Couldn't quite get my footing watching Kim Soo Hyun as Hwon after a two weeks break, because I've been Dream-High marathoning.
Do you still remember how sweet Hwon was in the last episode, telling Yeon Woo that he gave himself to her? He asked her now, what he could get in return.
Yeon Woo protested that she really could give nothing else, when Hwon suggested, "Let's do it."
He stepped forward, as a startled Yeon Woo retreated, "Do? Do…what?" Hahahaha. Hwon, "The game that you and Brother played at Hwal In Seo, with that wooden stick…"
Hahahaha, what have you been thinking, Yeon Woo?
Hehe, what follows is a really cute scene on Yeon Woo demonstrating her good hitting skills, and as she passed the stick to Hwon, their hands touched.
Hwon then proceeded to be a failure, so much so that Yeon Woo couldn't help but laugh hahaha. When the stick finally flew over a great distance, everyone including the palace maids was so happy and Hwon gave a victory smile.
Yeah we have a happy story here (By the way, Hwon, aren't you afraid that all the cheering will wake someone up?) but a sinister plot was brewing elsewhere.
Yang Myung questioned Minister Yoon's motive in putting him on the throne, since that meant he would lose his status as the uncle of the country. Minister Yoon professed that he had no wish of giving up that status, and commented that he could get a daughter whenever he wanted. Yang Myung then asked how he could be sure of Minister Yoon's loyalty since even Bo Kyung, his real daughter, could be abandoned by him, "Since I've already told you what I want, it's Minister Yoon's turn." Minister Yoon revealed that he wanted to recover the old system of sharing power equally between the ministers and the King.
He also advised Yang Myung, who wanted Yeon Woo by his side, not to put Yeon Woo as a concubine, but rather, hide her safely somewhere so that the scholars couldn't complain.
Knowing that her father was planning to give up on both her and Hwon, Bo Kyung hurriedly left her chambers in the middle of the night to find Hwon…only to be greeted by a sight of Hwon offering his hands to Yeon Woo, and they walked back to his chambers hand in hand. Ouch?
The scandal that Hwon knew would be circulated about him was out among the commoners — the King had apparently kept a shaman by his side. Ooh, how scandalous. However, Hwon counteracted it with another rumour, that the Crown Princess was killed by relatives of the court. Kyu Tae popped into the discussion, dressed like a commoner, and added that he heard the shaman was actually the Crown Princess.
While many felt that he was talking nonsense, how could someone come back to life?, this man expressed that he wished it's true, because then perhaps the Crown Princess could change the monopoly of power that the court had over the country. Kyu Tae left with satisfaction, leaving the commoners discussing indignantly that the Queen was sitting on her throne, despite Yeon Woo being alive. Back in the courts, the ministers expressed anger over the rumour that Yeon Woo was still alive, dismissing it as rumours. Hwon pointed out directly the lack of concern the ministers had over HIS rumour, that he had kept a shaman by his side, "Unless this rumour…is released by the ministers?"
One of the ministers choked and Hwon asked, "Are you all right? I was only joking."
You win, Hwon.
Bo Kyung told her father that she had seen Yeon Woon in the palace itself, but Minister Yoon dismissed it as another of her hallucinations. Realising that both Hwon and her father had deserted her, she decided to protect herself. She called for her court lady and instructed her to bring the shaman that was temporarily in charge of Celestial Halls before Nok Young came back. Yeon Woo and Hwon sat opposite each other as they read the petitions together. Yeon Woo remembered what Nok Young had said before, about having no choice but to fulfil the Dowager's demand.
She looked up at Hwon, who remarked gleefully that she's getting worse, "Are you going to stare outright at my face?" Hahaha, you are one ego king. Yeon Woo asked for a favour and Hwon was really happy, "Request? Tell me, no matter what it is, I will promise you."
Yeon Woo revealed that she would like to meet Nok Young.
Hwon couldn't understand why Yeon Woo would want to meet someone who had caused her death, and Yeon Woo countered gently that it was also Nok Young who had saved her life. "Then? You are going to treat her as your life saviour, oh how grateful?" Hwon asked in indignation. Yeon Woo told Hwon that every time she looked at him, she felt grateful to have been alive, and that, was undoubtedly thanks to Nok Young.
"Even though I can't pardon her crime, but before that, I will like to meet her and tidy up the eight years of feelings between us…" Hwon sighed. The shaman was called for and Bo Kyung revealed her plans to cast a spell on Shaman Wol. The shaman was taken aback and told her that it's possible, but the girl must be in close proximity for the spell to work. Bo Kyung smiled, "What if she's in the palace?" The shaman replied that even though it's not possible to kill her immediately, but she could cast a spell that would cause Wol to suffer, just like the one she had placed on Hwon.
Here's when the misunderstanding came in. Bo Kyung thought that she was referring to the spell cast on Hwon on their consummation night, but the shaman was referring to another incident way before that. At least that's what I think. The shaman continued that should the ritual be included with a sacrifice of a virgin with strong intentions, then the spell could bring death to the target.
Nok Young did another of her rituals and the water in the bowl turned red. She hurriedly threw it away, before a man came in to pass her a letter. She read the summon for her to return to the palace, and warned Seol not to visit the north village (where Yeom's house was). Yeon Woo waited in her room as Nok Young entered. She asked after Seol and Jan Sik, before asking after Nok Young's health. Nok Young asked, "How can you address a lowly person like me as your spiritual mother?"
Yeon Woo asked about her friend, the one who had wanted to protect her, and Nok Young told her that all she knew about the whole matter was that Yeon Woo's mother had done a kind deed.
"The one who saved you…isn't me…isn't my friend, but your mother." Yeon Woo told Nok Young that even though she still couldn't forgive her entirely, but she could understand why she did what she did. "Before it's too late…I want to say…thank you." Nok Young looked at as tears gathered in her eyes. A teary Yeon Woo continued, "Thank you…for saving me. Thank you for taking me in, for bringing me up, for protecting me."
"Thank you…for being my mother in these eight years."
Bo Kyung was brought to the ritual room and revealed that the person to be used as a sacrifice was herself. Nok Young sat in the Celestial Halls as she prepared for a ritual. A flashback of her telling Yeon Woo that a spell would be cast on her that night was shown, and her promise towards Yeon Woo that she would block the spell. As the shaman on one side started the ritual, Nok Young, on the other side, sliced her palm and dripped the blood onto a talisman, before dropping it in the fire. As the spirits gathered around the cauldron, Nok Young murmured silently, "Let the evil spirits return to the one who summons it."
As the spirits got released, Nok Young was impacted suddenly, and blood appeared from her mouth. The shaman shouted in pain and collapsed to the ground, before opening her eyes and standing up again.
Imagine Bo Kyung's shock when the shaman opened her mouth and it was Nok Young's voice, condemning her for the crimes that she had done.
The shaman collapsed once again and a hysterical Bo Kyung returned to her chambers, recalling what Nok Young had said, "Do you think you are innocent? You think you are a victim? But you are wrong. The crime of knowing and not telling, the crime of not rendering any help, the crime of being greedy for something that is not yours, deceiving the king and refusing to reflect on what you have done, that's YOUR CRIME." As Nok Young's words built to a climax, Bo Kyung shivered and shouted in fear, hitting her ears repeatedly.
Yeom's mother decided to visit the temple to pray for Yeon Woo's successful crossing to another life, "Before we celebrate the arrival of a new life…" Seol stood outside, watching Yeom with sadness.
After seeing his mother off, the housekeeper told Yeom about the rumours that Yeon Woo's death was caused by a court's relative, and that Yeon Woo could possibly still be alive. He revealed what he had told Kyu Tae the other time, about Yeon Woo's grave having been dug.
An arrow flew past and missed Yeom's head by a few inches. There was a note attached to it, and on it, Minister Yoon told Yeom the truth about the Princess's involvement in the conspiracy eight years ago, and that it was because she wanted to marry him. As Yeom recalled an excited Min Hwa eight years ago, and a guilt-stricken Princess a few weeks ago, the news started to sink in.
He went into Princess's room and watched coldly as Princess showed happily the clothes for their kid that she had been embroidering. "Was it because…you wanted me?"
As Princess started to realise that he knew about the incident, he continued, "What do you want from me…? And so now, I'm without values, without accomplishments…what do I have, that you want me so much?" Princess started wailing and begging for his forgiveness as he cried, "For such a long time, you deceived me, deceived my mother."
He pleaded for her to tell him that he was wrong, but Princess's plea for forgiveness confirmed everything and he shouted, "What am I supposed to do?!" Princess started moaning in pain while Yeom muttered that he's ultimate sinner. It was because Princess had wanted him, that she had caused the death of Yeon Woo, "And yet I didn't know…" He got up to leave and Princess grabbed his arm, screaming with tears that she's the sinner and that both him and their child weren't to blame, "Please don't turn a blind eye to our child…" But Yeom shrugged her hands away and left.
Minister Yoon's motive behind this was to 'encourage' a morally upright person like Yeom to commit suicide/punish himself for such a crime, and if that didn't happen, "The only way is to get rid of him." Yeom heard someone in the courtyard and came out to investigate, only to be ambushed by assassins a few beats later. They started attacking and Seol leapt to his defence, killing an assassin quickly. She told Yeom to return to the house but Yeom didn't like that idea, "How can I let a girl…" Seol continued a few attacks and another assassin was killed.
Whoo girl power.
But….things don't always go the way we want…and in another few moves, an assassin pierced his sword through Seol. PIERCED IT THROUGH. OUCH. Woon came to the rescue in time, and killed off the remaining assassins. Yeom grabbed Seol into his embrace, calling out her name worriedly.
She opened her eyes and told Yeom weakly that Yeon Woo was still alive. "You told me last time to take good care of Missy when you are not around…" She apologised for not being able to protect Yeon Woo forever, and Yeom said tearily that she had to carry such a heavy burden. Seol revealed to Yeom that ever since the day she had entered the household and he had given her the name of Seol (snow), she had kept him in her heart.
She felt apologetic for keeping such a person like him in her lowly heart, and Yeom protested, "What apology, what forgiveness…what have I done, that it's worth you giving up your life for!"
Thank you Young Master, for it's you that I can become a human, become a woman, become Seol…Even though it has been a short life, but I'm more blissful than any other girl in this world…so Young Master, you must be blissful too.
And Seol…was dead.
Nok Young woke up from her sleep with a heartache and found Jan Sik crying outside. Seol had told Jan Sik to leave a good life, and to pass her thanks to Nok Young. Because she was blissful, she reminded the two of them to live happily too. As the snow drifted down upon the world, Nok Young murmured silently while crying, "You lass. In the end, the snowflakes still disappear into the embrace of the flames. Are you happy?" and Seol replied, "Yes, very happy. As a slave, this is considered quite a good life."
Ahh. I was thinking that it's really random for Seol to die. I mean true, that kills off any hope of mine that Yeom will run to Seol happily or that Seol and Woon can become a happy martial artsy couple, but that can't be it. Then Nok Young's words reminded me of how in the past, Jan Sik had already made the prophecy that snow shouldn't be too close to the fire…and in a way, it had come back to the original point — yet another prophecy fulfilled, the snowflakes had melted because of the fire.
Woon reported back to Hwon and hesitantly revealed Seol's death. Yeon Woo stifled her sobs back in her room but tears streamed down her face anyway. Hwon suddenly realised that Dowager's life was in danger and sent Woon to check on her, but we cut to the Dowager's chambers and realise that Hwon was too late — someone had poisoned Dowager's food. As blood spurted out from her mouth, she cursed Minister Yoon for turning on her, and she hallucinated Hwon's silhouette who turned and walked away despite her frantic pleas that she had done all those things to protect him.
She then recalled her own son telling her not to be greedy for anything else…and she finally collapsed in death. The ministers celebrated that no one was in the path (do they know that Yeom is not dead?) and Yang Myung popped over to tell them that he wished to have an official liaison that night.
Hwon entered Yeon Woo's room and told her that she should cry out loud but Yeon Woo said that she had no rights to cry, seeing that she couldn't even protect Seol. Hwon asked if Seol was very important to her, and she cried that Seol was even closer than family. Hwon nodded, "That's why she gave up her life for her master without any considerations." Yeon Woo questioned why innocent people had to die in this battle for power.
Hwon looked pensive as he embraced Yeon Woo.
He told her that she had lost someone important, but he too, had lost a commoner. He wouldn't let another innocent life be taken, "This evil cycle that keeps repeating itself, I will stop it."
So for the first time, all the followers of the rebellion met in Yang Myung's home and he laughed at how many familiar faces he saw. The plan was revealed that the rebellion would take place during the sparring competition that would be held soon. However, it wouldn't take place in the sparring zone, but in the palace itself. Yang Myung murmured that the prey then, would directly be Hwon. He took out a book and wrote his name, before handing it over to Minister Yoon, telling them that when he would reward them after he became the king. Minister Yoon looked at him, and Yang Myung looked at the other officials, his eyes full of determination.
Minister Yoon smiled and wrote his name down, before passing it around, and Yang Myung smiled.
Hmm. Since I'm quite sure Yang Myung isn't going to turn baddie on us, then this book will be the evidence of the ministers' crime right?
In the courts, Hwon commented that it's exciting the sparring competition was coming up and asked how many guards would be posted at the centre. The minister replied two hundred but a flashback to his conversation with Yang Myung revealed that he had actually sent three hundred, so that the defence in the palace would be weakened. Yang Myung then told them he would take his place behind Hwon as a relative, and the moment the gates opened for Hwon to leave, that would be their moment to strike.
Hwon expressed his anticipation to see the ministers' skills, especially Minister Yoon's, who replied and said that he would not let Hwon down. Hwon returned to his chambers and had a look in his eyes, before entering Yeon Woo's room. He told Yeon Woo that she would be arranged temporarily out of the palace because he wouldn't be sleeping in his chambers the next night and he didn't want her to sleep in an empty room. Yeon Woo told Hwon that she had no other requests but for Hwon to be safe.
"No matter what happens…as long as Your Majesty fulfils your wish, I will have no other requests…so please fulfil your dream."
"Please return safely." Hwon smiled, "Of course."
And from this conversation, we have a confirmation that Hwon knew the rebellion would take place the next day, and Yeon Woo had probably guessed it as well.
Yang Myung was alone in his courtyard when Woon appeared. He asked Woon a question, "Are you here on a duty or as a friend?" Woon answered as a friend, and Yang Myung asked another question.
"Do you still treat me as a friend?" "I treat you like one now, and will continue to do so in the future." Yang Myung asked cryptically if he would then, treat him like a friend no matter what he had chosen to do, and Woon asked the reason behind his question. Yang Myung decided that his resolve was set despite Woon's question and simply lamented, "Why do we end up the place where we are today…"
The day of the sparring competition was here, and the court ladies dressed Hwon in elaborate dressing as usual.
Except it looks kind of funny on him, don't you think?
Hyung Sun, "Your Majesty…"
And he told Hwon that it's his fortune to be able to serve Hwon all these years. Hwon commented at how Hyung Sun's talking as if someone was going to die, and Hyung Sun simply smiled, "Please be safe." Hwon looked away with determination, "Don't worry. I won't let these years be a waste."
Hyung Sun looked proudly at him with tears, as Hwon asked, "Woon, are you ready?" Woon answered, "I await your every command." I love that determined look Woon has in his eyes. It's as if he is no longer shaken by his dilemma to choose between Yang Myung and Hwon. Yeah, Yang Myung is his friend and continues to be, as he has explained earlier, but his loyalty lies with Hwon, and there's something very heartwarming about that.
Hwon left his chambers and took his place in front of the main palace, but not before looking at Minister Yoon.
Flashbacks of Yang Myung's planning were interspersed. He had instructed for the gates to be opened the moment Hwon took his place in front of the main palace, and we see many guards and soldiers running in. "The moment The Majesty leads the ministers and officials towards the temple, that's our signal…for the start of the rebellion." Hwon walked slowly towards the gates, as Yang Myung and the ministers fell into place. The gates suddenly opened to a flood of guards, and immediately, Yang Myung stood with his back against Hwon while the ministers and other guards turned with their swords outwards.
Yang Myung and Minister Yoon exchanged a glance, and at the same time he drew his sword and turned around, Hwon did the same thing. Woon turned his sword towards Yang Myung, while all the ministers and guards turned inwards, creating this circle that enveloped the centre of action…not to protect Hwon, but to trap him. Yang Myung shouted that the sky had abandoned its sun, and now was the start of the rebellion.
And the camera zoomed in on Hwon.
Now I know that Hwon has something up his sleeves, and I'm excited to see what the great plan is in the final episode*! This episode has a rather mellow starting, and a mini-rising action of its own before we lead up to the last exciting ten minutes. It's something that I've been waiting for because I didn't think revealing Yeon Woo's conspiracy would make a good ending at all for this show. It would have been anti-climatic, and has a lot less impact. Notice how the conspiracy kind of takes the backstage ultimately, and something that has been threaded gently through the show, but not given much notice to, now takes the main stage — Minister Yoon's ultimate planning to over throw Hwon. This is not just something about Yeon Woo and oh her fake death, it's how Minister Yoon had planned for a very long time (the people he had been secretly training many episodes back etc) and now it has come to a face off between Yang Myung and Hwon.
Or is it? I'm quite sure that Yang Myung is still a good guy, and it doesn't follow his characterisation should he suddenly turn on Hwon.
You know what my version of a happy ending for this story is? Hwon and Yeon Woo live happily ever after with many kids (oh please do not give birth to another Princess Min Hwa, just kill me), Yeom realises that there's no way he can live with someone who has caused his sister's death and suffering, and obsessively still wants to do it again, so he decides to leave/be with Seol. Yang Myung gets over Yeon Woo and ends up with Jan Sik. Woon finds a girl who he wants to protect. Oh wait, and that Minister Yoon dies a horrible death, please at least grant me that wish.
*saw a site that claims that it is going to be extended to 24 episodes. Hmm. True or False?
Episode 20 Recap on The Moon That Embraces The Sun: http://thoughtsramble.livejournal.com/106520.html