Watch Won Deuk and Hong Shim kick some ass in this episode!
We are kinda approaching the halfway mark, and I liked this episode, so I thought I would drop in to do a recap!
Key moment you have to watch out for: Won Deuk being an ABSOLUTE, amazing dude saving Hong Shim.
He so suavely plucks off a branch from a spindle tree and says with a sneer that they make good canes because they hurt so badly. The thugs mock him and approach him with swords, but Won Deuk takes them down like a king with his punches, kicks and branch no less.
Look at that flying kick man! This doesn’t even feel like a typical damsel in distress moment as Won Deuk’s fighting is key to his identity (of not just being a commoner) and also because Hong Shim actually does break free and saves Won Deuk when he freezes from facing a sword.
Thugs run away after Won Deuk picks up a sword – because boy, if he can do so much with a branch, what else can he do with a sword?
Despite being slashed in the arm by the thug previously, all Won Deuk can think about is whether Hong Shim’s alright. Hong Shim wants to tear her skirt so that she can bandage his arm, but he stops her, “You already have so few skirts as it is.” I don’t know why, but I really like this scene?? It’s showing us that Won Deuk is quietly observant and considerate.
He reaches out to gently carress Hong Shim’s face and tells her to go down hill before running off to trace the thugs.
Our poor Je Yoon gets implicated in the scandal of the Queen using the cursed talisman and is tortured. The Queen’s officials rush in to say that there has been no talisman found at the Princess’s chambers, but Official Jung throws Je Yoon under the bus and alleges that he’s at the chambers to have an illicit affair. Perhaps triggered by his brother, or to save himself, Je Yoon promises to find the talisman for the Vice Premier.
Hong Shim goes down the hill and runs into her father; the village of people continue up hill to find the thugs. Meanwhile, Moo Yeon who had gone to Hong Shim’s father’s house (to trace Crown Prince), incidentally discovers that Hong Shim is in trouble and has tagged along quietly behind the mob.
He watches Hong Shim’s father fusses over Hong Shim’s injuries and looks worried.
Je Yoon cleverly finds the talisman by sprinkling sugar and tracing a spot which ants do not go to because of the ink on the talisman which repels insects. However, the Vice Premier orders for Je Yoon to be interrogated again, and in a bid to save his life, Je Yoon confesses that he’s at the chambers on the Crown Prince’s orders.
The lead thug reports back to the magistrate and Park Sun Do about Won Deuk’s fighting ability and refuses to do anything more for fear of losing his life. Won Deuk watches quietly from a side.
Perhaps out of already a niggling suspicion as to Won Deuk’s identity, Hong Shim doesn’t really explain that she was saved by Won Deuk, leading the other villagers and her father to think that either something happened to Won Deuk or that he ran away without saving Hong Shim.
Hong Shim awaits for Won Deuk and when he returns, she tells him to take off his clothes. I chuckle a little at Won Deuk’s flustered expresssion and a, “Ah.” when Hong Shim explains that someone of his status shouldn’t wear clothes of a nobleman.
She helps him remove the outer robe and intentionally presses down on his injury, which causes him to whimper. She laughs that he’s whining so much now after being such a show off on the mountain earlier but promises to be gentle.
The couple then has a cute moment where Won Deuk whimpers, Hong Shim apologises, but he whimpers again and Hong Shim laughs that he’s pretending.
Je Yoon asks to talk to the Vice Premier privately and confesses to receiving a secret letter from the Crown Prince. However, he refuses to turn the letter in since it’s secret and would not be for the Vice Premier’s eyes.
At night, Hong Shim tends to Won Deuk’s injuries and tells him to forget about revenge; for people like them, they should be grateful that they are alive. “Only noblemen are treated like humans.” Won Deuk orders her not to tangle with those men again and she answers in a polite, formal manner, “Yes, yes, I will listen.” Cute.
Won Deuk smiles with pride (for himself) that he remembers now that he’s good at martial arts. Isn’t he perfect, he asks. He’s not only good at reading, but also martial skills. HAHA. Hong Shim rolls her eyes at his lack of modesty. Yeah, like who fangirls over themselves??
Je Yoon passes a letter to Ae Weol for her to safekeep and she promises to watch over it in return for a flower-gazing date. Je Yoon notes that wouldn’t be difficult, except he already has someone he likes.
Ae Weol quips that it’s hard for her to turn around when she’s looking at Je Yoon’s face, and Je Yoon gives a heavy, “I see,” before giving a small cheeky grin, “I will turn around then.” It’s funny how he did it with such ease. I’m hoping Ae Weol will be paired nicely with Je Yoon though?
However, this seems to be planned, as Je Yoon already knows someone is tagging him. That someone in question then threatens Ae Weol to give up the letter, which is then brought to the Vice Premier, but which turns out to be just a hoax. I’m thinking that Ae Weol has probably hidden the real letter somewhere first.
On Won Deuk’s ‘order’, Hong Shim stays in the room with him and gasps quietly when she tosses and turns and finds herself face to face with Won Deuk.
He places his arm on her body for ‘elevation’, or so he says, and falls asleep.
Hong Shim sneaks out to find her father but he is not in his room.
Instead, she startles the man seen previously at the marketplace awake, who waves a golden baton around in his state of sleepy stupor. Her dad however, has gone to dig up Won Deuk’s clothes.
While waiting for more intel, Moo Yeon recalls his last moment with Hong Shim – he tearfully told Hong Shim to live on as per their father’s wishes, and covered her with leaves before running away to lure the guards. I like this scene a lot! There’s something poignant about covering Hong Shim’s face and I did the child actors did a wonderful job. What we didn’t see before, is Moo Yeon then going to the Vice Premier’s residence and holding a sword to his daughter’s throat.
However, he couldn’t bring himself to kill her and rushed towards the Premier instead. Obviously, he got overpowered and traded his life in return for his sister’s.
Back to the present, his sidekick asked why he volunteered to do such a cruel job, “How can people like us kill the Crown Prince?” Moo Yeon replies that he has to finish this job, especially when there’s someone waiting for him.
I find this memory very intriguing because I initially thought that the Vice Premier had no idea he was habouring the son, or that Moo Yeon had no idea he was working for a bad guy – yet, both of them knew. I’m also curious why the sidekick said such a thing, which kinda implied that the sidekick was supposedly as kind as Moo Yeon; what history do they have?
Meanwhile, magistrate and Park Sun Do feel very unsettled about Won Deuk. An arrow with a letter, which turns out to contain Won Deuk’s poem, gets shot their way, startling the both. However, they decide that no matter who did this, they are going to pin it on Won Deuk. The guards trace him down immediately and he runs away, but gets caught and brought to the magistrate.
They want to charge him for treason and the magistrate even slaps Won Deuk for rightly pointing out that they have no evidence he shot the arrow. Hong Shim rushes to the office and immediately begs that Won Deuk is a clueless man who wouldn’t do such things.
Park Sun Do yells out that he’s even a skilled fighter, to which Won Deuk replies, “How did you know? Did you send those thugs?” Aha. Won Deuk wins this round. Nonethelesss, Park Sun Do orders for Won Deuk to be tied to the racks so Hong Shim throws herself to the floor and whines that she’s going to lose her husband after getting married at 28.
The Sungkyunkwan scholars, upon the investigation results, request for the King to depose of the Queen and her son. The King is flustered and worried by the court, but Seowon Prince requests for a visit and highlights something important – the talisman was found less than a day ago, and the interrogation was supposed to be in secret. How can there be time for people to submit hundreds of petitions, if not for the Vice Premier’s planning?
He firmly points out, “The Crown Prince’s mother whom you failed to protect! Are you going to lose the Queen and me too?”
Park Sun Do comes up with an archery test to obtain ‘evidence’ that Won Deuk is the suspect. If Won Deuk shoots the center of the target, it means that Won Deuk shot the letter and will lose his life. If he misses, it means that he’s masking his skills and for that, Hong shim will die. What……….
Seeing how Park Sun Do has put a sword to Hong Shim’s neck, Won Deuk picks up the bow and hesitates, but suddenly turns the bow towards Park.
As he pulls the string back, his eyes suddenly flicker as another memory of him shooting an arrow hits him. (There’s something so mesmerising about someone shooting arrows?? Or is it just me??)
Affected by the memory, Won Deuk accidentally lets the arrow fly in between Hong Shim and Park and it lands in the wall.
I like Do Kyung Soo’s acting in this scene! Especially when the memory hits him.
As the guards round him up for attempted killing, the Royal Inspector descends – turns out he’s the dude from the marketplace and is an undercover inspector, Heo Man Shik. The magistrate immediately gets arrested, as there’s a ledger recording his corruption. It’s the book which Won Deuk had, but I’m not quite sure how he got it.
During the chaos, Won Deuk pulls Hong Shim aside and apologises for missing; he actually wanted to shoot the sword but remembered something at that moment. Hong Shim notices his arm bleeding and fusses over it.
Meanwhile, Vice Premier hears that the Chief Scholar’s son has passed away and thinks that’s the father of the Princess’s baby.
The villagers are happy that the magistrate is taken away and governor Park is upset that the others lump him together with the bad guys. He cries on the floor that the villagers didn’t know his difficult position. Haha.
Later, Won Deuk explains that Man Shik was obviously a royal inspector because he was at the feast and he also came by the pub. Not quite sure what the pub exchange was for vis-a-vis Man Shik being a royal inspector, but Man Shik also asked Won Deuk that night how he knew of the poem, which was revealed to the viewers as having originated from Man Shik himself.
The King orders further investigation, which is opposed by the Vice Premier’s side. Emboldened by the notion that the baby’s father is dead, Vice Premier reveals at court that the Princess is pregnant with the Crown Prince’s baby. Uh-oh. This spells bad news for the Queen and Seowon Prince, because the King would have no reason to protect Seowon, as the last of his bloodline, anymore.
Break for ramble: I realise I was extremely naive because I didn’t think that the Princess wanted the Crown Prince to die so that she can simply lie about having his child. I guess I overlooked this point because I thought that the Crown Prince’s distaste for the Princess was well-known, and that there’s no way he would have sneakily slept with her without no one knowing. But I suppose now that he’s ‘dead’, it’s really anyone’s game to say what he did. Also, given that this is the Princess’s plan all along, then I suppose Moo Yeon could easily be the baby’s father, especially now that we’ve seen how Princess didn’t die because Moo Yeon couldn’t kill her. However, I find it a bit…weirded out at the moment to think that Moo Yeon could sleep with the daughter of his enemy, especially since we haven’t seen that Princess’s good side at all.
Won Deuk hears from Man Shik that it was Hong Shim who gave him the ledger and wonders how Hong Shim knew Man Shik was a royal inspector too. Come to think of it, he realises that Hong Shim switches between dialect and Hanyang accent, and does not earn money from her ability to read.
Moo Yeon receives the intel that a man who looks like the Crown Prince is in Songjoo village. Him and the two sidekicks immediately set forth.
Won Deuk then finds out from Kkeut Nyeo that Hong Shim is adopted, as replacement for her father’s dead daughter. I actually really like the banter between Kkeut Nyeo and Goo Dol – the actors act sooo naturally, and in some scenes, Goo Dol is just plain funny. Won Deuk stalks off after asking Kkeut Nyeo to tell Hong Shim to meet him at the barley fields.
Hong Shim puts together Won Deuk’s fighting abilities and his shooting skills, and confronts her father, “Who is Won Deuk?” Her father is flustered but finally confesses, “I am sorry.”
Won Deuk looks for a pair of shoes at the marketplace and so thoughtfully asks for one with cherry blossom petals. (He has started associating cherry blossoms with Hong Shim.) The seller only has those with plum blossoms, which Won Deuk distinguishes, but still purchases. He waits for Hong Shim at the barley field, not knowing that Moo Yeon has already traced him down and is hiding.
As Won Deuk smiles at the pair of shoes he’s holding, Moo Yeon prepares an arrow, and Hong Shim approaches with a worried expression.
Moo Yeon lets loose the arrow and only belatedly realises Hong Shim is there.
Hong Shim stares at the approaching arrow in shock, while Won Deuk just smiles at her.
I didn’t actually want to write a full recap, but somehow, every scene turns out to be either really cute or semi-important, so there you go.
My gripe with this episode is that perhaps something is lost in translation, but I do not get the bit on Won Deuk and Royal Inspector thingy. It’s more understandable for Hong Shim; she must have noticed the baton, and the fact that she even recognises an undercover inspector is suspicious as to her identity, since commoners normally wouldn’t be able to.
All in all, I like this episiode mostly in relation to Won Deuk. I like how the show artfully places him in situations where he realises he can fight and he can shoot – two things that are certainly not commoner-like. Excuse my excitement when Won Deuk so handsomely turns the bow on Park Sun Do. I also thought that the couple scenes were pretty adorable and fangirl-worthy, and there’s something quite puppy like in the way Won Deuk protects Hong Shim.
The plot however is just a set up for episode 8, so I hope to see something good in the next episode. How will Moo Yeon react? Will he get to know the relationship between his sister and Yul? Can Je Yoon wriggle out of the mess? Will Won Deuk get back more of his memories? I wish to see some Crown Prince action soon, so hopefully something propels the plot fast and furious ahead!