Live Up to Your Name: Episode 12
Out of the frying pan and into the fire, as the saying goes. After narrowly escaping the dangers of the invading Japanese army and finding themselves once again in mortal peril, this time at the hands of a local foe, Im and Yeon-kyung are thrown for one more loop when Im is once again launched into the future. These two just can’t seem to catch a break, but with their determination, they’ll always find a way back to each other.
EPISODE 12 RECAP
Confronted with the minister of war and his goons, Im is fatally stabbed in the back. In an attempt to reach him, Yeon-kyung breaks free from the men holding her, only to then be slashed across her/> back. She falls to the ground just out of Im’s reach, and a second later, Im is gone…
…But Yeon-kyung remains, her hand outstretched toward the straw hat he left behind.
In the middle of a street in Seoul, a disoriented Im comes to. Knowing that he needs to return immediately, he runs into the path of an oncoming car, but it swerves just in time. The enraged driver steps out to berate Im, but draws back when the latter faints.
Back in Joseon, the shaken minister of war decides to skedaddle, leaving Yeon-kyung for dead. Jin-oh, who had been watching nearby, rushes forward to her aid just as Im is rushed into a hospital in the present day. Doctors attempt to examine him, but Im wakes up again and leaps from the bed. Snatching a scalpel from a nearby tray, he attempts to pierce his heart as the doctors do their best to subdue him.
Meanwhile, Jin-oh is bent over Yeon-kyung when Mak-gae arrives with Heo Jun’s guard. The guard announces that a doctor is waiting, and he needs to take Yeon-kyung. Jin-oh protests that he’s her doctor and nods to his own men, who draw their swords as they advance on the lone guard.
We cut back to Seoul, where Jae-ha has arrived at the hospital in search of Yeon-kyung after hearing of Im’s accident. A nurse informs Jae-ha that Im was found alone, and he grimaces to learn that Im’s “guardian” (aka Jae-ha’s grandfather, Director Ma) is on his way.
Sliding the curtains shut around them, Jae-ha shakes Im awake, demanding to know where Yeon-kyung is. Im attempts to sit up, but he’s been tethered to the bed after his suicidal episode. In a raspy voice, Im manages to tell Jae-ha that Yeon-kyung is in danger and begs to be untied so he can go to her. Jae-ha is unwilling, preferring to fetch her himself, but Im continues to plead earnestly.
Relenting, Jae-ha cuts the bindings, and Im whips out his needle case. He selects the biggest one and, to Jae-ha’s horror, jams it into his chest and through his heart. Moments later, Director Ma arrives and draws back the curtain to reveal his stunned grandson and an empty hospital bed.
Having successfully gone back to Joseon, Im rushes through the streets of Hanyang in search of Yeon-kyung, but all he finds is the bloodstain she left behind. Distraught, he calls out for her, but he’s all alone.
Meanwhile, Yeon-kyung’s wound has already been treated, and she awakens to find herself in a fine room. Beside her, little Yeon-yi waits quietly until Yeon-kyung asks who she is. Yeon-yi tells her that they’ve met before, and Yeon-kyung flashes back to her first trip to Joseon, when she’d collided with the girl in the street. She asks Yeon-yi’s name, and the girl smiles when Yeon-kyung says that it’s pretty.
Outside, Im continues to run frantically through the abandoned streets, calling for Yeon-kyung until he’s startled by the appearance of another man. It’s Heo Jun’s guard, and he tells Im to follow him.
Heo Jun checks on Yeon-kyung, warmly asking if she feels all right now. Smiling, Yeon-kyung says that she remembers him from her childhood. Returning the smile, Heo Jun recounts to her that 20 years ago, he was an arrogant young doctor that had failed to save a girl he could have saved.
Wracked with guilt, he had attempted to take his life and had found himself in the middle of a road in Seoul. Hearing the cries of a child, he had turned to discover little Yeon-kyung weeping over her father’s body and had caught her when she fainted. Taking it as a second chance, Heo Jun had nursed Yeon-kyung back to health.
Unfortunately, as Heo Jun tells her now, he was only able to heal half of her, since the trauma of the incident caused Yeon-kyung to block out the memories of it. At the time, Heo Jun had believed it was for the best and that someday—when she was old enough to deal with it; when she met someone who could help her heal—she would remember.
Heo Jun: “I could not finish treating you, but that person could finish it, I thought. By saving your life at that time, I could find my way to be a doctor. Have you met that someone yet?”
Smiling, Yeon-kyung confirms that she has, just as the man in question comes barreling into the courtyard while calling her name. Bursting into the room, Im bypasses Heo Jun and makes a beeline for Yeon-kyung. Both of them teary, Yeon-kyung assures Im she’s okay while he apologizes profusely for (unwillingly) leaving her behind. With a look of satisfaction, Heo Jun makes a tactful exit.
Pulling Yeon-kyung into his embrace, Im promises to never leave her alone again.
Their tearful reunion over, Yeon-kyung and Im bid their goodbyes to Heo Jun. As the gate door closes behind the duo, Mak-gae asks Heo Jun when Im will return. A flashback reveals a conversation between Heo Jun and Im earlier in the evening: Im thanked Heo Jun for treating Yeon-kyung, but firmly reminded him that he still held a grudge. Heo Jun agreed that they had unfinished business, but Im was intent on leaving it all in the past, even the memories. Heo Jun cryptically agreed that it is Im’s choice and that forgetting might be best… if he could.
Now, Heo Jun remains silent as Mak-gae vows to wait for Im. Seeing Yeon-yi step out on the porch, Mak-gae wonders aloud why Heo Jun didn’t tell Im about her, since he would’ve been glad to know she lived. Heo Jun agrees, but says the now is not the time.
Worried, Mak-gae points out that Yeon-yi is barely holding on thanks to Heo Jun’s medicine, but Heo Jun cuts her off and says that it is not due to his medicine, but Yeon-yi’s own will. He muses, “Her waiting heart… is helping her hold out like that.”
Back in Seoul, Im carries Yeon-kyung through the hospital, shouting at the top of his lungs that there is an emergency patient. Embarrassed, Yeon-kyung does her best to quiet him, but to no avail. They get into a treatment room soon enough, and the attending doctor asks if Im is Yeon-kyung’s boyfriend. Im vehemently denies it, but makes sure to add a coy “yet,” which makes Yeon-kyung grin. Hee.
The doctor is appalled when she pulls back Yeon-kyung’s bandage to find strange herbs dressing the wound, and Im’s explanation of their uses doesn’t help, even as he snorts that Heo Jun did a good job. Attempting to sew up the wound, the doctor grows exceedingly exasperated as Im fusses at her to be careful so as not to hurt Yeon-kyung. The doctor snaps that she did use anesthetic, but Im implores her to be careful anyway… just in case.
Trying to mediate the tension, Yeon-kyung asks Im to wait outside, which the doctor readily agrees to. Im promises instead to be quiet, but when Yeon-kyung lets out a light “ouch,” Im looks about ready to hit the doctor, ha.
Afterward, in her hospital room, Im checks Yeon-kyung’s pulse. As we flash over the times he had done so previously, he tells her, “I knew it the moment I felt your pulse. You are the woman… who has the same pulse as mine.” Im goes on to say that they have similar wounds and each grew up to be the doctor that they are now, but Yeon-kyung disagrees. She says that they’re just doctors who are walking the same path to treat and save people.
When Grandpa arrives a little while later, the first thing he does is smack Im for making him worry. Im apologizes before slinking outside to leave the two to talk. Grandpa asks if she’s okay, but rather than answer, Yeon-kyung tells him that she knows he’s aware of Im’s identity and origin. With a cough, Grandpa looks away, and Yeon-kyung presents a letter from Heo Jun. Then she clears the air and apologizes for being harsh the other day, her eyes glistening with tears.
In the hallway afterward, Im wonders why Grandpa didn’t tell him anything, but Grandpa retorts that it wouldn’t have changed anything even if he had. Im muses that it was weird how easily Grandpa took him in and even let him do acupuncture without a certificate, though he asks how Grandpa knew in the first place. Grandpa says it was the needle container and explains that he’d seen it before, 20 years ago.
Shocked, Im realizes that Heo Jun had come before him using that same needle case. Suddenly filled with questions, he asks Grandpa what it is and why it came to him, but Grandpa waves him off and says that it’s for Im to figure out on his own. However, he’s to leave Yeon-kyung out of it. “Go by yourself if you have to!” Grandpa snaps before leaving Im to his thoughts.
Later that night, Grandpa reads the letter Yeon-kyung brought from Heo Jun—in it, Heo Jun references something he told Grandpa before he left. We don’t get to hear what it was, but Heo Jun says that Yeon-kyung is a strong child and will overcome it. Grandpa now understands why Im came and hopes that Yeon-kyung will handle it well “when the time comes.”
The next morning, Nurse Jung finds Im and Yeon-kyung snuggling in bed together while making her rounds. Yeon-kyung snaps awake and shoves Im off, throwing the blanket over him as she awkwardly asks what he was doing.
Half-asleep, Im retorts that she had asked him to come up. Laughing nervously, Yeon-kyung denies it even as Im insists that had wanted him to hug her because she was cold, and finally, Nurse Jung escapes back into the hallway despite Yeon-kyung’s protests.
Breakfast is served, and Im eyes Yeon-kyung’s food hungrily. She offers some to him, and even though he says that he’s unsure about eating a patient’s meal, he doesn’t hesitate to dig in when Yeon-kyung hand feeds him.
Later, when the exhausted Im starts to doze off, Yeon-kyung snaps him back awake by faking back pain. It backfires a bit when Im immediately shouts for Nurse Jung, who comes barreling in at full speed. Yeon-kyung assures her she’s okay, but when the door closes, she tries again, and Im just calls for Nurse Jung again. Ha.
Finally, Yeon-kyung tells Im he can go. “Don’t you need to go to work?” she asks. Pointing out that she had been asking him to quit, Im says he’ll stay until she recovers. Pleased by his enthusiasm to do all he can for her, she bargains that he should at least clean up, change his clothes, and get a little rest. After ensuring that he can come back after completing her tasks, Im happily rushes off.
Back in his ritzy apartment with all his ill-begotten swag, Im thinks back to his treasure trove in Joseon, of Heo Jun and Grandpa both asking if it made him happy, and finally, he thinks of Yeon-kyung when she said that she wanted to remember his true self in her heart.
Just then, Director Ma calls and Im’s mouth quirks into a half-smile, but he doesn’t answer.
In his office, Jae-ha pulls out the sneakily taken photos of Im and Director Ma in front of the various chaebol homes they visited. He looks up when Im enters and immediately asks where Yeon-kyung is. Im tells him she’s at the hospital after receiving an injury and thanks him for helping the day before, but Jae-ha throws out that he didn’t do it for Im before disappearing through the door. Before leaving, Im spots the pictures on Jae-ha’s desk and sighs.
Yeon-kyung discovers Jae-ha waiting for her in her hospital room and assures him that she’s perfectly fine, downplaying her injury as a poke from a sharp tree branch. She makes him sit down next to her and tries to bring up her and Im’s previous vanishing act he’d witnessed, but he dismisses it. She switches tactics and mentions hearing about how he’d helped Im yesterday, but he comments that she suddenly feels very distant.
Laughing, Yeon-kyung says that that’s ridiculous since he’s the closest thing she has to a sibling, unknowingly driving a stake through his heart. (Poor baby.) He wonders aloud what he should do about Im, and her.
Im meets with Director Ma and asks what the relationship is between Director Ma, Grandpa, and Heo Jun. Flustered, Director Ma snaps that he doesn’t need to know before he goes on to list all the things he’s done for Im, not-so-subtly telling Im to toe the line. Im slaps on a smile and agrees that Director Ma has done a lot, but the smile slips as soon as he looks away.
Jae-ha, having overheard, accosts Im afterwards. Jae-ha wonders to himself how someone like Im could become a royal physician, but to Im, he asks if the latter doesn’t feel ashamed. Im is unsure what he means, so Jae-ha bluntly asks when he’s going to quit. Im calmly replies that he knows Jae-ha has a way to kick him out (meaning the pictures).
Although slightly taken aback, Jae-ha asks what Im is going to do about Yeon-kyung, noting that he has to go back to Joseon anyway. Smiling, Im says that there’s no need to worry about that, implying that he has no intention of going back. He saunters off happily, but Jae-ha doesn’t look convinced.
Meanwhile, Yeon-kyung is at the mercy of Jae-sook, who has come to visit with Byung-ki. Jae-sook demands to know who dared to hurt Yeon-kyung while Byung-ki’s attempts to calm her fury only earn him a share of her wrath. Yeon-kyung assures Jae-sook that she’s fine, but the latter snaps that she’ll break the offender into pieces if only Yeon-kyung would give her the name.
Nurse Jung arrives to help mediate by reminding them that they’re in a ward and that Yeon-kyung doesn’t like people to make a fuss. Jae-sook scoffs that she’s a nurse too while nudging Byung-ki to back her up, and though he agrees, it sounds like he’s on autopilot because he’s staring transfixed at Nurse Jung. When Yeon-kyung finally convinces her to go, Jae-sook has to drag Byung-ki out of the room.
Afterward, Nurse Jung sits down next to Yeon-kyung and announces that Yeon-kyung’s “friend” has become her boyfriend. She asks if Yeon-kyung knows what kind of person he is now, and Yeon-kyung grins sheepishly as she says that she knows everything now.
Outside, Jae-sook and Byung-ki discuss Grandpa’s increasing heart complaints. Im greets them, and it takes Byung-ki a moment to recognize him. He continues to circle Im in bewilderment while Im asks about Kkot-boon and his little brother, Bong-shik. When they part, Im thinks back on what he’d heard them say about Grandpa, remembering Grandpa’s pulse from when he’d grabbed his hand before.
That night, Yeon-kyung tells Im that her father’s death is probably what inspired her to become a doctor. He then starts to teach her about acupuncture points, saying that they contain the principle of the universe. He goes along her arm naming them off until he reaches her neck, and the atmosphere suddenly shifts.
They look into each other’s eyes as he indicates the different acupuncture points points on her face, and once he gets to her chin, he pauses briefly before leaning in for a gentle kiss.
Im pulls back and gauges her reaction for a moment, but it’s Yeon-kyung who reaches up and pulls him back for a deeper kiss.
The next day, Yeon-kyung saunters through the halls of the hospital, geared up to work. Man-soo protests that she hasn’t recovered, and she teases that she felt bad seeing dark circles under his eyes. Min-jae is equally concerned, but Yeon-kyung breezily replies that she was treated by Heo Jun himself.
The boys and Nurse Jung all look at her like she’s off her nut, but Yeon-kyung is undeterred and practically skips away. Man-soo suggests they scan her brain, but Nurse Jung attributes Yeon-kyung’s change in demeanor to love.
As she walks around the hospital, Yeon-kyung remembers Im’s words about how amazing modern medicine is compared to the poor people in Joseon who would likely never even see a doctor in their lives.
Meanwhile, at the oriental hospital, Im’s colleague treats a patient. The younger doctor tells him that he’s doing it wrong, but he brushes him off and is about to begin when Im suddenly enters and says the same thing. Im ushers the doctor aside and offers to do it instead, but he gets hilariously and awkwardly distracted when the acupuncture point he needs to use is the same one that led to his kiss with Yeon-kyung last night.
Yeon-kyung looks on as the disabled father patient leaves the hospital with his wife and daughter. They wave to her as they go, and when she turns back, she thinks she sees Im get into Director Ma’s car.
Shaking the thought, she smiles that it’s impossible and turns to go inside just as an ambulance pulls up. She grips her chest and takes deep breaths in preparation for a panic attack, but is pleasantly surprised when it doesn’t come.
Turns out the new patient is in a precarious position and runs a risk of not recovering regardless of a successful surgery. Yeon-kyung’s superiors are all unwilling to endanger themselves on a seemingly lost cause and all try to shirk the responsibility. Unfortunately, this is the third hospital they’ve tried, and the family is desperate to have the surgery.
All of this just tugs at Yeon-kyung’s heart strings, and she rushes off to talk to her superiors again. When pleading fails, Yeon-kyung announces that she’ll perform the operation. She mollifies them by saying she knows they are just too busy, not incapable.
They continue to argue that it can’t be done until Yeon-kyung asks them why. “We have everything from doctors to medical equipment to medicine. Why can’t we operate on him?”
Without waiting for a reply, she informs them that she’ll get the family’s consent and go ahead with the operation.
Washing up for surgery, Yeon-kyung is approached by Man-soo, who tells her that the professors were furious. He asks if she can do this, and she wonders whether he means the surgery, or the professors. For the surgery, she says that she can only do her best, and for the professors, she will accept the consequences.
Climbing the steps to an expensive home, Director Ma informs Im that they are seeing someone called Chairman Min today. Apparently this guy is big business, and although he doesn’t suffer from any ailment, he wants Im to read his pulse because he heard that he was famous.
Im bounces uncomfortably on the couch and looks around at the various jars lining the counters, each containing a dead snake in varying shades of liquid. Nearby, two maids mutter that a bunch of ginseng has spoiled. One remarks that since the chairman wants everything but can’t possible eat it all, of course it goes to waste, which triggers a flashback to when Im had asked Yeon-kyung if ginseng was abundant in her world. She had said it was, and he had lamented that the soldiers in Joseon could really use it.
When Chairman Min finally appears, Director Ma is quick to fawn over him. The chairman proudly presents his treasures, including a jar with a snake that had swallowed a toad, and a tea made from the boiled nether regions of a seal. (Yuck!)
Apparently it’s all great for stamina, and as he has Im check his pulse, he boasts that he’ll live to be 100, and everyone thinks he’s in his 40s. Im loses his patience and snaps for him to shut up, but then he puts on a pacifying smile and says that he needs to concentrate.
Growing serious, Im suddenly stands and walks over to the chairman’s prized toad-snake jar, and to the chairman’s horror, begins dumping the contents down the sink. Ha!
The chairman blusters, but Im calmly explains that even the best medicine can be poison if it doesn’t suit the person taking it. He hands off his untouched tea to one of the maids and pours a glass of the toad-snake juice for the other. Despite the chairman’s protests, Im points out that although the medicine ispoison to an energetic man like the chairman, it’s good for his hardworking staff, which he says before imploring the ladies to drink up and take the ginseng and other medicines before the stuff spoils.
Infuriated, the chairman wails for Im to get out as Director Ma escorts him out of the room. Before leaving, Im checks the pulse of one of the maids who had been coughing all throughout his visit, offering to cure her throat with acupuncture. After that’s done and once he’s outside, Im throws his house call backpack over the wall and smiles.
Meanwhile, Yeon-kyung finally gets out of surgery and does an adorable victory dance before pulling out her phone to call Im. He doesn’t pick up, and he’s not at his office when she goes, either.
Jae-ha catches her there and tells her Im wasn’t in the office all afternoon. He asks if she’s discovered who Im is, but when she confirms that she has, he contradicts her. He says that she doesn’t know what kind of figure he is, adding that one day, he will have to go back.
At the same time, Director Ma angrily storms into his office to find a letter of resignation from Im on his desk.
At home, Yeon-kyung sits in front of her computer to presumably research Im. Disappointment is etched across her face as Jae-ha’s insistence that Im will have to leave echoes in her ears.
Rushing to Im’s apartment, Director Ma finds only the pile of gifts next to Im’s wallet and phone. At the same time, a voice calls out in front of Grandpa’s Hyeminsoo clinic, and Grandpa opens the gate to reveal Im dressed in the same clothes that he’d left in. Im grins from ear to ear as he scoots inside to leave Grandpa to pay the taxi driver. Ha!
He greets Byung-ki and Jae-sook cheerfully, and when Yeon-kyung comes out to see the source of the commotion, he practically glows as he gleefully tells her that he’s come home. She just stares back, all the joy she had felt earlier sapped away by whatever she had just learned.
This show seems determined to break my heart seven ways ’til Sunday, but I love every minute of it. Especially when it offers kisses like that for a band-aid. It’s an emotional roller coaster in the best of ways, and I can’t help but applaud the execution and pacing even as I’m screaming at the screen. The knowledge that Im would most likely have to return to Joseon has always been lurking in the background, but to have to confront that possibility almost immediately after affirming their feelings for each other… gah, Jae-ha, you’re such a party pooper!
Unfortunately, Im is still oblivious, and all I can hope for is that Yeon-kyung comes clean about her concerns so that they can talk things out. The two of them have grown to be such great confidants and friends, regardless of their romantic chemistry, that it would be three steps back to play the fool or push Im away. The problem is, both Im and Yeon-kyung have been hurt deeply by their past, and through each other, they had finally learned to heal. If they lose that, I don’t know how either will recover.
On the upside, there was an abundance of cute in this episode. Im in love is the biggest dork of all, and even Yeon-kyung was smiling herself silly. Their puppy love antics were such a highlight this episode, and I’m not sure who was grinning bigger: them, or me. Can we just have flirting and steamy kisses for the next two weeks?
That’s not to say I don’t enjoy the heavier bits of this drama. Some mysteries have been solved, but we still have more questions to answer before the show comes to an end. What is that magic needle case? Where did it come from and how does it choose who it throws through time? Why is a picture slowly forming on the surface? When it’s completed, will Im be stuck in whichever world he lands? Heo Jun and Grandpa seem to have some idea, but they aren’t sharing. Until we get answers, I’ll just be here, going crazy from curiosity.