I’d say generally speaking Yong Pal is entertaining, as long as you suspend all disbelief (like, the crazy use of adrenalin shots), and I love the inclusion of surgery scenes which looked pretty realistic. Joo Won is awesome as usual, as the titular Yong Pal, or Kim Tae Hyun, while Kim Tae Hee manages fairly well as the vengeful heiress Han Yeo Jin.
Show is essentially about a sleeping beauty, trapped in a three-year sleep by her enemies, led by her half-brother no less. But this is no fairy tale, as the sleeping beauty, Han Yeo Jin, is those who metes out punishment to those whom she thinks deserves it. While as long as you’re loyal to her you’re pretty safe, she has no qualms killing those who betrayed her trust. Comparatively, her half-brother, Han Do Joon (Jo Hyun Jae) is one whose bark is worse than his bite, a narcissist with low self-confidence. The Han siblings come from a family which runs the Hanshin conglomerate.
Kim Tae Hyun on the other hand, is a third year resident surgeon at Hanshin Hospital, which happens to be the one and only hospital in the Yong Pal universe. He has alot of experience operating on patients, mostly coming from his illegal part-time of stitching up wounded gangsters. His curiosity led him to the sleeping beauty trapped in Hanshin Hospital, and there begins their love story. Frankly speaking, I wasn’t quite sold on the love story, because I don’t feel the chemistry between Joo Won and Kim Tae Hee as lovers, but more as noona-dongseng. But anyway, love blossomed, and they got married because she needed a new legal guardian in place of Do Joon.
What I like about Show is Yeo Jin is never a damsel in distress, and she is shrewd enough to play the game her enemies played during the three years of her absence. She knows when to strike, although it’s pretty perplexing why she keeps the betrayer Secretary Min (Choi Byung Mo), even when she knew he had betrayed her before. In contrast, Tae Hyun operates by trust instead of fear, and he stays true to the Hippocratic Oath, as saving lives is always his priority. As such, Tae Hyun’s character development pales in color, as the second half of Show chose to showcase Yeo Jin’s quest for revenge, and Tae Hyun gets relegated to the side.
I felt the finale week was kind of rushed, as suddenly a new round of revenge takes place, this time helmed by Chae Young (Chae Jung Ahn), Do Joon’s widow, and the table’s turned on Yeo Jin. It does however, depict the lack of trustworthiness of those board directors of Hanshin. I don’t really buy Chae Young’s explanation of revenge as on behalf of Do Joon, because didn’t we see how much she despised him in the first half? I do agree to some who think that she’s just a rich and bored person, and I think her revenge is more for herself, when Yeo Jin kicked her out of the family. She’s just too used to the prestige that came along when she was Do Joon’s wife, and she doesn’t want it all to belong to Yeo Jin.
Lastly, in a drama where the main characters are intriguing with their murky moral compass, the side characters are also equally interesting and memorable. I don’t really get Secretary Min’s last minute maniac display, but I really appreciate how difficult he is to read, because his loyalty just keeps switchin. Nurse Huang (Bae Hae Sun)in the beginning is definitely one of the most memorable psychopathic nurse whom I wouldn’t want to meet in real life. Cynthia (Stephanie Lee) also left a mark during a short appearance in Show, so much so that she guest appeared in the last episode. Last but not least, the Head Maid who appeared so wary towards Tae Hyun and Yeo Jin, but turns out to be an valuable ally.
Although Yong Pal could have been more well written, in terms of logical development, it is at least fast paced and intriguing enough for viewers to remain hooked. Show may have fizzled out towards the end with the loopholes in its story telling, I think it is still more engaging that most of the other Kdramas produced this year, where promises were so big in the beginning and failed to deliver in the end.