Yong-pal: Episode 13
Life for these newlyweds may look idyllic on the surface, but this hour introduces the possibility that our good doctor may not know the woman he’s married to as well as he thinks he does. Any doctoring is kept to a bare minimum in favor of company politics now that Yeo-jin’s back from the dead, but at least it doesn’t seem like the three years spent in a coma have dulled her business acumen as much as it’s sharpened her senses (and possibly also her teeth).
EPISODE 13 RECAP
Thanks to the detectives with him flashing their badges, Tae-hyun is able to get past security to burst into Yeo-jin’s funeral before Do-joon’s goons can take her away.
Do-joon urges the police chief to arrest Tae-hyun, since he’s the one who called Yeo-jin’s “death” and ran away with her. But Tae-hyun holds up the marriage certificate and proclaims that Do-joon is no longer Yeo-jin’s legal guardian, because she has a husband now.
Seemingly oblivious to the makjang drama playing out in front of him, the police chief answers Do-joon’s claims that the marriage is invalid due to Yeo-jin’s madness by repeating what Yeo-jin says: that he can take it to court if he wants.
In the meantime, and for some reason now that she has a husband, the police chief agrees to honor her request to be protected by the law. Do-joon’s ready to protest, but President Go warns him to keep his temper—they still have the One USB, after all.
After Do-joon and Yeo-jin send each other threatening telepathic messages, Do-joon pretends to amicably agree to the police chief’s decision regarding his sick sister. He makes it very clear to Tae-hyun that he’s going to make a call to the States about someone else’s sick sister as a threat.
That’s when Yeo-jin tells him that if he had just let So-hyun go to the United States without using her as bargaining chip, she and Tae-hyun would’ve just lived quietly without ever coming back.
But then, she admits, she wouldn’t have seen her father’s will and known what he really thought about Do-joon. Most of all, she wouldn’t have found out about his secret promise with her fiancé.
This is enough to get Do-joon to demand that the police chief arrest the two of them immediately, before he proceeds to threaten the whole room with the damning information he has on the One USB. “That’s it,” Yeo-jin thinks to herself—the trap she’s set for Do-joon has been sprung.
Do-joon thinks he has an ally in the chief prosecutor, but he’s not there to help Do-joon. He points out that those assembled at the funeral aren’t the ones he has dirt on in the One USB, even though Do-joon swears up and down that he saw their names there himself.
Regardless, more prosecutors shove past security to apprehend him, on the charge that he sent out a text the night before pressuring funeral attendees by threatening to expose the secrets on the One USB. Do-joon claims he never sent that text, which is when Secretary Min steps in to show them the text on Do-joon’s cell phone.
It was Secretary Min that sent the text, and Do-joon realizes it when his secretary shows solidarity with Yeo-jin by bowing to her. “Do you think you’ll make it out alive after this?” Do-joon snarls to the room when the One USB is confiscated. Probably a bad idea, but then again, he’s full of them.
Do-joon is arrested, and he tells President Go to call his lawyer before he’s carted off in handcuffs—but not before he can send one final murderous look in Yeo-jin’s direction. He’s comforted at least by hearing the chief of security putting in a call to So-hyun’s caretakers in the States, grinning at the mere thought of revenge.
Thanks to Doo-chul Ahjusshi though, Detective Lee is able to confiscate President Go’s phone before he can even make a call, announcing that they’re arresting him for being an accomplice to murder. He gets permission from the police chief to do so by proffering the little black book of confessions Scarface wrote up.
While everyone else salutes Yeo-jin’s return as Chairwoman of Hanshin, a group of protestors bearing a portrait of the dead factory worker’s face burst into the funeral hall surrounded by the media. Yeo-jin bows to them and steps aside so they can place her portrait at the altar, having planned for this.
Addressing the media assembled as well as the protestors, Yeo-jin gives her sincere thanks to the factory worker, since she wouldn’t be here today without having pretended to be her. Since she was wrongly dismissed from Hanshin Electric, Yeo-jin apologizes to her family and promises that they’ll be compensated for her loss.
Also, she promises to honor the woman’s memory today by holding her funeral, and by hiring back any other employees who faced the same unjust treatment. Hanshin Electric will also not be sold off like Do-joon wanted, much to the crowd’s joy. The blood of those who wronged the woman, Yeo-jin promises darkly her as she faces her portrait, will be offered on her altar.
Chae-young accepts a ride from Yeo-jin after the funeral, and half-sarcastically congratulates her for winning. “But the marriage is fake, right?” she seems eager to know, even though Yeo-jin provides no answers—she’s too busy having an out of place flashback montage of her time in the hospital.
Nurse Ahjumma finds Nurse Oh tending to Chief Lee in his hospital room, and tells her the news: Yeo-jin is now chairwoman, while Do-joon’s been ousted. (That was awfully quick.) Chief Lee hears that Yeo-jin is alive with fear, considering he tried to kill her and all, but he’s too weak to do anything about it.
Yeo-jin is welcomed back to the home her brother’s been inhabiting by all the staff who are now loyal to her, but Chae-young isn’t. Yeo-jin coldly orders her things removed from the house immediately.
We find Tae-hyun at the police station with Detective Lee while his partner interrogates an unforthcoming President Go. Even though they have Scarface’s confession that Go ordered the deaths of both Nurse Hwang and the hospital director, along with text messages Go sent ordering murders. Wouldn’t the attempted murder on Tae-hyun be included then, since he texted orders to Scarface?
But despite having all that evidence, Tae-hyun worries that President Go will be released if he doesn’t confess. Even Detective Lee says that proving the charge will be tough, though at least now he’s respectfully calling Tae-hyun by his title and full name instead of Yong-pal.
Secretary Min sends Hanshin lawyers to bail Tae-hyun out of jail, unaware that he’s already been released by Detective Lee with only a fine to pay. Now that they’re buddies, Detective Lee even encourages Tae-hyun to make house calls—as long as they’re not to gangsters, of course. Just for funsies, Lee growls “Yong-pal!” the way he used to do one last time.
Tae-hyun is clearly uncomfortable with all the respect he’s getting, even from Secretary Min, who comes to escort him home to Yeo-jin. He tries to get Min to call him something less formal, but Min claims that his title was decided at the board meeting that totally happened off screen (and solved everything).
He also holds an important position within the company now, as the heir to the largest shareholder in Hanshin Group. He’s the equivalent of the chairman’s wife, only he’s the chairwoman’s husband. Tae-hyun laughs like he wishes he could find a hole to crawl into and never come out.
The chief prosecutor finds Do-joon in a waiting area of the office and tells him the One USB he had was a fake. Do-joon is sure that that’s just his way of covering everything up, and guesses that the chief prosecutor will keep the files for himself to use as insurance.
It’s only good news for Do-joon if that’s the story the prosecutor sticks to though, since the USB’s nonexistence would invalidate the crimes he’s supposed to have committed.
But it does seem like Do-joon has some sort of deal going on with the chief prosecutor, since he boasts about how he’ll retake the company from Yeo-jin and invites him to just watch for now and share a drink with him later. Likewise, President Go is acting equally unfazed and cocky in the prosecutor’s office too.
Tae-hyun’s attempts to squirrel out of being taken to Yeo-jin’s home don’t work with Secretary Min, who tells him that he’ll become comfortable with his new home soon enough. “And later, it will become a place that you can’t ever give up.”
Secretary Min appoints a personal bodyguard for Tae-hyun, which only makes him feel more burdened. Secretary Min pulls him aside for a private chat, and surprises him by dropping all the formalities—he wants to talk to him as Doctor Kim Tae-hyun for the last time before he crosses that threshold and becomes his much fancier title again.
He seems to be warning Tae-hyun not to let all this newfound power go to his head, because even if he’s powerful, he’ll always be vulnerable to someone. Secretary Min just wants him to be vulnerable to Yeo-jin, he claims, before reverting back to stiflingly formal politeness and apologizing for his rude behavior.
There’s no hard feelings on Tae-hyun’s side, but he does call out Secretary Min for apologizing without meaning it, though his smile says the two of them are good.
The house has been cleared of most of the servants so as not to make Tae-hyun uncomfortable, though he finds Yeo-jin in the kitchen attempting to cook up a meal with the chef and wraps his arms around her from behind. She turns around so she can reciprocate the embrace and welcomes him home emphatically.
Chae-young drinks away her sorrows at a bar, and finds herself bereft of words when she tells a man she offended, “Do you know who I am?” Only she can’t tell him who she is since she isn’t anymore, and without her title, Chae-young doesn’t know what’s left.
Tae-hyun makes soy bean stew for Yeo-jin the way his mother used to make it so she can rest instead. The household staff looks in on the two lovebirds with huge grins, as Tae-hyun looks for the missing ingredient: his mom’s secret ingredient, aka MSG. Hah.
Meanwhile, President Go wastes Detective Lee’s time with stories and anecdotes about how he’s not going anywhere to stall until his lawyer arrives. Cue maniacal laughter.
After Tae-hyun spoon feeds his stew to Yeo-jin while they both sit comfortably on the kitchen counter and even does the dishes (winning him points with the staff), Yeo-jin asks, “When should we have our wedding?”
Tae-hyun’s the typical boy who says they’re already married and don’t need an expensive and elaborate ceremony, even though Yeo-jin wants to wear a wedding dress for an event that’ll only happen once in her life. Soon enough though, he caves, and lovingly tells her he’ll do whatever she wants.
He weirds the both of them out when he calls her yeobo, a term of endearment commonly used among married couples, but they both get a good laugh out of it. But Yeo-jin pauses when Tae-hyun says they should retire to “our room,” asking him where his mind is.
She playfully huffs that they didn’t have a wedding (ergo no wedding night), and Tae-hyun jokes that she’s not well enough for whatever he might have been thinking. He’s not joking when he adds, “I told you before. Until you’re free from your painful past, I can wait.”
Yeo-jin thanks him for his thoughtfulness, but tells him she’s already over that past. “Should we go?” he asks, and when she nods, he picks her up in a bridal carry to her wheelchair. They part ways for their own separate rooms then, and Tae-hyun’s shown to his quarters in the guest house by the head maid who’s either clumsy or partially blind.
After receiving a secret note with concerning news about his son from his lawyer, President Go goes back to acting high and mighty with Detective Lee—soon enough he’ll be handed over to the prosecutor’s office where he has friends. They’ve already gotten the order to send him, which neither the station chief or Lee’s partner are happy about.
Despite the head maid’s coldness toward him, Tae-hyun sits her down to perform a rudimentary vision test, concerned about her constantly bumping into furniture. She has terrible peripheral vision, which he claims could be due to a tumor pressing on her optic nerves. He urges her to go the hospital, his concern enough to break through her icy exterior.
President Go is served prison food in the interrogation room, and though we can see the wheels turning in his head, we don’t know why. At least until he takes out the note from his son, shatters his bowl against the wall and slits his own throat before the detectives can get to him.
He bleeds onto the note that put him into such a state, which reads: “Father, save me.”
The next morning, Tae-hyun’s ready to leave without eating breakfast, until the head maid guilts him that the kitchen staff would be disappointed. He goes into the dining room to find way too lavish a spread for just one person, but still does his best to eat as much as possible. That’s just wasteful.
Yeo-jin’s wheeled in, wanting to be the wife who sees her husband off to work in the morning. Tae-hyun hugs her before leaving her with the giggling kitchen staff, who obviously made all that food because they like Tae-hyun.
Secretary Min wheels her to Do-joon’s office, now a boardroom, and she walks from the threshold to her seat with difficulty. After cracking wise about her atrophied muscles, Yeo-jin puts a stop to the board members acting friendly with her by reminding them that no one there helped her while she was imprisoned for three years.
And because they didn’t, she adds with a rueful laugh, her muscles became so weak that she couldn’t even slit her own throat when she wanted to. All this is to remind them of their failures, but the vice chairman of the board reminds her that everyone present is here because they support her.
Still, that support is tentative for as long as President Go and Do-joon’s alliance stands, considering that Yeo-jin hasn’t been confirmed as chairwoman officially yet. They’re basically threatening her to be nice to them during her transitional period, or they won’t help her against her two greatest enemies.
It’s then that all their phones start buzzing with the news that President Go died in prison the night before. Yeo-jin can barely overhear them and smiles, more to herself than anybody. “What’s going on?” she asks, feigning innocence. “Did someone die last night?”
Ohhhhhh. That definitely gets everyone’s attention, and Yeo-jin seems awfully pleased with herself now that she holds all the cards. But she reveals her best one, as she shows them a silver USB before plugging it into her computer.
“It can’t be…” the Vice Chairman stutters. Yeo-jin flatly responds that her father gave it to her, before looking up at the board and smiling: “Should we see who will be the next President Go?”
Secretary Min pushes her empty wheelchair out of the room and closes the doors. Yeo-jin watches her symbol of weakness disappear behind the boardroom doors, her lips curled in a confident and dangerous smile.
Innnteresting. This episode sure took a while to go somewhere, but I can honestly say I wasn’t expecting where we ended up, nor was I expecting it to throw everything I thought I knew about Yeo-jin into question. If we’re not just being led to a false conclusion with New Yeo-jin, this would certainly change everything—after all, no drama character undergoes a dramatic hair cut just for aesthetic appeal. (Fictional Hair Cheat Sheet: Curly and/or long hair = nice, straighter and/or shorter = naughty.)
The question then becomes whether Yeo-jin’s secretly been this person the whole time, or whether she’s just made that dramatic a shift while pulling one over on everyone else. I’d salute this show’s huevos rancheros if they decide to really commit to her being the crocodile she always claimed she was, because it’d open up so many avenues for her relationship with Tae-hyun. Is she using him? Is she just in this for revenge? And if so, whatever happened to the girl who confessed before God that she’d be more forgiving of her enemies?
Still, I’m not against a vengeful Yeo-jin, especially when it provides so much gray area for her as a character and for us as viewers. So far she’s been painted as a desperately maligned sleeping beauty just trying to evade her torturers, but it’d really be something if she’s now turning the tables in a way that wouldn’t make her too unlike her brother. Of course, this is all based on speculation as to whether she had that note sent to President Go, since she definitely seemed the opposite of surprised when the news went public.
In a way I’m glad it could’ve been her that sent that note and not Do-joon, since it’s no secret that I’ve grown weary of his antics lately. He’s just not smart enough to do any problem solving, so his bravado comes off as patently false and juvenile. He’s the opposite of subtle, and the whole funeral room showdown was honestly hard to swallow at some points, what with everyone announcing a new twist and turn in front of a dispassionate audience of men in positions of varying and bizarrely convenient levels of importance. I even laughed at the part where Detective Lee burst in to arrest President Go, which can be pretty much summed up as: “I’m arresting this man! Is that okay?” Police Chief: “Well, do you have evidence?” Detective Lee: “Yes!” Police Chief: “Okay then!”
Every problem was solved in that room with someone saying one thing, another person contradicting it, and some higher power just going along with it. Nothing really carried dramatic heft, even with Tae-hyun showing their marriage license around—because again, that’s apparently the only thing the police chief needed to decide that not only was Yeo-jin sane, but that her earlier complaints had merit. And yet the only crime Do-joon’s being held for is blackmail, when Yeo-jin now has the power for her voice to be heard if she cared about bringing him to justice. The legitimate and lawful way, anyway.
Instead it just seems like business as usual for the new chairwoman, and not so much for Tae-hyun. It’s fun to see him struggle under the awkwardness of being a chaebol’s husband, but for a show named after his alter ego, it’d be nice to see him have a bit more agency in the action unfolding. Then again, it might be a tall order to integrate an optimistic and well-meaning doctor into Yeo-jin’s crocodile pond—so for now, we wait.