Wanting revenge can start a vicious cycle of revenge, Kim Tae Hyun had told Han Yeo Jin. Han Do Joon‘s death creates another revenge, brought on by Lee Chae Young which very nearly was Han Yeo Jin‘s undoing. Luckily Cynthia Park turns up with Yong Pal Mark-2 from the U.S. and together with Kim Tae Hyun and Chief Surgeon Lee, she survives!
Recaps & Thoughts
It’s six months later after Kim Tae Hyun left Han Yeo Jin. He move out to the catholic church and started his own practice, owning a neighbourhood clinic with Gangster Doo Chul as a shareholder of his clinic.
There, he treats many of the children and elderly. He didn’t finish his residency so he couldn’t become a specialist which meant he couldn’t get a job anywhere; but he’s happy. His sister is healthy; he tells that he’s happy even when she is mean to him. He’s happy when he doesn’t get paid for a consultation, he’s happy when Doo Chul brings him gangsters to treat. He’s also being able to feel the breeze. It’s a carefree life he says. (He also mentions it’s also not a carefree life but doesn’t say why. Perhaps it’s because he still owes a large sum of money for the penalty for his involment in President Go‘s matters.)
Han Yeo Jin, she’s as unforgiving as ever. In the war between her and Chairman Choi of Daejung Group, he ended up losing and surrendering. He looks to owe a lot of money after fighting it out with Han Yeo Jin it seems as during a meeting which Han Yeo Jin was having with a Chairman, Chairman Choi was send requesting help from the said Chairman. Somehow, Han Yeo Jin managed to take control of the Alexon Biotech during their war too. The surrendering leaves him requesting Han Yeo Jin to spare him. His request is not heard. She seems to be holding a grudge about her having to send Han Do Joon‘s body to him as she asks how the meat she sent him was just after using the same words as he did when he had the upperhand: "You once said meat can be fully enjoyed by gnawing on it". Now she was doing the same. (From the sounds of it, she’s not letting him off because he was behind her separating from Kim Tae Hyun.) He is then dragged off by the guards, but not before he stops briefly to give her some food for thought, asking her since the son (his son) was killed by the brother (Han Do Joon), the brother was killed by the dead son’s father (Chairman Choi), and that father is killed by the dead brother’s sister (Han Yeo Jin), who will kill the sister?
That person looking to do that is Lee Chae Young. Initially, it looks like she’s moved on, following Kim Tae Hyun to the catholic church to bathe children. Although she does say she misses being the Chairman’s wife, she appears to be accepting her new life as an average woman; but no. Han Do Joon‘s death is still very fresh on her mind as she sits with Kim Tae Hyun outside, thinking about what she could have done different to prevent him from being hit by the car Han Yeo Jin sent which lead to his stabbing and death. Over the last six months, she’s been working with Secretary Min and the Han Shin presidents to kill Han Yeo Jin with a colourless and odourless substance. It is a substance Han Yeo Jin‘s maid (Lee Chae Young‘s informant) has been adding to Han Yeo Jin‘s drinking water. The intake of the substance causes hallucinations and liver cancer.
Since returning to the position as Han Shin Group Chairwoman, Han Yeo Jin has been having these hallucinations of both Han Do Joon and President Go as well as fainting spells. One of her fainting spells happens in public, during a ribbon-cutting ceremony for the opening of the Group’s second Han Shin Alexon Factory. She is taken to the hospital and given pretty much a clean bill of health, with her CT scans returning normal. Her fainting and hallucinations said to be the result of fatigue and stress by the doctor and is told to rest up. The doctor is holding back information, though. He’s been recruited by Secretary Min to carry out Lee Chae Young‘s plans.
It makes us wonder what benefits Secretary Min has in all of this by turning on Han Yeo Jin. Going against Han Do Joon makes sense, since he was threatening to kill him after he completes his goals. Han Yeo Jin, we don’t really understand. She’s not threatening his life and it seems to have nothing against serving her. If he has, it hasn’t been shown in the past episodes. Secretary Min‘s main wants hasn’t really been that clear.
Kim Tae Hyun, who sees Han Yeo Jin‘s fainting spell in the media, turns up at Han Shin Medical Center just as Han Yeo Jin leaves. The meeting is short and polite. Kim Tae Hyun questions her about her wellbeing briefly before he lets her go in her day after the presidents flood in feigning concern. (Only moments before, the presidents were ecstatic over just receiving news that Han Yeo Jin‘s got Stage 2 Liver Cancer.) Kim Tae Hyun heads straight to 12th floor, seeking Chief Surgeon Lee. He’s there to request access to Han Yeo Jin‘s medical files, specifically, her CT scans, to find that they’re classified information that even Chief Surgeon Lee‘s security clearance doesn’t get him through.
Han Yeo Jin returns home and starts to hallucinate again right after she is given water. The stewardess, Stewardess Yeo, suggests seeing a doctor. She suggests Kim Tae Hyun when Han Yeo Jin indicate her distrust of doctors. Initially she rejects the idea, saying that she doesn’t want to hurt him by involving him in this anymore. Stewardess Yeo insists, telling her that she isn’t hurting him by seeing him: she’s there as a patient. As a doctor, Kim Tae Hyun would never refuse. So, with that, Han Yeo Jin decides to see him during the night.
Arriving at Kim Tae Hyun‘s clinic, Lee Chae Young tries to stop her upon hearing from her maid she was head that way. Lee Chae Young meets up with her and manages to convince her to drive off without seeing Kim Tae Hyun. She tell Han Yeo Jin that he’s never been happier than at the moment. (This isn’t a lie as Kim Tae Hyun had stated this earlier when he met up with Head Nurse, the nurse who’s been helping him and Doo Chul.) She asks Han Yeo Jin to leave him to be happy. This has Han Yeo Jin do exactly that, driving off, intending to leave.
However, as she makes her way home, she comes across him, almost hitting him with her car as she has another hallucination. She faints at the wheel upon seeing Kim Tae Hyun. She is brought to his home to recover. When she wakes up, they move up to the roof. There, she tells him that she’s a bit stressed. She also intends to come down from the 13th floor, which pleases Kim Tae Hyun. He tells her to stay for the night when Secretary Min arrives to pick her up, but Han Yeo Jin declines, telling him that she needs to sort out her baggage (the matters back at Han Shin Group) before she comes. She leaves telling him that she will be back soon.
She never has the chance though, as the water she is given when she arrives back home has her lose just a bit of her mind. She wakes up frightened by yet another hallucination of Han Do Joon at her bedside. Stewardess Yeo comes to her room and finds her wondering where her brother had gone.
Meanwhile, Secretary Min‘s gone and disbanded the staff who helped Han Yeo Jin defeat Chairman Choi in the War Room. It causes confusion within the team as up till a few days ago Han Yeo Jin was still giving them projects. The team member who helped hack into Daejung Group emails during the war with Daejung Group takes it upon himself to access to Han Yeo Jin‘s medical files through hacking.
As all of this is happening, back at Kim Tae Hyun‘s, he receives a restraining order from the court barring him from approaching Han Yeo Jin. It’s odd, considering how Han Yeo Jin was just saying that she’d join him soon. He tries to find answers from Han Yeo Jin‘s office, but he is unable to get through; so he calls Lee Chae Young.
This is exactly the way Lee Chae Young had planned it as when Kim Tae Hyun calls through, she appears to be waiting for his call. She had expected him to ask her to meet with Han Yeo Jin and ask her to go to Han Yeo Jin to ask about the restraining order since he can’t himself. When she goes there, would pretend to have met with Han Yeo Jin and then return to confirm that she indeed doesn’t want to see him. Her plan might have had a chance of being seen through if she didn’t mishear Kim Tae Hyun during a second call requesting her relay a message to Han Yeo Jin regarding going up to the 13th floor.
After hacking into Han Shin Medical Center’s patient files database, the hacker sought out Kim Tae Hyun, wanting him to look at Han Yeo Jin‘s CT scans. The attacker doesn’t reveal who’s scans they belong to until Kim Tae Hyun informs him that that scans show the patient as having Stage 2 liver cancer. This is when the hacker reveals to him that the scans belong to Han Yeo Jin.
Discovering this, he gives Lee Chae Young another call, telling her about the liver cancer which she already knows Han Yeo Jin as having. She acts surprised upon hearing the news, though. Before he makes the request, Lee Chae Young promises to ask Han Yeo Jin about the liver cancer as well as the restraining order. Just before their conversation ends, Kim Tae Hyun requests Lee Chae Young to let Han Yeo Jin know that he is willing to go up the 13th floor if she’s finding that she’s having a hard time.
Lee Chae Young, not really paying much attention to the details of Kim Tae Hyun‘s requests, arrives at Han Yeo Jin‘s residence. She has no intention of finding out anything since she already knows the details behind the restraining order and Han Yeo Jin‘s state. She does make a visit to her room, though, seemingly only to take delight in her sickly appearance. Lee Chae Young then leaves the residence and reports back to Kim Tae Hyun. She tells him that he was correct about the liver cancer, speculating that the illness is probably the reason why she took out a restraining order against him. She doesn’t want to see him because it’s too much for Han Yeo Jin. Kim Tae Hyun finding Lee Chae Young‘s words baffling, he has her tell him about the answer she got when she asked Han Yeo Jin about coming up to the 13th floor. He doesn’t repeat the exact question, only asking whether she talked to Han Yeo Jin about what he said earlier. Lee Chae Young carelessly answers: "She said she’d never go to the 12th floor of Han Shin Hospital… she doesn’t want you to see her like this" and that "she won’t go to the First Floor Clinic either" before saying that she just want to say at home alone, quietly.
Kim Tae Hyun finds the entire report from Lee Chae Young strange, not sure what to make of it. His bodyguard, Lee Sang Chul, who had comes in after the call, agrees. Just before revealing to Kim Tae Hyun that he’s still his bodyguard (a secret bodyguard personally hired by Han Yeo Jin and not Han Shin Group to protect him), Lee Sang Chul tells him that had Han Yeo Jin really not want to see Kim Tae Hyun, he would have been pulled out of the assignment and let go. But he hasn’t heard anything like that.
After he reveals this, the bodyguard receives a call from Stewardess Yeo to come for Han Yeo Jin. Stewardess Yeo doesn’t openly state this, knowing her calls are being listened to by Han Shin Group security. She tells Lee Sang Chul to come retrieve a ring which his older brother bought for him: in other words he need to come to the mansion and take Han Yeo Jin. The ring refers to the changed location of Kim Tae Hyun‘s previous room at the mansion, the guest house in the East Building. Under Stewardess Yeo‘s urging, she’s managed to get Secretary Min to agree to move Han Yeo Jin to the guestroom after the doctor also believes it to be a good idea. He advises that from this point on, she will start screaming and yelling gibberish. With the watchful eyes of people as well, moving her there is a better option to keep things underwraps.
Stewardess Yeo also tells Lee Sang Chul that she (Stewardess Yeo) doesn’t have much time as there are guests coming at seven in the evening and to come pick it up before then. These guests Stewardess Yeo are talking about refers to the Han Shin Group presidents, Secretary Min and Lee Chae Young. They have planned to gather at the mansion to discuss the drawing up of a new will to take Kim Tae Hyun out as the heir to the Han Shin Group. When Han Yeo Jin dies, they need Kim Tae Hyun out of the picture so he doesn’t take over the conglomerate. For this to be stopped, Lee Sang Chul must come before seven.
Just before she hangs up, she tells him one last seemly random information about the neighbour’s dog getting in a lot now that he’s not around. This last piece of information instructs him to enter through a hole he cut in the net fencing specifically for the dog.
It seems that lavender garden scene all the way back in Episode 14 where Stewardess Yeo randomly mentions to Kim Tae Hyun about Lee Sang Chul liking to chase dogs off as if he hates them, but he actually likes them, was for this part of the story! It’s amazing how some of these apparently pointless moments/details actually play an important part to the story later.
So, with Lee Sang Chul and Kim Tae Hyun now understanding Stewardess Yeo‘s message, they head for Han Yeo Jin‘s residence. Kim Tae Hyun first makes a report to Detective Lee about the events: trespassing, kidnapping, unlawful confinement, poisoning and forgery of an illegal document. Without a warrant, Detective Lee isn’t able to take the presidents, Secretary Min and Lee Chae Young in and hold them. But a warrant isn’t necessary for the moment, not for breaking and entering. Kim Tae Hyun has called the police about a group of thieves having entered into the house, which is enough to detain them all. With this, everyone is taken in and their plans to kill Han Yeo Jin is stopped in its tracks. Now it’s time to save Han Yeo Jin‘s life.
Han Yeo Jin collapses right after the arrests. She is brought to the emergency department to receive dialysis. Admitted to a ward, she wakes up to be greeted by Chief Surgeon Lee. Immediately, she tells him to get out. Chief Surgeon Lee doesn’t and proceeds to tell her that she’s been poisoned by a substance known as Ethionine and is finally told is behind her hallucinations and causes liver cancer. He tells her that the cancer is progressing from Stage 2 to Stage 3. Fortunately it hasn’t spread so it would be good if she could do a liver transplant; however, as the transplant area overlaps with the area he operated on three years ago, the chances of a successful transplant is very low. He suggests that since he was the one who performed the surgery on her, it would be best that he does the surgery himself. Han Yeo Jin tells him to get out once again, to which Chief Surgeon Lee responds that if he leaves, no one else is willing to take her case because of the low success rate.
Han Yeo Jin initially concerns herself over the zero chance she has of survive (which Chief Surgeon Lee corrects to being a slim chance) then the change in position between her and Chief Surgeon Lee, mentioning about how she’s now the subordinate and he’s now the person in power, as if she’s worried about the power he welds over her and how he could use it against her. Chief Surgeon Lee moves to correct her again, stating their relationship as just a doctor and a patient. The response has Han Yeo Jin acknowledge that Chief Surgeon Lee was a doctor before everything that happened on the 12th floor. Acknowledging this, she tells him that she wants to live longer, that she wants to live a happy life with him even if it is a short on. She then finally asks him to give her this time to live longer, requesting it as a favour from a patient. Chief Surgeon Lee promises her, telling her that, as a doctor, he will do his best.
Finding a matching liver is not a problem. Stewardess Yeo advises that she had herself checked three years ago and matches Han Yeo Jin, and is willing to be the donor for Han Yeo Jin‘s transplant. Finding someone willing to perform the operation is proving to be extremely difficult. Her state is not one to be in to be receiving a a liver transplant. It makes no sense to perform the transplant Chief Surgeon Lee tells Kim Tae Hyun after thinking over it. It makes even less sense when the operation requires the removal of the adhesions from the Whipple Procedure he performed three years ago. Kim Tae Hyun suggests that he’d do the operation with him, but Chief Surgeon Lee rejects the offer, telling him that he could not allow him to take the wrap in the event of a failed operation. Chief Surgeon Lee tells Kim Tae Hyun that if he was like before where he had no conscience, he would have done it and let him take responsibility, but now because of Kim Tae Hyun, he’s got a conscience and can’t let her die knowing better.
Chief Surgeon Lee tries to appeal to a panel of specialist to perform the operation. In this video conference, they do not turn away from a Whipple reoperation. They state that they have had a high success rate of such operation they advise. However, when Chief Surgeon Lee shows them the CT scans, they all cite the operation’s difficulty and all bow out and they are left without any option. Chief Surgeon Lee, who Kim Tae Hyun begs after this last try, also refuses to operate.
Han Yeo Jin, seeing her chances of getting someone to operate on her, requests Kim Tae Hyun to fulfil a wish that may be her last. She asks him to take her to The Hill of Wind after querying him about when he was going to put the ring he bought on her hand. Kim Tae Hyun knowing that her request is basically her saying that she’s lost hope, he refuses to go to The Hill of Wind. He tells her that he will go there with her when she gets her surgery and fully recover, as he had planned. Han Yeo Jin tells him that she wants to go immediately, telling him that it could be her last wish.
The realisation has him take her there in an ambulance. She is sweating and finding it difficult to breath. She worries that she might not make it. Kim Tae Hyun asks if they should turn back. She tells him she’ll go. She can go.
They make it to the top of The Hill of Wind, Kim Tae Hyun carrying her up there on his back. She is let down and stand atop the hill the same way as when they went there the first time. Kim Tae Hyun hugging Han Yeo Jin from the back. Kim Tae Hyun moves to face her and takes out the ring from his pocket. He gazes at her for a moment before he put the ring on her finger, tears falling as he does so. He repeats the last part of the story about The Hill of Wind, saying "if we kiss for a second time here… we will never be apart." They move in to kiss.
Meanwhile, back at Han Shin Medical Center, Cynthia Park has made it to the 12th floor after touching down from the United States. After hearing about Han Yeo Jin‘s predicament from the nurses of the 12th floors, she’s brought along a young doctor who she calls Yong Pal. He’s her business partner and he does illegal house calls with her.
Kim Tae Hyun, who is now embracing a very weak Han Yeo Jin in his arms seemingly on the verge of death, receives Chief Surgeon Lee‘s call to immediately return to the Operating Room.
Kim Tae Hyun arrives to meet Cynthia Park‘s Yong Pal. She tells him that he’s someone who was adopted by a family in the United States and went to Johns Hopkins. Like him, he was doing his residency, but things happened and now he is Yong Pal. Despite his looks, she tells him to trust this Yong Pal. He is like a ghost in the Operating Room. He has also successfully completed a Whipple reoperation Chief Surgeon Lee adds.
All three head into surgery and begin the operation. Kim Tae Hyun and Yong Pal work together on entering the surgical site. It is a dangerous operation as there are a lot adhesions. It is worse than anticipated, Chief Surgeon Lee anticipates. With Kim Tae Hyun and Yong Pal‘s part performed, Chief Surgeon Lee enters to transplant the liver. "Yeo Jin… hang in there, please." Kim Tae Hyun says to her in his thoughts.
Han Yeo Jin is transferred to a room and she is heard telling herself to wake up from her sleep, as refusing to do so the nightmare will continue. That nightmare then becomes another reality and that reality will never end. Until he calls her name. "Yeo Jin. Can you hear me?" Kim Tae Hyun calls. She opens her eyes. "Do you know who I am?" Kim Tae Hyun asks. She smiles. "Yong Pal," she responds in her thoughts.
And that’s the end of Yong Pal! Han Yeo Jin is saved and Kim Tae Hyun and Han Yeo Jin gets their happy ending. We were so worried that the drama was going to end unhappily! The way the drama started off with Kim Tae Hyun ending up not finishing his residency and not getting to specialise, we thought the drama was heading towards an unhappy ending for Han Yeo Jin, too, just to be different and surprising. It wouldn’t have been unjustified we suppose, since she did have a hand in causing the death of/killing quite a number of people. We’re glad it didn’t end that way.
Han Yeo Jin suffering from being drugged by Lee Chae Young and developing liver cancer, we weren’t entirely excited about. After seeing the drugging of Han Yeo Jin, confining of Han Yeo Jin and an attempt to kill Han Yeo Jin during the Han Do Joon‘s attempts, Lee Chae Young‘s attempts to do it again but in a much more condensed timeframe got just a bit tiring to watch.
Having said that, we can’t think of any other way the series could have ended. Han Yeo Jin‘s drugging does serves a few purposes. The first is it allows Han Yeo Jin to ‘pay’ for the sins she’s committed as the ruthless Han Shin Group Chairwoman. We had mentioned that it would be odd for Han Yeo Jin to escape any kind of punishment for crimes, especially the live burial of President Go‘s hit-man as well as having gangsters run Han Do Joon over. The second is it allows us to see Kim Tae Hyun back in the Operating Room doing what he does best as well as Chief Surgeon Lee. We liked seeing Kim Tae Hyun and Chief Surgeon Lee in the Operating Room together as well as the new Yong Pal. It was also nice to see Cynthia Park come back. She brings back memories of the exciting, action-packed episodes. Lastly, Yong Pal is a medical drama so there had to be some kind of complex operation in there to end it all.
Yong Pal did relatively well with the extension of the two episodes. The pacing did slow down a little over the last four episodes for us. Instead of watching every scene with excitement and intrigue, we found there were more and more scenes that had only half our attention. It makes us wonder what a 16-episode Yong Pal drama would have been like. We feel that had they stuck to the length of 16 episodes, this drama would have been super exciting right till the very last episode. Just based on how the writer is so good at weaving things in, connecting things and making us guess so much in the first half to two-thirds of the drama, we think had the series stayed with the scheduled number of episodes, we could have gotten an even more fantastic Yong Pal. Had there not been an extension, maybe Lee Chae Young‘s revenge would be weaved in to the story more along with other character arcs, creating an even more creative and exciting story. Maybe the method of revenge changes with a shorter series. How we would love to see a series which get fantastic ratings remain at the scheduled number of episodes, just so we can see the true potential of a drama like Yong Pal actually is.
For us, Yong Pal didn’t manage to finish off in a spectacular exciting fashion, but we are definitely not disappointed by how it ended. There are still good parts in the final couple of episodes. It’s just not as exciting as say earlier episodes. If you haven’t watched Yong Pal, definitely give it a watch. Kim Tae Hyun is one awesome lead character. We also really like supporting characters Chief Surgeon Lee and Cynthia Park. Story is written well overall; it’s full of great action and at times quite suspenseful. Although the last four or so episodes aren’t to the same excitement level, the first half to two-thirds of the drama more than makes up for it. It’s worth investing 18 hours of your time watching this series.