Horse Doctor Episode 34

 Back in Joseon Kwanghyun is keeping a low profile not ready to reveal himself to his loved ones yet. But this doesn’t stop him treating the patients that are getting turned away at Myunghwan’s hospital. Kwanghyun is determined to expose Myunghwan and his dodgy ethics. Meanwhile Jinyung is doing her best at her new hospital to help the poor. But guards have been sent to stop the illegal trade in herbs. Sungha goes to warn Jinyung and protect her but ends up getting injured himself. 

The episode begins with Dr Saam and Kayong arriving on a boat back in Joseon. (Oh. I thought they would stay apart from Kwanghyun for a while. OR maybe time has passed now.) Kayong as always is focused on food but her focus has changed from the dumplings of Qing to bulgogi (BBQ beef) of Joseon. As always they have no money but she’s hoping Kwanghyun will be able to look after them now that he has his reward for helping Qing.

A line of patients wait outside the new hospital

At the 치종원 hospital patients queue up and are looked after by Inju and Jinyung. But they are short-handed at the hospital. There are too many patients since Myunghwan still has no interest in helping the poor – or even patients that he doesn’t know how to cure!

Deabang and Taeju help a poor patient turned away from the hospital

But the other doctors are starting to feel bad about this. Daebang secretly gives a patient, who was turned away, some medicinal herbs and sends him to Jinyung’s hospital! A guy with an infected leg gets turned away from the hospital too – and is told that there’s no cure for his illness. But as he leaves, a stranger in a wide-brimmed hat watches him go. I think we can guess who this is!

Kwanghyun watches as another patient is turned away from the hospital

Everyone is still talking about Kwanghun wondering where he is. Eunso tells the princess that they couldn’t find him in Qing after all. Daebang’s mum feeds Jinyung at the restaurant after a hard day’s work. Chef mentions Kwanghyun’s name and upsets Jinyung.

Talk of the devil: Kwanghyun arrives home and blows out the lantern that Kibae keeps lit for him every night. oh. Then he goes to where Jinyung is working and gazes longingly at her shadow through the wall.

Meanwhile Kayong and Dr Saam arrive at Kwanghyun’s place and Kayong is shocked to see the poor conditions that he lives in – she was expecting him to have a yangban life by now after helping the Qing! But he hasn’t told anyone anything yet and there’s no bulgogi here. (Oh stop going on about food, Kayong.) Kwanghyun has more important things to worry about than bulgogi as he has plans to expose Myunghwan and his dodgy hospital.

Kwanghyun stops the patient that was turned away from the hospital

Kwanghyun stops the patient who was turned away with the bad leg. After examining him he says he CAN remove the infected area from his leg easily and then he will be fine. The patient can’t believe it. And we see Kwanghyun now confidently do his operation knowing how to sterilise all the instruments properly.

Myunghwan is informed that an important civilian-scholar of the Namin faction (one of the political factions at the time) has arrived at the hospital with his son. He is a VIP and the king himself wants him treated. But when Myunghwan examines him he sees that he has gangrene on his leg. There is nothing Myunghwan can do for him. He is going to die. The official accepts this news stoically. But his son is determined to find someone who can help him. Myunghwan is more worried about how turning a VIP patient away will affect HIM!

Myunghwan examines the patient’s leg and discovers gangrene 

Dusik is in charge of stopping the illegal buying of herbs – orders from the king. Of course he doesn’t know that Jinyung is behind this! Sungha realises he is going to send guards after her so hurries to warn her.

Guards surround the Jinyung and the others as they load up the herbs

Sungha finds Jinyung and warns her and they try to hide the herbs as quickly as they can. Kwanghyun is hiding nearby and sees the guards arrive. He realises Jinyung is in danger and he sets fire to the area to expose the soldiers. Jinyung is led away to safety while Sungha stays behind to fight – but he is only one man against all of them.

Sungha fights off the guards as Jinyung escapes

Sungha gets injured with a sword and Kwanghyun leaps in to help fight off the men. He takes Sungha piggy back to a cave and saves his life by treating his deep sword wound with herbs he finds in the cave and then sewing it up with Sungha’s own hair! Clever. Jinyung is worried about Sungha and comes looking for him. She follows the trail of Sungha’s blood but when Kwanghyun hears her voice he disappears. Sungha gets taken to hospital but Jinyung seems to know that something is fishy.

Jinyung dresses as Yongdal to smuggle in the herbs

Myunghwan is in a rage that someone dared to attack his son. He is also not pleased to hear that some wannabe is treating the patients he is turning away! Who could that be?!

Myunghwan is worried about his hospital’s reputation

The Namin official’s son manages to get hold of Kwanghyun who comes to examine his leg. There is good news and bad news. The good news is he CAN treat him. The bad news is he will have to amputate his leg …


So we have more build up to the final showdown between Kwanghyun and Myunghwan. (This is a long build up!) Kwanghyun seems to be just biding his time and collecting his evidence against Myunghwan, getting ready to expose him for the dodgy doc he really is. 

It’s interesting how the drama shows the growing need for surgery at the time – but how the doctors are so against it, even though herbs couldn’t cure everything back then either. The reason for mistrust of surgery had to do with Confucian thinking – as a sign of filial piety the perfect body given by one’s parents should not be altered in any way. But Myunghwan’s reasons for staying away from surgery seem to be based more on playing it safe whilst collecting money from the rich patients rather than any deeper ideological reasons!

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