Yong-pal: Episode 12
Tae-hyun’s penchant for helping the hopeless gets him into some serious trouble this hour, but that same optimistic and inherently humane spirit is also what saves him. You don’t get to be a quack without making a few friends, and he’s definitely made some good ones. Yeo-jin is one lucky girl to have someone like him on her side, but methinks she knows that already—she’s the one about to marry the guy, after all. Granted, having your wedding on the same day as your funeral isn’t a thing most people would get to do, but that’s half the fun.
EPISODE 12 RECAP
Do-joon’s secretary doesn’t kneel when Yeo-jin commands him, instead commanding her to prove that she’s worthy enough for him to kneel before her.
Yeo-jin holds up the One USB left by her father, and the secretary instantly knows that Hanshin’s secret accounts are inside. Just like her father predicted would happen, the USB gives Yeo-jin great power, enough to make Do-joon’s secretary kneel.
While Man-shik accosts the chief of security at the airport for Yeo-jin’s passport (but under whose orders?), he calls Do-joon’s secretary, who puts him on hold as he addresses Yeo-jin—but mostly, he addresses the One USB, which he calls the royal seal of the Hanshin Kingdom.
He urges her to trust the One USB to him, and Yeo-jin warns him about being too arrogant with her before she tosses it to him. Wait… what? Please, please tell me that’s not the real USB and/or she has a copy. Why does no one in dramaland know how to make digital copies?
In return, the secretary tells the chief of security to hand over the passport to Man-shik. He also pledges his loyalty to Yeo-jin and asks for her next order.
Turns out Man-shik was operating under Tae-hyun’s orders, since he finds Tae-hyun waiting outside and gives Yeo-jin’s passport to him. Unaware that Scarface is tailing them, Man-shik asks Tae-hyun who the passport belongs to, since the girl in the picture is so beautiful.
“She’s my bride,” Tae-hyun says almost sheepishly. Man-shik balks that someone so pretty would want to marry him, and practically gags when Tae-hyun says it’s because they’re in love. “Love? Yong-pal knows how to love?” his loan shark scoffs.
Tae-hyun flashes back to Yeo-jin’s impromptu marriage proposal and the kiss he gave her as his answer. We also see what was said afterward, with Yeo-jin instructing him to register their marriage the following morning so that he’ll be her legal guardian.
If not, Do-joon would still be the one making decisions for her, and her fight with him would end with her back in a coma or worse. Tae-hyun didn’t need any convincing from her, despite her acknowledgment that their marriage would be one of convenience—for him, it’s love.
She’s having to put all her faith in Tae-hyun getting their marriage registered in time, since she reveals to Do-joon’s secretary that she’ll be attending her own funeral tomorrow and wants everyone who’s anyone to be there. As long as he tells them she has the secret ledgers on the One USB, they’ll all come.
Her new secretary warns her against such a foolhardy move, worried that she’ll reveal herself only to be put back under Do-joon’s control as her legal guardian. Yeo-jin just tells him to do as he’s told, while thinking to herself, “Tae-hyun will definitely come.” He’s not going to make it, is he.
Just then, Man-shik takes a call from some customers in need and volunteers Yong-pal for the job. Tae-hyun is adamant that he doesn’t do house calls anymore, but Man-shik incentivizes him with guilt and money.
Scarface tails them to the warehouse where Yong-pal will be treating the gangsters, while Yeo-jin watches her father’s video message again—especially the part about her fiancé—and bitterly thanks her former lover for his betrayal, since it’s freed her from reliving the same car crash nightmare over and over again.
The warehouse is full of injured and bleeding thugs, and Yong-pal sets to work stitching up each and every one on his impromptu operating table. But one is unresponsive, and Yong-pal rushes into action to bring him back from the verge of death with a saline solution while he bandages the really gnarly gash on the man’s leg.
While President Go begins to wonder if Yeo-jin is alive after finding out about her passport being taken by Tae-hyun, Yong-pal makes it out of the warehouse without a single drop of blood on his pristine white shirt.
He makes Man-shik nervous by thanking him for his hard work this whole time, even allowing him to keep the day’s earnings, which makes it sound like a true goodbye. Tae-hyun even calls him a friend, which makes Man-shik visibly uncomfortable.
They fail to notice Scarface nearby, whom President Go orders not to kill Tae-hyun until he leads them to Yeo-jin. He then goes to Do-joon to report his suspicions about his secretary, believing that Yeo-jin might still be alive.
Much to his surprise, Do-joon just laughs in his face. Funny that President Go should mention SECRETARY MIN (he finally has a name!), since he appears from behind Do-joon. He’s told him everything and even given him the One USB, so either he’s acting as Yeo-jin’s double agent, or he betrayed her.
Do-joon waves the USB in front of President Go’s face, bragging about how all the power is his now even though his father left it to Yeo-jin—but because of Secretary Min, he has it. Secretary Min can’t help but smirk victoriously at President Go, who he’s finally bested in the quest for Do-joon’s affections.
Though Yeo-jin managed to escape from Secretary Min’s watch, Do-joon isn’t concerned, since he knows she plans to show up at the funeral tomorrow. After ordering Min to only allow those who’ve pledged their loyalty to him to attend, he grits, “We need to show Yeo-jin who the real king is.”
Since President Go’s secret ledgers are also on the One USB, the scales of power between them are now tipped heavily in Do-joon’s favor. President Go has to beg for his understanding, which makes Do-joon feel even more like a king. And his first decree entails killing Tae-hyun, regardless of how his wife might feel about it.
President Go texts the order to Scarface just as Chae-young’s maid reports the contents of the meeting to her. Props to her for being the only one at least mildly surprised by the news that Yeo-jin is alive.
Since Hanshin Hospital is just an open thoroughfare, a thug masquerading as a nurse sneaks into Chief Lee’s hospital room and injects something terrible into his IV. Nurse Oh’s arrival scares him off, but a weakened Chief Lee begs her not to call the guards, since he knows they’ll be of no use.
Man-shik’s guilty looks and nervous attitude toward Yong-pal gets an explanation when he suddenly blurts, “Run away, quickly.” He doesn’t understand at first, until Man-shik confesses that he told the police on him in a moment of weakness and apologizes.
They’ll be coming to the warehouse soon to catch him, but if he runs now, he might be able to escape. All the gangsters have to escape too if they don’t want to be caught, but Scarface pushes past them to get inside.
He stabs Man-shik in the gut for resisting him, and though Tae-hyun witnesses it, he has no choice but to run for his life. Not before putting a Stunt Cap on, of course.
He tries hiding in the warehouse, but Scarface bursts through the wall to tackle him head-on. Tae-hyun scrambles up the stairs after their scuffle with Scarface in hot pursuit, while the police arrive on scene. Detective Lee finds Man-shik on the floor, who urges him to hurry and save Yong-pal from the man trying to kill him.
Tae-hyun edges along an outside ledge of the warehouse, closely pursued by Scarface. When they both jump down to a platform below, ready to square off, a gunshot interrupt them—it’s Detective Lee.
He orders both of them to freeze as he makes his way down, though Tae-hyun looks like he’s weighing whether to flee or not. But Detective Lee’s obsessive fascination with Yong-pal comes back to bite him, since he’s too occupied with gloating to fend off a sudden attack by Scarface that sends him flying.
Detective Lee has only to look at Yong-pal to know that he’s not going to help him, and while he and Scarface fight, Tae-hyun makes his escape. But he’s stopped by the sound of Detective Lee’s body crashing to the ground as Scarface throws him off the platform.
Approaching sirens send Scarface running, and Tae-hyun’s presented with a moral dilemma: run and save his own skin, or save Detective Lee. As expected, he rushes to Lee’s side, instantly recognizing the signs of a collapsed lung.
He needs to poke a hole into his lung and fast, so he uses a piece of broken glass for the incision and a hollowed out pen for the tube. It’s not perfect (or anywhere near sanitary), but it’s enough to keep Detective Lee alive—and with that, Tae-hyun rushes off.
Chae-young is the first to track Yeo-jin down just by making one very easy phone call to the nurse’s station, and pays a visit to her in her hospital room. Yeo-jin’s not even surprised, and takes off the bandages she’s been using as a disguise.
The two women are surprisingly civil as Chae-young tells her sister-in-law not to go to her own funeral, since Secretary Min betrayed her and gave the One USB to Do-joon.
Not one shred of emotion passes over Yeo-jin’s hardened expression as she scoffs at Chae-young’s claim that she wouldn’t be in this position if she’d been in her hands—she knows she would have just been locked up somewhere else. Chae-young doesn’t refute her claim.
But she still urges Yeo-jin to flee, telling her that her stubbornness won’t solve this problem for her. Yeo-jin just levels a look at her and reminds her of her place: “Have you forgotten who I am?” If Chae-young doesn’t want to side with her, then she better stay far away—or if she chooses her side, Yeo-jin claims she’ll free her from Do-joon’s clutches and spare her family as well.
Before Chae-young agrees, she asks what Yeo-jin’s relationship with Tae-hyun is, becoming visibly relieved when Yeo-jin says he’s just someone whose loyalty she bought. “Okay, I will stand by your side and do whatever you want,” Chae-young says. “In return, I’ll take Tae-hyun.”
“As you wish,” Yeo-jin keeps her poker face extra poker-y as she agrees to the deal, but only when she’s alone does her expression turn grave as she takes up a pair of scissors…
…But instead of taking them to her neck as she would’ve done once, she shears her hair short. “From this moment on, the former Han Yeo-jin is dead.”
Everyone prepares for the funeral as if preparing for war, with the chief of security locking the place down so that only approved guests can enter. Chae-young hires a team of stylists to doll Yeo-jin up for her big day.
After a long night, Tae-hyun finally makes it to the county office first thing in the morning to register his marriage to Yeo-jin. (That’s why he needed her passport.)
President Go doesn’t know what to do when important guests start arriving at the funeral earlier than planned, but his emergency call to Secretary Min goes ignored.
That means that Do-joon doesn’t find out about the unexpected guests until he arrives much later (well, technically on time), only to see a bunch of dour-faced VIPs waiting impatiently inside. They’re the guests Yeo-jin had initially instructed Secretary Min to invite, and they are not happy.
Chae-young wheels Yeo-jin out of the hospital, sporting a new bob and sunglasses to disguise her. “Kim Tae-hyun, come quickly,” Yeo-jin thinks to herself, as we find Tae-hyun filling out their marriage certificate, only to be interrupted when Detective Lee and his partner slap cuffs on him. His desperate pleas to be allowed to finish in order to save someone’s life go ignored as they throw him in the back of the police car.
Do-joon finds out from President Go that the unwanted guests came thanks to a text message supposedly sent by him, though he thinks Yeo-jin was behind it. Judging by Secretary Min’s intense look, I’d say she wasn’t the only one in on the scheme.
With Tae-hyun riding in the backseat, Detective Lee gets an unexpected call from the car closely tailing them—it’s Doo-chul ahjusshi, come to save the day. “Aren’t you being too hard on your savior?” Doo-chul tsks over the line, causing Lee to remember how Tae-hyun’s emergency procedure saved his life only hours earlier.
Doo-chul offers a deal for Yong-pal’s release: he’ll gift the detective with a murderer so heinous that his capture would skyrocket Detective Lee to a promotion. But if that’s not enough, Doo-chul has only to add that he’s the same criminal who threw Lee off the roof last night.
“So release Yong-pal, who saves lives, and catch the killer who takes lives,” Doo-chul says. He’s even paved the way for him by catching Scarface for him, so when Detective Lee asks how he can trust him, all he has to do is pull over and open his trunk. In it, he finds Scarface wrapped up like a present. Best. Ahjusshi. Ever.
Chae-young manages to wheel a semi-disguised Yeo-jin past the threshold where her funeral’s being held while the detectives take Tae-hyun back to the office so he can finish his marriage registration in handcuffs.
“This is as far as I can take you,” Chae-young tells her sister-in-law. “You’ll have to face this fight on your own. I’ll bet on the winning team in the end.” She still wheels Yeo-jin down the aisle toward her own funeral altar, until Yeo-jin raises a hand to stop her.
Remembering Tae-hyun’s words about how she couldn’t sit on the throne unless she could walk to it, she rises from her wheelchair and takes slow, unsteady steps forward. Chae-young slips away as Yeo-jin ascends the stairs, then and only then removing her veil and sunglasses.
She turns around to face the crowd then, right in front of her own portrait. Everyone but her own brother reacts in shock, though he’s certainly not happy, either. And then he tries to play it all off with a lame: “Yeo-jin-ah! What happened?”
“Why?” she shoots back. “Are you surprised that the person you killed has come back to life?” Do-joon still plays dumb, even when Yeo-jin accuses him of claiming that she was dead when she’s obviously alive and well. Instead he turns the blame onto whoever mistakenly pronounced her dead, taking some satisfaction when Tae-hyun’s name is called.
Do-joon then claims that she’s too frail to be outside, and needs to be hospitalized immediately. They’ll hear the rest of the story later. Really, Do-joon? I want to give you more credit than this, but you’re making it really hard.
Before the guards can reach her, Yeo-jin calls out to the police chief she made sure to invite, asking for protective custody. “Han Do-joon has held me captive illegally for the last three years, and used the fact that I was unconscious to control the company.” To her, that should be enough to get protective custody so her brother can’t confine her again.
But the police chief says there are formal steps that need to be taken, giving Do-joon an opportunity to step in and claim that he kept Yeo-jin’s mental state under wraps in order to save the company’s image, but asserts that she isn’t of sound mind.
Yeo-jin continues to stand tall as she addresses the police chief, this time saying that she’ll submit to a physical and mental checkup as long as it’s not at Hanshin Hospital.
So when Do-joon gives the police chief a psychiatrist’s fake diagnosis to the police chief from Hanshin Hospital, you’d think that would be a red flag…
…But the police chief believes his bull, even going so far as to acknowledge Do-joon’s claim that he’s her legal guardian and will do what’s best for her. Is no one else in this room actually watching what’s going on? Are we going to have to take it on faith that Do-joon’s claims are so clever and foolproof that not one person sees through this? Really?
Really. Do-joon has only to issue a veiled threat to bring the police chief in line, leaving Yeo-jin stranded at the altar. As he sends his sister a vicious smirk, Yeo-jin thinks, “Tae-hyun-ah, come quickly.”
This show has asked us to buy a lot so far, and I’ve been happy to shell out my hard-earned mental dollars for some of the more outrageous things as long as they proved to be entertaining and fun. I applaud Yeo-jin’s preparation for the opposition she knew she would face, and can actually understand now why her marriage to Tae-hyun was so essential, especially when only a select few people in this dramaverse see reality for what it is.
It’s not like we need a mathematically precise level of logic in our shows, but there are some things that can’t be ignored when they fly in the face of basic human nature. Things that we see but inherently can’t believe because that’s just not how stuff works—and while I can accept that I’m not well versed in Korean custodial law, and even if unlawful power of attorney over an adult can be granted if just one psychiatric report is fabricated, it’s just so patently ridiculous that Yeo-jin can face a roomful of people who presumably haven’t all been bought off by Hanshin and clearly state her accusations against her brother, only for said brother to still be able to assume control over her.
And he did so using a psychiatric report from the hospital that he owns, which happened after she stated she’d submit to a mental check at any hospital except Hanshin. Even if she were a raging schizophrenic, any of the multiple people of great power she assembled there would have to only say one word to take even the most cursory glance into Do-joon’s bizarre family affairs—but of course that won’t happen (yet) because his schemes wouldn’t hold up to even the lightest scrutiny.
That’s an all too common problem with a lot of drama baddies, and it can be pretty frustrating when you have a villain that gets to operate on a plane of existence that just doesn’t exist, especially when the only way for him to do so is by dumbing down everyone else. That scene could’ve worked if Do-joon had been painted as a competent usurper who’d gotten one step ahead of Yeo-jin, but right now it feels like she’s one of a handful of sane people facing a world of lunatics. Which really, really sucks for her.
So despite harping on Do-joon—I really do have an obsession with villains and just want them to be good at their job—if the idea was to feel Yeo-jin’s helplessness and despair, they certainly succeeded. She came to her funeral so prepared, and the fact that it still wasn’t enough would crush the average person. Heck, I feel crushed for her, even though I know she’s got a backup plan en route in the form of Tae-hyun.
And with any luck, she has another backup plan in Secretary Min, because I don’t think my puny brain could take it if she really did give him the One Copy of the One USB with just a hope and a prayer. The Yeo-jin that rose from the dead to face her greatest enemy, the Yeo-jin who boldly asked the man she loved to marry her, the Yeo-jin who’s still standing after finding out that everything she thought she knew was a lie is better than that. Am I basing that on the fact that there was a computer in that hospital room? Maybe, but a little wishful thinking can’t hurt.