Horse Doctor Episode 25

 Dr Ko is in a critical condition and it looks like he can’t be saved. EVERYONE is trying desperately to find a cure for him. (Although Myunghwan seems to have already given up. grrrr) Finally Kwanghyun comes up with an idea, but it is SO OUTRAGEOUS that no one can believe he is serious. But it is the ONLY idea on the table. The king summons him and demands to know if he is willing to put his life on the line to save Dr Ko. Of course he is! Oh Kwanghyun, you really are a glutton for punishment!

Kwanghyun gives Dr Ko a piggy back to the hospital. Meanwhile, Inju has got hold of a mystery parcel that belongs to Dojun which she hopes will help Kwanghyun. And she is thinking about this when she is suddenly told that Dr Ko is ill and in a critical condition – That wasn’t sweat coming out of his head, it was fluid or pus coming from his scull. (yikes! :( ) He has osteomyelitis – an abscess on his scull infecting the bone marrow.

Inju blames the poison Dr Ko was given for aggravating his condition. When news spreads that Dr Ko is ill, Myunghwan hurries over to visit him. But Inju is rude to him demanding to know what is he doing there! Others are shocked at the way she speaks to him. But he says nothing. (probably feeling guilty) And when he sees Dr Ko, he also realises that the poison that HE GAVE HIM has made Dr Ko’s illness worse. (He seems worried about this but probably worried that he will be found out, not worried about Dr Ko. Grrr.) Jinyung and Inju both tell Kwanghyun that it may be impossible to save Dr Ko.

Horse Doctor MBC 2013 Kwanghyun is devastated to discover that Dr Ko is critically ill

The chef from the restaurant wants to help Kwanghyun and bribes an official to check the archive records for information about Kwanghyun’s dad’s death.

Dr Ko regains consciousness. He admits that he has known all along that he has this illness. And now he accepts his fate. He knows he doesn’t have long to live. But Kwanghyun is not content to sit back and watch him die. He searches the medical books desperate to find a way to help Dr Ko. But he finds nothing. The king announces that a cure must be found and notices are put up around the city for anyone with any ideas to come forward. All the doctors are working to find a cure. Then Kwanghyun finds some notes in Dr Ko’s room with the possible answer ….

Kwanghyun finds some medical notes in Dr Ko’s office

Myunghwan seems to have mixed feelings about these new developments with Dr Ko’s health. He looks nervous. But Lord Jung thinks he is just worried that he might not get Dr Ko’s job! But Lord Jung assures him that he will. (Is Myunghwan really this heartless? He has murdered before but he didn’t intend to kill Dr Ko, he just wanted to sabotage him when he was treating the king. Now it seems his actions will actually kill him, so SURELY he must be feeling bad about this?)

Myunghwan may be getting worried that his past is catching up with him because of the way Inju spoke to him earlier. And his evil actions are not secret any more even from his family – Sungha sits drinking alone and miserable as now he knows about (only some of) the bad things his father has done. He crunches the artist’s impression of the wanted man in his hand – the man hired by his own father to frame Kwanghyun for immorality.

Myunghwan seems to have mixed feelings about Dr Ko’s illness!

The princess is still worrying about her dream and worried that Kwanghyun likes someone else, but Eunso has told the princess that SHE is not that lady.  So who could the lady be? Guard Ma suggests that the princess go and ask Jinyung if SHE knows who it is since she sees him every day. Guard Ma’s words seem to set alarm bells off for the princess – yes, Jinyung is a yangban AND she sees Kwanghyun every day …..

Kibae is worried about Kwanghyun since he has been acting so strangely. He has no idea about Dojun being Kwanghyun’s real father etc and asks him what’s going on. Kibae has been like a father to Kwanghyun and so Kwanghyun is about to tell him the whole story when Daebang comes rushing in to announce that Myunghwan has been assigned as the doctor to treat Dr Ko! (That’s ironic.) Kwanghun is devastated.

Daebang announces that Myunghwan is the doctor in charge of Dr Ko!

Myunghwan goes to pay his respects to Dr Ko who calmly puts his trust in his hands. (Oh dear. Even though Dr Ko knows what Myunghwan has done in the past, he wants to trust him. He wants to believe that Myunghwan can change and become a better person. Don’t believe it Dr Ko!)

Myunghwan orders various medicines to treat Dr Ko but as he is leaving, Kwanghyun marches over to him and aggressively informs him that  Myunghwan will NOT get away with doing anything bad to Dr Ko again! Everyone is shocked at the way Kwanghyun is speaking to him and Jinyung stands in the background wondering what on earth is going on. But again Myunghwan does not react strongly to Kwanghyun’s words. He seems more shocked than angry. However, his assistants are outraged on his behalf.

Inju is shocked to hear that Myunghwan is the doctor in charge of Dr Ko

Myunghwan now sits in Dr Ko’s place at the head of the samuisa 3 department meeting and the officials ponder over what to do for Dr Ko. But they come to the conclusion that there is nothing that they can do as it’s too late to treat his disease with medicinal herbs. But suddenly Kwanghyun bursts into the meeting with an idea – they can remove the infected area with an operation. The officials are shocked: He wants to cut Dr Ko’s head open? “Are you crazy?” they ask in horror.

When Dr Ko hears where Kwanghyun has gone, he is annoyed that he would suggest such a dangerous thing. But he is not worried about himself. He is worried about Kwanghun. Because he knows how the other doctors will react to the idea of operating on him. And he is right. The other doctors are OUTRAGED at the idea of surgery (BUT even MORE outraged at the idea of surgery coming from a peasant!) But Kwanghyun tells Dr Ko that he is willing to do anything to save him.

Kwanghyun is desperate to help Dr Ko

Myunghwan is furious too and thinks Kwanghyun is crazy. Meanwhile the spy who has been instructed to keep an eye on Inju tells guard Kang that she has been acting suspiciously.

Dr Ko loses consciousness again and they don’t have much time left to make a decision. The king goes to see him in person. But when Myunghwan says there is nothing they can do for Dr Ko, the king demands to see Kwanghyun. :) The king has heard about his suggestion to operate. Myunghwan is shocked.

When Kwanghyun arrives to see the king, the king reminds him that if he goes through with the operation and Dr Ko dies, then he must pay with his own life. But to the king’s astonishment, Kwanghyun is still prepared to carry out the operation!

The king comes to see Dr Ko in person

Jinyung visits Eunso who previously told her that one day Jinyung would have to make a choice between her father Myunghwan and Kwanghyun. And after watching Kwanghyun speak so aggressively to her father earlier, she now wants to ask Eunso what she knows. Eunso gently tells her what her father Myunghwan has been doing. :(

But Myunghwan has no idea that both his children now know about some of his evil actions. He goes to the hospital to see how the preparations for the operation are going. He notices a box of acupuncture needles on the table and is shocked to learn that they belong to Kwanghyun. Because when he looks at the box more closely he realises that this box belonged to his old friend Dojun.

Dr Ko is prepared for the operation

So preparations are made for the operation. Kwanghyun and Inju get ready, although everyone has tried to stop them going through with it. But as Kwanghyun is about to make the first incision, he realises that Dr Ko’s condition is even worse than he thought. In fact, it’s so bad that it’s impossible to operate…


We can see Kwanghyun becoming more bold now. He bursts in on the samuisa meeting passionately trying to persuade the doctors to operate on Dr Ko. And earlier he openly spoke rudely and aggressively to the high-ranking Myunghwan in front of everyone. It must be a mixture of his instincts as a doctor to cure his patient, desperation to help Dr Ko who has always been kind and good to him, and also anger and frustration from knowing that Myunghwan is the baddie responsible for his father’s death.

I also wonder if realising that he comes from a yangban family is making Kwanghyun behave more confidently too. Or would he instinctively act like this anyway? Class and ‘knowing one’s place’ is a theme that runs through so many Korean dramas and it was very difficult to move up and out of the social class one was born into in the Joseon period. So does Kwanghyun behave instinctively as a yangban even though everyone thinks he comes from the peasant class?

Kwanghyun and Myunghwan GOOD vs. EVIL 

I think the presentation in the drama of Kwanghyun’s 100% goodness and Myunghwan’s 100% badness is too simple.  

Kwanghyun’s passion and instinct as a doctor to save lives contracts so dramatically with Myunghwan’s passion to kill anyone who gets in his way. We  haven’t seen Myunghwan do anything for another person yet – of course he tried to save the king when he was sick. But he was only worried about what would happen to him if the king died – since Myunghwan was the king’s personal physician, his life would also have been on the line. We have also seen Myunghwan passionate about Jinyung and Sungha’s marriage but again this was only for selfish reasons. 

But I think presenting Myunghwan as ALL EVIL weakens his character and it becomes a bit of a caricature. He would have more impact if we saw some good in him too. Early on he seemed to genuinely care about Jinyung, but now it seems he was only interested in getting her married to his son to join her powerful family title and fortune with his own. We never see him spending time with his family, only scheming with Lord Jung. I would like to see at least one good trait!  

On the other hand, Kwanghyun is presented as ALL GOOD. He is always putting his own life on the line to save others: He was prepared to take the blame for the immorality charge and now he is prepared to accept death if the operation on Dr Ko is unsuccessful. He also has an amiable personality and all the ladies love him! He is Mr Perfect. I can’t think of any flaws that he has. In the similar sageuk medical drama ‘Heojun’ (MBC 2000), the doctor, Heojun, was also passionate about saving lives but he was so passionate that he neglected his own family. This made him more of a real person with flaws and we saw that others had to suffer for his dedication. The tone of this drama is a lot lighter with more humour and Kwanghyun’s personality is less intense and more amiable. But I would still like to see at least one flaw! 



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