“Emergency Couple” episode 12 recap

Emergency couple Chang Min open wide
Open wide…

Side dish: Chang Min spends this episode trying to be nice to Jin Hee, even going so far as to buy her oxtail soup (gomtang), and eat it with her when he’s already full. Despite Chang Min’s dislike of oxtail soup, it sounds super delicious, so I’m going to try this recipe from Gangnam Kitchen when I have 14 hours to spend with a pot on the stove.

Episode Recap

Back in Oh Chang Min’s (Choi Jin Hyuk) apartment, he is making up a bed for his reluctant ex-wife and fellow intern, Oh Jin Hee (Song Ji Hyo), who has a broken collarbone, and nowhere to sleep in her own home. She protests, pointing out that she can’t sleep at her ex-husband’s home. Silently, Chang Min picks Jin Hee up like a princess and carries her to the bedroom, where he cuts off her protests by complimenting her on how young she looks. He laughs at her sputtering, then puts her gently down on the bed. Chang Min doesn’t see the difficulty with the situation, since Jin Hee needs some rest, but she continues to protest. He sighs, and asks her if he’s meant to ignore her injury just because they’re divorced, and reminds her of the fall-down patient, whose soon-to-be ex-wife Jin Hee was desperately trying to track down. He tells her to go to bed, and to take 24 hours to rest properly for his sake, since she’s been through so much. He turns the lights off and leaves.

Chang Min is wide awake on the couch when Jin Hee texts him that she’ll agree to rest there for 24 hours, but not to be offended that she’s going to lock the door on him. He responds that he has the key anyway. Annoyed, she texts him to fall asleep first, and he writes back that she’ll fall asleep before he does. When Jin Hee doesn’t respond, Chang Min gets up to find that she’s out like a light. He goes back to the couch, and sleeps.

The next morning, Chang Min immobilizes Jin Hee by rolling her up in the duvet, and then carries her into the bathroom. She protests as he none-too-gently washes her face, then brushes her teeth with his toothbrush. He makes her breakfast as she watches, including toast, fried eggs, bite-sized rolled sandwiches, salad, custard, and coffee. Jin Hee is apparently as governed by her stomach as I am, because she’s suddenly smiling at him. Chang Min figures out that she’s touched, but says that he used to do it for her occasionally before. He wonders if Jin Hee remembers, and she does, so he feeds her a sandwich.

Chang Min wishes every day could be like this, then wonders at his own words. He figures this is why people live together. Jin Hee points out that it only lasts a few days though, because people get used to it. When Chang Min feeds Jin Hee Wonderbread crusts dipped in runny egg yolk, she says that sometimes it’s good to get used to things, and he agrees. Frustrated at the slow pace of his feeding, she struggles her way out of the duvet, and then attacks the salad. Chang Min tells Jin Hee to slow down, then laughs as she pigs out.

Jin Hee looks glum as Chang Min gets ready to go to work, so he asks if she’s sad to be apart from him. She’s sad because she can’t go to work, and she’s worried about her colleagues who will have to pick up the slack. Chang Min tells her not to worry about it, since he can go in for her on his day off. Jin Hee protests again, but he tells her not to move till he gets back. Jin Hee tells Chang Min not to be late, and he compares them to a newly married couple. She tells him to hurry and go.

Back at Jin Hee’s house, her sister, Oh Jin Ae (Jun Soo Jin) plays games on her phone as Jin Hee’s mom plays with the baby. Jin Hee calls Jin Ae, and her mom wants the phone. Jin Ae hangs up instead and gets beaten for her trouble (she’s really taken a lot of abuse in the past few episodes; she must be covered in bruises). Jin Hee’s mom demands to know where she is, and what happened last night when she left. Jin Ae’s husband, Kim Kwang Soo (Park Doo Shik) chimes in that she must have gone on a date. This is exactly the wrong thing to say as Jin Hee’s mom is now more curious than ever. Jin Ae gives her a lame story about sleeping at a friend’s place, which makes it worse. Mom decides to call Jin Hee, but Jin Ae dissuades her.

Back at the hospital, ER supervisor, Kook Cheon Soo (Lee Pil Mo) lectures the interns on building rapport with patients. He tells them to organize the records of the patients they see that day, and pass them to him. The married interns complain that it’ll be tiring since Jin Hee is not there, but Chang Min tells them he’s there on his day off to pick up the slack. Fellow intern, and his mom’s candidate for his next wife, Han Ah Reum (Clara), asks if Chang Min switched with Jin Hee, and he confirms it. He asks the nurse for all of Jin Hee’s patient records, while the other male intern, Im Yong Kyu (Yoon Jong Hoon) teases him about the power of love. Embarrassed, Chang Min tells him to be quiet, while Ah Reum looks concerned. As Chang Min walks away, he motions to Yong Kyu to keep quiet. The nurse asks if Chang Min has a thing for Jin Hee, to Ah Reum’s shock (as if it wasn’t obvious at this point), and Yong Kyu belatedly plays it cool.

Cheon Soo walks down the hall with ex-girlfriend and specialist doctor Shim Ji Hye (Choi Yeo Jin), asking if she’s eaten breakfast. She laughs at him for being worried, then starts reporting on the patients. He tells her to stay away from child patients for a while, worried that she can’t handle it, given the revelations from the last episode. Ji Hye tells him that instead of worrying about her, Cheon Soo should express his feelings if there’s someone he likes. He asks what she’s talking about, and Ji Hye says that someone has broken through his walls, though she wonders why she’s happy about it. Cheon Soo denies it, and Ji Hye pinches his cheek, glad that he’s flustered.

Back at the ER, the various interns are practicing their bedside manners, to varying degrees of success. Cheon Soo looks unimpressed with all of them, especially when he gets to Chang Min, who is cheerfully treating an anorexic model. She tells him that she’d rather die than eat, gets out of bed and limps off, leaving a helpless Chang Min in her wake. Ji Hye comes along to commiserate, and he explains that he’s been having the same problem with every patient so far. She explains that this is why rapport is so important. Ji Hye tells Chang Min to think of his patients how he would think of his girlfriend, to remind them of the things they don’t want to hear. Ji Hye asks Chang Min if he has a girlfriend and he confirms that he does. She laughs and wishes him luck, while I take a moment to appreciate the awesomeness of Ji Hye.

A woman walks into the ER, and runs into Chang Min. He asks how he can help, and she introduces herself as the wife of the fall-down patient. She mentions that an intern had been calling her, referring to Jin Hee. A happy Chang Min tells her that her husband’s in the ICU, and catches her up on the situation, explaining that in case of kidney failure, her kidney will be necessary since they’re a match. She mentions that she hesitated, because of the impending divorce, but came anyway because of Jin Hee. Chang Min thanks her profusely, and she says she felt guilty for taking so long to make up her mind about it. As she leaves, Chang Min grins that Jin Hee’s persistence paid off, and runs off happily to his next patient.

Back at the apartment, Jin Hee flips through the textbooks on his coffee table, and finds a doodled drawing in one that says, “My heart is Oh Jin Hee’s”. She flashes back to his care for her after the accident that broke her collarbone, basically the events of episode 11. Chang Min, meanwhile, eats cup noodles at the hospital library, with a stack of Jin Hee’s patient charts. He imagines her with each patient, while reading through her notes.

Jin Hee gets a phone call from Jin Ae, warning her that their mom and Kwang Soo took the baby to the hospital for a checkup with the pediatrician. Since Jin Hee pretended that she went to work rather than admit she was at Chang Min’s apartment, she now has a problem.

Finished with the files, Chang Min pulls out his phone. He first changes Jin Hee’s contact from “Tick” to “Jin Hee♥︎”, then calls her, only to find that she’s on the way to the hospital. He wonders why she didn’t just tell her mom that she was injured, but she has no excuse. Jin Hee hangs up as she gets into a cab and Chang Min marvels at her inability to stay put, but perks up at the thought that his ex-mother-in-law is coming to the hospital. He gets up to leave just as Ah Reum walks in. She greets Chang Min, but he nods at her and keeps going. Annoyed, Ah Reum looks through the stack of patient charts he left on the desk, and sees that they’re all Jin Hee’s patients.

Jin Hee rushes into the hospital and runs into Cheon Soo, who wonders why she’s there. She mentions that her nephew is at the pediatrician, and he asks if everything’s fine. When she responds that her nephew is okay, he says that he meant her. Jin Hee says that she can come to work tomorrow, and he tells her to rest for a few more days. Jin Hee’s mom comes up with Kwang Soo and the baby, and Jin Hee introduces them to Cheon Soo. Mom talks about how great Jin Hee is, and Cheon Soo responds that she’s necessary to the ER. Mom asks if Cheon Soo is the one who got them the meds for meningitis, and when Jin Hee confirms, she thanks him profusely.

Chang Min comes in, and gets to watch from a distance as Jin Hee and Jin Hee’s mom fawn over Cheon Soo. After Cheon Soo runs away, Jin Hee’s mom wonders whether he’s single and speculates on what a great match he’d be for Jin Hee. As they leave, Chang Min comes up to Jin Hee, who asks him what he’s doing there. Chang Min says that he intended to say hi to Jin Hee’s mother. He reasons that she’s going to find out anyway, so he’d rather just say hi than get caught in hiding. He cuts off Jin Hee’s nervous protests by telling her that the fall-down patient’s wife came in. Looking at her happy face, he suddenly confesses that he’d like to start over with her. Jin Hee is speechless.

Back at the interns’ office, Yong Kyu weeps at the plant that was supposed to represent his love for Ah Reum. Junior resident Kim Min Ki (Kwon Min) asks if he’s crying, which he denies, then asks if he got dumped. Min Ki says that dating should be prohibited at the hospital, and Yong Kyu protests that doctors have feelings too. Min Ki admits to being the one who tied the love ribbon around the plant. Min Ki asks why Yong Kyu got dumped, despite his public confession, and Yong Kyu wishes for death. Min Ki tells him not to say that he wants to die, but instead to keep loving her until the feelings disappear, and not to be so pathetic. He leaves cheerfully, as a confused Yong Kyu goes back to weeping.

The married interns deal with a young couple looking for a morning-after pill, which sparks a confession from the female married intern that she’s probably pregnant. The male married intern is overjoyed, but the female married intern is concerned about finishing her internship and doing her residency. There’s trouble ahead!

Outside the hospital, Chang Min agrees not to talk to Jin Hee’s mother, on the condition that she rests at his place until he gets home. Jin Hee agrees, and tells Chang Min that she has something to say. He tells her to forget it and rest, as he puts her in a cab. As the cab drives away, Jin Hee flashes back to Chang Min’s confession, but it doesn’t bode well, because she looks unhappy.

Chang Min asks Ji Hye to check if he’s missing anything about the fall-down patient, and she confirms that he’s done a good job. She’s pleased to hear that the fall-down patient’s wife showed up, and that she agreed to the organ transplant. He asks her if it’s possible to love someone again, after they become distant. Ji Hye asks Chang Min if that’s how it is with his girlfriend and he confirms. She asks why they broke up, and he responds that they lacked understanding of one another. Ji Hye tells him that it’s possible for them to meet and fall in love again, much more strongly, but the fact that Chang Min’s asking proves that he likes his girlfriend more than she likes him, which makes him the weaker one. But then, in love, the weaker one is happier. Chang Min smiles at Ji Hye, and who wouldn’t? Because she’s awesome.

Chang Min walks into Cheon Soo’s office and gives him back the jacket that was a gift from Jin Hee. He admits to stealing it, because of his jealousy and goes on to admit that he’s immature when he likes someone (no kidding). Cheon Soo is non-plussed as Chang Min tells him that if fighting him would have helped, he’d have done it by now. He gets into Cheon Soo’s face to politely tell him to back off from Jin Hee. I’m as baffled as Cheon Soo at this exchange.

Back at Chang Min’s apartment, Jin Hee gets a phone call from Chang Min, who’s checking in to make sure she didn’t run off. She tells him to focus, and wants to say more, but Chang Min cuts her off, telling her to say it in person when he gets home.

Ji Hye walks in to Cheon Soo’s office, and spots the jacket on his desk. He tells her that Chang Min took it, because he likes Jin Hee. Ji Hye clues in that the girlfriend Chang Min has been talking about is Jin Hee. She tells Cheon Soo he should express himself more, and asks him if he doesn’t feel ticklish in his chest. Cheon Soo denies it, and she tickles his chest, as he swats her away. Ji Hye tells him that the feeling of loving someone is precious and rare, and he asks her how often she’s felt it. She gives Cheon Soo a look, and he sighs.

Chang Min’s Absent Dad (Kang Shin Il) calls Evil Mom (Park Joon Geum) and asks to have dinner with her, the Evil Aunts and Evil Uncle. Shocked, she asks whether he’s going to ask for money or a favour. He responds that there’s a good snow crab place nearby, and he knows they love snow crabs, so he wants to treat them all, since it’s been so long. She’s suspicious but accepts the request.

The snow crab does indeed look delicious even though it’s surrounded by Chang Min’s evil family. Absent Dad apologizes for not coming to see everyone more often, and one of the Evil Aunts points out that it’s been more than three years since they’ve all been together. Evil Mom looks suspicious as Absent Dad is nice to her, then demands to know what he wants before she eats. She’s convinced he’s acting strange, but Evil Uncle points out that she always complained he wasn’t affectionate enough, so why is she complaining when he is? Absent Dad takes the blame for ruining her personality (you did a spectacular job, Absent Dad), and for being inattentive. He asks the Evil Aunts to continue to take care of her. They agree, and Evil Uncle asks about plans for Chang Min’s marriage. Absent Dad says that Chang Min is old enough to figure out what he wants, but Evil Mom says that she’ll take care of everything. They make an awkward toast to Absent Dad and Evil Mom.

Back at the hospital, Chang Min is dressed up in an outfit that belongs on one of the members of Colour Me Badd from the 90s (but… I kind of like it). He runs into Cheon Soo as he’s leaving, who tells him he got the highest score for rapport that day. Cheon Soo wonders how he improved so much between the morning and the afternoon, and Chang Min tells him that he gained some know-how in the meantime. Cheon Soo brings up Jin Hee, and tells him to make her take two more days off. Then, Cheon Soo says he’s not giving up on Jin Hee. The gloves are off!

Chang Min gets a bag of takeout from a restaurant, but before he can take it home, Evil Mom summons him to dinner. He gives in after some argument, and goes to meet her. Evil Mom sits in a restaurant by herself, when Ah Reum comes rushing in, apologizing for being late. She sits and they make small talk. Evil Mom mentions that she invited Chang Min, and Ah Reum looks hesitant. She says she wants to ask something about Chang Min, but we don’t hear it because we cut away to Chang Min arriving at the restaurant in his car. He calls Jin Hee to tell her to wait a little longer, and goes in.

Chang Min is obviously annoyed when he spots Ah Reum, and asks Evil Mom why she didn’t mention her presence. He’s clearly not happy to be there, and he slurps his food up quickly when it arrives. Ah Reum can’t take the tension, and leaves, despite protest from Evil Mom. Chang Min doesn’t even get up when she goes. When Evil Mom asks him what’s wrong with him, Chang Min tells her not to set up things like this without checking with him in future. He leaves, as a flabbergasted Evil Mom watches him go.

Chang Min drives home, protesting how full he is, and complaining that the food has gone cold. He finally makes it home, to find Jin Hee in the bathroom trying to unplug the toilet with only one arm. He sits her down on the couch, where she spots the bag of food. He tells her it’s oxtail soup, which he bought for the two of them to eat together, even though he doesn’t like it and she does. Chang Min distracts us from this nice gesture to ask Jin Hee (in a weirdly affectionate way) if the toilet is clogged because of a “big one”. She denies it to his relief, and he goes off to fix it.

It’s second dinner for Chang Min as he puts out the oxtail soup. He expresses disappointment that he had to reheat it, but Jin Hee doesn’t care (I’m pretty sure after 14 hours of boiling, the soup can handle being reheated, but whatevs). He goes to feed her again, but she takes the spoon from him, and feeds herself.

Jin Hee points out that he’s not eating, and asks why Chang Min bought something he didn’t like. He tells her it’s because she likes it. He eats heartily to make her feel better, and she smiles at his appetite (of which he has none, because he’s already full).

Cheon Soo eats cup noodles at the hospital, while wearing the jacket Jin Hee gifted him. Ji Hye’s words echo in his head, about how he should learn to express himself, and he considers sending Jin Hee a text. He writes out three different versions, then gives up and goes back to his noodles.

Back at the apartment, Chang Min asks Jin Hee how she became a doctor. She assumes that he’s making fun of her, but he tells her that he learned a lot from her today. She puts her teacup down, signalling that it’s time for serious conversation. Before Jin Hee can get out her response to his confession, Chang Min tells her to think about it more. She doesn’t want to think about it, and tells Chang Min that he’s just having some leftover romantic feelings, which he denies, saying that he’s given his feelings some thought already. Jin Hee’s response is cut off by a text from Cheon Soo, telling her not to be sick. She puts the phone down, and tells Chang Min that she doesn’t want to start over. Jin Hee gets up to leave, but Chang Min grabs her wrist. She tells him that the 24 hours that she promised to stay with him is over. Chang Min says he’s sorry, but that he can’t let her go. Jin Hee asks what that means, and he kisses her. The episode ends as she tries to push him away.


If someone rejects you, it’s a good rule of thumb to stay away from kissing them moments later to show them the sincerity of your feelings. Since I love this show, I’m going to pretend that didn’t happen, especially since it was obviously just thrown in to provide this episode with a cliffhanger (much like the sleeping kiss from episode 10). Not good, writers. Not good.

A lot of people were rejected this episode, what with Yong Kyu crying about Ah Reum, and the persistent Ah Reum finally getting the message that Chang Min isn’t interested. Chang Min, for his part, tried really hard to take a trip down memory lane with Jin Hee, but pretty much ended up going by himself. By the time she rejected him, it was pretty obvious that was the way it was going to go, despite all his efforts.

More importantly, Cheon Soo and Ji Hye are going to make me tear all my hair out (and I have a lot) if they don’t get together. I sincerely hope that last episode’s revelation about her having a child out of wedlock hasn’t taken her entirely off the table, because that would suck, not only because it means they won’t get together, but also, because that’s just stupid.

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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