Horse Doctor Episode 32

Still Kwanghyun and Myunghwan don’t come face to face although Myunghwan has heard about the ‘Joseon surgeon’. The two men continue practising on patients with their very different treatments. It’s a race against time to see who will find a cure first. When time is up, both patients have seen an improvement. However the Head of Medicine is worried that actually operating on a member of the royal family is a bit too radical ..

Kwanghyun worriedly examines his patient who is showing symptoms of tetanus. And there are more problems waiting for him as right now Guard Kang is snooping around outside – he heard that there is a Joseon doctor here operating on his patient …. But as he is about to open the door to Kwanghun’s treatment room, the Qing guards tell him to leave. Phew! That was close.

Kwanghyun decides to operate on the patient AGAIN

Kwanghyun makes a radical decision to operate on the patient AGAIN to remove the area that has become infected. Kayong can’t believe it and tries to dissuade him from operating. (Hang on. First of all Kayong seems to have NO SKILLS in medicine whatsoever so why should Kwanghyun listen to her? And secondly, the patient is going to die if he doesn’t operate, isn’t he? So be quiet, Kayong!) When Kayong complains to Dr Saam about this, he simply laughs. He is obviously interested in Kwanhyun’s alternative thinking and doesn’t want to interfere. He knows Kwanghyun is DETERMINED to beat this disease.

Myunghwan is also rethinking how to treat his patient too since he is not improving. Jinyung  watches the medical staff heating medicine over fire which gives her an idea – they can treat the patient with mulberry moxa. She rushes in to tell Myunghwan who is in an emergency meeting with his medical team. He jumps at this idea. (The fact that Jinyung has suggested the moxa makes me think that it could work this time)

Jinyung gate-crashes the medical meeting with her idea

Kayong prepares to operate again. This time his instruments are boiling away on the fire to be sterilised. He thinks back to how he treated another patient in the past with the same problem. (He has obviously had a lot more experience since he came to Qing). Meanwhile Myunghwan prepares to treat his patient with moxibustion. But time is running out as the Empress is getting worse.

Mulberry moxa is prepared for the Empress

Back in Joseon …

The king decides to go on a 미행 (mi-heng = mingling incognito with the commoners outside the palace to find out what’s going on in the real world) This was a common practice with Joseon kings when they wanted to know what their people really thought about their lives – and their king. He turns up at the restaurant where Kibae and Chef have just had a fight over Daebang’s mum! (They are love rivals?!)

The king does his best to act like a fellow citizen and invites Jabong to sit and drink with him. Jabong has no idea he is drinking with the king and tells him that life is hard especially now that the welfare clinic has become too expensive for the ordinary people to go to. He complains that everyone knows how hard life is, except the king. oh :(  Jabong keeps trying to grope the soft skin of the king’s face with his greasy fingers to the concern of the king’s body guards!

The princess is fed up again back at the palace

The princess is bored being back at the palace. Eunso has told her not to say anything about Kwanghyun but the princess is not the type to keep a secret for long. She decides to visit the king who looks deep in thought. The princess wants to test the water and see if there is any way for Kwanghyun to return to Joseon if he is still alive. So she asks the king if Kwanghyun could ever be forgiven for his crime. The king doesn’t understand why she is thinking about a dead man. And he has more important things on his mind – such as the decline of the hospital for the poor and the plight of his people! The king has the weight of the world on his shoulders while the princess has absolutely NOTHING to do. She has such an empty life. I was annoyed with her in the last episode but now I feel sorry for her. She is a widow so can she even get married again? And without having children it seems there is nothing for her to do at all. :(

The King is deep in thought when the princess arrives

Back in Qing ….

Myunghwan is startled when his patient is examined by royal doctors – but NOT the Head of Medicine (he has gone to see Kwanghyun first!) Myunghwan is used to only dealing with the top people so now he’s miffed. ha ha :) Kwanghyun’s patient is doing better than Myunghwan’s patient and so it looks like he will be chosen to treat the Empress. But the Head of Medicine is concerned about the patient’s tetanus. And he’s not too happy at the idea of operating on the Empress. And for these reasons it is Myunghwan who is the chosen one. A feast is held in celebration much to Myunghwan and Lord Jung’s delight. (but this seems a bit premature – shouldn’t they celebrate AFTER the Empress is well again?)

Poor Kwanghyun is disappointed. But he still wants to make sure his patient recovers. However, now that a doctor (Myunghwan grrr) has been selected to treat the Empress, the patients are all released in the middle of their treatment! (They really are just guinea pigs to be tested on and then discarded.) Kwanghyun is appalled as his patient has not fully recovered. He hurries to find his patient and takes him (by piggy back) to (I guess) lodgings where he treats him.

Myunghwan treats his patient with moxibustion

Then Kayong mentions that she bumped into the ‘handsome Joseon man’ again at the hospital and that he was with a Joseon nurse who could speak the Qing language very well. Kwanghyun realises that this must be Jinyung. He rushes to find her but she has already left and her boat has set sail. (Kwanghyun and Jinyung have been looking for each other but keeping missing each other – as usual.) He struggles with the guards at the port calling out her name. (I don’t really understand why the guards are holding him back. What is he going to do? Jump in the water and swim after the boat?)

He goes glumly back to his clinic but is distracted again as word has spread about him and more patients come to be treated by him. But then Qing guards arrive to take him away. Is he in trouble again? He is taken to the palace where the Head of Medicine and other important looking people are solemnly gathered. He’s not told where he is or why he’s here. And then a Very Very VIP strides into the room…


So it looks as though Kwanghyun may get to treat the Empress after all. It was interesting to see the two different ways that Kwanghyun and Myunghwan attempt to treat their patients. But although Myunghwan was once a cutting edge doctor, he now seems to rely on others for ideas. It’s Jinyung who suggests the moxa after his own prescription of herbs doesn’t work. It looks like he’s been too busy scheming over the years to improve his skills as a doctor. 

Kayong’s character

I find Kayong’s character annoying most of the time. She’s like a noisy child. But it’s interesting that she can’t use the honorific form of language -존댓말 chondenmal – suggesting  that she has not lived in regular Joseon society or that she shuns social conventions – as even the lowest  most uneducated peasant has to be able to speak politely. Kwanghyun has often complained that she speaks down to him in panmal. So although her character is often irritating the ‘panmal scene’ with the Joseon doctors is most amusing: 

Comedy scene

Kayong goes to snoop around to find out which doctor is treating the Empress. She bumps into Daebang, Taeju, and their snooty teacher, Dr Kwon. She wants to ask them about the Empress but as Kayong can’t use honorific language she speaks to them casually in 반말 (panmal). She addresses them as 너들 no-dul. :) :) (Hey, you lot) As doctors they are not at the VERY top of Joseon society – yangban Confucian scholars were the TOP top –  but they are still used to being treated with respect certainly from people like Kayong who would be considered lower on the social scale to them. She points at them ( :) ) and addresses them plainly 너 (no) YOU. (Priceless.) Dr Kwon can’t believe it. “Did you just call me 너?” he stammers before collapsing in horror at her rudeness. But she looks bemused as though she has no idea what the problem is here. It seems that in her mind she has simply come for information but these men for some reason are fussing over formalities. I like that they are all so shocked by this. :) 

Then she bumps into her crush Sungha again. This time he’s with Jinyung. Sungha (who as a scholar in a government position has a much higher status than the doctors) still manages to hide his surprise better than them at her socially inappropriate behaviour when she points at him and addresses him as 너! She should probably bow and address him as 나으리 nauri – Sir. Not 너! YOU.

But as she likes him, she makes an attempt to speak more politely by adding a polite 요 (yo) at the end of her informal sentences! She ends up with a strange mix of language. Sungha and Jinyung simply look at her as though she is some strange creature from space as she is clearly not trying to be rude on purpose but is unable to communicate properly. We can really see the strict social conventions about using appropriate language in different social classes in this scene. Classic. 

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