News of Kwanghyun’s yangban status spreads around court. And so does the news that Myunghwan treated the queen mother with opium! Kwanghyun takes over the treatment for the queen mother and carries out a dangerous operation. Meanwhile, Myunghwan goes on the run. But with Jinyung’s help it looks as though he may escape. But guards are everywhere and not even Guard Kang can fight them all …
Kwanghyun stands worriedly outside the queen mother’s chamber as Jinyung is inside revealing the truth about his identity. The news spreads quickly around court and everyone is shocked. The princess stares at Kwanghyun as though she can’t believe it. Myunghwan’s reaction when he hears that Jinyung knows the truth is more of panic not surprise. If EVERYONE knows the truth, his plans will be ruined.
The princess hears that Kwanghyun is a yangban!
After she leaves the queen mother, she faces Kwanghun to explain WHY she did this. She’s prepared to become a slave again if that’s her fate. And she doesn’t want to spend her life on the run – even it it’s with Kwanghyun. Because she already knows what that’s like since she ran away as a child slave.
After sitting deep in thought, Myunghwan rushes over to the queen mother for damage control. But she is colder towards him now and asks directly: Did he know about Kwanghun’s true identity? Myunghwan stutters unable to answer. (He must be stunned by the direct question and didn’t anticipate this situation. So he can’t answer even though he has managed to tell lies and commit murder so many times before!) The stress of the news makes the queen mother take a turn for the worse and Myunghwan rushes forward to grab her arm and take her pulse. But this time she pulls her hand away and orders he be removed from her presence. Myunghwan pleads with her but she is adamant and he is removed.
Myunghwan is not ready to give up yet
Kwanghyun immediately rushes to the queen mother’s side. But her condition is very serious now. Meanwhile, Myunghwan’s head nurse desperately tries to hide the evidence of opium, but the teacher has been watching her and catches her red-handed. News of the opium spreads to the court too and Lord Jung just sits in dismay in his office.
The nurse is led away by guards as Myunghwan hides watching the scene in dismay. Of course he has no intention of even trying to help her. He is only concerned about himself. Guards are sent to arrest him but Guard Kang is on hand to help him escape.
It seems that it’s too late to operate on the queen mother- the root of the tumour is too deep and soon she won’t be able to breathe. Kwanghyun has an idea about a new operation but he’s not sure if it will work. but Choi knows his days are numbered (and maybe he’s feeling a bit guilty about hiding the rare medical book on treating sores and tumours) so he gives the book to Dr Saam although he believes it’s probably too late to help the queen mother.
Kwanghyun hears from Dr Saam that there is a procedure described in the medical book just like the one he had though of! This gives him confidence and he goes to the king (with three diagrams – one for the king, one for Lord Oh, and one for himself! ) to explain the procedure: make three long incisions on the queen mother’s neck and that way it should be possible to remove the entire tumour. But it’s very dangerous – even if she survives there may be permanent damage to her vocal chords – AND he has to admit that he has never performed this operation before! But they don’t have any other ideas and if he doesn’t try, the queen mother will die.
Kwanghyun begins to operate on the queen mother
So we have another bloody operation as Kwanghyun cuts away the huge tumour from the queen mother’s neck. But it’s difficult and the head of the hospital tells him to stop (I don’t understand why because she’s going to die anyway) But he manages to remove the offending cells and the operation is a success. Or is it? The queen mother has no pulse and she isn’t breathing. She’s gone, the others say in dismay.
But Kwanghyun NEVER gives up. He asks the maid for her hair pin and uses it like a hammer to punch the queen mother’s chest hard again and again. The others look on in horror and scream at him to stop. (Again, I don’t know why – he can’t do any MORE damage, can he?) The king is outside and hears the commotion. But just as he enters the room, the queen mother takes a breath. (phew! That was close. 😉 )
Of course now that news of Kwanghyun’s yangban status has spread around court, Lord Jung wastes no time in trying to curry favour with him. And he tries to put all the blame on Myunghwan. But Kwanghun isn’t interested. And merely points out that Lord Jung is guilty too and will be punished when the truth comes out!
The king is relieved that his mother has survived the operation
Myunghwan is looking pretty pathetic as he sits in his hideout with Guard Kang. He’s not feeling optimistic about his future but Guard Kang tries to encourage him not to give up. Myunghwan has sent a servant to get his notes from his house – the book that includes all his dirty dealings with Lord Jung. His home has been ransacked – by Lord Jung’s men looking for the book – but the book is still safe in its hiding place in the secret wall panel. But as the servant is retrieving the book a figure enters the room – it’s Yongdal!
Now we’re back at Myunghwan’s hideout again. Guard Kang is at the port assessing the situation, but guards are everywhere making it impossible to escape. In the hideout, the door opens and a figure enters. Who are you? Myunghwan asks. And he’s shocked to see that when the stranger takes off his hat – it’s Jinyung (dressed as Yongdal – I prefer this look to her yangban dress!) She has brought his book knowing that he wants to use it as blackmail against Lord Jung – his only hope.
Myunghwan tries to make excuses for what he did – if only the crown prince hadn’t died, if only his friend Dojun hadn’t got in the way, if only, if only….. then none of this would have happened. But Jinyung is not sympathetic. She insists that HE made those choices. He could have led a different life. She can’t understand or forgive him for what he’s done. Myunghwan thinks the game is up. BUT Jinyung hasn’t come to hand him in to the police. She can’t bring herself to do that since he treated her like his own child. She can’t let him die. In fact she’s come to help him and has prepared a boat for him to escape on. She says goodbye and rushes out in tears leaving Myunghwan in tears too.
Jinyung is still willing to help Myunghwan after everything he’s done!
Masked men (sent by Lord Jung) surround the hideout. (Lord Jung needs Myunghwan out of the way to protect himself) But when they storm the building, no one is there. Guard Kang and Myunghwan are on their way to the boat. But just as they are about to get on the boat, Myunghwan tells Guard Kang to go on alone, he will catch him up later because he has something to do first! While Guard Kang tries to persuade him to go with him, lots of masked men appear out of hiding and Guard Kang has to fight them off. He shouts at Myunghwan to get away. He puts up a brave fight but of course Guard Kang can’t fight off so many men. He gets slashed with swords again and again but manages to fight back until the final blow – a stab in the shoulder – he falls to the ground.
Myunghwan actually looks upset to see his guard die in front of him, but he has to hurry away and hide. Sungha arrives on his horse to find Guard Kang’s body. He’s worried about his father and rushes off to look for him.
Myunghwan is hurrying through the mountain. But then he stops and remembers Dr Ko’s words – Dr Ko had known Myunghwan since he was a young student before the whole crown prince situation began, and he believed that Myunghwan could change and be a better man.
Then back at the court everyone is shocked to see Myunghwan stagger back alone. Looks like he’s giving up at last.
So what a pathetically weak and selfish figure Myunghwan seems now at the end. Even as the people who have supported him all along get arrested, he can only think about his own survival. He hasn’t just put his patients life in jeopardy, but also the people he works with – his medical staff will have to be punished too for what he’s done. But I have little sympathy for his head nurse though because she should have blown the whistle on him as soon as she realised what he was doing with the opium. Ba humbug 😕
I think the fact that others are loyal to him but he is loyal to no one makes him seem even worse. Jinyung is still willing to help him even now, although she knows that he has been using her all this time. I suppose this is to show how filial piety was so important in Confucianism. So Myunghwan’s children can’t turn away from him even after everything he’s done.
The picture of Myunghwan cowering behind the wall watching as his nurse is escorted away for questioning (below) reminds me of one of the earlier scenes (in episode 1 above) when Myunghwan first realises that there is some dodgy business going on with the crown prince. That’s before he has done anything wrong but it’s the turning point in his life. There is no going back for him after this point. And the two images seem to show the beginning and the end of his wicked life.
The death of Guard Kang
I think this was the right way for Guard Kang to die – still fighting to protect his master. But it was a sad scene afterwards. Since we don’t know anything about his family, he seems a lonely figure lying there in the darkness with nobody to take care of him. He has been protecting Myunghwan all the time, but there is nobody to protect him.
At least he was loyal to Myunghwan – even when things were not going their way. That was his saving grace. There was never any chance that he would leave him and join another team for his own gains. Although he did do lots of bad stuff (in Myunghwan’s name), at least he was loyal. And he NEVER gave up – just kept on fighting till the end. He did his job – protected his master. But what a miserable life.