Just 9 more episodes to go now so things are hotting up towards the end of the drama. Do Ji is gobsmacked when Heo Jun is promoted to Royal Doctor when he cures the prince. But there are more important things to worry about when the Japanese suddenly invade! The court is slow to respond because at first they don’t believe it’s really happening. But when they realise that this is serious, the king has to flee the country!
Heo Jun cures the prince (with his controversial technique of applying leeches!!) and the King is so pleased that he promotes him to a level 3 official which means he is high enough to become the king’s doctor! (There were usually 2 doctors under one king) Do Ji’s face is a picture! And the king points out that the REASON he is promoting Heo Jun is not just because of his medical skills, but also because of his kind nature. (Are you listening Do Ji?) But of course the other officials complain that he has been promoted too quickly and that Do Ji is the one who is next in line for this position. But this time the king refuses to change his mind. Do Ji must really be kicking himself – he put Heo Jun in charge of the prince probably thinking he would fail to cure him and take the fall. But now it is THANKS TO Do Ji that Heo Jun will be promoted first. (Oh the irony )
Heo Jun manages to cure the prince using leeches. The king promotes Heo Jun to Royal Doctor!
This is VERY big news because this means that Heo Jun’s family are now also promoted to yangban aristocrat status. And this means that Heo Jun’s son is now able to apply for the civil service exam. Hurray!
But the palace officials are still not happy and Do Ji’s team are preparing to resign – if he resigns first. But of course Do Ji has no intention of resigning. And now for my next favourite scene of the drama. It’s very short but oh so beautiful: While Team Do Ji huddle together pondering what to do over the unsavoury event of Heo Jun’s promotion, Heo Jun rocks up in his new red uniform. and of course they have to bow to him now wearing their inferior blue robes. (ha ha ha)
The king promotes Heo Jun to level 3 official. Now he’s higher than Do Ji.
Heo Jun soon begins his new role as Royal Physician and is summoned to the King who is sick. But before he enters he overhears King Seonjo arguing with his son (Prince Gwang Hae) about the possibility of the Japanese invading. The Prince is convinced that the invasion will happen and wants to prepare by sending a messenger to Ming to ask for their support. With backup from Ming they may be able to put the Japanese off invading. But the King refuses to believe that they are in any danger. The relationship between the king and prince is strained because the king thinks his son is only saying this because he wants to become the Crown Prince. Poor Prince Gwang Hae
Prince Gwang Hae tries to persuade the king that the Japanese really are invading
But around the city rumours spread about the possibility of war. Koo Ilsu has seen smoke coming from Mt. Mok Myuk which has five beacons. If there is smoke coming from one, it means that all is well. If there is smoke coming from two, the country is on alert, three means Japanese or Barbarians are approaching, four means the enemy has crossed the boundary, and five means the enemy has invaded and they are at WAR. So how many streams of smoke did he see? FIVE! Time to PANIC!! 😕
Yang Tae and Koo Ilsu realise that something is wrong
In April 1592 (the 25th year of King Seonjo’s reign) the Japanese invade. But unaware of this, Heo Jun’s son is about to set off to take the civil service exam. Yang Tae arrives with the dreaded news – they are at war and Pusan has been taken – there will be no exam now. Heo Jun rushes to the palace only to find the officials relaxed and calm. They STILL don’t believe they have anything to worry about. (Unbelievable! 😕 ) After all, the Japanese have tried to invade before. And failed. But In Bin’s brother knows that the situation is bad and is preparing to take the king and flee from court! But he must keep it quiet. He doesn’t want to worry the court. Do Ji is told to get medicine for the king ready as they are going to flee. Heo Jun has no idea about this and believes the other scholars when they say they are safe.
Wow, there are so many emotions to deal with in this episode – elation, disappointment, frustration, worry, and annoyance! I was elated when Heo Jun was promoted and walked past team Do Ji in his new red robes. But his manner is not pompous at all – if I were him I would really like to show off in front of those losers! But then there is disappointment as Heo Jun’s son finally is able to set off to take the civil service exam but it’s cancelled because of the war. Who knows how long he will have to wait now? – if he even survives the war. And I feel so frustrated with the scholars at the palace putting their heads in the sand and refusing to accept that the Japanese are really invading! I worry for Heo Jun’s family – while he’s busy sorting out his books their lives are in danger. I admire the fact that Heo Jun wants to save the books: he has spent years working on them and they will save many lives in the future. But I always feel bad for his family who are loyally waiting for him thinking that all is well. He never puts them first.
And finally I’m annoyed with the way poor old Prince Gwang Hae is treated and made crown prince for convenience. Grrr! It looks like he will be one of the few Royals – if not the only one – to stay behind and try to protect the palace while all the others run away. He is presented very sympathetically in this drama. In real life he became King but after he died he was not given the posthumous temple name and title of King as he was deposed in a coup. His title remains ‘Prince’ – Gwang Haegun.