Well, midterm elections are over and now it's time to part-tay! I would have worked on this recap earlier had not my parents insisted that I drive them to this GOP celebration event that was a few miles away from our home. "Why can't you drive by yourselves," I told them. "Because we're tired," my mom replied. "Whaddaya mean tired? All you did was watch Fox News the whole day," I snapped. My dad's evil eye told me to shut up. Anyways, for once I'm so happy that the midterm elections are finally over. Now, I can watch TV without being bombarded by campaign ads, polling data, and pundits spouting off. Next week, the real work begins.
Now let's go to my favorite non-existent physician: Dr. Champ.
Kim Yeon Woo pleads to Judo Boy over the phone, "Talk to me. Please talk to me." "I want to see you. I'm afraid," Ji Heon cries softly but he hangs up. The female doc rushes to her car and then realizes she doesn't know where to go. Devastated, she slumps then messes her hair.
Lee Do Wook's Fortress of Solitude. He wrist-grabs Kang Hee Young just as she was about to depart. "Stay here. Just today," he begs. She freezes and then turns around. She could tell that he's terribly hurt because of Sang Bong's accident. He strokes her face, leans forward, and kisses her passionately. Then my mom enters my room. "You need to drive us," she orders, dangling the car keys. Harumph!
The scene is intimate, sad, and very brief; and boy, am I ever so glad it isn't something manic like THIS or I'll be screaming my tonsils out and abandoning Do Wook forever! Heh! (BTW, still spastic after Monday's scorching hot Gossip Girl OMG Chair moment!) You could tell that the medical director is the only one who feels and finds the whole thing meaningful . Indeed, this love affair seems to be very much one-sided as Hee Young whispers to Do Wook (after they did the nasty), to hurry up and sleep already. She'll be doing the walk of shame in five minutes.
Meanwhile, Yeon Woo cries her heart out to her mom. Nothing numbs grief like good old Soju with your "crazy" mom by your side. The doc weeps, "Because of that medical director -- that loser, my heart aches so much." and then adds, "I think I'm going crazy because of that athlete as well." Well, isn't this love triangle just a pain in the butt huh, Yeon Woo?
Mom helpfully suggests to pick just one -- the one with the most ability. Ahem. Let's see... Yeon Woo, would you prefer the super intelligent but super grouchy doc who at this moment, ISN'T giving you ANY proper attention or would you choose the super sweet but super weepy athlete who smothers you with a WHOLE LOT of attention?
Finally, Sang Bong regains consciousness. Yeon Woo rushes to visit him and sees the medical director at the athlete's bedside. He gives the athlete some needed encouragement and pep talk, "Don't believe everything the doctors tell you. I'm your walking miracle." Nonetheless, the athlete refuses to speak. The female doc asks him if Sang Bong's silence is pathologic but the medical director disagrees. Clearly, the athlete is still in denial and just doesn't want to talk. The medical director then orders Yeon Woo to look for Ji Heon and make sure his guilt doesn't transform him into a crazy monster. Adding to Judo Boy's troubles is the coach's severe warning that unless he appears in practice the next day, the team is going to kick him out (again).
Hee Yang and her favorite girl athlete, Kwon Yoo Ri take a walk around the village and they run into our doctors. Awkward! The medical director tells Hee Young he wants to have dinner with her the next day. Yeon Woo surmises that everything is now going well with Do Wook and Hee Young. This gotta hurt. Later that evening, the female doc drops by Ji Heon's family. His sister-in-law's seeming apathy disconcerts Yeon Woo. She states, "No matter how much you dislike Ji Heon, you should at least worry about him. He's family." Yeon Woo goes home and relives her happy moments with Judo Boy.
Morning call. Ji Heon is still nowhere to be seen. Yeon Woo is concerned that our athlete might miss his deadline and she heads outside the hospital. She sees him walking towards the field but he's all very crabby towards her.
Judo Boy joins the team although it's clear that his heart and head aren't on the game. After the practice, the team's leader decides that they all need to visit Sang Bong. Ji Heon announces he's not going and everyone is aghast and infuriated at this sudden insensitive ass-ttitude. Team Leader grabs Ji Heon and proceeds to beat the living daylights out of him but his Judo mates stop him.
Ji Heon goes to the clinic and tells Yeon Woo to cover up his bruises and just like that morning, he's very cranky towards her. Okay, who is this arrogant prat inside Ji Heon's body?
Meanwhile, Do Wook prepares for his date night. "Do you think it's deplorable to have a dinner date with a woman in this crisis?" he asks his colleague. Umm, yes? But Yeon Woo shakes her head. He reasons, "Everyone has a different way of coping with a difficult time. Some cry, some drink alcohol, and some get angry. My way is this." Yeah right, like dinner and meaningless sex.
A great celebration calls for the best wine in the house and Lee Do Wook chooses something fancy and very expensive. "Today must be a special day", the waitress notes. Yes, this is the first time we haven't seen Hee Young mope. The director concurs, "I'm having dinner with the a woman I've been waiting for over 10 years." Oh Do Wook, I betcha you'll be eating pain before the night ends.
We unearth some more major revelations -- the head nurse tells Kang Hee Young that it was all because of her that Do Wook met his unfortunate accident and left him paralyzed. Wow, the guilt must be eating you now, coach. I'm still hazy with the details but it seems that a few weeks prior to Do Wook's speed-skating competition, he shielded Hee Young from something which left his body weak and vulnerable.
Restaurant. The medical director waits for Hee Young. He waits... And waits... Then waits some more... Until finally, before the classical music inside the restaurant changes to Closing Time by Semisonic, Hee Young's ghostly apparition materializes. Instead of getting angry, the director tells her about how he spent his waiting time downloading a cell phone app for a guy spacing out while waiting for his date who is running late. Haha! Hee Young isn't amused. She sits down and confesses that she felt sorry for Do Wook that night. She further adds that the whole thing was just a consolation for him and that none of it was real. As this painful realization hits him home, Do Wook fires back at Hee Young that it was just as meaningless for him as well. Lies! Hurt and terribly dejected, the swimming coach leaves Do Wook. Poor director. He looks like a five-year old kid who's been denied Christmas. He tells the waiter to give the wine to another couple. See I told you Do Wook, you'll be eating MAJOR PAIN for dinner.
And now we're back to Hee Young's heartful personal woes and mopey pathos.
Next day. Where are the bouncy songs? "You'll have to start treating with me from now on," Do Wook tells Yeon Woo. Yeah, let's make this work, doctors! They then spend the entire day putting their heads together, challenging themselves to find solutions for their patients' various medical problems, with the medical director tossing in a few medical lessons for Yeon Woo.
Ji Heon keeps giving everyone the silent treatment and he's clearly out of focus. The Judo director asks how he's doing and he tells him that he's fine. More lies!
Meanwhile, as the day goes on, Do Wook gets crabbier and crabbier towards Yeon Woo. Why do these characters vent out their anger on other persons? It's not healthy, yo! Ji Heon zombie-walks inside the examination room. Yeon Woo does not see anything wrong with him but the director informs them that there is inflammation in his knee. He prescribes some medications for him and when he leaves, the director explains that he just pulled off the good old placebo effect phenomenon on Ji Heon -- all the pain is just in his head. They have an intense argument and Yeon Woo confronts her boss, why are you being an ass all of a sudden? He retorts, "When was I ever kind to you?" and then tells her to follow up with Ji Heon as the three of them will be visiting Sang Bong later. "If you want to hear compliments, you'll have to work harder," he snaps.
Yeon Woo finds Ji Heon lurking at the gym's shadows. She tells him that all his physical hurtin' is purely psychological and he needs to let go off the burden by checking in on Sang Bong. However, he's still as douchy as ever. All of a sudden, he grabs her hand and leans towards her. "I need comfort right now", he hisses with an evil glint in his eyes. Uh, oh... He moves closer to her as she struggles to get out from his tight grip. JI HEON, WHAT THE FRAG IS WRONG WITH YOU? Fortunately, the medical director steps in. "Let go of that hand," he snarls while I melt with joy. The love triangle rears its ubiquitous head yet again. As Johnny Bravo says, "Whoa mama, major drama!"
New Episode. Do Wook deplores Ji Heon's indecent behavior and scolds him like a seven-year old. Judo Boy is insulted and grabs the director by his shirt. "Just try and hit me," Do Wook challenges. "I'll make sure that you'll leave this National Village right away." Ji Heon loosens his grip and the medical director decides not to let Judo Boy go with them at the hospital. Yeon Woo again tries to persuade Ji Heon to come, but the director barks, "Dr. Kim Yeon Woo! Get out!" Ji Heon stands in silence, mad at himself, ashamed at himself.
Yeon Woo accosts Do Wook, "Your words were too harsh. He's in a psychologically troubled state." The medical director raises an eyebrow, "Well then, if I hadn't shown up, were you thinking of actually kissing him? Is that a new technique you've discovered?" He tells her he doesn't care about her "methods" but they don't have much time. Erm, time for what?
Next day. Another ordinary day at Taereung Olympic Hospital. Do Wook sees a big improvement with Yeon Woo's treatment. She tells him that she has been studying every night because she's sick of being reprimanded by him all the time. Do Wook is visibly pleased, "You're growing." She asks him, "Until when do I have to continue to treat patients in your office?" He pouts, "Until I say that it's okay." Haha! This is going to be a looooong day.
More medical moments and I'm in an all-time high. As I've written before, I get giddy at this developing mentor-pupil relationship between Do Wook and Yeon Woo.
Break time. "What do you think should we do?" the director asks our girl. "Play paintball!!!" I scream at my laptop. However, the director has other ideas. He wants to watch Team Judo practice.
During practice, Ji Heon starts to hallucinate about unicorns, err... about Sang Bong and keeps dropping his guard.
The coach is displeased and tells Ji Heon to take a break. The two physicians discuss Ji Heon's predicament. Yeon Woo insists that three days of rest would be good for the athlete. The director sighs, what the athlete needs to do is to see Sang Bong. The coach wants to remove Ji Heon from the the team (again) but the medical director insists they could make Judo Boy better, or more specifically, Yeon Woo could make him better. The coach informs the docs that there'll be a goodwill match between the Japanese and the Koreans in ten days and if Ji Heon is still in his depressed, moody state during that time, he'll be booted out.
Outside the gym, Yeon Woo appeals to the director to take Ji Heon's case since according to her, he understands athletes better than she does. The director rebuffs her.
"Park Ji Heon is really messed up right now too. It would be great if the two of you could get better right away," Yeon Woo states as she looks sadly at the sleeping form of Sang Bong. Sang Bong, heal already, will you? We need you! Everyone needs you! Aargh!
More cafeteria drama. Gawd, I hate Go Bum!
Finally, Yeon Woo comes up with a clever plan to cheer up Ji Heon. She goes to him and plays the guitar he gave to her as a present, "I'll make you smile, whenever you're sad. Carry you around when your arthritis is bad." :P Heh! That's not exactly what she sings but sometimes I wish I could understand even some tiny wee bit of Korean phrases.
Hee Young checks in her favorite athlete; Yoo Ri at the medical center and chances upon Yeon Woo and Do Wook working together. It's all very awkward and the tension between her and the medical director is palpable. She recoils at his every gaze while Yeon Woo wonders just what the heck is going on.
The female doc and the swimming coach bump into each other later that night at the parking lot. Yeon Woo can't help but be curious, "Aren't you and the medical director back together?" she asks Hee Young. The coach shakes her head, "No. We're not dating." A light bulb seems to suddenly flash above Yeon Woo's head and she floors the accelerator like hell while racing towards Casa de Lee. She dashes inside his house (wow, she can do that now?) and we're in for some good drama. Prep yourselves, kids!
"You're thinking about leaving, aren't you?" she yells at Do Wook, breathless. "Is that why you're pushing me all of a sudden?" The director affirms and states that he'll only be staying for two more months after which he'll be transferring the responsibility to Yeon Woo. Seems like the director is really heartbroken over the swimming coach. Sheesh, that Kang Hee Young. I keeel her! :P
C'mon Do Wook, why are you suddenly being all wimpy? "Director, I'm so disappointed in you," Yeon Woo exclaims, bewildered, and near the verge of tears. She reminds him of his dream to be a great medical director. Is he giving all that up just because of that spineless Kang Hee Young? "That's how much of a loser I am," he says glumly. "Fine!" Yeon Woo declares, infuriated. "I can do well without you!" With these final words, she storms out.
Ji Heon and his nephew watch an old news reel of Sang Bong on TV. In the interview, the athlete subtly mentions Ji Heon, telling the reporter that he is extremely happy when his pal made it to the national team. He ends the interview with a wide, silly smile. I and Ji Heon try hard not to cry.
Judo Boy finally musters the courage to visit Sang Bong. Sang Bong opens his eyes and it's all tantrum of the opera. "Get lost! Get lost!" he screams. Ji Heon is shocked and utterly devastated. Yeon Woo gives him a warm, tender hug and pats his back.
He goes to the coach a little later and makes his intentions of quitting clear but his mentor refuses to accept all this scaredy cat attitude. Dramatic music in the background. "From now on, you are competing with me," the coach declares. "You will not stop until you can flip me over." The two spar it out all night.
Meanwhile, back at the Hospital, the female doctor wants to move out of her office. She reports the "progress" between Ji Heon and Sang Bong and tells the medical director that from now on, she will learn to accept responsibility for her mistakes since Do Wook won't always be around to save her butt anymore.
The Japanese Team arrives. Konnichiwa!
Yeon Woo cannot concentrate on her work as her mind drifts towards the incoming goodwill match. She super-fast texts Ji Heon: D Match wEnt weL, Ryt? Suddenly, she gets a call from the director. The Vice President has arranged a dinner between her, Do Wook, and the Bureau Chief to settle all the budget issues in Taereung. The VP requests for the director not to be rude during the meeting.
Taereung Parking Lot. Ji Heon runs after Yeon Woo but spots her with Do Wook instead. Sometimes, I wish that Judo Boy would go easy on the jealousy vibes. Do Wook and Yeon Woo are after all, colleagues. Ergo, it's given that they would work closely together. If this were Seattle Grace, then there'd be a reason for Ji Heon to be afraid, very afraid. But since we're not seeing the director dropping any hints of attraction for Yeon Woo at the moment, I think Ji Heon can totally relax... or should he???
Do Wook sees Ji Heon and calls after him. I half expect he'll invite him over to that dinner and we'll have more awkward conversations. Hee hee! "How did it go with today's match? Did you win?" the two docs inquire. "Yes," he answers sadly. He stares at them forlornly as they leave.
Dinner dinner dinner, Batman! At long last, Yeon Woo gets to have dinner with Do Wook even though it's strictly business. Lots of colorful food but how come no one's eating??? They discuss the Olympic Village's budget, the need for MRI, and other medical stuffs until the conversation shifts to Do Wook's accident. Yeon Woo is bothered at the sudden change of topic and she shoots looks of concern at the director. Nonetheless, he remains stoic and casually proceeds to tell his personal story.
After dinner, the female doc is repulsed at the director's seeming apathy. "You don't have to bring up that painful past," she says aloud. "Are you drunk?" he asks. When she tells him no, he takes a few steps away and tells her to follow him.
They stop over a sweet little spot overlooking a bridge and he opens himself up to her and exposes the sad little athlete-boy inside. He tells her that he became a doctor because he wants to make sure that no athlete has to suffer from what he went through ever again. He further adds that he initially thought he'd be able to put the past behind him, but it's increasingly clear that Hee Young's presence makes it very difficult for him to do so. Consequently, this makes him an ineffective and weak medical director and that's the reason why he's leaving. But before he submits his two-week notice, he promises Yeon Woo that he'll do whatever it takes to help her be a great physician. "Before I leave, if I can just help you, I plan to do everything. Just like today. Even if it requires bringing up my painful past, it doesn't matter," he tells her earnestly. Yeon Woo cries and pleads "CAN YOU NOT GO? I NEED YOU, DIRECTOR." She reiterates, "I SAID I NEED YOU."
YESSSSSS!!! (Raises fists in the air and self-fives).
Ji Heon broods like Batman if Batman does brood on a parking lot at daytime. The medical director arrives and seems slightly troubled as Yeon Woo's words reverberate in his mind. He gets out of the car and the athlete walks towards him. "There's something I need to talk to you," he says, stepping forward. It doesn't take too long for the doctor to guess what he wants or whom he wants to discuss about, "Dr. Kim Yeon Woo, right?" He gives Ji Heon his signature smirk. OMG! They're jump-starting the love triangle! Wow, am I stoked!
I'm very much pleased with these episodes. They're not much of a whaaambulance like last week but they struck all the right notes, chords, and strings of the heart. There is real chemistry among the actors (even with Cha Rye Yun, but that may be because I rarely feel her presence here), with a good mix of funny and serious. Though the episodes are still far from rocking my world (I'm reserving that feeling for the finale), they are solidly good and tap into the things that make K-dramas work; interesting character dynamics, witty banter, and just the right dose of emotions and drama. Yep, I'm not busting out the confetti yet but I do keep a bag handy.
There are also a couple of new nifty plot threads (i.e. Do Wook's impending resignation) and I cannot wait to see the conversation between the doctor and the athlete next week. I'm still not sure where this series is going but I'm confident that whatever happens, it will be legendary!
Finally, we end the episode with clips of Sang Bong. They should just make a whole show out of this. Nay, a series. Jeong Seok Won could pretty much read an entire catalog of fungi specimens and I'd still be riveted. We need us some more Sang Bong lovin', writers!
Again, thanks for reading, people! Keep tuning in for Dr. Champ. Have a great weekend! :P
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