Heo Jun episode 5



Heo Jun is chosen to go with Do Ji, Dr Yoo’s son, to Hanyang to take the state medical exam. (Because someone has to carry the bags etc!) Heo Jun gets his hopes up that he may be able to find his sweetheart Da Hee in the capital, but first he will have to get hold of a fake ID somehow otherwise he won’t  be able to go at all. Do Ji seems to struggle with preparations for the test and so, impressed with Heo Jun’s intelligence and scholarly knowledge of literature, he allows him to help him study for the exam. In fact it’s becoming clear that Heo Jun is the more intelligent of the two men. They are getting on well for now but how long will it last? 

Heo Jun’s workmate must have listened to him because the stolen medicines are secretly put back in the warehouse and so the police don’t have to be called.

And now for a new character – enter Dr Yoo’s wife, a hard-headed woman who is generous to herself but stingy towards others. She is only concerned about making money – which means NOT treating paupers who can’t afford to pay. She orders that all the patients who can’t afford pay to for treatment be chucked out of the clinic! But she herself enjoys the finer things in life and splashes out on beautiful silk cloth for hanboks. She hires Heo Jun’s mum as a housekeeper and seamstress.

A critically ill boy is brought in. He’s fallen off a tight rope and there’s no pulse. Oh Gun wants to get Do Ji to come and treat the boy but his mother doesn’t want him disturbed as he is preparing for the state medical exam. Dr Yoo is away and Oh Gun is too nervous to apply acupuncture himself. In the end Ye Jin calls Do Ji to come and he treats the boy successfully. (Ye Jin clearly has a high status in their house as Do Ji’s mum feels that she can’t shout at her for bothering Do Ji.)


Oh Gun laments his lack of medical skills; Do Ji’s mother rules the clinic while his father Dr Yoo is away

Ye Jin asks Do Ji if she can treat patients too as she has studied medicine for so long but is not allowed to do anything. He says no because it’s too hard for a woman! (How very dare you! 😮 Do Ji is so condescending, it’s VERY unattractive. )

Dr Yoo comes back from his trip just in time to catch them trying to kick the poor patients out of the clinic. He goes mad even though the staff are only carrying out his wife’s orders. Dr Yoo is also unimpressed when he hears that his son Do Ji is spending his time studying rather than working in the clinic!

Dr Yoo has brought his friend the monk to talk to Do Ji before he goes to Hanyang to take the medical exam. Do Ji seems to be hoping for some tips on how to pass the test. But he’s disappointed when Dr Yoo and the monk simply focus on what qualities are needed to become a good doctor – having sympathy for the patients. But all Do Ji wants to do right now is  pass the medical exam. He’s not bothered about stuff like sympathy or what it takes to be a good doctor!


Dr Yoo and the monk arrive back at the clinic to find the poor patients are being thrown out! Do Ji is unimpressed with the ‘advice’ he gets from his father and the monk! 

All the workers are shocked when Heo Jun is chosen to accompany Do Ji to Hanyang. (they all wanted to go) Heo Jun is excited because he may be able to see Da Hee. But he has to get an ID first so he goes to ask Koo Ilsu again for an ID. But Koo Ilsu is busy with his wife – she has just made him eat some crushed ROCK from a Buddha statue’s nose because it’s meant to bring them a son. (I’ve heard it all now :) )

But just as Heo Jun thinks he won’t be able to go to Hanyang after all, Koo Ilsu comes up trumps and brings him an ID.


At the last minute Koo Ilsu brings Heo Jun the fake ID

Before he goes, Do Ji tells Ye Jin he’s been doing all this studying not for himself. Oh no. He’s done it all for her! And when he comes back he plans to announce his feelings about her to his parents! But she doesn’t look happy about this. (I don’t blame her. Especially after his ‘women are too weak to be doctors’ comment. Who wants to be with a patronising bloke like him? Especially when it looks like SHE is the one who is interested in medicine, not him. But as a woman she can’t be a ‘proper’ doctor. We’ve been through this before in Dae Jang Geum)

On the way to Hanyang – Do Ji rides a horse and Heo Jun walks alongside. Heo Jun  tries to make conversation and asks about the exam, since he’s desperate to know more about it. But Do Ji looks down on him (literally!) and orders him to concentrate on his job which is finding them accommodation etc. When they finally stop at an inn Heo Jun can’t resist sneaking a peek at the books Do Ji is studying.


Do Ji and Heo Jun stop at an inn on the way to Hanyang and share a room with a yangban

The inn is full of candidates on their way to take the state exam. Heo Jun and Do Ji get the last room but then a yangban arrives and order them to give up the room for him!   (Since they are lower class!) Heo Jun says no. :) So the four men have to share a room. Awkward! (good grief this is unbelievable!)

The yangban drinks alcohol and relaxes and doesn’t bother studying while Do Ji tries to concentrate. He refuses a drink. But the yangban looks down on him when he discovers he is only taking the medical exam. (so he will ‘only’ be a doctor!) The yangban tries to show off his poetry skills (to demonstrate how he is a scholar and a nobleman) but he gets the poem wrong and Heo Jun corrects him! (I like this :) ) The Yangban is FURIOUS and marches out HUMILIATED leaving Heo Jun and Do Ji alone. Do Ji is impressed (and gobsmacked) with Heo Jun’s knowledge (he didn’t expect that!) and so he gets Heo Jun to help him study by having him read out the names of the herbs for him to write the Chinese characters. Heo Jun is only too pleased to help him as he wants to know what the test is about too!

Do Ji passes the first part of the test and is grateful to Heo Jun for his help and promises to make him a herb gatherer when they get back home. They are friendly now but will it last?


Do Ji sits part 2 of the test and has to answer questions about how to treat different diseases. Meanwhile Heo Jun goes in search of Da Hee.

So already Heo Jun is getting noticed for his intelligence and knowledge. I enjoyed this episode because finally Heo Jun gets a chance to shine. We also get to know Do Ji a bit better but he seems a weak man compared to Heo Jun. And so patronising (to women) and snobby (to people below him in status). Every episode has me shouting at the screen at some point. And in this episode the award goes to Do Ji and his patronising comments to Ye Jin. :( 

 Another angle on the theme of hierarchy in society is introduced here too. Heo Jun has his own battle with his low status as the son of a concubine, but now even Do Ji finds himself the underdog next to the yangban who are taking the civil service exam.

The yangban look down on Do Ji because Confucian scholars were the top of the tree in Joseon society. There were three kinds of state exam – Civil Service Exam, Military Exam, and Miscellaneous Exam. The most prestigious one was the civil service exam and based on Confucian ideology. Yangban who passed this could go into government positions. The next best was the Military Exam. And finally the Miscellaneous which included various practical professions such as medicine. But isn’t it a bit odd for someone to turn their nose up at a ‘mere’ doctor. Hope you don’t get sick, Mr Yangban. 😉 


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