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Poong the Joseon Psychiatrist: Episodes 1-2

Poong The Joseon Psychiatrist: Episodes 1-2

The door to our Joseon psychiatry clinic is about to be opened, but the road leading up to it is not all fanfare. We meet our characters at some of their brightest moments, and then go with them as they experience dark times. And in this healing drama, as our characters find their footing, they set out to bring a similar healing to the hearts of others.

 
EPISODES 1-2 WEECAP

Poong The Joseon Psychiatrist: Episodes 1-2

Let there be Joseon geeeniuses! And then there were, in the shape of our hero YOO SE-YEOB (Kim Min-jae). First of his name, son of the minister of personnel, conqueror of the liberal arts world, and now the medical world, as the head acupuncturist in the palace. Se-yeob is also friends with the crown prince (Oh Kyung-joo), and with good looks to boot, his road to the top is pretty much set. But life comes at him very fast and he falls for the scheme of the second state councilor (Yoo Sung-joo), who conspires to poison our favorite Joseon king (Ahn Nae-sang). Unfortunately, when Se-yeob attempts acupuncture on the king, he bleeds out and dies.

Se-yeob is jailed and to make matters worse, while his father investigates the poisoning, he is killed by the second state councilor’s assassin. There is a witness to the assassination, but for now, the crown prince (now king) heaps up the majority of the blame on Se-yeob’s father. He does this to get Se-yeob off with a lighter sentence (banishment from Hanyang for life) in the hopes that he stays alive to uncover the truth behind the late king’s death.

Away from Hanyang, we meet our bubbly Agatha Christie-like heroine, SEO EUN-WOO (Kim Hyang-gi). She’s a bride-to-be who is more interested in solving a murder case than going for dress fittings. Her search for the culprit leads her to a cliff where a disheartened Se-yeob is about to jump off, and she saves him. She can tell by his acupuncture kit that he’s a doctor, and says he should stay alive because he will save many lives. But life also comes at her, and when we see her a year later, our bubbly heroine has become a depressed widow.

Rounding out our main trio is KYE JI-HAN (Kim Sang-kyung) who runs a clinic with his daughter, IB-BUN (Kim Soo-ah), a little boy JANG-GOON (Han Chang-min), and a grandmother with dementia (Jeon Guk-hyang). Ji-han meets Se-yeob at an inn where a customer chokes on food; he notices Se-yeob’s trembling hands when he tries to administer acupuncture on the choking man (PTSD from his fatal attempt to save the king). Ji-han then comes to the rescue, burping the man to safety. Afterwards, he tells Se-yeob to come to his clinic to fix his hands, but Se-yeob scoffs at the offer.

Poong The Joseon Psychiatrist: Episodes 1-2

Nevertheless, Se-yeob has to rush to Ji-han’s clinic when he saves Eun-woo from a drowning attempt. And when she leaves before they wake up the next morning, Ji-han holds a broke Se-yeob responsible for her medical fees. Ji-han then makes Se-yeob an offer: work for 11 days at the clinic to offset the debt, or be sent to the magistrate’s office for punishment (but I think it’s just a ploy to get a jaded Se-yeob out of his funk). Se-yeob’s servant, MAN-BOK (Ahn Chang-hwan) convinces (more like forces) him to sign the agreement with Ji-han, and Se-yeob agrees on the condition that he is allowed to leave once he cures a tightrope walker who suffers from dizziness.

Due to his acupuncture PTSD, Se-yeob uses alternative methods to treat the man. And while the man’s career as a tightrope walker is basically done, Se-yeob is able to convince him that the end of his career isn’t the end of the world for him. To fulfill the man’s wish of walking the tightrope for the last time, Se-yeob lays out the rope on the ground and encourages him to walk across. The man sashays on the rope to the music and cheers of his troupe members, and leaves with a full heart afterwards.

Poong The Joseon Psychiatrist: Episodes 1-2

But since Se-yeob didn’t exactly cure the man enough for him to continue walking the tightrope, his contract with Ji-han continues, and he’s left with no choice but to stay on. After going on a house call with Ji-han, he is accosted by one of the servants to help her lady, who turns out to be Eun-woo. Eun-woo has slashed her wrist, and Se-yeob freezes on the sight of her blood as flashbacks from the late king’s deathbed play up in his mind. So Ji-han is called in to perform the acupuncture.

Eun-woo’s mother-in-law feigns concern, giving them money to prepare a tonic for Eun-woo, and then, in a warm gesture, offering them some pickled onion leaves. But when Se-yeob and Ji-han leave, she drops the nice act and locks Eun-woo up in a storage shed. Eun-woo’s brother-in-law is a much nicer person than his mother is, but unfortunately, he hasn’t been able to pass the state examination, and therefore his opinions don’t count as far as his mother is concerned. Tsk.

Poong The Joseon Psychiatrist: Episodes 1-2

Back in the clinic, Se-yeob brings in some major organization to the way things are run. But thanks to Man-bok’s eating habits, their debts continue to climb and their contract at the clinic extends. Lol. Ji-han is pleased with the situation because, well, he could use some professional help in the clinic, and because Se-yeob is slowly settling into things. And for Ib-bun and the female patients, it’s because Se-yeob’s good looks light up the place. As for the grandmother with dementia, she has taken to calling Se-yeob “Poong” which, as we come to learn, is the name of her son.

Grandmother was one of the women who returned to Joseon after a barbarian invasion, but the returnees were shunned by people and called promiscuous. This is why her son prefers to think of her as dead, in order to maintain his social standing. Eun-woo, also being among those people whom society would rather consider dead, is rushed to the clinic again after a poisoning attempt. Unfortunately, they cannot find the immediate cause of the poisoning, and Se-yeob’s suspicion that it was in Eun-woo’s herbal tonic is disproved by the mother-in-law who drinks said tonic to prove her innocence.

Eun-woo’s parents visit her at the clinic and while her mother wants to take her home, her father is reluctant because of societal dictates that says a daughter-in-law belongs to her husband’s family. Thus, Eun-woo returns to the valley of the shadow of death that is her mother-in-law’s house. And when she attempts to jump off the same cliff she saved Se-yeob from jumping from, he is there to stop her. And as Eun-woo cries, Se-yeob comforts her the same way she did for him back then. He reminds her that she told him that he’ll save many lives, and he begs her to give him a chance to save her.

Thanks to Jang-goon’s insistence on separating similar looking herbs from each other, Se-yeob gets an eureka moment as to how Eun-woo was poisoned. Mother-in-law swapped the pickled onion leaves in Eun-woo’s meal with a similar looking poisonous leaf. Apparently, if a widow kills herself, the government will praise her for her virtue and reward the family. Hence, Mother-in-law’s grand plan is for Eun-woo to “kill herself” after which the government will grant her younger son a title as the reward. Aigoo. Se-yeob gives Mother-in-law an ultimatum: release Eun-woo from the family, or face the consequences of attempted murder. And I think we all know which option Mother-in-law will choose.

Poong The Joseon Psychiatrist: Episodes 1-2

But Se-yeob is not done with the societal preaching of death as a proof of virtuousness, and his next stop is to set up a meeting with Grandmother’s son. Eun-woo asks the son when he’s going to stop allowing society to make him push his mother away when he obviously misses her. And as the son wrestles with his feelings, Grandmother unveils a bundle she has always carried with her, which contains gifts she has collected over the years for her son. This breaks him, and mother and son cling to each other in forgiveness and acceptance.

As they return to the clinic, Se-yeob tells Eun-woo that he has to survive because he doesn’t want to be remembered as a disloyal subject or a cowardly physician. And Eun-woo is left to ponder on whether her current situation is how she wants to be remembered. Seeing Grandmother beam with joy as she calls him Poong makes Se-yeob decide to take on the name – Yoo Se-poong – because as long as he can help people, his name doesn’t matter. And with this, Se-yeob — or should I say, Poong — smiles genuinely for the first time in a long time.

To cheer Eun-woo up, Poong takes her to a women-only night market to explore the beautiful scenery, and as Eun-woo gently sways on a hanging swing, she closes her eyes to despair and opens her eyes to hope. As they leave, they run into a young official, JO SHIN-WOO (Jung Won-chang). Eun-woo recognizes him and looks quite pleased to see him, but while Shin-woo smiles at her, the smile wipes off his face as his eyes settle on Poong. And this is where we wrap up our premiere week.

First off, phew!! Did they have to make each episode almost one hour and fifteen minutes long because they want to stick with a 12-episode count? Lol. Anyway, political machinations aside, the opening week did a great job of introducing our main characters, taking us through their stories, and setting up their relationships. Poong and Eun-woo have such a similar trajectory in their lives, and I’m grateful for a character like Ji-han who’s able to provide some stability for them.

Poong The Joseon Psychiatrist: Episodes 1-2

And while Poong and Eun-woo appeared to have needed a hand to bring them out of their despair, I think they were the ones who individually helped themselves to overcome their situations. Eun-woo’s act of saving Poong at the cliff a year ago was one of his motivations to save her now, so she kind of saved herself if you think about it. And somehow by seeing himself in Eun-woo and seeking to give her a reason to live, Poong was able to help himself find the resolve to move forward in this new phase of his life.

Speaking of new phases, when he was going from Se-yeob to Se-poong, Poong said a name is just a name, but I disagree — I think it’s sort of a rebirth for him as he goes from acupuncturist to psychiatrist. As someone who has experienced coming out of depressing and difficult circumstances himself, Poong is well-positioned to help others heal from their wounds. And now that our psychiatrist and Agatha Christie have come under the tutelage of Ji-han, I can’t wait to see all the wonderful things they will accomplish together at the clinic.

Poong The Joseon Psychiatrist: Episodes 1-2

 
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My wife watched this today and really liked it. She is looking forward to the next episodes.

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So what killed Eun-woo's husband?
1: Assassin linked to the death of the former king in ways that will be revealed later.
2: Truck.

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😆😂.Even in Joseon, the truck of doom never fails.

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The truck of doom equivalent will be a lone rider on a galloping horse.

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Can't recall the sageuk title but I have seen giant rolling Barrels of Doom deployed on a steep market street. Mom probably poisoned the unlucky groom, who was her stepson, in order to give her son a boost. As did many Beanies, I enjoyed the first 2 eps (with FF through the blood).

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With two Cliffs of Doom already, I wouldn't be surprised if it were the Truck.

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I actually enjoyed episode 1 a lot, inevitable speed run set up and accuracy to Joseon political customs and law aside (he should be dead already executed in fact lol), because I liked where it placed our ML in terms of future character development - both overcoming his PTSD from treating the King, and how he places his worth in being good at accupuncture.
I did however think episode 2 was less cohesive, and dragged more, and that we ended up too quickly at the ending "date". I get that he was trying to give her a little bit of life again, but it felt weirdly timed, and I think should've been a few episodes down the track mayhaps.
So we'll just see how we go, as per /juʒ/.

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I like this drama more than what I expected. I thought it would be cheerful but the healing story makes it much better. To me they're like Sherlock Holmes and Watson XD

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I liked the first two episodes surprisingly well.

Since I had originally expected more slapstick, I wasn't sure if the series would be my thing (often the humour works, but sometimes it doesn't work at all). The fact that the drama also strikes more serious notes was a positive surprise.

When it's done well, I like it when historical dramas play with modern elements, like here. It's just a pity that sometimes I couldn't judge to what extent medical terms were actually called that way or if it was simply due to Viki's inaccurate subtitles.

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These 2 episodes felt like a looong introduction. I'm curious to see them working together now.

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I enjoyed these episodes. I wasn't really expecting to, so was pleasantly surprised. I agree with those who said the pacing was uneven in the second episode, and I thought the reconciliation between Poong (the original) and his mum was a bit too straightforward, but hey, as this is kdrama land I'm just rolling with it! Will be back next week. Thanks @unit!

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🤍

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Much like a few of the other commentors I was surprised at how much I enjoyed the first 2 episodes. Characters are fun, and interesting, and the cast is absolutely stacked. Though I don’t think I’ve seen our FL in anything I’m happy with her performance thus far and I hope it continues to be excellent.

All this being said, I’ll be sad when we inevitably head back to palace politics…almost always the worst part of a good Sageuk.

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The female lead was female lead in Moment of Eighteen which is a teen drama in final year of school.

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Ah, now that you mention it, that’s why she looked a bit familiar. I liked her in that (though the ending of that drama was a little lackluster) so it’s nice to see her getting another (hopefully) good role.

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i absolutely LOVED HER in The Queen's Classroom!! i was wondering why she looked so familiar - i sent her photo to my daughter saying "she could be DO's sister..."
: D

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I have not seen that one and I would never have recognised her as a child actress.

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it's a j dorama remake, but i liked it alot - the kid actors were GREAT! kim sae ron is in it, too...

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I was disappointed that we started off with the palace and royals because you're right that we would inevitably head back there to clear the ML's name. And of course, there are the baddies out there wanting to tie up loose ends.

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@unit Thank you for a great wee cap.
They covered a lot in those first two episodes and you captured it well.

After a heavy episode one and part of episode two we finally moved into the lighter side of things and it started to look like the pictures that were used in the promotion. It felt like they needed a trigger warning with all big issues being raised however it feels like this has just added some depth to the characters and the reason why they will form strong bonds as their created family grows and tackles the challenges they will face over the next few weeks.

I am glad that we are only waiting on the Johan backstory now. I am thinking that he knew and was close to Sepoong’s dad from back in the war days so he is committed to helping his friend’s son find himself again. His apparent love of money will be shown to be about his need to fund the work he does with those with limited budgets. I expect we will see more of his kind side coming out with less need to hide it behind a rough exterior.

I wonder if the backstory on the little boy will show he has autism with his ability to focus on the herbs in such detail, it will be his area of special interest. Is he an adopted child due to being rejected by parents or is he the birth son of Johan and his birth led to the death of the children’s mum? I also wonder if the constant reference to the missing cook will lead to the man servant taking over this duty as he must be skilled in this area having been looking after the master’s personal care and household over the years. He also eats for England so should know how to cook to provide for the family.

I am enjoying the series so far. Both the dramas that I thought would be light relief are showing they will have a good amount of depth and important messages mixed in so I think I will have three interesting slice of life/melodramas on the go once If You Wish Upon Me starts later this month.

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I forgot to say did anyone else think the poor maid was left without money while he used her pouch as an excuse as they never found her at the market. I loved the idea of a female only space which sounds revolutionary for the era.
The other was how is the head covering the only thing he needed to change in order to blend in as a woman as I am sure that all the female hanboks were clearly dresses and he still had a male nobleman’s hanbok on.

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I hope the female-only night market was a real thing, since it seemed so cool! Yeah, I was a little skeptical at how no woman realized that a man was doing the bare minimal to blend in, especially when they were shopping in close quarters with other folks. Our sageuk heroines at least did the hair, clothes, and even mustache.

I like to think he gave the maid enough money for the first hour and then planned to give the rest when they meet up to return the pouch. That maid's been through a lot, and I hope she gets to buy lots of accessories and snacks.

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Yes, the poor maid and man servant trapped with their employees through good and bad times. Thankfully, they are both part of this new working environment which is much better and has the potential to grow into a great new working environment where they will be respected and appreciated.

I hope you are right about giving her enough to go with, as that purse still looked pretty full to me! It’s so ridiculous that instead of focusing on the main leads I am wondering about a side character having her rare evening off ruined🤣

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Hahaha, I thought the same thing. I hoped she was able to buy some goodies instead of waiting to meet them all night. XD

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He also eats for England so should know how to cook to provide for the family.

This made me laugh. I bet they went broke so quickly because he eats a lot.

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Let there be geniuses....and there was our lead😂
@unitit,you definitely deserve a thumbs up for that line only,that aside,I think it's safe to say I have a mega crush on poong already and if I was in that village,I will definitely be a regular at the clinic 🤗

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🤍

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This was not as lighthearted as I thought it would be. However, I really liked it. I love Eun Woo's character. I like that she is also really smart. Also Kim Min Jae is becoming that dude.😊

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Yes, I was charmed by the first two episodes - and anytime KMJ smiles the whole city lights up, so you will never catch me complaining there. Very happy to see Ahn Changhwan in the game - he's a comedy gem!

Tonally, I was a bit confused by ep1 - when the king died (and at other points) it felt like the acting was more on the slapstick side but that didn't seem to be where the drama was headed. So not sure what they were up to there...

Fairly intrigued to see how they're going to explain the leap to psychiatrist. So far, we can see he has competence and empathy, but not much to suggest Poong has particular insights into the workings of the mind. His new friend/the girlf would make a great profiler...

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I've been waiting for this since it was announced months ago, it's here finally and I'm loving it!

Kim Minjae is as charming as ever, Kim Hyang-gi is a cutie, and I'm happy to see Ahn Nae-sang here too after loving him in Racket Boys last year! ^^
Secondary characters are great too, though I'm not sure about the official that appeared at the end (no annoying love triangle please!!)

I'm really looking forward to next week!!

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Thank you, I was wondering where I had seen Ahn Nae sang before. 😅

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Ahn Nae Sang's been in a ton of other dramas, so I feel like you must have seen him a dozen other times too. Last year was like his record year. He was in so many things!

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Once I got through the obligatory setup first episode (with palace intrigue stuff that I was not expecting and enjoying), I fell in love. I'm not sure how he ends up as a psychiatrist, but I'm totally invested in his journey of recovering from his trauma while helping others. I sort of wish for a little more slapstick, but this drama is doing a good job blending funny with sad and with a lot of heart. I can't wait to see the female lead use her forensics skill.

It was so sad that even though she had a mom who loved her and would have welcomed her back, it was illegal for her to move back because she became her husband's family's property. And that moving back into her loving home would have been punishable by death.

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The episodes were a bit long. EP 2 had draggy moments and unnecessary flashbacks, but I like the main trio and the side characters. The nice swinging scene left me smiling.

One thing though, I had to cover my eyes during the boil scene. That was straight up disgusting.

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This show did made me think about mental health back then and I wonder how many people go undiagnosed or don't get treatment. And how many people are just written off as the crazy ones.

I'm curious about the methods and treatments that will be used in this drama.

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