“Emergency Couple” episode 5 recap

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Love hurts.

Side dish: Who’s got time to eat when it gets busy in the ER? How about a cheeseburger? Cheap, filling, and fast, the cheeseburger hits three of the major food groups (meat, grains, and dairy) and two more if you add lettuce (vegetable) and tomato (fruit). I recommend Burger’s Priest for your all your cheeseburger needs, partly because I live a block away from one and convenience is key.

Episode Recap

On a side note, I finally picked out what the opening song reminds me of: a toned down version of “Ooh La La” by Goldfrapp.

After the world’s longest recap, we’re straight back into the action with Evil Mom (Park Joon Geum) in the ambulance. She’s unconscious (probably the only reason she’s being quiet), because she overdosed on her anti-anxiety medication and injured herself after her tantrum on the beach. Turns out she’s awesome but not indestructible.

Unaware of Evil Mom’s plight, Oh Chang Min (Choi Jin Hyuk) tells ER chief, Kook Cheon Soo (Lee Pil Mo) that he’ll take responsibility for the emergency tracheotomy, because his ex and fellow intern, Oh Jin Hee (Song Ji Hyo) was just doing as he ordered. He is soundly dismissed by Cheon Soo; you have to be somebody to take responsibility, and an intern is nobody.

Meanwhile, back at the ER, there’s trouble in intern paradise as the cute married couple have a fight. As they calm down, they wonder where Jin Hee is. Turns out, she’s spending an inordinate amount of time washing her face, and flashing back to her last argument with Chang Min. She’s sent running back to the ER when she gets a phone call saying that a VIP patient has just arrived. Evil Mom is wheeled in on a gurney, and Jin Hee is assigned to look after her while Han Ah Reum (Clara) is sent to find an orthopedist. Ah Reum runs into Chang Min and gets him to help her.

Evil Mom comes to. Woozy, she looks up at Jin Hee and thinks that she’s dead and in hell, since Jin Hee is there to torment her. Someone mentions Chang Min and she snaps awake, focusing in on Jin Hee, who finally recognises her. Horrified, Jin Hee ducks as Evil Mom tries to attack her before passing out again.

This hospital should win an award for being the worst organized hospital ever, because every doctor is in an emergency meeting about the dead tracheotomy patient, and they don’t seem to have pagers. Unsurprisingly, Chang Min and Ah Reum are having no luck finding an orthopedist.

Back at the ER, Jin Hee is too nervous to examine Evil Mom, so the head nurse sends for resident, Shim Ji Hye (Choi Yeo Jin) to take over. She’s at the emergency meeting where Cheon Soo is facing a veritable onslaught from an evil doctor as he defends the work of the ER. Not sure why someone doesn’t just perform an autopsy or something, but whatevs! Apparently, in this hospital, responsibility is decided by whoever can make a better argument and right now, it’s not Cheon Soo.

Ji Hye arrives to examine Evil Mom, while Jin Hee belatedly snaps out of her paralysis. She finally comes up with a diagnosis, and makes her orders, as Ji Hye berates her.

Back at the meeting, it’s time to play Blame the Intern. Cheon Soo is snowed under as they decide to call in the intern who performed the tracheotomy aka Jin Hee. He clenches his jaw helplessly and looks hot.

Jin Hee is called away from Evil Mom to go to the meeting. Chang Min and Ah Reum hear the news as they accompany the orthopedist to the ER. Chang Min looks appalled as he discovers that the family is going to file a lawsuit. Ah Reum comforts him, still believing that he’s the one who performed the tracheotomy.

Back at the meeting, Jin Hee walks in slooooooow motion to the podium as everyone looks on. Suddenly Chang Min bursts in and states that he’s the one who performed the tracheotomy. Cheon Soo looks on, either annoyed or horrified, I can’t tell.

Back at the ER, Ah Reum asks for an update on the patient from one of the nurses, who tells her to do it herself. Confused, she looks at the patient and belatedly recognizes Evil Mom.

At the meeting, Chang Min confidently defends his reasons for going ahead with the tracheotomy. The evil doctor asks him if he’ll quit if the death was his fault, and he says that he will if he has to. Apparently unwilling to let Chang Min go that far, Jin Hee jumps in and confesses that she’s the one who did it. Like the rest of us, Cheon Soo throws up his hands. Everyone looks worried as the head of the ER department says that the ER will take responsibility so that the family’s lawsuit can be settled.

Outside, the surgeon who performed the tracheotomy patient’s operation (and presumably screwed it up) thanks the evil doctor who was giving Cheon Soo a hard time. He tells him no problem, and to do better from now on. He mentions that Chang Min is the nephew of the Yoon Hospital director (Evil Uncle), and thus, untouchable. Luckily, they have Jin Hee as a convenient scapegoat.

Cheon Soo berates Chang Min and Jin Hee. Chang Min dodges his kick, and gets kicked harder as a result. Unaware of their prior relationship, Cheon Soo can’t figure out why they’re fighting one minute and helping each other out the next. To ease his frustration, he beats their heads together and tells them never to do anything without his command again.

After he leaves, Jin Hee asks why Chang Min jumped in, and he explains that since he was the one who told her what to do, it really was him who did it and she was just his puppet. He renews his call to war and tells her to quit. He is convinced they performed the tracheotomy properly, and if she can’t tell that much then she shouldn’t be a doctor.

Ah Reum bursts in to tell him his mother is in the ER. They run to the ER only to find that she’s been moved to the VIP room. Chang Min asks if she’s okay and the head nurse says to ask Jin Hee, since she’s the one who examined her. Chang Min turns to Jin Hee, who stutters out that Evil Mom overdosed on benzodiazepine, and hurt her hip and head. She has no response as Chang Min reasonably asks why she didn’t think to mention it earlier. As he leaves, the head nurse asks Ah Reum how she recognized Chang Min’s mother. Ah Reum fumbles what should have been an easy explanation, as Jin Hee looks on, eyes narrowed.

Meanwhile, every doctor in the hospital is in Evil Mom’s room (does anyone do any work here?), and they’re joined by Cheon Soo. He finds out Evil Mom is the sister of the Yoon Hospital director, and as Chang Min bursts in, he figures out their connection. It’s a day of revelations.

In the library, the four other interns discuss the news that Jin Hee performed the tracheotomy and suddenly realise that there’s a lot going on between Chang Min and Jin Hee that they don’t understand. Their speculation is cut short by a doctor who yells at the first-year resident to tell the interns to stop gossiping. The first-year resident then yells at the interns to stop gossiping and get back to work. Hierarchy’s a bitch at this hospital.

Back in the change room, Jin Hee asks why Ah Reum recognized Evil Mom, using informal language. Offended that she’s talking down to her, Ah Reum leaves rather than answer the question.

Chang Min sits by the unconscious Evil Mom’s bedside, trying to reach someone by phone. I can’t read Korean so I’ll take a shot and say it’s probably Absent Dad, because Chang Min looks annoyed when he can’t get through. He leaves to get something and Jin Hee wanders in.

Chang Min comes back, but stands behind the door as Jin Hee stares quietly at Evil Mom. Expecting the worst, Chang Min is caught off-guard as Jin Hee tucks Evil Mom in, turns down the lights, and arranges her slippers. Chang Min runs away as she comes out, and makes the world’s lamest attempt to hide by standing on a chair. Both of them cover up their embarrassment at being caught in a cute moment by going on the offensive. She tells him not to mistake her brief kindness as anything other than her being a good doctor. He responds that he was worried she was going to do something to Evil Mom. She berates him and leaves. Adorable!

Jin Hee comes home to find her room ransacked. Her mom (Lee Mi Young) comes in after her and demands that she call the police. Before she can, Jin Hee realises that the only thing missing is her wedding ring and the only person who would take it is her sister, Jin Ae (Jeon Soo Jin). Jin Hee can’t adequately explain to Mom why she still had it in the first place, so Mom and Jin Hee have a pity party instead.

Jin Hee is wandering through a darkened ER, as a gurney wheels itself towards her. She uncovers it to find Evil Mom, who spins her head backwards à la The Exorcist and tells her she killed the tracheotomy patient. Jin Hee wakes up screaming.

Back at the hospital, the ER supervisors meet to discuss a cut to the ER budget stemming from the lawsuit. Ji Hye complains about the unfairness since the hospital’s system was at fault. The director explains that the hospital is taking the easy way out by blaming the ER.

News travels fast in this hospital and the nurses already know about the budget cuts. One of the nurses is angry, because she thinks they’ll end up laying off a nurse. She confronts the head nurse, who tells her to wait before getting angry, and so she vents her anger at Jin Hee who has no adequate response.

Jin Hee goes to Cheon Soo and volunteers to quit. He says he’ll talk to the director about it, but in the meantime, since she was the one who examined the VIP patient (aka Evil Mom), she’ll be assigned as her doctor. Cue the Jaws music again!

Evil Mom wakes up to find her worst nightmare standing over her, unable to believe that Jin Hee is there. She flings away the meal that Jin Hee is trying to give her, and Chang Min rushes in at the sound. He tries to calm her down, but it’s a failure as usual. Evil Mom alternates between insulting Jin Hee and speculating as to the reason for her presence. Annoyed, Jin Hee tells her she’s a doctor, an intern along with Chang Min. Chang Min tries to stop the inevitable argument and throw her out, but she refuses, stating that Evil Mom is her patient. Before he can react, Evil Mom clutches her head in pain and he turns to take care of her. Jin Hee leaves.

The minute she’s out of the room, Evil Mom starts plotting about how to get rid of her. She speculates that Jin Hee became a doctor to take revenge on Chang Min or to mess up his life. If this sounds familiar, it is: Chang Min thought the same thing a few episodes ago. Apparently he doesn’t anymore, because he tries to defend Jin Hee to no avail. She decides to call the director of the hospital to get her fired, but stops when Chang Min reminds her she has no reasonable basis for the request. She wants Ah Reum assigned as her doctor instead, but Chang Min tells her to just leave since she’s not ill enough to be hospitalized, and he can handle things himself. She flips out, screaming that she’s not going to stand by while that woman ruins his life again. A frustrated Chang Min whacks his already aching head on the hospital bed.

Jin Hee is about to go into the VIP room when she gets a phone call from a blocked number. A mysterious blond hangs up and Jin Hee curses her sister. Cut to the pawn shop. Jin Ae pawns Jin Hee’s wedding ring to get her guitar back, and celebrates its return by bellowing out her love for her guitar on the street in English. (Is English more rock’n’roll than Korean? Or did she say it in English, because she sounds ridiculous and she didn’t want anyone to understand her?)

Back at the ER, Chang Min and Jin Hee are in agreement for once: they both want her to stay away from Evil Mom’s room. Ji Hye interrupts this brief, and somewhat hostile, detente to call Jin Hee a troublemaker. Chang Min snickers, and then is taken aback as Ji Hye tells him that he got away with it, because of his family. Confused, the exes both watch her walk away.

Cheon Soo is in his office, looking at a notice of dismissal for Jin Hee. Aha.

Jin Hee gets another phone call from a blocked number, and picks up to yell at her sister. Her sister immediately cops to stealing her ring, and then points out that it didn’t get her much money, so she needs Jin Hee to make up the difference. She hangs up and texts her the account number, as Jin Hee fumes.

Cheon Soo protests Jin Hee’s dismissal to the ER director, but he’s cut off by a phone call to the ER director from Evil Mom screaming to have the intern assigned to her changed. She hangs up as Jin Hee stands over her with a needle. Evil Mom starts throwing things and thrashing around, convinced that Jin Hee is trying to kill her. Just as Cheon Soo and Chang Min dash in to the room, she slaps Jin Hee in the face. The needle in Jin Hee’s hand goes flying, and the episode ends as everyone stares at each other in horror.


WTF, Evil Mom. Slapping your doctor should be a total no-no for a woman who idolizes the profession as much as she does, and I suspect it’s a measure of how much Evil Mom hates Jin Hee that she actually does it. I’m beginning to hope that she’ll disinherit Chang Min, because it seems like the only way he’ll get control of his life back. That said, maybe she’ll put it off for a few episodes, because she’s still pretty entertaining, though her craziness is beginning to wear on me.

I’m impressed by how well this series has maintained its momentum. The episodes are still moving along at a quick pace without losing the internal story logic, and without rushing towards a predictable resolution. The tone is just right; light, but engaging enough to keep you invested. The small but telling revelations in each episode slowly but surely build a picture of each of the characters.

As for Jin Hee and Chang Min, Jin Hee’s ability to not shut down in the face of adversity seems to be growing by leaps and bounds while Chang Min seems to regress into childhood when Evil Mom’s around. Cheon Soo, on the other hand, is beginning to look better and better in comparison.

Only 만

Emergency Couple (응급남녀)

 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13, 14, 15, 16, 17, 18, 19, 20, 21 || series review

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