The Japanese are coming. But Heo Jun is desperate to save the medical records before joining the king’s party and fleeing from the capital. However, an angry mob of peasants sets fire to the palace and the hospital. So Heo Jun and Ye Jin risk their lives trying to save what they can. Meanwhile his family have heard nothing from him so believing he has left without them, they set off on foot. But when they reach the Imjin River the king’s men have burnt all the boats leaving the people on the other side to face the Japanese soldiers …
The peasants blame their hard life on the aristocracy. So now that there is chaos around the city they want to release their anger and frustration on any yangban they can find. And who should turn up but Heo Jun! (And he has only just become a yangban, too! ) The angry mob surrounds him ready to attack, when just in time Dr. Kim Man Kyung – from the welfare hospital – rushes up to the crowd and asks that infamous question, Do you know who I am? Luckily the crowd does know. He points out Heo Jun too and quickly the mob sheepishly back away. How can they attack their OWN doctors?!
Dr Kim has come to help Heo Jun save the records. But before they get to the hospital they hear that several buildings have been set on fire by the angry peasants – including Gyeungbokgung (Palace) and the welfare clinic. Meanwhile, Lord Yang and the medical team are waiting in vain for Heo Jun. Of course Do Ji impatiently points out that has clearly run away and that they should leave without him.
A mob of angry peasants surround Heo Jun and Dr Kim
Ye Jin is desperately trying to save the records from the fire in the hospital but gets overcome with fumes and collapses. Heo Jun arrives and helps Ye Jin but still tries to save all the important records regarding the king.
Heo Jun’s son, Gyum, hears that EVERYONE has fled from the palace. He is furious with his father for leaving them waiting for him. But he has no idea that Heo Jun is actually still in the capital risking his life trying to save books.
But the fire is too powerful and they have to get out before the building collapses. Heo Jun falls to his knees in agony at the thought of all their records burning away. He finally remembers about his family, but by the time he gets to the house, it’s in darkness. His ever understanding wife has left him a tray of food and a note explaining the situation. But he rushes off to find her. (I think he should have eaten something first. What a waste. And there’s a long journey ahead.) Of course it’s impossible to find anyone in the endless trail of people trying to leave the city. Heo Jun and his team now have to try and catch up with the king before they become labelled traitors themselves!
Heo Jun breaks down in despair as the medical records burn down with the hospital
At the Imjin River there is chaos again as the exhausted and frightened peasants scramble to get a boat heading north. But they all have to back down when the king arrives on his palanquin! There are mumblings of complaint though in the crowd as the king prepares to leave. (I don’t blame them either!) Of course the king feels bad but his advisers push him to go – his safety is their priority. And now to make things even worse, after the king crosses the river, ALL THE BOATS ARE BURNT. Yes this will stop the enemy using the boats, but what about all the peasants stuck at the port? The king and Prince Gwang Hae are horrified but can do nothing. (This is bad. This is very, very bad. )
Heo Jun’s family, Koo Ilsu and his family, and Yang Tae and his pregant wife arrive at the port but of course they can’t get across now. They are exhausted too. Worried about what will happen if the Japanese catch them, Koo Ilsu’s wife secretly pays a dodgy ferryman to get her family – not everyone – across the river. But there’s no ferry and the silly wife already gave the ‘ferryman’ lots of money. Duh!
Meanwhile, Heo Jun and his exhausted group head for the Imjin River too. They assume that the king’s party has already crossed the river and arrived in Kaesong (now located in North Korea). But of course they can’t cross the river because there are no boats …Heo Jun decides to skip Kaesong and head straight for Pyeongyang which is the king’s destination.
Heo Jun is trying to catch up with the king whilst Do Ji is quick to take over his job!
At the king’s camp there’s trouble as lots of soldiers are running away from their duties. And now Dr Yang is sick too and he decides that he is too old to continue with the party and puts Do Ji in charge of looking after the king. When the king asks about Heo Jun, Do Ji can’t wait to tell him that he RAN AWAY. (He says this even though he knows that Heo Jun was trying to save the books. tut tut! He’s never going to change.) The king looks disappointed but there are more pressing things to worry about when he is told that the Japanese have reached the Imjin River.
Heo Jun and his group pass through a ransacked village. A crying baby sits next to its dead mother. They have to take the baby and leave quickly but then they find a seriously injured man lying on the ground, so they have to stop to help him. But now the enemy are coming ….
Again, we see how dismally the ordinary folk are treated by those in power. But ironically, the good Heo Jun treats his family badly too! They are just left sitting there waiting when everyone else is leaving. Later Koo Ilsu’s wife is as selfish as ever. She may be rich now but she is still selfish. But she has also become gullible, naively paying the ‘ferryman’ BEFORE getting the ride across the river. Before she was rich she was much more shrewd with money. Yes, she is desperate to get across the river, but perhaps now that her life is easier, she seems to have softened and so has become an easy target for conmen.
King Seonjo must feel horrible leaving the the palace and the people to fend for themselves. But the weakness of the Mid-Joseon palace is breathtaking. The Early Joseon kings were warriors – they had to be to overthrow the Goryeo Dynasty. But once the Joseon Dynasty settled down, the kings and their court were obviously able to soften too.. There’s no way any of the first three kings – King Taejo, King Jeongjong, and definitely not King Taejong – would have let this situation occur, and they would never have fled like this either…