After more than a year of waiting, we’re finally back in Yulje! Our favorite doctors are back with a promise of heartwarming stories and ordinary yet special days ahead. The premiere episode feels like we’re finally coming home.
Episode 1 Recap
Season 2 starts where Season 1 ended: Christmas night of 2019, Professor Yang Seok-hyeong (Kim Dae-myeung) receiving a text from Chu Min-ha (Ahn Eun-jin) inviting him for dinner at the steakhouse in front of the hospital. After hesitating a little, Seok-hyeong replied with a curt ‘sorry.’ He then received a call from his ex-wife Yoon Shin-hye (Park Ji-yeon), and we finally saw what happened beyond his ‘hello’ which was the part where Season 1 ended. Apparently, Shin-hye’s father got hospitalized in Yulje that night, and she called Seok-hyeong for his opinion.
Across the hospital, Min-ha was sitting alone at a steakhouse filled with loving couples and Christmas decors. She read Seok-hyeong’s reply with a sigh.
Back in Yulje, Seok-hyeong came across Emergency Medicine Professor Bong Gwang-hyeon (Choi Young-hoon) on his way to the emergency center. Dr. Bong was with Kang So-ye (Lee Se-hee) and introduced her to Seok-hyeong, saying she will join them as a fellow next year but is there in Yulje to learn the job in advance. Seok-hyeong then proceeded to ask about Shin-hye’s father, Professor Yoon Seon-ju, who was brought there due to cerebral hemorrhage. Dr. Bong gave him a rundown of the patient’s condition and then asked Seok-hyeong why he was inquiring about this patient – mentioning that Professor Yoon is a famous professor. Before Seok-hyeong could answer, he saw Shin-hye walking out of the Emergency Center. He left Dr. Bong, wondering why the woman called him so casually (she called him oppa!).
Meanwhile, at the steakhouse (with “Introduce Me to a Good Person” as background music), we saw Min-ha enjoying two serving of steaks and glasses of wine. It was as if nothing happened, and she didn’t care that she’s alone on Christmas night. The waitress then arrived with a red velvet cake at hand, saying it was from the chef. Min-ha commented that the chef was stingy because he gave her a tiny cake (haha!)
At their shared apartment, Kim Jun-wan (Jung Kyung-ho) received a call from Lee Ik-sun (Kwan Sun-young). As he exchanged sweet nothings with Ik-sun, he noticed Ahn Jeong-won (Yoo Yeon-seok) standing like a lovesick puppy at his door. Jun-wan shooed away Jeong-won, only to get teased back. Finally left alone, Jun-wan asked Ik-sun about the returned package, which contained their couple ring, and Ik-sun promised to call him back to inquire what happened with the delivery.
In the Emergency Center, Shin-hye and her mother asked Seok-hyeong’s opinion about Professor Yoon’s condition. After explaining to them his condition, Shin-hye’s mother asked Seok-hyeong a favor if he could pull some strings and speed up her husband’s transfer to ICU, emphasizing to do it “for old times’ sake.” Shin-hye then asked Seok-hyeong if he could come with her to buy some gimbap across the street since they hadn’t had dinner yet. And Seok-hyeong could only answer ‘okay’ for both of their requests. The new fellow offered them an umbrella since it was snowing hard outside.
The street was covered in heavy snow and Min-ha walked with her hands full of take-outs (the box of cake included!). Head Nurse Han Seung-joo (Kim Ji-sung) called her to ask why she was already on her way back, knowing that she came from a date. Min-ha dismissed it by saying she was just joking and she’s already in front of the ER entrance. Min-ha then saw Seok-hyeong and Shin-hye walking out of the ER and sharing an umbrella. She stared at them for a while before turning around so that Seok-hyeong won’t see her. She was left standing outside the hospital, alone under the heavy snow.
With a Christmas carol playing in the background, the next scene was set in Jeong Ro-sa’s (Kim Hae-sook) house in Yangpyeong. Yulje Executives Chairman Ju Jong-su (Kim Kap-soo) and Director Ju Jeon (Jo Seung-yeon) were having a conversation with Jo Young-hye (Moon Hee-kyung) while Ro-sa was on the phone with Jeong-won. After the call, she joined her friends and exclaimed that Jeong-won sounded like he decided not to quit. She explained that Jeong-won would be visiting her this Sunday, which happened to be the same schedule as his flight to Italy. She then added that Jeong-won got himself a girlfriend (great mother’s intuition haha!). Young-hye asked questions that rich K-drama moms ask – like what does her family do, but Ro-sa answered, who cares – she’s just grateful that his 40yo son finally got a girlfriend (eomonim was really the winner last season!!!). Director Ju then received a call from Jeong-won, who asked him to meet him tomorrow.
In Jeong-won’s room, he finished off his call after getting an appointment with Director Ju. He jumped into his bed giggling and wiggling like a high school boy who discovered his crush likes him back. Jun-wan then entered his room to ask about the song they would play and concluded that “someone is dating.” The assumption alerted Jeong-won, who looked at him with nervous eyes only to realize Jun-wan was actually referring to Seok-hyeong because of his song choice. Ik-sun then called him, and Jeong-won was left alone again in his room. Jeong-won giggled and smiled at himself, probably remembering what was happened a few hours ago.
In Jun-wan’s room, Ik-sun explained that the package was returned because no one was there to receive it. Jun-wan suggested that he should send it back, but Ik-sun worried that something might go wrong again and he should just give it to her in person instead. All’s well for the couple again after their phone call, but Jun-wan flipped over the box, probably to avoid seeing its ‘returned status.’
Skipping to January 2020, we saw Lee Ik-jun (Jo Jung-suk) in full biking gear. He went to his son’s room, and just as he was about to leave, he wondered when U-ju (Kim Jun) grew that much. Aunt Wang (Lee Soo-mi) seconded Ik-jun’s observation. And Ik-jun explained that the growth spurt was because of the New Year, which doesn’t make sense. With his penlight in hand, Ik-jun proceeded to talk to Aunt Wang and asked her to look at his pen ala Men In Black. (Side note: I love meta-references and Ik-jun breaking the 4th wall just to ask the viewers to look past U-ju’s growth spurt was so witty!)
While taking a break in a park, Ik-jun came across an old man who suddenly lost consciousness. He checked the man’s condition, diagnosing that he was having a stroke. He joined the responders at the ambulance and was offered a ride back, but he rejected the offer since they are on the way to Yulje anyway. Standing outside the ER, Ik-jun saw Chae Song-hwa (Jeon Mi-do) arriving and offered her to grab some coffee with him.
The next day, everyone was busy at the hospital. Seok-hyeong avoids the crowd. Jang Gyeo-ul (Shin Hyun-been) comes out of the emergency stairway with her hair still wet then proceeds to the nurse station to attend to their patient’s needs. The next scene was Jeong-won going out of the shower to ask Jun-wan if he used his shampoo. After Jeong-won nagged him, Jun-wan admitted he did use his shampoo, and Jeong-won threw a tissue roll straight to his face. Angry and shirtless (an unnecessary shirtless scene that I don’t mind), Jeong-won went back to shower – leaving Jun-wan to wonder if he was a pitcher, which was a great nod to Reply 1994’s Chilbong!
Back in the hospital, Gyeo-ul reprimanded her patient for not doing his post-surgery exercise. After she left, everyone at the ward picked up their incentive spirometer and practiced breathing (heh cold Gyeoul is really back!). Similarly, Jun-wan scolded his resident (who looked like Im Chang-min!) because he didn’t study before the surgery. The scene went back to Gyeo-ul, who assisted Professor Kwon Soo-jung (Hong Suk-bin) in his rounds with a tired-looking Choi Seong-young (Lee Chan-hyeong) at her side. She then ran down the emergency staircase to assist Jeong-won in his rounds at the Pediatric ward.
Their first stop is Chae-eun, who underwent a liver transplant. Knowing that she became a pessimist after the surgery, Jeong-won tried to cheer her up.
Chae-eun: How much longer do I have to live?
Jeong-won: I don’t know either. But I’m pretty sure you’ll outlive me. You’ll live longer than me, so don’t worry.
At the OB-GYN ward, Min-ha answered a phone call from Seok-hyeong while changing a patient’s dressing. Seok-hyeong ended the conversation as soon as he realized Min-ha was in the middle of doing it. She then later got scolded by Seok-hyeong – a scene similar to that of Jeong-won and Gyeo-ul in Season 1 Episode 2. The difference is that Seok-hyeong was stern but still sounded caring enough for Min-ha not to feel that bad.
Song-hwa just finished surgery in Yulje when she received a phone call from Yong Seok-min (Moon Tae-yoo), who’s currently preparing for the board exam. Song-hwa saw him waiting in the hallway, and just as she was about to call him, someone beat her to it. It was Heo Sun-bin (Ha Yoon-kyung) calling him oppa. And Song-hwa looked at them in wonder before smiling widely after realizing their status (she succeeded in her matchmaking antic!!!). We then learned that Ahn Chi-hong (Kim Jun-han) transferred to the Jongno branch as advised by Song-hwa. She then commented that she sounded a geezer, but Seok-min assured her that she and her friends are the only ones who aren’t geezers in the hospital. Song-hwa then declared she wanted to become the greatest villain in the hospital (a reference to Ik-jun’s explanation of what a villain is in Season 1).
Jun-wan confronts Ik-jun for eating his snack while lounging lazily in Song-hwa’s office. The confrontation escalated to a full-blown fight! As Song-hwa opened her door, she was greeted with a flying water bottle and two professors fighting. She immediately closed it again to protect Ik-jun’s image as this great surgeon and charismatic and competent doctor.
Yeon-u’s mother (Cha Chung-hwa) arrived at the Pediatric Center with a box of fruits for the nurses and doctors. She then asked for Gyeo-ul, who then promptly arrived at the mention of her name. In the middle of their conversation, Gyeo-ul received an urgent call and left.
In PICU, Do Jae-hak (Jung Moon-sung) and Jang Hong-do (Bae Hyun-sung), a sub-intern for the winter break, watch over their heart transplant patient Eun-ji sleep with the machine on her body. Jun-wan joins them and quizzes Hong-do about VAD and ECMO. Hong-do couldn’t answer, so Jun-wan advised him to study more to not become “one of the few people who fail the board exam.” He said it while looking at Jae-hak (lol) with his mean eyes. Eun-ji woke up at that time, and the two waved at her energetically (I can totally see Hong-do studying under Jun-wan’s supervision).
After Yeon-u’s mother left, nurse Yoon Ga-hee (Yoon Seol) asked out loud why Yeon-u’s mother always visits them and explained to Seong-yong that Yeon-u spent three years in Yulje and died last year. Nurse Ga-hee speculated whether Yeon-u’s mother was preparing to sue the doctors and nurses. Pedia nurse Kim Da-yeong (Joo Bo-bi) dismissed it, saying Gyeo-ul isn’t the kind of doctor who makes mistakes. And in the next scene, Gyeo-ul was inside an ambulance double-checking the details for their procurement, which proved Nurse Kim’s remark right.
Min-ha assisted Professor Yeom Se-hee (Woo Jung-won) at the Maternal-Fetal Intensive Care Unit (MFICU). She listened silently as Professor Yeom broke the bad news to Kim Su-jeong (Ah Si-ha), a 19-week pregnant lady, that her baby won’t live long even if they deliver it safely.
In the ER, the new fellow So-ye attended to a child and asked Nurse Sunwoo Hui-su (Park Han-sol) if a pediatric surgeon is available. Since Gyeo-ul is away for a procurement, So-ye decided to call Jeong-won even if Nurse Hui-su warned her that the latter was in the middle of an operation. She blabbered about the patient’s status. Dr. Bong had to take away the phone from her and told Jeong-won the most pertinent detail So-ye missed out: the patient needs immediate surgery.
Back in MFICU, patient Kim Su-jeong asked Min-ha to change her attending doctor to Seok-hyeong after learning through a post that he safely delivered an 18-month-old baby. Tormented by this request, Min-ha hesitated outside Professor Yeom’s office. When she finally got the courage to tell her about it, Professor Yeom quickly allowed Min-ha to follow the patient’s request. She then explained in detail the mother’s condition to Seok-hyeong, and after a few questions, he agreed. Min-ha and Seok-hyeong then talked to the patient, and Seok-hyeong told them that the baby has a slim chance of survival, but they still have hope and that he’ll do his best. Seok-hyeong’s approach left Min-ha perplexed.
When Gyeo-ul (who’s wearing contact lenses and her hair down!) joined Min-ha at the OB-GYN’s nurse station, Min-ha was staring blankly at Kim Su-jeong’s chart. Gyeo-ul commented that she might be able to keep her baby. Min-ha then showed Gyeo-ul the chart she wrote earlier, and Gyeo-ul told her that the case would be challenging. Min-ha informed her that it was a chart for the same patient, the same day, and written by the same resident. The only difference was the attending professor.
Jeong-won was walking in the hallway looking tired when he came across So-ye. She greeted him brightly and unabashedly asked him to treat her for coffee. Jeong-won carefully removed her hold on his arms and politely gave her his ID badge, saying she could use it and leave it to Dr. Bong. After changing to his personal clothes, Jeong-won phoned Gyeo-ul to remind her to just go out after his call because it’s cold – only to find out that she was already outside waiting for him.
It was raining hard outside, and Gyeo-ul stood at the Emergency entrance, wishing for it to stop because she blow-dried her hair tonight. She sullenly stared at the rain when Jeong-won ran towards her and hugged her from the back (cue: Confession Not Flashy’s iconic intro). Jeong-won and Gyeo-ul greeted each other with a smile before walking under one umbrella.
Jeong-won: What should we eat to make everyone jealous?
Gyeo-ul: What?! No one can know about this!
Jeong-won: Oh, right. We have to keep this a secret.
Uri Jeong-won & Gyeo-ul went out for dinner, just two of them, outside the hospital and in their personal clothes. Gyeo-ul reported to Jeong-won that Ik-jun kept on asking her whether she and Jeong-won are dating. Jeong-won said he would tell his friends next week and assured Gyeo-ul they would keep it a secret from others in the hospital. He added that he’s cool with telling other people about their relationship as long as Gyeo-ul was okay with it. She replied that she would think about it since there is someone in mind she wanted to reveal it to. Jeong-won – who stood up to get Gyeo-ul hot water!!! – guessed she wanted to tell Min-ha because Min-ha stayed with her at the ER, and he knew they were both an Army. When Gyeo-ul asked how he knew about it, he nervously answered that Ik-jun told him (haha, I wonder when does he reveal about going to the ER that night). He changed the subject and told her that he noticed she was on night duty the whole week. He offered to stay with her the entire night and said, “I can’t help you with your tasks, but I can stay up all night with you.” Gyeo-ul then asked him two questions: (1) a movie date on the weekends and (2) about Yeon-u’s mother visiting her often. Jeong-won, a much experienced pediatric surgeon, thought about it for a while and explained that Yeon-u’s mother kept visiting the hospital because she wanted to talk about her child. He advised Gyeo-ul to approach her first, treat her coffee, and give her a warm welcome on her next visit. Jeong-won added, “no one keeps visiting forever. She, too, will stop eventually. Because we all have to forget and move on.”
Meanwhile, Min-ha went to Seok-hyeong’s office to ask him two questions ala Gyeo-ul, but he told her that she could only ask one. So Min-ha chose to ask how he came up with such a decision in that situation. Seok-hyeong: “If both the mother and the baby are determined to get through this, I think helping them is the best choice I can make in this situation even though the chances are slim.” Min-ha: “What if something unfortunate happens and the family blames you?” Seok-hyeong (who, despite limiting the questions to one, still answered): “I’m afraid too. But if I think about that now, I won’t be able to do anything. ‘What is the best I can do’ I’ll try to focus on that.”
And since it was past midnight already, Min-ha decided to ask her another question – a personal one. It was about Seok-hyeong’s relationship with Yoon Shin-hye. Seok-hyeong bluntly said she’s his ex-wife, then Min-ha asked him what he’d do the following morning. Seok-hyeong explained they have band practice since Song-hwa is in Seoul. When Seok-hyeong started to wonder why he detailed his schedule to Min-ha, she escaped and left his office. (In total, Min-ha actually asked Seok-hyeong four questions, haha).
Later, Seok-hyeong, Jeong-won, Jun-wan, and Ik-jun were chatting while waiting for Song-hwa at the emergency entrance. Ik-jun mentioned that everyone at the hospital thinks Seok-hyeong is dating, but the latter didn’t care. Jun-wan commented that it was probably Ik-jun who spread the rumor. Ik-jun denied it then proceeded to question whether Jeong-won and Gyeo-ul are dating. Jeong-won dismissed him and changed the subject by announcing that Jun-wan’s bidulgi lover is in the UK, a piece of news that catches Ik-jun’s attention. Ik-jun then told Jun-wan that Ik-sun was in London, too (which I think is just Ik-jun pranking Jun-wan because it looked like he knew about Jun-wan and Ik-sun already).
As Song-hwa’s car left, Yeon-u’s mother alighted from a taxi with a box of cake in hand. She went straight to the pedia ward and gave the gift to Nurse Kim, who tried to refuse her respectfully. Gyeo-ul intercepted this awkward situation and accepted the gesture saying she could finish it all by herself (haha). Gyeo-ul then asked Yeon-u’s mother to have coffee with her.
While Mido and Falasol played Rain and You in Seok-hyeong’s house, Gyeo-ul then sat down with Yeon-u’s mother at the café. The latter apologized for always visiting Yulje. Gyeo-ul: “Yeon-u eommoni, I can be quiet and blunt. I’m not good with words. And I don’t know what to say to console others. But if you ever want to talk about or miss Yeon-u, feel free to visit me anytime.” Yeon-u’s mother: “Whenever I come here, people call me Yeon-u’s mom. I love hearing that. Now that Yeon-u is no longer with us. No one knows that I’m Yeon-u’s mom. But when I come here, everyone calls me Yeon-u’s mom. People tell me that I should put behind such painful memories and move on, but I don’t want to lose Yeon-u so soon. I want to remember Yeon-u as long as I can.” She then left Gyeo-ul with a small gift to express her gratitude – hair clips to replace the off-white paper clip that keeps her bangs away from her face.
Back in Seok-hyeong’s house, Song-hwa was told to drive Ik-jun home. Alone in the car, an awkward silence ensued while “Rain and You” played on speakers. Song-hwa and Ik-jun were both deep in their thoughts as they traverse inside a rainbow-lit tunnel.
A few days after, Seok-hyeong got a call from Shin-hye asking him for dinner. While they ate casually at the cafeteria, Shin-hye said she wanted to meet up with him like that and have dinner together once in a while. The scene was cut before Seok-hyeong gave her an answer.
Meanwhile, Song-hwa was back in Yulje and called Ik-jun to ask him to meet her after his operation. The two met at Ik-jun’s office. Standing away from Ik-jun, Song-hwa finally gave her answer to his question back in Sokcho last December before he left for Spain. Song-hwa: “Don’t confess. I don’t think you should confess your feelings to her. You said you’ve been friends with her for a long time. If you confess your feelings, things will get really awkward. ‘I want us to stay best friends, I want things to stay the way they are now,’ she would probably tell you that. If I were you, I won’t confess.” Song-hwa, in jest, asked Ik-jun not to ask advice for such a thing and left him alone inside his office.
The first episode is Seok-hyeong’s episode, just like how Season 1 Episode 1 was Jeong-won’s. There was no doubt about it. There are noticeable parallel scenes from S1E1 that could hint Seok-hyeong’s arc to be potentially wrapped up by Episode 12. And I’m excited about this because Seok-hyeong had to go through a lot in Season 1. I want him to “forget and move on” just like what Jeong-won said, and at the same time, forgive himself for whatever mistakes he had in the past that somehow is still tying him to Shin-hye. I am also humbly declaring that we would get an answer to whether he and Min-ha would be romantically involved by the end of this season. But since we’re just starting, let’s savor the current moments the premiere episode has offered us.
As for Jun-wan, I breathed a loud sigh of relief when it was revealed that there’s no drama about the returned package. I know there wouldn’t be a big misunderstanding because that’s not how Lee Woo-jung writer-nim tells her stories. What I’m afraid of with Jun-wan and Ik-sun, though, is that they might gradually fall out of love like Trash and Na-jung in Reply 1994. I actually won’t mind that break-up/make-up scenario, but that doesn’t mean it wouldn’t hurt like hell when it happens. Besides this, what I look forward to the most about Jun-wan’s arc is his new role in Yulje Hospital. Since he’s the chief of the Cardiothoracic Department, I wonder how he will handle Professor Cheon Myeong-tae (Choi Young-woo). There is a lot of foreshadowing in Season 1 that he might be “troublesome” in a very different way to that of Jae-hak. I want to know what will happen to these two.
As for Jun-wan’s housemate, I was smiling from ear to ear when Jeong-won jumped happily on his bed, looking so relieved the night Gyeo-ul confessed. It was a bit of a shame that there was a time skip between that night and their dinner date scene because we didn’t see how they become so comfortable with each other. During their date, Jeong-won talked in banmal to Gyeo-ul while Gyeo-ul casually shared about her day. They moved effortlessly in sync during their date as if they are a long-time couple. I hope they just stayed this way the whole season (haha). Also, back on Christmas night, Jeong-won called Director Ju after he talked to his mother. I guess he informed Director Ju about his decision to stay at the hospital and probably, his relationship with Gyeo-ul. Because professionally speaking, they have a superior-subordinate connection, and a romantic relationship might be an issue in the future. It is nice to clear that up ahead of time, and since Jeong-won is the kind of person who plans his future, I think he has already foreseen this potential “problem.”
As for Ik-jun and Song-hwa, I already prepared myself for such an answer but hearing it straight from Song-hwa was too painful to handle. But there’s still hope! Because Song-hwa thought about it for a while instead of rejecting Ik-jun outright. AND she actually used third-person POV ala Ik-jun to skirt around the confession. It was uncharacteristic for Song-hwa to do that. If she doesn’t consider Ik-jun as a potential romantic partner at all, then she should have rejected him outright when he confessed like what she did to Chi-hong. So yep, fellow IkSong fans out there, hwaiting!
Now on the premiere episode as a whole. It was worth the wait! Watching everyday scenarios unfold in Yulje felt like I was finally home, and I was catching up with the day-to-day experiences of my favorite people. Shin-Lee’s love for parallel and subtle hints is still apparent. So one can’t dismiss any trivial detail in every scene – be it the ER signage, the camera angle and framing, and similarities to the character’s dialogues.
What I like most in the premiere episode is that it fulfilled the promise of the 99z being a ‘warm hug’ similar to that of a beautiful and comforting sunset. It’s really nice to see characters who are still growing. The residents and professors’ “learnings” in their profession and their respective lives go hand-in-hand, so intertwining their stories is inevitable. The whole premiere episode felt like a piece of advice to everyone who suffers from growing pain that ‘it’s okay, you worked hard enough.’
-First, Lee Woo-jung writer-nim, saranghae!!
-This is a new format for me as I never wrote an actual scene-by-scene recap before, so please bear with me in this weekly recap. Also, tweet us your thoughts/theories/keyboard smash/anything about your reaction to HosPlay Season 2!
-I’ve watched Live On and Lee Se-hee was also good at annoying me there. Se-hee-ssi hwaiting!
-I miss the Yangpyeong Squad as much as I miss Mido and Falasol!
-There’s this Norwegian series that I’ve watched before wherein every season, the focus shifts from one character to another. But at the same time, the other characters’ stories are also developed. I think the approach they’re using is somewhat similar to that.