Horse Doctor Episode 12

So Kwanghyun is not going to get away with treating a patient – it is against the law for a horse doctor to treat a human patient – although it seems unfair since he saved the young man’s life! But we can guess who is behind all this. Kwanghyun must be punished and he is to receive a brutal beating – can he survive?

As Kwanghyun sees Jinyung with her aristocratic friends he finally realises that she too is a yangban. But he doesn’t have time to think about this too much because suddenly the palace guards rock up and arrest him for attempted murder! (We can guess who is behind this)  He’s thrown into a cell and Jinyung rushes to see him but there’s nothing she can do to help him.

Kwanghyun is thrown into jail for attempted murder

She notices that his attitude has already changed towards her and he apologises for the way he spoke to her in the past – he would never have been so friendly had he known her true status and he seems full of regret. I don’t think this is his biggest problem right now though because it looks like he may get beaten to death as a punishment for illegally treating a patient!

Jinyung rushes to see Kwanghyun in jail

The medical board meet to decide what to do about Kwanghyun. Of course Myunghwan is behind his arrest although officially it’s the patient’s family who wanted Kwanghyun investigated. Even when Jinyung begs Myunghwan to help Kwanghyun, he refuses – he is so obsessed with power. (What is she going to say when she discovers what Myunghwan is really like?) Meanwhile, Dr Ko could be in trouble too for not punishing Kwanghyun in the first place.

Myunghwan refuses to help Kwanghyun even when Jinyung begs him to

The time has come for Kwanghyun to receive his punishment. Everyone is concerned because the beating could kill him. He is taken out into the prison grounds and lies face down with his hands stretched out and tied down. The guard begins the beating but when Kwanghyun passes out, the guards throw water on him to wake him up. (you can see this equipment at the outdoor Korean Folk Village). But Kwanghyun accepts his punishment and blames himself as the patient remains unconscious.

Kwanghyun is given 30 lashes

After the beating Kwanghyun is in a bad way and Kidae and Jabong take him back to their house and desperately search for a doctor. Jinyung comes to help and brings herbs to treat his wounds.

Meanwhile, the family of the patient are given a big bag of money on the condition that they tell no one about this. They seem like decent people, just poor, and it’s clear that it wasn’t their idea to complain that a mere horse doctor treated their son. In fact they seem grateful and ask after him. They probably have no idea that Kwanghyun was almost beaten to death. But they must realise something is strange since they have been told to keep quiet about the money…

Kwanghyun is already sitting up eating chuk! (That was quick. Surely he is in too much pain to sit?) Jinyung comes to see him, but now he seems more self conscious since he knows they come from different classes. This is what she feared would happen and she just wants to go back to how things were before between them.

Jinyung watches helplessly as Kwanghyun is punished

And now finally for a comic interlude. It’s been pretty heavy so far this episode with everything focusing on Kwanghyun’s punishment. The queen mother is pleased with the list of prospective families compiled for the princess. The queen mother intends to let the princess choose the man she wants to marry (from this list).

But the princess has other ideas. She has heard about Kwanghyun and rushes to see him with gifts – much to the horror of her lady-in-waiting. She arrives at his humble home and is genuinely surprised that he lives in such a small and simple house. She mutters that she should buy him a new house! The lady-in-waiting can only roll her eyes in dismay!

Kibae doesn’t know she is the princess until Jabong  addresses her as –공주마마 公主 (kong-ju mama공주 kong-ju means princess) She bumps into Jinyung at the house too but thinks Jinyung is only there on the princess’ behalf. ( I feel a love triangle coming on …)

Kwanghyun can’t believe that the princess has come to visit him and tries to stand up but she pulls him down telling him to rest. So cute. Satisfied that she has seen him, she leaves the house but she’s mad at the audacity of the man who dared to beat her beloved Kwanghyun. She orders who ever was responsible to be dealt with. (Now come on, it’s not the poor guard’s fault, is it?)

Kwanghyun receives a special guest at his humble home

Despite the problems Dr Ko is having over the Kwanghyun incident, he is still going ahead with the reforms for selecting new recruits for the clinic. There is word that the doctors are turning against Dr Ko though and this is music to Myunghwan’s ears.

And finally for some good news: over at the clinic the patient has regained consciousness. Dr Ko rushes over to the patient’s bedside to confirm that he is on the mend. Kwanghyun cries tears of joy when he hears the news. Of course Myunghwan is not pleased to hear about the patient’s recovery.

The officials are gathering to discuss Dr Ko’s reform plans for the entrance exam when the king turns up. He wants to sit in on the meeting. Good timing ha ha. But Myunghwan looks annoyed. (Why is Myunghwan so against the reforms when he comes from the lower classes himself? Why doesn’t he want the entrance exams to be open to all? His father, a horse doctor, always told him to stay away form the horses because he was destined for greater things – to be a doctor. Is this why he has prejudice against horse doctors and the lower classes?)

Dr Ko encourages Kwanghyun to become a doctor

Kwanghyun thinks his days in medicine are over and he turns up at the clinic merely to collect his belongings. The other young vets look guilty and tell him that for some reason Myunghwan et al were involved in his investigation and punishment. But they don’t know why.

Then Dr Ko calls Kwanghyun in to see him. After confirming that Kwanghyun can read Chinese characters Dr Ko gives him all the texts he needs to study for the medical entrance exam! Kwanghyun is speechless – he hadn’t even considered this possibility. But he takes the books. There’s good news for Jinyung too when she hears that she can return to the clinic from the stables. It looks like Inju has finally accepted her as a serious nurse.

Jinyung pays Kwanghyun a visit at his house but he’s out. She finds him sitting thoughtfully outside on a step. He’s been waiting for her. He tells her he wants to be a doctor. Aah, he was waiting for her to tell her this. That’s cute.

Kwanghyun decides he will try to enter medical school

Wow well it feels like a very long space of time was covered in a very short episode. Am I the only one who feels that the pace of the storyline is speeding along too quickly? For example, in this episode Kwanghyun gets put in prison, beaten to the point of near death, and then makes a full recovery!  And then decides that he is going to be a doctor. It all happens so fast that I don’t have time to even begin to worry for him. His wounds can’t be that bad since they seem to heal overnight. Surely he shouldn’t be able to walk or sit properly for AGES.

While he was festering in prison we could have found out more about what Myunghwan is doing or thinking. WHY is he so keen to be the head of the clinic at all costs? He just wants power? Is that it? Even when it causes so much pain to Jinyung? We never see him doing anything good such as treating patients – he’s always just plotting with Lord Jung. In Dong Yi, we could argue that the baddie – Jang Hee Bin – was so compelling because she did evil things for many clear reasons – one reason was to protect her son’s right to the throne. Another was through jealousy of Dong Yi’s relationship with the king. She felt that she was doing the right thing and so she was a lot more complicated. 

Our baddie here – Myunghwan – has become a bit two dimensional for me. At the beginning, we learnt a lot about his background and how his father basically told him to look down on horse vets as he was to become a great doctor himself. And we learnt how he was forced into participating in the murder of the crown prince. And we know that he felt responsible for the death of his friend after that. Then he killed the other doctor who took part in the murder to stop him being able to identify him. But now suddenly he is just milling around in the background. 

 Myunghwan and the other power hungry officials are managing to cause a lot of trouble, but they don’t have much screen time. Their scenes are very short – the occasional grunt from Myunghwan or cunning plan from Lord Jung – and that’s it. It feels like Myunghwan’s role has become a lot smaller suddenly which is weakening the impact of the story for me. 


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