Horse Doctor Episode 21

This episode feels like the calm before the storm. There are warnings and new information revealed, but no major crisis occurs. Yet. Kwanghyun is warned to be careful of Myunghwan who is getting ready for his next move. The students settle into their new positions at the hospital but there is already discontent in the air at Dr Ko’s new ideas for treating patients. And it’s now clear that Kwanghyun and Jinyung like each other, but this causes a misunderstanding and comedy with the princess when she attempts to reveal her feelings to Kwanghyun. FINALLY Kwanghyun’s true identity is confirmed. 

Eunso warns Kwanghyun to watch out for Myunghwan. She doesn’t go into the details of what she knows but just points out that Myunghwan can’t stand watching Kwanghyun’s success and is now capable of anything. Meanwhile Lord Jung comes home and hears that Eunso is not in her room and he wonders what she is doing out so late at night. Is he going to get suspicious of her?

Kwanghyun sits and contemplates what Eunso just told him about Myunghwan

Dr Ko is getting better after being poisoned. But Inju is concerned about WHO poisoned him. Dr Ko doesn’t see any point trying to investigate the matter. He probably has an idea who did it anyway … and talk of the devil … we see Myunghwan alone in his quarters shaking with rage.

The student doctors are in shock when Taeju tells Dr Ko that he does not deserve to pass the medical exam since it was Kwanghyun who diagnosed the king correctly and not him. But it is now up to the medical board to decide what to do about the matter. (Taeju has acted quite snootily towards Kwanghyun but at least he seems willing to accept Kwanghyun as a doctor if he has the skills. On the other hand, many of the other students simply refuse to accept him because of his low class.)

Taeju and Kwanghyun face off

Dr Ko takes the young doctors around the hospital and explains that he plans to treat boils – a serious problem in the Joseon period – with acupuncture from now on. He explains that many of the poor people die because they can’t afford treatment. But acupuncture doesn’t cost money unlike expensive medicine. (OK I didn’t need to see the close ups of huge boils being lanced – yikes. 😕 )

Dr Ko explains that the acupuncture treatment was written in the medical book 치종지남 (chi jeong ji-nam) Guide to Swollen Sore Treatment by Doctor Lim Un-gook 임언국 (who also wrote a book on treating tumours in 1559 which you can see on this chart in the context of achievements of medicine around the world. The famous Joseon doctor, Heojun is also mentioned on the list in 1601 and 1610 – BTW Heojun is another great medical drama not to be missed.) Dr Ko explains that the book  was burned during the war with the Japanese in 1592 but he wants to rediscover the treatment. But the other young doctors are not impressed with his new ground-breaking ideas. (they prefer expensive herbs!)

Dr Ko introduces his new ideas to the young doctors

Jinyung wonders how they can treat internal abscesses with acupuncture and asks if she may study the treatment too. Inju allows it and so Kwanghyun and Jinyung will study together. When they see each other, they play fight. And OF COURSE, as always, poor old Sungha has to walk by and see them having fun together. :( Inju also watches the two of them. Sungha predicts that their relationship will end in heartbreak – maybe so, but not for the reasons he thinks …

The princess has decided that she is going to tell Kwanghyun how she feels about him. (Oh dear. I don’t recommend this, but I love how honest she is) And she manages to get the queen mother to allow her to leave the palace to go to the lantern festival 등불축제 (tung bul chuk che) for the winter solstice 동지冬至. (dong ji) Then the princess pulls Jinyung into her plan…

It’s snowing (is that real snow?) when Jinyung turns up at Kwanghyun’s place and asks him to go to the festival with her. She is acting a bit unnatural but Kwanghyun is delighted that she has asked him to spend time with her. It’s like a date, so he rushes off to get changed. He doesn’t know that the princess has set the whole situation up and they are to ‘bump into’ her at the festival. All goes to plan and Jinyung is quietly dismissed leaving Kwanghyun with the princess. She walks away glancing back at Kwanghyun who is now happily chatting with the princess. oh. :(  (the fact that the princess wants to tell Kwanghyun how she feels seems to be making Jinyung examine her own feelings towards him too. Is she worried about losing him?) 

The princess giggles with delight getting permission to leave the palace

Kwanghyun has no idea what’s going on (duh!) and when he’s told that Jinyung had to leave suddenly, he wonders if there is a problem at the hospital and prepares to leave too! But the princess insists that he stay and show her around – even though Lady Kwak and Guard Ma are right there too. (ha ha). Eventually they sit down at what looks like an outdoor restaurant (although they look VERY cold) and the princess prepares to tell him all. (The people must have been a lot hardier in the Joseon period, since they spend a LOT of time outside wearing only hanboks in the freezing cold! The actors must be wearing lots of modern thermals under there!)

The princess gives Kwanghun a calendar with the date that they first met circled. (It was a tradition to give calendars to each other at Dongji. The festival used to be a big event but is not anymore. Read more about dongji here.) She admits that she remembers that day so clearly and Kwanghyun admits that he remembers that day too. But they misunderstand each other. So cute. She thinks he remembers meeting HER on that day, but actually he is thinking about Jinyung. They both speak vaguely about the problems of liking someone from a different class! (NO, don’t do it Princess, don’t say anything ..) Luckily she is saved by the arrival of the queen mother and the queen who have decided to come to the festival too. (phew!)  There is no time to tell him anything now because they have to run and hide. Kwanghyun doesn’t see why the princess has to hide from the queen mother. But he takes her seriously when she says he will die too if they are caught!

Jinyung seems dejected to leave Kwanghyun and the princess alone together

The princess has to hurry back to the palace and Kwanghyun bumps into Jinyung again who is having problems with her footwear – someone stood on her foot and somehow wrecked her shoe. Suddenly it starts to rain (Hang on. It was snowing a minute ago! Is that real rain?) and Kwanghyun and Jinyung run for cover in a barn. He makes a fire and they spend some time together trying to dry their clothes off waiting for the rain to stop. She is surprised that Kwanghyun is not more shocked about what the princess told him. (But of course he’s NOT shocked because she didn’t get a chance to actually tell him.) Meanwhile Myunghwan is furious that Jinyung has gone out and Sungha rushes off in the rain to find her.

When the rain stops Kwanghyun and Jinyung go home. But he notices her shoe and, just like when they were kids, he takes his shoe off and puts it on to her foot. She thinks back to her childhood friend lost in thought as Kwanghyun is acting the same as he did when they were children.

But when Jinyung gets home Myunghwan is waiting for her and still livid that she has been out with Kwanghyun. He insists that she get married to Sungha ASAP but she begs him to change his mind. Sungha doesn’t look pleased about this either. (He knows she doesn’t love him like that. Poor Sungha :( )

Jinyung returns with Sungha to learn they are to be married

But Myunghwan has his own agenda. Earlier he went to pay his respects at Lord Jung’s house with a gift for winter solstice but he was turned away and told that Lord Jung was “under the weather”. ( I think Lord Jung is the coldest of all the characters. All his relationships seem purely based on what others can do for him and when they can do nothing he cuts them off. I worry about Eunso too. What will he do to her if he discovers she’s been telling tales behind his back?)

Myunghwan may be humiliated at having to resign, but he is not beaten because he still has Jinyung. He goes to the king to announce the marriage of Jinyung and Sungha. And on his way back he bumps into Lord Jung. Myunghwan’s expression says it all – ‘you can’t look down on me, Lord Jung!’ Because once Sungha marries Jinyung, Myunghwan can get his hands on her father’s assets and title and become even more powerful …

But we know that the real heir to the fortune and title is NOT Jinyung but Kwanghyun. And Inju has just learnt that Kwanghyun IS the boy she has been looking for. He is Lord Dojun’s son. And as Kwanghyun comes back from town having bought a new pair of shoes to give to Jinyung, Inju meets him and calls him 나으리 (nauri), Lord. (This confuses him because this title is used to address men in a higher rank from oneself. But technically Kwanghyun the student should not be higher than Inju.) She says she has something to tell him  …

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Superstitious Shoes – DON’T give shoes as presents in Korea

In this episode the feelings that Kwanghyun and Jinyung have for each other are shown more strongly although they can’t reveal their feelings for each other – Kwanghyun because he knows his status is so much lower than hers, and Jinyung just because she finds it difficult to express, or even know, her own feelings! She’s very different to the princess in that way!

But there’s a sense that the pair are going to be separated again just as they were when they were children: Back in episode 3  when Jinyung (or Yongdal as she was known) had trouble with her shoes, Kwanghyun bought her a new pair of shoes as a leaving gift because he thought he had to leave the capital and go home to his island. But he never got to give her the shoes because she was captured by Myunghwan. He managed to help her escape but later she was captured again and they were separated. Now as Inju is about to reveal his true identity and Myunghwan is trying to push forward with this wedding, it looks as though he is not going to be able to give her these shoes either. 

But giving shoes to a girl/boyfriend is BAD LUCK in Korea. Give a lover a pair of shoes and they will put them on and run away from you! That’s how the saying goes. So maybe it’s a good thing that Kwanghyun is unable to give Jinyung the shoes? (I am predicting that he won’t be able to give her the shoes. So if he IS able to give them to her in the next episode, then this is a bad thing and so I guess bad luck.) BTW there are some more Korean superstitions here

As always I enjoyed the comedy with the princess and Kwanghyun and it’s nice to have a break and not have Kwanghyun being beaten up or locked in the morgue! I’m intrigued to know what is going to happen now – will Kwanghyun learn about his real identity or will some other obstacle appear suddenly and prolong the agony? And what will happen when he does learn the truth? And will Jinyung be forced to marry Sungha? If she marries him and then they discover that she is a peasant what will happen to her? I can’t wait to see Myunghwan’s face when the truth is revealed. :) 

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