It is you, Yoon Yi Seo.
So I was wrong and Hong Shim actually hid because she knew it was Won Deuk. When Won Deuk gets off the horse and runs into the empty house, Hong Shim quickly leaves from behind him. Thankfully, Won Deuk notices the shaking gate and runs out to stop Hong Shim. Dramatic, but I lurveee such moments (noticing the shaking gate I mean, not the leaving from behind his back).
Hong Shim speaks to Won Deuk formally and asks why he’s here. He replies that he misses her and can’t live without her. Hong Shim asks coldly if he wants to bring her back as a concubine, and he’s like, there’s no reason why I can’t do that. With tears in his eyes, he asks Hong Shim if she’s okay leaving just like that, “If our journey together isn’t love, then what is it?”
Hong Shim mentions the Crown Princess and tells Won Deuk not to take another step forward, “This is the end of our fate.” She rushes off with her luggage and sobs in pain. As Won Deuk stares into an empty space, Hong Shim suddenly regrets and tries to run back to him, but Moo Yeon appears and stops her. She breaks down in tears and Moo Yeon grabs her in a tight hug. I don’t know why but I’m always so enamoured by his presence, clothed in dark, moody clothes.
Kwon, who has tagged along, tells the Prince it’s time to return to the palace. I wish that there was more shown to the inner feelings of Kwon or to their friendship. I felt like I was kinda shortchanged a scene where the Prince connects the dots and realises Kwon looked familiar because he was his good friend, or where Kwon insists on seeing the Prince. Just something small? As it is now, Kwon is suddenly back to the Crown Prince’s aid, but there could have been something emotional built on that.
Je Yoon stops the Prince and replicates the word, heel, for the Crown Prince to see. He is initially unimpressed but hears that this was a riddle he himself set for Je Yoon. Before leaving the office, the Prince orders Je Yoon to find Hong Shim and protect her.
The next day, Moo Yeon stares broodingly at a dandelion (no prizes for guessing who he’s thinking of) and gets interrupted by Hong Shim’s dad who comments that even his back view shines of pensive thoughts. Moo Yeon thanks the dad for bringing Hong Shim up and he rather cutely comments that Hong Shim grew up fine by herself. Moo Yeon suddenly gets down on his knees.
The King is furious and shouts at the Crown Prince for leaving the palace alone. The Vice Premier steps in and the King scoffs. Later, the Prince apologises for implicating the Vice Premier and promises not to do anything that will bring danger to him and the Crown Princess. The Vice Premier so nicely comments that it’s his safety which is the top priority, but in the next scene, we see the Minister of War whipping down a bloodied guard for letting the Prince out.
While walking towards the port, Hong Shim is suspicious that her brother allegedly went ahead without them. She sits down in the middle of the forest and demands an answer from either Hyuk or her father. Faced with no choice, her father confesses that Moo Yeon has made a stop in Hanyang.
The King asks in private court about the upcoming banquet preparations and Official Jung tests the Prince out by asking what gift he had given to the Envoy two years ago which made the Envoy like him so much. The Prince coldly replies that it would have been a connection between them, not a gift, which pleased the Envoy. The King chuckles a little at his son’s witty comeback.
Thanks to the Queen’s sidekicks, they manage to remove the Vice Premier from the banquet list since he quarrelled with the Envoy two years ago. They also manage to deduce that the Prince is still suffering from amnesia and the Queen prepares a surprise present for the Prince.
The Prince can’t even remember which of the two poems during the Envoy’s visit was the one he wrote two years ago. The Vice Premier, not being physically present to help the Prince, promises to write up on the Envoy and instructs the Prince to read up on him.
Won Deuk runs into the Princess and recalls the Vice Premier’s words that he has to protect the child in the Princess’s belly. Moo Yeon, with the aid of the Princess’s brother, makes his way to the palace and stands at a side to watch the Princess. The Princess sees him and her face freezes. Won Deuk seemingly recognises him as well and rushes after him, but the Princess stops him on pretext that her stomach hurts.
At Hong Shim’s insistence, the father and daughter arrive at Hanyang. They get questioned at the Hanyang gate but is thankfully saved at the last minute by Je Yoon. Je Yoon claims that he is in Hanyang for business, but we all know that he’s here to watch over here. Meanwhile, in the absence of Je Yoon, Master Park starts his tyranny again.
The more Kkeut Nyeo thinks about it, the more she feels wronged on behalf of Hong Shim. She insists on going to Hanyang to find her, and gets stopped by Goo Duk. The couple starts quarrelling and Kkeut Nyeo throws out an ultimatum, “Either go with me to Hanyang or divorce me here.” Faced with no choice, the villager lets them in on the secret that Won Deuk is the Prince and that Hong Shim has gone into hiding because of that. Officer Park appears behind them and faints at the news. Hahaha.
At the greeting with the Envoy, Won Deuk performs fine but the Envoy reminds him that he will be giving him a quiz later at the banquet. He introduces his son who he has brought along with him this time, as he is curious about Joseon’s culture.
Je Yoon brings the father and daughter to his house, and says that they are helping him bring some shine back to his empty house by giving it the human touch. Hong Shim promises to clean the house to make it shine. Je Yoon cutely replies in an awkward manner that that’s not what he means. The father later falls asleep in the room, and Hong Shim takes out a pouch of gold her brother left for her . In a flashback, we see her interrogating Hyuk about Moo Yeon’s jobs for there’s no way a legitimate career would have brought such money. However, she wouldn’t abandon her brother even if his previous jobs were dangerous and mortifying. Instead, she will find him and then stop him.
The Vice Premier’s son is ordered to bring the Envoy’s son around the marketplace and the Envoy’s son requests for him to help shake off the guards. However, this is just a ploy for the envoy’s son to slip off on his own and the Vice Premier’s son is distraught to find out that he has aided in his disappearance. He runs into Je Yoon and Hong Shim in the marketplace, and cries for Je Yoon’s help. Je Yoon tells him to return to the palace to inform the Prince. Hong Shim, who has overheard that the Prince will be in danger because of this, wants to help too.
At the banquet, the Envoy throws a curveball question by wanting the Prince to recite a poem he said to him in private two years ago. Because it was said in private, there were no official records. I’m still amazed to find out that people wrote down word for word what these officials said in open session. The Prince insists that he remembers the poem and confidently tells the Envoy to write at the same time as him, the answers. Before anything happens, the Vice Premier’s son descends with the bad news.
With some sleuthing, Hong Shim finds out that the Envoy’s son is actually a girl, and that she has changed into a hanbok, before being kidnapped by thugs. Meanwhile, the Envoy instructs for the Prince to find his ‘son’ in secret, or else. Je Yoon approaches some random thugs on the roads and advises them to tell the truth about any kidnapping, “This seemingly average woman over here…” and here he pauses to motion at Hong Shim, “Is Ming Empire’s best secret assassin.” HAHA, I love Hong Shim’s double take and how she then stares at the thugs, pulls out a sword and draws a line across her neck.
The whole kidnapping thing is actually done by the Queen and the Prince already knows this. With Kwon’s help, they manage to get the details from the Queen’s Eunuch. The Vice Premier similarly knows that this is the Queen’s doing and stays calm. Je Yoon and Hong Shim come to the house and the two have a cute banter on who will be able to defend better later. Je Yoon, thanks to Hong Shim’s prompting, calls out in Mandarin and verifies that the Envoy’s daughter is inside the house. He draws out his sword, ready for a fight………….and then turns around to run away. Well, I guess this also counts as drawing the enemies away. Hong Shim slips into the house and unties the daughter but gets attacked by the last remaining thug.
Won Deuk knows that the Envoy instructed him to find his son in secret, not just as a challenge but also a transaction. There must be something the Envoy is hiding…and that secret, “Is right there.” They have arrived at the house, and there’s the Envoy’s son, dressed in a lady’s hanbok. Won Deuk stops in his tracks when he sees Hong Shim on the floor. He moves towards her, but stops again when Je Yoon appears to fuss over her swollen ankle.
Envoy’s daughter confesses that she has given the slip because she wanted to see her lover. Je Yoon scolds her for throwing the two countries’ relationship into a mess, but she cries that her lover isn’t in good health. If she doesn’t do this, she’s not sure when she will be able to see him again. Hong Shim tells Je Yoon to bring the daughter to her lover, “We all have different things we treasure the most. For some, it’s power. Some put their families first, and for some, it’s love.”
Won Deuk hears Hong Shim’s worry for him, and turns his back, having faith that Je Yoon and Hong Shim will bring the daughter back. After the daughter meets the lover, Hong Shim leaves. Won Deuk returns to the palace without the daughter but promises that if ‘he’ doesn’t return before the end of the banquet, Won Deuk will do anything the Envoy wishes. The banquet proceeds with an air of anxiety, as everyone watches the Prince and the Envoy exchange drinks. The banquet proceeds to its last dishes and the Envoy stands up in anger. Thankfully, the ‘son’ returns at this moment and all is well.
Later, as the Prince escorts the Envoy out, the Envoy comments gently that he brought his daughter so that she could clear her mind, not knowing that she was crying over love. He smiles that the Prince is capable and stable, and he will of course give him whatever he wants. “However, please be careful of your father-in-law and his people.” Turns out, two years ago, they didn’t exchange any poem in private but actually talked about the Vice Premier. He urges the Prince to recover his memories and take revenge on those who tried to kill him. Ooh ooohhh. Finally, someone alerts the Prince!
The Prince meets Je Yoon privately and asks why Je Yoon did not report that Hong Shim is in Hanyang. Je Yoon petulantly replies that he was only ordered to take care of her, and not report her every move. Won Deuk directly asks, “How long have you had feelings for her?” and Je Yoon replies, “Probably longer than you.” Won Deuk wants to know what his plans are and Je Yoon says, “Officially, I will follow your orders. Privately, I will follow my heart.”
The four villagers now drink themselves drunk for various reasons – Officer Park is worried that his head will roll for having bullied Won Deuk, the villager for no reason, Goo Duk wants to get a position at the palace and Kkeut Nyeo is heartbroken for her friend.
Hong Shim’s father fusses over her swollen ankle but she heaves a sigh of relief when she hears from Je Yoon that “that person” is fine. As Won Deuk looks at the word, heel, he recalls Hong Shim’s swollen ankle. He quickly hides the paper when one of the eunuchs comes in with some documents. Won Deuk realises that his seal is newly made and instructs the eunuch to bring back all his old stuff, including his old royal seal.
It is apparently time for the Prince to visit the Princess again and he is now ready to read to her baby. As he does that, he suddenly remembers his mother giving him a red ribbon to return to someone. He looks up in shock, but sees the dandelion puffs which the Princess has embroidered. The Princess quickly turns it away from his view and asks if she can visit her residence.
Deep in the night, the Vice Premier hands the Envoy a piece of rock to hand to Eunuch Noh, “Soon, there will be a war,” and that rock will bring the Envoy great success.
Back at her home, the Princess is disappointed that there is no secret note left for her and leaves one herself. She turns the corner and rushes towards Moo Yeon when she sees him. She is however, disappointed that the first thing he asked was why she ordered for someone to shoot him, “Is this the only thing you want to confirm?” and he replies,”No.” Yeah Moo Yeon, ask if the baby is yours!!!
Hong Shim looks at Won Deuk’s clothes and gets caught by the father, who is angry, thinking that Hong Shim is here in Hanyang not because of her brother, but because of the Prince. Hong Shim looks at him coldly and retaliates that yeah, she came here so that she could perhaps see the Prince from a distance. I couldn’t really fathom the point of this scene – whether Hong Shim is angry that her father would think that she was lying about her care for her brother, or that she’s angry because it’s the truth.
The father tells her to let down her hair again and go back to being a single woman, but Hong Shim starts crying that she doesn’t want to. “Why does everyone just want me to forget?” If it was that easy, she would have forgotten about her dead parents and her missing brother. She rushes out to take a walk.
Meanwhile, the eunuch finds the Prince’s old stuff and attempts to burn them, but is thankfully stopped in time by Kwon. Kwon is a simplistic character but I love it every time he’s on scene too because he is always of such great help. The Prince appears and orders for the box to be opened. He picks out the pink ribbon from within the box, and suddenly…..recalls Hong Shim when she was young. How she called him a dumbo in the past, and when they were adults. How she slipped and he caught her both in the past and now. How he confessed to her when they were young under the cherry blossom tree.
Hong Shim finds herself back on the bridge. As she stares at the lanterns and the moon, Won Deuk walks up to her. He remembers how she smiled at him when she was young and how she looked up at the cherry blossom tree the first time he saw her in Hanyang. How she put up her hair with a flower petal…and as all these memories hit him, he murmurs, “Yi Seo.” And Hong Shim turns around. “It is you, Yoon Yi Seo.”
The music plays as Hong Shim asks, “How do you know that name?” Won Deuk replies, “It is me, Dumbo.”
My gripe with the show still stands true, that it is a little draggy at some parts. But thankfully, the ending always, always holds up – the music, the acting and the plot came together so beautifully in that last scene and Yul’s ending sentence couldn’t have been better chosen.
Nonetheless, I wish that they had tied in Hong Shim’s pain a little more with the fact that Yul is the son of their father’s killer, rather than just because of his status. Because as I see it, they aren’t supposed to be together not just because he’s the Crown Prince, but also because they have this previous connection already. It would have been dramatic, yes, but also logical to have placed more emphasis on the idea of a ‘twisted’ fate, since the show ACTUALLY set it up to be that way. It would have also made sense because Won Deuk’s ending sentence in this episode calls back to their childhood, but as I see it, Hong Shim never once thought of Won Deuk when he was young in the past two episodes. So there’s this lack of connection, without which this episode’s ending would have been perfect.
I’m glad however that Won Deuk/Yul did recover some of his memories. There’s always something so gratifying with a drama person having amnesia suddenly recalling the important people in his life eh? It’s something I’ve looked forward to since day one and I’m happy the show didn’t let me down.
My thoughts are already written throughout this recap, but I guess my lingering hopes right now is for the Vice Premier to put up a good fight, and for Won Deuk to recover the rest of his memories in a majestic swoop.