This episode takes us for a ride as far as the time travel/time slip/parallel universe mechanics go, as Hyuk puts his all into saving the entire Catholic population in Joseon with some pretty questionable aftereffects. When will this boy ever learn? Is even posing that question too much wishful thinking on my part?
EPISODE 19 RECAP
Despite the brain zaps, Hyuk manages to save Young-rae and Ridel from the soldiers by knocking them down with a big stick. Ha.
Ha-eung thinks back to the promise he made and then broke with Hyuk, just as he runs into Minister Kim outside, who gloats that Ha-eung was just like the rest of them after all, now that he’s tasted power. He backhandedly assures Ha-eung that he won’t last long.
Kyung-tak’s men report that they’ve arrested all Catholics save for a noblewoman who escaped with a priest. He orders that their likenesses be posted all over the city so they can be found.
Who thought it was a good idea to hide in the makeshift church the soldiers already raided and know the location of? Either way, that’s where Young-rae and Ridel are camped for the moment, though they’re trying to find a way out of the city.
Hyuk demands to know why she didn’t keep her promise (that makes two friends who’ve broken their promises to him), and tells her that her safety is most important – he’ll find a way for them to escape.
And then, Hyuk remembers the vision of Mina flatlining and wonders if something happened to her.
The Council of Evil convenes to discuss Ha-eung, and how public favor has turned back toward him now that he made his wife renounce Christianity and persecuted all Christians. Minister Kim doesn’t seem too affected, and sends everyone out once Kyung-tak arrives. Even Dae-gyun isn’t allowed to stay, and he huffs around as usual.
HAH. Okay, so either Hyuk has the worst idea or the best idea in smuggling Young-rae and Ridel out of the city – because right now he’s just got them covered by a straw mat in a cart, because nothing’s more inconspicuous than that. (Bring out your dead!) My guess is that he’ll try to pretend they’re dead, but we don’t find out because…
We cut right back to Minister Kim! Huzzah for the camera’s flea-like attention span. All Minister Kim does is tell Kyung-tak to be extra careful during his spy activities, since the fate of the Andong Kim clan depends on his eyes and ears.
Hyuk almost makes it through the gate when Heo Gwang declares that he’s a Royal Doctor escorting corpses out of the city. For whatever reason, Young-rae and Ridel have their eyes open and wide underneath the mat – play dead, people!
They’re stopped by another soldier who demands Hyuk uncover the bodies. Young-rae is still all wide-eyed and worried underneath the straw.
Back to Kyung-tak, reporting in to Ha-eung and Young-hwi, who commends Ha-eung on a job well done in the whole Catholic Persecution department. Ha-eung muses that Young-hwi might not feel the same way later, and while we know he’s talking about Young-rae, her brother is clueless.
Kyung-tak asks Ha-eung if he has his next plan lined up, and Ha-eung replies that he’ll end all this struggle with some high treason charges. Ruh roh.
Back to Hyuk (this is like watching a tennis match). He lies to the soldiers that he’s escorting diseased corpses, and makes it past the checkpoint.
Aaand back to Kyung-tak, who fidgets nervously when Ha-eung mentions the written agreement the Queen Dowager made with Minister Kim when they wanted to oust tiny King Gojong. Kyung-tak says that his father already got rid of the letter, but Ha-eung wants to get the letter from the Queen Dowager’s side, and is sure Officer Lee has it.
This is bad news bears for Kyung-tak since that agreement could be the end of his father, and Ha-eung knows it. He also knows that Officer Lee wouldn’t have disposed of the letter because he’s been in politics too long, and would keep it to ensure his own safety if Minister Kim were to win and assume power. Ha-eung plans to make him hand it over, no matter what.
Hyuk and Pals make it to a missionary safe house outside the city, though Hyuk volunteers to stay outside so we can have another Exposition Flashback From The Future, where the book he read on Ha-eung detailed everything that’s happening, just like how it was in history. Ridel is supposed to return to China soon, and then a war will break out in Joseon shortly after.
This leads Hyuk to worry about Young-rae’s future, and he vows to himself that he’ll stop the persecution somehow. Of course.
He follows the sound of crying to find a little boy who’s had both his parents arrested due to the persecution. Hyuk promises him that he’ll get his mom and dad back soon, and to help lift his mood, Hyuk makes him a paper airplane.
The boy gives him his name: Jin Soon-young. Hyuk is all, Funny, I’m a Jin too! and proceeds to hand over the paper plane… but a strong brain zap from the Jar Fetus stops him. And Hyuk just doesn’t think anything of it and hands the boy the airplane again. Hyuk, you are kidding me, right? Where is Ashton Kutcher’s ancestor. I’m clearly being punk’d right now.
Hyuk wonders what just happened, with the zapping and all. Hyuk: “Was it static?” (…) You know what, I don’t even have a joke for this one.
The Council of Evil seems to be having some loyalty problems, with Doctor Yoo looking like he’s about to jump out of Minister Kim’s sinking ship. Regardless, Minister Kim knows that the letter agreement can’t ever reach Ha-eung’s hands and charges Kyung-tak with putting a stop to it.
Ha-eung is scary when he’s in political threat mode, since everything he says to Officer Lee about giving him the letter of agreement is veiled beneath smiles and “kind” words. Officer Lee claims he doesn’t have it – and even if he did, why would he give it to Ha-eung if he could be charged for high treason because of it?
Ha-eung explains that he’d protect Officer Lee from Minister Kim if he hands over the letter, and give him a nice raise, to boot. Officer Lee sticks by the story that he got rid of it, and with nothing further to discuss, Ha-eung leaves.
He meets Young-hwi and Joo Pal outside, and they strategize on ways to get Officer Lee to hand over the letter. It’ll have to be done voluntarily, and Young-hwi suggests that they make it known to Officer Lee that Ha-eung is the only lifeline he has. In that vein, Ha-eung tells Joo Pal to mobilize his gang.
Ridel tells Young-rae and Hyuk that he’ll be returning to China soon, and from there he’ll mobilize a fleet of ships to attack Joseon for the persecution. Young-rae tries to sway him against starting the war and asks Hyuk to back her up, but he just sighs and walks out.
She follows him, and asks if there will be a war. Hyuk: “As per the history I know, there will be.” That’s why he told her to be careful, but she fires back that this isn’t only about her surviving. She wants him to persuade Ha-eung but he claims he already tried that, and because his wife was a Christian he got backed into a corner in Court and made the persecution decision.
Young-rae latches onto this idea, wondering if Ha-eung never wanted this to happen. In that case, does he know about the war? Young-rae: “He wouldn’t want war on our soil either, don’t you think so?” You literally see the lightbulb above Hyuk’s head. He always used to tell her that even if it’s history, they should save who they can, and she reminds him of that promise.
Kyung-tak’s men, in disguise, are just about ready to break into Officer Lee’s house to steal the letter… only to find out that they’ve been beaten to the punch by Joo Pal’s men. Ha. Household guards chase the lot of them out.
Officer Lee returns to his ransacked home to find the letter still well-hidden, but holding it makes him think back to Ha-eung’s words that Minister Kim won’t leave him alone as long as he has it.
Meanwhile, Joo Pal returns to Ha-eung to tell him that they couldn’t find the letter, but Ha-eung isn’t surprised. He knew it would turn out this way.
Kyung-tak delivers the news to Daddy Dearest, and proves he’s still the smartest in the bunch when he tells him that Ha-eung planned to make Officer Lee think that the burglary was Minister Kim’s doing. Daddy practically faints in rage.
And Ha-eung reveals that the misunderstanding was his plan, since he didn’t expect to find the letter so easily. However, he’s taken aback when Joo Pal reveals that there were other thieves on the scene, and guesses that they were sent by Minister Kim… which means he knew about the letter, and how would he know something like that? Uh oh. Kyung-tak, you better start watching your back.
Speaking of, Kyung-tak promises his father that he’ll go get the letter, but Daddy’s already resigned to his fate. They’ve lost their timing, and they’ll be charged with high treason as soon as that letter reaches Ha-eung’s hands. Game over.
But Kyung-tak tells Daddy that if there’s a will, there’s a way, and vows to bring the letter no matter what.
Hyuk tells Ha-eung about the impending war if the missionaries return to China, though Ha-eung doesn’t see it as justification to stop the persecution. Hyuk starts arguing with him again about power and responsibility, but Ha-eung fires back, “Politics is not a game for children! With just sincerity, nothing can be done. Sincerity without justification and benefit is not useful at all.”
Luckily for Ha-eung, Hyuk read that one book about him and remembers everything. He tells Ha-eung to legislate Ho Po Je, and we get a Future Flashback and Hyuk’s voiceover to tell us that Ho Po Je was one of Ha-eung’s revolutionary policies that imposed taxes on the noble class, which had before been exempt from taxation.
Oh, great. So now Hyuk is going to start running the country because reading one book means he knows best? “It’s a policy you will implement in the future anyway,” Hyuk explains. O rly? That means everything is gravy in Hyukland.
He tells Ha-eung that if he stops the persecution and implements the new tax law, he won’t have a problem with public favor, and just needs to stop Ridel from going to China. Kyung-tak spots Ha-eung & Co. outside as they split into two groups, and orders his minion to follow Ha-eung while he follows Young-hwi.
Hyuk takes Ha-eung to see Ridel, and the two come to a truce about the war. Ha-eung has to promise to stop persecuting Catholics, and Ridel has to promise to not disturb any of their borders or ports without explicit permission and to give Joseon France’s aid whenever they’re needed. This all sounds fine and well, but Ridel is still a priest, not the overlord of France. We’ll go with it anyway.
A secret treaty is then signed between Ha-eung and Ridel, while Hyuk graces us with his voiceovers on how this will prevent not only the French battleship invasion, but will also change Ha-eung’s closed-door policy toward other countries, thus becoming a groundbreaking event to positively impact Korea’s modernization.
Hyuk: [in voiceover] “But history changing like this… Is this right?” AS$%sah&^*s*(%)(Sjk&*A@^#*#.
Ha-eung tells Young-rae, “Doctor Jin saved you and this country.” No hard feelings, right?
Kyung-tak totally plays Young-hwi to get information out of him, first acting interested, then wounded because Young-hwi doesn’t trust him, which of course gets Young-hwi to spill the beans about Ha-eung meeting a French missionary. Kyung-tak then learns Ha-eung’s location from his minion. Uh oh.
Hyuk and Young-rae send Ridel and his missionaries off, and Hyuk has a mini crisis over changing so much history. “Whenever I change something, I’m not really confident. Worrying if I came here and did something I shouldn’t do…”
If? If you did something you shouldn’t do? He goes on to say he’s worried about returning to the future to see what might have changed, and that he keeps thinking about Mina, worrying something bad has happened to her.
They’re interrupted when a man comes running – someone needs a doctor! Turns out it’s little Jin Soon-young, who got impaled by a branch while trying to retrieve Hyuk’s paper airplane. Hyuk even imagines exactly how it happened, Vampire Prosecutor style. Only, you know, without any style.
Hyuk sends Young-rae off to get supplies for emergency surgery, and gets zapped the second he touches Soon-young’s hand. He gets over it and carries him inside.
Officer Lee delivers the letter agreement to Ha-eung, since he believes the Andong Kim clan’s minions broke into his house. He makes Ha-eung promise not to bring harm to his family or the Queen Dowager, and gets Ha-eung’s word.
Ridel and his fellow missionaries are stopped on the road by Kyung-tak and his right-hand man, demanding to know who has the treaty with Ha-eung. Kyung-tak says he’ll spare them if they hand it over, or kill them one by one if they don’t. Ridel punches him in the stomach and makes a run for it.
Meanwhile, Hyuk prepares for surgery. Soon-young will need a blood transfusion and Young-rae offers her own since she’s type O, the universal donor.
Back to Kyung-tak, who chases down Ridel and steals the treaty. He leaves him alive, at least.
Hyuk starts the surgery, and makes his patented Hyuk Incision™, which can’t ever be less than a foot long because that would just make too much sense. This surgery is another blood ocean because of a major vein, and Hyuk fixes everything up and gets ready for suturing…
Only Soon-young starts bleeding profusely again, and the second Hyuk touches him, Jar Fetus wakes up from its nap and starts zapping the daylights out of him. Once again, Hyuk is holding his head and flailing about during a pivotal point of an operation.
He starts looking like a hologram on the fritz, fading in and out while he stares at his hands. Hyuk is fuh-reaking out in his corner of the room, so Young-rae takes it upon herself to stop Soon-young’s bleeding and finish the surgery. This is a case of too much. You’ve got the kid bleeding, the surgery going bad, and Hyuk having an existential seizure over in the corner with eyes as big as saucers.
They finally notice Hyuk disappearing and reappearing, just as Young-rae notices that Soon-young’s breathing has stopped. Hyuk sees a vision of the future where the Dr. Jin at his hospital isn’t him, but another Jin. Oh no!
Lucky for him, Young-rae is way quicker on the uptake than he is, and performs mouth to mouth resuscitation on Soon-young to get him breathing again. And lo and behold, Hyuk solidifies at last. Young-rae seems to have picked up on the connection and eyes him warily while they suture Soon-young up.
Ha-eung is ecstatic that he can finally nab Minister Kim with the letter, but finds Minister Kim standing outside the court with a white envelope of his own, containing Ha-eung’s treaty with Ridel. The two take it inside, where Minister Kim shows his political prowess by proving that the card in his hand is more dangerous than the card in Ha-eung’s.
For instance, even if Ha-eung were to release the letter that Minister Kim conspired to prepare another heir, Minister Kim would just need to show his hand and say: “Since the King was fooling the people and tried to conspire with foreign powers, we tried to prepare the next heir.” Stalemate, sort of. Minister Kim has the upper hand.
He leaves Ha-eung with a few words of advice: “In the battlefield, before taking the head of the enemy commander, you shouldn’t release the news of victory. I think you need to learn more about politics from me, Kim Byung-hee.” Ha-eung rages once he’s gone.
Meanwhile, Young-hwi puts two and two together and realizes that Kyung-tak has betrayed them.
Hyuk leaves the operating room, still transfixed on his hands. He says – wait for it – “I… I almost disappeared. I didn’t exist in the present either. How… How can this happen?” Are. You. Serious. Hyuk, you can remember a seminar you freaking slept through in the future and every single detail about history, yet Chun-hong’s explicit warning doesn’t even enter your mind? AHHH. There aren’t enough palms in the world for all the facepalming that needs to be done right now.
Heo Gwang is still trying to figure out what he saw, but Young-rae realizes that Hyuk’s fate was tied to Soon-young’s. Hyuk still tries to figure that connection out and finally entertains the idea that Soon-young might be his ancestor… only to shoot that idea down, because “I’m not from this world.” Wha?
Flashback to Mina’s totally weird and random discussion about the existence of parallel universes. So wait, instead of Hyuk thinking Soon-young is his ancestor, he thinks that Soon-young is the ancestor of the other Hyuk that must live in this parallel universe. What? You’re basing this conclusion on what your girlfriend mumbled to you while she was half asleep? This is why drugs are bad, mmkay.
He goes straight to Chun-hong and asks: “What if there is another me in this world? If myself in another world is disappearing, then am I also going to disappear? At the end, myself, and another me in this world… do they both have the same destiny?” Chun-hong says she doesn’t know what he’s talking about, and she’s not alone.
He goes on to say if that story is correct, than Young-rae and Mina… but Chun-hong cuts him off, vehemently denying it. With tears in his eyes, Hyuk asks Chun-hong if everything she told him was a lie. Hyuk: “Why did you lie to me? Why? Why?!” To his credit, sadness looks good on him.
She claims it was all to protect him, and he leaves her crying. Sinking to the floor, Chun-hong tells the empty room: “You won’t be able to take it. If you knew the truth… You won’t be able to take it!”
He runs back to find Young-rae gone. Heo Gwang is having fits – the police came just moments ago and took her away. Hyuk runs off to the rescue, as he’s come to the conclusion that he was brought to this world to save Mina. By saving Young-rae. Even though the universes are parallel. And this isn’t the past. I don’t know.
Ha-eung and Minister Kim have a late-night meeting, and Ha-eung notes that Kyung-tak is a decent son ill-suited to Minister Kim’s family. He asks for permission to use Kyung-tak as his person, before the talk turns to more serious matters – Ha-eung asks what will happen if he doesn’t spill the truth about the letter, but Minister Kim is unfazed. He’ll still reveal the truth about Ha-eung’s treaty and ruin him.
He realizes this, and tells Minister Kim: “Please promise me one thing. That you will protect His Majesty, at least. Can you do that?” What?! Ha-eung is thinking of stepping down? Noooo.
Young-hwi and Kyung-tak have a bit of a heart to heart, with Young-hwi admitting that he’s suspicious of Kyung-tak, but he doesn’t want to be. Young-hwi: “Tell me that it’s not true.” And it’s pretty telling that Kyung-tak doesn’t look him in the eye as he deadpans, “It’s not true.” Young-hwi looks heartbroken, poor thing.
Kyung-tak gets an extra dose of heartbreak on the way home, when he sees that Young-rae’s been arrested and is about to be tortured.
Hyuk finds Ha-eung in the throne room, and asks him why he didn’t keep his promise. Ha-eung then has a moving speech of the dreams he hoped to accomplish once he was in power, like ending the reign of the Andong Kim clan and saving the people from corrupted officials. He sighs, “It’s not that I didn’t keep that promise. I couldn’t.”
Hyuk asks him to clarify, and Ha-eung stands from the throne: “This man, Lee Ha-eung. Starting today, I will completely give up on politics and leave it all behind.” And he breaks into a disconcerting laugh while Hyuk stares at him in shock.
Hyuk, this is ALL YOUR FAULT.
I don’t know if I’m becoming more emotionally involved or if my tolerance level has plummeted, because this episode was just frustrating. I’m pretty sure my days of whining over seeing the word “genius” pop up in the description of every lead ever are done, because I finally understand why. When you don’t have a “genius” piano player or a “genius” computer hacker or a “genius” musician, you get someone like Hyuk, who can barely find his way out of a blood bag. I don’t understand.
Subtle isn’t the name of the game here, so I can’t say that they’ve teased the idea of a parallel universe so much as dropped that idea on us like an anvil with Mina’s weird rambling. But it always seemed like that – just an idea – so it came as a surprise that Hyuk already believes that as the absolute truth based on zero evidence. When did that happen?
So if Hyuk isn’t actually in the past, but is in some parallel universe that only looks like the past, then that means he hasn’t time traveled at all and that the fetus in his head is some magical, inter-dimensional traveling thingamajig that somehow hates it when its host body messes with the status quo. What? And more importantly, why?
Maybe Hyuk is wrong about how things work (judging by Chun-hong’s “You can’t handle the truth!”), and I kind of hope so. This doppelgänger stuff is getting more confusing by the day. He’s assuming that he’s come to this dimension to save Mina… by saving Young-rae. Assuming they’re the same person in two different universes, why is the saving only a one way street? And how does that work, period? Mina can have a car crash in her universe and Young-rae isn’t affected, but somehow Young-rae’s health affects Mina? Would that then apply to every person with a doppelgänger in this universe? Wouldn’t people just be dropping dead in Hyuk’s old universe if their parallel selves died? Or vice versa? Why doesn’t Hyuk remember things people tell him one episode ago?
My confusion is mostly coming from where the parallel universe intersects with history and the future, if it intersects at all. If this is a parallel universe still connected to the past, then Hyuk is still an idiot for messing around and only thinking after something’s done, “Gee, I wonder if this is right.” His intentions are good, but he couldn’t think them through if his life depended on it.
All the things he’s tried to change have had bad repercussions, yet he blindly goes forward. A little speech about him being afraid of what the future might hold doesn’t cut it – too little, too late. My sympathy meter runs toward Ha-eung and Kyung-tak, and now that Hyuk has royally screwed up Ha-eung’s political trajectory because he just can’t stop being Hyuk, I’m at a loss on what to think of him. He needs to invent plastic and make himself the first Joseon bubble boy, not to protect himself, but to protect everyone else. I mean, Lordy, he gives a kid a paper airplane and the kid falls off a cliff. That is as clear a message as they come.
- Dr. Jin: Episode 18
- Dr. Jin: Episode 17
- Dr. Jin: Episode 16
- Dr. Jin: Episode 15
- Dr. Jin: Episode 14
- Dr. Jin: Episode 13
- Dr. Jin: Episode 12
- Dr. Jin: Episode 11
- Dr. Jin: Episode 10
- Dr. Jin: Episode 9
- Dr. Jin: Episode 8
- Dr. Jin: Episode 7
- Dr. Jin: Episode 6
- Dr. Jin: Episode 5
- Dr. Jin: Episode 4
- Dr. Jin: Episode 3
- Dr. Jin: Episode 2
- Dr. Jin: Episode 1