Shine or Go Crazy Episode 23 Recap. Our characters jockey for position to enter the finale with the best advantage. Sik Ryeom believes his superior army will win. Wang So believes destiny is to fulfill his father’s goal of a strong kingdom for 1000 years. Shin Yool struggles to overcome her illness. Wang So arrives to support her final plunge to avert the coldness. Will she live or die?
Wang So (Jang Hyuk) yells he is the son of the First King who founded this nation. He declares he will protect the people now. Eun Chun comes forward and bows offering the sword. The consigned men recognize Wang So as the Prince that won the fighting contest. Wang So lifts the sword and yells with his heart. Poong yells to the guards there is a reward for his capture. A fight begins. Eun Chun (Kim Roe Ha) pushes Wang So aside telling him he must defeat Sik Ryeom. The consigned men protect Wang So from the guards and urge him to keep his promise. Wang So orders them to stay alive as he will be back. Wang So calls Eun Chun and they head to the capital. The consigned men block the guards.
I loved the music swelling and Wang So’s moment of clarity and destiny. Eun Chun did a good job of fighting single handed. The equal determination of the consigned men against Poong and the guards was inspirational.
The consigned men that fought for Wang So talk to two guards that have the job to put food on the table not belief in Sik Ryeom. When one man claims Wang So is the head of the black assassins and fights against the nobles, a guard hands over the “get of the shackles” tool. He tells the men to flee or they will die. They jet. Nice moment!
Yes! Wang So figures out that Sik Ryeom plans to use a riot in the slave village as the excuse to bring his men, led by Poong into the capital. Wang So determines the village is their first stop when they reach the capital to flesh out Sik Ryeom’s planted spies. He hopes Shin Yool is ok.
Cue Opening Credits…
The tide is turning. I’m digging Wang So’s clarity and determination. I’m fearful that he will be derailed when he learns of Shin Yool’s “death”.
In the mountains…
Baek Myo (Kim Sun Young) tends Shin Yool (Oh Yeon Seo). The doctor looks grim. I love that we’ve come full circle and Shin Yool fights for her life in the mountains. I hope she returns to the capital from the mountain as Wang So did.
Wang Wook (Lim Ju Hwan) delivers medicine to the doctor who tells him it’s not looking good as Shin Yool’s vitals are weaking. He warns Wang Wook the end may be near. The doctor urges Wang Wook to see Shin Yool, don’t just leave like normal.
Shin Yool, looking lovely, tells Baek Myo that Wang So must think that she’s dead. That way, he’ll continue on his path to his destiny of becoming King. Wang Wook overhears Shin Yool say she will not be an obstacle to Wang So. She must endure their separation.
Cheong Ok reports to Yeo Won (Lee Ha Nui) that the slave village will the ground zero for Sik Ryeom’s plan to crush the current King and powerful families. Yeo Won realizes that Sik Ryeom’s army must be massive and it is crucial to garner the support of the sympathetic nobles. Cheong Ok notes Wang So is well. Yeo Won states he must stay well as big moment is near. She knew Sik Ryeom would not be satisifed with a puppet King but is surprised the big moment is at hand. While I admire Yeo Won’s beauty, it is really her brains that have impressed me.
Sik Ryeom’s evil lackey talks to a couple of villagers in the slave village. Operation riot is underway.
The next step in operation riot…
The villagers mourn Shin Yool. One villager says Shin Yool was killed by an assassin. As planned, they whip the villagers into thinking they will all be killed by assassins.
The next step in operation riot…
Red assassins (Sik Ryeom’s assassins) kill a villager. The remaining villagers amp up their concern that they will all be killed by assassins. They declare they will fight to protect themselves.
Bracing myself for this moment…
Wang So arrives at the trading company. He sees the death notice. His eyes widen in surprise. He steps forward, then back, then he tries to enter but the door is barred. He bangs on the door. He calls for Shin Yool. No answer, he breaks the door down and enters.
Wang Wook, Gang Myeong (Ahn Kil Kang), Gyu Dal (Heo Jeong Min), and Gyeong (Jung Woo Sik) discuss the difficulties of Shin Yool’s treatment. Gyu Dal wants to bring her home, so she can die surrounded by family. Wang Wook counters there is still hope for improvement. He notes Shin Yool said she’ll endure the treatment.
Here we go…
Wang So bursts into the room. He notes everyone is there. Why the mourning? But you see, he has tears in his eyes already, he knows. He demands to know where Shin Yool is. No one answers. Wang So asks again. Gang Myeong tells him that she was killed by an assassin sent by Sik Ryeom while she slept. Stage 1 – denial. Wang So refuses to believe. Stage 2 – anger. Wang So rages why Shin Yool was not protected? Back to denial, as he calls for her repeatedly. Gang Myeong tells him the funeral was held and her body cremated. Wang So’s grief is hard to watch. Then he grabs a sword, startling the others, and declares he will kill Sik Ryeom. As he moves to leave the room, Wang Wook blocks his path beseeching his brother. Wang So vows to kill Sik Ryeom in a painful way. The other men grab him. Wang So rages, full of pain.
Then Wang So realizes…no blood…no Baek Myo. He finds the half butterfly talisman. Why is this still here he wonders? If she was killed, the butterfly talisman would have been around her neck. “You are alive.” he realizes! “You are alive!” Bless the writer for giving him the smarts and where with all to realize this.
I’m loving it…
Wang So gags and ties up Gyeong and brings Gyu Dal into the room. He tells Gyu Dal that Gyeong already confessed to the truth. Where is Shin Yool and Baek Myo? Bless Gyu Dal, he immediately asks Gyeong how he could spill the secret. Gyeong shakes his head futilely. Wang So gravely asks where Shin Yool is. Gyu Dal tells him.
Wang So finds Gang Myeong and asks where Wang Wook is. He calmly tells Gang Myeong he will be going to visit Baek Myo. If they want to send anything, give it to him before he leaves. Gang Myeong realizes Wang So knows the truth.
LOL! Gyu Dal tells Gang Myeong “we”, he and Gyeong, told Wang So that Shin Yool was still alive. Gyu Dal looks pointedly at Gyeong when questioned. Gyeong firmly states he kept his mouth shut and looks pointedly at Gyu Dal. LOL! Gyu Dal whines that Shin Yool wanted this secret kept and frets. Gang Myeong barks his name in frustration. Love it!
Wang So joins him and says “you saved that woman and tricked Sik Ryeom. I know you faked her death to nullify the royal marriage. Thank you and I’m sorry. Now give me your burdens. This is between that woman and I. Her intent was to keep the truth from me. I know she wants me and is waiting for me. Where is she?”
Wang Wook “Shin Yool had many reasons not to see you. Not while she was sick. Not to be an obstacle. All I heard…I miss you…I miss you.” He slides paper onto the table. “This is where she is staying.”
Wang Wook tells Shin Yool that Wang So will be there soon. Hang on. The man to save you will be Wang So.
Let me break in. Jang Hyuk’s portrayal to sucker punch of Shin Yool’s death was superb. Did you see his face? Did you believe his pain? I cried with him. I’m glad that he quickly figured out that Shin Yool was alive when he found the butterfly talisman. I loved that he tricked Gyu Dal to reveal the truth. Gyu Dal is the easiest mark among the trading company family. Finally his quiet interaction with Wang Wook was powerful. Two men, who both love the same woman, who both want that woman to live, who both want her happiness before their own. What a long road we’ve traveled to get to this point. It makes sense that Wang So knows that she is alive. I was worried that he could not be focused in the upcoming final battle with Sik Ryeom if he was grief stricken.
The King reads his father’s words “abdicate the throne to Wang So for the capital to last 1000 years.” He asks his adviser, Ji Mong, were he and his brothers only stepping stones for Wang So’s ascent to the throne? Ji Mong says his father only thought about the longevity of the capital. The old “it is not personal, it is business” mantra. The King notes it hurts his father never had faith in his abilities to rule like the faith he had in Wang So. Dear King, you were not in the prophecy.
Oh man, awesome! The black assassins fall in behind Wang So. This is a declaration!
SR: It’s been a while, Wang So. Now you are showing off that you are the leader of the black assassins. How could a prince be a leader of thieves?
WS: I believe it was you who was the thief. You took the people’s food and clothes and gave them to your soldiers.
SR: I heard you took all the consigned men, and left them in the west! What are you planning now?
WS: I heard you made a mess while I was out of town. I am here to punish you. Let me ask you one thing, why did you kill Shin Yool?
SR: I heard she died. What would I gain by her death?
WS: I will make you pay. I promise all these people. I will defeat Sik Ryeom and the capital will flourish for 1000 years!
SR: A thousand years? You can do that?
WS: Anticipate the day. It is coming.
A little stare and glare then Wang So turns and leaves with the black assassins. Sik Ryeom declares Wang So does not know who he is messing with. Ah, but he does Sik Ryeom. He has you in his sights. We’ve waited for the day when you would finally get the smack down you so richly deserve.
Does anyone do fierce determination better than Jang Hyuk? Amazing!
No need for the evil lair anymore…
Sik Ryeom complains to his evil lackey that Wang So impudently blocked his path. He orders “secretly mobilize the soldiers in the west, and wait by the entrance to the capital.” The evil lackey reports the slave village is upset and stirred up as planned. Sik Ryeom declares the village riot must take down Wang So. His men will enter the capital to suppress the riot. Then they will head to the palace. Sik Ryeom proclaims that Wang So will not defeat him and “I will be the King”.
If I were the current King, I’d leave for a weekend get away.
Poong is not happy that Wang So is back in the capital. He promises he will meet Wang So in the capital to settle matters once and for all. Poong orders Sik Ryeom’s men to prepare to leave for the capital.
We’ll take anyone to help defeat Sik Ryeom…
Yeo Won talks with a nobel who confesses he sent an assassin to her family years ago. Water water the bridge, water under the bridge says Yeo Won. She’s pragmatic! She asks that he secretly gather the supporters of the current King.
Yeo Won and Dowager Queen work together to gather support. Yeo Won asks for permission to explicitly state the Dowager Queen backs this plan. The Dowager Queen approves. My name may not have much weight any more, but let’s use it anyhow! Again I marvel at my opinion of the Dowager Queen from the beginning to now, what a transformation.
Sik Ryeom is thrown for a loop when Yeo Won is there at his private meeting of supporters. Yeo Won sweetly states she wanted to talk before he arrived. She has a gift for them. Sik Ryeom counters he has a gift too. Whose is bigger and better? Yeo Won practically simpers that she wasn’t done talking yet so….Sik Ryeom states he will leave and talk to them later. Sik Ryeom and Yeo Won are smiling so much it must hurt!
Sik Ryeom and his 2 remaining conspirators Mok Won and Choong Hyun are not happy with Yeo Won’s lobbying. Sik Ryeom is confident it is too little too late. His conspirators ask if he has chosen the next King. Yes, yes, I have and he’s a good one is Sik Ryeom’s response.
Yeo Won lays it on the line. The royal family and her family have joined forces. The Dowager Queen is on board too. Which side will you choose? And her gift? She slides the ledger showing their recorded transgressions. Yeo Won offers to wipe the slate clean if they join her. But if they don’t join her team….you get the picture.
The doctor has a radical full circle treatment. To cure the coldness, Shin Yool must jump in the cold creek. The doctor claims the cold will clear out the coldness and open her blood vessels. Baek Myo is gob smacked. The creek is called ice creek! The doctor is firm, this is our last chance at a cure. Shin Yool closes her eyes and says nothing.
Wang So arrives at the treatment cabin. The doctor and Baek Myo are surprised to see him. Wang So only has eyes for the interior. Baek Myo calls out that Wang So is there. Wang So calls out Gaebong. Shin Yool sits up startled. Wang So asks if he can enter. She bars in the door in response. She tells him there is no Gaebong and he should go. Wang So counters if Gaebong is not there, then he’ll see Shin Yool.
YS: Go back your highness.
WS: I know why you are doing this. You don’t want me to see you sick. That’s silly. You should know by now, no matter your condition, to me, you are beautiful and lovely. There will never be another you. You are my love. Even though I’m behind this door, I see you. You shiver with fright. You need me to console you. You want to be in my arms and feel their peace and love. I will wipe away your tears. If you open the door, the man who misses you terribly will be in front of you. When I could not see you daily, my heart broke. Open the door Gaebong.
Shin Yool unbolts the door and opens it. Tears stream from both their faces.
Wang Wook stares at the plate that Shin Yool promised him he’d never lose another love. He smiles softly. Now he never has to worry about losing her. He flicks away his worries just like Shin Yool did for him long ago. Nice full circle moment, Wang Wook doing the same. That was surprisingly touching.
It happens…Baek Myo is grateful for Wang So’s presence. Shin Yool drinks the medicine from Wang So’s hands that she rejected from Baek Myo’s hands.
Throwing cold water on the warm reunion…The doctor asks if Shin Yool has decided. Baek Myo explains the doctor wants her to go into the icy creek. Wang So can’t believe the suggestion. The doctor maintains this is the last treatment to eliminate her permanent coldness. He mentions Shin Yool must dip in cold then drink the warming medicine…and she must do this multiple times! Baek Myo says the creek’s coldness kills healthy young men.
Wang So gently holds Shin Yool hand. He offers that they both go in the cold water together. Awk! Tears! Wang So says if they do it together, it will be easier for her. Shin Yool is concerned for his well being. Wang So says “Let’s die together. Live or die, we’ll be together”. Awk! Tears! Shin Yool agrees.
He starts into the deep that will touch her body. She faints. He calls to her. He begs her to open her eyes. He calls her “Yool” Awk! Tears! “Yool, I love you.” He kisses her. No response. He stares at her in concern and tries to will her back to him…the episode ends.
* This episode put everything in position for the final episode. The division between the politics, Sik Ryeom, and the impeding showdown versus Shin Yool’s struggle to live worked. Yeo Won’s politics with a smile were great. I enjoyed the Dowager Queen throwing her support publicly behind Wang So. The weak plot point is the riot at the slave village. It draws on Shin Yool’s princess heritage but it does not have much zip to it. We aren’t invested in the village people so watching them worry and whip each other up was not riveting.
* Wang Wook was a brother to Wang So and friend to Shin Yool. The special moment of the episode was when Wang Wook waved away his love troubles over the plate Shin Yool gave him. The full circle moment was lovely.
* Sik Ryeom is not blind to the flurry of activity against him but believes his superior might will win. The showdown with Wang So in the street was fantastic. When the black assassins surrounded Wang So, the line was drawn between the two men.
* Thank you writer for letting Wang So quickly figure out that Shin Yool was alive. Wang So finds the butterfly talisman and knows Shin Yool would have died with it. The moment he figured it out, his face lit up…wonderful to watch.
* Loved the trading company family when Gyu Dal spilled the beans about Shin Yool. Gyeong and Gang Myeong were frustrated with loose lips Gyu Dal. I loved it!
* Jang Hyuk as Wang So delivered the fierce, the grief and the tender this episode. Jang Hyuk embodied fierce and righteous belief that the time for a change was now. Wang So convinced his men that destiny was on their side. Even the King could not deny that Wang So was the better choice for King. At least he admits this with good grace. When he knew that Shin Yool was dead but no one would confirm it, gosh the tears in his eyes, the rigid body, the “I”m gonna lose it” vibe, made the short time he believed Shin Yool was dead riveting. Then switching gears, Jang Hyuk delivered tenderness and caring with an intensity. That passion and love, how does he manufacture it so it is palpable?
* Yeon Seo’s portrayal of Shin Yool made me understand how she could not turn Wang So away. If you are an actress working with Jang Hyuk, when he puts the laser love stare on you, do you for a moment think “this guy is totally digging me”?
* Tomorrow is the final episode. What’s on the list to resolve? 1. Will Shin Yool live or die? 2. Will Wang So defeat Sik Ryeom? 3. Will Wang So “shine” and become King or “go crazy” with grief if Shin Yool dies? 4. How will Wang So and Shin Yool be together with Yeo Won in the picture? 5. Will Sik Ryeom live or die?