“Emergency Couple” episode 20 recap

See? You can have hot kisses with no tongue.

Side dish: Jin Hee really sold Chang Min’s pollack soup with her noises of delight and calling it “refreshing”. It is a hangover cure soup in Korea, and apparently easy to make in the midst of a hangover. Maangchi has a recipe, and even describes a scenario very much like what we see in this episode.

Episode Recap

I have become so used to the stressful story line on “Emergency Couple” that I forgot how delightful Episode 19 was, and that it left off with Oh Jin Hee (Song Ji Hyo) and her ex-husband, Oh Chang Min (Choi Jin Hyuk) in bed together. They scream as they recognize each other. It will be hard to come up with a chaste explanation, what with the bare shoulders and all.

After the initial freak out, Chang Min takes a shower while Jin Hee creeps around in his shirt. He catches her off guard by asking her to fetch a towel. Just before handing off the towel, Jin Hee is reminded of the time she fetched a towel for Chang Min when they were married. Young and innocent Jin Hee tried handing off the towel without looking at her husband. Chang Min rightfully mocked her before pulling her into the bathroom. Articles of her clothing went flying into the hallway while Jin Hee screamed in embarrassment.

Present day Jin Hee can’t wait to reenact this scene, and waits expectantly with eyes closed. Unfortunately, Chang Min already found a towel. Jin Hee grimaces in frustration.

At the dining table, Chang Min has laid out breakfast, and thinks back to the night before. It is the most mellow lead up to sex ever as they sleep their way into each other’s arms. Clothing and underwear get tossed on the ground, and Chang Min is obviously privy to more than we are, because he holds his head in embarrassment and excitement at the thought.

Jin Hee walks in a little shy, and sits down to eat. She was hoping to prepare breakfast, but Chang Min beat her to it. Tentatively, Jin Hee asks how last night happened as her memory is sketchy. Chang Min chides her for drinking so much, which could lead to trouble. Jin Hee protests that she doesn’t just get drunk with anyone, then challenges Chang Min on whether he got drunk and slept with someone while in the US. Chang Min initially hints at naughtiness, then states that he only studied, plus he could not easily forget Jin Hee. Jin Hee is pleased with Chang Min’s fidelity along with his refreshing pollack soup.

Driving to work together, Chang Min tells Jin Hee that he remembers everything about last night, including the fact that her tummy has gotten bigger while her breasts have gotten smaller. Jin Hee looks distressed, and Chang Min laughs then admits that he does not remember much, either. Jin Hee is even more put off by his foggy memory. Is this going to be the basis of their new relationship? She falls for his lies, he laughs at her gullibility, then she looks miffed.

At the hospital, specialist Shim Ji Hye (Choi Yeo Jin) walks into the office of ER supervisor, Kook Cheon Soo (Lee Pil Mo). Cheon Soo is thinking of advising the elderly cancer patient to enter a clinical trial. He asks Ji Hye to consult with her contacts in the American cancer center that she worked at. Ji Hye asks if he is supposed to be taking care of patients once they have left the ER, and he tells her that she can take the credit for his success. She laughs and thanks him.

As they enter the hospital, Chang Min is still yanking Jin Hee’s chain about her inability to remember last night. Jin Hee tries to hush him, and Chang Min snickers some more. As they advise each other to concentrate on work instead, the happily bickering couple is spotted by a frowning Cheon Soo. He walks in tandem with them unseen, jaw clenched.

Nurse Choi runs up to Cheon Soo to tell him that a drug overdose patient has just arrived, and he is a former patient. It turns out to be the singer with a severe case of laryngitis whose life Cheon Soo saved at the cost of his ability to sing. Cheon Soo is all business treating the man who attempted suicide as a result of his decision.

Jin Hee and Chang Min sit down to rest, and he voices the opinion that the former singer could have done anything if he had focused all his negative energy towards something positive instead. Jin Hee jumps at the opportunity to pose the same question Cheon Soo had presented to her: would he rather be a doctor and live for a month or abandon medicine in order to live a long life? Chang Min answers that he just wants to practice medicine and live a long life with her, which exasperates Jin Hee. He teases her with the bottle of water that they were sharing, she gets miffed, and you get the picture.

Interns Im Yong Kyu (Yoon Jong Hoon) and Han Ah Reum (Clara) are walking down the hall together drinking coffee. Yong Kyu has just revealed his decision to quit medicine and pursue music. He is excited, but nervous, because he fears that he will be as successful at music as he has been in medicine. However, Ah Reum is fully supportive of Yong Kyu doing what he loves. She asks if he will write a song for her, and Yong Kyu looks like he would agree to anything at this point. When Ah Reum then invites him to a concert this weekend, Yong Kyu’s head looks like it is about to burst into hearts and flowers. At that very moment, Yong Kyu is jostled by a nurse rushing by, and spills his coffee all over Ah Reum’s chest. Yong Kyu begins frantically wiping, then realizes what he is making contact with. Ah Reum abashedly reassures him, while Yong Kyu is horrified and left spluttering.

Jin Hee and Chang Min are working on the suicidal singer when the patient regains consciousness. The patient shoves Chang Min into a nearby cart, then grabs a pair of scissors from Jin Hee’s hand in order to finish what he started. He slashes his wrist as Jin Hee and the nurse scream. Everyone comes running in order to hold the patient down.

The patient rages, demanding to know who took away his ability to sing. Cheon Soo takes responsibility right away, saying the patient would have died otherwise. The patient shouts that he would rather have died than live without the ability to sing, then challenges Cheon Soo on whether he would be happy if he had to quit medicine, because of a lost arm. Surprisingly, Cheon Soo argues that he would be thankful for the remaining parts. He points to other patients who have been worse off than the singer, and done well. Cheon Soo shouts that he understands what the singer feels, but there will be other opportunities, and there is a chance that he can regain his voice.

The patient continues to struggle violently, and lose blood through his self-inflicted wounds. Finally, Cheon Soo orders him to be tied down, and for his guardian to be contacted.

Back in Cheon Soo’s office, Ji Hye comments on the patient’s temper, then points out to a drained Cheon Soo that incidences where saving a patient’s life means taking away their dreams are common in the ER. However, Cheon Soo wonders if he is doing more harm than good in his job. Ji Hye admits to sometimes wanting only to save the patients who want to live, but death is not an option for any of her patients.

At this sober moment, Cheon Soo cracks a little smile, which Ji Hye notes. He is just relieved to be able to talk to Ji Hye about his problems. Ji Hye takes the opportunity to point out how bored he must have been without anyone to talk to. Cheon Soo denies that it was that bad, and Ji Hye calls him a liar. They both laugh, and I marvel at Ji Hye’s patience for this moody and dense man.

The married interns are having a noisy argument about feelings, regular menstrual cycles, and birth control when two of the residents scold them for treating the interns’ office like their bedroom. One of the residents tell them to get a divorce, the other resident objects to such harsh words, then gets kicked by the harsh resident. Most importantly, the married interns shut up and scurry away.

Jin Hee gets called into Cheon Soo’s office where he and Ji Hye direct her to present the clinical trial option to the guardian of the elderly cancer patient. Cheon Soo will talk to the guardian himself if necessary. However, Jin Hee insists on doing the job, and Cheon Soo seems taken aback, responding stiffly. After Jin Hee leaves, Ji Hye stares at Cheon Soo and snickers, but refuses to reveal the reason when Cheon Soo asks.

Jin Hee is presenting the treatment option to the elderly cancer patient’s guardian, when the guardian reveals that he has already received a recommendation from someone else. Jin He is surprised and asks who; it is none other than Cheon Soo’s nemesis, Prof. Ahn. Jin Hee is wide eyed and speechless.

Jin Hee is debating with Chang Min on what should be done. Chang Min confirms that Cheon Soo and Ji Hye’s recommendation appears to be the best option, though they do not know what Prof. Ahn has recommended. Chang Min suddenly asks where the guardian is, and Jin Hee guesses that he is probably in talks with Prof. Ahn. Chang Min gets up and walks off without explanation.

Chang Min arrives at the table where Prof. Ahn is seated with the guardian and another doctor. He explains that he is interested in hearing Prof. Ahn’s treatment, and Prof. Ahn pompously invites him to listen carefully so that he can help recruit more patients. Jin Hee watches wide eyed from a distance.

Later, in a waiting room, Chang Min presents Cheon Soo’s recommendation to the guardian, but is apparently doing a much better job selling it than Jin Hee. The guardian now views his consultation with Prof. Ahn as a waste of time.

Jin Hee asks for an update, and Chang Min believes that thanks to his clear explanation, the guardian will likely select Cheon Soo’s recommendation. They both smile in relief.

Little do they know that Prof. Ahn is barging into Cheon Soo’s office, accusing him of stealing away the elderly cancer patient. He tells Cheon Soo to confine himself to the ER, then is about to turns his vengeance on Chang Min when Cheon Soo demands an explanation. Prof. Ahn slams the recommendation that Chang Min had provided on his desk then grabs Cheon Soo by the lapels of his white coat. Ji Hye comes running in to intervene, and Prof. Ahn storms out, vowing to take this to their superiors. Cheon Soo and Ji Hye are left looking disturbed.

In the interns’ office, Chang Min enters as Jin Hee is talking on her cell phone. He perks up when he hears her mentioning blind dates, and a promising, rich prosecutor who does not mind divorcées. Jin Hee ends the conversation with her mother, then suddenly notices Chang Min, who is furiously flipping through papers. She asks if he has been here all this time, and Chang Min acts nonchalant.

Jin Hee invites Chang Min to a movie tonight, because she has not been to a movie theatre in a while. Chang Min mocks her for her lack of dating, and Jin Hee challenges him about his dating history. Again, he falls back on the school excuse. Jin Hee brings her face close to Chang Min, and points out that she was busy studying, too. Chang Min wonders how men could have resisted her. Jin Hee impatiently asks if they are going to a movie or not.

Cheon Soo stops Chang Min just as he is leaving the hospital. He asks if Chang Min suggested the clinical trial to the elderly cancer patient’s guardian. Chang Min says he did then asks if there is a problem. Cheon Soo denies any problem, praises him, then walks off, leaving Chang Min perplexed.

Jin Hee enters Ji Hye’s office to apologize for getting in between her and Cheon Soo, as she did not know the nature of their relationship. Ji Hye reveals that she and Cheon Soo are not dating, though they did six years ago. Jin Hee admires Ji Hye for pushing Cheon Soo towards another woman, simply for the sake of his happiness. Still, Jin Hee thinks that Ji Hye and Cheon Soo look good together. Ji Hye laughs, never thinking that she would hear such a statement from Jin Hee. I agree with both of those last two statements.

Jin Hee and Chang Min are about to take off to the movies when Jin Hee receive a call. After hanging up, she informs Chang Min that she cannot go out with him today after all. What Jin Hee left out was that it was Chang Min’s mother, Yoon Sung Sook (Park Joon Geum) who had called Jin Hee and asked to meet her today.

Sung Sook is already showing a major change from her previous incarnation as Evil Mom when she apologizes to Jin Hee for troubling her. In the process of clearing out the belongings of her late husband, Sung Sook discovered that he had paid for Jin Hee’s medical school tuition. Sung Sook no longer blames Jin Hee for ruining his son’s life, but she does encourage her to start anew with someone else. However, regardless of what Jin Hee and Chang Min decide, Sunk Sook will live her own life, just as her late husband had always advised. Sung Sook smoothly tells Jin Hee that she cannot apologize for her previous actions towards Jin Hee, and is almost apologetic about this. A relieved Jin Hee concedes that she was lacking, too.

Cheon Soo walks Ji Hye out of the hospital, acknowledging that she had a tough day. Ji Hye dreams of a day when no one gets sick, and they have nothing to do. Cheon Soo asks what they would do with their time, and Ji Hye suggests dating. Cheon Soo scoffs at the suggestion, and Ji Hye continues to tease him, asking if she is less attractive, because she is a single mom. Coincidentally, Ji Hye’s parents and daughter are visiting Korea this weekend, because Ji Hye’s daughter misses her so much. Cheon Soo asks after her parents, and it turns out that they ask about him, too.

Jin Hee is sitting on the couch at home with her sister, Jin Ae (Jeon Soo Jin) and square headed nephew, Gook. Jin Ae notes that Jin Hee did not come home last night, and instantly jumps to the conclusion that Jin Hee slept with Chang Min, especially since they were drinking. Jin Hee threatens her sister with a fist to punch the truth back into hiding. Baby Gook looks from mom to aunt, demonstrating that his square head is cute on both sides.

Jin Ae continues to speculate, and Jin Hee asks where her husband, Kwang Soo (Park Doo Shik) is. Turns out that Kwang Soo left after arguing with Jin Ae.

Kwang Soo calls his “brother-in-law”, Chang Min out to commiserate at a bar. He reveals that he lent a friend his hard earned money without consulting Jin Ae first. Kwang Soo quickly clarifies that he is not asking Chang Min for a loan; the friend is supposed to return the money tomorrow.

Chang Min is all formal, and it makes Kwang Soo uncomfortable. Chang Min finally relents to using informal language at Kwang Soo’s insistence.

As luck would have it, Jin Ae and Jin Hee arrive at the same bar. Jin Ae is excited, because it has been a while since they went to a bar together. The viewers are reassured by Jin Ae that Baby Gook is at home with grandma.

Meanwhile, Chang Min is giving Kwang Soo a lesson on how to be a good husband: communication should come before action.

Jin Ae and Jin Hee raise glasses of beer and imbibe. There are already three bottles on their table. Jin Hee is ready to give Jin Ae advice, too, lest she become divorced just like her sister, and with a kid to boot.

The husband lessons continue between Chang Min and Kwang Soo. Chang Min tells him to make sure that he keeps his word since he made a promise to Jin Ae until death do they part. Kwang Soo points out that they have not had a wedding. Chang Min hisses his annoyance, saying that does not matter. Kwang Soo then points out that Chang Min failed to follow his own advice. Chang Min resorts to hissing again, telling Kwang Soo not to become like him.

Jin Hee tells Jin Ae not to bother focusing on Kwang Soo’s shortcomings since they will never change. Jin Hee asks Jin Ae what she likes about her husband. Jin Ae says his looks, and Jin Hee appears a little mortified. Jin Ae tries again, and says his positive attitude. It’s good enough for Jin Hee, and she tells Jin Ae to focus on that.

Chang Min outlines his third rule: lose at all times. It is impossible to defeat women anyway, especially if you love her. Lesson over, they raise glasses to each other.

Jin Hee’s lesson is also over, which surprises Jin Ae. Jin Hee explains that men are simple, and if she just follows her one rule, Jin Ae should enjoy 50 years of marriage. Jin Ae asks why Jin Hee’s marriage only lasted a year, then. Jin Hee looks ready to reprimand her sister.

Jin Ae tries again to confirm if Jin Hee slept with Chang Min last night. Suddenly, Kwang Soo can be heard exclaiming, “You slept with her?” in the background. Jin Hee and Jin Ae laugh, not realizing that they are speaking about the exact same topic with the person they just heard.

Chang Min is hushing Kwang Soo, then gloats over scoring last night. Kwang Soo remembers that he had a part in it, because he left them alone together, and Chang Min is grateful. Kwang Soo actually asks Chang Min to rate the sex, and Chang Min is just thrilled to have gotten laid with Jin Hee after six years of abstinence.

Chang Min returns the question, asking Kwang Soo how his sex life is going. Kwang Soo says it is great for him. Jin Ae can be heard exclaiming in the background how could she possibly be satisfied.

Unfortunately, Jin Ae was not merely talking about dissatisfaction in bed, but dissatisfaction with Kwang Soo. She cannot help but focus on his negative qualities now that they live together. Jin Hee tries to reiterate her one lesson plan while Kwang Soo and Chang Min struggle across the bar in the background. Chang Min finally manages to manhandle Kwang Soo into joining the women’s table. The women are a little horrified at the two men being together, though Kwang Soo protests that it shows just how wholesome he is.

When Jin Hee tells the young couple that they should just live happily together, they return her advice back to her and Chang Min. Chang Min and Jin Hee look dumbfounded at each other while Kwang Soo and Jine Ae snicker.

The two couples walk on the street, admiring the cherry blossoms. For Chang Min, it’s drinks over flowers as he proposes going for another beer. However, Jin Ae proposes going to a love hotel with Kwang Soo, and the married couple take their leave.

As Chang Min walks Jin Hee home, he is happy to note that Jin Ae appears to be doing well. Jin Hee asks about her own status, and Chang Min prescribes a blind date and a nice guy for her, to which Jin Hee laughs and denies. She thanks him for counselling her brother-in-law, then reveals that she met with Chang Min’s mother earlier. Sung Sook will leave them to make their own decisions, and live her own life.

Having arrived at her house, Chang Min tells Jin Hee to go inside. After a prolonged moment of hesitation, Jin Hee plants a kiss on Chang Min’s cheek. She laughs, while he looks pleased. She bids him goodnight and turns to go, leaving Chang Min dazed, but happy.

The next day, Cheon Soo and Jin Hee approach the suicidal singer, and Jin Hee takes over treating the slit on his wrist. The patient is initially unresponsive then croaks about his aimless future. Cheon Soo points out that he can do anything, and a whole new world of opportunities has opened up to him. The loss of his voice is still too raw for the patient to have any hope for the future, but Cheon Soo suggests that perhaps he will be able to better plan by the time his wounds heel. Jin Hee looks troubled.

Later, Jin Hee sits by herself in a waiting room, while Cheon Soo’s advice to the patient echoes in her ear. Chang Min comes across her smiling to herself, and stops to ask what she’s so happy about. Jin Hee models her words after Cheon Soo’s: she feels like her wounds are healing, and now she will be able to experience new things with Chang Min. A puzzled Chang Min asks if she is confessing or playing hard to get. Jin Hee just shrugs.

Jin Hee’s phone rings and she answers it only to be informed by her mother that a blind date has been set up. Jin Hee denies that she is dating anyone else, but adamantly refuses to participate in the blind date. She is about to hang up when Chang Min grabs the phone. He politely greets Jin He’s mother, and announces that he is dating her daughter. He smoothly ends the call, hands Jin Hee her phone back, then swaggers away, extremely pleased with himself. Jin Hee chuckles to herself as the optimistic music swells.

Cheon Soo enters his office and into a tirade from his immediate supervisor. Prof. Ahn has created a ruckus about Cheon Soo stealing his patient from his clinical trial. Ji Hye reveals that she has been sent packing back to the States before the end of her one year term. Cheon Soo marches out without a word. Ji Hye runs after him, alarmed at what he might do to Prof. Ahn and jeopardize his career. Cheon Soo doesn’t care; he does not want Ji Hye to leave prematurely.

Ji Hye stops Cheon Soo, and reveals that she is willingly going back to the States, since her child needs her. Cheon Soo tells her that he will not leave Prof. Ahn alone, when what he really should be saying is that he will not leave Ji Hye alone. However, Ji Hye claims to be satisfied just knowing how Cheon Soo feels about her. Cheon Soo stands around speechless, unable to jump the emotional hurdle before him.

Back in the interns’ office, Chang Min reveals to Jin Hee that Ji Hye is being sent back to the US, and he feels partially responsible. He goes to speak with Cheon Soo who reassures him that he is not at fault; Chang Min did what was best for the patient, and proper channels be damned, because every second counts for the patient. Cheon Soo promises that he will do something about Ji Hye’s dismissal.

Jin Hee is leaving the hospital when Chang Min swoops in from behind to grab her hand, and announces that he is kidnapping her. Jin Hee happily complies.

They run together through the hospital and under the cherry blossoms in the street. In a voice over, Jin Hee reveals what she likes about Chang Min to Jin Ae: his courage to try again with his ex-wife, and that he makes up for whatever Jin Hee lacks.

The scene of Chang Min and Jin Hee running hand in hand hearkens back to the day they ran hand in hand as bride and groom, determined to get married against his family’s wishes. Hilariously, instead of a church, present day Chang Min and Jin Hee end up in front of a love hotel. Jin Hee is a little dismayed, as she would rather talk today. Chang Min proposes a mere two hours in the love hotel, and she can sleep if she wants. Jin Hee objects to the idea that she can sleep in a love motel, but gets dragged away by Chang Min.

Chang Min was pulling Jin Hee’s leg again, as they end up in a movie theatre. Jin Hee finds it acceptable to fall asleep here, while Chang Min gets teary over the movie. As her head hits his shoulder, he looks lovingly over his ex-wife and places his hand over hers.

The credits roll, and Jin Hee wakes up, dismayed that she has slept through the movie. She then notices that Chang Min’s tear stained face. Chang Min denies crying, while Jin Hee teases him, condescendingly comforting him with pats on the shoulder. Jin Hee apologizes for falling asleep at a movie that she requested, but Chang Min claims to prefer her asleep, which confuses Jin Hee.

Ji Hye finds Cheon Soo at their favourite bar, and Cheon Soo wants to talk about Prof. Ahn. Ji Hye would rather avoid the subject. Cheon Soo insists that she complete her one year term at the hospital, saying that he will deal with Prof. Ahn through the proper channels. Jin Hye angrily stops him, claiming that she wants to return to the States. She realizes that it is probably best that she no longer see Cheon Soo as it would be easier for both of them.

Even now, Ji Hye knows that Cheon Soo defends her as a colleague, and she hates it. It just feels like a repeat of the past, with Cheon Soo giving up on Jin Hee the same way he gave up on Ji Hye. She tells Cheon Soo that he should face his feelings, in order to be able to move on. Cheon Soo looks exasperated.

Meanwhile, Jin Hee and Chang Min are drinking at a street vendor, under the cherry blossoms. He feeds her food on a stick then wipes her mouth. The two lushes/gluttons continue to have fun with food and alcohol. It’s all enough to make me cry with jealousy.

Cheon Soo sits alone in the hospital dorm, eyes welling up and throat constricting. He attempts to reach Jin Hee by phone, with Ji Hye’s words ringing in his ear, but is unsuccessful. He spies the sports jacket that Jin Hee gave him, and next thing, he is in a taxi asking to be dropped off at a bus stop. As Cheon Soo stands waiting, a bus stops, and Jin Hee and Chang Min get off.

Jin Hee is ready to say goodnight to Chang Min, while Chang Min wonders how many more chaste dates they will have to endure. He attempts to kiss her to show what he has in mind, but she stops him since they are in public. Chang Min does not give a damn, and goes in for the kiss. Their lips lock just as Cheon Soo looks to his left in time to witness the moment. Cheon Soo is surprisingly calm, though he cringes slightly as his heart breaks in two.


We have obviously reached the end of any serious conflict between Chang Min and Jin Hee. All the writers have left is to show the couple be lovey dovey, though I wish they demonstrated more imagination in how they depict it. How many times can we watch Chang Min teasing a gullible and outraged Jin Hee? Won’t this get old after the honeymoon phase of this second run relationship? Chang Min wants their relationship to become more adult, and I completely agree. Time to vary things up!

I don’t even know what is going on in Cheon Soo’s head. Why is he still obsessed with his non-existent relationship with Jin Hee, when his real relationship with Ji Hye is on the line? He is so obtuse, that I am beginning to question if he deserves the patient and understanding Ji Hye. Well, Cheon Soo has one episode to redeem himself. Good luck to the writers in digging Cheon Soo out of a hole of their own making.

One final thought: I found the newly redeemed Sung Sook a little creepy. It is commendable that she has made her peace with Jin Hee, and will stop meddling in Chang Min’s life. However, the fact that she is gently suggesting that Jin Hee move on, then calmly states that she cannot apologize for her past behaviour make me suspect that she is medicated. The drugs provide a damper on her rage, but should she miss a single pill, Jin Hee had better watch out for the resurgence of Evil Mom. A small part of me finds this prospect attractive, and I blame “Secret Love Affair”, which, coincidentally, we are recapping. It’s a series to consider after the finale of “Emergency Couple”. Just a suggestion. No pressure…

And now, for your viewing pleasure, some Baby Gook!

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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