Yong-pal: Episode 14
There’s a new ruler sitting on the Hanshin throne, one who isn’t afraid to show her iron fist in the face of her enemies. While taking over may have been a relatively easy task, Yeo-jin will find that staying in power is an entirely different matter. As Yeo-jin continues to exercise her revenge muscles, it gets increasingly harder to see past the consequences of the decisions she carries out. Love may be blind, but there’s a line when things stop being cute and start getting too real. Lesson of the Day: Don’t piss off the chairwoman.
EPISODE 14 RECAP
Now that Tae-hyun is married to Yeo-jin, life at Hanshin Hospital is a weee different: trying to avoid the throng of hospital staff waiting to greet him results in the chief of security and the new hospital director to flag him down in the parking lot.
Being greeted by the entire VIP floor has Tae-hyun literally stop in his tracks. He runs back into the elevator, finding everything about this new status way too burdensome, and his personal bodyguard hilariously offers to “take care of” anybody making him feel uncomfortable.
Things only get more troublesome when Chief Shin speaks to him in jondae and bows to show respect. Yet because Chief Shin is older than him and was once his superior, Tae-hyun returns an even deeper bow.
Nurse Ahjumma can’t be more thrilled about Tae-hyun looking more blissful and at peace than ever (and apparently So-hyun must be doing fine in the States). She tells him not to worry about what other people think, though Tae-hyun tosses back that it’s hard when he’s got a constant bodyguard
Nurse Oh comes running excitedly, wanting to hear about the newlyweds’ first night together. She teases him for the dark circles under his eyes, and all but shrugs at his playful retort that joking with the chairwoman’s husband can get her in trouble. But she won’t let it go, and Tae-hyun says there was no wedding night since there was no actual wedding.
She asks if he went through with the proposal then (in Korea, that romantic surprise usually happens sometime between popping the big question and the wedding), and when Tae-hyun is all, What d’you mean?, both women sigh in disappointment at how such a clever man knows nothing about women.
Thankfully the tumor affecting the head maid’s eyesight is operable, and the doctor showers Tae-hyun with praise for catching it early. The proposal idea still fresh on his mind, Tae-hyun has the head maid accompany him while ring shopping.
Back at Han Manor, Chae-young is amused at the long line of the board members who all once served Do-joon now waiting to see Yeo-jin. That is, until she sees her father waiting amongst them. Enraged, she enters the office to confront Yeo-jin about it, only to be coldly dismissed moments later.
Chae-young demands her father to break formation, willing to accept the consequences of defying Yeo-jin. But her father releases himself from her grip and meekly takes his place in line again, much to Chae-young’s grief.
When Tae-hyun checks in on a paranoid-looking Chief Lee, the latter whimpers desperately: “Save me, Tae-hyun.” Yeo-jin is briefed on that very encounter from Secretary Min. When asked what to do with Chief Lee, Yeo-jin rolls her eyes and exasperatedly asks why she needs to answer that.
Chief Lee is shocked to learn about President Go’s alleged suicide while in police custody. He’s convinced that Yeo-jin had a hand in President Go taking his own life, and tearfully tells Tae-hyun that he was merely a lackey to everyone else’s plans. “Please put in a good word with me with Young-ae-nim. That I had no malicious feelings towards her.”
Tae-hyun encourages him to calm down—there’s no need to worry because Yeo-jin is far from evil. But that’s when Chief Lee draws back looking even more suspicious—is Tae-hyun and Yeo-jin trying to put him at ease only to kill him off later?
To that, Tae-hyun reasons with him about how he wouldn’t have saved his life if his ultimate goal was to do away with Chief Lee. But the sense of guilt from the past three years is too much for Chief Lee to handle, and in between his sobs, he’s convinced that Yeo-jin will kill him.
He remembers the piercing look in her eyes all too well, and even thinking about it haunts him. Tae-hyun reminds Chief Lee that all he has to do during the investigation is to confess that he was acting on Do-joon’s orders, but Chief Lee interrupts him: People like Do-joon are above the law.
His laughs turns into sobs once more as he cries, “I should never have gone into the operating room with Yeo-jin in the first place. I should have just gone to your mother.” Tae-hyun can hardly believe what he’s just heard and grabs Chief Lee to say it again.
Scarface’s police transport gets ambushed on the road with one car rear-ending the van while another crashes into its side. His rescuers pull Scarface out of the flipped van, but instead of releasing him from his restraints, they tase him.
Back at the hospital, Tae-hyun is still reeling from the truth as told by Chief Lee: Yeo-jin had been wheeled into the hospital on the same night as Tae-hyun’s mother. All the surgeons had congregated around Yeo-jin’s operating room, hoping to get a moment to shine and operate on the VVIP.
This included Chief Lee and his superior, the latter of whom was supposed to go operate on Tae-hyun’s mother. His superior had ordered him to leave instead, but when Yeo-jin had started to crash, Chief Lee was tagged into the surgery.
It was much later when Chief Lee had heard that Tae-hyun’s mother had died. “Tae-hyun, I was going to go. But I was suddenly put into Yeo-jin’s surgery… I only recently learned the truth, that she was your mother. I deserve to die, but Tae-hyun… save me.”
Detective Lee doesn’t have much of a lead on Scarface’s disappearance since his captors switched cars during their escape. We see that it was Secretary Min who had ordered his kidnapping, and Scarface gets kicked into the deep in the ground and is buried alive.
Upon his return to Han Manor, Tae-hyun barely opens the door to Yeo-jin’s office to witness a board member pleading with Yeo-jin that he was merely following orders. What a pity that President Go can’t speak on his behalf now that he’s dead, Yeo-jin muses. “Did I shut him up too early?”
The man falls to his knees and begs for mercy, but Yeo-jin is unsympathetic to his pleas. She will, however, give him one last chance: bring the ledgers from her father’s time to the recent past by tomorrow. She’ll make her final decision after she sees those documents.
He immediately agrees, eternally grateful for the opportunity. He freezes once more when he finds Tae-hyun waiting outside the office and takes his leave. After witnessing Yeo-jin’s ruthlessness firsthand, Tae-hyun opts to take a walk through the garden (his bodyguard makes sure to keep up with him, aw).
He walks alongside the grounds and steps inside the greenhouse with its overgrown flora. Tae-hyun sits down on a bench to collect his thoughts.
Meanwhile, no one shows up to the press conference Chae-young has arranged. Something tells me that Secretary Min had a hand in that, as he walks into the practically empty room, chuckling at how quaint her attempt was. She tries sending him away, but Secretary Min reminds her that she’ll be the one to leave—she’s no longer the chairman’s wife, and therefore holds no authority anymore.
Tae-hyun breaks into a tiny smile when he sees some lavender in bloom despite the overgrown and deadened vegetation around it. He asks his bodyguard if he knows what once grew in this greenhouse, and although his bodyguard doesn’t know, the head maid does.
Lavender, she replies, but Do-joon had ordered to get rid of the flowers and the greenhouse was left abandoned. She tells the bodyguard that another neighborhood dog found its way onto the grounds, so the bodyguard excuses himself to take care of it.
Aside from sending him on an errand, it’s more of an opportunity for the head maid to speak with Tae-hyun alone. When asked why he thinks his bodyguard chases after the dogs so diligently, Tae-hyun supposes it’s because his bodyguard hates dogs.
No, it’s quite the opposite—she tells him. Perhaps the bodyguard adores the animal so much that even when he’s chasing one of them, he’s also wants to play with the dog. Guessing that the head maid had watched over Yeo-jin ever since she was a girl, Tae-hyun asks what kind of child Yeo-jin was.
“A scary child,” she answers. She tells Tae-hyun about the story we heard earlier, the one about how Do-joon was severely scolded when Yeo-jin was injured by a rogue tennis ball. But the very next day, Yeo-jin had ruined the custom-made racquet and vowed never to play tennis again, all in the name of punishing her father.
Tae-hyun considers little Yeo-jin’s actions as cute, and he still finds her cute today. From that day forward, everyone feared the little girl who would dare to punish her own father. But Tae-hyun still finds a reason to sympathize with Yeo-jin: “She must have been lonely. Burdened by living in a wealthy household, she had to live among adults, afraid of throwing tantrums.”
She asks if Tae-hyun isn’t afraid of Yeo-jin after seeing her ruthlessness in these past few days. “I’m not scared,” Tae-hyun replies. “I feel sorry for her.” When she says Tae-hyun must love Yeo-jin very much, he says that he does.
Later that evening, Yeo-jin invites Tae-hyun to sit at the end of the table. He asks if that seat isn’t usually reserved for the chairman (or chairwoman in her case), but she tells him that this seat is for the head of the household.
He’s reluctant to take it, but sits down with Yeo-jin’s insistence. Tae-hyun admits that sitting here feels weird, but Yeo-jin says that their future children would probably like seeing their father sitting in this seat.
When he says nothing, she wonders if he doesn’t like the idea of having children. Tae-hyun tells her that he does like it, and the two exchange warm smiles.
During dinner, Yeo-jin sets his favorite food in front of him. When he asks how she knew, she replies that So-hyun had told her the last time they spoke over the phone. Tae-hyun’s grateful that his wife is checking up on his sister, and Yeo-jin happily shares that So-hyun is improving so much that she can probably be scheduled for surgery in a month’s time.
When Tae-hyun asks if he can ask for a favor, Yeo-jin is more than happy to do anything for him. But her smile fades when she hears what it is: “Stop your revenge. Don’t do anything to Chief Lee.”
Yeo-jin takes a beat before calling up a smile and plays dumb to the idea of harming Chief Lee. “I know that you’re planning to kill him,” Tae-hyun says. She says it’s for both their sakes, but Tae-hyun disagrees. “It isn’t. Don’t do it.”
Setting down her chopsticks, Yeo-jin takes a sip of her water before saying that out of everyone, Chief Lee has most reason to die. He kept her locked in a dark hell for three years, and furthermore cut her carotid artery in her immobilized state. “And I should forgive someone like him?”
Tae-hyun sympathizes with her feelings, but her revenge won’t right the wrongs committed against her. “It’s just murder.” She asks if justice is served if Chief Lee is never punished for his crimes, but Tae-hyun says that’s not what he means. Why should she carry out the sentence herself?
Taking the legal route will do little for her case, when the crime was carried out in secret. It would be her word against his and furthermore, she would have to expose her own vulnerabilities in court. “If there is no revenge… there is no justice, either.”
Yeo-jin: “I am the ruler of the crocodiles. If I expose even the tiniest of weakness to them… they will try to rip me apart and drag me down. That’s why they need to feel fear. That if they dare to do something like that to me… I have to show them what will happen to them. If I don’t, someone else who’s capable of doing that will show up. And now, you and I share the same fate. Because you are my heir.”
She looks to Tae-hyun and asks him to fall in line with her. If he doesn’t, he’ll be in danger himself. Er, from their enemies or from you?
She tries changing the subject, but Tae-hyun refuses to let this go. “You can change. You have the power to do that right now. People can’t take you lightly even if you forgive them.” Her revenge could ignite a vicious cycle of others trying to take revenge on her. “So forgive them, please.”
Tae-hyun is a good person and that’s why she likes him, but he won’t ever be able to understand how she feels, Yeo-jin tells him. “Because you weren’t locked in darkness for three years. Because you weren’t trapped in your own body where you couldn’t move a finger or bat an eyelash. Because you’ve never prayed… to be allowed to die.”
Tears fall from her eyes as she vows to punish everyone who locked her up in her own prison. She finds it a pity that Nurse Hwang and the hospital director were killed before she got her hands on them.
Over at the hospital, Nurse Oh is caught off-guard when the chief of security arrives to take away Chief Lee to the psych ward. When Tae-hyun receives a text about the transfer, he confronts Yeo-jin once more about the people she intends to punish for keeping her in a coma.
Her father was the one who placed her under in the first place, and it was Do-joon who kept her in that comatose state. Therefore, Chief Lee isn’t to blame—he’s but a lackey who sold his soul for a sum of money.
She’s taking her anger out on a puppet, and if they’re going to be splitting hairs, then Tae-hyun can also be counted as an accomplice. It’s true that Chief Lee committed a grave sin against her and can be counted as an enemy, but she can’t kill him. “I can kill him,” Yeo-jin whispers, new tears welling up in her eyes. “I won’t ever forgive him.”
“What about me then?” Tae-hyun asks. “How am I supposed to forgive you people?” Ack, are we going to talk about your mom right now? Yeo-jin says she’s done nothing that requires his forgiveness, to which Tae-hyun simply returns, “Would that really be true?”
One last time, he asks for her to put a stop to her revenge, then takes his leave. He stops for a moment when he hears the sound of broken glass behind him.
Bound and gagged, Chief Lee freaks out when he’s led down to the operating room. But that’s when the chief of security receives the order to put a temporary halt to their plans, and Chief Lee is told that today is his lucky day.
Late that night, Do-joon is told that he is free to leave. He asks if President Go took care of matters on his end, and he’s told that everything went well. He’s escorted outside and given the Fake One USB, and Do-joon is in the middle of relaying his regards to the chief prosecutor when he finds that his escort is already headed the other way.
Do-joon walks out of the building, wondering why there’s no fanfare to greet him. He stops himself from calling Secretary Min, and tries calling President Go instead, but of course the call goes unanswered.
He’s two steps past the gate when a call from President Go’s phone comes in. Do-joon asks his son to put his father on the line, only to learn that President Go can’t… because he’s dead.
Do-joon reels at the news, and not too far off, Chae-young witnesses his shocked reaction from her car. He tries calling Secretary Min (whom he has saved as number 1 on his speed dial) but can’t get through. Do-joon can only laugh at the absurdity of this situation.
He picks up when Chae-young calls him, though, and confirms that he was released today. He acts as if no one can keep him down for long, but seems touched that she thought to call him. Chae-young says they called her today because she’s a family member.
Do-joon rests on the word “family,” and lies that he’s already heading out for drinks with the board members who came out to see him. It’s pretty pitiful watching him try to hail a cab while trying to put on a tough bravado to Chae-young, who asks if he’s trying to grab a taxi.
He says he is before catching himself a second later and searches his surroundings to try and spot Chae-young. He sees her parked across the street and asks if it feels good seeing him like this. She says it does, though the tears in her eyes suggest otherwise.
“I’m sorry, Chae-young,” Do-joon says. She asks if he knows how to feel sorry, and he nods. Their conversation turns to mundane topics, as she asks if he’s eaten yet. They agree to go out for drinks, and when Chae-young offers to come to him, Do-joon says he’ll come to her. Oh crap, this has trouble written all over it.
But Chae-young insists that this time, she’ll walk over to him. There are tears forming in Do-joon’s eyes too and he concedes.
At that moment, a black car comes speeding down the road and crashes into Do-joon. Chae-young gasps and gets out of the car while Do-joon speak with a man in black. When he says his injuries seem minor, the man says that won’t do, then wields a stun baton against him.
Do-joon falls to the ground and the man in black tells him not to die before getting back into the car and driving off. Chae-young runs over to his side and gasps again to discover that Do-joon has sustained a head injury.
An ambulance literally shows up two seconds later to collect the unconscious Do-joon, and instead of asking how in the world an ambulance came to his aid so quickly, Chae-young asks the hospital staff where they’re taking her husband.
But there’s no need to ask because the logo on the ambulance answers her question: Hanshin Hospital.
Hanshin Hospital, the one place you don’t want to receive medical treatment if you’ve committed a wrong against any of its CEOs. Because you can either end up in a coma, be sent to the psych ward (only to be sent in for surgery), or be attacked in the middle of the street. I’m sure I’m not the only one who thought Yeo-jin’s takeover was a surprisingly seamless one, though still curious as to what kind of leader she’d shape up to be.
So in a way, I’m a bit let down that Yeo-jin isn’t so different from Do-joon in that her rule is rooted in instilling fear, though I have to give her kudos for being much more cunning that he ever was. A constant threat of death may keep her former enemies in line for now, but like Tae-hyun said, revenge is a vicious cycle and can only perpetuate more vengeance by someone else. While Yeo-jin does have a point that the people who kept her under deserve to be punished, I just hope that her reasoning of being trapped in the darkness for years won’t come back to bite her. That truth is both her motivator and her weakness, and I want Yeo-jin to use that to her advantage than a crutch to fall back on. Although as of now, she’s dead set on carrying out her own punishments… until Tae-hyun has something to say about it.
Which has me believe that even in her cold-heartedness towards her enemies, her feelings for Tae-hyun are genuine. Making a case for Chief Lee wasn’t easy on Tae-hyun’s part, but it’s a sign that Tae-hyun still has an ability to persuade Yeo-jin to change her mind. For now, at least. Things might seem like marital bliss at present, but I can’t help but wonder whether Yeo-jin would consider using Tae-hyun or threaten him one day if he stood in her way.
Speaking of enemies, I honestly felt bad for Chief Lee, who has officially been driven mad by the ongoing revenge. Then there’s Do-joon, who has always been too much of an oaf in his own plans to consider as a real villain. It was nice that he and Chae-young were able to start making amends (even if it’s because they’re both powerless now) though it looks like that’ll be short-lived. A small part of me hopes that Do-joon won’t die just yet for a couple of reasons: first, because we still have four episodes ahead of us, and second, there won’t be anyone else for Yeo-jin to exact revenge on if he dies too.
Things are much more fuzzy now that Tae-hyun has learned about the connection between Tae-hyun’s mother and Yeo-jin that night. The idea that Yeo-jin was the VVIP that night has long been speculation, so I’m glad there was a confirmation on that front. But if this episode has taught me anything, it’s that love can be a very powerful thing where Tae-hyun can refrain from using his mother’s death against Yeo-jin and still somehow see past her cruelty towards her enemies. And while I can understand that love can often make people blind to their flaws, I was honestly astonished that he thought it was cute how little Yeo-jin tried to punish her own father by destroying a valuable possession and he still finds her cute now.
I know you love her and everything, Tae-hyun, but she can do a lot more than rip a tennis racquet apart now. She also knows what your favorite food is too, so just swim with caution in that crocodile pond, Yong-pal.