Doctor Cha: Episodes 7-8
It’s all about the affair this week as one person after another is drawn into the secret. What first seems like a series of reveals actually leads to a conspiratorial knot to bury the truth even deeper. As the kids get riled up over their cheating parents, our leading medical resident is kept in the dark. Luckily, she’s using the time to build her confidence at work and home — and possibly even in the love department.
You can tell we’ve reached midway when all the secrets start coming unwrapped. The major points this week circle around the responses of each of our characters as they come to learn about the affair between In-ho and Seung-hee — and about the existence of Eun-seo. The first to find out is Yi-rang, and it’s just a cascade from there.
First, a little backstory. Eun-seo has never had a relationship with her father, since In-ho was married to Jung-sook at the time she was conceived. Seung-hee raised Eun-seo in the U.S. for fifteen years and only brought her to Korea three years ago. Once they returned, In-ho and Seung-hee restarted their affair, but In-ho has never really gotten to know Eun-seo.
This bothers Seung-hee and she organizes a dinner for them all so In-ho can try to make conversation with his daughter. Eun-seo — angry at being abandoned while her father has a full life with his other kids — invites Yi-rang to the dinner. There, Yi-rang is surprised and confused to see In-ho, but Eun-seo spells out the truth quickly: “We’re half-sisters. Your dad is my dad.”
A couple of things happen from this scene. First, it lets Eun-seo get a jab in at both her parents. She’s upsetting In-ho’s life, sure, but she’s also making her mother feel inadequate for not upsetting his life sooner by revealing the truth herself.
The second outcome is that Yi-rang is hurt and furious. Up to this point, she’s been feeling some animosity toward her mom for going back to work. But in these episodes, we finally see Yi-rang get on Jung-sook’s side when In-ho refuses to let Yi-rang go to art school (she has to be a doctor!) and Jung-sook decides she’ll send Yi-rang to school herself.
This is a nice turnaround for their relationship because it shows Yi-rang that her mother doesn’t have to be in the house in order to support her. Now that Jung-sook’s a working woman, she gets thrifty and takes out a credit loan to pay for Yi-rang’s school.
So, when Yi-rang finds out that In-ho has another kid — one who’s Yi-rang’s same age no less — her first instinct is to protect her mother. For better or worse, Yi-rang decides this means they should all hide the affair from Jung-sook.
It does not mean they have to hide the affair from In-ho’s mother, though, who Yi-rang informs of the news by asking, “Halmeoni, why did you do such a poor job raising your son?” This leads to Ae-shim smacking In-ho around with a pillow and telling him how stupid he is. She may not have wanted him to give his liver to his wife, but she doesn’t want him stepping out on his wife either. So, we add another conspirator to the list of household liars.
Independently of all this madness, Jung-min finds out on his own about In-ho and Seung-hee when he sees them hugging in a hospital hallway. He asks his father directly if he’s having an affair and In-ho goes, “Did Yi-rang tell you?” *Smacks forehead* Jung-min is even more bothered to learn that his sister and grandmother already know about this and they all sit down for a meeting.
Yi-rang breaks the news to Jung-min that they have a half-sister (and he vomits, which seems like the right response) and they all agree that Jung-sook should never find out about any of this. But, Jung-min wants In-ho to end one of the relationships: either divorce Jung-sook or break up with Seung-hee. Oddly, he proposes that In-ho should wait until Jung-sook’s residency is finished in three years and then decide, and In-ho agrees to this plan.
Since this is such a great deal for In-ho, he doesn’t want anyone to let the cat out of the bag early. That means he has to have a talk with Dr. Kim — who is the only other person that knows about the affair, but is not a part of the coverup. Last week, we ended with Dr. Kim saying to Jung-sook that he has something important to tell her. But that conversation never happens because it’s interrupted by Ae-shim.
Even though Dr. Kim seems conflicted about whether or not to tell Jung-sook the truth, it makes In-ho squirm just to know he knows (finally! The squirming!). So, In-ho tells Dr. Kim that he’ll make a choice and end one of the relationships (in three years), but Jung-sook doesn’t need to know about it in the interim.
From Dr. Kim’s perspective, he’s got In-ho on one side, telling him to keep quiet, and Seung-hee on the other, telling him to go ahead and tell Jung-sook. She’s been trying to nudge him since before Eun-seo spilled the beans to Yi-rang. Basically, Seung-hee doesn’t have the guts to do it herself (which is why Eun-seo’s truth-telling felt like a jab), but she also wants Jung-sook to find out somehow. I guess her plan is to snatch up In-ho when things fall apart.
As it turns out, Dr. Kim doesn’t have to make a choice because Jung-sook discovers the wonderful world of social media and finds out on her own. She sees Seung-hee’s account, where she’s posted photos of all her trips, and realizes that In-ho had “conferences” and “seminars” in all the same places at the same time. She even figures out that when she was in the hospital with liver failure, In-ho was not at an important conference like he said, but was on vacation with Seung-hee.
Poor Jung-sook has all these realizations come crashing down on her and starts crying, shivering, and shaking — all while still at work, which is just the worst. Well, almost the worst — it’s also her birthday. She’s scheduled to have a fancy dinner at a nice hotel with her family, which they’ve organized because, now that they’re so disappointed with In-ho, they’re finally treating Jung-sook right.
We end with quite a cliffhanger this week, as Jung-sook, dressed to the nines, enters the restaurant looking like she’s got something to say. Behind her, Seung-hee is also approaching with a look of determination. In-ho spots Seung-hee and gets nervous, and there’s tension on all three sides.
Before we end, I’ve got to talk about the other big secret that Jung-sook learns this week, which is that Jung-min is dating So-ra. To tell the truth, So-ra and Jung-min are my favorites in this show, individually and together. I like how bossy she is and how much he likes her bossiness. But I dislike how traditional Jung-sook has been, not wanting her son to take orders at work from a woman.
So, when Jung-sook finds a man’s watch and boxer shorts strewn around So-ra’s apartment — and then realizes they belong to her son — I was in stitches. First, she feels faint thinking about having So-ra’s tough attitude in her house as a daughter-in-law. But then, she admits that her real problem is that So-ra is correct in thinking that times have changed and gender roles are not fixed.
We did a lot of setting up this week to get us to what I imagine is going to be high fun next week. Most of the time we spent with our heroine in these episodes focused on all the little changes that she’s going through. She’s taking on more authority at home (paying for Yi-rang’s art school and telling In-ho she’ll take care it) and at work (standing up for herself when she’s right). She’s gaining confidence all around and this last straw with In-ho might be the push she needs to go full force.
I have a feeling all that confidence is going to culminate in more screen time for Dr. Kim as well. This week we saw her get the idea that he might like her (the hug helped!), but she still thinks she’s past the point of anyone being interested in her. I’m really looking forward to seeing her use this explosive information about her husband as an opportunity to take even more risks — adding her self-image to the list of areas she’s more confident in.