Yong-pal – Episode 1 Review

The premiere of Yong-pal is good, though it reminds me of Mask’s premiere, which just ended last week in the same timeslot as Yong-pal which takes over. The first episode is already so intense, and that’s a great start to start this action-medical-melo-romance drama.

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A woman lies in a coma in white not-really-a-bed. The screens, showing the woman’s health and such, are high-tech! So futuristic, homg. Loving the CG-effects. Her eyes behind the lids are twitching as we see the flashback: A car being chased by a group of black cars.
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Her lover drives to avoid the cars and, all of sudden, another car hit them from another side which sends the car turning round and round uncontrollably. Finally, the car is knocked into the pile of construction beams, impaling the man. Homg. We hear the woman in voiceover, “One way to get out of a nightmare is… to wake up.” She screams at the sight of her dead injured lover. I thought she was seeing something supernatural, lol.
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Both of she and her lover are rushed to ER and she continues, “But if I can’t wake up, the nightmare continues.” The next thing we see that she visit her lover at his funeral for the last time.
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I guess her current coma state is due her voluntarily jumping out of the window after conflict with her father (Lol, this father was in Mask previously), who calls out her name, “Yeo-jin!” Again, in her voiceover, she continues to narrate, “And that nightmare becomes another reality. And that reality won’t end ever. Until he calls my name.” With that, her eyes fly open.
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The detectives are wondering why none of the gangsters have been admitted to the hospital since they would be suffering from bad injuries. Both of them come to the same conclusion: “Yong-pal?”
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We cut to Yong-pal (played by Joo Won) who get called by a guy named Man-shik (played by Ahn Se Ha) in the middle of the night to treat the badly injured gangsters who barely managed to escape the cops at the crime scene.
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According to the police, Yong-pal is a “skilled quack who treats gangsters in secret for cash”. As we can see from the way he treats the people and even able to pick up on the subtlest signs, Yong-pal is one capable doctor.
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It is revealed that Yong-pal is working like this in secret so that he can pay off his debt and Man-shik is a loan shark. Man-shik tells Yong-pal how he has never seen such an earnest person who works hard to pay off their loan like Yong-pal.
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In the day, Yong-pal is known by another name: Kim Tae-hyun. Even though, he is just a third-year resident, he is called by the first surgeon, Chief Lee (played by Jung Woong In) as he is also known to be a capable one at the hospital.
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Tae-hyun manages to get the bleeder under control, saving the VIP patient’s life, leaving the anaesthesiologist (hey, isn’t that ahjussi from Scholar Who Walks the Night? Haha) impressed. Chief Lee’s pride feels ‘hurt’ from the fact that a third-year resident saved a senior doctor’s ass. It seems that every attending surgeon has received help from Tae-hyun at least once.
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Tae-hyun tells the patient’s family how they are lucky that he isn’t scheduled for another surgery and hints at them to give an offering. Cut to: Tae-hyun counting the bills.
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The chairman of Hanshin Group, Han Do-joon (played by Jo Hyun Jae) comes to the hospital, telling Chief Lee that the stockholders want to meet his sister, Yeo-jin. However, Chief Lee tells them that she is denying the visitors. Tae-hyun overhears everything.
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Turns out that Do-joon and Chief Lee are in cahoots to deny the visitors’ entry to Yeo-jin’s ward, as they go to visit her where it is guarded by bodyguards and high security. Lying there is the woman whom we saw from the opening, she is Do-joon’s sister, Han Yeo-jin (played by Kim Tae Hee). Do-joon has instructed Chief Lee to manage her well otherwise there will be consequences for Chief Lee. He apologises to his comatose sister fot not visiting often. And we hear her voice as she thinks to herself, “Devil.” Hmm, is she already conscious?
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Tae-hyun has a little sister, Kim So-hyun (played by Park Hye Soo) who is a patient of kidney failure(?) as we see that she is undergoing dialysis. She is worried about the cost that she doesn’t come often, however, her oppa told her not to worry about it and to follow the doctor’s orders. Aww.
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At night, Tae-hyun is called by Man-shik again. Lol, the ringtone though. I wonder why it doesn’t wake anyone else up. He is Yong-pal now and Man-shik drags him to attend to the gangster boss who has the gunshot wound.
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He is forced to treat the gunshot wound when being threatened, saying “No one dies her tonight!” Luckily, there is one person with the same blood type. At the same time, the detectives have picked up on Yong-pal’s tail. Oh damn.
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One of the gangsters get a call about the police and Yong-pal knows what is going and stops stitching because getting away is the priority. They quickly pack up and tried to get past the police, however, the police found them and chase after them to the rooftop.
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On the rooftop, the gangster asks Yong-pal to take off with the boss while he deal with the police. Yong-pal quickly takes off driving while the police is still hot on his tail using the surveillance van. What an another car chase in one episode…
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Yong-pal drives till he is stuck between police cars in one-way road. Thinking fast, he drags the boss out of the car, ready to jump into the water. Detective Lee looks relaxed and asks Yong-pal to already give up since it’s a dead end.
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Yong-pal takes out Epinephrine shot, however, the gangster boss looks afraid. Yong-pal tells him that they would die for sure if they jump without the shot. As soon as the boss agrees, Yong-pal injects him and another for himself. The effect takes place almost immediately.
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Pulling the boss, Yong-pal jumps into the river along with him. This jumping into the water with that shot is totally new to me.

Yong-pal’s premiere started off with good high rating in Korea and it shows how much Koreans have been expecting this. The start may be good (but still not that good as I Remember You’s premiere :P), but I hope it will become more intriguing in the future so that the viewers would not be disappointed like how it was with The Time I Loved You (which I dropped).

For the start, I like how the doctor treats the gangsters at night and save the patients in hospital in the day. What’s more, Yong-pal/Tae-hyun even manages to do what a senior doctor couldn’t do. It reminds of Doctor Stranger, with all those surgeries and a genius doctor. However, there’s something different in this show – genius doctor doing surgery anywhere as long as there is a flat table. Even outside, Yong-pal takes cautious and prepares everything, sterilizing them.
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I almost forgot about the female lead as the leads usually get a lot of screen time. We only see most of the female lead, Yeo-jin, in the flashbacks and in her sleeping state. I am curious as to how Tae-hyun and Yeo-jin are going to cross each other’s path and what kind of business they will do/have with each other. All we know for now is that her oppa, Do-joon, is keeping her away from the world. Seeing that her oppa does this to her own little sister, he must be harbouring against her or that she is a threat to him.
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