Yong-pal: Episode 10
Reality hits hard and fast for our hero this hour following his return from almost paradise. A lot may have changed during his absence, but the looming threats in the hospital still remain. Tae-hyun will stop at nothing if it means ensuring his sister’s safety, and while he’s busy risking his life, this episode is also a time of emotional healing for Yeo-jin, because sometimes hearing the simple truth is enough to cut deep into the heart.
EPISODE 10 RECAP
Tae-hyun guns it to Hanshin Hospital, where he wheels the mother and baby into the VIP floor. Since Chae-young isn’t here tonight, he instructs the nurses to set her room up with an incubator and send doctors to see both patients immediately.
Thankfully the newborn is fine, and Tae-hyun steps outside to finally address the nurses’ questions about where he’d been for these past few days. His usual devil-may-care response is returned with the whisper that this is no time for jokes. It’s only then does he learn the shocking news of the hospital director and Nurse Hwang’s deaths.
Yeo-jin, meanwhile, continues to pray at the church. She isn’t alone, however, and steps over to the other pew so that the boy can sleep on her lap. The nurse insists that she get some shut-eye, assuring her that God will certainly answer her prayers and that Tae-hyun will return as promised.
Now that Doo-chul and his lackey have recovered enough to be understood without subtitles, Tae-hyun tells them to get discharged. Doo-chul wonders if this means goodbye for good, but I, for one, sure hope it doesn’t.
Tae-hyun’s in for more surprises this evening because he runs into his father on the VIP floor. To his surprise, he finds his sister hospitalized in a swanky room on this floor, and barely two seconds pass before getting caught up in another argument with his father. She’s supposed to be heading out to the States tomorrow, but all So-hyun and their father know is that she’s been called in to stay here.
Tae-hyun can hardly believe his ears when their once-absent father claims to take responsibility for So-hyun if anything were to happen for her. Bringing up how Dad didn’t step up when Mom died earns Tae-hyun a hard slap.
He’s told that Do-joon must’ve looked favorably on his sister’s case if she qualified for Hanshin’s welfare medical care, especially this late in the year. And if the VIP floor hasn’t done enough restructuring, Chief Lee is now gone, too.
Tae-hyun sits down with Not Chief Lee, who tells him that the Hanshin welfare foundation that was supposed to send So-hyun to the States no doesn’t have the money to do so. So not exactly on Do-joon’s dime then.
As for Chief Lee, whose moustache gives me weird I Hear Your Voice flashbacks, forks over a fat envelope of money for a fake passport.
Tae-hyun stays up in his office before heading back to So-hyun’s room. He rouses her awake and tells her to grab her things. He doesn’t say where they’re headed and tries to lead her out, only to be blocked by security at any exit.
Undeterred, Joo-won leads his sister down another corridor, but that’s when he receives a warning text from Do-joon’s secretary that running away will only backfire on his sister. And that reminds Tae-hyun that in this hospital, the cameras are always watching.
Unable to sleep either, Yeo-jin lights a few candles to pray once more. When she rises to blow them out, one of the glass containers crashes onto the floor. Helllooo foreshadowing.
When Nurse Ahjumma has trouble wrapping her head around why Tae-hyun would’ve returned to the minefield that is Hanshin, he says he would’ve come back anyway because So-hyun is being held hostage here.
Everyone else who was involved in caring for Yeo-jin—the hospital director, Chief Lee, and Nurse Hwang—are now gone, so Tae-hyun is positive that he’s next.
While the boy upholds his promise to Tae-hyun by taking Yeo-jin out on her daily walk, Chae-young returns to the VIP floor. She already knows about the mother and the preemie, and makes sure that they’ll be taken care of.
She and Tae-hyun sit down for a chat, and when she assures Tae-hyun that Do-joon can’t kill him while she’s still breathing, he replies that his association to her may only give Do-joon more reason to kill him. That’s where a person’s weakness comes in, she argues, but Tae-hyun is tired of playing the game.
There’s nothing that he can do on his own and neither can he run away, she counters—the safest place he can be is by her side.
Tae-hyun requests an audience with Do-joon, and immediately drops down to his knees to plead for his sister’s life. “Please at least spare her like your promised… then I will kill myself.” Do-joon laughs in return—he’ll take care of that so Tae-hyun needn’t worry.
But Do-joon does finally lose it when Tae-hyun says he’ll make Chae-young believe that he’s made a run for it. He roars that he cares nothing of the kind of relationship they share—the point is that Tae-hyun’s services are no longer needed now that Yeo-jin is dead.
Tae-hyun is escorted outside, where he’s offered a proposition by Do-joon’s secretary: He’ll send So-hyun to America if Tae-hyun goes into hiding. Tae-hyun made a critical error in provoking Do-joon, but the secretary will work to persuade his boss.
He can enact his plan to send his sister away and go into hiding after Yeo-jin’s funeral. Before they part, Tae-hyun leaves the secretary with some final words: “I hope that you have a lot of time before your expiration date. I’m talking about the day you’ll be disposed of.”
With that, Tae-hyun returns to the hospital and into Yeo-jin’s suite which houses the stand-in mannequin. He sits down at a desk and takes a deep breath before he writes a letter to Yeo-jin.
In it, he writes that the mother and baby are fine, the hospital is bustling as usual, and that the process to send So-hyun abroad is going smoothly. He promises to return to her soon… and then writes that everything he’s written up to now was a lie. To be frank, he doesn’t know if he’ll be able to go back.
Out in the lobby, Chief Shin tells his residents that he’s definitely not bitter that he wasn’t chosen to replace Chief Lee. Spotting Tae-hyun, he pulls him aside for a chat and argues about how the position should stay within the same department. Why if the hospital chooses someone from a different specialization, Tae-hyun could soon be out of the job.
Which is why Chief Shin is asking him to put in a good word with Do-joon, packaging his words as if doing so will protect Tae-hyun, too. When Tae-hyun doesn’t give an answer right away, Chief Shin tells him not to forget his roots and sweetens his offer by mentioning that there’s only one available spot for the surgical fellowship and chuckles that he’s had Tae-hyun in mind.
Chief Shin hesitates when asked why he wants to move up to the VIP floor so badly, but he brightens up again when Tae-hyun says he’ll speak with Do-joon. And Tae-yong—who has been eavesdropping on this conversation—stews in anger.
Tae-hyun heads over to the chapel to tell the priest to return to the church alone since he has unfinished business to take care of here. He hands him the letter for Yeo-jin, and instructs the priest to pick up the mother and baby once they’re discharged.
But when the priest urges him to bring them back to the church himself, Tae-hyun agrees. Just outside, Nurse Ahjumma overhears this exchange.
Thinking back to how Tae-hyun is the apple of Chief Shin’s eye, Tae-yong takes out Detective Lee’s business card.
After instructing So-hyun to get ready to leave for the States for realzies this time, Tae-hyun is wrapped up in his own thoughts in the car. When she asks what’s on his mind, he says he’s worried about how she’ll get by without him.
She tosses back that she’ll do just fine, and this playful exchange between siblings is adorable. She promises her brother that she’ll come back alive, but hearing those words doesn’t put him at ease.
When they arrive at the airport, little does Tae-hyun know that Chief Lee is also on the move. Reluctant to part ways, Tae-hyun offers his sister some last-minute advice on what to do when she lands in the U.S. She turns to leave, but Tae-hyun calls after her to give her more life advice: “You don’t live your life for someone else. Not for me, not for our father. You live for yourself, you got that?”
His eyes filling up with tears, he continues. “No matter how lonely you get or how tough things get, you must get through it. For yourself. Got that?” He adds that he’s talking about her medical treatment, but they both know what he actually means. So-hyun says she’ll do her best to get better and come back healthy.
Tae-hyun apologizes that he can’t accompany her, but So-hyun says he’ll always be with her wherever she goes. He wipes his tears, and when she promises to call when she lands, he tells her not to. Crap, something’s gonna happen to her, won’t it?
While Detective Lee arrives at the airport (presumably in response to Tae-yong’s call), Chief Lee stops short when he sees Scarface a few yards away from him. His attempt to retreat is foiled when he crashes into Tae-hyun, who is stunned to see him.
Unfortunately, there’s no time to exchange pleasantries because Scarface suddenly gives chase. Chief Lee makes a run for it, and Tae-hyun chases after Scarface while the security guards chase after him.
Scarface catches up to Chief Lee on the escalators, so Chief Lee quickly hops over to the other side. He spots Tae-hyun on the top of the stairs and runs downstairs to evade capture. Tae-hyun loses the both of them, and when the guards grab him, he tells them that he’s not trying to run away.
As for Chief Lee, he abandons his jacket and tries blending in with a group of tourists. Tae-hyun doesn’t see him, but Scarface must have, because the next thing Chief Lee knows, he’s been stabbed in the gut and now bleeding profusely.
A scream alerts Tae-hyun, who turns back and runs to Chief Lee’s side. As he tries to staunch the bleeding, Detective Lee arrives to hear Chief Lee mumble that someone just tried to kill him.
The airport’s emergency care center is ill-equipped to handle such a serious injury, but ever the resourceful one, Tae-hyun utilizes its supplies to stop the bleeding long enough so that Chief Lee can be safely transported to the hospital.
Chief Lee pleads with Tae-hyun not to be sent to Hanshin Hospital, since certain death awaits him there. Tae-hyun assures him that they’ll be heading over to a different hospital, but that’s when Detective Lee stops him because he’d like a chat with the infamous Yong-pal.
After instructing the paramedic on what to relay to the ER, Tae-hyun is led away by the detectives. Inside the ambulance, the paramedic receives a call to head for Hanshin Hospital. Oh no! Hearing that, Chief Lee begins to panic and screams in protest.
The priest delivers Tae-hyun’s letter to Yeo-jin, whom he finds praying in the church. He leaves her to read it by herself, and this letter’s contents is different from the one we saw Tae-hyun write earlier:
Tae-hyun: “Yeo-jin-ah, I have to wake up from this dream now. While you can live out a happy future if you forget your painful past, my painful past is still ongoing. As long as you’re with me, you won’t be able to escape your painful past. I realized this when I got back to the hospital: I can only be a doctor. Why I became a doctor and what it took to become one… I can’t give all that up just for you. I’m sorry, I’m not going back. You’ll be fine without me. Please be happy and take care.”
Upon hearing news that Tae-hyun is in police custody, Do-joon tears a new one into his secretary. Everything was supposed to go smoothly once Tae-hyun’s sister was sent away, wasn’t it? President Go gives an arrogant smirk, much to the secretary’s ire.
Back at the church, Nurse Ahjumma approaches Yeo-jin to introduce herself (she gives a name, but I much prefer to keep calling her Nurse Ahjumma). Yeo-jin asks if something has happened to Tae-hyun, and hangs upon the nurse’s response of “he’s safe… for now.”
Nurse Ahjumma says she was present when her father, the late chairman, passed away barely six months into Yeo-jin’s coma. Yeo-jin is in no state to hear anything about her father, but Nurse Ahjumma takes her arm—she needs to hear this.
Despite his deteriorating condition, her father refused to be operated for his illness, Nurse Ahjumma says. But when he fell unconscious, the board of directors went ahead to have the surgery done. Do-joon had cut off all lines of communication so that no one would be able to speak to the ailing chairman.
However, as the surgical nurse, Nurse Ahjumma was able to monitor him post-surgery. Moments before his passing, the chairman had briefly awoken. In his semi-conscious state, he imagined seeing Yeo-jin by his bedside and softly called out to her by that name.
He had opened his arms as if to hug his daughter, and Nurse Ahjumma had complied with the chairman’s final wish by accepting the embrace and hearing his last few words. “I’m sorry, Yeo-jin-ah,” he had said weakly, with tears in his eyes. “I love you. And… keep this to yourself.”
If the chairman had said anything following that statement, we don’t get to hear it. Still, hearing this story at all brings tears to Yeo-jin’s eyes, and at last, Nurse Ahjumma passes on her father’s final embrace which she didn’t get to receive in person.
As Yeo-jin sobs for her deceased father, Nurse Ahjumma relays her father’s words: “I love you, Yeo-jin-ah. I’m sorry, Yeo-jin-ah.” She cries that it was all her fault, and the camera pans over to convey that the message has been delivered with an image of the late chairman hugging and consoling his daughter.
Once she’s alone again, Yeo-jin looks back up at the cross. With bitter determination, she thinks, “As expected, you aren’t listening to my prayers, God.”
Tae-hyun, meanwhile, is interrogated by Detective Lee about his activities as Yong-pal. He argues that a doctor’s first priority is to treat patients, no matter where that patient may be. Furthermore, doctor-patient confidentiality forbids him from revealing his patients’ identities.
But Detective Lee won’t give up just yet—sure Tae-hyun might not be able to say anything himself, but it wouldn’t be illegal for the police to acquire that information from a third party. Namely, Tae-hyun’s loan shark Man-shik.
Detective Lee wonders why a doctor would ever consider getting a private loan—has Tae-hyun dipped into some gambling? To that, Tae-hyun honestly says it was to pay for his sister’s medical treatment, but he takes issue with how Detective Lee says he shouldn’t be selling his sister off like that.
The interrogation is cut short, however, when an officer comes in to relay that the police chief would like to see Tae-hyun. Detective Lee’s boss realizes they’re in deep trouble if this investigation has reached the police chief’s ears, and Tae-hyun calmly replies that they can arrange a separate meeting later on with Chae-young.
And with that, Tae-hyun apologizes that he inadvertently revealed one of his patient’s identities. Detective Lee can only let out an absurd laugh.
Tae-hyun is called back into the hospital by Nurse Oh, who tilts her head to Chief Lee lying in a bed nearby. His wound is only getting worse and no one is willing to operate on him, so this should qualify as an emergency x-ray, right?
It’s at that moment Tae-yong enters the ICU with the other residents. His eyes widen upon seeing Tae-hyun. But Tae-hyun has bigger fish to fry at the moment than dealing with Tae-yong because all of a sudden, a bandaged woman walks out of the supposedly unconscious factory worker’s room.
The woman turns her head—it’s Yeo-jin.
Even though this past week’s episodes spent more of its time either on the romance or what happens to Do-joon’s hit list, I’m actually happy to see that our central central characters are back in Hanshin Hospital. Don’t get me wrong, I enjoyed watching Tae-hyun and Yeo-jin getting some time to recuperate in a brief period of almost paradise, and yet if their escape had been the end of it, not only would it leave many a thing unresolved (such as Yeo-jin facing her enemies) but it would also cast aside our characters’ central motivations (like Tae-hyun willing to do anything to save his sister) for love. To be honest, I would’ve been okay with Tae-hyun and Yeo-jin to remain as close friends, and when the show drove their relationship into romantic overdrive, I decided to go along with the ride, because at the end of the day, they are adorable together.
So rather than the coupling itself, it was more the presentation of the last two episodes before this one that felt like a deliberate transitional shift from what we’ve come to know from this series with a narrative slow-down. It’s this hour that feels like things are revving up again, and just in time too, because there are still plenty of episodes ahead of us.
I like that Tae-hyun immediately picked up on Do-joon’s intentions to dispose of everyone and anyone connected to Yeo-jin as soon as he heard of everyone else’s deaths. And to that extent, I hope that Chief Lee pulls through for a couple of reasons, including the fact that I’d hate to see another interesting character die before any part of the revenge actually happens, and because the more we get to know Chief Lee, the more he comes across as a truly pitiful character. He’s the prime example of what happens to a man who gets pulled into Do-joon’s sphere of influence and has past the point of no return. Also, I’m going to go ahead and say it’s really weird seeing Not Chief Lee and Not Chief Hwang walkin’ around the VIP floor because they’re nowhere near as creepy or intriguing as their predecessors.
What I’ve always wanted for Yeo-jin was for her to — literally and figuratively — stand firmly on her own two feet. Even if Tae-hyun is caught up in Do-joon’s web with the deal to spare his sister in exchange for his own life, the ultimate battle is between Yeo-jin and her half-brother. I did find it a nice touch for Yeo-jin to resolve her issues with the source of her deepest resentment: her father, who initially placed under the coma. She had no idea of course, that he had only meant for her to be kept under until she could awake to a world where he no longer existed. It’s unclear whether or not she’s privy to that information now, but I’m inclined to think that there must be a reason why Yeo-jin has re-entered the battlefield of her own volition. And it’s not for a showing for The Mummy Returns, that’s for sure.