When all the world is made of faith, trust, and pixie dust, it's easy to forget that this medical dramaverse has something to do with cases, patients, and emergencies. Getting lost in your own Neverland is a dangerous endeavor when you're hooked in by an innocent wish to see all children, except one, grow up. But with one week remaining, you wonder how the story will pan out when you're busy chasing the second star to the right straight on 'til morning.
EPISODE 19 RECAP
After Yoon-seo confesses that she doesn't want Shi-on to depend on her anymore, she leans in to hug him. Shi-on returns the hug and says in his usual medico-speak that it feels like his blood is boiling and someone is playing drums on his heart. Yoon-seo echoes those sentiments. Aww.
Flustered, Shi-on says he doesn't know what to do now, and she tells him he doesn't have to do anything.
As they walk, Yoon-seo drops some hints to hold hands, and then extends hers when Shi-on doesn't catch on right away. Noting their intertwined fingers, she teasingly wonders if he's a player and held other girls' hands this way.
His answer is far more innocent as he explains that caretakers held hands with autistic children this way in order to keep them close. Yoon-seo tells him that he's the one holding her hand—as in, he's her guardian now.
Then Shi-on asks if she won't regret her decision to be with him in the morning. She assures him that she won't, but Shi-on isn't so sure. He asks that she come to work tomorrow wearing a ponytail if she does.
Shi-on is an adorable ball of nerves at his desk the following morning when Yoon-seo arrives to work. Then he slowly lifts his head as the camera pans up to see… a ponytail. Oh noes.
Yoon-seo clocks his disappointment for a moment before she explains that it was too windy outside to keep her hair down. Shi-on immediately brightens at that, and heads out with a literal jump in his step. Cute.
Assistant Chief Kang speaks with Do-han outside, armed with the argument that every doctor seeks to secure happiness and a future for every patient. Though that may be true, Do-han counters that his way doesn't involve taking in patients through selection.
Dad is as pleasant as ever in his bed of thorns, asking his family if they look forward to be rid of him soon. He doesn't believe Shi-on when he answers no, and wishes that his older son was still alive. Do-han overhears these words from just outside the door.
Meanwhile Doctor Pomade contemplates whether to comply with his evil brother-in-law's evil plans. Don't do it! Don't go back to the Dark Side!
Doctor Choi praises Chae-kyung for supporting her stepmother in these turbulent times. He won't push her to make amends, but all he asks is that Chae-kyung doesn't avoid her stepmother.
Jin-wook checks in on In-hye, who's busy jotting down all of her happy memories in her journal. Her reason for doing so is rather bleak: she wants to leave something memorable behind for unni should something go wrong in surgery. Eek, this girl is seriously scaring me with all the death talk.
It scares In-young as well, realizing that the near-death experience has taken a grave toll on her sister. She admits her own anxiety towards the upcoming surgery, saying that she thinks the doctors hands will be cold.
Taking her hands in his, Jin-wook tells her, "Our hands are warmer than you think. Please believe that."
Assistant Chief Kang appeals to Creepy Chairman to keep the current pediatric team as is, arguing that they will be difficult to replace. He then urges the chairman to become a public investor for the hospital again, so that they can turn it into a better hospital in the public sector.
Suffice it to say, Creepy Chairman isn't on board with that plan.
Later that evening, Yoon-seo shows off a nifty couple app that records how long they've been dating (a day, ha), admitting bashfully that she always wanted to try it. She encourages Shi-on to download it onto his phone too, but Shi-on points to his own head, saying he doesn't need it. Heh.
She asks where he wants to go on their first official date, excluding the zoo. LOL. Next thing we know, they're reading tarot cards with a fortune teller who tells them good things about each of them: Shi-on is always guarded by animal spirits while Yoon-seo has a fiery personality that warms others.
They also have a favorable fortune as a couple apart from one thing: whereas other couples have many bridges that connect them, they only have one. That means if they ever break up, they'll never be able to get back together. They pout.
After they leave, Yoon-seo gripes that the fortuneteller is a crackpot, and Shi-on says that this was her idea. Ha.
A moment later, their attention is drawn to a street vendor where one can win a prize if they solve a 4×4 Rubik's cube in two minutes. Shi-on immediately ups the ante, claiming he can solve in ten seconds AND with his eyes closed.
Yoon-seo whispers that it's impossible, but Shi-on is confident that he can. And sure enough, he solves it, to Yoon-seo's delight.
They celebrate their winnings at Yoon-seo's place where she jokes that his skills turned out to be a neat party trick. Shi-on plays it off like it was nothing, and tells her to let him know if she ever needs anything.
Then Yoon-seo asks how he feels about going public with their relationship. Shi-on falls silent at the question, and she tells him not to worry because there isn't anyone in her vicinity who can possibly ridicule her.
But Shi-on is hesitant about the idea despite her insistence that it's okay, and says he prefers that they reveal their relationship later on down the road. Yoon-seo pouts, "When?" Aww, at least it's nice to know she's ready to take on the world together.
The next day, Do-han takes on Doctor Kim in a debate to involve the pediatric team to perform In-hye's transplant procedure. Even Doctor Pomade pulls his weight in Do-han's defense.
The residents looks nervous when Do-han returns with a grim expression on his face. Do-han pauses for dramatic effect before he discloses in that same serious tone that they'll be performing In-hye's surgery. Yay!
Yoon-seo hits him for scaring them half to death, and Do-han warns them never to criticize his "foot-acting" again lest they wish to meet a terrible fate. Then they're joined by Doctor Pomade who asks if they're free for a team dinner tonight, and this time everyone agrees.
Neither president Lee nor Chae-kyung are happy to see the former assistant chief again, who blames them for allowing the hospital to be taken away from them. He has a plan for them to keep the hospital, but we don't get to hear what it is.
Do-han pays a visit to Dad, and asks that Dad treat his son like the adult he is, not the little boy he used to be. He reminds Dad that Shi-on is a doctor now, and Dad must respect him as one if he hopes for Shi-on to do the same.
In a raspy voice, Dad asks why Do-han dares to meddle in other people's relationships, and Do-han tells him, "Because your older son would have said the same thing if he was alive."
The pediatric team goes out for dinner where Doctor Pomade apologizes for being a terrible departmental head. His sombre mood really makes me worry that he's either succumbed to temptation or he might resign from his position soon.
Shi-on lifts his spirits with a compliment that Doctor Pomade sorta looks like Lee Byung-heon. The team cracks up in good-hearted laughter.
Then Yoon-seo grabs everyone's attention and declares that she's seeing someone. The residents cheer and immediately ask who it is. She pauses before admitting, "Shi-on."
Naturally no one believes her at first, and it takes a few more rounds of confirmation and one from Shi-on himself for the reality to sink in. Yoon-seo looks over at Shi-on, who sits silently.
Afterward Yoon-seo asks if Shi-on's mad that she announced their relationship without telling him beforehand. Shi-on shakes his head. Going public is something they were bound to face anyway, Yoon-seo tells him, and then asks if he's glad they don't have to hide their couple status. With a smile, Shi-on says that he is.
They both linger in the street, neither wishing to say goodnight to the other. Then Shi-on surveys his surroundings before he takes Yoon-seo's hands and presses them to his chest and warms them with his breath. Aww, how sweet. Then he scurries off to the hospital as Yoon-seo breaks into a smile.
Though Jin-wook marvels at how Shi-on captured Yoon-seo's heart, Shi-on lies in bed in a sullen mood. He does, however, tell Jin-wook that he won't ever let Yoon-seo go.
Chae-kyung is happy to hear about the new couple, but notes Do-han's concern. He admits that he's worried for the both of them, and she encourages him to give them his blessing since he's their greatest support. Then she brings up the assistant chief, but we still don't get to hear what it is.
News of Yoon-seo and Shi-on's relationship travels fast, and the residents worry about how the hospital will react, figuring that it won't be easy. Il-kyu pipes up to the couple's defense, to everyone's surprise.
Shi-on overhears another pair of doctors gossip how Yoon-seo could have done better. He deflates. Do-han finds him trudging through the hospital and immediately orders him to buck up—how will he love and care for someone else if he's so defeated?
A little later, Yoon-seo asks for Do-han's opinion on her new relationship. She beams when he tells her that he's sure that she's thought it through.
Then it's time for their Peter Pan performance, and it is by far the most ridiculously hilarious thing I've seen today. Shi-on and Wendy look adorable as Peter Pan and Wendy while Do-han is as great a Captain Hook as he was in rehearsal. As in he's terrible, but endearing.
And then, we're introduced to Tinkerbell Nurse Jo, who claims that s/he can't fly because s/he ate too much last night. Ha. So Captain Hook Do-han issues a new nickname: "Fatty-bell."
It get so much better from there as Doctor Pomade slides in as the mermaid, much to the audience's amusement. Unfortunately(?) the mermaid is told that s/he's in the wrong storybook, and Little Mermaid Pomade slides away.
Then we skip ahead to the last scene where Peter Pan and Wendy must say their goodbyes. The kids cry out for Peter Pan to take her with him, but he tells Wendy that she must stay behind and grow up.
Wendy takes Peter Pan's hand and says she wants to remain a child forever, but he says she has to remain here. He leaves, and Wendy falls to the floor. The end.
The cast receives their applause, but then they're informed of a medical emergency. The team immediately spring into action, costumes and all. Doctor Choi looks on with pride, impressed that the pediatric team cares for their patients.
Nurse Nam sits with Nurse Jo, who assures her that his gangster days are past him. She asks how he settled the matter since she knows it isn't easy getting out of the underground.
Then Nurse Jo shares about how he took in his brother's child after his death. He loved that child like his own, but couldn't take care of the sickly child properly because of his involvement with the mob.
But one day that child ran away and left a letter that stated: "Thank you for being with me. I love you." Tears stream down his face as he admits that he didn't deserve such a heartfelt letter. But that prompted him to leave his fighting days behind him and become a nurse, so that he can take care of these children, and perhaps even forgive himself one day.
Yoon-seo collapses on to her bed that evening, completely exhausted. Shi-on encourages her to rest, telling her that she always looks pretty. She side-eyes him, "Let's see if you say that in the morning."
Shi-on tucks her in and is about to leave when Yoon-seo takes his hand, telling him to leave after she falls asleep. He sits by her bed, gently stroking her hair.
A fellow doctor (and Yoon-seo's family friend, presumably) pulls Yoon-seo aside to chat before work. She's heard about Yoon-seo's relationship with the maknae pediatric resident, and asks what she plans to do if this news reaches her mother's ears.
Her friend (whom we've seen for the first time in this episode) notes that someone will end up hurt and advises that Yoon-seo either end the relationship now or stop at dating. She hopes that Yoon-seo will take her words to heart.
And then as if to drive the point home, Yoon-seo gets a papercut. Shi-on patches her up in a jiffy while she look at him adoringly. He asks if something's the matter, but she says everything's fine.
Shi-on says that Yoon-seo should mention it if things ever become hard for her, but she tells him that as long as they're okay, everything will be.
Do-han reviews the final details and risks to In-hye's surgery tomorrow, reminding them to prepare themselves in a worst-case scenario. And we all know by now that there will be a worst-case scenario.
Meanwhile, In-hye and unni spend a precious few moments together holding back tears. In-young assures her little sister that everything will be fine. "We're dividing our happiness into two halves. You know that if it's divided into two, it gets bigger, right?"
With a smile, the sisters share a tearful hug and exchange what seems like a final "I love you my only sister." Wahh, I love these two.
In-young is transferred to a different room, and as Jin-wook sits by her bedside, he tells her he wants to be the dummy and give into his feelings. He knows that it still makes her a little uncomfortable, but he'll work hard to make up for it, and takes her hand. Aw.
In the other room, Shi-on and Yoon-seo assure In-hye that she'll get to eat lots of delicious foods soon. Shi-on promises to make her spaghetti (HA). In-hye smiles at the both of them and has them promise to be happy together.
D-Day. The sisters are wheeled to surgery holding hands until they're taken to different operating rooms. Jin-wook assures unni that everything will be okay, and In-young offers her hand. He takes it, and she says it's warm, calling him Jin-wook-sshi. Aww.
In the operating room, In-hye has Shi-on promise to stay by her side before she goes under. At the same time, Dr. Kim successfully removes unni's small intestine to be transferred to In-hye.
As Do-han works carefully to insert the transplant, Shi-on thinks to In-hye to hold on for just a little longer. I'd be lying if I said I wasn't a nervous wreck right now. But thankfully, the surgery is a success and the team waits for In-hye to wake.
In-young opens her eyes first, to Jin-wook's relief, and closes them again when he nods to signal that the surgery was successful.
Shi-on paces about the room with worry, wondering why In-hye hasn't woken up yet. Yoon-seo says they should wait a little longer, which is when they get the call that something has gone terribly wrong.
They rush over to discover that In-hye isn't breathing and suffers from severe internal bleeding. And if her blood isn't able to clot normally, "…then she may never wake up."
Ohgodohgodohgod. I wish I could say that I was better prepared for this moment, but I can't. A part of me realizes that we were given ample time in these past few episodes to address In-hye's storyline properly, even a round of goodbyes before her transplant surgery, but it's still hard to imagine letting go of a character who breathed life into this series. So while I can hope that she better not die, I am satisfied with how the show handled her post near-death experience and resolution to her relationships, especially with her sister. The way they cherish each other in their interactions rings true, and I love how In-hye wrote down their happiest memories for unni to remember her by. We'll find out the answer to the question "Will she make it?" for (hopefully) the last time in the first few minutes of the finale, true to the show's format, I'm sure.
On the subject of side characters, I love that we got to learn more about Nurse Jo's backstory and how he became our jolly nurse. His mysterious niece/nephew gives us another tidbit just before the end, and in this case, it's minor enough to either leave open or resolve in the last episode. But either way, I'm rooting for a happy ending 'cause the man deserves a little happiness.
There are other late reveals, however, I'm not so happy about. For instance, I can't buy the random "family friend" (at least that's what I think she is) who suddenly showed up in this episode to give Yoon-seo advice. Her introduction comes so late that her words don't hold weight in my ears and serves as a precursor to that all-too-familiar trope of Parental Veto. We've heard about Yoon-seo's mother every now and then, but I feel that if we do get to meet her onscreen, any type of verbal attack will lack that dramatic oomph apart from the final angsty conflict that keeps our couple apart. It's something I'm not looking forward to introduce and resolve in one hour when there are a plethora of other issues that seem far more pressing.
If there is one conflict that I'd hoped we would devote more screentime to, it would be in Shi-on's response to when Yoon-seo openly announced their relationship at the team dinner. I found the going public portion to be quite brave, if risky (and sorta odd that it was on Day 2 of their dating timeline), but I was more bothered with how Yoon-seo announced the news after Shi-on requested that they keep their couple status under wraps for the time being. Then I found myself growing upset in Shi-on's defense that he wasn't more upset about it. And here I wonder if it's more to do with a narrative choice to move ahead with one episode to go. The same goes for the eerie lack of exploration in Shi-on's nonverbal reaction in that scene which could have served for great character fodder.
At this point, I hope that we don't get a rushed finale, but with so many questions still unanswered (and a hospital takeover that might take another millenium to set into motion), that possibility is becoming more likely by the minute. Don't get me wrong—I loved the Peter Pan performance and Tinkerbell Nurse Jo, but I would have loved to see more of the conflict of childlike innocence and responsibility of adulthood in our actual characters without feeling like the lost Little Mermaid Pomade searching for the right storybook.
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