We jump to 14 years later to March 1591, the 24th year of King Seonjo’s reign. It’s the memorial of Gong Bin’s death, and her now adult son, Prince Gwang Hae, holds a ceremony for her. But he is sad and feels that his father, the king, has forgotten about him too – just as he forgot about his mother.
Heo Jun is back at the palace but working hard on writing medical books. He is not in charge of any royal patients. On the other hand, the ambitious Do Ji has moved up in rank and is set to take over from Dr Yang as the Royal Doctor. And when he does this, he will finally achieve his dream. NOTHING must be allowed to get in the way of his promotion, so when In Bin’s son gets seriously ill, Do Ji is not sure if he can cure him. So what does he do? He passes the buck to Heo Jun!
Prince Gwang Hae remembers his mother Gong Bin on the anniversary of her death
Heo Jun’s son is now a young man and he’s studying hard. But when Heo Jun hears that his son is studying for the literature exam (대과 ) rather than medical exam ( one of the 잡과 miscellaneous subjects open to those of lower status) Heo Jun tries to dissuade him from following this path. Because, Heo Jun believes that since only the elite can take the scholar’s state exam, all his son’s studies will be in vain. Heo Jun knows the feeling – he wanted to take the exam too but realised that his status was too low. (BTW We are already in episode 55 but this is the first time we actually see Heo Jun have a conversation with his son!)
Heo Jun tries to explain about their social status to his son
Koo Ilsu and his wife have gone up in the world too. They are rich and she is acting like the lady of the manor in her fine hanbok! (her behaviour is still not sophisticated though!) Her daughter Un Yun has a crush on Gyum – Heo Jun’s son – but she doesn’t believe he is good enough for her daughter! (What?)
Koo Ilsu’s wife is not happy that her daughter is interested in Heo Jun’s son!
Do Ji is panicking because In Bin’s son, Prince Shin Sung is seriously ill. The prince has tumours and although Do Ji knows the seriousness of his condition, he tries to cover it up.(He’s still sneaky – but by not revealing the truth he is jeopardising the prince’s life, since he clearly doesn’t know what to do and is wasting precious time.) But with the situation becoming critical what does he do? He recommends to Head Doctor Yang that Heo Jun take over looking after the prince! And of course he makes it sound like he is doing Heo Jun a FAVOUR by allowing him to come out of the library and back into the role of a practicing doctor. ( I laughed out loud when he said this! He really is a piece of work.)
Do Ji cleverly passes the baton to Heo Jun when he is worried the prince might die!
There have been changes in the nurses ranks too. Hong Choon is still there but has become head nurse. She teaches the other nurses along with Ye Jin. But when Heo Jun is called to look after the prince, Ye Jin goes with him.
Heo Jun doesn’t lie about the seriousness of the prince’s health. So In Bin is confused because Do Ji told her that the prince would be fine. Do Ji is summoned and he explains that the boy’s condition must have worsened when Heo Jun took over. ( Nice save, Do Ji. His plan is simple but seems to be working brilliantly.)
Everyone is horrified when Heo Jun applies leeches to the prince!
Heo Jun desperately searches for a way to cure the prince. He finally decides there is only one option: leeches. OMG he puts leeches all over the tumours on the prince’s back. Nobody can believe it. (gross. Don’t watch this when you’re having your tea!) In Bin is informed about what’s going on and she tells the King demanding that Heo Jun STOP the treatment IMMEDIATELY. (Doesn’t she realise her son is dying? Duh!) She is also worried that since Heo Jun is very fond of Prince Gwang Hae, he won’t try to help her own son! But the king decides that he will let Heo Jun complete the treatment… but of course, if it fails, his neck will be on the chopping block.
Despite his shock at Heo Jun’s methods, the King agrees to let him continue
The years have gone by and the men have grey beards and the children have grown up. Officials have moved up in status at court and some people – eg Koo Ilsu – now have more money. But the personalities of the characters are still the same. Nobody has improved with age! Do Ji is a slime bucket only concerned about his final step to the top of the medical rank tree. How ashamed his father would be!
The leech scene was pretty gross. And although it’s not surprising that In Bin goes mad when she sees this, she is really getting on my nerves. If she had so much confidence in the cowardly Do Ji, she should have insisted that he finish the Prince’s treatment in the first place. Actually I’m surprised that Heo Jun was allowed to take over so easily. Surely the personal doctor should stay in charge of his own patient?