Kim Tae Hyeon is a talented surgeon. Desperate for money to pay his sister's medical bills, he adopts the code name Yong Pal and offers his medical skills to those in need of medical attention but who cannot do so publicly, dealing with gangsters and corrupt plutocrats. It is while making such a house call that Tae Hyeon rescues "sleeping beauty" Han Yeo Jin, a chaebol heiress, from a medically induced coma, leading to unintended consequences.
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The story was all over the place. It started off exciting and I loved the thrill, but as soon as Han Yeo Jin became a part of Kim Tae Hyun's life, it started to drop from there onward. I watch medical dramas for the medical stuff (e.g. surgeries, transplants, medical dilemmas, etc.), but we only ever got the occasional one after the fourth episode. I hated how this become a soppy love story between the money-loving surgeon and the suicidal, rich chaebol's daughter. Not only was it really cringy to watch, I felt like that Tae Hyun was the only one who cared for their relationship. Yeo Jin only saw it as something to rely on when her plans failed, and she even put her revenge over Tae Hyun himself. That's not how a love story should be portrayed and I never want to see something like that done again. Also, too many political scenes.
A lot of people I know exclaim how much they love Joo Won and Kim Tae Hee as actors, and I can certainly understand for Joo Won, but not Kim Tae Hee. Her acting wasn't all that well done in my opinion, and I believe she made no more than three facial expressions. Although she did fit well with her character, her acting still can't be accepted for the way it was done. Anyway, Joo Won was so lovely to watch and I am most definitely watching some of his older dramas now.
Hmm, I can't say I enjoyed many of the quiet, relaxed soundtracks that Yong Pal gave to us, but I most certainly loved listening to Come To Me by K. Will. His voice is so beautiful to listen to, and he definitely makes up for the rest of the album. Oh, but I did also really like the action soundtracks. They were so exhilarating to listen to, even if the scene that accompanied it was boring as could be.
Would I want to re-watch Yong Pal again if I was given some free time? No.
Overall, the writers of Yong Pal should be glad that I even gave it a 7 out of 10. If it wasn't for Joo Won and most of the other actors, and the soundtracks, this drama would have definitely been a lower rating.
As some other people have already mentioned, the drama truly shines in the first couple of episodes. The comedy, the action, the melodrama, the music and the cinematography – everything is spot on, and you feel like you are witnessing the birth of a new masterpiece. However, you flip the page, and the direction of the drama suddenly takes an entirely new turn.
Contrary to other people here, I do not think the story turned boring or bland. While the latter episodes can by no means compare to the stunning start into the drama, they are still above average of what we get presented in K-drama land.
Even though it turns into a revenge drama and you might argue the focus of the main character also changes, it's still a fresh breeze in a chaebol world ruled by men, revenge plots driven by men, where hatred and cold-bloodedness are traits mainly expressed by men. Han Yeo-Jin is a character that breaks with the stereotypes of an idealistic, warm-hearted female lead, who fights for the weak and poor and would never use underhanded means that go against her ideology. Yeo-Jin is tough, powerful, adamant and, at times, even cruel. I loved her in that role, even though my heart broke for her at the same time. The relationship between her and Tae Hyun is one of such deep understanding, that it is even more painful to see them suffer.
The drama definitely has its flaws: repeated flashbacks, too many characters without a conscience (like, seriously, the amount of hateful and spiteful people in this drama is ridiculous), obvious plot-twists, an ending that left lose ends and could have been so much better... But despite all that, I really enjoyed it a lot, and I suffered and laughed with the characters, and Doo Cheol might just be one of the coolest characters in drama history!
Enjoyment is still the biggest factor in a show for me, so I really do recommend the drama.