Poong the Joseon Psychiatrist 2: Episodes 9-10 (Final)
We have finally (!) come to the end of our sojourn with the Joseon psychiatrist, and boy, I couldn’t be any happier. It’s a typical ending with the villains getting their comeuppance, and a happily ever after for our clinic family. And for us viewers, well, at least we get closure. Sort of.
EPISODES 9-10 WEECAP
First off, a round of applause and warm hugs for making it through to the final week. Surviving two seasons of this show is no mean feat, and we should definitely get a badge (or bean) of honor for staying till the end. Shout out to Kim Min-jae and that bright smile of his that brought me back every week. I hope to see him in a better production soon.
Returning to the finale of this production, our psychiatrist and his bashful lady love get the blessings of her mom — who, apparently, has always been on the Poong-woo ship. And with the approval from Eun-woo’s family, the happy couple return to Sorak to the delight of the clinic family — who are slightly disappointed that they didn’t just hold a wedding at her family’s home. Same sentiments, really.
But it’s too soon for happily ever after, because the district governor is unrelenting in Operation Take Poong Down, and he blackmails an immigrant widow to get her to seduce Poong. This scheme serves to shed some light on Nam-hee the chef’s much awaited backstory — as she’s the only family member whose past hasn’t been delved into yet. It turns out that she is also an immigrant whom Ji-han saved from an almost suicide attempt back then. Now Nam-hee pays it forward by holding out an understanding hand towards the widow and showering her with so much warmth that the widow cannot bring herself to spike Poong’s meal.
Unfortunately, the widow’s defiance gets her into trouble with the district governor, and he murders her in a fit of rage. Oh my! Soon enough, Kang-il — who has stolen (a fake copy of) Ji-han’s ledger detailing the meddling medics’ evil deeds — stumbles upon the crime scene and goes after the district governor. And when Eun-woo — who has been trailing after Kang-il per Ji-han’s instruction — happens on the scene, she assumes the blood is Poong’s.
A murder was definitely not part of Kang-il’s plans, and he confronts the district governor as the clown attempts to bury the body. They’re both distracted by Eun-woo — who, naturally, per K-drama logic, just has to make a sound from her hiding spot — and the district governor suspends his part-time undertaker job to go after her. Kang-il gets stabbed in the process of protecting Eun-woo, but I can’t say I feel sorry for him because he had it coming. I mean, what did they say about dining with the devil?
I have no idea how the district governor and Eun-woo manage to keep up, but their cat and mouse chase goes on from night until the sun comes up. The district governor eventually catches up to Eun-woo and begins to strangle her. And by the time Poong arrives, Eun-woo is already unconscious. Poong is initially helpless in the face of his acupuncture PTSD, but the ticking clock on Eun-woo’s life is just the adrenaline rush he needs. Out goes the PTSD, and in comes the needle. Eun-woo revives to our collective relief, and our Joseon psychiatrist is officially back to being an acupuncturist! Yes!
Kang-il is taken back to the clinic to recuperate. And as to why he hates Poong’s guts, we learn that back then as the head acupuncturist in the palace, Poong once scolded him for an almost-fatal administration of acupuncture. Tsk. While Kang-il took the criticism as a challenge to travel abroad to improve his skills, he never did get over it. Why does everyone trust Poong even when he makes mistakes? Why does he have loyal people around him? Why him, why not me? Sob sob.
But the ever-wise Ji-han is there to set him straight with a charge for him to work on himself and stop envying others. Because according to Ji-han, Kang-il is too skilled a physician to dance to the corrupt tune of the overlords at the medical office. Poong also recalls the incident with Kang-il and apologizes for being inconsiderate towards him. And thus, Kang-il’s redemptive arc begins. Yawn.
To atone for his sins which led to the unfortunate death of the widow, Kang-il confesses his role in Operation Take Poong Down to the king. The district governor gets executed, the entire medical office is replaced, and Kang-il is sent into exile — where he opens a little clinic. He’s much happier and content with his lot now, but I couldn’t care less. Although we have won, this victory feels too easy. But I’ve lost my ability to complain, so let’s just move on.
With Eun-woo’s widowed status, a marriage between her and Poong is almost impossible based on traditions and morals and whatnot. But rather than fret over things they can’t change, they decide to focus on what they can actually change. Thus, Eun-woo takes the medical exams at Hanyang and goes from unlicensed physician at Gyesu to being appointed as an official OB-GYN in the palace. For now, it’s enough for Poong that Eun-woo is recognized for her skill.
The queen ends up having a breech pregnancy, and Eun-woo takes charge of successfully birthing the prince. In return, at the queen’s request, the king appoints Eun-woo as the Head Female Physician, annuls her previous marriage, and she’s proclaimed to be legally unwed — meaning there is nothing stopping Poong and Eun-woo from getting married now. It would have been too easy for the king to grant them a marriage from the get go. Instead, I love how their marriage is all the more meaningful now that they earned it for themselves.
It’s so fitting for the couple who have come a long way since their first encounter at the Cliff of Doom, and such a satisfactory moment for us viewers who have watched them consistently help themselves in the process of helping others. It’s full circle moments like this that I love, and it makes all their sacrifices for each other worth it. Almost. Because I’m still slightly miffed about the earlier noble idiocy — which was uncharacteristically not in line with the setup of this particular couple.
At the heart of the Joseon psychiatrist’s journey to finding himself is the Gyesu clinic. And it’s only appropriate to return to the clinic as we approach the concluding parts of the show. The individuality and quirks of each member of the family is what makes them so unique and lovable, and I love how they all naturally leaned into using their respective talents to help out at the clinic. It’s all thanks to Ji-han who provided an enabling environment for them to bloom — and though it’s in his nature to help without expecting anything in return, I think he really needed to hear Granny voice the gratitude that everyone has for him.
Unfortunately, when Granny began to get all sentimental even to the point of handing out gifts, Ji-han and I already knew what was coming next. Weirdly enough, I’m not mad. I mean, it would have been nice to keep her alive, but it is what it is. She will be missed, but since Poong has put a bun in the oven, a new member is joining our clinic family soon. Heh.
You know, Season 2 wasn’t so bad if you take out the palace politics, everyone in the medical office, and the clownish district governor — which, unfortunately, is basically 85% of the show… It makes me wonder why we had to have a second season in the first place, when the show could have just extended the final episode of Season 1 by a few minutes to properly wrap things up.
I’ll always maintain that one good season is better than two half-baked ones. But for what it’s worth, we got a Woo Do-hwan cameo at the end which I absolutely loved! It mirrored Poong and Ji-han’s first encounter — with Do-hwan’s character being the one with the acupuncture PTSD this time. The character goes on to say he’s thinking of becoming a lawyer instead (Joseon Lawyer, anyone? Heh), but that’s not happening in this universe because there is a cure for his PTSD, and the cure is located at the Gyesu clinic. Come one, come all! The Joseon psychiatrist is ready to attend to everyone’s minds and bodies. Not mine, though. I’ve been ready to move on for weeks now, so it’s goodbye from this end.
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