Poong the Joseon Psychiatrist: Episodes 5-6
Our passionate resident doctor continues to spread warmth to the hearts of his patients, and our intern doctor is catching up quickly. Meanwhile in Hanyang, our villain continues to spread his tentacles everywhere in a bid to cover up his crime, but this is proving to be harder than he expected.
EPISODES 5-6 WEECAP
We pick up from last week, with Poong and Eun-woo headed for the docks to bring the killer to justice, and Man-bok being led to the execution ground. It’s a bit of a tense moment for a frightened Man-bok as the executioner (who has been bribed by Ji-han to stall) teases him with the sword. Okay, why are Joseon executioners always so dramatic? The execution is halted when Poong arrives with the killer who is formally arrested after the noble lady gives an eyewitness account of the murder. A relieved Man-bok collapses in Poong’s arms and later on gets a sumptuous feast at the clinic to welcome him back from the land of the almost-dead. I don’t see tofu anywhere in these dishes though. Heh.
Apparently, the fiancé banned the noble lady from playing her geomungo (a traditional stringed instrument) fearing the music would attract other men to her. But her manservant encouraged her to play and even carved a stick for her to strum the strings with. On finding out, the fiancé had destroyed the geomungo and that was when she ran away with the manservant on the ill-fated journey in the mountains. On checking the noble lady’s pulse again, Eun-woo notes that she is getting better, and her hand tremors are gone — thanks to her act of standing up for herself at the docks by using her strumming stick to poke her fiancé in the neck. And this is yet another case of a character in this drama being the one to eventually save themselves.
Our next patient is the son of a mistress who is brought in by the lady of the house (the most influential madam in the village, thanks to her status as one of a previous king’s granddaughters). The young boy is brought in for hallucinations, but as the doctors undress him for treatment, they notice visible bruises from physical abuse. Everyone in the clinic has good things to say about the madam, and they don’t think she is behind it. But the situation worries Poong as the boy suffers from severe dehydration as well.
On taking the boy home, Poong notes that his family is pretty dysfunctional – the father has anger issues and hits his sons, the stepbrothers bully the boy, and the boy’s pregnant mother (mistress) doesn’t regard the madam. Though the mistress appears to be deeply concerned about her son, for some reason, I am not convinced. Eun-woo pleads with Shin-woo to investigate the matter, but he’s still upset that she has chosen to align herself with the clinic. And we learn that his cold attitude towards the district governor is because the governor rejected his marriage proposal to Eun-woo.
When the Shin-woo angle doesn’t work, Eun-woo briefly returns to her married woman’s hairstyle and attends her mother’s tea party to glean information from the madam who is one of the guests. It turns out to be a promising start as the madam is impressed by Eun-woo and wants her to visit their home to take her pulse. Poong presents Eun-woo with his acupuncture kit and though she’s a bit hesitant to accept it, she promises to be his hands pending the time he is able to perform acupuncture again. Awww. But the beautiful moment is witnessed by Shin-woo who is now under his father’s orders to kill Poong discreetly.
On visiting the madam, Poong diagnoses her with heartache from all the happenings in the family, particularly the mistress’s obvious disregard for her. To alleviate these symptoms, Eun-woo performs her first official acupuncture on the madam. Yaay! But her husband is more into shamanism than medicine, and he orders the doctors out of his house… but they’re soon recalled by a servant when the young boy reaches the brink of death. Eun-woo is too nervous to perform the acupuncture, but with Poong’s help, she is able to revive the boy. The mistress then accuses the madam of trying to curse her son to death, and the superstitious husband locks his wife up. Tsk.
Poong pieces things together and discovers that the boy’s hallucinations and dehydration are caused by frequent salt poisoning. To find the culprit, our clinic family stages an elaborate performance and catches the mistress red-handed as she mixes a heap of salt into the porridge meant for her son (or Man-bok, who hides under the covers and pretends to be the son. Heh.) The mistress’s endgame was to frame the madam for her son’s eventual death and then become the lady of the house.
Furious that she has been exposed, she charges at Poong with a knife and ends up stabbing Eun-woo who jumps to Poong’s defense. But to our collective relief, the acupuncture kit under Eun-woo’s clothes prevents the knife from hurting her. Anyway, thanks to this dramatic moment, we get a swoony I-really-thought-I-was-going-to-lose-you hug between Poong and Eun-woo, so I’m not complaining.
The madam, who has finally had enough of her husband’s shenanigans, leaves for Hanyang with her sons, including the mistress’s son – who has finally received an apology from his step
bullies brothers. Ji-han has also spoken with a colleague in Hanyang to teach the boy medicine (his dream career), and the entire clinic family is happy that he’ll be fine from now on.
The happiest member of the family, though, is Jang-goon, whom we learn was in a similar situation with the boy. Abused and neglected by his own father, Ji-han had paid the father to sever ties with Jang-goon, and brought him back to the clinic to treat and raise him afterwards. Awww. Now I wonder how Nam-hee came to live with them too.
Back in Hanyang, word spreads about the late king’s poisoning, and the second state councilor is in a hurry to cover his tracks. So far, he has intercepted one of the king’s people who is close to identifying the herb used in the poisoning, and destroyed the medical text where the herb and its functions are highlighted. But with an oblivious Poong finding the half-burnt medical text hidden in a floor panel in the clinic, it seems the second state councilor’s tracks haven’t been completely covered. In a way, this medical text also serves to link Ji-han to the situation, and I wonder what he knows about that herb.
So far we know that Ji-han and Poong’s father were good friends before Ji-han was fired from the medical office – although he is just finding out from his colleague in Hanyang that Poong’s father is dead — and it’s only a matter of time before Poong learns that both men were friends. Especially now that he has secretly witnessed Shin-woo drawing a sword to Ji-han’s neck to ask him questions about the color change in the needle used in the late king’s fatal acupuncture. Shin-woo obtained the needle from the body of Poong’s father, and has been looking for the herb that can cause the color change. He even asks at a local pharmacy where he is overheard by Commander Im who will definitely use this information for something sketchy…
I find this rather odd, though, because the color change is supposedly from the poison. And as the son of the poison mastermind, shouldn’t Shin-woo already know this? Shin-woo continues to interest me because I can’t read him. His unpredictability has even been noted by the second state councilor, who admitted that he makes Shin-woo stain his hands with blood in order to use it as leverage should Shin-woo attempt to betray him. Nobody knows where Shin-woo’s true loyalty lies, but right now, it’s safe to assume he’s on his father’s side. Thankfully, Poong has seen him in his element, and should know to be wary of him going forward.
Actually, the entire clinic family should be wary of both Commander Im the opportunist, and Shin-woo the unpredictable (especially Ib-bun who has a crush on every single handsome man who visits the clinic). Both men are very capable of eliminating anyone who stands in their way. But as we’ve seen, despite his gruffness and seeming nonchalance, Ji-han isn’t easily intimidated, and it’s very reassuring to have him as the head of our beloved clinic family.
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