The draw to try this series is Joo Won, who impressed me in Tomorrow’s Cantabile. It is also the come back drama for sweetheart Kim Tae Hee, who’ve I’ve enjoyed in multiple dramas, my favorite being My Princess.
Yong Pal Episodes 1-2 Recap
Kim Tae Hyun (Joo Won) is a resident at a hospital, a gifted surgeon, but suffers debt due to the need for dialysis for his younger sister, Kim So Hyun (Park Hye Soo). To make extra cash, he assumes the Yong Pal identity as the doctor to gangsters. His debt collector, Man Sik (An Se Ha), arranges the services and poor Tae Hyun is always called in the middle of the night. The police want to catch the gangster doctor, Yong Pal. When Yong Pal’s scalpel is left at the scene, the police are able to track him to the hospital. The police talk to Chief Surgeon Lee (Jung Woong In), who hates Tae Hyun for his surgical talents and cocky attitude. Instead of turning Tae Hyun over to the police, Chief Surgeon Lee takes the opportunity to press Tae Hyun to tend to VIP only patients. It means giving up surgery. Desperate to keep his job so he can continue to dialysis for his sister (and pay his debts), Tae Hyun is humbled and agrees.
Tae Hyun is cocky but has empathy for patients that cannot pay and must be send to National Health Insurance (NHI) which appears to be considered sub par medical care to the private pay. At the end of the second episode, Tae Hyun and a nurse get ready to perform an unauthorized but critical surgery for a patient that will be send to a NHI hospital the next day. Unfortunately, if they don’t operate, the patient could die before the transfer.
A VIP patient in a coma is Yeo Jin (Kim Tae Hee) in the hospital. In flashbacks we learn Yeo Jin is there due to a car accident that killed her boyfriend. Their car was being chased before the accident but we don’t why. Yeo Jin is personally tended to by Chief Surgeon Lee who appears to be in cahoots with her brother, Han Do Joon (Jo Hyun Jae). Yeo Jin is important to the company but how and why is unknown at this point. Her story will be fleshed out in later episodes. At the end of the second episode, Yeo Jin wakes. Her nurse rushes into the room to find Yeo Jin holding the shard of a broken vase in her hand. As the nurse attempts to take the shard away from her, Yeo Jin holds it to her own throat and declares she’ll slash her throat.
* I was surprised by the blood, wounds, etc. shown. I do not watch surgeries for fun, so I did not like this aspect of the show. I hope they reduce this or I will fast forward through these sections of the story.
* A darker tone than expected to these two episodes. Tae Hyun is stressed to keep the cash flowing to keep his sister alive. It created the perfect situation for Chief Surgeon Lee to put Tae Hyun under this control. Woong In was superb as the evil villain in I Hear Your Voice and delivers the jerk component to Chief Surgeon Lee with ease.
* Our leading man, Tae Hyun, looks to be interesting character. He is the sole provider for his sister. His mother died on the operating table because there was no surgeon available, hence his drive to become a surgeon himself. It also explains why he would take the risk and perform and unauthorized surgery on a patient that could not pay. I can’t say I like Tae Hyun at this point. He needs money and is willing to do what it takes. But you can’t help but give him latitude because he does it all to support and save his sister. Joo Won has a tricker task with this role because Tae Hyun has a self serving cocky unlikable aspect. But at the end of the second episode I was more drawn to Tae Hyun than expected.
* The candid Head nurse is played by Kim Mi Kyung, who I loved as the sassy handler in Healer.
* Our leading lady, Yeo Jin, slept through most of the first two episodes, so details are limited on this character. She’s obviously important and it appears her brother Do Joon wouldn’t mind if she never woke up. I must say that Kim Tae Hee looks lovely in white waiting to wake up and get some action. I was surprised when Yeo Jin put the shard to her throat and threatened to hurt herself when the nurse approached her. Good cliffhanger for episode two.