Let’s dive straight into the finale.
Yul pretends that he doesn’t know who Yoon Yi Seo is, but the Vice Premier is unfazed. Yul quickly asks for proof that he has Yi Seo and Vice Premier replies that sure, he can cut off her hand for his affirmation, “Will you be able to recognise it?”
Yul shouts his name and threatens to execute him there and then, but the Vice Premier notes that if he dies, Yi Seo will die too.
The court is discussing on how they can resolve the misunderstanding with Jurchen, who is turning on Joseon because they think Joseon is in cahoots with Ming. Since the King can’t possibly negotiate in person, the Vice Premier suggests sending the Prince in his stead.
At least Yul is someone with wits, for he checks with Hong Shim’s father whether Hong Shim is around. He learns that Hong Shim has disappeared, leaving nothing but a thank you note for her father. Kwon and Je Yoon tell him he has to return to the palace, and he hears that the court has suggested for him to head to war.
Yul is willing to go, despite knowing that this is a trap set up by the Vice Premier. He refuses to tell his father what the secret between him and the Vice Premier is and is determined to cut off this ill-fate with his hands.
As he gazes into the distance, the skies start pouring.
His horse is prepared and on the way to the border, Je Yoon stops him, telling him not to go. And this is the scene we saw way back in first episode. I loveee it when dramas go kinda full circle.
Yul continues on his way, alone, and enters the village where its villagers have already been killed.
He gets attacked by a group of assassins and thankfully, Je Yoon appears in his aid. Yul points out that he clearly instructed Je Yoon and guards to stay behind and Je Yoon’s like oh I thought you were giving me a signal for me to follow you alone. Hahaha I can’t take this bromance.
Vice Premier and the Minister of War set up a trap for Yul where he is to appear at a deserted Jurchen camp for negotiation. Someone in a mask overhears this outside the tent and runs off. Back in Joseon’s camp, Yul verifies that the arrows supplied to Ming is indeed from Joseon and receives Jurchen’s ‘letter’ that only Yul can appear for negotiation (this is a fake letter from the Vice Premier).
Je Yoon is worried for Yul and points out that there is no evidence the Vice Premier has Hong Shim. Yul replies, “If it’s you, will you not go because there’s no evidence?” Je Yoon murmurs that he would, but he’s not the Prince, “Please don’t go.” Is that love I hear, Je Yoon.
A flying arrow with a letter lands at Yul’s feet and we see a masked man (Hyuk) fleeing from the roof. The letter notifies Yul that at the camp tomorrow, the Vice Premier will be waiting for him. The next day, Yul heads in alone and sure enough, gets ambushed. He draws his sword and suddenly, a row of archers appears from the roof to shoot at the assassins.
The Vice Premier approaches Yul with a sword, and Yul orders the arches to hold their arrows. The two spar (very nice, I think this show has pretty good action choreography) and Yul manages to deal a blow to the Vice Premier’s arm. As he walks past the Vice Premier, the Vice Premier gets up and walks towards the Prince with his hand reaching into his robes. The archers all let loose of their arrows and the Vice Premier falls to the ground, dead. But it turns out, he wasn’t intending to stab Yul with a dagger, but just wanted to pass him a letter.
If I had to pick my least favourite part of this episode, it would have to be the Vice Premier’s death. First, I had rather wished that he died from the sparring or that he had actually intended to stab Yul one last time. By showing the Vice Premier as somewhat having been “wrongfully” shot at, it made me feel kinda ‘bad’? for him and that’s not an emotion I think he even deserves. Second, his death just felt way too easy. The whole trap bit was rather drawn out, and the actual confrontation rather hastily done.
Hyuk watches everything from behind a hut and murmurs that everything’s over. He turns and Hong Shim’s standing behind him (Vice Premier lied about having her in his hands).
A flashback shows us that Hyuk didn’t manage to help Moo Yeon because he was ordered to protect Hong Shim and hence wasn’t by Moo Yeon’s side. Hong Shim sobs and tearfully buries her brother. She mutters that she will go to where Kim Cha Eun is, to end things once and for all. Best scene for Nam Ji Hyun in my opinion!
Knowing that Hong Shim is the one behind the anonymous tip, Yul walks around the abandoned village to search for her. He finds her comforting a young girl who has just lost her mother. She assures her that he will be alright, because the Prince is a brave young man and he’s here to help them. After the girl leaves, Yul apologises to Hong Shim for her brother’s death. He tells her that thanks to her anonymous tip, she saved his life; he will grant her back her status and she doesn’t need to live as Hong Shim anymore.
Recalling her last words with her brother and how she found out that the Princess’s baby is Moo Yeon’s, she tells Yul not to forgive her and not to do anything for her. “Please forget me and everything that has happened.” As she leaves, Yul asks, “Can’t you say you love me too? That you would want to be with me? That’s all I wish to hear.”
Hong Shim stops her tears from flowing and leaves determinedly.
The King receives the letter from the Prince, which is basically what the Vice Premier stuffed into Yul’s hands right before he died. It is the blank piece of paper with the royal seal, demanding that he will take the blame for his sins and that his children should be spared. This is the King’s command. The King throws down the letter angrily.
Before leaving for the war, the Prince had ordered the Princess to eat and be alive – because her baby’s father is the brother of the woman he loves. In the present, the Princess slowly eats her food, as Seowon brings news of her father’s death. Seowon quickly brings her out of the palace but gets stopped halfway by the King, who shouts at her for doing something so vicious and still expecting to live.
The scene suddenly cuts to war, where Yul so suavely, I must say, takes down the enemies. Do Kyung Soo, you really rock these scenes.
A year later – we see Goo Duk telling stories of Yul’s victories at war, which helped us learn what happened in this year. Yul saved the hostages and the Princess committed suicide. This basically marks the show’s last abandon at being serious. From this point onwards, it’s all comedy. Kkeut Nyeo is heavily pregnant, and turns out, Goo Duk ends up being the watchman for Soo Ji, who is on house arrest. Lollll what. Ma Chil talks in dignified and proper language, after being a head merchant hahaha.
Soo Ji asks about the “Crown Princess’s woman” and we then find out what happened to Hong Shim. She’s living as Yi Seo now but she’s still running the solution agency, and helps the newly promoted Magistrate Park takes down bad people. She demands her payment for catching a serial rapist and the Magistrate runs away. Haha.
Back at home, she sits in the front porch and thinks about her days with Won Deuk and admits to her father that she can’t leave the house because of Won Deuk. It’s soo funny because the former Master Park has now been demoted to a mere servant and Magistrate Park’s loving it. HAHA.
The officials are now nagging once again for the Prince to be married, “Because it hasn’t rained.” Something sounds familiar!! A rumour has been spreading in the palace, “But it’s too embarrassing to repeat – ” “Then, do not repeat it.” Yul stands up and ends the council. Je Yoon follows after and asks Yul deals with his loneliness. Yul points out that he has Je Yoon and Eunuch Yang follows behind with a worried face. He quickly stops the bromancing and tells Yul that he has an appointment to make robes. Yul initially declines but Eunuch Yang starts coughing and pointing at his neck. Hahahahahahahahah. Who knew that the initial scary deed of killing Eunuch Yang could become a joke?
It then becomes apparent that the palace maid sent to take Yul’s measurements is eyeing Yul and trying to seduce him. Oops. Later, Yul asks his father with impatience of a son, “The noble ladies are not enough, so you are sending palace maids now?” Keke. Yul points out that he already loves someone else and the King’s like, “Wait…did you get rejected?? You got rejected??” He then jumps to his feet and shouts, “WHICH WOMAN DARED TO REJECT MY SON?” HAHAHA. I am so tickled that his first reaction isn’t about WHO the woman is as to her status, but to be offended that his son got rejected.
Won Deuk sheepishly notes that he did get rejected but he’s waiting for the woman. Je Yoon is looking at official documents and gets startled by the King’s sudden presence, for the King is angry that Je Yoon isn’t helping Yul get married. The way he leaps out of his chair is hilarious. Je Yoon murmurs that he does have a plan. The next thing we know, the King announces his intention to step down and hands the throne to Yul, because of his “illness” (and here, he coughs). “Before I do, I must see it that you get married.” The King orders for all single men and women to be married.
The Queen gossips privately to Official Jung that Yul must be gay and instructs Official Jung to send his brother to seduce the Prince. Hahaha. The Queen turned out to be rather funny for an evil queen. The King arrives and tells her to stop scheming against the Princess. “From now on, please focus on me. I will step down from the throne and enjoy my time with you.” Romantic music cues, but the King looks at Official Jung and mutters, “Don’t you know how to take a hint? Shouldn’t you leave?” Hahaha.
Yul recalls his words with his father, where the father notes that he was always jealous of Vice Premier’s firm will, which Yul also has. Yul doesn’t care for power and this is why he has both authority and dignity. Unlike his father who lives in the debts of those who put him in power and walks on eggshells, Yul will be able to stand firm. He smiles and tells him to live life using his heart, instead of worrying about what others think of him.
The next day, Yul learns that Je Yoon has gone to Songjoo village in order to fulfil the King’s order – to marry a single woman, and I wonder who’s that? Eunuch Yang jibes that the early bird catches the worm, “But I had no idea you were this slow. It might not be too bad going down in history as the King who never got married. If you do that though, you would have lived the same life as me.” Here, Eunuch Yang cackles gleefully. So darn funny.
Of course, the Princess isn’t dead, but just living a quiet life and has also given birth to a healthy child, named “Seok Ha”. Seowon brings some food and looks at her gently from afar. And that’s the end of the Princess!
Hong Shim’s shocked to hear that there’s once AGAIN another order for bachelors to get married. Funny thing is, Je Yoon’s so happy because they can now get married. Unlike the first time, Magistrate Park’s so happy because they now have even numbers and 3 pairs. But alas, Yul turns up last minute and demands to be part of this match up. Left with no choice, the Magistrate tells the 4 guys to close their eyes and for the 3 girls to walk to their chosen partner.
Hong Shim decides to choose Je Yoon, such that when Yul opens his eyes, he sees the Magistrate hahaha. Yul feels embarrassed and tries to save his own face, but the surrounding people all start laughing quietly. On the way back, Je Yoon tells Hong Shim that it was on a spring night, where he was full of resentment towards himself and his mother, and that was when he fell in love at first sight with a woman. He wants to tell that woman he loves her.
Hong Shim replies that he won’t be able to get that woman’s heart, but he replies that love’s about giving. Aww that’s a beautiful line.
The moment for Je Yoon is over. He senses Won Deuk/Yul watching from afar and murmurs for Hong Shim to be still as he touches her hand and her face. Hahahah. Won Deuk rushes over in no time and privately chastises Je Yoon for having no loyalty. Je Yoon instead nags that he better get Hong Shim’s heart this time, or else he would really marry her.
As Won Deuk places a rock at Hong Shim’s dad’s heap of stones (I’m always confused why his body is there at the Songjoo village….?), Hong Shim tells Won Deuk that both her and her brother had hurt him deeply in the past. One day, someone will find out the truth and use it against Yul. Won Deuk tells her that if he has to give up love for a position, he rather not have it. But Hong Shim replies that rather than being the man for one woman, he should be a wise king. As a last favour, Won Deuk tells Hong Shim to locate a bundle of books he had lost.
Whilst former Master Park gets bullied into cutting cherry blossom petals, Hong Shim’s father reveals that Yang Choon is pregnant. Wow, everyone is getting wedded and pregnant.
Hong Shim successfully finds Won Deuk’s bundle and quickly realises it contains his diaries. Very, very smart, Won Deuk. She reads his thoughts for the past year – where he regretted not holding her back the last time they met, where it snowed and he thought of her, where it was their one year wedding anniversary. I look back at the 100 days I spent as your husband, and now I know every moment….as a collage of all the times the couple held hands plays, was a miracle. Ooooh, not bad….the feels!!
Hong Shim wipes her tears away and quickly runs off. She hears from Goo Duk that the Prince has already left and she returns to her house in disappointment. But of course, Won Deuk appears in front of her, “The Crown Prince has left, but Won Deuk is still here.”
As Hong Shim looks carefully at Won Deuk’s face, Hong Shim’s dad, Magistrate Park, Goo Duk AND Kkeut Nyeo sit up straight on the ROOF and start scattering flower petals. HAHA. What the heck. Now we know what Master Park was cutting the flowers for.
Hong Shim is startled by the flowers when it’s not spring yet, and Won Deuk coughs. He quickly asks her about the books and she tells him he can’t write such heartbreaking stories anymore. He tells her he has already thought of what to write for that evening, “I proposed to the woman I loved for all my life. The woman smiled and nodded. Come what may, I will spend my remaining days with her.”
Won Deuk raises his hand and Hong Shim asks if that’s his proposal.
Won Deuk replies, “No, now I will propose properly.” He draws her forward and kisses her. The camera draws out, as the couple kisses under the roof with our dear team fanning the petals hard.
Aww. It’s sooo funny to see a heavily pregnant woman up there on the roof.
Ahhh it’s over!:(
On this episode: Contrary to some comments I’ve seen, I actually enjoyed the direction they took in the finale – of showing Yi Seo living in Song Joo village for a year without the Prince and how he came to get her afterwards. You guys know I’m a sucker for full-circle scenes, so it’s no secret that I love how she is embroiled into the match-making once again, and how Won Deuk/Yul still manages to play a part in it. HA HA, when Magistrate Park’s like you’re 29, what have you been doing.
That being said, I didn’t expect them to cut off the reunion after the sweet kiss. It does make sense story-wise, because this was about Won Deuk’s 100 days out of the palace, rather than a story of how Hong Shim ends up in the palace. But I still do think a 10 minute epilogue showing us a royal wedding/royal baby would have been nice.
On the drama as a whole: I wouldn’t say that I’m going to suffer from drama blues after this show, but it sure has been a fun ride with enough plot to keep me going and with relatively low stakes, knowing for a certainty that the couple will be happy together. Most of the episodes have something gold in at least a part of it, so that keeps me entertained enough, even though some scenes are unnecessarily long and bordering on being a filler.
Good stuff: I think the show’s strongest suit is its dialogues and chemistry not just across main leads, but also side characters. I always find myself writing a super long recap whenever the characters have such interesting and funny banter, one of my top favourites actually being the Won Deuk/Je Yoon pairing. I genuinely chuckle out loud!
I’m also glad the show got over annoying Won Deuk and presented us with such a sweet, sincere man who stayed true to himself (and his big eyes). That the second lead wasn’t treated too badly and in the end chose loyalty over his love, but that he had a chance to confess his love too. Je Yoon, please just look at Ae Weol! Lastly, I think Hong Shim has been somewhat of a role model, being feisty and a problem-solver in all sorts of ways.
The show has got a rather strong cast of actors and I felt like everyone acted really well (with the exception of Jung Hae Kyun – sorry if this is blasphemous). For me, the greatest surprise was Do Kyung Soo, who manages to portray very nuanced and subtle emotions without using words. He crafted such a memorable male lead (how many of us will remember for a long time the catchphrase of “I feel uncomfortable?) and I think I will be sad to see Won Deuk go.
At the risk of provoking fans, I must say that Nam Ji Hyun was slightly less impressive in that Suspicious Partner was my first drama of hers and her portrayal of the personalities is rather similar. I would be happy to watch her again but I do hope it will be a drama with a different female persona.
Not so good: The drama does however has its flaws and for me, that lies in its plot which is, at the end of the day, rather thin. I’ve talked enough in previous recaps about what I think is a poor linking of backstories.
It also feels trivial to start a war just to hide the Princess’s secret, and it’s kinda weird that this means all of the plot starts from Moo Yeon’s mistake. It’s strange to think that because Moo Yeon and the Princess couldn’t control themselves, we have this conflict for 16 episodes. It was exciting for the first half of the show, but it felt like something spiralled out of proportion when the war was initiated. I mean, enlighten me if I’m wrong, but surely there are abortion methods in the Joseon era…..? The portrayal of war was also quite choppily and messily executed and merely sets the background in which the characters resolve their problems, rather than a main conflict for the finale. But I must say Do Kyung Soo/Yul sure looks fine in his fighting scenes from day one.
I’ve already talked about this above, but the Vice Premier’s death was rather anticlimactic too. As a villain, the Vice Premier had a lot of edge at the start but slowly started losing that through the episodes. Sure he had the brains which provided most of the twists in this show, but as for being EVIL, I felt like that was all set in the backstory and we didn’t actually get to see how villainous he was (I mean this guy practically offed Yul’s mother just to put Yul’s father on the throne. He’s bad!) Finally, why add in that weird shaman scene when it’s not even going to realise?? Did you guys forget about it? Because I did till I wrote this recap and now I’m thinking it’s just a useless scene.
Looking back, this feels much like a fairytale. If I just close one eye to the plot, everything is amazing – watching how the couple, by a twist of fate, came together in the present, how they fell in love, how they fought for each other and protected each other (Devilish Joy, please learn) and how they eventually end up forever with each other. The show has an interesting spin on what is otherwise a trope, and I’m so pleased that it really is what the title hinted. For the non-fussy side in me, this drama has been one enjoyable ride for sure.
100 Days My Prince finishes at a high with Episode 16 taking in ratings of 14.412.