I find myself repeating the same thing week after week – “It’s another awesome episode” because this drama keeps getting better. This week, I love that we get to understand our characters more in depth. We also see how SO handles new challenges and understand himself better.
Episode 12 recap
With four minutes to go and no solution in sight, the surgery seems headed for major failure. The army of doctors in the operating theater are all staring at DH who is uncharacteristically at lost with what to do. Things couldn’t look worse, both mother and baby will be in mortal danger if there is further delay. They have to make a decision – to save the mother or the baby. Prof Min tells DH to save the mother otherwise they might lose her too. DH hesitates and everyone is turning blue in the face like that hapless baby. !:59 minutes left and SO shouts out that they must save both because the one left behind will be sad. Gosh, do they really have time to discuss this? I am freaking peeing in my pants.
DH decides to perform the tracheotomy on the baby but there is no time to bring in the sonogram. Hey, he calls SO the Human Sonogram to task. Prof Min is dumbfounded as to how can anyone find the location just be palpitating the area? DH: “Just believe in me, Sunbae.” I waited 11 episodes for DH to say this. Finally. At least, it’s a start. YS motions SO to step up and SO closes his eyes, visualizing the location for the incision. 59 seconds, I think I need an intubation too. Maybe not, I really winced when they inserted the tube into the baby. I know it’s fake but still, it’s hard imagining sticking that tube into that weeny teeny neck. It seemed to work and everyone heaved a sigh of relief including those watching from the observation gallery. It’s interesting to note that Dr Lizard has a different reaction this time. It’s almost like he has gone back to be a doctor instead of a conniving reptile.
Afterwards, DH sits in his room, totally exhausted but his mind is still on the surgery that just ended. He calls SO in and ask if SO really thought the chances were 50/50? SO says yes, DH has a different perspective; the probability that both would die was 100%. He explains to SO the difference between taking a calculated step versus a guess. Despite this lecture, he tells SO that he did a good job, catching SO by surprise.
SO and YS are looking at the baby who is now in the incubator, looking much less puffed up. YS apologizes to SO for saying that he asked useless questions. It turned out that all those complications that SO had hypothesized happened. SO asked if that’s all he is being complimented for, ha. YS is fakes shock, she claims that SO has even learn to brag now. She warns him that he is on the verge of being an asshole, LOL. SO plays along and YS continues to tease him, so cute.
YS is walking out whereas SO is supposed to be on night duty but he follows her like a shadow and she asks if he intends to walk her out. SO gets all shy at being caught and comes up with some lame excuse of buying bread. Hey, he is definitely improving at telling lies now. YS catches on and tells him she has a loaf in her room and this goes on until SO comes up with the ultimate object which I think he figured YS would not have in her room, ha! So, SO walks YS out on the pretext of going to the convenience store to buy a hammer. Yes, HAMMER. Well, who should be waiting for YS outside but DH. He insists on giving her a lift and SO can only look at her forlorn as DH whisked YS away. Back in his room, SO cannot get YS out of his mind. He keeps playing his failed confession in his mind, knocking himself with a thick book for not succeeding. Aww…our boy has fallen deep, hasn’t he?
YS asks DH if he has made up with CK. DH says he used to love CK so much. Eh…past tense? So, they were not always this way, there were much happier times. For the longest time, I couldn’t understand why they got engaged so now I know we have been watching a relationship that’s gone cold. DH thanks YS for listening to his problems when she herself has a long day. He ruffles her hair affectionately. YS obviously feels awkward and hurries out of the car. Hmm…that’s almost the same reaction SO gets when YS ruffles his hair these days, right?
The next day, SO is hilariously taking out his hammer in full view of YS. He is trying his best to cover up that lame excuse he made. YS goes over and inspects the hammer, still in its packaging and price label intact. It’s obvious from the label that SO bought the hammer from a hardware shop and it doesn’t go unnoticed from YS’s sharp eyes. She plays dumb and asks SO: “Is there a convenience store called Tae Yang Metals? and coolly walks away, leaving SO who is scratching out the label with a vengeance. This couple’s moments are absolutely hilarious.
CK bumps into DH in the hospital and expressed her concern about his health. DH asks if she still insist on carrying out her plans. She doesn’t answer. As DH begins to walk away, she stops him and laments that it’s sad that they have reached this stage. She said neither party is feeling sad although they have decided to take a hiatus. That in itself speaks of a bigger problem in their relationship. So, it’s not just DH but CK whose feelings are also waning?
Soo Jin’s husband turns up finally at the hospital. YS sees him looking for his son in the nursery and finds out who he is. YS berates him for not going to see his wife first and tells him what a great woman SJ is. Dad looks guilt stricken, hangs his head and walks away.
SO is at his love clinic again, getting chided by In Hae for failing in his mission. She says he is un-teachable and finally she understands the kind of frustration her teachers used to face with her, ha. In hae hits the nail on the head when she speculates that SO’s love interest sees him as a child. Then curiosity gets the better of her when she tries to find out who the woman is. She claims that she needs the name and date of birth to check if their horoscopes are compatible. However, SO is not so easy, he gives her name as “Baek…Seol…Gong” which literally means Snow White, ha. In Hae gets mad and storms off.
YS talks to SJ but doesn’t tell her that her husband came to the hospital. SJ is very understanding and forgiving of her husband’s situation. She wants to see her baby but is unable to move and the baby is still in the NICU so YS shows her a photo on her cellphone. SJ tears up at the photo. Gaah..this drama never fails to make me cry, at the most unexpected moments. Then the husband shows up. They both tear up and the husband promises to bring her to the US, away from the evil clutches of his tyrannical mother, yeah. As they cry in each other’s arms, YS looks on with red eyes but feeling very happy for the couple.
SO runs in the funniest fashion to meet DH. He is late for his test, ha. He pass with flying colors and runs out like a child, heady in victory. He leaps down the corridor, does a cute jump and fist pumps. YS asks DH about SO’s performance and DH says SO got all 12 questions correct, even though they were of the highest difficulty level. SO had even got one question right which DH admits to YS that he, himself doesn’t know.
Director and KHT exchanged some words at the stairway. So, KHT is slated to leave in 2 days’ time. This means something huge is going to happen very soon, right? This guy and his backer will not go down without a show. I am sure they are planning some dramatic takeover.
YS meets SO’s mom over tea. SO’s mom is elated to hear that SO is progressing well as a doctor. She tells YS how she failed as a mother to take care of SO and protect him. SO’s dad used to beat the daylights out of her and SO. YS walks from the meeting with a deeper understanding of the kind of trauma SO underwent in his childhood. She thinks of what SO’s mom said and that she hopes the dad will never look for SO. By now, we all know this is the law of kdramas – speak your fears and watch them come true, sigh.
SO appears in a rush but running happily down the hospital walkways. It turns out that there is a news team from a broadcast station who is shooting a documentary on the Pediatric Surgery department. All the doctors are there, including DH and YS. SO disappears into a corner while YS persuades DH to let the film director feature their team on his documentary. Dr Han wants to change his dirty scrubs but the director says he wants to film them as they are. And who should be priming in front of the camera but SO. This is so funny. SO is wetting his hair and plastering his mop onto his head, trying to look his best. Of course, he looks even more like a geek but a very adorable one. Laughingly, everyone tries to act natural in front of the camera with some doing better at acting cool than others. SO is the worst because he keeps looking straight into the camera lens, until YS has to remind him. When they finished the shoot, YS pulls SO aside and berates him, totally embarrassed that he was looking at the camera all the time. SO says he always does this when he is in front of a camera. YS teases him for wanting to be a celebrity. SO has a very good reason for his behavior. He has read that parents recognize their children even though they have not seen them in ages so he always hopes that his parents will recognize his face when they see him on television. Aww…this is going to end up real bad, isn’t it?
The residents are taking their break, eating and chatting. It is just so heartening to see SO listening to their chatter and even joining in occasionally. He finds out that YS and DH have left together and the rest also seems to catch on that something is not quite right with DH and CK. SO finds out that CK and DH are engaged and lets out his cute “Wow” I wonder what that means? I think it is going to be fun.
Meanwhile, DH “kidnaps” YS and brings her to a swanky boutique to choose a nice outfit. DH, I am starting to like you but please don’t court woman in this way, at least not one like YS. Let’s head off to a more interesting twosome in the most unlikely pair – CK and SO. I was right, SO decides to approach CK because he realizes that he is getting nowhere with advice on love dished out from a girl who is barely in her teens. In his mind, CK must be way more experienced, ha. SO actually talks to CK over dinner. It would be fun if DH had brought YS out to the same dining place than that boutique, right?
SO is blunt and asks CK right away about how DH confessed to her. His logic is that DH is a cool person so his confession must be pretty cool too. I love your reasoning, SO, although they aren’t always right. CK wonders why didn’t SO asked DH instead. SO imitates DH in his fierce voice, telling SO off. CK cannot help but laugh. This is the first time, I see her laughing in a genuine way, not snarkily or bitter. CK tells SO that she was the one who confessed first. SO lets out a huge sigh of disappointment. However, she adds that DH did confess, albeit at a later stage. CK tries to recall what DH said in his confession but to her own horror, she cannot remember. She looks very sad and SO comforts her saying that it’s all right. He, too tries to remember his parents but he can’t. He thinks that in the process of eliminating bad memories, he erased the good ones as well. CK looks at him, no doubt getting some insights into her own predicament.
Dr Han and the rest of the team are drinking near a nightclub. He spots In Young, all dressed up, sending off some patrons at the entrance. He quickly follows her in. She immediately thinks that he is looking down at her in her nightclub hostess job. He denies it and she tells him not to breathe a single word to In Hae.
SO waits for YS outside their residence. I think he is trying to confess to her again but he fails and walks off, leaving YS baffled. Back in her room, YS has other things on her mind. She is getting the vibes that DH is interested in her but she shakes her head, probably thinking that it’s just her imagining things. Come on, trust your intuition girl. Elsewhere, SO is tossing in the dormitory bunk, unable to sleep. He looks at a selca of him and YS on his cellphone. In another home, DH is smiling to himself thinking of YS, I wonder if it he realizes what he is doing? Shouldn’t he feel a tad guilty towards CK? After all, he only mentioned cool off and not break the engagement, did he? Seems obvious to me he has already jumped ship.
President Lee tells CK about the rumors of a take-over and KHT being connected to it. CK is surprised to learn that KHT has approached DH. Just then, a staff brings bad news that the banks are calling the hospital to pay back all their loans. The showdown is about to start.
YS sees SO sitting at his desk in a pensive mood, she asks if he is upset with her in any way because he has been acting strange since the day before. SO denies it and starts to get away before YS can question further. However, DH comes in and calls SO to the OT. DH tells SO that he is still uneasy during surgery. In his first session, he would have caused a situation if YS did not calm him down. DH acknowledges that SO has all the knowledge but he needs to be able to control himself and perform under stressful conditions if he wants to be a surgeon.
DH tells SO to imagine as if he is operating on a case which will be described by DH. SO is nervous but seems to be doing well. However, as DH throws in more critical developments and the pseudo baby’s deteriorating vitals, SO starts to panic. His hands shake and he drops the surgical instrument from his hand. DH shouts at him and asks if he wants to be a shell surgeon who can talk only? DH tells SO not to think that he has changed for the better because to DH, nothing has changed.
YS find SO sitting by himself looking even more dejected. Interestingly, SO first ask if YS saw him performing the pretend surgery. YS says she did not as she was busy attending to a case. She tries to comfort him saying that DH makes it a lot harder during practice and tells him that he still has a lot of time to brush up his skills. She ruffles SO’s hair and it’s obvious he is getting more sensitive to her touch and even awkward with this ruffling of his hair. YS goes to see DH and tells him that SO suffered a trauma as a child who was abused by his father. DH is surprised but he is adamant not to lower the difficulty of the training because he thinks SO is too used to getting sympathy and compassion. In fact he sees the need to break SO out of it.
Intern Kim calls YS and DH out to watch the documentary which featured their department. Everyone is excited to watch themselves on TV. When SO come on screen introducing the vision of the Pediatric team, Dr Woo laments that everyone will now think they are just like SO. DH tells him to shut his trap and SO notices it while YS beams at DH.
In some watering hole, we see SO’s dad drinking. He calls out for more soju and is obviously not a better man after all these years. He looks up at the TV just in time to see SO and from the look on his face, the darn man clearly recognizes his son. I am so hating this.
DH calls SO for another round of surgery and SO drags himself after DH. This time, they are seen by YS who follows them into the OT. SO sees YS standing outside and YS nods at him in encouragement. But I think he is feeling even more stressed now. DH gives him a case scenario and warns him not to let the patient die in his hands again. However, as DH piles on the complications, SO fails again. SO ask DH that he wants to stop but DH says he doesn’t get to decide. SO says he just that he wants to practice more on his own first. DH points out that SO doesn’t usually give up so easily but SO says it’s pointless if he keeps failing. DH tells him to quit because if SO continues this way, he won’t be a surgeon with a scalpel but a murderer with a knife.
YS goes in to comfort SO as soon as DH leaves. But SO doesn’t seem pleased to see her, in fact, the first thing he asked was why she came and see him. YS tries to cheer him up with suggesting they go and get something nice to eat. SO slowly takes her hands off his arms and YS starts to feel really awkward but she doesn’t let up and offers to bring him out for drinks which he had enjoyed. SO tells her that he can’t be cheered up simply because of food and he isn’t a child who only likes to eat. Oofft. He takes off and YS chases after him.
YS pleads with SO to talk to her and she says she knows he is upset with DH. This stops SO in his steps. He turns round and says he knows why DH is behaving this way. He tells YS it is because he is embarrassed in front of her. YS wonders why he should feel this way. SO says he didn’t always feel like this but it happened only recently. He then blurts out that it is because “..I like you.” He is at the brink of tears and everything comes rushing out of his mouth, “Because I hiccup and my heart beats wildly every time I see you, that’s why!” YS’s mouth drops, SO continues “I don’t want to appear stupid in front of the person I like.” SO walks off with YS shouting after him.
Not long after he left YS behind, SO runs into 2 young ruffians, drunk and looking to pick a fight. They ask him to apologize and gets infuriated at his politeness, thinking that he is making fun of them. They start to punch SO and he falls onto the floor, blows raining down on him as he curls up. DH’s car pulls up just then and realizes that the man lying on the floor being beaten up is SO. He gets out of his car and fights off the ruffians. SO lies there watching DH fight, and he remembers how his hyung used to fight off the bullies who tormented him.
At the police station, the ruffians insist that it was DH who started the fight. When the police rebutted that it was they who hit SO first, they called SO a half-wit. DH takes issue with it and gets up to hit the guy. YS comes to the station and gets the boys out. DH is still mad, he goes up to SO and asks why doesn’t he fight back. SO says he doesn’t hit people. DH yells at him to prove he is normal otherwise he will be stuck in the same rut his entire life.
YS and SO walks home and YS raises the subject on his confession but SO tells her he is sorry. He says there seems to be many qualifications to be had in this world “to become a student, to become a doctor, to become a man..” and he pauses a while longer before continuing “to like and love someone.” He thinks there are a lot of licenses he must acquire and before accomplishing that, he can’t do anything. Aww… He asks to walk alone today and YS obliges. He takes a pained look at her and walks away.
The next day, a familiar figure arrives at the hospital in a cab, I smell trouble. Meanwhile, SO is observing a team of surgeons at work in the OT and thinking of DH’s words. He strengthens his resolve as he goes to DH’s office and tells him that he will do the pretend surgery again and this time, he will not give up. YS and DH are surprised. Just earlier, YS was telling DH that SO’s pride might have been hurt to which DH says it’s a good development because he needs to have good self-esteem to succeed as a surgeon.
Intern Kim announces that SO has a guest and lo and behold, it’s that awful Dad of his. SO shuffles towards him and looks blankly. Dad calls out to him gently at first, “Si On-ah…” but as Si On continues to stare, not recognizing him at all, Dad’s voice starts to rise. Si On’s eyes widen and you can see the horror slowly seeping in. Dad is shouting by now, “You dumb bastard, dumb bastard!” “ “Why did such a thing get born! Die, go and die with your mom!” Memories of Dad hitting Mom and himself comes rushing back. Si On is grimacing badly and shaking his head, squeezing his eyes hard as if to shut out the image in front of him. He is obviously terrified beyond words. Dad calls out his name again, “Si On ah, it’s your father.” Then he shouts again “I say I am your father! Can’t you come here!” Si On is hyperventilating by now and everyone is looking at him, totally shocked. Finally, he collapses onto the floor.
screencaps credit: Joo Won Baidu and one from DC
What a cliffhanger for this week! Instead of a patient at death’s door on the operating table, it’s our hero who collapses in a heap, at the face of the monster who lurked deep in the recesses of his mind.
I re-watched this scene several times and it seems that Dad was not really shouting at SO. It was rather that SO was getting the flashbacks of his Dad and confusing them with the present Dad standing in front of him. That is why in the present, Dad was calling to SO in a soft, almost tender voice but immediately, he switches to cussing as we see it through SO’s eyes. I also reckoned that if he has been acting in such a brute manner, shouty and all, DH and the rest would have already pushed him out of the room. But they stood there looking perplexed and more shocked at how SO is reacting rather than to the “abusive stranger”.
I am getting more and more impressed with the writing. For example, I was pleasantly surprised to find that Soo Jin’s husband is not the dime of a dozen spineless, chaebol mommy’s boy. So I hope the writer will surprise with SO’s Dad. Instead of assuming that he remains the terrible person that he was, I am hoping that he will be instrumental to helping SO recover from his trauma. The Dad is still a crude person given to alcoholism but it could be that he was also stuck in the past given no chance to make good his mistakes. We know that in the coming episode, SO is very traumatized and suffers a mental setback because of his Dad’s sudden appearance. However, it will be terrific if the Dad makes up for all those hurt and pain he inflicted on his son. He may be the final jigsaw piece that helps SO in remembering his past and start him on the road of recovery.
We find out that DH and CK have not always been so cold and businesslike with each other. In YS’s words, they were a couple whose lovey dovey romance gave her goosebumps. What went so wrong? Perhaps the relationship suffered a natural decline like loss of interest or could it be that DH never found a confidante in CK like how he did with YS? It seemed that he never told the story about his brother to anyone except YS. CK had asked him before but he never confided in her. When he found out about her plans to oust her stepmother and in turn affect the hospital, it was the straw that broke the camel’s back. CK showed much awareness of the state of their relationship. After weeks of complaining about the character, CK is finally growing on me. I had thought that she will go the way of a bitchy femme fatale and imagined her getting vengeful and jealous over YS. However, from the conversation she had with DH about their relationship, I give her credit for recognizing that their relationship has waned and that they are slowly falling out of love with each other without even knowing it. I had also expected her to treat SO badly or at best, ignore him. So it is surprising that we are given some very meaningful interactions between CK and SO instead. SO’s innocent and child-like perspectives on things have opened CK’s eyes to her relationship with DH. He tells her he does not understand what it means by “for the sake” of someone when earlier, CK had told him not to commit any errors for the sake of DH. I think this prompted CK to reflect on whether her actions to make DH the Chief of the Hospital was truly for his sake or achieving her own ambition. Over dinner, CK also realizes that DH and her relationship problems have always been there but she has chosen to cast a blind eye on them. She searches for memories but cannot find them. Like what SO said, could it be that she cannot remember because there were more bad memories than good ones? Just like how the young In Hae helped SO during their “love counseling” sessions, I think it will be SO who will be the catalyst in changing CK as a person. I do not know if her relationship with DH can be salvaged but at least if she still cares for him, she should give up her plans to take over the hospital and join forces to fight the external threats.
Unlike CK who is getting revelations on their relationship, it is DH who is rather confused about his feelings. It was interesting that DH and YS were so candid about her crushing on him. As he turns further and further away from CK, it will be a matter of time before DH acknowledges his feelings for YS and confesses to her.
I don’t see YS falling for DH quickly. Sure, she had crushed on him and she still thinks a world of him but her behavior towards him after his recent gestures, are pretty normal. Contrast it with SO’s reactions towards YS. Once he fell in love. SO started to feel very self–conscious in YS’s presence, I don’t see the same thing happening to YS, maybe not yet. Perhaps it is because DH and CK are still engaged and YS had already buried any romantic feelings towards DH. It will be interesting to watch her react to DH who I am sure will be stepping up with more affirmations of his interest in her.
SO on the other hand is so deeply infatuated with YS. He thinks of her all the time and is very conscious whenever he is in her presence. SO and YS have the most endearing and adorable scenes but it is obvious that up to now, YS sees SO only as a dongsaeng. To put it more accurately, she treats him like a child, someone who can be placated with food, whom she can tease or ruffles the hair affectionately. This does not escape SO either. I love the scene where he takes her hands off his and tells her that he is not a child who only likes to eat. Though SO behaves very child-like, he thinks differently. He does not want YS to see him as a child but as a man. This also culminates in acute embarrassment whenever he fails in front of her.
When SO told YS that he is aware he lacks the credentials to be a doctor, to be a man and to love, my heart just broke into pieces. I acknowledge and accept the fact that SO has still far to go if he wants to be a surgeon. But to think that he feels he is unqualified to be a man and to love is just so sad. Joo Won’s acting in these 2 episodes is simply awesome to watch. I cannot think of another actor who can play a child-like man with such adorableness and innocence. More than this, his mastery at emotional acting in these 2 episodes is evident. Unlike his previous characters like Lee Kangto in Bridal Mask, Joo Won has to exert very fine control in expressing SO’s emotions. I am amazed that he manages to convey the emotions so well without erring on the side of understating them or overacting. It’s a tightrope walk which he has done an excellent job in balancing. In that scene where he burst out his love confession to YS, we could feel so acutely SO’s frustrations and desperation.
Before this drama aired, I had my reservations on how the writer might treat the romance aspect. I know he did a magnificent job in God’s Quiz but is not known for writing romance. As much as I wanted to root for a romance between SO and YS, I also did not want it to be unrealistic. It is proving to be very difficult because this couple is so adorable together. Now all it takes is for YS to be like SO as a man and I will be over the moon. However, looking at how the writer has sensibly developed the relationship between SO and YS, I do not think it is a foregone conclusion that SO and YS will end up together. The challenges of autism and practicalities of relationship aside, YS must cross the bridge from a caring noona-sunbae to a woman who loves the man SO for who he is.
It seems imperative that SO has to “grow up” in order to qualify to love YS but I hope that in the process, SO will not lose his adorable child-like demeanor and more importantly his innocence. It is not only SO who needs to ‘grow’ but the other “normal” people. More than SO changing, I will love to see how people around him change for the better. So far, many patients, including their guardians, have already benefited from SO’s healing touch. His colleagues, his superiors like Dr Go and DH have begun to transform. No matter how perfect a machine is, it is still a machine. Nothing can replace a human touch and SO is the personification of that humanity which is much needed in treating the patients of Sungwon University Hospital.