“Emergency Couple” episode 21 recap – Finale!

Only two of us got what Noonas Over Forks wanted for us.

Side dish: Cheon Soo asks Ji Hye to use her magic hands to make him doenjang jjigae, aka fermented soybean paste stew. It’s an everyday house dish in Korea, so even if you do not have Ji Hye’s mother surgeon’s hands, you can make it, too. Recipe courtesy of Maangchi.

Episode Recap

Oh Jin Hee (Song Ji Hyo) and Oh Chang Min (Choi Jin Hyuk) are at the bus stop from the last episode. They share a kiss under the heartbroken eyes of ER supervisor, Kook Cheon Soo (Lee Pil Mo), who walks away in the opposite direction, swallowing his tears.

Back at her house, Jin Hee is already in her pyjamas, and she gets a lovey-dovey text from Chang Min. She’s clearly delighted and flirts right back at him with her text, which he gets while lying in bed. He writes back, but instead of replying, Jin Hee is surprised to see that she missed a call from Cheon Soo (probably while she and Chang Min were at the movies).

The next morning, Jin Hee walks in on the female married intern, Lee Young Ae (Cheon Min Hee) contemplating a divorce form in the interns’ office at the hospital. She complains to Jin Hee that her husband, intern Park Sang Hyuk (Lim Hyun Sung) is being selfish, and that things have gotten very serious. Now that Jin Hee and Chang Min are reconciled, Jin Hee is offering advice left and right, because she tells Young Ae that she and her husband need to have a talk.

Sang Hyuk, for his part, is having his talk with intern, Im Yong Kyu (Yoon Jong Hoon), who takes a break from playing a game on his cell phone to listen to the married intern’s troubles. Sang Hyuk regrets how much they’ve hurt each other in the past few days, and doesn’t want to continue. He wanders off, looking miserable while Yong Kyu wonders if marriage is really that hard.

Cheon Soo and the ER director discuss sending two interns to a hospital in Taean. Cheon Soo’s having a rough day, because the ER director goes on to mention that ER specialist, Shim Ji Hye’s (Choi Yeo Jin) firing was an order from above.

Back in the ER, Jin Hee and Chang Min bond over a cute ultrasound of a fetus, when Chang Min suggests that he make Jin Hee a baby of her own. Jin Hee looks around to see if anybody heard (they did; the two nurses are within earshot), then pulls a laughing Chang Min aside to chastise him for making idiotic remarks in front of people. Before they can go back to their work, Cheon Soo comes out of the ER director’s office and tells them to come with him. At Cheon Soo’s office, they get the news that they’ll be going to Taean for a week. As he dismisses them, Jin Hee comes back to ask about the missed phone call from last night. A flustered Cheon Soo tells her that he took care of the problem himself, and she cheerfully leaves.

The ambulance brings a new patient to the ER. He fell down the stairs while drinking, and Cheon Soo, Jin Hee and Chang Min are on the case. As they cut away his clothes, they establish that they can’t ID the guy, and that he appears to be homeless. Chang Min comes back with test results that the patient has SDH (I’m not sure, but I’ll go with subdural hematoma), and his stomach could burst at any moment (like Alien?). Cheon Soo gives instructions to call evil Prof. Ahn in for surgery, then leaves to go see another patient. Prof. Ahn is even more evil than we thought, because he refuses to do the surgery without consent from the guardian. Cheon Soo repeats his request to have Prof. Ahn do it, since time is running out for the patient, but Prof. Ahn refuses again, since he doesn’t want to take responsibility in the absence of a guardian. They’re in a bind now, because the patient is bleeding heavily, so Cheon Soo tells them to write down his own name as the guardian. Chang Min and Jin Hee look worried.

Cheon Soo is pretty upset, so naturally he phones Ji Hye, who left work early to get ready for her family’s visit on the weekend. She asks what happened, but he brushes it off, telling her he misses her presence, and hangs up.

A woman comes running into the ER, asking after her father. It turns out she’s the daughter of the SDH patient, and she’s pissed. She gives Cheon Soo (and everyone in the ER) an earful for letting her father’s condition worsen in her absence. Prof. Ahn is close by, and hears the whole thing, looking thoroughly ashamed of himself, but doesn’t volunteer when she asks who delayed the surgery. Instead, it’s Cheon Soo who receives her rage. Afterwards, an apologetic Prof. Ahn tells Cheon Soo that he can’t be a doctor like him, and asks him to keep quiet about the incident. Cheon Soo agrees, on condition that Ji Hye’s leaving be reclassified as a resignation instead of a firing, and that she can return when she wants.

Ji Hye is at the supermarket when Cheon Soo appears. She’s surprised to see him, and wonders what food he’s craving since he actually showed up. He asks for doenjang jjigae, and she agrees, laughing, telling him that she’ll let an old bachelor taste cooking from a mother’s hands. To him, Cheon Soo replies, Ji Hye has a talented surgeon’s hands. She reexamines her hands, laughing, and somehow the world is a sexier place. She’s magical, I tell you!

Since going to a supermarket is one of my favourite activities (I wish I was joking), I really enjoy the next few scenes, where they wander around shopping, then head back to her place. Cheon Soo is looking thoroughly domesticated as he helps Ji Hye vacuum the place while she makes him dinner.

Jin Hee bikes down a coastal road in Taean, looking relaxed in her lab coat. At lunch, she eats fresh fish with Chang Min, who feeds her as per usual. He complains about being left alone in the ER with the scary specialists, apparently missing Cheon Soo. When Jin Hee agrees, saying no one compares to Cheon Soo, Chang Min initially looks jealous, then points out that maybe he’ll be even cooler when he’s that age, since he’s really smart, too. Jin Hee agrees, and they laugh together at Chang Min’s future awesomeness.

Chang Min pedals a bike with Jin Hee on the back, laughing and goofing around. Chang Min must be in great shape, because he hasn’t even broken a sweat by the time they come across a guy collapsed on a pier surrounded by people. They run over with their medical kit and working together, get the guy stabilized until the ambulance arrives.

Back in the city, Sung Sook (Park Joon Geum), formerly known as Evil Mom, has coffee with Jin Hee’s mom (Lee Mi Young). It’s a pretty glum atmosphere, as Sung Sook sort of apologizes for hurting Jin Hee. Jin Hee’s mom writes it off as ancient history. It seems like a detente has been reached between the two women, as they both agree to leave Chang Min and Jin Hee to sort out their relationship for themselves. Is this the beginning of a beautiful friendship? We’ll never know, because it’s the last episode.

Back at Taean, Chang Min is feeding Jin Hee dinner again outside, while they discuss the possibility of Ji Hye going back to the States. Jin Hee reveals that Ji Hye and Cheon Soo used to date, and wonders how they can separate again. Chang Min’s hindsight is 20/20 as he points out how good they looked together. Jin Hee takes exception to this, and asks if Cheon Soo and Ji Hye looked better than them (the answer is yes), but Chang Min denies it, since their own chemistry is clearly better (it’s not).

I have no idea where Chang Min and Jin Hee are when they go inside, but it looks like a crazy nursery. Why are these two always having important discussions in front of weird paintings? Jin Hee points out that she’s not ready to get married again, and Chang Min points out that they can take things slowly, since Jin Hee is doing so well. They have a sweet kiss, but it feels… platonic?

At the airport, Ji Hye has a happy reunion with her parents and her daughter, Ji Min, and as they walk out to the parking lot, they run into none other than Cheon Soo. He greets Ji Hye’s parents, who are happy to see him, and Ji Min, who points out that he has a beard. He drives Ji Hye’s parents into the city, who make sure to check that he is still single and not scared off by Ji Min. Cheon Soo scores high on the parent-meter on both counts.

Ji Hye drives with Ji Min, who takes the opportunity to ask about why Cheon Soo showed up at the airport. Ji Hye plays it off like they’re just friends but Ji Min isn’t having it, and asks if they like each other, and whether they’ve kissed. Ji Hye laughs it off, saying they’re just really good friends.

Jin Hee’s sister Jin Ae (Jeon Soo Jin), her husband Kwang Soo (Park Doo Shik), and Yong Kyu are at rehearsals when Han Ah Reum (Clara) shows up with burgers and a brand new hairdo. When Ah Reum asks how it’s going, Yong Kyu plays modest, but Kwang Soo points out he’s been practicing all night. She asks when he’s done, because she’s asking him out on a date. Rainbows explode out of Yong Kyu’s eyes, as Kwang Soo and Jin Ae coo over their cuteness.

At the hospital in Taean, Jin Hee calls Cheon Soo about a problem with a young patient. After referring her to the local specialists, he gives her advice, and then tells her not to go over anyone’s head. The two residents, Min Ki (Kwon Min) and the cranky guy (Heo Jae Ho) come running up with a chart, but before he can say anything, Cheon Soo gets a phone call from Chang Min about the same patient. Cheon Soo tells him that he already told Jin Hee what to do, and to stop bothering him.

The two residents snicker, and the cranky guy tells Cheon Soo to take a trip to visit Chang Min and Jin Hee. Min Ki concurs, since the two interns are probably missing his guidance. Cheon Soo looks thoughtful, then sends them off with instructions about their patient.

In Taean, Jin Hee asks Chang Min if he called the parents of their young patient. Chang Min did, after speaking to their supervisor. They laugh at themselves for both having called Cheon Soo, and admit they both feel nervous without him there. Jin Hee thanks Chang Min for… not being jealous, I guess? I have to agree with her: this is some swift progress on his part.

Outside the hospital, Ji Hye picks up Cheon Soo in her car, with Ji Min in the back seat. They go out to dinner, where Cheon Soo turns out to be surprisingly good with a curious Ji Min, if a bit nervous. Ji Hye asks for Ji Min’s assessment, much to Cheon Soo’s mock chagrin, and Ji Min tells him to be nice to her mom. He promises to be nice, and everyone’s grinning. So… does this mean he has some kind of romantic intentions here? Because I really can’t figure out what else is going on. Whatever! It’s cute, so I’ll take it.

Ah Reum and Yong Kyu are at the park for their date, and she’s miffed because he let Kwang Soo eat all the food she brought. Ah Reum asks if he gives up everything for other people, but he denies it, asking if she was disappointed. She was, since she brought the food for him. He tells her he doesn’t give up on things he really likes, like someone he loves. This level of boldness is too much for Yong Kyu and he starts choking, then changes the subject by asking what music she’s listening to these days. Ah Reum puts it on her headphones and they listen together. He’s so moved that he takes Ah Reum’s hand as she reaches for a kimbap and kisses her on the cheek. She puts her head on his shoulder and they enjoy the view of the fountain.

In a room that looks like a bordello in purple velvet, Chang Min sends a text to Jin Hee to ask what she’s doing. When he gets no response, he goes over to her room, and knocks on the glass door. He apologizes for telling her earlier that she was gaining too much weight, since he was just worried for her health. Jin Hee responds by opening the curtains and flashing him with her lingerie-clad body, then covering up with her bathrobe. She asks how she looks, and he asks to check again. She teases him, giving him a show from behind the glass while he watches appreciatively. Then she closes the curtain, leaving him outside, attacking the door.

It’s a beautiful day in Taean the next morning, when Chang Min comes outside and curses Jin Hee for his lack of sleep. She waves at him brightly from below, and he chases her around a bicycle, cursing her for not opening the door. Their day is about to get even better, because Cheon Soo and Ji Hye are driving up to visit them.

It’s such a beautiful day that Ji Hye suggests that they take a trip by themselves, but Cheon Soo reminds her that they’re on their way to see Chang Min and Jin Hee. Plus she wanted to come, so she could see them before going back to the States. How does she make a throwaway conversation so sexy? Ji Hye is awesome.

They’re greeted by Chang Min and Jin Hee as they walk up to their seaside apartments. They take them inside to eat, since they’ve prepared them dinner. Ji Hye praises the food, but Cheon Soo points out that it’s not as good as Ji Hye’s. Chang Min tells Ji Hye that she really does have God’s hands, since she can cook as well as do surgery, and she agrees, laughing. Chang Min asks if Ji Hye is really going back to the States, and Jin Hee is downhearted to hear that she is, since she wanted to learn more from her. The interns brag about saving the patient on the pier.

All four of them are sitting outside, chatting, and both Chang Min and Jin Hee admit that they want to specialize in emergency medicine. Ji Hye teases Cheon Soo for influencing them, then takes Chang Min aside, leaving Jin Hee and Cheon Soo alone, looking awkward.

Inside, Ji Hye asks Chang Min to look out for Cheon Soo when she leaves. She’s reminded of her own rapport with Cheon Soo when she looks at Chang Min and Jin Hee, where they could talk about everything together, and she tells Chang Min that she hopes it goes well for them. When she points out they should get married, Chang Min admits that things are going well as they are.

Outside, Jin Hee makes small talk, but Cheon Soo has something to get off his chest. He looks emotional as he tells her about the night when she missed his call, and he came to find her. He thanks her for making him feel this way, as if he’s able to meet someone, to feel like he can give his heart, and even get married. She smiles, relieved to hear it, hoping that he can gain some happiness now.

He lets out a breath, relieved to get all that off his chest, but Jin Hee is still going on about how she and Chang Min both like and respect him. She asks him if he’ll really let Ji Hye go, and we don’t get to hear the answer, because Chang Min and Ji Hye come out of the house behind them, wondering why the air is so weird between Cheon Soo and Jin Hee.

Chang Min and Ji Hye decide to eavesdrop, but they’re spotted right away, so Jin Hee and Cheon Soo take the opportunity to tease them. It’s cute and everyone’s smiling, but holy crap, this scene is so long.

Jin Hee and Chang Min walk into the hospital at the same time, happy to be back from Taean. Everyone is happy to see them again, and Ah Reum runs up, asking if it was really tough. Young Ae (the female married intern, in case you forgot) asks if it was romantic at the beach, while Sang Hyuk (male married intern) complains about the extra work they had to pick up.

Instead of answering, Chang Min asks the married interns about their impending divorce, but it turns out that they’ve decided to hang in there and take their time. Jin Hee asks about Yong Kyu, who is conspicuously missing, and Ah Reum says that he quit to study music abroad. Everyone approves.

Cranky resident comes in to give Cheon Soo his mail, and it turns out that he got a postcard from his dad in Kenya. Cheon Soo finally breaks down in tears as he reads how his dad is full of regret while photographing starving orphaned children. He doesn’t cry for very long, though, because he’s soon driving to the airport. He runs frantically through the terminal until he spots Ji Hye sitting with her daughter and parents. Ji Min comes running up to him, and he picks her up in a hug, then hands her to Ji Hye’s parents, as he takes her aside. With his usual abruptness, he tells her that she has to come back. She gets the message, and they smile at each other as her family looks on fondly.

Chang Min and Jin Hee are running through the hospital and bump into each other in the cat stairwell, where all important conversations happen. They’re both in a hurry, but they take a moment to share a kiss in front of the cat painting. Back in the ER, the two residents come running to Cheon Soo to tell him about a bus crash’s worth of patients on the way. The ER goes on high alert, and Chang Min and Jin Hee cut their make-out session in the stairwell short, running back to the ER as patients start coming in. Jin Hee stops short in the middle of the ER, and it’s time for some deep thoughts about lessons learned from saving lives in the ER!

She watches as all the other doctors usher in patients under Cheon Soo’s supervision, until Chang Min stops as well, beckoning her over. She runs over, and they go to help the next patient out of the ambulance. In voiceover, they promise to grow and learn as they continue to save lives in the ER. The episode ends with a triumphal montage of all their significant moments.


The first time I watched this episode, I was utterly disappointed. On second viewing, it improved vastly, but my reactions are still mixed.

Where to begin? Everything, and I mean everything, in this episode was too long. I’m not even sure why the trip to Taean happened (maybe to kill time), but every scene seemed either unnecessary or protracted. For example, Chang Min and Jin Hee both realizing that they called Cheon Soo, and Chang Min not getting jealous about it. Personally, I could tell that Chang Min wasn’t getting jealous, so I didn’t need a long winded thank you from Jin Hee to explain to me that he was being cool about it. A second example: the bike rides around the island. A third example: Chang Min and Jin Hee’s flirty dinner. I could go on, but you get my point: with most of the conflict gone, and nothing to do but wrap up loose ends, the pacing went entirely out the window.

I usually hate extensions, and this is no exception. Trim this show by one episode, and you could have a decent ending, with a lot less filler. I enjoyed the extended grocery shopping scene, for example, but would have been just as happy without it. Ah Reum and Yong Kyu’s date was cute, but also sort of unnecessary; we’d already gotten the picture about them before. The chat between the two moms seemed like nothing but time filler. As for the end scene, don’t even get me started.

But! On to the positive: in terms of plot, it’s still a pretty good ending to the show. I’m glad no one got married, because it would have seemed artificial given that the show is meant to have taken place in a short period. I’m also glad that the door is open for Ji Hye and Cheon Soo, since I can now end that story as I like in my own mind (cue evil laughter). And wow, I may have drifted off during the scenes in Taean, but everything there was super-pretty. Now I want to go there and have emotional conversations in beautiful lighting too. And eat delicious fresh fish… and maybe even go to the seaside…

In case you haven’t had enough of “Emergency Couple”, keep an eye out for our series review, which will follow shortly!

For your viewing pleasure, some cute, but unnecessary screen captures of Ah Reum and Yong Kyu’s date:

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. As a Jin Hee X Chief shipper, this ep was disappointing for me.
    But the scenes between Yong Gyu and Ah Reum made up for it. When he realizes she’s asking him out for a date, his face was priceless 😀
    The ep could have done without the married intern story line in my opinion.
    I’m just going to go back and watch some Jin Hee and Chief scenes 😛
    Oh and I wish I could write the way you do. Keep up the good work 🙂


    1. Aw, thanks! Yong Kyu and Ah Reum are so cute that I can forgive them for being time filler. As for the married interns, well, I never cared that much to begin with. But Jin Hee and Cheon Soo could have been an interesting ending too, except that it would have made Ji Hye sad… and she’s pretty much my favourite character on this show.


      1. only:can you tell me what a song tittle of that song when ah reum and yong gyu at park? ….. i looking for that song but i can’t get it


    2. I’m a Chief Gook & Jin Hee shipper as well. As disappointing the last couple of episode has been, I like how he has that closure by the bench with Jin Hee. It’s essential for him to move on, and it was touching how much courage he took to told her this and that small glimpses that he bear to make eye contact with her. His tear filled eye and that throat moving while swallowing saliva makes me cry along with him. Esp on how he looked her in the eye and say thank you for making me feel this way.


  2. Im so disappointed in the end. I wished I was the one who directed this. I want Chief Gook and Jinhee so bad. 😦

    But, this drama is good especially for those medstudents.vvery inspiring especially in the first episodes.


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