Sometimes, the truth can hurt. Maybe it was something that you had no idea about or it was something that you sort of knew about all along but was just lying to yourself about. For Jeong-suk, she discovers the truth about her family after nearly losing her life. But it is the truth that finally sets Jeong-suk free and motivates her to finally live her truth.
Doctor Cha: Episode 2 Recap
The day of Jeong-suk’s liver transplant surgery is not as smooth and peaceful as it should have been. Jeong-suk overhears Mother-in-law preventing In-ho from signing the consent papers for the surgery while Seung-hi texts In-ho to also not give into the surgery. She even goes as far as to pray during church for the opportunity to live with In-ho. With In-ho no longer an option, Roy panics upon hearing the situation. But thankfully, he’s informed about a deceased patient whose compatibility ends up matching with Jeong-suk and that is how she ends up getting surgery. Jeong-suk’s surgery was a success..but at what cost?
Jeong-suk is discharged from the hospital and she packs her belongings out of her room. While doing so, In-ho asks her if she remembered what she told him after her surgery ended. Jeong-suk feigns ignorance and pretends as if she didn’t but it’s clear that she did. When she arrives back home, Mother-in-law and In-ho congratulate her with some flowers on a successful and safe surgery. Mother-in-law even hired someone to disinfect the entire house. Jeong-suk thanks Mother-in-law but there’s a dull and exhausting feeling about returning back home that Jeong-suk doesn’t enjoy. She returns to cooking breakfast for the family the next morning and the cycle resumes. In-ho complains about the coffee, Mother-in-law requests that Jeong-suk pick up her handbag at the department store for her and also to make some of her detox juice for her, Jung-min isn’t in the mood to eat breakfast, and I-rang wants a croissant instead of the toast that her mom made for her. Jeong-suk also runs off to grab I-rang’s mask for her and when she returns to the dining table, she suddenly realizes just how different things were for her. Jeong-suk internalizes,
The realization of my loneliness came out of the blue. My beautiful family that was so perfect and elegant. What was I to them?
Jeong-suk listens to another round of In-ho’s nagging before he leaves for work. She decides that she’s had enough and she heads to the department store to treat herself to some luxurious and expensive items. In-ho receives text messages at work about the money being deducted from his bank account and he grows frustrated at Jeong-suk. How could she be spending all his money? But Jeong-suk doesn’t care. She’s going to live her life however she wants now, especially after her near-death experience at the hospital. After shopping, Jeong-suk meets with Mi-hee for some lunch where she rants to her best friend about her life. She thought her life was perfect and that her life standards were great: her kids are smart, her husband is a doctor, she finished medical school. But Jeong-suk learned the hard way and finally understood that all of that was meaningless. Her experience with the surgery and the challenges in relying on her family proved that it all meant nothing.
Later on that night, Jeong-suk visits In-ho in his bedroom to grab him by his neck and complain to him about his incompetence and hypocrisy. He must have been happy when his mother stopped him from consenting to surgery huh? But it’s all just Jeong-suk’s imagination and in reality, she slaps him awake from his sleep. In-ho is frightened by the unexpected action and he jolts up in bed. Jeong-suk compares the slap to In-ho’s face similar to the wake-up call that she received with the surgery experience. In-ho assumes Jeong-suk’s strange behavior must be due to psychological changes from the surgery and that she should just focus on her recovery in the meantime. He doesn’t think too much about it but Jeong-suk has bigger plans.
And so Jeong-suk gets started on her plans. The next morning, the dining table is empty and Jeong-suk doesn’t make breakfast. Instead, she enjoys her cup of detox juice while seated at the dining table. The first one to approach Jeong-suk is I-rang who asks about breakfast but Jeong-suk answers that I-rang can just make some breakfast herself. In-ho is up next and he inquires about his cup of coffee but Jeong-suk refers him to the instant coffee he can drink instead. It’s Mother-in-law’s turn and she’s curious about her detox juice which she’ll have to make herself because Jeong-suk won’t make it for her. Oh and the face mask that Jeong-suk usually gets for I-rang? I-rang will have to get herself one as Jeong-suk heads out to have some breakfast with her mom. And so during breakfast, Mom expresses her anxiety and concern for Jeong-suk. No matter what, she will always be worried about her daughter but she’s also grateful that Jeong-suk’s alive and healthy. It’s time that Jeong-suk does what makes her happy and that she lives her life the way that she wants. So with that, Jeong-suk grows curious as to what it is that makes her happy. What did she like to do when she was younger? Mom answers that Jeong-suk always enjoyed studying and that she liked to learn things.
So while cleaning Jung-min’s bedroom, Jeong-suk comes across a resident mock exam book laying on his desk that she checks out. Just like Mom mentioned, Jeong-suk liked to study and it seems as if she still has it in her to study and answer questions. Now that Jeong-suk is focused on her recovery process, this also means more bonding time with Mi-hee. Before heading out for a date night with her best friend, Jeong-suk bids farewell with Mother-in-law. She has with her the same exact purse that Mother-in-law purchased at the department store. At first, Mother-in-law assumes that it must be a knock-off but upon further inspection, she discovers that it’s an authentic product exactly like the one she has. HAHA! How about that, Mother-in-law?
Jeong-suk hangs out with Mi-hee and together they chat about life while drinking some wine. Jeong-suk enjoys her new life and she seems pretty happy. She definitely would not have been behaving like this if In-ho had gone through with the surgery. In a way, it sort of seems like a blessing in disguise. Speaking of In-ho, he reunites with Seung-hi for dinner and he can’t quite understand Jeong-suk’s change in behavior. Mi-hee then goes on to remind Jeong-suk of Seung-hi, In-ho’s first love. They were a popular couple on campus back in college, but he left her to marry Jeong-suk. So just how exactly did Jeong-suk get pregnant with Jung-min?
Jeong-suk then brings it back to the day that she and In-ho had a little too much fun with each other. It was her second year in pre-med during winter break and they were with their classmates on a hiking trip. Unfortunately, Jeong-suk sprained her ankle and was accompanied by In-ho on the way back to their place. The owner of the accommodation turned up the heater so the room they were both in was incredibly hot. In-ho and Jeong-suk were sweaty, their bodies were burning, and their hormones were on fire. One thing led to another and that was how Jung-min was conceived. Seung-hi grew to hate In-ho after seeing him with a pregnant Jeong-suk in college. In the present, Mi-hee remains in disbelief that the three of them somehow finished medical school. Since it’s been twenty decades since Jeong-suk has thought about Seung-hi, she can’t help but wonder about how Seung-hi is doing.
But Jeong-suk doesn’t need to look too far because Seung-hi is busy meeting with In-ho and having dinner with him. Seung-hi grows insecure every time she’s with him and feels the need to endlessly question his love and loyalty to her. Though Jeong-suk is enjoying her new life, there’s still something that she wishes to do to relieve herself of this empty feeling. Mi-hee assumes it has something to do with meeting a man (AKA Roy who has a talent for rock climbing) but it’s something that’s more important to Jeong-suk: she wants to add her name to the house deed. Mi-hee agrees that it’s a great idea and Jeong-suk gathers the courage to address the concern to In-ho at his workplace.
So she visits him at the hospital and she gets straight to the point. She wants their house to be jointly owned. It’s another one of Jeong-suk’s actions that In-ho can’t understand and comprehend but he indirectly denies the request and comes up with an excuse. But Jeong-suk gives him another chance to think it through and she demands that he give her a final answer later on that night at home. Jeong-suk then pivots to visiting Jung-min at the hospital since he’s an intern there, but she retreats when she discovers him getting scolded by a female resident for sending a patient home. So much for wanting to visit Jung-min, haha. Instead, Jeong-suk receives a surprise visit at the hospital from none other than Roy! They exchange numbers so that Roy can send her the photos of her that she took when she was still at the hospital. Jeong-suk thanks Roy for operating on her surgery and she’s reminded of how great of a profession being a doctor is. After hearing such words, Roy encourages Jeong-suk to return to working again. He’s certain she would be great at it.
So with this encouragement, Jeong-suk revisits old photos, memories, and her white coat from the young days of when she used to be a resident. She even tries on the coat which fits her perfectly. Jeong-suk is inspired to explore the idea of returning to the workplace but her excitement is interrupted by a sudden conversation with In-ho. After consulting with his mother, he answers that he won’t be able to add Jeong-suk’s name to the house. His mom won’t allow the house to be jointly owned. Jeong-suk lets the idea of the house being jointly owned go but she then proposes another idea to In-ho: what if she applied for residency again? In-ho immediately discourages Jeong-suk from doing so. He comes up with a bunch of excuses and reasons as to why Jeong-suk shouldn’t pursue residency and it’s clear he doesn’t want her to do such a thing. But Jeong-suk won’t give up so easily. When asked what In-ho would do if she was to pass her exam, In-ho just simply gets up from his seat and encourages Jeong-suk to go to sleep. Ugh! In-ho, you!!
Jeong-suk joins her Mother-in-law for some lunch at a fancy restaurant. There, Mother-in-law informs Jeong-suk to her face about the decision to not add Jeong-suk to the house deed. Assets like houses should just be passed down from son to son in the family so Jeong-suk shouldn’t touch any of it. With that, Mother-in-law hands over the keys to a car that she offers for Jeong-suk to take. But Jeong-suk declines the offer and hands the keys back to Mother-in-law. She understood what Mother-in-law was trying to say.
Jeong-suk dedicates her time to studying and embarks on a journey to study for the resident assessment exam. With the help of mock exams and exam prep books, she studies for the next 100 days for the exam. Whether it’s on the bus or in her bedroom, Jeong-suk doesn’t waste any time and manages her time wisely and preciously. She takes the exam on D-DAY and waits anxiously for the results afterwards. After some waiting, Jeong-suk finally gains the courage to check her exam results and she eventually learns that she scored a 49 out of 50 on the exam. All that studying definitely paid off (and she even beat Jung-min who scored a 45 out of 50, haha). And so Jeong-suk proceeds to apply for residency. While working on the application, she considers the different departments she could apply to. Surgery might be a bit too much for her and pediatrics would definitely be too heartbreaking. So she decides to go with the same department that Seung-hi works in: family medicine. Oh ho ho.
While reviewing the applications, Seung-hi panics upon coming across Jeong-suk’s application and she immediately notifies In-ho about the news. What is his wife doing? How could she be doing such a thing? In-ho too is baffled and shocked by the news and now has another thing to take care of. He fails to reach her as Jeong-suk prepares for her residency interview at the same university hospital where In-ho works at. When she arrives at the lobby of the interview location, Jung-min grows shocked to find his mother also present. He briefly joins her and notes that she can’t be at the lobby. But to his surprise, Jeong-suk is also there for an interview like how he is. Haha. Though Jeong-suk is excited for her interview, the panelists are a lot more honest and straightforward. They’re worried about her health as she just underwent liver transplant surgery. Plus, she’s older than most residents which could cause an issue with the other residents who are much younger. So with that, Jeong-suk is unfortunately rejected for a spot in the department and she assumes it must be because of her age. Jeong-suk chats about it with Jung-min during dinner one night but immediately stops when In-ho arrives home. He suggests that Jeong-suk go on a vacation to clear her mind a little bit. It seems as if she’s still a bit exhausted from the surgery.
But it seems as if it’s In-ho who might need a vacation. He was initially informed by Seung-hi that Jeong-suk had gotten rejected after her interview and quietly celebrated the update in his bedroom upon finding out. However, he discovered something quite the opposite one day while walking around at work. He finds Jeong-suk following Seung-hi as a resident around the hospital and taking notes with other resident students. He immediately hides from being seen by either of them and begins to have trouble breathing. Just how exactly did Jeong-suk earn the opportunity to become a resident after initially being rejected?
Wow, don’t get me wrong. Episode one was great but after rewatching this episode, I think I might actually prefer episode two over episode one. A big part of it was how Jeong-suk rebelled and took the first few steps to start living for herself in this episode. It was just so satisfying watching her not make breakfast for her family or watching her treat herself to luxurious expensive items or to watch her spend more and more time with Mi-hee. She was able to do what she wanted to do without a worry in the world. She lived fearlessly and boldly and felt rejuvenated after what was 20 excruciating years of pain, routine, lots of complaining, and household chores. Jeong-suk was finally able to live her life the way she wanted to and deserved.
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