I was caught by surprise when Yeon-kyung is taken for a ride back to the Joseun era when Heo-im saved her from getting stabbed by a rod. I didn’t quite expect that the female lead would also end up being a(n) (unwilling) time traveller (or time traveller’s companion). I’d assume that Live will go down the usual route of a Joseun traditional med doctor finding himself very out of sorts in a modern Western Medicine world. And even if said dr shuttles back and forth in his and the current time frame, he’d probably do it alone (a la Queen In-hyun’s Man).
In any case, there are hints that Heo-im will have to return to his timeline – he has that little girl whom he promised to heal, and a student-follower (Dongmakgae) who has a crush on him. Both of which are “unresolved” issues for Heo-im.
Yeon-kyung is in a similar situation as Heo-im – she has a heart patient, who like Heo-im’s little girl, wishes to die to relieve her parents’ “burden”. Plus, her dongsaeng, Jae-ha, has an obvious crush on her and like Heo-im, she is blissfully unaware and sees him only as a maknae.
Similarly, both are experts in their fields, but not perfect. As mentioned in my earlier post, Heo-im may be a compassionate and responsible doctor, but he is also shamelessly materialistic. So much so that he won’t mind destroying his hands (which are his source of “income” and livelihood), to grab melted gold bars from his stash. However, I am quite inclined to cut Heo-im some slack, cos I feel he is angered by the inflexible caste system in Joseun, which doesn’t recognise or reward a man’s (or woman’s) talent, but only looks at his familial relations and parentage. His gold stash may be a form of “revenge” (?) at this system, or maybe, to redeem a loved one (like his mum? From slavery?)
And while Yeon-kyung condemns him for being a money grubber, she isn’t a saint either. Her tactlessness and hot temper are well known among her peers, but these characteristics also rub off on her patients during her treatment of them. Her grandpa isn’t spared her caustic tongue either, even though she regrets giving him the cold shoulder when he tries to be nice to her. Like Heo-im, I am also sympathetic to Yeon-kyung and her sandpaper attitude. Her mother probably died when her grandpa took her to hospital too late. There is also the consistent flashback and signs of PTSD when Yeon-kyung sees car crash or traffic accident victims in A&E. Did her father or someone close died (cos of her?) and she blocked out the memories? It will be detrimental to her medical career if she goes cold whenever she has to handle such patients.
Whatever the reason for Yeon-kyung’s PTSD, her quick “vacation” to Heo-im’s timeline is an eye-opener for her. Before she becomes revulsed with Heo-im’s greed, her parallel situation with Heo-im isn’t lost on her. She recognized the distrust the people had of her new fangled medical techniques as mirroring her own disdain for Heo-im’s acupuncture skills. And the fact that they both work in worlds where politics are just as important as medicine.
Let’s just hope the politics do not over shadow the healing.