Horse Doctor Episode 22

OK. Kwanghyun is back in danger. And guess who is behind this again. Yes, Myunghwan is back on form. Kwanghyun is arrested for a crime that was taken EXTREMELY seriously in the strict Confucian Joseon society. But as always he is being framed. The crime is so serious that it reaches the king and Kwanghyun’s supporters have to prepare to defend him.

Inju stares at Kwanghyun and now he reminds her of her friend Dojun. We get a recap of Kwanghyun’s birth and how he was switched with a baby girl to avoid being executed. (I know this is supposed to be sad but I can’t help laughing every time I see this scene with the babies being switched – Inju looks so shocked when she is told that the babies were switched. But they look SO DIFFERENT and she was right there. She really didn’t notice? LOOK AT THE HAIR! PLEASE!)

As I suspected Inju isn’t able to tell Kwanghyun the truth – she’s obviously worried about what will happen to Jinyung when the truth is out.

Inju has something to tell Kwanghyun

Meanwhile yangban from all around are coming to congratulate Myunghwan on the marriage of Sungha and Jinyung. Lord Jung sits at home mortified that he too must try to ‘make friends’ with Myunghwan again! But when Sungha sees all the gifts arriving for his marriage he tries to reason with Myunghwan again. He still doesn’t want to force Jinyung to marry him, but finally seems to have realised that Myunghwan wants them to marry because of her fortune and status. (Sungha is far too innocent. Come on Sungha. Why ELSE would Myunghwan be pushing this marriage?)

Kwanghyun worries that Inju knows bad stuff about his past. (His father being accused of treason etc) Jinyung comes and takes his mind off it reminding him that they have to study. He tells her that Inju didn’t tell him anything. Inju is still struggling over what to do. She’s worrying about what will happen to Jinyung. But she can’t leave things as they are either.

When Inju sees Jinyung she can’t tell Kwanghyun who he really is

The nurses are now taking part in the class too and Jinyung is sitting next to Kwanghyun. The other doctors try to tease Kwanghyun who gently asks them to stop. They ignore him. Jinyung tuts at them and they IMMEDIATELY turn away – she seems stronger than Kwanghyun but I suppose that’s partly because she believes that her status  is higher than the student doctors?

They are learning about how to make different kinds of incisions when treating tumours and so the first task in class is to practise using a light touch. They are given a blown up pig’s bladder and some slices of tofu and they have to cut the tofu on the bladder without it bursting. Some of the nurses can’t manage it and they seem quite pathetic complaining about not being able to do it. Daebang bursts his too but tries to blow it back up like a balloon as he’s worried about being punished for failing. (Gross. Don’t put that to your mouth!) Dr Ko is in charge of classes now, but suddenly during the session he clasps his chest in pain. (Oh no. He’s one of Kwanghyun’s supporters so we need him!)

The princess hears a rumour that Kwanghyun is interested in a lady – but not her. Then we see Eunso’s sad life – her brother comes to visit her and Lord Jung complains about him visiting so often since Eunso is a widow. What a misery Lord Jung is. After Eunso goes inside we see a servant spying on the house. Then he rushes off to give information to Guard Kang. (This means trouble. OK, we had a little break in the last episode with no foul play from Myunghwan et al. But now the baddie is back!)

‘The other woman’

Dr Ko must be sick as we now see him administering acupuncture on himself. But still he calls for Kwanghyun to teach him more about treating boils on animals and they go to the stables to treat a horse with a large black blood boil. (ABSOLUTELY GROSS 😕 ) Kwanghyun shows him how to lance the boil. (Dear oh dear. DO NOT EAT DINNER WHILE WATCHING THIS. What is coming out of that boil? Marmalade?) It feels like Dr Ko knows he doesn’t have long left to live and is doing as much as he can while he has time. When Jinyung hears that Kwanghyun was teaching Dr Ko she wants to learn too and he promises to teach her. They agree to meet at the stables. And at the appointed time, Kwanghyun takes the shoes to give her. (oh no. It’s the shoes again. This means that something bad is going to happen again.)

Jinyung gets home and sees lots of presents arriving for her marriage. She tells Myunghwan she doesn’t want to get married yet. He asks why she doesn’t want to marry Sungha. Is it because of Dr Baek? Jinyung merely apologises. (So she seems to be admitting that she DOES like Kwanghyun. This seems careless to me. Surely she should know that she is putting Kwanghyun in danger by admitting this. But maybe she is too naive to know what Myunghwan is really capable of.) Myunghwan is shocked to hear her answer and decides that he must deal with this situation. Not good news for Kwanghyun.

Jinyung is not pleased to see wedding gifts arrive

Inju is full of nostalgia thinking back to her happy youth spent with Myunghwan and Dojun. Dr Ko comes in and guesses what she is thinking about. (That’s a bit strange. How can he guess this?) Dr Ko says he also remembers Dojun as he was a fine student. Finally Inju confides in Dr Ko telling him what she knows about Kwanghyun – that HE is Dojun’s son. Dr Ko is shocked.

Meanwhile Myunghwan’s servant comes to the stable where Kanghyun is waiting for Jinyung and tells him that Eunso is sick and needs to see him urgently. Of course he rushes off to see her. She is waiting for him too with a letter from him (that he didn’t write). It’s all a trap set up by Myunghwan. But when Eunso realises that it’s a trap it’s already too late, the guards are on their way and both Eunso and Kwanghyun are arrested. Jinyung waits for Kwanghyun at the stables but he doesn’t show up.

One minute Kwanghyun is happy in the stables waiting for Jinyung. The next minute he is thrown into a trap and the bait is Eunso.

Kwanghyun walks into the trap

Dr Ko and Inju hear that Kwanghyun has been arrested for 강산죄 (kang sang choi)   breaking the basic principles of morality of Confucian ideas (삼강 sam gang and 오륜 oryun – 3 principles and 5 rulesRules of behaviour between men and women were very strict during the Joseon period and a single man meeting a married – even widowed – woman alone at night suggests they are having a relationship and this was not acceptable. He could get the death penalty.
BTW Adultery is still a crime in Korea today and people can be put in prison for this.)

Of course everything is going to plan for Myunghwan. Once Kwanghyun is arrested Myunghwan goes to see Lord Jung who is devastated because this ‘incident’ will ruin his family’s good name. Myunghwan says he is prepared to ‘help’ Lord Jung – Myunghwan has connections and thinks they can get Eunso off the hook – after all Myunghwan is only interested in getting rid of Kwanghyun. Nice one.

Myunghwan reveals his cunning plan to Lord Jung

The irony is that Myunghwan is trying to have Kwanghyun killed but his children, Sungha and Jinyung, are both trying to help him. Jinyung pleads with Dr Ko for help. Sungha goes to question Kwanghyun on who it was that summoned him to Eunso – he realises that Kwanghyun may have been framed. He wants justice and probably wants to help his friend Doshik too who is worried about his sister, Eunso – she would also be severely punished for this crime.

But meanwhile, Myunghwan visits Lord Jung with a plan. And soon Eunso is (surprisingly) released but Kwanghyun is still facing serious charges. He tries to explain that he was merely meeting Eunso as a doctor to treat her sickness. But he is upset to hear that Eunso denies this – or at least Lord Jung does! Grrrr

The crime is clearly serious as it reaches the king and the royal family. The king has to meet with officials to decide what to do. The princess doesn’t believe that Kwanghyun would have any inappropriate relationship with another lady and she merely laughs at the idea. Eunso seems to be under house arrest and collapses clutching her chest. Kwanghyun is taken by the guards to be ‘interrogated’ (tortured) while Myunghwan grins with satisfaction…


So Myunghwan’s plan is very clever as he can kill two birds with one stone: get rid of Kwanghyun and make Lord Jung indebted to him. But how many times are we going to see Kwanghyun dragged off by the guards to be interrogated or tortured or beaten? It feels like it’s happening a lot! 

The morals of Confucian society

I also felt that in this episode we really get a sense of the strict Confucian society that the Joseon people lived in. In the drama we often see Kwanghyun and Jinyung alone together, but in reality men and women could not spend time together alone so easily. There were strict rules and strict punishments. 

We can also get a sense of the life of a widow. How miserable is Eunso’s life? It seems that her life is also over now that her husband is dead. What is she to do living with her miserable and power-hungry father-in-law for the rest of her life? All she can do is stay in her room. Even her brother is not a welcome visitor. Everything must be done to protect the good name of the family that she has married into. And it’s even more serious since it is such a noble family. Very depressing. No wonder she wanted to end it all. aigoo :( 

One thought on “Horse Doctor Episode 22

  • February 11, 2013 at 1:07 pm

    Thank you for your insights on the Confucian society of that time. Watching this episode, I could tell I was missing something about that setup with Eunso.

    And the baby hair! I had the same thought! Maybe that moment was so fraught with danger that Inju just wasn’t able to take in that difference, despite efforts ofthe casting director, who arranged for 2 very different-looking babies for us to see.

    At least Inju is getting a little more to do now. She’s been waiting in the wings for ages.

Comments are closed.

%d bloggers like this: