Side dish: What can we possibly have on the worst birthday of Chang Min’s life but seaweed soup? It’s the traditional meal for new mothers and for birthdays in Korea, and lucky for me, it looks relatively simple to make. Here’s a recipe from Aeri’s Kitchen to get you started.
We’re back at the karaoke bar, where a miserable Oh Chang Min (Choi Jin Hyuk) sings a sad song. His audience consists of the rest of the interns, including the excited married couple; possible wife candidate and unhappy camper Han Ah Reum (Clara); a glum-looking Im Yong Kyu (Yoon Jong Hoon); and ex-wife Oh Jin Hee (Song Ji Hyo), who looks like she’d rather be anywhere else. While he flashes back to their happier times, the song changes into the “Emergency Couple” theme song, sung by Choi Jin Hyuk! The tears roll down Jin Hee’s face as she listens to him sing about longing and past loves. It’s a touching moment, but also the worst party ever.
ER chief Kook Cheon Soo (Lee Pil Mo) is in the apartment of his ex-girlfriend, and resident doctor Shim Ji Hye (Choi Yeo Jin), failing at small talk. Lucky for him, Ji Hye gets to the point and asks him if he was shocked about Jin Hee being divorced. He asks why he should be, and she reminds him that he disapproves of divorced people. He downplays the relationship between himself and Jin Hee, looking nervous.
Ji Hye asks him whether he’s been in touch with his absent parents, since she doesn’t believe that he’ll be able to have a relationship unless he heals that scar. He says he shouldn’t contact his mother, since she’s married in the States, while his father is in Africa, taking pictures. Ji Hye asks why he won’t look for his father, and Cheon Soo points out that the guy didn’t take care of him as a child, so why would he? Ji Hye wishes for him to start a family, and he says that he’ll just continue to live, taking care of patients, since he can’t take anyone into his heart or get married. That’s why he feels bad for Ji Hye. She looks stricken, then laughs, telling him he’s a bad guy, an homme fatale.
Outside the karaoke bar, they all go their separate ways, with Chang Min taking drunk Yong Kyu home. As Jin Hee walks away, she debates calling Chang Min, but decides against it.
In the cab, the semi-conscious Yong Kyu asks Chang Min if he’s thinking about Jin Hee, and if he’s okay with her being divorced. Yong Kyu is shocked awake when Chang Min replies that he’s also divorced. He asks Chang Min what kind of girl she was, but Chang Min reminds him that he has his own problems. Yong Kyu contemplates quitting being a doctor.
Ji Hye encourages Cheon Soo to stay over since it’s late, but he tells her that he feels comfortable at the hospital. She sees him off, then goes back in to finish off her wine. She smiles sadly as she flashes back to their cuter moments, then gets up to put his glass away.
Back at the men’s dorm room in the hospital, Cheon Soo looks conflicted, as he flashes back to Jin Hee’s announcement that she’s been divorced.
The next morning at Jin Hee’s house, Jin Hee’s mom (Lee Mi Young) packs a lot of food into a cooler bag. When Jin Hee asks if she’s going on a picnic, she replies that she’s too busy worrying about her daughters. The food is for Jin Hee to take to work to share with the hospital staff. Jin Hee refuses it, but her mom brings up Cheon Soo, telling Jin Hee that he looks responsible and solid.
Back at his apartment, Chang Min is being assaulted by his memories of Jin Hee. As he eats breakfast, he smiles as he remembers her stuffing her face. But as he returns to empty reality, his smile fades, his appetite gone. His phone rings, and it turns out to be Evil Uncle, who would like to see him today.
In the interns’ office, wife intern hides a positive pregnancy test, as Yong Kyu and husband intern come in. Husband intern tells a despondent Yong Kyu to keep his chin up, but wife intern tells him that they have their own problems. She hands him the pregnancy test, and he tries to tone down his obvious joy. She’s unhappy about her pregnancy, much to the surprise of Yong Kyu, who blinks at them in shock. Wife intern agonizes over how she’s going to finish her internship, while husband intern protests that he can’t do her pregnancy for her. She sighs and whacks her head on the table. Both men jump up to help her as she moans in pain.
Dispirited (and possibly concussed), wife intern wanders in while Jin Hee collects supplies. Wife intern tells Jin Hee about her pregnancy, and Jin Hee congratulates her, then asks about her internship, pointing out that the radiation won’t be good for the baby, and that she’ll have to talk to Cheon Soo soon. Wife intern berates herself for rushing into marriage before her internship was over. Jin Hee is understanding of the need to rush into marriage, but wife intern starts tearing her own hair out. I would too: you don’t have to be single to use contraception.
Jin Hee hesitantly reports to Cheon Soo, and as she’s about to leave, he asks her if she got home okay last night. She says yes, then asks him if he was surprised at her being divorced. He asks her why he would be, but then he tells her that he thinks of divorced people as irresponsible for not living up to their own choices, and for hurting others. Stricken, she asks if he was disappointed, and he says yes.
He tells her not to make mistakes in the hospital, since being irresponsible means death. When he dismisses her, she stops to ask him whether a pregnant intern would have to quit working in the ER because of the radiation. He agrees, asking if someone is pregnant, and she weakly denies it. He blinks at her as she leaves, obviously believing that she was talking about herself.
Chang Min spots Jin Hee eating at the hospital cafeteria but, sits down at another table with his back to her. As they eat, the married interns and Yong Kyu come in and pause, confused as to where to sit. Later, Chang Min and Jin Hee walk silently past each other in the hospital hallway as Ah Reum looks on, wondering what they’re doing. The penny drops for Ah Reum and she finally clues in that they’re divorced from each other. Chang Min chooses that moment to walk into the room, and she asks him if she can ask him something.
Back at the ER, Jin Hee’s mom and brother-in-law Kim Kwang Soo (Park Doo Shik) walk in with baby Gook. Kwang Soo looks around nervously while Jin Hee’s mom mutters about the food that she packed up for the ER staff that Jin Hee left behind. Jin Hee’s mom asks a nurse about Jin Hee’s whereabouts, only to find that she’s not available, so instead she asks for Cheon Soo.
Chang Min asks Ah Reum what she wants to ask, and she is uncharacteristically hesitant. Before she can get the question out, the nurse who likes him comes in to tell him that his mother is in the hospital. Cue the Jaws theme again, because both moms are in the house!
Chang Min’s Evil Mom (Park Joon Geum) sits in the ER, talking into her cell phone. Jin Hee stops short when she spots her. She sneaks around out of her line of sight, and is about to escape when she runs into Chang Min. He’s startled, and she stutters out that his mother is there. He walks off, looking glum, as she runs away.
Evil Mom launches into Chang Min immediately, asking him why he doesn’t answer her calls. He asks what’s going on.
Jin Hee’s mom and Kwang Soo drop in to Cheon Soo’s office to visit, and she hands over the food, as gratitude for treating baby Gook so well, and for taking care of Jin Hee. She laughs like an overbearing mom.
Speaking of overbearing moms, Evil Mom tells Chang Min that he has to show up for dinner with the minister (Ah Reum’s dad), and he refuses. He cuts her off as she argues, so she reminds him that it’s his birthday; she brought him some seaweed soup, since there was no one else to make it for him. He takes it and tells her to leave.
Back at the office, Jin Hee’s mom is dragging out the conversation. She shakes off Kwang Soo as he tries to get her to leave, and asks Cheon Soo if he’s single. He confirms that he is and they all laugh. Baby Gook offers him a toy banana.
Evil Mom is on her way out, when she overhears junior resident Kim Min Ki (Kwon Min), and the cranky doctor talking about Jin Hee’s patient. She stops them to ask about it, but we don’t hear their answer before we see Evil Mom on the warpath to the nurse’s station, looking for Jin Hee. When they confirm that she works there, she asks where Cheon Soo is. I’m not sure how she manages it in those heels, but she stalks over to Cheon Soo’s office, and comes face to face with Jin Hee’s mom. Uh oh!
Cheon Soo looks confused as the two moms stare at each other in shock. He mentions that it’s Chang Min’s mom, and Kwang Soo’s mouth drops open as he realizes what’s about to happen. He and the baby look back and forth between the two moms as the women figure out that Chang Min and Jin Hee work together. Kwang Soo urges Jin Hee’s mom to leave so he can explain everything, but before she can, Evil Mom asks if Jin Hee still works there. Cheon Soo confirms that she does and Evil Mom says that she thought Jin Hee had been fired. Jin Hee’s mom starts to get angry, asking why Jin Hee would be fired. As Cheon Soo tries to calm them down, Evil Mom guesses that they brought food to make up for Jin Hee’s incompetence. Suddenly, the gloves are off as the women start screaming at each other, with Kwang Soo and the baby in the middle, and a befuddled Cheon Soo looking on.
Back in the ER, the nurse tells Jin Hee that her mother is in Cheon Soo’s office. The other nurse tells Chang Min that his mother is in Cheon Soo’s office. Shocked, the two of them look at each other, then break into a run. The two moms are still at it when they burst in, and the baby starts crying as they scream. Jin Hee’s mom is shocked to see Chang Min, who bows respectfully. This only serves to piss off Evil Mom, and the two moms trade insults about their kids. Chang Min succeeds in dragging Evil Mom off, with everyone else following. A shell-shocked Cheon Soo stares at Jin Hee who apologizes on her way out.
Ji Hye passes the family circus in the hallway, and asks Cheon Soo what’s going on. Speechless, he blinks at her.
The two moms’ argument continues in the middle of the ER, where Evil Mom accuses Jin Hee of seducing Chang Min again. Jin Hee’s mom loses it, but Chang Min jumps in the way and apologizes. He bodily picks Evil Mom up and carries her away as she struggles. Baby Gook screams as Jin Hee begs her mom to leave.
Chang Min finally puts his mom down in a waiting area, and she whacks him, asking him why he and Absent Dad are doing this to her. Chang Min asks what his father’s done now, and Evil Mom explains that he was in touch with Jin Hee during her time in medical school.
Back in Cheon Soo’s office, Jin Hee comes in to apologize, but he just asks her if she’s divorced and whether her ex is Chang Min. When she says that she was going to tell him, he replies that there’s no reason for her to. She’s saved from having to respond when he gets a phone call and leaves the room.
Yong Kyu looks strung out as he tries to examine a patient with chest pains. The nurse asks him if anything’s wrong, which he denies, but he looks so terrible that the patient asks him if it’s that bad. Yong Kyu reassures him weakly and sends the nurse to go get Min Ki, the junior resident. As Yong Kyu walks away to sit on a bench, Ah Reum spots him and comes running to ask what’s wrong since he’s drenched in sweat. He denies that anything’s wrong, but she persists, and he confesses that he couldn’t hear anything through the stethoscope, his hands were shaking, and his mind went blank. She tells him that it must be because of the medication error and that he has to tell Cheon Soo. He stops her, since he doesn’t want his intern evaluation ruined. She asks him if that’s important right now.
Chang Min contemplates his thermos of birthday soup, but he has no appetite for it. Jin Hee walks in and asks him what the thermos is. When he says it’s nothing, she remembers that it’s his birthday. He asks if she’s okay, and she answers that if she’d known that it was going to turn out this way, then she’d have told her mom sooner. Chang Min blames his mom for showing up to the hospital and he apologizes. She asks why he would be sorry to her, and reminds him that this is why they can’t make it. You can hear his heart break again as she tells him happy birthday and leaves.
The nurse who likes Chang Min finally learns about Jin Hee and Chang Min’s past relationship as she snacks on Jin Hee’s mom’s food. She’s crushed as the other nurse tells her about the scene in the ER. As Nurse Choi (Kim Hyun Sook), and a doctor walk in, the two nurses run off. Gossip travels fast in a hospital, since these two also talk about Jin Hee and Chang Min’s divorce.
Cheon Soo and Ji Hye walk into the ER, and Ji Hye laughs to find out that the nurses and residents ate all the food. Jin Hee made three consecutive hits, according to Cheon Soo: first, the divorce; second, her ex is Chang Min; and third, the pregnancy talk. Ji Hye refuses to believe that she’s pregnant. Wife intern picks that moment to speak to Cheon Soo.
Presumably she talked about her pregnancy because she walks despondently into the interns’ office, followed shortly by Yong Kyu. She tells him that she talked to Cheon Soo already, while he hasn’t yet. Before he can, Min Ki the junior resident walks in with the cranky doctor, who lays into Yong Kyu for running away from the patient earlier. Cranky doctor throws a folder at Yong Kyu, asking how he can take a vacation at a time like this. Min Ki takes the brunt of cranky doctor’s anger, who literally squeezes his lips shut. Wife intern says under her breath that she’ll get it next if she says she’s taking a break, too, but cranky doctor hears her. The veins in his neck pop out as everyone cowers.
Cheon Soo, Jin Hee and Ji Hye are treating a patient who has acute cholecystitis. Ji Hye tells Jin Hee to go arrange an operating room.
Chang Min is treating a patient who has intestinal obstruction. The case is urgent so he goes to arrange an operating room. He runs into Jin Hee, and they argue over whose patient should go first. Cheon Soo spots the two of them and comes over to ask what’s wrong. Jin Hee asks him which patient should go first, and after checking their charts, he tells them that it’s Chang Min’s. Jin Hee is shocked, as Cheon Soo explains why, and arranges it with the nurse.
He asks how they can argue over something like this, considering how the both of them came all the way here and ended up in the same place. Jin Hee apologizes, as he walks away.
Shifts over, Chang Min and Jin Hee walk out of the ER, with Jin Hee explaining that she really didn’t know that Chang Min’s case was more urgent, because she was too focused on her own patient. He asks why she doesn’t believe him, and guesses that it’s because she doesn’t trust him. She denies it, and he tells her to forget it as he leaves.
Chang Min walks into Evil Uncle’s office. After some small talk, Evil Uncle cuts to the chase and reminds him about saving Jin Hee from being fired, and the promise that Chang Min made to do anything for Evil Uncle in return. He tells Chang Min that he has to come to dinner tonight and meet with Ah Reum’s family.
Chang Min calls Ah Reum at the hospital as he drives away. He asks if she knows about dinner, and she confirms that she’s heading out to change. He’s about to say something to her when she cuts him off and tells him that she doesn’t want to go ahead with the marriage either, but that they should go to the dinner to be polite. She tells him that he doesn’t have to come if he doesn’t want to.
Evil Mom asks Evil Uncle if Chang Min is really coming, as they walk into a fancy restaurant. Evil Uncle assures her that he is and wonders why he’s not there yet. Instead, he wonders if Chang Min’s Absent Dad (Kang Shin Il) is actually going to show up. Evil Mom says that he promised, and unsuccessfully tries to call him, as Evil Uncle walks off.
In the dining room, Evil Mom and Evil Uncle are joined by Ah Reum and her parents. They make small talk as they wait for Chang Min.
Evil Mom comes out to call Chang Min and ask if he’s on his way. He says that he is, but not to expect anything further from him. She agrees and tells him to hurry. She tells him she can’t reach Absent Dad, so Chang Min calls him. Absent Dad’s assistant answers and tell him that he went out to the eco field and hasn’t come back yet. He’s about to hang up when she stops him.
Jin Hee walks into her mom’s salon, and her mom’s business partner hands her tickets to a new massage shop in front of theirs. Turns out they have a competitor, so Jin Hee’s mom tells her that they should go over to check them out.
Chang Min hears for the first time that his father had fainted the other day. The assistant tells him that he got better after he went to the ER, and Chang Min flashes back to when he saw Absent Dad’s name on a patient list at the other hospital. He hangs up and flashes back to when his mom told him that Jin Hee and Absent Dad had been keeping in touch. He turns the car around.
Jin Hee and her mom get some kind of medical facial from the competing salon. While Jin Hee’s mom worries about losing all her customers to their superior machine, Jin Hee gets a phone call from Chang Min, asking if she’s been in touch with Absent Dad. She mentions that she went to see him a few days ago, after Chang Min told her about seeing his name on the patient list. He says okay, and then hangs up, to her surprise.
Chang Min meets with a doctor regarding Absent Dad’s condition, which turns out to be coronary heart disease as a complication of his diabetes. The doctor is surprised that Chang Min, being a doctor, didn’t know about it. Chang Min looks worried as the doctor tells him that Absent Dad could have a heart attack or stroke at any time.
Jin Hee drives up to Absent Dad’s home/office, and runs in. The assistant leads her into the office, saying that he’s been unreachable all day. Jin Hee spots a pill prescription on the desk, when the phone rings. After hanging up, she calls Chang Min to tell him that his father collapsed on the shore and that he’s on his way back to his office.
Back at the restaurant, dinner has turned completely awkward. Evil Mom apologizes to Ah Reum’s parents who look unimpressed. She gets a phone call right then, from Chang Min, and hears about Absent Dad’s collapse.
Absent Dad is delivered back to his office, where Jin Hee awaits. The EMTs put him down and take him off the stretcher, but he’s barely conscious and breathing heavily. She asks the EMTs what happened, and they tell her that he refused to go to the hospital on the basis that he’s a doctor. That sounds idiotic, but I’ll let it pass since I don’t know how ambulances work in Korea.
She grabs the stethoscope that she gave Absent Dad from his desk and pulls it out to examine him. Since she can’t hear breathing on his right side, she guesses that he has pneumothorax. Chang Min bursts into the room and runs to Absent Dad’s side, calling his name. Jin Hee tells him her diagnosis. Chang Min uses his magic hands to check and figures out that he has hemothorax. Jin Hee panics and says that he has to go to the hospital immediately. He tells her to get the first aid done first, and they get to work getting him set up with an IV and a breathing apparatus. Absent Dad comes around, and Chang Min yells that’s it’s him. Absent Dad tells him he’s not deaf. Jin Hee asks if he can recognize her, and he tells her that he’s happy to see her with Chang Min. Absent Dad tells them not to bother taking him to the hospital, since he knows his body and he doesn’t want to die in an ambulance. The tears fall as Chang Min tells him not to be stubborn. He tells the EMTs to get ready to move him, but Jin Hee stops him. He asks her if they should just watch as he dies here.
She turns to Absent Dad and asks for his help. Chang Min says that he’ll do the procedure, and it’ll be fine if he can stop the bleeding (it’s internal or this would have been a lot messier). Absent Dad agrees, and Chang Min and Jin Hee get to work. Absent Dad tells them to first confirm it’s hemothorax, which it is. They can’t do much more, because Absent Dad gasps for air, and then stops breathing as Chang Min calls out his name, crying.
I don’t think Chang Min cracked a smile this whole episode. Now that he knows it’s over with Jin Hee, he looked defeated and sad, at least until Absent Dad collapsed, when he looked even worse. On the upside, we don’t see any more displays of immature jealousy, but thankfully Evil Mom is around to pick up the slack, and act crazy for him. That fight was spectacular!
But what’s with Jin Hee? After the fight, she bluntly tells Chang Min that there was no way they could work. But much like the situation with the priest from the last episode, the problem was caused in large part by her earlier insistence that they not tell her mother the truth. Chang Min takes the blame on himself and on his own mother, but neither Jin Hee nor her mother are blameless here. In fact, I feel as if Chang Min is taking sole responsibility for the failure of their marriage, and I’m not sure why that is. I hope we get to see Jin Hee own up to her mistakes at some point, and grow up a little herself.
As for Cheon Soo, honestly, his relations with Ji Hye have passed the point of frustration for me. He seems taken with Jin Hee’s novelty (until he finds out that she’s divorced, that is), while Ji Hye seems determined to go down smiling, unable, or unwilling, to fight for him. I’ll leave it there, because it annoys me when I think about it too much.
More importantly, how cute is this baby??!?
Emergency Couple (응급남녀)