Episode 15 of Doctor Cha begins with Roy speaking to Jeong-suk about how she’s feeling. She’s been tired and had bouts of indigestion. This started about a week before her regular check-up, and she even points out she’s been coughing up blood. All of this could be caused by acute liver failure or even a transplant failure. Roy suggests that Jeong-suk be hospitalized asap but Jeong-suk is more concerned about her residency position and her different patients.
Roy’s birth family show up at the hospital once more and broach the news of their father’s bone transplant. Roy’s sister doesn’t even feel bad about asking but Roy is pushed into a corner and he asks Jeon to order some tests to be done on himself. However, when he mentions it’s also going to be scans on his liver, it seems there’s an ulterior motive going on here!
There’s still an awkward atmosphere between Jeong-suk and Seung-hi at work and they avoid one another at lunch. However, Jeong-suk turns her attention to her fellow first-years, thanking them for being her friends and not enemies. Not like Chief Yoon and Lim, who end up getting into a massive public fight in the cafeteria as Bong-suk decides not to take Yoon back, and of course Lim is ecstatic. This also seems to end their saga in its tracks.
In-ho takes his mum along to see a lawyer regarding the impending divorce. When the building purchase is brought up, the lawyer is quick to point out that this “investment” could actually come back to bite Ae-sim. She put the building under Jeong-suk’s name, not out of kindness, but so she could avoid paying taxes…which is illegal. She completely puts her foot in it and she could even have her building taken away because of this.
Given In-ho was unaware of all of this, he’s devastated and heads outside, ringing Jeong-suk and telling her to meet. That night, In-ho brings up the building in Gimpo but Jeong-suk was already aware of this. She needs to put it on the market in order… but of course given it’s in Jeong-suk’s name then it’s up to her. And she doesn’t want to.
In fact, Jeong-suk tells In-ho that he can have the house given she has the building in Gimpo and suggests he sell it to move to a more affordable abode and pay Ae-sim back.
Ae-sim though, ends up crashing at Jeong-suk’s mum’s place, drinking far too much and passing out on the sofa. When she awakens and realizes where she is, Deok-rye watches as she eats broth and points out all the mistakes Ae-sim made that night, including dancing around like crazy and acting out.
When Ae-sim comes to and gets some sense back into her, Deok-rye points out that she needs to start acting like an adult now. Jeong-suk should not be looked at as an older sister, as Ae-sim initially refers to her, but treated like a daughter-in-law. Ae-sim can’t keep on relying on other people and she needs to be strong and focus on herself.
Ae-sim’s problems then extend further, weighing even heavier on In-ho’s shoulders as he learns about his mother’s debt. Her friend from college shows up and tells him about the unpaid debt, and how that could negatively affect In-ho’s reputation if this isn’t resolved. And that’s only made worse when Ae-sim suggests sweettalking Seung-hi and asking her for money.
In the middle of all this, Jeong-suk has a patient to deal with called Lee Pan-sim. She’s pushing 102 now and so she’s very old. Well, Jeong-suk realizes she needs a CT scan and potential surgery to prolong her life. She works round the clock to try and help.
However, Pan-sim’s guardian is not happy and barges into Jeong-suk’s office with the other interns. The guy points out he’s already reserved the funeral hall and with Pan-sim’s daughter nearly 80, she’s tired and just wants this to be over. In fact, speaking to Pan-sim herself, Jeong-suk is put into a bind as the old lady wants to leave this world. But then her teaching has trained her to try and save every patient. So what should she do?
Well, Jeong-suk decides to speak to Chief Lim and suggests to take a leave of absence. She points out the liver transplant and how she needs to take care of herself. But if she leaves, Jeong-suk is understandably worried that all of this working at the hospital will be for nothing. Lim can’t guarantee that she’d have a place back after either, but if he does, then it’ll give her a reason to carry on and fight to get back to her residency.
Lim brings these same concerns to the meeting with all the other professors, who contemplate what to do with her. Seung-hi is there too and she mulls over this dilemma. At the same time, Roy excitedly meets up with Jeong-suk and reveals that he’s done some tests and the results look to be good. He can actually donate his liver to her! But then the decision is entirely up to her.
Jeong-suk packs up her gear and leaves the hospital on her absence, while In-ho meets with Seung-hi and tries to win her over. He goes over several different scenarios while he’s sitting at the table, each worse than the last, and as such she decides to stay quiet.
Seung-hi speaks up and points out that Jeong-suk is quitting the hospital because of her liver. When In-ho finds out, he’s crushed and realizes what a huge mistake he’s made with his life. Not only has Jeong-suk quit the hospital, he’s lost both women in his life and his awful demeanor prompts him to pull over by the side of the road and begin sobbing his heart out. I mean, this is 10 episodes too late mate! Anyway, I digress.
The next day at the hospital, In-ho speaks to Roy and learns the extent of her problems. She’s either suffering from acute liver failure or it’s transplant rejection. In fact, In-ho decides he’s going to offer his own liver for this in order to make up for the wrongdoings he’s caused. So now, Jeong-suk has two offers to help save her life. Jeong-suk refuses and tells him that the time for this has passed. He should have done it at the start of the season to show he really loves her. She tells him this is nobody’s fault, especially not his, and it’s just fate.
When In-ho leaves and preps for surgery, Roy shows up to check on her. She’s in a room overlooking the funeral wing and it’s helped her realize how precious life is and close she actually is to death. Seung-hi also shows at the door but is worried about going in. Thankfully, Jeong-suk decides to head out and meet her instead.
On the roof, Seung-hi tentatively Jeong-suk to get better and come back to work soon. In fact, Seung-hi even apologizes for what’s happened between them too. Jeong-suk ironically points out that had things not got awkward between them, they could actually have been good friends in another life. And in fact, she feels a bit sad about this. They’ve been through a lot and now, Jeong-suk is at peace with what’s happened. And she hopes Seung-hi can be too.
In the bathroom, In-ho begins to message Jeong-suk, apologizing for his behavior. However, he overhears Jung-min talking to his colleague about Roy and how he’d donate his liver to Jeong-suk. He’s livid and marches out the hospital and straight up to Roy at the motorcycle shop. Whilst there, Roy points out that this is Jeong-suk’s choice and not his, and besides, In-ho has been drinking a lot lately.
With the pair bickering, Jeong-suk shows up in her leather attire and is forced to pick one of them to be her donor. As she points forwards, seemingly between them, we end on an agonizing cliffhanger until tomorrow’s finale.
The Episode Review
This whole drama has really been about Jeong-suk finding herself and her own independence in life. It’s all about putting yourself first and making that a priority. It’s a beautifully empowering message and something the entire series has done really well to encapsulate. The fact that Jeong-suk could potentially reject both of these guys and decide to handle this herself would be the best way to show off that independence. And I have a feeling she’s probably pointing to a bike instead of the two men!
What’s particularly nice with this drama is how it’s been subverting tropes most of the way through, given a lot of us have billed this as a quickly romcom with Jeong-suk and Roy getting together. Instead, it’s really been more of a slice of life, depicting the trials and tribulations of the stigmatizing effect of divorce and then about finding yourself. And this chapter is ultimately about acceptance and forgiveness.
However, it’s hard to argue that this episode felt like more of a filler than it should. A lot of this chapter stalls for time and a lot of the subplots have been relegated to the backburner in favour of what’s happening with Jeong-suk. Hopefully the final episode knocks this one out the park and delivers an enthralling ending to this drama, which has otherwise been a solid watch.