Poong the Joseon Psychiatrist: Episodes 11-12 (Final)
In the battle between good and evil, only one side will emerge victorious. And as our story comes to its conclusion this week with the final showdown between our hero and the villains, we are left to wonder if everything is truly over until it is over.
EPISODES 11-12 WEECAP
Shin-woo’s re-alliance with the council of wickedness makes him vow to his father to kill Poong and retrieve the color-changed needle while at it. He rightly guesses that the needle is with Commander Im (who looked very shocked to see him alive lol), but with Im’s realization that the needle must be very important to the second state councilor, he refuses to give it up for insurance purposes.
Poong travels to Hanyang to report the court maid’s death to the king, and pretends to be newlyweds with Eun-woo when they’re questioned by the guards at the city’s gate. This is totally Eun-woo’s idea, and she looks very pleased to be his fake wife. Lol. The king is devastated to learn about the maid’s death, and he orders them to carry out the autopsy of his court lady who died earlier in the show. And to nobody’s surprise, Poong and Eun-woo confirm that she was poisoned just like the late king.
Back in the village, Commander Im also links the color-changed needle to the king’s death. And when his addictive drug (a pro-max version of opium) hits the market, Ji-han finally realizes that Commander Im wanted to take over the clinic’s land to grow opium. Commander Im cannot be arrested without proof but he’s not one to sit around waiting for proof against him to surface. Hence, he uses the needle to threaten the second state councilor into protecting him and his farm. It’s almost laughable how the cartoon villain thinks he can threaten the live action one. Pfft.
The second state councilor is unfazed by the threats, and Commander Im goes into pleading mode instead. He swears allegiance to the second state councilor and promises to hand over the needle after harvesting the current batch of opium. Thanks to his acquired immunity from the second state councilor, Commander Im is able to avoid arrest, and he uses his newfound powers to take members of the clinic family into his custody. Ugh! I hate him so much!
Poong and Eun-woo return from Hanyang to meet the clinic in disarray, and learn about the arrest from Grandmother who is the only one left. Between Grandmother and an addicted patient’s ramblings, they get an idea as to where Commander Im’s farm is located. It’s in the middle of a deserted forest on which lies the remains of escapees killed during the barbarian invasion. And it’s sad that by growing opium – which is ruining the lives of the people in their village – on this same ground, Commander Im is effectively killing the escapees twice!
As a testament to how disbelievingly resourceful the members of the clinic are, Poong and Eun-woo whip up a smoke bomb of sorts to disarm the guards at the farm. Poong is caught by Commander Im when he goes to rescue Ji-han, but Commander Im doesn’t get to gloat for long with the arrival of the district governor’s men. Cornered, Commander Im tries to negotiate for his freedom, but he comes to his inglorious end when he’s struck down by an assassin’s (Shin-woo’s) arrow. The clown even dies while still trying to hold on to his opium plants. Tsk.
With Commander Im’s death, the needle returns to Poong who takes it to the king as evidence with a ledger of the dirty transactions between Im and the second state councilor. Ji-han also goes to Hanyang separately, to meet with the royal physician – an old colleague of his, and a co-conspirator in the late king’s poisoning. Unfortunately, the royal physician is too scared of the second state councilor, and refuses to turn against him.
The royal physician gets arrested alongside Shin-woo who is taken in for killing the court maid but they both maintain their silence. The stress from all of this takes a toll on the king’s health, but he doesn’t trust the medical office with his treatment. This is where Eun-woo comes in to administer acupuncture, and she invites the rest of the clinic family to Hanyang to prepare the medications for the king. They all look so happy to be reunited in the big city, and Man-bok is all boastful about the size of Poong’s house. Lol.
Over dinner, Eun-woo realizes the late king was poisoned through his last meal, and the king orders for the same dish to be prepared for all the ministers. The other ministers dig into the food, but the second state councilor leaves his bowl untouched, and somehow, this proves that he’s the only one who knows how the late king was poisoned. (It’s hilarious how the other ministers begin to push their bowls away when they hear about the poisoning. Heh.) The second state councilor is arrested on the spot, but he manages to slip a note to one of the guards.
Poong gets accosted by an assassin at home, and Ji-han is slashed while trying to protect him. Before the assassin can do more damage, he’s stopped by the arrows of a hidden marksman. Hmmm. This incident leaves Poong with a burning desire to get justice for everyone harmed by the second state councilor, but the second state councilor and the royal physician obviously deny all the charges even in the face of overwhelming evidence.
The final nail to their coffin comes in, and surprise, it’s the court maid who’s brought in by Shin-woo!
Yes! Shin-woo, I never stopped believing in you! The court maid testifies that she added the poisonous plant to the king’s meal on orders of the royal physician who claimed it was a flavor enhancer. The royal physician in turn throws the second state councilor under the bus for being the mastermind of the scheme, and the second state councilor is finally convicted of his crimes.
But like all evil Joseon ministers, the second state councilor refuses to go down without a fight. His assassins rush in to defend their master, and they’re cut down just as swiftly as they arrive. Out of options, the second state councilor extracts the poisonous plant from his clothes and chomps on it. As he breaks out in sores, he claims everything he did was for the benefit of Joseon, and proclaims himself as the most loyal subject of the country before he dies. Loool. Please tell me he really doesn’t believe this about himself.
With the council of wickedness dissolved, the king reinstates Poong with his old name and makes him royal physician. But unlike Ji-han who readily turns down the king’s offer to return to the medical office, Poong wavers and Shin-woo knows this is because of Eun-woo. As someone who was uncomfortable with the privileges of being the second state councilor’s son while others died for no reason, Shin-woo — who plans to leave Joseon *Sniffs* — advises Poong not to live in pain in a position that he doesn’t want.
Poong decides to remain by the king’s side long enough to nurse him back to full health, and he returns to the clinic after a time skip of three months. Everyone is thrilled at his return, but of course, Eun-woo is the happiest. Awww. Poong still cannot perform acupuncture, but he has made peace with being a psychiatrist and among his found family instead. All that’s left is to propose to the love of his life, and Poong has got it all planned out. The ring, the romantic location beneath a tree in town, and I’m sure he has a whole speech prepared too. Lol.
But just as Eun-woo sets out to be proposed to the following day, her father comes with some news. He has been transferred to another village, and they must leave immediately. Eun-woo rushes to Poong with the news, but there, she meets some royal guards who have come with a yet to be known royal order for him. Poong stands, torn between Eun-woo and said order — cue freeze frame, a romantic OST playing in the background, and then a footnote telling us to anticipate season 2 in January 2023! *Maniacal laughter*
Was I the only one who had no idea that there were plans for a second season? Ugh! What is with dramaland these days and second seasons that nobody asked for, and why does this drama even need a season 2? What happened to keeping things short and sweet? At least, they should have given us the closure we needed here so that people who want to move on after this season can do so in peace. What’s with that cliffhanger now?
I have to say, whoever cut the trailer and handled the promotional aspect of this drama did such a fantastic job at misdirecting its potential audience. I came in for the promise of lightheartedness and fun – admittedly, it was funny when it wanted to be – but got political machinations instead. I stayed on for the psychiatry, but got bamboozled with Commander Im and other plotlines that didn’t add any serious value to the story.
I had high hopes for this drama, and while I enjoyed it for some parts (Kim Min-jae’s smile, his voice, and the clinic family antics), I’m disappointed at what could have been. It felt like a meal with all the right ingredients but the wrong measurements — not exactly tasteless, but not something you’re willing to come back to either. Will I tune in for Season 2? I’m not sure yet, but time will tell.
- Premiere Watch: Poong the Joseon Psychiatrist, Wild Boar Hunting
- Poong the Joseon Psychiatrist is now accepting patients in new promos
- Finding healing with Kim Min-jae in tvN’s Joseon Psychiatrist Yoo Se-poong
- Joseon Psychiatrist Yoo Se-poong is open for business in new promos
- News bites: July 6, 2022
- News bites: June 11, 2022