Jang-Geum asks the king for permission to operate on him to cut off the blocked part of his intestine, since it’s the only method to save him. The king is shocked by the idea. Master Chung and Master Shin insist Jang-Geum cannot do such a thing. Jang-Geum shows the masters the rabbit she saved through surgery. The masters ask how the rabbit could’ve endured such pain. Mr Gam and Jang-Geum explain that she used a needle to numb the nerve nearby before performing the surgery. Jang-Geum demonstrates what she means on a fish saying fishermen do this to keep the fish fresh during transport. The queen asks Jang-Geum if it’s true that she suggested to the king that she cut open his stomach. Jang-Geum replies yes and the queen scolds her saying it is an unprecedented impossibility and even mentioning it is an offense against the king.
The king’s generals plead with the king to receive treatment from nae-ee-ohn master (the male physicians)instead of Jang-Geum who is “pushing her limits by riding on the king’s favor”. The king, barely gathering enough strength to talk, tells his generals to leave. Outside the generals run into Jang-Geum. The head general tells Jang-Geum they will not give up easily. Jang-Geum begs the king to accept her treatment. The king senses his death coming and smiles at Jang-Geum instead of answering her. Jang-Geum states that she truly wants to save him. The king replies that it cannot be done, and that no matter how skilled she is she cannot save a dead man. The king tells Jang-Geum she is a great doctor whom everyone loves and respects. Jang-Geum, in tears, again begs the king to agree to her treatment. The king states that when he goes to sleep he can hear Jang-Geum’s words circling his ears and he can rest well.
The king studies Jang-Geum as she tends to him. The king smiles at Jang-Geum. Jang-Geum leaves and goes back to work. The head eunuch comes to tell her that it is the King’s order that she go to the east gate and follow the orders of the guards. A few guards wait for Jang-geum and one of them covers her head with white sheet. Jang-Geum is taken to a boat and sent away to where Min Jung-Ho has been banished and now works as a farmer. The king has arranged for their meeting. Back at palace the generals are angry that Jang-Geum has disappeared.
Jang-Geum and Min Jung-Ho tearfully embrace. The guard tells Min Jung-Ho to receive the king’s last royal order. Min Jung-Ho bows and kneels to receive the king’s order. The king instructs Min Jung-Ho to take Jang-Guem and go to the nation of Ming (China) and tells him to tell her that he is grateful that she has kept him alive so long and apologizes to Jang-Guem for sending Min Jung-Ho away. Also, he was grateful that she did not bear any resentment towards the King for this. He wishes her well and hopes that she will learn more in a even bigger country.
Along the journey to the port, they hear the citizens cry out in front of the bulletin board as they read about the news that the king has risen to the heavens.
Jang-Geum is upset and tries to get on the boat to return to the King. The guard says that it is too late and the King is already dead. The guard shows Jang Geum the wanted poster for Jang Guem. He tells them that this is what the King was afraid of and that is why he was ordered to abduct Jang-Geum and take her to Min Jung-Ho. He shouts at Min Jung-Ho to carry out the king’s last royal orders and to take Jang Geum away. Min Jung-Ho drags Jang Geum off as the guard runs toward the soldiers to distract them.
[8 years later, year 1550 a.d., remote town in outskirts of joseon nation]
A little girl named So-Won runs toward her father, Min Jung-Ho, with dirt on her clothes and fish in a jar. Her mother, Jang-Geum, appears from behind the girl. So-won is scared and Jang-Geum is angry.
Jang-Geum punishes her daughter for going out without permission but Jung-Ho rescues So-Won from further punishment. (The little daughter is full of curiosity just like the little Jang-Geum.)
Jang-Geum practices medicine by saving whoever is sick in town. So-Won goes along with Jang-Geum to help her whenever she is called to see a patient. Min Jung-Ho teaches the local kids to read and write. On this day, So-Won runs to tell her father that the townsmen are bullying Jang-Geum for wanting to do a caesarian on a pregnant mother.
On her way, So-Won runs into Gam Duk-Goo who says he is from the capital and asks about where Jang-Geum is. The little girl points to the wrong direction and runs back home to tell her father about her mother and the strange man who was looking for her. Min Jung-Ho starts packing their stuff and father and daughter go to town to grab Jang-Geum. The three start running on foot. Gam Duk-Goo sees Jang-Geum and her family but they disappear before he can catch up to them.
Gam Duk-Goo returns to Hanyang and reports his sighting to his wife and Jang-Duk. Both women are elated that Jang-Geum and Jung-Ho are still living in joseon (Korea) with their little daughter. Yeon-Sheng goes to see the queen (lady queen) and begs her to pardon Jang-Geum. The queen replies that it is too bad Jang-Geum is in nation of Myung (Ming China), or else she would have brought her back to the palace.
Yeon-sheng reports that Jang-Geum has been in Joseon all these years. The queen is pleasantly surprised. Chan-Ee (also a sang-goon) and Min Sang-Goon are relieved and happy by the queen’s response.
So-Won continues to help her mother with her medicine practice. One day, So-Won walks back home with Jang-Geum after treating an elderly woman. So-Won hides behind Jang-Geum when she sees her father running toward them. Jung-Ho worriedly tells Jang-Geum that So-Won is missing. Jang-Geum tries to hold back her laughter as So-Won teases her father. When they go back, they see soldiers surrounding their home. They have come to bring them back to the palace.
Jang-Geum and Min Jung-Ho are given back their old attire and escorted back to Hanyang in a wagon. As they enter the palace, So-Won asks questions non-stop, she is surprised by everything she sees.
Jang-Geum and Min Jung-Ho reunite with their former colleagues. The staff of nae-ee-ohn, the cooks of soo-rak-gan, and the upper generals of the palace circle them with smiles and nods. The queen arrives, telling Jang-Geum and Min Jung-Ho how happy she is to see them and asking why they have lived in exile all these years, and not shown themselves earlier. The queen states that the king was proud of them both and felt bad about what happened to Min Jung-Ho. The queen states that Jang-Geum and Min Jung-Ho will have their old positions back and asks them to return to the palace.
Min Sang-Goon, Yeon-Sheng, Chan-Ee, and Shin-bi are astonished by how similar Jang-Guem was to So-Won as a child. So-Won continues to entertain them with her non-stop chatter about everything her mother has taught her. Jang-Geum and Jung-Ho bring So-Won to see the Gangs and Jang-Duk. Gam Duk-Goo and So-Won recognize each other immediately and Gam Duk-Goo understands why she reminded him of Jang-Geum when he ran into her in the remote city. Jung-Ho asks Jang-Geum whether she wants to return to the palace or go back to where they’ve been living. Both decide to leave. Jang-Geum tells the queen her decision. The lady queen replies she is sad but will respect her wish.
Jang-Geum gives the palace one last look and steps outside its gates to her awaiting husband and daughter. The three start to walk back to where they came from. Jung-Ho asks Jang-Geum what the palace meant to her. Jang-Geum replies that the palace gave her the chance to cook and the chance to practice medicine, but it also took away Jung Sang-Gong, Han Sang-Gong, and her mother from her. The palace was a place that made her feel she had everything when she in fact had none; a place that made her feel like she could do anything when she was in fact powerless to do anything. Jang-Geum states that the palace was a sad place for her. Min Jung-Ho smiles and asks if the road they travel is not sad. Jang-Geum replies yes. Min Jung-Ho is happy but tells Jang-Geum that even so she cannot cut people open since such a practice is still not accepted in joseon. Jang-geum replies it should be since it can save lives. Just then they discover So-Won is missing. But So-Won runs toward them to tell Jang-Geum that a woman nearby is in pain. Jang-Geum and Min Jung-Ho follow So-Won to the lady’s house. The woman is in difficult labor and will die from giving birth. Jang-Geum tells Jung-Ho that surgery is the only way to save both mother and child. At first Min Jung-Ho is against it but he gives in to Jang-Geum in the end. Min Jung-Ho and So-Won go out to collect water. Min Jung-Ho spills most of the water on the way back to the cave and is admonished by So-Won, saying that her mother always said that the patient is more important. Min Jung-Ho follows her instructions. Jang-Geum successfully saves both mother and child by doing a caesarian delivery. Jang-Geum ,Min Jung-Ho, and So-Won sit by the woman and smile as they welcome the newborn into life. Min jung-ho says, “This is not the era for this woman. She will always ask, “If it can be done in order to save lives… Why not?”.