the thought that Yeon-kyung actually believes him, and the little smile he gives her just kills me.
Instead, Yeon-kyung heads straight to a psychiatrist colleague in the hospital, who confirms that Im must be delusional and asks Yeon-kyung to bring him to her. Yeon-kyung doesn’t look happy, but agrees that would be best. She sits down to uneasily explain that there’s something else her colleague should know as well…
Oblivious to what’s really going on, Im is happily waiting for Yeon-kyung outside the psychiatric wing when Ha-ra shows up, his lost needle bag clutched in her hand. Ha-ra mischievously runs off with the hostage item, though Im gives chase more to stop her from running with a bad heart than to get his needle bag back.
Sure enough, Ha-ra stumbles as her heart begins to give out, and Im can’t get to her before she collapses on the floor. Meanwhile, Yeon-kyung—who has been watching this unfold on a security camera—sounds the alarm for the hospital.
Although Im is once again hesitant to practice acupuncture in modern Seoul, this time he doesn’t let it stop him, since he’s the only doctor at the scene. Ha-ra is awakened from consciousness after a heart-stopping beat, but she isn’t grateful as she looks up at Im and numbly declares, “You should have let me die.”
This simple statement reminds him of the little sick girl (Yoon-yi) in Joseon, who had said something eerily similar to him. At that same moment, Yeon-kyung comes flying around the corner to check on Ha-ra, who is thankfully fine for now. Ha-ra even calls her “Doctor” for the first time as Yeon-kyung worriedly pats her down.
Held back by more guards, Im smiles self-deprecatingly as he tells Yeon-kyung that Ha-ra’s heart condition is stable, but there’s no need to thank him for saving her. Unfortunately, that’s not quite what Yeon-kyung had in mind, as she strides over to him…
…And slaps him full in the face, before angrily saying to the stunned Im, “You crazy jerk!”
Well, that was quite the ending to the first week! Poor Im, he can’t do anything right in Yeon-kyung’s eyes.
I have to say I’m really digging this show, and its balance of wacky comedy and serious medical drama (with just a dash of Joseon intrigue). The first episode focused on Joseon quite heavily, so I think this one may be more representative of what the show will be like going forward, with Im now stuck in modern-day Seoul. Thankfully, it looks like this won’t be a heavy medical procedural either (I wasn’t quite sure what I was expecting on that front) but more a culture clash between Im and Yeon-kyung. Both doctors know exactly what is wrong with patient Ha-ra’s heart, and even how to fix it—but fixing the problem isn’t the same as fixing the patient. Ha-ra is a well-developed character in her own right, and it looks like what will decide her fate isn’t the expertise of her doctors, but whether or not they can work together to convince her that she should want to live. It’s a different angle for a show to take, and I’m intrigued about why Ha-ra doesn’t want to live when I didn’t think I’d be this interested in the patients themselves at all.
This episode was also funnier than the first one, for me at least, though there was still a great balance with the other elements of the show. Time travel hijinks have always been one of my favourite types of hijinks, and this show doesn’t disappoint. I especially loved Im’s reaction to the food—such a simple but effective way to highlight the luxuries we take for granted in the modern century, while still being played for laughs. It is difficult to mine new material with the fish out of water scenarios, so kudos to Kim Nam-gil for making me crack up with his cheesy smiles and full body reactions.
However, with almost all of the wackiness coming from just one character—Im—I think if he was played by a less talented actor, he could quickly become aggravating. But Kim Nam-gil is so adept at underplaying the more ridiculous moments, and because he infuses Im with intelligence, I feel confident that he won’t become a caricature. For example, Im is adjusting remarkably quickly to modern Seoul with very little exception (ahem, the elevator incident). I think this might be partly because his shamelessly mercenary nature sees the opportunity to be had in this time, but also partly because of his easygoing attitude. And it is no doubt also due to the fascination he has with Yeon-kyung, since he follows her around like an imprinted duckling for very little reason.
I can’t say I blame him though, since Yeon-kyung is a fascinating character in her own right. She is clearly very driven, and doesn’t much care for the politics of the job (unlike Im, who was chasing status for its own sake in Joseon). Oftentimes in dramas like this, a driven character will need to be taught how to care for their patients, and not just their illness—but Yeon-kyung clearly cares very deeply for her patients, as we see with how she interacts with Ha-ra. Yeon-kyung may not believe she needs to be particularly “nice” to her patients, but she treats Ha-ra with great respect and patience.
Yeon-kyung does have a bit of a temper though, and she’s very stubborn, so it will be interesting to see Im trying to get her to believe him. Or even to get her to like him. It might be more difficult than he thinks, since neither option is looking very likely right now.
- 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