Our couple finally gets a taste of ordinary life, only to be torn apart, in the same episode.
Following last week’s dramatic reveal, which I really like by the way, some commentators have joked that Ji Un might be so dense and proclaim, “Why Crown Prince, why is your chest bound!”
Thankfully, Ji Un fully understands the implications but chooses not to address it directly. He places the herbs on her wound and leaves to gather some firewood after covering her shoulders with her hanbok.
At night, Ji Un frets by the river and Dam-I asks if he feels resentment that she did not tell him the truth. He replies that he does feel resentment, not to her but towards himself, “I apologise for not realising sooner.”
Dam-I explains that she stood in place for her brother, who was her twin. Ji Un tells her that she can explain later on when she feels better. Flashbacks of the evil deeds that Jung Seok Jo has committed, including killing her brother and her friend, come to Dam-I’s mind and she said that she may not be able to tell him the truth even later on. Ji Un murmurs that nothing has changed, “As long as I am with you, I do not need anything else.”
It may be improvised, but I love how their hug was a bit further initially and after Dam-I leans in, he grabs her even tighter. I guess we are also leaving the reveal as that. Ji Un, you still have a long way to go, including learning that she’s your first love and it is your father who killed her brother.
Though Ji Un is hilariously slow, I appreciate the purpose behind this and I believe it is intended that Dam-I gets to choose the timing of her reveal vis-a-vis Ji Un only. It is sweet that Hyun and the King knew her secret and watched over her but her entire life was forced upon her and even the reveal of her secret isn’t something she chose for most part of this drama.
Lord Sangheon on the other hand is furious that they have lost the Crown Prince.
In the meantime, Commander Yoon is held by Seok-Jo, who comments that he could see the girl he killed in the Crown Prince. Yeah duh. He even remembers that she’s called Dam-I.
We switch back to the palace where confusingly, Ga On is able to enter the King’s chambers without the court ladies announcing his arrival and yet with his face masked. ?? Nevermind on that.
We finally get to understand the story behind the tablet which is split into half and actually means “the last day of the new year” – the King and Ga On’s father had a dream of creating a new world, to clean out the old in expectation of a new year. He has never forgotten that promise, “I will build that world.”
Yeah sure, you could, if you hadn’t drank the medicine which the eunuch has brought.
Before Ga On leaves his chambers, he calls out Ga On’s real name, “Eun Seo” and tells him the location of his grave. Before long and I mean, really shortly thereafter, the King passes away in his sleep.
So the poison wasn’t in the tea (I thought there would be slow poisoning via tea as per Episode 12), but in the medicine. Still, how could the King not have seen it coming? Where were the food tasters when you needed them most? Convenience of the plot but okay, I will look past it. You will be missed, Lee Pil Mo! You did a great job.
In the morning, Dam-I awakens and Ji Un asks that they stay in this position for a while more. He doesn’t mind being a fugitive for life and living in the shadows, “After all, this is quite similar to the life I have dreamt of.”
He talks of finding a small house by the shore and a fishing boat. He will cook her dinner with the fish he caught and buy a gift for her from the market. Awwwww.
This hurts on so many levels because Ji Un, you would either never get to live this life, or it will only happen in Episode 20.
Thankfully the couple then moves on to the market together, as Seok Jo has soon closed in on their spot by the river. Ji Un obtains some clothes for Dam-I to change into, though I’m not exactly sure why she has to change back into men’s clothes, unless it is for convenience of movement and also because she’s too pretty in a hanbok. HAHA.
Ji Un buys her some snacks and promises to buy her nice dresses once they are in a safe place. Dam-I mentions that it still feels so surreal that she’s living life outside of the palace on her own, and Ji Un quickly rushes back to the market to buy a hairpin for her, one that she was looking at so fondly earlier.
Well it doesn’t take an experienced Kdrama watcher to predict this at all, but in the next few moments, Dam-I gets kidnapped by Seok Jo’s crew.
WHY did he leave her alone? If it was me, I would have made sure we are joined at the hips. Ji Un ah, you are too innocent for this show! I’m sure Rowoon would have better brains than thatXD.
Hyun saves Commander Yoon from Seok Jo’s people and they split ways to try and find Dam-I. Alas, Commander Yoon arrives at the safehouse which was initially arranged for the Crown Prince, to realise that it is already ambushed by the enemies with Eunuch Hong and Court Lady Kim tied up.
Lord Sangheon appears in front of Dam-I and says that she has to return to the palace because the King is dead. At the same time, Ji Un searches the market desperately for Dam-I and hears that the King is dead.
Prince Won San mutters furiously under his breath when he hears that the King was poisoned, “Who could have done such a thing?” You are surprised that he’s poisoned?? We all saw this coming from a mile away.
Lord Sangheon returns with the now-dethroned Crown Prince in tow. Dam-I drops to her knees and sobs in front of her father’s coffin. Lord Changcheon is displeased about Dam-I’s appearance and entreats the Queen Dowager to punish Dam-I and Lord Sangheon, but Lord Sangheon comes in and turns him out. He asks that she reinstates the Crown Prince, “Or would you rather hand the throne over to those who committed treason?”
In a blink of an eye (kinda), Lord Changcheon’s crew gets wiped out by Lord Sangheon, who pins the poisoning of the King on him on the pretext that the scholars’ rebellion had driven a wedge between Lord Changcheon and the King. Lord Sangheon also hands to the Queen Dowager a ledger on the secret army which Lord Changcheon is building. Ughhh. QUEEN DOWAGER, WHY DO YOU BELIEVE HIM. THE KING WANTED LORD CHANGCHEON TO HAVE HIS OWN PRIVATE ARMY.
Dam-I seeks Prince Je Heyon out and sees him crying. She comforts him that everything will be okay. But Prince Je Hyeon soon gets arrested. Hwi is alarmed that Lord Sangheon wants to reinstate her and put her on the throne.
She declines but Lord Sangheon threatens to cut off the limbs of Commander Yoon, Eunuch Hong and Court Lady Kim, and to turn Ji Un into a government slave.
Once again, she has to continue with Lord Sang’s antics to keep her loved ones safe and alive, not to mention that now she has Ji Un added to the list. “Become the king. If you wish to protect those around you, you need to have the power to protect them.”
They are all in this state because they have severely underestimated Lord Sang’s evilness and readiness to enthrone someone whom he can control. Couldn’t someone just one-up him, entrap him with fake evidence and then kill him off? There are one-dimensional villains who barely trigger me but somehow Lord Sangheon is really annoying me on all sorts of levels.
Hyun dashes in to save Dam-I and promises to escort her out of the palace. Omg Hyun you are scaring me with your sword scenes, you can’t die at this point.
Lord Sangheon comes in to stop Hyun. He has heard that Lord Wonsan contributed greatly in the deposing of Hwi and this is the last time he and his brother will get a pass from him. Hyun gets taken away by the guards.
I have said this before, but I just want to say again how much I love the different political agendas. Whilst they are quite simple to understand by themselves, when put together, they all somehow work against Hwi / Dam-I and puts her in a terrible position. Even the King who is technically on the same side as her was for a good half of the show, behaving like he was on a different boat.
Ji Un finally arrives -somewhere- and tells his father that he must meet the Crown Prince. He is alarmed to hear that Hwi will become king soon and runs off quickly.
Hwi visits Je Hyeon in the jail and he cries. He was always afraid of stealing Hwi’s crown, but he was wrong, he should have been afraid that his mother’s and grandfather’s greed would lead him here. He’s afraid of death.
Hwi apologises that it is her fault their father died. “I will save you. You will not die.” It wasn’t just her who was having a hard time.
Somehow Prince Je Hyeon reminds me a lot of Chani (from Sky Castle), especially when he cries from inside the jail. Lol. What a tragedy, I can’t believe they are fostering a relationship between Dam-I and Je Hyeon at this juncture ugh! Cha Sung Je really did a good job in these 2 episodes!
Hwi meets up with Lord Sangheon and promises to be his puppet, on the condition that he doesn’t take Je Hyeon’s life and he will ensure the safety of her people.
Lord Sangheon smiles, “I am humbled by your generosity, Your Majesty.” You can’t be a puppet nooo. You are going to be the King!! You have to protect the entire Joseon on top of your loved ones; you can’t exchange one for the other!
Ji Un finally arrives in front of Hwi’s guards, which led me to ask, just how long was he running since the last scene?? I can only assume they were outside the capital and not outside of the palace. Haha.
Hwi calls the guards off and Ji Un walks up slowly towards her. I love this image – she’s so much higher above him and it seems like he can’t bridge the gap.
The first question he asks if she’s okay.
Dam-I apologises and Ji Un starts tearing, “Please tell me this is not true. You promised me that we would be together. It is still not too late. You can still leave the palace.”
Dam-I cuts him off and tells him that he cannot be by her side.
Ji Un chokes up and pleads her to at least let him treat her wound.
Ahhh Rowoon you have done well I’m proud of you. It should also be pretty obvious that this is my favourite scene of the entire episode. I love how they handled the emotions and how Ji Un doesn’t want her to be the king and yet in the end, just wants to take care of her wound before he leaves her.
Also, Ji Un got slashed multiple times and Ga On had one big swipe taken out on his back, but somehow both miraculously healed and yet this one gnash on Hwi just wouldn’t go away. *Shakes head* But whatever, I’m taking any excuse Ji Un can find to stay by her side.
The scene fades out and Hwi takes the position of the King.
She goes for her morning sessions, in her red gown now, and says with a cool aura, “Let the morning assembly begin.” Finally, we are at the point why it is called The King’s Affection.
Episode 12 remains my favourite because it had a good balance of romance and tension, whilst moving the plot along, not to mention the reveal. Episode 13 is however pivotal in the plot and we can finally say we are in the second half of the show. It’s a sad show and I don’t know if it is just going to get more tragic from this point onwards, when we still have 7 more episodes to go. Sometimes, I’m glad that Secret Royal Inspector Joy is out on the same timeslot so that I can counteract the effects of TKA by watching this light-hearted comedy!
I’m also watching The Red Sleeve Cuff at the same time (really enjoying that one too!) and realise once again just how refreshing it is to watch a female lead in the position of power, and the male leads being much lower and out of her league. This is a unique proposition because even if a show depicts how the female lead rises through the ranks, it is always about how she has to please those around her or survive through the hierarchy. Here, we are watching a kinda-usual sageuk where the conflict revolves around the prince, but because she’s a girl, and that’s the main point of this show, the whole premise is kinda turned on its head. Park Eun Bin is undoubtedly the star of this show.
I just wish they stop taking Ga On out at important moments of the show when he’s supposed to be Hwi’s bodyguard. It’s like Byung Chan has to choose between lines and air time for this drama.
See you guys in the next episode!