Confessions come with baggage and old rivalries, and it’s no secret that Seo-woo feels threatened by Hye-jung’s presence. Though both of them want nothing to do with their rivalry, the battle seems inevitable, especially with the hint of some growing feelings around them. While thirteen years have passed, our characters still have plenty of growing to do — in acceptance, in compromise, and in love.
EPISODE 5 RECAP
Determined not to be beat up again, Ji-hong holds Hye-jung in a choke-hold, and Hye-jung narrates, “In dangerous situations, the body reacts first instinctively, by habit and practice. The body’s everyday habits are adopted throughout childhood, and once your childhood passes, you can’t replace them.”
Hye-jung proceeds to flip Ji-hong over and impressively holds him down until he surrenders. And then it’s Ji-hong’s turn to get her back, and he gets on top of her. Their closeness becomes awkward, so they both sit up and Hye-jung suggests that they not engage in physical combat again. Ji-hong agrees and then asks why, and she responds: “Just because.”
Seo-woo and Yoon-do check on the restaurant owner, who’s just awoken from her surgery. She responds well to their orders, so Yoon-do leaves the room with a list of instructions for Kyung-joon.
Seo-woo follows Yoon-do out and confesses, “I like you.” She didn’t want to confess this way, but she’s decided to just do it anyway. Yoon-do rejects her by explaining his type and claiming to have matured from heartbreak, but Seo-woo still can’t understand why he likes girls with colorful backstories.
He asks if she’s worried about Hye-jung, who clearly has a complex backstory. Seo-woo denies it, but Yoon-do can tell that she’s clearly bothered by Hye-jung being her rival. He assures her that he has no interest in Hye-jung. Besides, he thinks she’s disrespectful, unskilled, and defiant — he wants to kick her out of the hospital. Seo-woo wonders how, especially with Tae-ho still around, and he says that a brain aneurysm is all they need.
As Ji-hong walks Hye-jung home, he tells her that she’s shown him how reality can exceed imagination — he’d never imagined that she would be a doctor. She says that the world is a decent place, since she was able to climb the social ladder through education. Suddenly, a motorcycle zooms by, and Ji-hong pulls Hye-jung around him to protect her.
Ji-hong breaks the tension by offering to teach her how to insert a catheter without navigation, and Hye-jung excitedly agrees. He tells her that there’s something else she really needs to learn and puts his hands on her shoulders before saying: how to accept protection. He knows that she’s always independent, and he’s right. She takes his hand off her shoulder and claims that she can take care of herself.
Ji-hong tells her that protection is the foundation that will save her when life gets rocky, but Hye-jung argues that protection is a special childhood privilege. The past can’t be altered or saved; it can only be accepted. Ji-hong seems impressed and jokes that she still doesn’t listen to him as always.
He says that circumstances can’t change, but hearts can. He wants to teach her that and intends on planning a curriculum for her. She asks why, and he responds: “Just because.” As Hye-jung turns around to walk in, Soon-hee rushes out to greet her teacher. She congratulates him on his marriage, and they have to clear the misunderstanding once more.
In the morning, our tardy residents, Joon-dae and Kang-soo, rush through the halls and get scolded by Kyung-joon for oversleeping. Kyung-joon asks for England (Young-kook, which is also translates to England), who’s just waking up in the surgery room.
Young-kook leisurely walks into the meeting room, claiming to have checked on patients all morning, so he’s excused from reproach. Meanwhile, Kyung-joon orders Joon-dae and Kang-soo to complete menial tasks to help with his thesis. Kang-soo complains, so Young-kook graciously takes on some of the tasks to make himself look good.
Ji-hong drops by the hospital and checks on patients, but he assures Tae-ho that he’ll leave soon to take advantage of his vacation time. He also claims Hye-jung as his fellow, acting fast to make sure she isn’t taken from him.
Tae-ho sits in a meeting, where director Myung-hoon awards the general surgery department with an extra spending card for bringing in the most profit. He targets Tae-ho’s department and criticizes him for objecting the geriatric center. Tae-ho advocates for an organ transplant center instead, but his low revenue performance only gets his vacation days cut.
Director Hong and Director Jin discuss the future of the hospital as they play golf. Director Hong suggests that they train another person to take their positions, since Myung-hoon is too business-oriented. Director Jin silently takes offense.
Director Jin meets with his son, Myung-hoon, and hands him documents to deliver to President Jung. He tells Myung-hoon that it’s time to send Director Hong home.
An unknown man enters the hospital and heads toward the VIP rooms, but he quickly hides away at the sight of the gangsters chasing coins down the hall. The gangsters bow as Hye-jung passes by, and she enters the hospital room to check on their boss. She asks if he needs the whole gang around, and he confirms that he does because he’s created many enemies. She nods and says that you meet those you’re destined to meet eventually.
Hye-jung exits the room to the gang loudly bowing to her again, and she orders Kang-soo (whose hair keeps changing colors, ha) to keep checking the boss’s surgical wound. She’s headed to the ICU, and Kang-soo is back on call in the ER.
Yoon-do and Seo-woo check on the restaurant owner, who keeps asking for that wretched girl. They don’t know who she’s talking about, but Seo-woo optimistically tells her that given her improvements, she’ll be able to see that girl soon. Yoon-do notes that Seo-woo seems invested in this patient.
Then Yoon-do gets a call from Kang-soo in the ER about a patient. He rushes out with his resident, leaving Seo-woo and Hye-jung in the ICU. After evaluating the scans, Yoon-do prepares for surgery and orders Hye-jung — not Seo-woo — into the operating room. Kyung-joon is all dramatics as he tells Seo-woo the news: The war has begun.
Yoon-do finds Hye-jung in her regular lab coat and asks why she’s not dressed for surgery. She says that she’s not interested in what he’s teaching, so he gives her the option to perform the surgery herself. If she succeeds, he’ll leave her to do as she pleases, but if she fails, she could get kicked out of the hospital. He compares her behavior to that of a bully and suggests that she leave because she’s disrespectful, unskilled, and unwilling to learn. Hye-jung looks back at him with a new fire in her eyes.
Ji-hong settles into his new office, and Tae-ho drops by for a quick chat. They briefly talk about hospital revenue, and Ji-hong continues his playful banter about how there’s no strict good or evil but how humans will get what they want no matter what. Their conversation is cut short by a call from Seo-woo, who updates Ji-hong on the difficult surgery that Hye-jung is about to perform.
Ji-hong ends up in the operating room and negotiates with Yoon-do. Hye-jung is Ji-hong’s assistant, but Yoon-do says his term doesn’t begin until the following week. When Ji-hong argues that he’s beginning his term now, Yoon-do argues that he has no control over the surgery because Hye-jung is the primary surgeon, not the assistant. Ji-hong insists that this surgery is far beyond the level that a fellow can successfully complete.
As they argue, Hye-jung steps in and reaffirms that she’s performing the surgery. Ji-hong says that he’s taking charge anyway, so Yoon-do walks away to wait for the results. Now that it’s just the two of them, Hye-jung tells Ji-hong that she doesn’t avoid a fight that comes her way and only fights a winning battle. He reminds her that he’s by her side and will be ready to help at any time. He gives her a quick nod of approval, and she enters the operating room.
The surgery begins, and Hye-jung takes the reins as Ji-hong stands by as her assistant. Yoon-do and Seo-woo nervously watch from above, but the surgery seems to go smoothly. Suddenly, blood floods the area, and the patient’s vitals become unstable. Yoon-do realizes the gravity of the issue and orders Hye-jung to hand over the surgery to Ji-hong, but she insists on continuing it herself.
Ji-hong tells her to focus, and she calmly continues the surgery even as the patient’s blood pressure plummets. Fortunately, she finds the site of the hemorrhage, and Ji-hong encourages her to finish off the surgery herself, which she does successfully.
After the surgery, Yoon-do immediately bows his head in apology to Hye-jung and promises to respect all her decisions going forward. She’s caught off guard by this quick change of face, but he admits that he’s a bit strange and quick to concede. She likes that he’s simple, like her grandmother, who used to be satisfied so easily when she got what she wanted.
He notes that Ji-hong must have liked her more than Seo-woo back in school, but Hye-jung denies it. She presumes that he treated her better because she was so misbehaved. In fact, she was even expelled. She throws mini punches to explain her point, and Yoon-do reciprocates with little twisty fists, claiming that he also played a bit in high school. She looks amused and figures that he played at the arcade.
Yoon-do looks awestruck as she walks away, and another doctor approaches him to knock him out of his reverie. He’s Yoon-do’s uncle, JUNG PA-RAN, though he looks far too young to be that much older. Uncle asks Yoon-do if he can stay over at his place tonight because his current model girlfriend has taken over his place after asking him to marry. He has no such interest, especially after his first divorce and a family history of messy relationships. Uncle also tells Yoon-do to treat his bestie Ji-hong well, but Yoon-do says it’s already too late for that.
Hye-jung sits with Ji-hong on a bench outside the hospital with drinks. She updates him that she assured the patient’s guardian about the surgery and recovery. Changing topics, Ji-hong asks Hye-jung if she’s going to continue living this way. She’s too competitive and should learn to enjoy the luxuries, he says. He asks how many hours she sleeps, and she responds that ten hours a week is enough. She insists that she’s used to it and says that she wouldn’t be here if she slept and worked like everyone else.
Ji-hong asks the real question: “Are you happy now?” After a pause, Hye-jung says that there’s no way she’s happy. The reason she wanted to turn over a new leaf was for Grandma, and now that she’s succeeded, Grandma is no longer with her. Ji-hong tells her to just accept it, since he can’t help her with that. Hye-jung wonders if Ji-hong keeps wanting to help her because she’s his former student, but he calls her dumb for thinking that.
He’s more straightforward with his expression and confesses that he likes her. He says that whenever he thinks of her, he remembers their last moment when she rode away on the motorcycle. He regrets not holding onto her then. Hye-jung suddenly gets up and spills the drinks all over Ji-hong. He asks if this is a rejection, and she says no; he then asks if they’re dating now, and she also says no. He asks if her instinctive response is always no, and she says no. Heh.
Ji-hong decides to ask later and blames her for always making their initially serious interactions end comically. He promises that he’ll ask again, and he jokes that no matter what, her answer has to be yes.
President Jung visits the hospital hoping to see his son, Yoon-do, but he’s busy in a surgery. He’s here for another matter, regarding the hospital investors. Myung-hoon is hoping that Director Hong will resign peacefully, but he’s preparing for a possible impeachment process in case things don’t go his way. Myung-hoon asks for updates about the possibility of the hospital becoming a private entity, and President Jung tells him that there is a lot of pushback on the idea. They agree to meet with a representative to lobby for this privatization.
Joon-dae hesitantly calls a sleeping Kyung-joon to ask about a patient, and he gets yelled at for calling for something so detailed and obvious. Kang-soo gives him a little “I told you so,” and then they run over to deal with the yelling psychotic patient. Seo-woo gets called this time, but by the time she arrives, the whole ordeal is already settled. She calls Kyung-joon and scolds him for making her do his job, and that scolding gets passed down to the minions who were too afraid to call him.
Young-kook asks why she called, and she admits that she’s been avoiding Ji-hong’s calls. She’s not sure why she’s avoiding him, and Young-kook advises her to call him back. She follows his advice, and Seo-woo meets with Ji-hong. He admits to liking Hye-jung, and Seo-woo expresses relief because she was afraid that Hye-jung would take something away from her again. She admits to liking Yoon-do and says that Hye-jung was always the one to provoke her. Seo-woo adds that she misses In-joo (who was also hurt by Hye-jung, she says), and Ji-hong realizes that this isn’t an issue that can be resolved.
From afar, Uncle Pa-ran approaches the two and tells Seo-woo that he, In-joo, and Ji-hong were besties in college. Uncle playfully pulls Ji-hong into a choke-hold, and they run off to day-drink.
Hye-jung watches surgery videos and thinks about Ji-hong and Grandma. She can’t help but cry at the thought of Grandma’s last moments, and she gives Ji-hong a call. She catches him as he’s about to leave with Uncle Pa-ran, who tries to get Ji-hong to set him up with Hye-jung. Ji-hong sends his friend out ahead of him and listens to Hye-jung’s request to look into the hospital records. But she doesn’t finish her thought and chases after the unknown man she recognized lingering by Boss’s hospital room the other day.
She runs into Boss’s hospital room and finds an empty bed. Then, she hears the toilet flushing and looks relieved to see Boss return to his bed. She asks where his gang went, and Boss tells her that he ordered them to leave, just as she ordered. He admits that he’s listening to a woman for once, and Hye-jung looks pleased by his obedience. She leaves, having checked on his safety. But as soon as she leaves, the mysterious man enters the room.
Kyung-joon calls Yoon-do as he’s leaving for the day to ask about the restaurant owner, whose vital levels seem to be off. Unable to trust the resident, Yoon-do returns to the hospital. Meanwhile, Hye-jung runs into an exhausted Kang-soo in the elevator, and he tells her that he’s yet to eat. She gives him a break and offers to redress Boss’s wound for him while he takes a dinner break.
In Boss’s hospital room, the man who sneaked in approaches with a knife and threatens Boss. He says that he’ll save Boss only if he saves his sibling. When Hye-jung enters the room, Boss is tied up and gagged, and tries to warn Hye-jung through his muffled yelling, but the man with the knife attacks her from behind.
Yoon-do checks his patient and orders Kyung-joon to call Hye-jung, who’s on call that night. She doesn’t answer, so Yoon-do hesitantly puts Kyung-joon in charge of the restaurant owner.
There’s a new gas deliveryman to Soon-hee’s bar, and it’s Soo-chul! She looks at him with familiarity, but he doesn’t seem to recognize her. Anxious to get Hye-jung here to see Soo-chul, Soon-hee calls Ji-hong because she’s worried about Hye-jung not calling her back. It’s uncharacteristic of Hye-jung not to call or text back, so Soon-hee asks Ji-hong to check on her. Ji-hong remembers Hye-jung chasing after someone after noting something strange, so he abandons his friend and runs back to the hospital.
Yoon-do asks Kang-soo about Hye-jung, and he reports that she’s redressing Boss’s surgical wound so that he can eat. Yoon-do decides to be merciful today and tells Kang-soo to get food. He’ll talk to Hye-jung directly.
In the hospital room, the revenge-seeking man shows Hye-jung the scars on his stomach and tells Boss that he’s waited for this day. He gives Boss a chance to talk, but it only further provokes him. Just as he’s about to stab Boss with his knife, Hye-jung stands up and stops him from hitting Boss’s head. He points the knife elsewhere, and Hye-jung calmly tries to persuade the man to stop. If anything goes wrong, he will end up in prison, and the gang won’t leave him alone once he’s in there.
She tells him that putting Boss in danger is sufficient and points out how Boss is trembling in fear. Hye-jung assures him that plenty more indignant people will come after Boss, and he shouldn’t throw away his life for this. Slowly, the man begins to hand over the knife, but the door opens. It’s Yoon-do, and he tries to leave after seeing the complicated situation.
Of course, Yoon-do isn’t allowed to leave because the man feels even more threatened. Hye-jung sees her chance and attacks the man and disarms him. Yoon-do tries to intervene, but he’s easily kicked aside. As Boss rolls off the bed, he hits his head and begins to tremble uncontrollably. Hye-jung tries to assist him, but the attacker takes the opportunity to grab the knife and head for her. Yoon-do grabs his leg, and the man falls on top of Hye-jung while holding his knife. She screams.
Ji-hong runs to the room, and he finds Hye-jung stuck under the attacker, with blood spilling out beneath them. Hye-jung sees him and narrates: “People say that forgiveness is not for others but for yourself. They shouldn’t say such things. Forgiveness isn’t as light as it sounds.”
This grim turn of events isn’t as shocking as it is revealing about our doctor trio involved in this incident. It’s interesting to think about the different motivations and actions taken by our three doctors. Hye-jung exhibits an acute instinct for danger, which is probably a manifestation of her learned childhood instincts. Those instincts have been unusually helpful for her as a doctor thus far, but I think that these physical instincts also represent how guarded she actually is emotionally. It’s something that Ji-hong knows has been inhibiting her from connecting with people. Ji-hong running all the way back to the hospital speaks to his commitment to protecting Hye-jung. He’s trying to teach her how to trust and accept protection, and I believe his dedication.
But ultimately, I think Yoon-do wins with his cowardly reaction to the situation. It would have been pretty despicable if he’d just ran away, but it’s so endearing how he announces his observations and tries to casually slip away. And then he tries to help in the fight, only to get knocked down in the first few seconds. You tried with your twisty fists and failed, but I actually love you even more because of it.
Despite the cheesiness of the narrations, I think they serve their purpose in setting an appropriate tone or theme for the episode. Maybe the quote about instincts wasn’t as relevant going into the episode, but by the end, I’m left with thoughts beyond what just happened in the episode. Childhood instincts played a huge part of the story, and I’m not sure I would have picked up on that intentional theme without the starting narration. Yes, it’s a very obvious way of telling the audience what to look for, and I know there are far more clever and subtle ways to get the message across. But so far, it’s been relevant and useful.
Speaking of obvious, how blatantly obvious and forward is Ji-hong with his feelings? Like damn, Ji-hong coming in STRONG with his confession. I’m still iffy about it, and maybe I’ll stay ambivalent about it for the whole run of the show because the romance keeps insisting that it began with a “forbidden love” of some sorts. There’s still no clear distinction of the teacher-student and man-woman dynamic, but I’m expecting that blurry in-between in the relationship. I do think it can be an interesting transition to watch, but I’m not too confident it will happen smoothly. Realistically and dramatically, it’s not a comfortable issue to address, so I’m not expecting some magical element to resolve it.
That’s not to say that I don’t like their chemistry. I like the rapport and balance between Hye-jung and Ji-hong. But I don’t feel connected enough with Ji-hong to invest fully into their relationship. I can’t really tell if I’m falling for Ji-hong the character or Kim Rae-won the actor. I’m falling for him either way, but I’d rather fall for Ji-hong because it would tell me that the drama is doing its job. For the sake of the show, please let Ji-hong be a better and fuller character.