This show is awesomely bad, endlessly hilarious, and has more brain injuries than you can shake a doctor’s bag at. I don’t know whether Dr. Jin has acknowledged that it is unintentionally one of the funniest shows of the year, but it doesn’t even matter at this point. Just keep up the good(?) work.

I’ve developed a lot of affection for this show, so maybe most of my laughs come from how inherently ridiculous everything is. Maybe if this show were played for comedy it’d be less funny, and so the comedy comes from everyone playing their scenes straight like they’re really in a serious, respectable show. That’s not to say the show is a total joke – it does try to wring a sense of pathos from its scenes, only it’s like the production team relayed its messages through a game of telephone.

As for the ratings, Dr. Jin rose from the previous week’s 10.8% to 13.8%, while A Gentleman’s Dignity stayed slightly ahead at 14.0%.

 
EPISODE 3 RECAP

Minister Kim is down for the count, effectively putting Hyuk’s execution on hold while everyone rushes to his side. Even after hearing one of the minister’s associates say that he’s been having headaches since he bumped his head, Doctor Yoo is like, Nah. He’s totally fine.

Only Hyuk’s doctor-senses start tingling, and he begins to ask a series of questions (still tied up) that lead him to believe the minister has a subdural hematoma – another brain with a blood clot, basically. Kyung-tak accuses Hyuk of stalling for time, and a dramatic close-up reveals that Hyuk is dead serious: “There’s no time, his life is in danger!”

So he and Kyung-tak strike a deal: If Hyuk can’t save his father’s life, he’ll be executed as planned.

At the minister’s house, Hyuk readies for another brain surgery – though this time, his life depends on it. He’s hoping that he’ll find a blood clot because not finding one would mean Minister Kim had a stroke, which even our great doctor can’t cure.

Young-rae tracks down Kyung-tak outside and asks to be allowed to help in the surgery, because every second matters. When we next see her she’s inside the operating-bedroom acting as a nurse while Hyuk cuts into Minister Kim’s forehead. It’s pretty gruesome.

Everyone’s faces are covered up to their eyes, so it’s funny to see all this talking with no mouths moving. It’s also funny when Doctor Yoo begins to protest, and Kyung-tak just goes: “Be quiet. We’re doing an operation.” Ha.

Meanwhile, Chun-hong plays the gayageum while Ha-eung loafs about nearby. It’s said that she can see the future, so Ha-eung asks about Hyuk’s fate – and a string snaps ominously. Dun dun dun.

Back with Hyuk, we’re once again treated to a brain-chiseling scene. Only he’s in for a shock when there’s no blood clot to be found… but that’s okay, because he can just make a hole in the other side of Minister Kim’s head. Kyung-tak isn’t having any of that and aims his gun at Hyuk’s head.

Young-rae tries to sway Kyung-tak into putting the gun down, but he warns Hyuk, “If you don’t stop, your head could be the one with the hole in it.” Hyuk doesn’t stop, and Kyung-tak fires…

…Right past Hyuk’s head. He warns that Hyuk can only drill one more hole into his father’s skull before he really shoots him. So he chisels another gruesome hole into Minister Kim’s head, and this time, they find the blood clot. Success!

Doctor Yoo is in a hurry to mouth breathe right over the minister’s open head wound, and blood shoots out from the wound right onto his face. Hyuk deadpans, “Don’t worry. It’s blood that needed to come out anyway.” HAHA.

There’s a hilarious exchange once the boys are alone, with Kyung-tak threatening to kill Hyuk if he won’t reveal where his medical skills come from… before he smiles, “There’s no need to be scared. Since you saved His Excellency, I now know your skills. So I won’t kill you.” Omo. Was Kyung-tak making a funny?

He’s thankful to Hyuk for saving his father’s life, so the I-almost-had-you-beheaded-thing is all water under the bridge now. Hyuk is still under suspicion, but for now, Kyung-tak introduces himself. Hyuk does the same. Aww, are they going to be friends?

Young-hwi and his sister meet Hyuk outside, and he’s oddly insistent that Hyuk stay at their house. I’m guessing this has to do with his whole secret identity.

Kyung-tak seems hesitant to even hold his father’s hand inside, and skitters away when his brother, DAE-GYUN (the Legitimate Son), comes barging in. He pushes Kyung-tak out of the way to yell at his temporarily-comatose father, because that always helps.

It’s clear from the get-go that the brothers have a bad relationship, but in case it wasn’t, Dae-gyun starts hitting Kyung-tak the moment he meekly suggests that their father needs rest. He reminds his little brother that he’s nothing but a bastard child, which makes Kyung-tak refer to “the Kim family” like an outsider. Aww.

Young-rae introduces Hyuk to the room he’ll be staying in, and returns his ring now that he’s not dead. He stops her on her way out to ask if she’s ever seen him before, clearly thinking of Mina. She obviously hasn’t, and Hyuk is left alone.

A grand feast is being prepared to celebrate Minister Kim’s recovery, with Dae-gyun leading the pack. Kyung-tak is there only to act as a guard, though Dae-gyun still eyes him with obvious disdain, though he’s at least distracted by the sight of Chun-hong approaching. He’s instantly taken by her beauty.

Meanwhile, Mom prepares a gift for the reluctant Young-rae to take to the party, citing that Minister Kim will be her future father-in-law. Hyuk and Young-hwi emerge from the house, and Young-rae laughs to see Hyuk in his brand-new Joseon regalia, which she secretly stayed up all night to sew for him.

Hyuk’s lack of topknot is a problem, and Young-rae comes up with a solution… by tacking a horsehair extension to the back of his head and styling it into a (literal) pony tail.

The two siblings and Hyuk head down a busy street, with Young-hwi joking about how he’s failed the civil exam four times and Young-rae jumping in to defend him – it’s not that he lacks knowledge, it’s that the rich and powerful buy their positions. She can at least recognize that it’s unfair.

Young-hwi laments to Hyuk that if his sister weren’t born a girl she’d have done great deeds. Ah well. He sends Hyuk on his way, and then shares an ominous look with a suspicious passer by. Anonymous, Activate!

His fellow Anonymous members wait for him in a hideaway, though it’s clear he’s the leader of the bunch. They report their losses (three men) from the fight the other night and blame Kyung-tak for setting the trap. Young-hwi advises them to stay low for the time being.

Chun-hong entertains Minister Kim and all his cohorts with a gayageum before pouring their drinks. One of the ministers asks her to see into Minister Kim’s future, an idea that makes her briefly uncomfortable before she covers smoothly with the generic answer that he was born with divine luck. “You were saved from a sickness that even the Royal Doctor had no knowledge of, and were saved by the person who was about to be executed… If that is not divine luck, what is?”

It’s definitely not a good fortune for the nearby Doctor Yoo, though that seems to be less important than the lecherous and scary stares Dae-gyun keeps sending Chun-hong’s way. I’m thinking this is going to become an issue pretty soon.

Hyuk and Young-rae arrive at the outskirts of the party where Kyung-tak is keeping guard. He’s not the biggest fan of Hyuk staying at his fiancée’s house, but lets it slide for now.

They’re interrupted by shouting, and turn to find Ha-eung struggling to be let in, though he’s without an invitation. I love that he argues his point – Hyuk saved Minister Kim’s life, right? Well, he saved Hyuk’s life, ergo he technically saved Minister Kim’s life. Hyuk takes his side, and Kyung-tak allows it.

But Kyung-tak can’t seem to catch a break, as Ha-eung marches right up to him, looks him square in the eye, and proclaims: “You, aren’t you the Left State Counselor’s offspring from a concubine, Kim Kyung-tak?” Aww. Feelings hurt, he warns Ha-eung against going into the VIP section and tells him to just eat and leave.

I officially love any scene with Ha-eung in it, but Ha-eung and Hyuk are cute together. He’s prepared a whole scheme for Hyuk to earn money by saving lives, and can’t comprehend that Hyuk has a moral problem with it (although that’s what doctors do in the modern day anyway), so each time Hyuk tries to say no, Ha-eung thinks it’s over the profit ratio. Haha. If we go by Ha-eung’s standards, then Hyuk is a master haggler. (No wonder why Ha-eung is so poor at gambling.)

Hyuk gets preferential treatment to see the minister first, even though it’s cute/sad to see Kyung-tak trying to shoe his fiancée in first, to show some clout. Aww.

Minister Kim is more than happy to pour a drink for the man who saved his life, a point which keeps getting rubbed in Doctor Yoo’s face. No one can figure out where he learned his skills from and no one (especially Minister Kim) seems to care. He offers Hyuk anything he wants – land, money – but Hyuk denies any payment.

Chun-hong, who has been intently watching Hyuk up until now, excuses herself from the table. Dae-gyun watches her with that creepy stare of his. There’s a long line of people waiting to greet Minister Kim and Young-rae doesn’t want to stand in it, insisting to Kyung-tak that she’ll greet him later.

But Kyung-tak, intent on showing his girlfriend to his father, takes her by the wrist and forces her to the front of the line. Hyuk is now sitting alongside Minister Kim, and Dae-gyun is about to blow a gasket that his bastard brother dares to make a scene.

It’s Minister Kim who allows it, and he surprisingly proves himself to be… a nice guy? Huh. They all seem to have known her late father, though Minister Kim is the only one out of his table to treat her with respect. Even when the other ministers laugh at the meager gift her mother prepared, Minister Kim smoothly covers by saying that it’s just what he likes. Aww. That’s really nice of him.

But then he’s not so nice, because he can’t help but laugh when the ministers joke at her brother’s expense. Kyung-tak interrupts their fun by claiming that he brought Young-rae as his fiancée, which has everyone’s attention. It’s going to get old if I keep mentioning Dae-gyun being terrible, so just know that every time Kyung-tak talks, Dae-gyun is making some sort of angry face or saying something mean.

They all make a big to-do that Kyung-tak, as a bastard son, would marry a nobleman’s daughter, however bankrupt she is. (Young-rae’s family has fallen on hard times, but she’s still considered a noblewoman.) Young-rae has already taken all that she can, so she bows out and leaves. Kyung-tak follows her after sending a wounded puppy-dog look to his father.

Ha-eung comes to crash the party by faking a hunched back and a mental disability (he’s very drunk, if that helps), and eventually all the ministers start laughing at his antics(?).

Kyung-tak follows Young-rae out, and she turns on him with tears in her eyes. The way she talks makes it seem like she’s blaming Kyung-tak for everything, which I kind of get, but seriously, if she had two eyes she would have seen that he was being degraded too. It’s not like he was trying for this end result.

Kyung-tak: “No matter what the world says, you’re mine. My lover.” Aww. Hyuk climbs a hill nearby and just looks at them. He has such a poker face that I can’t ever really tell what he’s thinking.

We find Dae-gyun and Chun-hong on a nearby boat, with him declaring that he’ll remove her from the gisaeng registry to be his concubine and give her money and power. He’s totally enamored with her and she knows it, though the exchange grows dark as she asks him whether he cares for her enough to die for her.

He thinks it’s just a sentiment and she locks her arms around him, a motion that he thinks is her getting friendly – only she murmurs that if he can die for her, then he should show her… and she drags him with her as she jumps off the side of the boat and into the water. Whoa, what? Is she trying to drown him?

It seems to be a test of dedication that Dae-gyun fails, because he swims to shore while Chun-hong stays drowning in the river. Everyone looks on as Hyuk all but tears his outer layer of clothing off like he’s Superman and dives into the water to save her. (That hair has got to weigh a ton.)

He drags her onto shore, only she’s not breathing. Ha-eung has practically started mourning already (I guess a little water in the lungs was like a death sentence in Joseon) and brings the funny to Hyuk’s administration of CPR. It’s extra hilarious when all the onlookers reel in horror at the sight of Hyuk administering mouth-to-mouth resuscitation. Ha-eung: “You don’t have anything better to do? To a corpse?” HA. Dr. Jin, Necrophiliac.

Even Young-rae comes to witness the scene, equally horrified, until Chun-hong suddenly coughs up water. She’s alive!

She’s more interested to know who saved her, and Ha-eung is happy to tell her Hyuk saved her life. She wants him to go to the nearby gibang so she can repay him, though Hyuk leaves them to follow after Young-rae.

She’s completely scandalized that he’d kiss a gisaeng, unable to connect the dots that he wasn’t in it for the joyride.

Meanwhile, a royal command comes down to the party, that demands all officials report to the palace immediately.

Hyuk follows Young-rae home through one of the poorer areas of town, where a dirt-covered child flashes her a toothy grin. She knows the child and his mother, and promises to return soon to pay a proper visit. The sound of impending horse hooves interrupts the proceedings, separating Hyuk and Young-rae from the child, left in the middle of the road.

It’s all the officials riding from the party to the palace, and the mother goes to shield her son from being trampled. One of the horses rears back, and the mother gets hit with a hoof to her forehead. If only there were a competent neurosurgeon in Joseon…

Only Kyung-tak looks back, but even he can’t stop. Luckily Hyuk is on the scene (although at this point I’d argue that he just brings bad luck with him) and knows exactly what to do.

The situation is dire, and as usual, there’s just no time. He sends Young-rae to get his doctor bag while Ha-eung happens on the scene, and retches the second he sees the mother’s head wound. Bad luck for him, because Hyuk employs him to help him carry the patient to her home.

And, of course, her home is in a village of the sick, disenfranchised, and dying. Get to know it, because we’ll probably be spending a lot of time here – if the mountain will not come to Muhammad, then Muhammad must go to the mountain.

Young-rae runs into some trouble when bandits steal Hyuk’s bottomless bag of medical supplies, and she chases the thief into a dead end. Only their leader, JOO PAL-YI (Lee Won-jong!) proves a menacing presence. He’s not ready to let that bag go, nor is Young-rae willing to give it up, so she brandishes her silver dagger at her own throat. Young-rae: “Kill me and take it.”

Now he’s curious to see what’s in the bag, though his minion swiftly points out that it’s the doctor’s bag – you know, the one who shoved a pen in his throat and saved his life. Pal-yi is quick on the uptake, and motions his minion closer…

And next we see him, he’s on a delivery mission with Hyuk’s bag, sporting a black eye and a bloody nose. Ha. Young-rae can’t keep up, so he goes ahead without her.

Ha-eung brings the boiling water, Minion brings the bag, Hyuk starts the procedure. Pretty much the whole town is crammed into one tiny room.

Then Ha-eung goes out of the room and ends up running into the patient’s violent husband, which sends both of them back into the room. Husband/Father barges in and demands that Hyuk stop the procedure – his wife’s life isn’t worth living anyway. Er.

I can see that they’re trying to achieve a level of poignancy by pointing out how miserable her life is and the whole rich/poor dichotomy, but this is a weird way to go about it. Basically her husband goes nuts and tries to kill her himself, but he ends up crushing Hyuk’s finger with a mallet instead.

Mother speaks up for herself and tells Hyuk to do as her husband asks and let her die – she doesn’t have money for medicine, and there’s no use in living a life like hers. Her husband blames the nobility for her state, to which Hyuk replies, “A rich person or not is the same patient to me. Even if this person were to die of hunger tomorrow… if I can save her today, then I’m going to.”

Father has a change of heart, Hyuk begins the procedure again. Turns out that Hyuk is also experiencing a change of heart – remember that patient he flatly turned away in the first episode? Well, now he’s learning. In voiceover we hear him say, “This might be my second chance to save someone. The hope that you can live and that you have to live… I need to make that hope possible with my own hands.”

He saves the woman and saves the day. Young-rae patches up Hyuk’s finger outside, and marvels over his doctor’s bag: “Every time I see it, it amazes me. It seems to magically save dying people.” Girl, you are telling me.

She reminds him of Mina, which reminds him of something Mina once said: “That no matter what the results are, a doctor should try to save the patient. And that is what I’m doing as a doctor.”

That’s how he explains the Chun-hong CPR thing, which segues into a conversation about Kyung-tak, her fiancé. Young-rae claims it was something her mother arranged once they’d fallen on hard times.

They look over a vista of Hanyang together, which has Hyuk in tears – he’d looked over Seoul the same way, with Mina. Now he looks at Young-rae in a new light, thinking that she might be just another side of Mina…

The street is deserted after sunset. A man walks into Hyuk and Mina’s path, doubles over in pain, soils himself explosively and vomits. (L.O.L. at the speed in which this all happens.) Young-rae’s eyes widen as she backs away – it’s cholera. Uh oh.

Looks like another job for Dr. Jin!

 
COMMENTS

A-mazing. I wasn’t sure if Dr. Jin could keep up its winning streak of hilarious cliffhangers, but this one takes the cake. How do you top a minister with a hematoma? Cholera. How do you top cholera? Heck if I know, but I can’t wait to see what they come up with.

There’s definitely no shying away from the gruesome details of the medical sequences, though I’m left wondering: What audience are they trying to please with their close-ups? None of the scenes were quite realistic enough to be nauseating but it’s the unflinching attention that’s interesting – i.e. the diarrhea pouring from the cholera-ridden man’s pants. And if that’s one guy with cholera, and the show is planning a cholera outbreak, yeesh. (They might be jumping the gun by a couple of decades, since there was a severe cholera epidemic that swept Joseon in 1886.)

We did get some interesting developments this episode, with Kyung-tak shaping up to be a pitiable/likable character (line delivery issues aside), and Chun-hong’s suicide attempt. Although with her ability to see the future, I’m inclined to think that it all had something to do with Fate – she seemed too intently interested on who did the saving, as if she were expecting one answer and received another.

I’m still not quite getting the animosity level between Young-rae and Kyung-tak, and was even more confused when his father went out of his way to be kind to her. Kyung-tak has all the emotional strength of a ten-year-old girl with the loyalty of a puppy and it’s always a no-go with her, which makes me wonder if the show is setting up an “I Knew I Loved You Before I Met You” sort of thing with her and Hyuk. In which case, bleh.

Regardless, in a show where every operating room becomes a clown car and any shot with more than two people is composed like The Last Supper, we can’t set the bar too high – because someone will inevitably hit their head on it.

 
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