Oh the saddest episode so far. The princess is sick and everyone is dying of smallpox at the hospital. They can’t find a cure and it’s spreading fast. But Choi takes advantage of the situation using the princess’ sickness to his own advantage..
Guard Ma rushes to tell the King that the princess is sick. The king is devastated: she has smallpox and there is nothing they can do to cure that. Lady Kwak is crying and in a panic too. (So sad that her maid is upset.)
The queen mother rushes over to see her and is greeted by Kwanghun. But she gets angry when she sees him and blames him for the princess getting sick! Kwanghyun looks mortified too. (BTW why are only the guards and maids actually wearing masks? The main characters don’t wear the masks even when they are next to the sick patients – just like action films when only the extras are wearing helmets or safety wear. The main characters never do! 😉 )
Myunghwan tells the king that the princess has smallpox
The hospital is in chaos as more and more patients are arriving but can’t be saved. The smug Dr Choi treats the patients coldly – wanting to take them to the morgue before they are dead! He explains that there is nothing they can do for them anyway so what’s the point of having them in the hospital! His lack of compassion for the patients annoys Kwanghyun and they get into an argument. Choi taunts Kwanghyun challenging him to cure all the patients – but of course Kwanghyun can’t.
Choi mentions Kwanghyun’s ‘close’ relationship with the princess. He makes a joke about her illness (the nickname for smallpox was ma-ma and since ‘the princess is also addressed as ma-ma’, he says something like “Ma-ma has got ma-ma”) Kwanghyun desperately searches through medical books but can’t find anything.
Choi taunts Kwanghyun over the dying patients including the princess
The people in the community are trying to do what they can to stop getting sick. At the restaurant they make red bean soup for everyone as this is supposed to be good. Kibae arrives home to find their house unofficially ‘cordoned off’. The ropes are not official government ones so he rushes into the house wondering what’s going on. He finds Jabong hiding inside desperately stuffing his face with chilli and garlic in an attempt to ward off the smallpox. He’s even wrapped himself up in the official government signs and ropes – (although apart from a comic purpose, I don’t know what good that will do!) And Chef Oh thinks wearing his boss’ bright hanbok will stop him getting sick – much to her disgust!
Jabong tries his own method of protecting himself from smallpox
Kwanghyun looks after the princess and thinks back to all the times he spent with her – this is so sad But there is nothing he can do for her as more patients die at the hospital too.
Kwanghyun can’t do anything for the princess
But then finally there is some good news. The first patient that was diagnosed with the smallpox – the patient that the princess met in the market – is showing signs of improvement. Kwanghyun realises that they didn’t know he had smallpox so they must have treated him differently to the other patients. So Kwanghyun searches for the medical notes for the patient to find out what treatment was used. And he comes up with a plan -they must first treat the fever.
Dr Saam realises that the first smallpox patient is getting better
A social comment … the poor peasant class help while the yangban hide
Eunso goes to the palace to see the princess. But Lord Jung is hiding at home and hasn’t been to court since the outbreak of the pox. He is obviously nervous about catching it! Another yangban bribes his way out of the quarantined area. Meanwhile Sungha arrives with more medicinal herbs. Kayong gathers the poor commoners together and shows them the different herbs that they need. The locals then go up on the mountain and dig for more herbs. So while our yangban are either hiding or making the situation worse by bribing their way out of quarantine possibly spreading the disease, the poor are doing what they can to help – working outside in the cold.
Lord Jung is ‘too sick’ to go to work as Eunso goes to check on the princess
local volunteers gather to help find herbs in the mountains
The princess starts to improve too and everyone takes a sigh of relief. Except Choi who sees an opportunity. He knows that Myunghwan will hate to see Kwanghyun succeed again, so he persuades him that they should make the princess SICK again so that he – Choi – will be the ONLY ONE who can cure her. Of course this would be good news for Myunghwan too! (That really is dirty.)
Suddenly the princess is sick again
Sure enough Guard Ma and Lady Kwak soon tell Kwanghyun that the princess’ condition is suddenly worse. Kwanghyun is taken by surprise as over at the hospital everyone is getting better. She can’t breathe properly which is life-threatening and there is nothing they can do.
Myunghwan updates the king on the situation and explains that his man Choi knows how to cure the princess although it is a difficult operation. The king has no choice but to agree. So Choi is allowed in to operate on the princess. But first Choi tells Kwanhyun that he has the precious medical book they need and that this operation will be his first! So he is going to practise on the princess. But Kwanghyun has to let him operate as he has no other ideas.
It looks like Choi’s days are numbered though as Sungha has heard about the dangerous operation he is planning to do on the princess’ throat: how could he do this operation if he had not seen inside a corpse? Sungha realises that Choi must be the man who did the dissection on the body they found in the snow.
Guard Ma and Lady Kwak are devastated that the princess is sick again
In the meantime, Kayong is outside and notices a strange smell. At first the teacher thinks she can smell him since he hasn’t been washing to avoid catching the pox! But she follows the smell into the princess’ quarters and realises that there is musk on the floor! (Thanks to her strong sense of smell she was the only one who noticed this – i think she is in the wrong profession: she should be a chef.)
Kayong rushes over to show Kwanghyun what she found. Musk makes smallpox worse. They also hear that Choi was in the princess’ quarters the night before. Quickly Kwanghyun realises that Choi must have made the princess’ condition worse ON PURPOSE. Kwanghyun rushes over to stop the operation going ahead …
This was the most moving episode for me by far. I shed a tear too when Lady Kwak rushed across court in tears desperately looking for doctors to help after the princess was diagnosed with smallpox. And it makes Choi look even more heartless that he is going to experiment on the innocent princess. If the procedure was necessary and this was his first attempt then that is fair enough. (Kwanghyun has had to do lots of dangerous operations for the first time) But this operation wasn’t necessary. He has created this situation on purpose – absolutely unforgivable!
After the last episode I thought that Choi was a step up from Myunghwan because at least he was obsessed with curing illnesses even if it was for his own ego. Myunghwan on the other hand just wanted power and credit. But now, I take it back. Myunghwan used to be bad but now I think he is just weak and desperate. Allowing Choi to take over proves this. Because up until now, Myunghwan has always done the dirty dead himself – in an early episode, for example, he killed the doctor who knew too much about him. Then he poisoned Lord Ko. But now things are out of his control. He is not even in the room with Choi when he starts to operate on the princess. In the early days his treatments may have been cutting edge but not anymore. Now his medical knowledge is not good enough. And so Myunghwan’s days are definitely numbered. And he is allowing the despicable Choi to use him for his own gain.