Episode 3 of Doctor Cha begins with Jeong-Suk’s devastating meeting with the faculty board, who all tell her that she’s way too old to be part of the medical team. She more than holds her own, pointing out the life experiences she has and how she’s been through a lot. As a result, she’s super determined and courageous, which does change the opinion for some of the men in the room.
When Jeong-suk leaves, her son is there of course, and he takes her aside. He’s surprised to see his mum there and even taken aback when he learns she scored 49/50, a higher score than his 45. Jeong-suk admits that she’s doing all of this on the fly and not bothering telling In-ho, waving it away and claiming that she’s be able to deal with this herself.
Before she leaves, she also drops by Seung-hi’s office, acting polite and deciding she should help if Jeong-suk starts working there. Seung-hi scoffs, especially when In-ho doesn’t know about her application, but she bites back and points out that In-ho hasn’t mentioned her working there either. As we know, Seung-hi is In-ho’s first love that we saw more of in the previous episode.
The blanks are filled in for our protagonist though, as after the rejection, In-ho’s dancing, and Yeong-suk’s glum demeanour, she looks set to leave on a trip away. However, she’s also uncomfortable about the thought of not getting in at Gusan University Hospital, especially given Seung-hi is there. It’s a great hospital, has plenty of opportunities, plenty of patients to take care of… and plenty of opportunities to spy on her husband.
While she talks to her friend, Jeong-suk gets the fateful call that she’s been accepted and she cancels her trip away. This catches us up to Jeong-suk beginning her time in hospital, but immeditatley she’s regarded with respect by the other interns, believing that she’s a professor. It’s also immediately clear that she’s not “down with the kids” as she uses the word vibe.
After seeing his wife, In-ho heads down to the emergency room and gets hooked up to an IV drip to try and regain his composure. However, Seung-hi is also shocked too, given she had no idea that Jeong-suk would be accepted. She even nearly fainted before sending her round to the wards!
Seung-hi wants her lover to sort this out, so In-ho naturally heads over to see Doctor Roy Park, realizing that he’s now going to be working at their branch. In-ho decides to use him as a weapon to dissuade Jeong-suk out of working there. He refuses, and instead takes on a much more caring attitude, deciding that he will try and care for her, checking up on her regularly “as a doctor”. He’s also surprised as to why In-ho wants to keep Jeong-suk being his wife a secret too. He claims it’s all a “bullying tactic” to get back at him, as others will use her as a weapon, but Roy is not impressed, nor is he convinced.
Roy makes a good first impression with everyone – especially the ladies, who gush over his good looks. He does the rounds and starts looking in different rooms, but he won’t find Seung-hi, given she’s outside on the balcony speaking to Chief Lim about Jeong-suk’s hiring.
Another doctor races in and interrupts them though. Second year Dr Baek is having a baby, she’s pregnant and is quitting the hospital. As a result, there’s an opening and Seung-hi, of all people, decides that Jeong-suk should be the replacement. Fantastic! Only… there’s a problem. It turns out In-ho and her son, Jung-min, are both in this department too. She pretends like she doesn’t know either of them when she shows up, but In-ho struggles to keep the scowl from his face.
Jung-min sits with his mum at lunch, and he’s concerned about her physical capabilities, not to mention her stamina. He does give her some encouraging words of wisdom though and helps her get through the whole day. As she yawns on her way out late at night, she runs into Roy. The pair sit together and Roy immediately asks her when she’s going to get a divorce. The man is not beating around the bush but Jeong-suk waves it away, claiming that divorcing takes 100 times more courage and guts than marrying. He also teases her when he mentions to Jeong-suk that he’s been adopted. As she pries, he tells her he’s not going to tell her whether this is true or not. But if it wasn’t already, he absolutely has the hots for her.
Unfortunately, Jeong-suk’s day hasn’t ended when she gets home. Struggling to stay awake, Jeong-suk is reprimanded by Ae-sim (her mother-in-law) who points out that I-rang had to *gasp* get a taxi home! I-rang is generally bratty about all this, until Jeong-suk spills her guts and points out how much she’s sacrificed for the kids, trying to give her the absolute best. I-rang is having none of it and heads into her room, talking to Eun-soo, her friend, on the phonr. And guess who Eun-soo’s mum is? Yep, it’s Seung-hi.
After all this, In-ho turns on the light and questions what his wife is doing and why she’s working so hard to be doctor. Jeong-suk wonders why he’s trying to stop her from accomplishing her dream, and questions whether there might be another reason why he’s stopping her. This is enough for him to cave, and allows her to do whatever she wants.
In the morning, Jeong-suk is late and ends up hitching a taxi to work. She scrambles through the front door and In-ho tries to shut the elevator doors on his wife. That is, until Roy shows up and puts his foot in the door and stops that from occurring. That’s enough for Jeong-suk to pay little attention to In-ho and flirt with Roy right in front of him.
In-ho decides to completely chew Jeong-suk out infront of all the other doctors, asking her questions she doesn’t know. Jung-min also doesn’t know some questions, and when he’s grilled by his superior, Doctor Jeon So-ra, Jeong-suk offers him an encouraging hand. Only, she spots it from afar and wonders what the pair might be up to.
At the same time, In-ho decides to lean into allowing Jeong-suk in his department but in return, he’s going to make her life a misery and force her to quit. He tells Seung-hi as much before meeting with the Chief. He’s got big news. He’s decided that they should do a big group dinner to welcome the newbies into the team. However, this would also mean Roy and In-ho at the same dinner with Jeong-suk too.
Everyone is in the lobby waiting, including Jeong-suk too, and they all head out for dinner. In-ho puts on his game face with Jeung-suk as they head out. At the same time, Jeong-suk and In-ho’s mums have dinner together, with Deok-rye throwing sly digs at Ae-sim, including her Botox shots. However, Ae-rim’s real intention here is to strike a united front against Jeong-suk, but it’s definitely not going to work. In fact, Deok-rye points out how selfish Ae-rim actually is and really, that she only cares about In-ho, not the wellbeing of her daughter. She tells Ae-rim to do nothing at all and puts the woman right in her place.
Meanwhile, In-ho is sucking on a lemon as he sits and watches Jeong-suk having her drinks and flirting with Roy. When the subject of In-ho giving his liver to his wife is brought up, including how courageous he is for doing this, Roy, Jung-min and Jeong-sik are all shocked. The latter is especially surprised given she bursts out laughing. In-ho takes Jung-min aside and tells Jung-min to take Jeong-suk home, but although his initial reaction is to go mental, he composes himself enough to ask it calmly.
When Jung-min sits with her, Dr Jeon speaks up and demands he begin grilling meat. However, Jeong-suk speaks up and almost calls him “my son”. She manages the word “my” but Jung-min rushes over and starts grilling,
The Chief then turns to Jeong-suk and asks what her husband does for a job. “He’s dead,” She says in reply, prompting In-ho to spit his drink out everywhere in shock. Jung-min burns his hand on the grill, prompting Jeong-suk to speak up and call him by his full name rather than doctor.
The Episode Review
What a hilariously calamitous ending to what’s shaping up to be a really, really good K-drama. The balance between humour and drama is spot on and although one could point to some of the editing, especially the way this cuts back and forth between the two dinners in a rather uneven manner, not to mention the repeated segments during the opening, the episode itself is great fun from start to finish.
The show has a really stacked cast of characters too, and there’s a vibrancy to this drama that makes it such an enjoyable watch. All the characters serve a specific purpose too, and seeing I-rang, Jeong-suk’s daughter, being friends with Seung-hi’s daughter, is going to cause all sorts of problems going forward.
If this is a taste of what’s to come over the weeks, I am all in for this wild ride. Can tomorrow’s episode hurry up please?