I can’t remember whether I gave a ratings update for last week’s episodes, but the upward trend we saw in the early weeks definitely continues.  This week’s episodes clocked in at 18.0% and 20.4%, respectively, so not only has every single episode seen an increase in ratings, but Yong Pal has now broken the 20% mark!  It was totally my finger crossing that did the trick.  I mean, small things like a brisk plot, great acting, solid story telling, and interesting directing wouldn’t have done all that much, now would it?


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The episode opens with Cynthia and Tae-hyun making a house call at Hanshin Electric. A former employee has tried to commit suicide by jumping from the top of one of the turbines to protest a wave of mass layoffs. Tae-hyun is shocked to see the extent of the woman’s injuries and yells at them for calling him instead of an ambulance. But he manages to save the woman by performing his signature make-shift surgery and gets her loaded into an ambulance to make it to the hospital.

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Cynthia takes him to get cleaned up before they head back to the hospital, and when he’s done President Go is outside waiting for him. She’s a spy for President Go! And President Go uses the recent protests at the power plant and the former employee’s suicide attempt as evidence that Do-joon is not the right person to lead Hanshin Group. He wants Tae-hyun’s help to get to Yeo-jin so he can outst Do-joon. He in turn will save Tae-hyun’s sister, he says.

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Director Byung breaks the news to Chief Lee that Do-joon has ordered them to kill Yeo-jin. Chief Lee seems hesitant to actually commit murder and tries to get Director Byung to order Tae-hyun to kill Yeo-jin instead, but Director Byung insists it has to be him. With the amount of drugs they’ve been pumping into Yeo-jin to keep her in the induced coma, Chief Lee decides they’ll have to kill her in the O.R. With her history of suicide attempts, they’ll make it look like she tried to kill herself again and then let her die on the O.R. table.

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When Tae-hyun gets back to the hospital, he visits Yeo-jin and tells her about President Go approaching him. He wonders if she should trust President Go when it’s obvious he’s only worrying about how to benefit himself. Yeo-jin seems unconcerned. She is his biggest benefit, she replies.

At the nurse’s station, Cynthia checks in three new patients who apparently will be sharing a room. Mob Boss Dong-chul’s right hand man happens to be in the lobby and he recognizes right away that they’re gangsters He’s right too. One of the guy is the scar faced man who President Go ordered to target Chae-young.

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We finally get a glimpse of Nurse Hwang after her recent discovery.  She installs a camera in the room that she can access through her cell phone, and she finishes her set up just before Chief Lee and Tae-hyun arrive to check on Yeo-jin during their morning rounds.

With no news to report on Yeo-jin, they visit the gangster trio Cynthia just admitted. The men happen to be staying next door to Chae-young, and Tae-hyun gets suspicious when he sees that they’re faking their injuries and spots them with a picture of Chae-young in the room.  

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Chae-young is the next patient they visit.  She too has no actual injury but she feigns as if she needs physical therapy and insists on Tae-hyun acting as her therapist. When they’re alone, she tells him about Do-joon’s order to kill Yeo-jin. She has a rescue plan and tells him to steal Nurse Hwang’s keys and use the elevator in Yeo-jin’s room to bring her to an awaiting van in the parking garage the next day.

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Director Byung and Chief Lee visit Yeo-jin’s room to finalize their plans to kill her.  Both Yeo-jin and Nurse Hwang (who watches them through her cell) are both shocked by the news.  When Director Byung leaves the room, Nurse Hwang’s psychosis proves somewhat helpful (to Yeo-jin at least).  She’s enraged that Director Byung would dare try to kill her “baby,” and she approaches him with a scalpel in her hand and attacks him.  She stabs him over and over and even lunges toward Chief Lee until security manages to subdue her and drag her away.  

Good old Tae-hyun sees her keys on the ground, which she dropped in the fracas, and he pockets them. She dropped her cell phone too! Who picked it up!?

He then rushes into Yeo-jin’s room to ensure she’s okay, and he ends up comforting her when she tearfully explains Chief Lee’s plan to kill her. He assures her he won’t let that happen and meets with Cynthia to ask that President Go withdraw the petition to visit Yeo-jin. Unfortunately, President Go refuses, claiming it would look too suspicious to back off now.

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However, Cynthia says they have a plan to rescue Yeo-jin and, when Tae-hyun agrees to help them, she tells him the plan: they will send in a team to whisk Yeo-jin away via helicopter. He’s tasked with getting Yeo-jin to the roof of the hospital while the other team members ensure the route to the roof is clear.

Tae-hyun tells Yeo-jin about President Go’s plan to rescue her and, once again, asks whether she trusts President Go. He filed the petition for visitation knowing it’d put her life in danger, Tae-hyun points out. But Yeo-jin is unfazed. She says President Go made a strategic decision, and she has no problem knowing that the factions fighting to get to her would rather let her die than let her fall into the other faction’s hands. There aren’t any good guys in this fight, she muses.

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Tae-hyun has come up with an alternate plan though. He wants to preempt them all and proposes staging her death in the O.R. that evening. And he has just the team to help, which is why he heads down to the sixth floor and arranges for the Head Nurse to meet them in the O.R. later. After he secures the Head Nurse’s help, he calls Chae-young and tells her to arrange a car to pick up Yeo-jin in the wee hours of the morning.

Over at the Hanshin Mansion, Do-joon’s secretary rushes into his office for him to take an urgent phone call. We don’t get to hear who’s calling or what the caller says, but Do-joon doesn’t look too pleased, and the next thing we know Chief Lee gets the order to kill Yeo-jin immediately. Eek!

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Chief Lee heads to Yeo-jin’s room with a drinking glass in his hand, which he throws to the ground and breaks so he can use one of the shards to slit Yeo-jin’s throat. However, when he looks up, Yeo-jin turns her head toward him and opens her eyes, then she calls him a murderer. He falls to the floor in a panic, and Yeo-jin again calls him a murderer and tells him that he’ll end up dying by Do-joon’s hands too.

Chief Lee rushes out of the room, but it looks like he conquered his fear and proceeded with his plan to kill Yeo-jin. Blood is splattered on his lab coat, and he claims Yeo-jin tried to commit suicide again and orders the guards to notify the O.R. that there will be an emergency surgery.

Suddenly the ward is full of security guards who insist that all of the patients return to their rooms. They push the hospital staff inside the rooms too. Cynthia makes a phone call to activate Plan B, and when Chief Lee starts wheeling Yeo-jin’s body out, the floor goes dark. The electricity has been cut. It takes a moment for the emergency lights to come on and that gives President Go’s men just enough time to emerge from hiding.

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Once President Go’s men arrive, there’s an all out fight between them and Do-joon’s men, and even though President Go only has three guys on his side, they actually start getting the best of the dozens of guards on Do-joon’s side.

However, Do-joon is clearly prepared for any attempt to thwart his plan. We see that the head of security has a gun, which he steathily pulls out while everyone is distracted. He’s about to fire a bullet straight to Yeo-jin’s head when Tae-hyun sees him and grabs the gun. There’s a brief struggle that ends with Tae-hyun being shot in the side. Oh no!

Luckily Cynthia takes charge. Who knew she was a trained fighter/assassin too, lol! She joins the melee and makes her way to the gun, which the head of security dropped. With the gun in hand, she fires a shot in the air and takes control of Yeo-jin just as Mob Boss Doo-chul and his right hand man arrive to see what the heck is going on. They cradle Tae-hyun and help him down the corridor with Cynthia and President Go’s men as they try to escape.

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They’re blocked as more of Do-joon’s men arrive. But good-old Doo-chul steps in to give them the final push they need to make it into Yeo-jin’s room without being followed. He tells Tae-hyun to go ahead.  “Just watching doesn’t suit me,” he says as he steps up to start fighting. He’s old but still totally bad ass! Lol!

Too bad it was all a fake out. Yeo-jin is still inside her room, which we learn when Chief Lee arrives and unlocks a closet door to rush her to the O.R.

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Meanwhile, Tae-hyun and Cynthia manage to make it outside to where President Go is waiting, but before they can even load the body(?) inside the ambulance Do-joon appears behind them.

Inside, Chief Lee arrives at the O.R. with Yeo-jin. Head Nurse and the rest of the crew are already there waiting, and they’re shocked to see Chief Lee instead of Tae-hyun.

Outside, Tae-hyun starts to push the decoy body toward Do-joon. Cynthia asks what he’s doing and Do-joon speaks up. “What do you think he’s doing? My employee is bringing my stuff back,” he says. He calls Tae-hyun’s name and praises him for doing a good job. Cynthia realizes that Tae-hyun has betrayed them, and she raises the gun to his head to stop him from leaving.

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In the O.R., Chief Lee proceeds with Yeo-jin’s surgery, but he doesn’t even attempt to act like he’s really trying to save her. Head Nurse, hoping Tae-hyun will be there soon, decides to proceed with Tae-hyun’s plan and injects Yeo-jin with medicine to induce cardiac arrest.  The medicine works, and Yeo-jin flatlines. Chief Lee calls her time of death, and then he turns to look up at Do-joon’s secretary, who is in the observation room, to confirm that she’s gone.

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Secretary calls Do-joon who delivers the news to President Go that Yeo-jin just died in the O.R.  Tae-hyun pulls the sheet off the body on the stretcher to discover they have the decoy instead of Yeo-jin. Yeo-jin is in fact still in the O.R., and we see Head Nurse cover her body with a white sheet as Tae-hyun stares at Do-joon.

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I thought last episode was full of plots upon plots, but I was wrong. It was this episode that holds that distinction. Of course, with ten episodes to go, I’m sure this is just the beginning, but boy does this drama know how to draw us in and keep our eyes glued to the screen. As usual, I can’t wait for next week’s episodes to see how these latest developments unfold. It’s to be expected that Tae-hyun (or someone) will save Yeo-jin and there will be more machinations in store to thwart Do-joon’s attempts to thwart them. However, I trust this show to deliver the expected in unexpected ways. Kind of how they threw in Tae-hyun’s alignment with Do-joon at the last minute.

I did wonder for a brief moment after Do-joon got that phone call whether Tae-hyun was the person on the other line. The only reason it crossed my mind was because immediately after Do-joon got the call, the scene faded into a shot of Tae-hyun on the hospital rooftop. He was deep in thought and I wondered if he had something planned out in his head that involved using Do-joon to ultimately help Yeo-jin. However, I quickly dismissed it as unlikely because I couldn’t think of how a way his involvement would help Yeo-jin’s plight. Now I’m not so sure.

If Tae-hyun did call Do-joon, I’m going to give him the benefit of the doubt and believe he has Yeo-jin’s best interest at heart. I’m just not ready yet to think of him as an anti-hero. Yes, he’s a little mercenary, but so far that’s only when it comes to helping his sister. He’s still managed to maintain a sense of heart and integrity in the midst of his quest to save her, so I’ll hold onto hope that his innate goodness is still there.

Yong Pal: Episode 5 Recap
Yong Pal: Episode 4 Recap
Yong Pal: Episode 3 Recap
Yong Pal: Episode 2 Recap
Yong Pal: Episode 1 Recap

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