“Emergency Couple” episode 9 recap

Chang Min biceps
Other more important things happened in this episode. But, look at those biceps!

Side dish: For some reason, this episode made me think of mussels. One good way to use up mussels is to make jjampong. You can make your own jjampong from scratch with this recipe from Maangchi, or you can skip all the difficult parts and make it like this.

Episode Recap

We’re dropped right back into it as episode 9 opens with Oh Chang Min (Choi Jin Hyuk) putting his drunken ex-wife and fellow intern, Oh Jin Hee (Song Ji Hyo), to bed at the hospital. As she passes out, he caresses her gum-filled hair, and covers her up.

His phone cuts this beautiful moment short when he’s called back to the ER to do his night shift. As predicted from the last episode, his first patient is Jin Hee’s baby nephew, accompanied by her brother-in-law, Kim Kwang Soo (Park Doo Shik). The baby is ill and feverish, and Kwang Soo is freaking out, but Chang Min calms them both down, prescribes a fever reliever, and sends them home.

ER supervisor Kook Cheon Soo (Lee Pil Mo) drops off specialist, Shim Ji Hye (Choi Yeo Jin) after her dance practice, and they discuss whether he should take up ballroom dancing again with her (yes, please!), but he demurs. She tells him that he’ll be better at it the second time around, like with dating or marriage. Their flirting is interrupted by a phone call for Ji Hye, which she answers in English. She leaves the car to continue the conversation and we learn that someone named Ji Min is sick in the hospital. Who is Ji Min? Why is everyone so secretive on this show?

Cheon Soo goes to the hospital to sleep, and climbs into a familiar looking bed without turning on the lights. He pulls the blanket over himself to reveal Jin Hee sleeping on the other side of the bed. Just where did Chang Min put her? And, how oblivious is Cheon Soo?

Chang Min dozes in the ER, unaware of what he’s done. He snaps awake and clutches his back as he gets up, wondering at Jin Hee’s weight. He curses her as he brushes his teeth. In the meantime, Cheon Soo appears to be a very heavy sleeper, because Jin Hee is flailing around in her drunken stupor, eventually ending up sprawled on top of him.

Morning comes to the hospital, and the resident comes to relieve Chang Min, who takes off running as he belatedly remembers Jin Hee. The world champion sleepers are unconscious (with Jin Hee’s sock balanced precipitously on Cheon Soo’s face), when Cheon Soo’s alarm goes off. They both sit up and look at each other, horrified, as Chang Min bursts into the room. Everyone starts screaming.

Jin Hee berates herself for drinking too much as she comes out of the shower. She flashes back to the night before when Chang Min put her on the bed, and decides this is all his fault. Back at the dorm room, Chang Min and Cheon Soo have an awkward conversation, as Cheon Soo discovers Jin Hee’s lost sock. He shoves it in his pocket, much to Chang Min’s consternation. As Cheon Soo wanders out, Chang Min notices yesterday’s gum stuck to the butt of his scrubs.

Jin Hee looks for her missing sock, freaking out again. Her fit is cut short by the arrival of fellow intern Han Ah Reum (Clara) and the female half of the married intern couple. Jin Hee pretends that she arrived early, but since she obviously never went home, the other two comment on her excessive drinking last night. Belatedly, they remember to pass on the message that Ji Hye was looking for her. Jin Hee assumes that it’s about the morning’s incident and says it out loud, since she lacks a brain-to-mouth filter. The other interns immediately demand to know who she slept with.

Back in the men’s dorm, Chang Min tries to sleep. He looks over at the bed that Jin Hee and Cheon Soo inadvertently shared the night before, and gets angry. When he sees her hair on the pillow, he gets up and attacks the bed, stomping on it. The bed can take some punishment, luckily, and doesn’t break.

Jin Hee spends all of two seconds in Ji Hye ‘s presence before she falls apart and tries to explain how she ended up sleeping with Cheon Soo, much to the surprise of Ji Hye who had no idea, and had been intending to lecture her to work hard and focus.

Jin Hee goes back to blaming Chang Min for her troubles when she spots Cheon Soo. She sneaks away into an elevator, but he gets on just before the door closes.

He asks her if she drank the night before, and she admits to it. He wonders why she didn’t go to the female staff room, but her explanation is cut short when she spots the wadded gum on his pants. As he walks off, she chases him, and tries to remove it. He tries to get away from her, but she holds tight, scraping at the gum. Predictably Ji Hye and Chang Min walk around the corner to catch them at it, but luckily, no one screams this time.

Instead, Chang Min acts like a crazy jealous person and drags Jin Hee to the rooftop of the hospital to ask what she did with Cheon Soo. She demands to know why he dumped her in the male dorm room in the first place. He demands to know if she’s got feelings for Cheon Soo. She defiantly says yes. He asks if she intends to date him. She asks what it has to do with him. He says he’ll feel awkward watching his ex-wife date someone else. She reminds him that they’re over and walks away.

Meanwhile, the other male intern, Im Yong Kyu (Yoon Jong Hoon) spots Ah Reum in the ER, and helps her carry something, thinking that he’s being a considerate boyfriend. He continues to help her while the annoying married couple look on. Ah Reum wonders what’s going on with him as he wanders off with a goofy grin on his face.

Chang Min goes back to the ER where his mad jealousy catches up with him and he freaks out. Luckily his freakout consists of drinking Yong Kyu’s juice and yelling a lot.

Back at Jin Hee’s place, her mom stares suspiciously at Kwang Soo, while mixing up some beauty concoction. When Kwang Soo asks why there’s no customer, Mom’s business partner says that they received a fine, and it drove customers away. Mom says there’s a group reservation coming, and Kwang Soo should go drum up business instead of lazing about at home. He protests that he has to take care of the baby, and asks if Mom would like to take over. She refuses and tells him to find the baby’s mom, Jin Ae. He says that even if he finds Jin Ae, they would both have to work to make a living, since he’s also a musician.

The baby starts crying and they notice he’s too hot. Kwang Soo goes back to the hospital and bursts into the ER, looking for Chang Min. Ji Hye is there to take over, and as she unwraps the baby, she discovers purpura. Chang Min shows up and Ji Hye asks him angrily what the symptoms point to: meningitis. Kwang Soo freaks out. Ji Hye puts a line into the baby’s forehead, which freaks him out more, and he punches Chang Min. Jin Hee finally sees what’s going on, and rushes over. They move the baby to a room, and Cheon Soo comes rushing over. They decide to do a lumbar puncture, but first they pause to berate Chang Min for not checking for meningitis.

Jin Hee meanwhile gives a crying Kwang Soo a pill, to prevent him from getting meningitis. She reassures him that the baby will recover, and tells him that she called Jin Ae. She tries to explain Chang Min’s mistake, but he threatens to kill Chang Min regardless.

Oh Jin Ae (Jun Soo Jin) pulls up to the hospital in a taxi, looking like one of The Runaways, and spots Chang Min as she runs into the ER. She calls him brother-in-law, and tells him how awesome he looks. Jin Hee chooses that moment to come up, smack her and drag her away. Jin Ae asks where the baby is, and instead of taking her there, Jin Hee berates her. She makes as if to hit her, but Chang Min prevents her, and Jin Ae hides behind him, begging for his help. Stuck between the two women, he reasonably tells Jin Hee to take Jin Ae to her baby first. Jin Hee tells him to back off, but he stands strong(ish).

They calm down long enough for Jin Hee to put Jin Ae in scrubs so that she can hold the baby while they perform a lumbar puncture. Jin Hee watches the procedure from the outside as Kwang Soo comes looking for Jin Ae. Jin Hee tells Kwang Soo that she knew that he and Jin Ae were in contact, and he apologises. Procedure over, Chang Min leads a bawling Jin Ae out of the room, straight into Kwang Soo’s arms.

Back in the operating room, Ji Hye and Cheon Soo discuss the possibility that it might be encephalitis, making Chang Min feel even worse. They go outside to tell the parents that the baby will be okay, and Jin Hee introduces them as her sister and brother-in-law.

Cheon Soo and Ji Hye walk through the ER, as Cheon Soo comments on Ji Hye’s facility with the baby. She says that it’s the worst for a mom when her baby is sick. He wonders how she knows, not being a mom.

The interns gossip about Chang Min again, and this time it’s about how some “flimsy punk girl”, presumably Jin Ae, called him brother-in-law. Luckily, Yong Kyu only overheard that much. He’s distracted as Ah Reum gets ready to leave, and under the mistaken delusion that they’re dating, asks her to dinner at a really nice place. She refuses nervously, and leaves while he calls after her.

On his way out of the hospital, Chang Min is stopped by Kwang Soo, who apologizes for hitting him, and forgives him for his error in diagnosing the baby. He gives him a CD of his favourite songs as a peace offering.

Chang Min pops in the CD in his car, and finds a sappy love song, which becomes the soundtrack for his Jin Hee flashbacks, where he relives all of their moments together (except for the pee incident). He gets teary-eyed, so I worry whether he’s watching the road, but he makes it home okay.

Ji Hye reports in to Cheon Soo about the baby’s condition, then tries to ask him about what happened with Jin Hee. She stops halfway, deciding she has no right to ask that kind of question, fuelling my rampant speculation about their past. She changes the subject to Jin Hee’s dismissal, telling him to ask the ER director about it, because all is not as it seems.

Chang Min works out his frustrations by exercising (woot!). He sweats over his weights while Ah Reum runs on the treadmill. Ah Reum comes over to say hi, wondering how he’s still up after night duty. Chang Min admits he can’t sleep. Ah Reum’s stuck on a paper that she’s writing, and asks if he has any books. Back at his place, she finds something on a high shelf, and he has to reach over her to get it. She takes the opportunity to make her move, and asks him why he hasn’t accepted her request to start dating. Apparently, Chang Min doesn’t like it when hot, sweaty women throw themselves at him, because he shoots her down. She asks him to keep her in mind regardless, and he laughs noncommittally. She asks about the brother-in-law thing that Yong Kyu overheard, and it looks like he’s about to come clean about his divorce, when – just in time! – Evil Mom phones. Ah Reum leaves, and Evil Mom questions his manhood for not spending the night with her (yikes). Then she asks him about the favour from Evil Uncle (i.e. saving Jin Hee from dismissal), which he refuses to reveal. When Evil Mom tells him about the divorce from Absent Dad, Chang Min surprisingly asks her to reconsider.

Jin Hee is still manhandling Jin Ae at the hospital, telling her not to mention Chang Min to their mom, who is on her way. Jin Ae apologizes for the situation with the baby and Kwang Soo, saying she’s working three part-time jobs, then asks Jin Hee for money. Jin Hee tells her to behave when their mother comes.

Jin Hee apparently gets her violent tendencies from her mother, because her mother attacks Jin Ae the minute she walks in the door. Jin Ae and Kwang Soo apologize profusely, which only enrages her further. Jin Hee is the voice of reason for once, pointing out that they’re here for the baby, while everyone in the ER looks on at the family violence, nonplussed. Jin Hee’s mom belatedly rushes over to the baby.

Chang Min gets a message as he walks in to the hospital the next morning. Yong Kyu accidentally sent a video of himself singing a song for Ah Reum to everyone in the hospital. Whoops.

Jin Hee gives a gift to Cheon Soo as a thank you. He refuses, but she leaves it, and tries to run away. He calls her back to give her the missing sock. To his amusement, she apologizes, and runs away again, bumping into Ji Hye on her way out. Ji Hye spots Jin Hee’s gift on his desk, and asks what it is. Cheon Soo plays it off as nothing. He ignores the question when she asks if it’s from Jin Hee, and she says that she’ll knock next time she comes in. He changes the subject.

Ah Reum walks in to the ER, unaware of Yong Kyu’s video love letter. She’s followed shortly by Yong Kyu, who gets catcalls from the nurse’s station. The married interns corner Ah Reum the minute she walks in the door, only to discover that her phone is broken and she hasn’t seen the video. They tell her it was a confession from Yong Kyu, but before they can play it, he betrays his presence by whacking his head on the wall. Everyone mocks him, and Yong Kyu clues in for the first time that Ah Reum did not get his flowerpot love note and that they’re not dating. He rubs his head in pain and embarrassment.

Evil Mom tries to browbeat Evil Uncle into telling her what favour he did for Chang Min, but gets nowhere. Even the Oppa Pout fails (as it should), and she flips out.

Cheon Soo goes to see the ER director, and finds out that Jin Hee’s internship was saved by the intervention of Chang Min’s Evil Uncle. The ER director wonders if they should be nicer to Chang Min, while Cheon Soo looks nonplussed.

Evil Mom decides to vent her evil anger on Absent Dad and goes to visit him. He’s out for a meeting so she starts poking through his stuff, looking for the divorce papers. Instead, she finds Jin Hee’s gift, and reads the note. Cue the Jaws music, because Evil Mom is angry!

Chang Min walks in to the ER to find Jin Hee playing with her nephew who is all packed up and ready to go, having served his dramatic purpose. As they both play with the baby, Jin Ae points out that they look good together like this. Kwang Soo asks if they’re married yet, since they look too good together to just be colleagues. He talks up Jin Hee to Chang Min, obviously unaware of their past relationship. Everyone shuts him up, and Chang Min compliments Kwang Soo on his CD.

Jin Hee takes the baby’s chart to Cheon Soo, then notices that he didn’t open her gift. He tells her to take it back since Chang Min was the one responsible for saving her internship.

Chang Min meanwhile runs into Ji Hye in the hallway, and thanks her for saving the baby. She asks him how come she doesn’t get presents like Cheon Soo did from Jin Hee. Chang Min takes a moment to flashback to all the times he’s seen Jin Hee and Cheon Soo together.

He gets a text from Jin Hee asking him to go to the rooftop. She lays into him the minute he gets up there, asking why he used his family connections to save her internship. Chang Min gets equally angry, demanding to know why she was grateful to Cheon Soo and jumped into his arms, when she’s getting angry at him for accomplishing the same thing. Jin Hee blinks at him while he yells at her not to make eyes at Cheon Soo anymore.


How tall is this hospital? Is it on a hill maybe? Because you can see what looks like the whole of Seoul from the hospital rooftop. Anyway, it makes for a better background to arguments than the cat painting stairwell.

Back to the show! It was a good episode, though I’m beginning to feel a bit sorry for Chang Min. His way of expressing his emotions is not the best, but it looks like he’s not going to make it through his internship without every woman in his life turning violent and getting angry at him. That said, Jin Hee has a solid point; he sounds kind of crazy raving about how she shouldn’t date anyone, because it would make him, her ex-husband, jealous.

So, I’ve kind of been avoiding this subject, because I’m fairly ignorant about Korea, but help me out here: is divorce such a stigma that Chang Min and Jin Hee have to bury their past marriage? And, why exactly does it need to be kept secret from the hospital? I understand that TV is not reality, but there’s a basic assumption to the show that outing Chang Min and Jin Hee as divorced would be disastrous for all concerned. Is this a TV problem? Or a real problem?

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


  1. Regarding Chang Min and Jin Hee’s divorce status, I just assumed that they didn’t want colleagues gossiping about their relationship. Better to just pretend you don’t know each other. However, I assume there is a stigma to being divorced in terms of dating, because that’s common in Asia. No one wants spoiled goods (FYI not my opinion so don’t lynch me)


  2. In Asia, there is definitely a stigma about divorce, it’s seen as a failure more or less. For that reason, most people don’t divorce unless they absolutely have to and there is a lot of bad connotations with divorce, both for men and women. (Though for a women, it would be worse.) It’s not like America or Europe where divorce is far less of an issue. Even for Asian American families, divorce is a stigma.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s