Thursday, August 6, 2015

Yong Pal Episode 1 - Gold Digger on the Outside, Perfect Boyfriend Material on the Inside

If you are looking for a drama that is full of medical jargon and boring hospital politics, then this is NOT the drama for you.  Instead "Yong Pal" episode 1 is filled to the brim with action, intrigue, and hot Joo Won moments.  All of my favorite things when it comes to recapping.  So come join me as we chat about this awesome bad ass drama that surprised me by actually being fast paced and entertaining.

For those of you just discovering our awesome blog, I am Kmuse, one of the two main bloggers in The Crazy Ahjummas.  I am a mother of three and an avid kdrama watcher, in that I love to watch literally everything.  There are very few currently airing dramas that I am not watching so if you have any questions about them (or really any drama since I have seen an insane amount) feel free to ask me in the comments.  Or better yet come like our facebook page and ask me there. And just in case you have not read my past recaps, I am one of those bloggers that really likes to just discuss my opinions on certain scenes or concepts of the drama.  We don't go step by step through the whole thing.  So if you are looking for a more complete recap you might have to look elsewhere (and then come back and read ours of course).
 So without further ado, lets jump into the world of black market medical surgeons and princesses locked in towers (or hospital rooms as the case might be).  
 It's far far in the future and we see a beautiful girl dressed all in white and surrounded by futuristic computers scanning her vitals.  I have to imagine that she is insanely rich to have such an intricate set up.  Oh wait?  I have just been informed that this is not a show set in the future, but is actually supposed to be 2015.  My bad, I just assumed that all that fancy equipment could not possibly be real.  All I know is that if one small computer chip stops working in my car, I can't roll down my window for a month, let alone this type of setup which is just begging for a computer glitch.  Or maybe a bored intern wanders in who wants to play swipe the screen like a CSI detective and accidentally turns off her life support.  All I am saying is things are bound to go wrong... but I digress... lets get back to our sleeping beauty.
Computers on TV.... keeping it unreal since 2002
Meet sleeping beauty, aka our leading lady Han Yeo Jin (Kim Tae Hee - Jang Ok Jung), heiress and current coma patient.  We glimpse a memory of Yeo Jin running away with a man and being chased by several cars.  Yeo Jin's car is forced to a stop and hit by one of the goon's car, causing their vehicle to spin into a construction area and her boyfriend is impaled.  Huh.... was not expecting the impaling.  Nice change from the normal death by head trauma situation that we usually see.  
And despite my assumption that it would be the car accident that puts Yeo Jin into a coma, in fact she survives and is present at her boyfriend's funeral.  I just want to take a quick moment and say how beautiful I am finding the directing so far.  However, those fade in and fade out scenes are going to play havoc on my screen caps, so if you see a face shimmering in the background.... it is not a ghost, just my lack of screencapping techniques coming through.  Bear with me please since awesome directing does not always make it easy on us bloggers.
Getting back to the cause of our coma.  It seems that our rich heiress does not get along with her father (the sender of the thugs) and out of extreme depression and anger, Yeo Jin throws herself out of her window and somehow manages to survive (albeit in a coma and forced to hang out in the room of high tech swipe screens).
Hmmm it is at this point (only 5 min in) that I suddenly realize that I have signed up to recap yet another crazy makjang fest of a drama.  It is a good thing I enjoy dissecting crazy plot or I would be in trouble right about now.  Oh, I also am just going to assume that Yeo Jin is pretty much sleeping beauty, just waiting for the right khottie to come and wake her up with a kiss.  That's not to much to ask is it?  If they can have super-computers, I can have sleeping smooches. 
 For now lets let our sleeping princess slumber on and shift to someone who is a bit more active.....and hot.......and actively hot.  What can I say, I am a crazy ahjumma and as pretty as Kim Tae Hee is, I am not watching this drama for her.  Can I hear everyone shout in their best (screaming Gaskital style voice) JOO WON!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!  Yes, Joo Won is on my TV screen right now in all his amazing acting hotness.
****And if you did not understand my Gaskital/Bridal Mask reference, then you should hurry and watch that drama since it is the defining Joo Won drama for me.
Quick show of hands.  How many of you suddenly have the urge to buy that ringtone? I did and kind of find it annoying.  Product placement at its best.
Joo Won is playing the genius doctor (because aren't all his rolls of the genius variety?), Kim Tae Hyun, who is currently wading through the docks to a hidden warehouse full of gangsters who require medical help.  Turns out that Tae Hyun is not only a genius doctor, but a doctor who can be bought for a hefty price to literally do any medical procedures that need done on the down low.  Stitching up wounds from a gangster fight, gunshot wounds, circumcisions, Tae Hyun is your man.
It always amazes me that the South Korean sensors will blur out all knives, but seeing ripped apart flesh and gushing wounds is totally OK.  Let's just say that I could have done with a little less realism during this scene and that I had to stop eating since it was all a bunch of ew..  Except Joo Won Tae Hyun who just looked hot going around and doing his doctoring shtick.
You might ask why someone as talented and attractive as Tae Hyun is stitching up people illegally.  Turns out that his sidekick is not a friend, like I originally thought, but is in fact his money lender who sets up jobs so Tae Hyun can pay back the money borrowed for his sister's medical expenses.  Not your usual lender goon/ debtor relationship.
Tae Hyun is not only a black market doctor, but is also a 3rd year med student who is breaking the hospital rules by moonlighting.  Something he denies doing even though his coworker voices some suspicions about Tae Hyun's midnight activities.  
I love that we see another side of Tae Hyun's character at the hospital.  There he is breezy, sarcastic, and always facing the world with a smile and an excuse.  Not to mention his upfront obsession with favoring students with powerful family backgrounds.  A huge difference from the intense surgeon the night before.
But, when in the middle of surgery, he is all business.  We find out that most of the doctors use Tae Hyun to finish up their surgeries.  Especially if they have messed up and the patient might die on their watch.  I am gathering that while Tae Hyun is a genius of the first caliber, his lack of background has the other medical staff looking down on him.
We also get a fun reunion from the casting of this show.  Jung Woong In plays Chief Surgeon Lee (the man who needed Tae Hyun to save his VIP patient from dying.).  Most of you know Jung Woong In for his evil villain roles in shows such as Pinocchio, Empress Ki, and Hwajung.  But before he became the evil go-to guy, he tended to play nice guy characters.  One of those being Joo Won's big brother in "Ojakgyo Brothers".
*****If you have not watched "Ojakgyo Brothers" yet, go hunt it down.  Completely worth the time spent, despite it being a longer family drama.

We see yet again that there is nothing Tae Hyun won't do for money.  Even emotionally blackmail the families of his patients into giving him a money-filled envelope to "show their gratitude" for a successful surgery.  
It is amazing how Tae Hyun can be so sketchy yet still so likable.  I imagine that it has to do with his adorable dimples.  Maybe they give him some type of super power that charms all ahjummas to the point they will forgive him anything, no matter how sleazy. 
Enter stage left our resident "bad guy" Han Do Joon, half brother to our sleeping beauty and he is obviously up to no good.  Quick note.. I am thrilled to see Jo Hyun Jae on my TV screen, especially in a bad guy role.  He was amazing in my favorite sageuk of last year; King's Daughter: Soo Baek Hyang.
*** If you have not already watched "King's Daughter: Soo Baek Hyang", then quickly start it ASAP.  It is amazing and, while it is a lot of episodes, they are only 35 minutes a piece and the drama goes by very quickly.  It is one of the few dramas that I have given a 10 rating and it is so worth the time invested***

Judging from all the secret, suspicious winking going on between Do Joon and Doctor Lee, I am taking a wild guess that they are in cahoots and purposefully keeping Yeo Jin's coma a secret from the board of directors.  Instead of admitting Yeo Jin is incapacitated, Doctor Lee makes it sound as if she is pulling a diva and refusing to see all visitors.  He does graciously offer to give Yeo Jin the men's cards as well as the documents they needed her signature on.
Tae Hyun just happens to be listening in on this conversation since the second he hears the words VIP he is all over this personal conversation. Lets hope that our sleeping beauty does not mind a slightly tarnished/money grubbing prince since he has set his dimples in her direction.
Just your average khottie genius doctor casually holding up this wall.

Continues to eavesdrop like a boss.
It's a good thing none of the directors are women, because I guarantee their radar would have picked up Tae Hyun's hotness within milliseconds of his being in the vicinity.
BWAHAHAHAHA  Forget about my comparison of Yeo Jin's room and CSI.  We are going into full Mission Impossible-type electronics as we watch Chief Lee enter the room via clear wall hand print scanner.  Things we now know about this drama's director..... 1.  He likes fading scenes into other scenes and 2.  He is a thwarted sci-fi genre director.  Seriously, that is the only explanation.
Do Joon leans over his sister's bed, expressing emotions just shy of joyful glee.  He tells Yeo Jin that he is sorry he hasn't been by to visit more, but that he has been too busy dealing with the people lining up to visit her.  He then laughs in a very evil manner.  I am not saying it is maniacal laughter yet, but maybe maniacal light.  As the camera pans to our sleeping beauty we hear Yeo Jin call her brother "devil" inside her head.  Looks like our sleeping beauty is not really unaware like everyone thought.
We have just seen an example of a horrible brother, so let's jump over to the other end of the spectrum and see a scene with one of the best brothers ever.  I am of course talking about Tae Hyun who thankfully has a lot of depth hidden behind that greedy exterior.  He is greedy, not because he wants power or money for himself, but because his dongsaeng is sick and needs dialysis three times a week.
Tae Hyun had come from a very poor background, working side jobs to put himself through medical school.  However, add in a sick sister's medical bills, and our hero began to sink into debt, hence the dangerous black market doctor side job.  I have to admit that when Tae Hyun's eyes filled with tears when talking with his family, I also totally got verklempt.   That boy knows how to do tears right.
Things are not always as easy as Tae Hyun makes it seem.  We watch as he is yet again awoken in the middle of the night, only to find himself at the scene of a gun fight.  The gunshot wound is sported by the head gangster of the gang of thugs he had previously patched up.  For those of you who are unaware, guns are 100% outlawed in Korea.  For the most part you will not even see them in most crime dramas because of South Korea's anti gun stance.  So to have a gun shot wound would be a HUGE faux pas, one that would automatically require police involvement.
Even though Tae Hyun tries to explain that he can't treat this type of wound outside of a hospital (so much squirting blood....eww) the gang boss says he would rather die than go back to jail.  Which makes his second-in-command inform Tae Hyun that he operates or dies.  Gang bosses adds his promise that if he dies, Tae Hyun and his sidekick thug accompany him in death.  It looks like the thugs are serving up a giant helping of save him or die.
Given those options, Tae Hyun immediately orders all the thugs to clean off the salon's table and prep it for surgery.  He even sets up a makeshift blood transfer and being the awesome genius doctor that he is, Tae Hyun soon has the bullet out and is stitching up the gang boss.  Sadly, that is right when the police arrive to arrest the gun wounded criminal.  
Fighting ensues, masks are donned to protect identities of hottie doctors, and everyone is on the run.  Tae Hyun and the thugs are caught on the roof by the main detective, but since there are only two cops, the 2nd in command thug orders Yong Pal to take the big boss to safety while they distract the police.
Tae Hyun gets his patient into the vehicle and drives off, unknowing of the tracking device attached to the car.  Through a series of roadblocks and tampered traffic lights, the police try to corner him into a trap.  Thankfully Tae Hyun is a genius and figures out what is going on before he gets captured.  Running through the trap, Tae Hyun goes on a high speed chase, leaving mayhem in his wake.
Tae Hyun makes it onto a bridge service road, but is trapped when police block both ends of the bridge.  Big Boss has even given up saying -- "Yong Pal, our luck has run out....Let's stop"  To which Tae Hyun replies-- "No.  Then my sister dies".  With a determined glint in his gaze, Tae Hyun pulls on his surgical mask, hiding his face, grabs his doctor backpack and the gang boss.  Tae Hyun then climbs onto the edge of the bridge and tells gang boss that they are going to take a shot of Epadephrin and jump.
My Thoughts:
This drama is so much better than I was expecting it to be.  I actually decided to recap it despite the medical genre, simply because it had Joo Won and fit in my recapping time slot.  I am not a fan of most medical dramas so I was really worried that I was going to have to slosh through boring blood and guts. Nothing will put me to sleep faster than watching boring medical politicking going on.
While we got similar plot lines in this show, the execution was so fresh that I didn't even mind the medical aspects a bit.  Tae Hyun's character is all types of contradictory.  Gold digger, loving brother, genius doctor, eluder of police, all these combine to create a complex and bad ass leading man.  Not once was I bored while Joo Won was on screen and often I was on the edge of my seat wanting to see what was going to happen next.  All good signs that this drama might be above average.
That said, we still have a lot of plot to flesh out.  We have barely even touched the sleeping beauty/evil brother situation.  Is Yeo Jin really in a coma or is she faking it.  How will she escape from that high tech jail cell of a room?  Will we get any prince charming style smooches when Tae Hyun eventually finds her?  Be sure to check back for my recap of episode 2 and hopefully some answers to those questions. 
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  1. Totally loving this so far - Joo Won of course has lots to do w/THAT - but the writing is great, the pace is fast, & boy does that director want to do SF LOL

  2. Ahjumma from healer is playing a nurse!!!

    I found this first episode very entertaining and fast paced. Looking forward to seeing it unfold!

  3. I saw that! I hope her role gets a bit bigger as the drama goes on. I love her from so many various dramas. She is my favorite ahjumma actress.

  4. Please Let me gush about this ---> Joo Won's acting is the best! Istg this drama is great because of him (well, i'll admit the storyline and pacing is really jjang). His badassness comes off as so natural I guess is the best word to describe it. I've worked with doctors before and I know how they act and he pulls it off perfectly. His character is so complex and he does it all so well from the way he acts around his mother and sister, the way he sucks up to rich people, the way he commands the OR staff (intense, serious, urgent but respectful without the small intense pauses I hate with other actors doing this kind of thing) and the way he interacts with nurses at the hospital (it kindof reminds me of Derek and Bailey's relationship at Grey's anatomy).

    PS: LOL at Kim Tae Hee breaking that expensive high rise hospital glass window with JUST HER BODY.

    1. I 100% agree, I love that whenever he takes on a role he feels like he really becomes that character. So excited for this drama now.


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