Vice Premier stares down Hong Shim, wondering if they had seen each other before. With a steely gaze, Hong Shim replies that’s impossible since she just came up to Hanyang a few days ago. After Vice Premier leaves, Hong Shim asks Soo Ji about Moo Yeon and he accidentally lets slip that Moo Yeon is part of the household.
Back in the Princess’s chambers, Won Deuk says coldly to the Princess that he’s not sure how he should face her child, because he had a woman he loved when he was out of the palace. He smirks that she shouldn’t feel jealous as the mother of the nation, and not to embroider too late into the night, but oh, “I guess there’s nothing to do but embroider in a lonely room.” He gets up and insists on leaving the palace, much to everyone’s anxiety. The King appears and chastises his son for making such a fuss deep in the night.
Won Deuk/Yul stares at the King in anger and privately reveals that the one who plotted to kill him is the Vice Premier. The King wants to send guards immediately but Won Deuk wants to be the one who personally gets rid of the Vice Premier, “Please give me full authority.”
Je Yoon looks kinda disturbed that his residence is now filled with Songjoo villagers hahaha. Goo Duk complains that they are here because they have been forced to do such hard labour while Je Yoon’s gone, and requests for a meeting with the Prince. Je Yoon spouts some deep message about how high responsibility follows high position and the weight of the prince differs from that of a peasant. The couple coughs and pretends to understand him.
Back in his own chambers, Won Deuk recalls his final words with his father, where he asked if the King had intentionally gotten rid of his mother. The King cried that it wasn’t his doing and he didn’t know the Vice Premier was such an evil person back then. Why do I vaguely recall that the King knew though that his wife was going to be in danger? It was kinda insinuated to us the viewers as well right?
The next day, Won Deuk pops by Je Yoon’s residence to surprise Hong Shim and jokes that she must have found it difficult to fall asleep because he isn’t by her side. Hong Shim asks why he’s out of the palace so early in the morning and he replies, “There’s someone I want to see.” Hong Shim nags, “You can’t do this, Your Highness,” but Won Deuk says with a straight face, “Why not? You know who I want to meet?” Keke. The mood turns serious as he tells her not to go anywhere and wait for him. “Do you remember what I said to you 16 years ago?” With a flashback, we see young Won Deuk proposing to Hong Shim. Back in the present, “This promise…I will keep it.”
Here comes one of my favourite scenes in this episode – Won Deuk makes his way to the mountain and Hong Shim’s father passes him the clothes he was found in. Won Deuk recalls his last moments with Dong Joo, how he insisted Won Deuk change clothes with him, and how the Prince was his first friend. I will keep this life, and continue assisting you, your Highness. As Won Deuk holds the guard’s uniform close to his heart and cries, we see flashbacks of him playing with Dong Joo when they were young and when they were in the palace. It’s especially heartbreaking because Yul hardly smiled in the palace, and you could see this was one friend he truly trusted.
Hong Shim is sure that her brother is trapped in Vice Premier’s residence and urges the villagers to help her out. Although Officer Park is reluctant at first, he quickly sits back down after hearing Goo Duk requesting for Hong Shim to put in some good words for him with the Prince.
After mourning, Yul is back to his cold self and rejects the idea of taking the Vice Premier down immediately, since killing him is only giving him the easy way out. The Vice Premier learns on his side that Yul has secretly left the palace and guesses that Yul has gotten his memories back + Je Yoon betrayed him.
Je Yoon and Hong Shim’s father return to Songjoo village – the former wants to investigate something, and the latter? To see Yang Choon. Wow, the meek father even dares to smack Ma Chil’s head for making Yang Choon carry firewood. Je Yoon learns from Ma Chil privately that Master Park has been making the villagers chop firewood and that it’s an order from the Vice Premier directly.
Yul visits the Vice Premier’s residence and is greeted by Soo Ji. He diverts Soo Ji out to prepare some food, and quickly searches the Vice Premier’s room. He doesn’t find the bow and arrows in his memories, but locates the mysterious stone in his drawer. Vice Premier returns quite soon after and quickly rushes to his room after learning that the Prince is waiting for him there. Thankfully, the Prince has placed the stone back in the drawer and is just admiring his sword. He asks if the Vice Premier would want to spar with him, since there’s a person in his memory whom he used to spar with but he couldn’t remember.
Hong Shim’s plan is for the villagers to dress up like beggars and to divert attention in the residence. The trio rehearses their singing as they hop around, and it’s probably the only comic relief we get in the episode.
The Prince and Vice Premier spar and their skills are matched. The Vice Premier has the audacity to remind the Prince that he used to spar with a friend called Dong Joo and that since he’s dead now, he will find a replacement for the Prince. Yul rejects his proposition and turns to walk into the residence, but suddenly faces a loose arrow that lands near his face.
The Prince is quickly escorted into the Vice Premier’s room but he once again diverts Soo Ji away. Methinks the ‘assassination’ is all but a farce, for the Prince to walk around the residence undetected. He searches the rooms and quickly locates black clothing. Meanwhile, the trio of beggars get ready to barge into the residence but turns back upon seeing a bunch of assassins and guards running out of the residence. Hahaha. Hong Shim quickly sends them off but stays back.
Moo Yeon, true to Hong Shim’s prediction, is trapped and gagged by Vice Premier, who wants him alive for now but will decide how to kill him later on. Moo Yeon manages to cut his ropes, at the same time when Yul breaks open the shed’s door. Moo Yeon escapes, just as Hong Shim enters the residence, and the Prince who gives chase hears her call out “Brother!”.
Music cues. Yul asks Hong Shim if this man is her brother and as she says “Yes”, Moo Yeon looks down guiltily and Yul walks away on the pretext that he recognised the wrong man. Looking down at the cut rags, Vice Premier realises that Yul has gotten his memories back for sure.
Back in the palace, Yul feels lost how he can carry out his revenge, now learning who Moo Yeon is. Hong Shim is angry and in disbelief at how Moo Yeon could become the Vice Premier’s killer. Moo Yeon tears that it was to save her life, so that the Vice Premier wouldn’t hunt her down. Hong Shim deduces in horror that her brother was sent to assassinate the Prince and wonders if he insists on coming back to Hanyang to kill him again.
She later faints just right outside Je Yoon’s residence. Hong Shim’s father and Je Yoon return from Songjoo. Hong Shim’s father who passively-aggressively asks why Je Yoon didn’t offer to carry his bag earlier while en route back to Hanyang belatedly sees his daughter.
When Hong Shim wakes up, Je Yoon nags at Hong Shim for doing things alone and not sharing with him who is such a capable man. This Je Yoon is hilarious. Hong Shim directly asks if the Prince has gotten his memories back and if he knew who tried to kill him. Je Yoon answers in the affirmative.
The Vice Premier instructs for men to kill Moo Yeon upon locating him since he’s the only evidence of his plotting against the Prince. The Minister of War points out that they will all lose their lives if the Prince remembers the Princess’s secret but Vice Premier has something up his sleeve – today, Ming will wage a war on Jurchen, “We will be part of it.” One says gleefully that their investment in mining has paid off and another asks about the villagers in the border villages. Vice Premier points out that if they are in danger, the Prince will go forth and save them.
Yul returns to his residence and hears that there’s a palace maid who has been waiting for him. He is taken aback to see Hong Shim (who has sneaked in via Je Yoon’s help) who has a letter to deliver. The main eunuch has no idea HAHA and still tries to protect the Prince by scolding Hong Shim for looking at Yul directly. Yul quickly sends the eunuch out and whispers, “How did you get in here?” Hong Shim replies in a whisper too that she says she’s here to deliver a letter. “Truthfully, I missed you so I sneaked in.” Yul’s doubtful face immediately melts into happiness hahaha. Hong Shim then continues, “But…how long do we have to keep this whispering?”
Yul straightens his back and scolds her at normal volume for being reckless. Hong Shim smiles that she’s glad she was reckless so that she could see him in a robe. She’s also impressed that he could read difficult books now and he points out it was to her credit – he only studied to make her like him. Hong Shim verifies that he has gotten his memories back and congratulates him.
As a reward, Yul requests for Hong Shim to make porridge for him – since the cooks in the palace are so good, no one could replicate the taste. That shade. Hong Shim checks around the kitchen for ingredients and Yul asks how she could make that gray porridge with the palace ingredients. Hong Shim smiles cheekily that she can if she had worms and Yul grabs her hand in shock, “Don’t tell me, you’ve always added worms??” This causes Hong Shim to drop the broken jar of salt and the couple quickly hides into a corner. Thankfully, the guards scurry out after a while for fear of being blamed for the broken salt jar.
Yul looks at Hong Shim and his ears turn red. He quickly shuffles backwards and coughs when Hong Shim points out his ears. Hehehe this cute boy.
Back in his chambers, he blissfully finishes the porridge at one go. Hong Shim remarks that he looks gaunt for someone with such a big appetite and Yul notes that if not for the dethronement, the two of them would have been happily married instead of him entering the palace. He places his head on her lap and she gently pats him on the back whilst touching his eyebrows.
Yul falls asleep and when he wakes up, Hong Shim’s gone. He reads the letter Hong Shim left for him, where she tells him that her brother wishes to speak with him. Do not hesitate for my sake. Do whatever seems fit to you. Sever this ill-fated relationship that started on the night of dethronement. Only you can do it.
Moo Yeon kneels in front of Yul and Yul calls out his old name, “Yoon Seok Ha.” He explains in tears that becoming Vice Premier’s assassin was the only way to be alive, and that in return for killing the Prince, he can save his sister’s life. Yul tells him to become his witness and Moo Yeon points out that it wouldn’t work because the Vice Premier only wanted to kill him because of Moo Yeon. In that moment, Yul realises whose child the Princess is bearing and leaves. Moo Yeon grabs onto his ankle and the guards stop him.
Deep in the night, the Prince enters the Princess’s chambers and sees her holding on to a red bracelet, one which he previously saw on Moo Yeon’s wrist. He orders the guards to take the Princess out of the palace and narrates, “The Princess left the palace to meet her lover and unfortunately met her demise.” Vice Premier soon receives word that his daughter has secretly left the palace.
With only the Princess and Kwon in the forest, Kwon unsheathes his sword as the Princess kneels down and touches her belly. Kwon swipes his sword…..in empty air and sheathes the sword. “The Crown Princess has just died. So please be gone. It is his Highness’s instructions.” After Kwon leaves, the Princess sits on the ground. Moo Yeon comes over and hugs her.
Yul writes in his diary that he hasn’t forgotten them but this is the only thing he could do for Yi Seo. He cannot take away her brother’s life with his hands.
Hong Shim cries as she looks at her sleeping father and thanks him for all that he has done for her. Well, such farewells always equate to some scheming. True enough, Hong Shim darts into Vice Premier’s residence the next day but is startled to see it empty. Soo Ji enters and she places her dagger to his throat, asking for the Vice Premier’s location. Soo Ji quickly confesses that the Princess has been abducted by Moo Yeon and that his father is gone to the palace to save the Princess.
I have no clue how Moo Yeon and the Princess can still be on the run from deep in the night to the morning….but anyway, the two quickly get entrapped by Vice Premier’s man. Moo Yeon takes them all down, although not without suffering injuries….and just when he takes the Princess’s hand, he gets shot by three flying arrows. He tells the Princess that in his next life, whether he’s reborn as a flower or a tree, he will find her again in the wind.
The Princess gets hauled off by some men, as the Vice Premier coldly stabs Moo Yeon in the heart. Moo Yeon spits out blood as he gazes unflinchingly at the woman he loves being taken away. In a flashback, we see Moo Yeon telling the Princess about how a long time ago, there was a flood and a small dandelion prayed to the sky to be spared. Suddenly, there was a gust of wind, and the dandelion seeds took flight and landed on a sunny hill.
If we ride the wind, we will be able to bloom somewhere else. Moo Yeon closes his eyes, and by the time Hong Shim locates him, he’s already dead. She touches his face gently and calls out, “Brother…brother…” before sobbing over his body.
Je Yoon reports to Yul that the Vice Premier has been mining. It is illegal for an individual to own a mine and what’s worse is that he’s making the villagers make iron. With widened eyes, the Prince wonders if the Vice Premier is starting a war. He receives news and rushes to the Princess’s chambers, in shock that she’s back. He learns that Moo Yeon is dead.
He enters Vice Premier’s room in anger and comments that he thought forgiveness might be the best thing to revenge, but he just realises that learning does not suit him. He throws his diary down on the Vice Premier’s table but the Vice Premier is unfazed. Yul points out that the Princess will testify for him but the Vice Premier stands up and reports that it’s no time for such trivial matters. A war has broken out and Yul must step up to save the villagers who have been taken.
Yul yells, “Do you think I do not know that it’s a trap you have set up?” With a smile, the Vice Premier replies, “It’s a trap you had better walked into…Yoon Yi Seo, that girl is with me.”
Yeah I was quite sure Moo Yeon wouldn’t survive the drama but I had hopes you know?? That I would be proven wrong?? Maybe he would suddenly be alive in the finale?? But given how the parting was filmed (that focus on their last holding of hands, that dandelion story), he’s probably gone for good.
Both Nam Ji Hyun and Do Kyung Soo did well in this episode. As someone who has watched Do Kyung Soo in bits and pieces of shows (Hello Monster, Along With the Gods 2), I’m amazed at his versatility from being a serial killer, to a guilt-ridden solder (with such a HILARIOUS ending scene at the end of the movie) to a Prince with such heavy burden on his shoulders.
I think it’s pretty cool that the Prince entering the site of war is something foreshadowed right at the start, and that we kinda forgot about it until the ending episodes where war is insinuated. I wonder if this coming of full circle is intentionally left unmentioned. Otherwise, I would think that having little hints here and there that the Vice Premier had a plan of war in the earlier episodes would set up for better suspense. Here, the war comes almost too easily – as if it’s just a toy that the Vice Premier can simply summon. There must have been lots of planning involved, but it didn’t feel like that at all in the show. I am also unclear about this bit – did the Vice Premier instigate/assist in the war just so the Prince cannot deal with him, the Princess and the baby? If yes, what a smart, but ‘small’ reason to start a war. 😦 Okay but still smart I guess. No time to care for the wife who has an affair if the husband has gotten bigger things to worry about!
Let’s see how the finale turns out – I truly hope there won’t be any more deaths!