Since we have an episode full of cute goodness, this episode makes up for the plot by pushing it forward with strong moves.
But of course, we got to start with something adorable, just to remind us that this show can juggle both light-hearted sweetness, and heavy scheming at the same time.
Hwon commented that it's really blissful to be able to finally lie next to each other, and Yeon Woo smiled, "Indeed, it feels good." Knowing that the scriptwriters won't be so good to us as to let them sleep next to each other so soon, I was thinking along the lines that Yeon Woo was sleeping in her room, and Hwon in his, and they were talking across the wall and hahaha, I totally laughed out loud when Hwon dropped his smile, "Hyung Sun, don't you think you are going overboard?"
And we see:
Hwon asked indignantly if Hyung Sun didn't trust him,
and Hyung Sun answered that well, he believed in Hwon's intentions in being proper, but he couldn't really trust that male instincts that Hwon had been suppressing for so long. Hahaha, Hwon kicked his blanket in annoyance, like a kid (oh my I really, really love this Hwon hehe) and Hyung Sun decided to offer a compromise, if Hwon could promise him that he would not succumb to his needs and touch Yeon Woo. Hwon sat up, "That's going too overboard!" and Yeon Woo quickly sat up, and told Hyung Sun with her puppy eyes that she hadn't seen Hwon for eight years and couldn't have enough time to look at him, "Please at least give me this chance to look at his face in this dark night."
And Hyung Sun relented, while Hwon watched in disbelief.
Hahahaha, that's an awesome expression you have there Hwon. Hyung Sun took his blindfold and left the room. Hwon commented angrily that even though Hyung Sun served him for so long, he listened to Yeon Woo over him, and declared that thanks to Hyung Sun's annoying interference, he would not touch her at all. He lay down in a tantrum, and Yeon Woo followed suit with a smile on her face.
She asked if what he said was true, and he said, "Of course, a gentleman will follow through with his promises —" and he was taken aback when Yeon Woo slipped her fingers into his palm. She asked if he would chase her out and punish her for daring to touch him, and a smile blossom on Hwon's face as he answered, "How could that be," before they exchanged blissful smiles, and dropped off to sleep.
Gahhhhhh, this is too sweet.
Bo Kyung learnt that the spy she had initially planted had been transferred to another workplace but was nowhere to be found. All of Hwon's attendants had been changed except for those who had served him since he was young, and that caused Bo Kyung to suspect that Hwon was hiding something in his chambers. Okay, I'm thankful that Hwon isn't as stupid as I thought he was, phew.
Princess ran on the palace grounds, excited to go somewhere, and Yeom's mother reminded her not to. Their conversation hinted heavily that Princess was pregnant since Yeom's mother kept telling her that she should take care of herself well. Hey, I didn't know it was that easy to get pregnant._. They ran into Kyu Tae, who gave Princess a scrutinising look after she left. Kyu Tae reported what he had found to Hwon — apparently, before the late King had gave orders to stop the investigation of Yeon Woo's death, he had frequent visits to Princess' place.
Yeon Woo listened worriedly from her room,
as Kyu Tae continued his report that the late King had appointed Bo Kyung as the next Crown Princess without another ceremony after visiting the Princess.
Knowing that Hwon might be curious about it, he even found an old attendant of Princess and realised that it wasn't just the late King who paid frequent visits, the Great Dowager did too.
Kyu Tae investigated the meaning behind the spell placed on Yeon Woo, and Hwon stopped him from telling since he had already heard the truth from Nok Young, but he decided to hear it anyway. Kyu Tae then told him that the spell placed on Yeon Woo was usually done with a straw person, but if a real person with true desires was used in this spell, then the effects would be strengtened much more. Hwon started putting things together — what Dowager had said about protecting his loved ones, the spell, Yeon Woo's advice to let things go.
He came to the right conclusion, that Princess must have been implicated in this somehow, but why, why did she do such a thing? We cut to Hwon's mother who was ecstatic to hear that Princess had been pregnant. She praised Princess and Princess joyfully requested to leave the palace early so that she could return to her husband with the good news. Her mother let her go, but reminded her that it's all right not to visit the Dowager, but "don't forget to visit the Majesty."
Hwon sat still in his chambers and recalled a flashback that we had never seen before. In there, the Majesty apologised for not being able to protect Yeon Woo.
He knew that the clever Hwon would one day come to understand his words — Please forgive those people that I'm trying to protect. If you really can't do that, the first person that you shouldn't forgive, is me. He told Hwon that the throne was always a lonely figure and that sometimes, one's enemies could even be one's relatives, "I only hope that you can forgive…those relatives." Hwon asked for a name then, but didn't get an answer.
We cut to the present, where Hwon recalled Princess throwing tantrums and wailing her lungs out when she had known that he had 'bad-mouthed' her in front of Yeom. Yeon Woo called out for Hwon, and Hwon asked if she already knew the truth, which was why she hid the fact that she had recovered her memories from him. Yeon Woo didn't answer, and Hwon looked up.
He walked with brisk steps that almost ended into a run to the courts, and after he threw open the doors, we see a flashback that occurs at the same time as the present. The young Hwon had requested in the assembly for the King to reject taking in Yeom as the Princess' husband, knowing that that would only bury his talents. The King was furious and called Hwon into his study, scolding him for being impulsive and showing his true opinions in front of the ministers. Hwon asked, "So, you mean that I should turn a blind eye to this?"
"That I shouldn't do anything, shouldn't change anything, shouldn't protect anyone, and that I should just follow rules set by other people and become useless, do you want me to live my life like that?!"
The King then told him that the more he wanted to protect something, the more he would lose it. If he wanted to protect, then he shouldn't show any signs of it. If he wanted to have something, then he must give up on something else, because only then could he gain the thing he wanted. Hwon asked him what were the things that he had gained and given up on, and the King said silently I've given up on having loyalty, but gained personal safety. I've lost Yang Myung, but protected you. I've lost the Crown Princess, but saved your sister, Princess Min Hwa.
Hwon continued, "I will not be like that. If it's the path with justice, I will give my all to gain it. If it's the path that is not correct, I will give up on it even if I have gained it. My Joseon…will be like that."
With that cool ending, he gave his father a determined look,
bowed, and left the study…only to come face to face with the adult Hwon who was watching. The young Hwon stared disapprovingly at the adult self.
He shouted at adult Hwon and scolded him for forgetting how determined he had been in his goal to restore everything to its rightful position, in giving the power from those who didn't deserve it, to those who did.
"This is the King that you should have been. Have you forgotten it so quickly?"
And the child Hwon stormed past the adult Hwon, knocking into his shoulder in the process, and the colours darkened as we come back to reality and Hwon's eyes filled with tears as he looked at the empty study.
Woah, I love that scene. It drives the message home, or rather, into Hwon's heart and shows us clearly how strong he had been, how determined he had been. By having that face to face interaction with the adult self later on, it creates a even bigger impact, as adult Hwon gets scolded by himself, as he realises that along the way, he has forgotten his initial goal and has sunk into what he has vowed he will never be.
Hwon came back to his chambers to find Princess waiting for him, and as he sat facing her with an expression of pain and disbelief, he asked, "Do you really have so much greed for Yeom?" Princess' smile faltered as Hwon continued, "Is that why you did something so cruel?"
Princess started to have an inkling of what Hwon was driving at, but feigned ignorance, till Hwon hammered the point home, "Yeom's sister! Why…why are you implicated in the Crown Princess' conspiracy, WHY?" Princess jumped at Hwon's shout and suddenly bowed frantically, requesting for Hwon not to tell her husband. You could see Hwon's heart breaking as Princess said that she would receive her punishment, but pleaded with Hwon to keep it from Yeom.
Seriously Princess. Hwon looked at her as tears streamed down his face, "Raise your head.''
"Do you…know how much trouble you…have created?" Princess started shaking as she said haltingly that it's with the same tone and same expression, that the late King had given to her too.
We have a flashback of Princess wailing to the late King, saying that she didn't know the gravity of what she had done, and that she didn't truly want Yeon Woo to die. The King closed the distance between them, and warned her to keep the secret until her death. Back to the present, the Princess cried that she really didn't know what she had done, till she had seen Yeom crying so much tears facing a courtyard with no Yeon Woo, "only then, I realised what on earth I have done…"
Hwon said that his father had committed a crime. Towards Yeon Woo's father, he had committed a death crime, and to himself, to Yeon Woo too. Yeon Woo heard this from her room, and she cried.
Hwon's voice grew in volume as he shouted, almost on the verge of breaking emotionally, "HOW ARE YOU GOING TO REPAY THIS SIN!"
Kim Soo Hyun is really good here:O I could hear the true feelings behind that breaks of the voice.
Then, Princess decided to make things worse, by declaring that she would still do the same thing if they had gone back in time. Hwon shook his head with painful disbelief that his sister was as such, as Princess continued with renewed determination, that even if she would go to hell for that, "I did not regret my choice."
Okay, this is totally on a different level. I have wished you and Yeom a happy marriage before, Princess, but that was when I thought that you could be pardoned since you didn't know at such a young age, the true gravity of what you had done. You are a spoilt brat, and thus you expect to get everything that you want. Spoilt brats irritate the hell out of me by the way. Anyway, but to have grown up, seen for yourself how much Hwon has suffered, how much Yeom has suffered, how much Yeom's mother has suffered, and still declare that murderous intent in you, that's just…sick. Not understandable. And I thereby hope, no matter how illogically, that Yeom will drop you like a hot potato before going for Seol.
Hwon said with hopelessness that he's going to give up on Princess, because only then could he be accountable to those who were involved in the incident. Princess decided to drop a bombshell on Hwon by telling him to pardon Yeom and the baby in her stomach. She left, leaving Hwon who wailed heart-wrenchingly.
Princess returned home and told Yeom the good news, which caused him to be really elated. She needed to tell him something but broke down in tears. Yeom asked worriedly if that meant that she didn't want the child, and she told him no, it was something she had been waiting for so eagerly. Yeom embraced her in happiness and gratitude, as she sobbed into his arms, and Seol watched with tears outside the courtyard. Upon Seol's return, Jan Sil got another of her creepy prophecies where she predicted out loud that the child would be just like the father, morally upright, and a support for the country.
Seol broke down in tears and blamed Nok Young for telling her the truth. She wailed about her poor young master who was too pitiful, "The woman who caused his sister's death now has his child!"
Yeon Woo asked if she could see Hwon, and Hwon denied her request because he felt ashamed to see her. Those who had caused her suffering, wished for her death, pushed her to her death, covered up the truth of her death…were all his kins. Yeon Woo came out anyway and told him that it was precisely because she's worried that Hwon would be too grievous and not want to see her, that she didn't reveal the truth initially.
She requested for him to hide the truth, because she didn't want her brother to feel the pain. Hwon asked if she didn't feel wronged about all the suffering that she had to go through, and she replied that it was exactly because she had gone through it, that she didn't want to put her brother through it too. Hwon started crying even harder, as he asked her why she didn't think about his suffering. If Yeon Woo was not the Queen, then he could only embrace other women. "Isn't that ending for me pitiful? Isn't that for you pitiful?"
And the two of them cried with helplessness.
The next day, Hwon had renewed vigour and suggested for Dowager to take a rest, when in fact he's telling her to get off the politics. She remarked strongly that no one could get her off, and Hwon gave her a choice — to retreat and take a rest, or to be trialled in courts. She asked for the reason (yeah as if you don't know about that) and Hwon confirmed that he knew about the spell placed on Yeon Woo, and the involvement of the Princess. Dowager was taken aback but stood her ground with the belief that Hwon had no evidence.
Hwon suddenly shouted, "Don't mix your grandson up with your son! On the matters of convicting a person of a crime, I'm different from the late King."
Hwon sealed his victory with the sentence, "If your interpretation of the law of nature is to follow what has been dictated, then my law of nature is to correct whatever that has been done wrong. So I am going to return everything to its original place." He ignored Dowager's insistence of her own importance, and remarked, "I will not send you off tomorrow. Please be healthy."
Don't you see the fire in young Hwon coming back to this adult Hwon?
Hwon left the chambers, but Dowager started shouting and screeching that the person who had put Hwon up there was her, the one who protected his throne with bloodied hands was her, and to ask her to give up that seat, "Neverrrrr —" before she had a heart attack or something, and basically screamed herself unconscious. Hwon's expression remained cold as he walked away.
Hey, this was almost the same expression that I had while watching this, but of a different feel. It was more of this –> .___.
Minister Yoon and his minions discussed this matter of Hwon sending Dowager away, likening it to Hwon drawing his sword for a fight. Minister Yoon commented that they should make the first move, and made an analogy of how the leader of a temple should be changed if many monks were displeased. We switch to Yang Myung who almost recovered from his injury and took a stroll with his mother. He thought his mother was going to remind him not to waver again, but instead, she told him that he's free to do whatever he wanted from then.
Because she had trust in whatever decisions Yang Myung chose to take. Yang Myung remarked gently that 'trust' was a word laden with a heavy burden, and she told him that just like how the seasons would change, the feelings of sadness would pass, and he would meet better ties. No matter what Yang Myung decided to do, "Mother will believe in you." Yang Myung gave a contemplative smile. He returned home and found the usual followers stalking his front door. He invited them in, and they took it as a positive sign, telling him that since Hwon was a lousy ruler and still had no heir, and that Yang Myung was first in line should anything happen to Hwon….wouldn't it be such a pity if Yang Myung's talent got buried?
Yang Myung played along on dangerous waters, but on that last note, he dropped his smile and muttered they were hatching a conspiracy against Hwon when he's still alive. Drawing his sword and placing in against the neck of the leader, he warned him that if he dared to make such talk again, "Your head and your body will bade farewell forever."
Aha, Yang Myung, I think I love you a little more now.
The leader reported his failure back to Minister Yoon and passed along a message that Yang Myung had wanted to pass to the mastermind, that the mastermind should personally talk to him the next time he wanted to test the waters. The ministers asked about the choice of Yang Myung, since his loyalty to the King would be hard to shake, and Minister Yoon commented that he's worthy of being a king, before muttering silently, "Your Majesty, don't you want to know what is my last triumph card?"
Bo Kyung saw her mother and a girl walking in the palace and ducked out of sight when her father appeared. Her father chatted with the girl, who was revealed to be a companion for Bo Kyung, and Bo Kyung's expression flickered as she heard the girl's answers to her father's questions about the palace that mirrored closely to that of hers when she was 13 and wanted to live in the palace. Her mother noticed her and called her, but her father walked away after noticing her presence. Bo Kyung was stung by the cold rejection.
Her mother introduced the girl to Bo Kyung back in her chambers, where Bo Kyung told her mother that it's possible her father would get rid of her. "Once he finds something useless, even if it's his own daughter, he will abandon her…" She looked pointedly at the new girl, when her mother asked desperately who could replace her, and Bo Kyung's mother quickly got the girl out of the room before continuing the conversation. She told her that even if the girl was accepted into the palace, she would only be the concubine, "besides, how will the Majesty fall in love with such a young —"but Bo Kyung muttered that it wouldn't be the case if the owner of the throne changed.
"If it's Father, it's definitely possible."
Yang Myung had a visitor and it turned out to be none other than Minister Yoon. They cut to the chase and Minister Yoon asked if he wouldn't like to be the next sun. Yang Myung asked why he was his choice, and Minister Yoon said he had both the motive and the quality. Yang Myung denied both counts, and Minister Yoon drove the point a little further, "Do you want to live in Hwon's shadow forever?" Yang Myung asked how then, would they chase Hwon off legitimately, and Minister Yoon chalked up a list of reasons easily — having affections for a mere shaman, keeping her close in his chambers, shirking his responsibilities to bear an heir, being unfilial. "That should be enough," Minister Yoon concluded.
Yang Myung commented sarcastically that the shaman he talked about was the Crown Princess eight years ago, "Isn't it too despicable to insult her like that?" Minister Yoon realised that Yang Myung knew the truth long time ago and caught that advantage point gleefully — since Yang Myung already knew that Wol was Yeon Woo, shouldn't he know that it's a crime to have desires for the king's woman?
Hwon thanked Kyu Tae for what he had done so far, and gave him a list of instructions that he must memorised before burning the list. Kyu Tae left and Yeon Woo apologised for causing so much trouble. Hwon predicted that soon, there would be vindictive rumours of him, but no worries, because he's not going to sit there suffering all the abuse. Soon, an interesting story would be spread among the commoners. He suggested going for a stroll, and with hands linked, Yeon Woo and him came to the Hidden Moon Halls.
I find it so cute whenever they link hands.
Hwon turned to Yeon Woo and told her that he had hidden a present for her right there. Yeon Woo replied that she already had everything she wanted, and Hwon told her to just find it anyway.
She started searching with a very serious face and stared hard at the floor, while he looked at her and commented lightly that she's looking really hard for someone who didn't want the gift.
She asked if it's something so small it couldn't be seen with the naked eye, and he replied indignantly, "What small, it's not small at all."
Waiittt, hold on a second. That present…is you?:P
Yeon Woo had a stroke of inspiration and asked Hwon if he's giving her the Hidden Moon Halls. He started laughing, "What big dreams you have. Wrong."
Then what could it be? "Something that cannot be replaced in this world, something that is the one and only…as long as it's a woman, she will want it…"
Yeon Woo had a knowing smile in her eyes, "Don't tell me…" "I see you have guessed it…that's right, it's me." Yeon Woo burst out in a laugh, and Hwon asked why.
She replied that it was because she's so happy, so joyful that she laughed. Hwon grabbed her for a hug and told her that since she had given him her heart, he would give her his everything too.
We return to Minister Yoon, who asked Yang Myung if he's really giving up. Yeon Woo was someone that would be pushed to the Queen's position (thus belonging to Hwon) and had he forgotten how differently he had been treated by his father from Hwon? Yang Myung retaliated forcefully that Minister Yoon had miscalculated if he thought that Yang Myung would be moved to act because of his grudges against his father and his jealousy towards Hwon.
Ah, but it wasn't exactly out of the question in the episodes far back.
He didn't have a care for the throne and he didn't want the wealth, the fame and power. Bo Kyung was right; Minister Yoon started drawing his sword as he concluded silently that he had misjudged and that Yang Myung was useless and disappointing, when Yang Myung continued that he only wanted his ancestral rights, "and Heo Yeon Woo. Just these two things."
I'm sure they can't really build on a mutiny led by Yang Myung because I don't think he's gone that far down the road of hating Hwon and wanting Yeon Woo. Yeah he wants Yeon Woo bad enough, but this isn't something that you can build in two episodes and give us a satisfactory ending at the same time. Yang Myung always teeters on a balance of loyalty and love towards Hwon and his other wants and desires. To push Yang Myung off that balance needs more than what we have seen so far, and I hope they aren't going to do that in the ending…because who wouldn't want to see a nice reunion between the brothers, and a good ending?(:
We have less of the sweet moments in this episode, and more of steps taken, leading us to the final step. Princess is hopeless, argh. I love how Hwon gets his fire back after having that brush with himself. He has lost track of his initial ambition along the road of twists and turns but what jerks him back to the main road…was himself.(And whoooo I finally got to see young Hwon and the delightful actor againnn) On the other hand, I see lots of fire and tears on Hwon's part…but I don't see that much of it on Yeon Woo's side. She's not a defenceless woman and she has a lot of wits. I just hope that she's not going to remain a figure that is to be protected right the ending, because she is someone who can protect herself.
I wonder how they are going work around the Princess and Yeom thing:/ Maybe my illogical hope will come true.