Doctor Cha: Episode 3 Recap

It’s never too late to achieve your dreams. Jeong-suk is quite familiar with this saying as she embarks on her personal journey to professional growth and development. Despite all odds being against her, she rises up to the challenge and challenges herself and everyone else in pursuing her goals.

Doctor Cha: Episode 3 Recap

The episode starts off with Jeong-suk’s residency interview for a spot in the family medicine department at Gusan University Hospital. She explains that her desire to become a doctor started again after being a housewife of 20 years and after experiencing her liver transplant surgery. She hopes to be accepted into the program so that she can live out her dreams and hopes of becoming a doctor. After her interview, Jeong-suk privately chats with Jung-min who’s worried about his mom. They assume In-ho has no idea about the interview and Jung-min’s also concerned about his mom’s health. But Jeong-suk isn’t too worried about it; they’ll cross that bridge when they get there.

Jeong-suk then makes a visit to Seung-hi’s office who she discovered worked at the same hospital as In-ho after seeing her name listed on the hospital’s website. They briefly chat and Jeong-suk asks for Seung-hi’s help and assistance with the residency process. She’ll do her best to get in and succeed in the program. But Seung-hi has something more pressing on her mind and she’s curious as to whether In-ho is aware of Jeong-suk’s actions. Jeong-suk requests for Seung-hi to keep things a secret from In-ho. Jeong-suk herself was never informed by In-ho that he worked at the same hospital as Seung-hi. Later on that night, Seung-hi and In-ho have dinner and discuss about Jeong-suk. They’re in disbelief that she went through with her words and applied for residency.

Jeong-suk eventually learns that she was not accepted into the family medicine program for the residency and she assumes it must be because of her age. As suggested by In-ho, Jeong-suk heads out for a trip with Mi-hee but she isn’t feeling so great. She would much rather be working as a resident than going on a trip abroad. Plus, she doesn’t feel all that great that Seung-hi works at the same hospital as In-ho. She feels offended in a way. But wait, just when Jeong-suk loses hope, she receives an unexpected phone call from Gusan University Hospital. Jeong-suk’s wish of becoming a resident comes true and she turns down the trip. She’s been accepted as a resident into the family medicine department after one of the accepted residents dropped out. Woo hoo!

And so Jeong-suk excitedly attends her first day of residency. Other residents mistaken her to be a professor since she looks older but her two classmates – Lee Do-gyeom and Moon Chae-yoon – who are much younger than her don’t treat her any differently than others might. There’s an obvious generation gap between Jeong-suk and the two residents: the work hours were way longer back then for Jeong-suk and her slang is a bit.. outdated. Haha. Just then, the trio are introduced to the Chief of the Family Medicine department, Chief Lim, as well as.. Seung-hi. Since Seung-hi was away from work for a few days, she was unaware about Jeong-suk’s acceptance into the program until that moment. She’s so shocked she texts In-ho about the news and they meet to brainstorm their next moves. Seung-hi overreacts and she wants In-ho to do something about it right away. She won’t be able to wait long.

So In-ho heads back to his office and attempts to get in contact with Jeong-suk. But he receives an email about the hire of a new doctor so he goes to visit the doctor. It’s none other than our favorite, Dr. Roy Kim, who’s been hired to work in the Surgery department at the same university hospital. Hahaha. I love it! Upon seeing Roy, In-ho pretends as if they’re strangers so Roy plays along with In-ho. But there’s a reason for In-ho’s strange behavior. After being left alone in the Chief’s office, In-ho requests that Roy help him persuade Jeong-suk to give up her residency. But Roy has no interest in doing such a thing; he’s actually quite happy to see Jeong-suk pursue her dreams and goals. So with that idea out of the window, In-ho then moves on to his next request: he pleads that Roy keep his relationship with Jeong-suk a secret from everyone. He doesn’t want anyone to know that he and Jeong-suk are married. Roy reluctantly agrees to the request. The two are clearly competitive with each other now that they’re in the same department.

First day of residency isn’t the easiest for Jeong-suk. She has trouble following and understanding Seung-hi’s medical terminology and she’s scheduled to meet with her first patient. He’s an older man who prefers to be referred to as Chairman Oh and he at first mistakens her to be a professor like many others did. But Jeong-suk clarifies that she’s actually just a first-year resident before briefing him on the procedure that he’ll be undergoing later on that day. Chairman Oh isn’t so happy that a first-year medical resident is meeting with him but he brushes it off. This will have to do for now.

Roy is quite the popular guy at work for his handsome looks but there’s someone else who he’s interested in. He peeks inside of the meeting room where the Family Medicine residents gather but Jeong-suk isn’t located inside. Instead, Jeong-suk is busy being introduced to In-ho and Jung-min as the newest resident of the Surgery department. Hahaha. One of the original residents quit and so the Family Medicine transferred Jeong-suk over to the Surgery department (ahhh, I’m screaming!). It’s quite the awkward moment for the family trio but they pretend as if they’ve never met before and Jung-min and In-ho have to pretend as if everything is fine. Second-year resident, Jeon So-ra, reassures In-ho that she’ll keep Jeong-suk under control and shows her around afterwards. This is great!

And so it’s a busy day as a new resident in the Surgery department. Jeong-suk encounters various types of patients and cases and it’s a lot for her to handle. It also doesn’t help when In-ho pulls her to the side and complains about her actions. How could she be a resident without telling him her plans? She should just stay at home and be a housewife. But this is Jeong-suk’s way of building a different future for herself and she’s content with her decision. Plus, they shouldn’t be seen together if In-ho doesn’t want anyone to know about their relationship. So with that, she joins Jung-min for some lunch who’s still worried about his mother. But Jeong-suk reassures him once again not to worry. This is the strongest she’s felt. 

Jeong-suk and Roy finally meet again and they sit down at the library to have a chat. She asks Roy of the same request that In-ho already made clear: to not tell anyone about her familial relationship with In-ho and Jung-min. But Roy is already well aware of the situation and so it’s his turn to ask Jeong-suk a question: when does she plan on divorcing In-ho? LOL (Roy is asking the real questions here!). Even though he jokes that he was just joking, the question is valid. But Jeong-suk doesn’t have any plans of divorcing In-ho; it’s a difficult decision and it takes much more courage to divorce someone than to get married to them. Roy also shares with Jeong-suk one of his secrets: he was adopted as a child. But he doesn’t expand any further and even jokes around that it may or may not be the truth.

Jeong-suk is so worn out after a long day of work that she falls asleep on the taxi ride back home while on the phone with supportive best friend Mi-hee. But the rest for Jeong-suk will have to wait just a little bit later when Mother-in-law nags at Jeong-suk for neglecting I-rang and the house. Plus, it’s not so great for In-ho and Jung-min who might feel uncomfortable at work with Jeong-suk around. It’s I-rang’s turn to complain to Jeong-suk and she feels as if Jeong-suk isn’t supportive enough of her. She’s a senior in high school and college exams are just right around the corner. Why isn’t Jeong-suk paying just as much attention to her and helping her prepare for college? But Jeong-suk reasons that she’s done enough for both her and Jung-min and that they can also work to find their own way around. I-rang is irritated and frustrated with her mom and she marches to her bedroom to text her friend, Eun-seo. It turns out that Eun-seo is Seung-hi’s daughter and Seung-hi checks in with her daughter at home. After some small talk, she invites Eun-seo out for some snacks but Eun-seo doesn’t feel all that fondly about her own mother.

Jeong-suk finally lays on her bed but it’s In-ho’s turn to complain to Jeong-suk (sheesh, people! Just leave her alone!). In-ho is still not on board with Jeong-suk’s decision to be a resident and to work at the hospital but Jeong-suk has no plans to give it up. She’s always wanted to become a doctor after she gave up her dreams at a young age to take care of the kids and she’s confident that she can succeed. Is there possibly another reason as to why In-ho is so adamant on stopping Jeong-suk? (OHHHH!). The question compels In-ho to give in to Jeong-suk but he sets clear expectations and boundaries with her. She is to not ask him for help or special treatment and they are to remain as complete strangers at the hospital. Jeong-suk is content with In-ho’s response. That’s what she was expecting and wanted anyways.

In-ho stays true to his words and doesn’t budge when Jeong-suk asks for him to drop her off at work the next morning since she’s running late. Since he doesn’t help, Jeong-suk finds her own way to work and she rushes towards an elevator with already arrived In-ho inside. He purposely closes the doors on her but thankfully there’s someone much kinder who stops the door from closing. It’s none other than Roy and he keeps the elevator doors open with his foot so that he and Jeong-suk can join In-ho inside the elevator. Roy then takes the opportunity to remind Jeong-suk about a check-up appointment since they now work at the same hospital and it’ll be easier to meet. They exit the elevator together while In-ho goes on his own way.

In-ho targets Jeong-suk at work in front of the rest of the residents during a patient briefing. Jung-min begins the conversation but it’s In-ho who quizzes Jeong-suk on her knowledge of certain medical terminology. Since Jeong-suk isn’t too familiar just yet with certain terms and definitions, In-ho feels as if his end goal of embarrassing Jeong-suk is done and he walks away. Jung-min receives a scolding himself by So-ra which Jeong-suk overhears not too far away. When So-ra finishes, she walks out of the room while Jeong-suk goes in to comfort her son. So-ra turns around to grab something when she discovers Jeong-suk slightly patting Jung-min’s behind. She’s shocked at the sight and grows suspicious of the two, lol. Jeong-suk isn’t the biggest fan of So-ra especially with how harsh and brutal she’s been towards Jung-min.

In-ho and Seung-hi continue to have conversations about what to do with Jeong-suk. They assume Jeong-suk will eventually give up and not finish her 3-year residency but there’s also no other options they have except to just wait and hope. Chief of the Surgery Department, Chief Yoon, suggests to Roy and In-ho that they have a team dinner that night with the rest of the residents. Roy is all in while In-ho is quite reluctant. But it’s too late to back out and he has no choice but to join. Everyone gathers in the lobby and head out to the restaurant together as a group. At the team dinner, we learn that So-ra is an expert at mixing drinks and making soju bombs and Jeong-suk herself is a good drinker. She and Roy chat with each other since they’re seated next to each other and In-ho watches nearby.

Jeong-suk’s mom and Mother-in-law meet to have dinner of their own. It doesn’t take long for Mom to figure out Mother-in-law’s intentions in getting dinner: Mother-in-law brings up Jeong-suk’s work situation. She lies that she’s worried for Jeong-suk returning to the workforce and the exhaustion Jeong-suk will face for the next 3 years but Mom doesn’t buy any of it. Mom knows that Mother-in-law doesn’t want Jeong-suk to work at the hospital in fear that she’ll cause In-ho trouble. She doesn’t want Jeong-suk to interfere and ruin his future, but Mom advocates for her daughter. Jeong-suk was actually smarter than In-ho and had better grades than him prior to dropping out. She also warns Mother-in-law to stay out of Jeong-suk’s business and to not do anything. Oh ho ho, you’ve been warned Mother-in-law!

Back at the team dinner, In-ho’s reputation as a kind and warm husband is brought up around the table. He receives praise and compliments for being an adequate drinker and for volunteering to donate his liver to his wife. Jeong-suk overhears the conversation and she bursts out into laughter as a result. In-ho? Giving his liver to his wife? Everyone else looks at Jeong-suk weirdly except for Roy who tries his best to hold his laughter in (hahah, I love Roy!). She keeps laughing and laughing so In-ho pulls Jung-min outside to have a brief chat. He asks for Jung-min to take Jeong-suk home. In-ho feigns concern for her health and worries that drinking might not be healthy for her liver. But Jung-min notices just how happy his mom seems to be in a social environment again after a long time and he vows to look after her. So with that, Jung-min and In-ho return inside the restaurant and Jung-min sits next to his mom to give him some water. So-ra’s bothered by the sight of Jung-min and Jeong-suk together and demands that Jung-min grill some meat for them to eat.

So with that, it’s Jeong-suk’s turn to be questioned about her husband thanks to Chief Yoon who’s curious about her life. She was a housewife for 20 years so her family must have been well-off. What exactly is it that her husband does for a living? Jeong-suk takes a few seconds to think about her response and then answers that well.. he’s dead (OMG LOL). In-ho spits out the alcohol in his mouth upon hearing the answer and Jung-min accidentally burns himself as a result. Jeong-suk jumps up in concern for Jung-min while informally shouting out his name in front of everyone. Everyone’s eyes are glued onto Jeong-suk and they’re uncertain as to how to react. Jeong-suk herself isn’t sure what to do or say next.

My Thoughts:

This episode was so so fun and it was definitely my favorite episode so far into the drama. Episodes one and two did a great job in providing context about Jeong-suk’s life and her reasoning for pursuing residency. It was easy to buy into her story and to root for her as a character. Therefore, it was fun to watch this episode which then focused on her transition back into the workplace as a medical resident. There were so many good themes and ideas introduced throughout this episode that are relevant in all types of work environments and places today. I could definitely sympathize with Jeong-suk as she tried her best to navigate the complicated and complex situations that she was thrown into.

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