Our leading man grapples with overcoming his personal issues to reach for a bigger prize.
Scarlet Heart Ryeo Episode 8 Recap
Right or wrong Fourth Prince Wang So (Lee Joon Gi) reads pity in the eyes of Hae Soo (IU). Hae Soo tells him she’s never looked at him any differently than she’s looking at him now. But Wang So doesn’t see it that way telling her he hates her pity. He orders her to never look at him that way again. In fact, he never wants to see her again. He doesn’t know how he’ll react next time. He walks away. Hae Soo watches him going knowing he misinterpreted her look. I think it makes total sense that Wang So sees pity even if Hae Soo isn’t showing pity with her look. He’s lived his entire life with people either finding him disgusting or pitiable. Therefore, he assumes that’s what he’s going to get from Hae Soo, and with that he assumed he saw pity. I was a little bit surprised when he said that he never wanted to see her again. He would make that same edict to his family, but to her he did. Is that because she affects him more than anyone else?
Thirteenth Prince Baek Ah (Nam Joo Hyuk) visits Wang So and apologizes for the sad ending to Wang Eun’s birthday party. Wang So notes that Baek Ah didn’t look at him. Baek Ah worried that looking would make him more comfortable. He apologizes if his actions caused his brother pain. Wang So realizes that he’s been unfair to both Baek Ah and Hae Soo noting that he was angry at one person for looking at him (Hae Soo) and for another not looking at him (Baek Ah). Wang So admits he can’t figure out his own feelings. He asks Baek Ah to look at him straight on in the future. Baek Ah tells him that Third Prince Wang Yo (Hong Jong Hyun) manipulated Hae Soo. But Wang So doesn’t want to hear it and cuts him off. That’s even more interesting that even though he realizes he judged Baek Ah and Hae Soo differently, he’s not interested in thinking that Hae Soo should be forgiven, the same forgiveness he granted Baek Ah. Again, is that because she affects him more than anyone else? Is that kinship of their scars, her understanding of loneliness, give her power over him that frightens him?
Our Royal Concubine Oh and Hae Soo attend the King Wanggun. He comments that Hae Soo seems to have easily become a lady of the court. He notes that she still maintains a good relationship with the princes. Hae Soo states that she can no longer see them as much is she used to be able to. The King comments at least she’s got the brains to realize that. As Royal Concubine Oh finishes with the King’s hair Queen Yoo sweeps into the room. The King asks why she’s there. She tells him that she doesn’t like the distance between them and she’s willing to be the one to break the ice. She smiles at the King. He kind of smiles at her and suggests they leave. As Queen Yoo sweeps out of the room she glares at Royal Concubine Oh.
Queen Hwangbo and the princes all have tea together. Hae Soo serves each prince their favorite tea. Everyone is pleased with her and happy to see her. But when she puts the tea in front of Wang So, he orders her to take it away, stating due to the drought and they should not be drinking tea.
Later Hae Soo complains to Baek Ah that even though he told her Wang So’s favorite tea and snacks, this had no effect on softening Wang So. Baek Ah notes he even found out everyone’s favorite so it would not be obvious that Hae Soo was targeting Wang So. Baek Ah says the best way to deal with his brother is to talk to him directly. Ask him what needs to occur for him to get over his anger. Hae Soo doesn’t understand why Wang So has forgiven everyone else for their behavior, but she is still frozen out of his life. Baek Ah can only agree that his brother is treating her differently than all others. Baek Ah gets her in trouble when he won’t release her when the other court ladies come down the hall. Royal Concubine Oh watches Baek Ah whisper in her ear then release her. Hae Soo tries to play it off to the court ladies that Baek Ah was just joking, but they are not happy that her gets special treatment from a prince and they trip her. Royal Concubine Oh comes forward as they dump dirty laundry on her head. Her punishment? Just like before, Hae Soo kneels in front of Royal Concubine Oh while holding books over her head. Royal Concubine Oh tells her that it is her familiarity with the princes that cause the issues with the other court ladies. Hae Soo says that she had a personal relationship with the princes before she became a court lady and she can’t pretend she doesn’t know them personally. Royal Concubine Oh orders her to sever her relationship with the princes just like she severed her relationship with the King by cutting her wrist.
Tenth Prince Wang Eun (Baekhyun) is bored claiming there is nothing to do. Bearskin General’s daughter, Park Soon Duk, follows him and finally puts herself in front of him when he bemoans there’s nothing to do. She tries to speak but she so nervous around him that she can only stutter. She manages to convey that she knows something to do. They set a trap to catch a sparrow. Wang Eun is impatient but she manages to keep him there until the sparrow comes. When the trap is pulled Wang Eun is thrilled. They scampered down to the trap and he asks her if they will eat the bird. With the flirty fun music in the background, the General’s daughter takes the bird and quickly snaps the neck. Wang Eun is horrified how easily she killed the bird. I literally had to take a moment and just laugh. The juxtaposition of the cute perky music, the young love, at least on her part, squashed when she quickly dispatches the bird was funny. Wang Eun berates her for easily murdering the bird. He tells her not to hang out with her anymore. He stalks away. General’s daughter wonders if Wang Eun wanted to eat the bird alive. Ha! Unbeknownst to our young couple, the General looks on and shakes his head. These two are darling together. In one simple scene I’m rooting for them. Wang Eun is a bit of a whiny guy, a no-nonsense strong woman would do him good. And if she adores him just as he is, even better.
The General approaches his daughter and together they roast the bird. He tells his daughter what kind of man is this young prince that can even catch a bird on his own. He’s pretty and not useful, who would want to hang with him? The answer is his daughter wants to hang with him. When the General asks who will catch the food, she answers she will. When the General asks who will protect their family, she answers she will. The General frets there are other princes that are better suited for her. But one look at his daughter and he knows that she’s made her selection. Hopefully he asks if could possibly consider another. She shoots her father a glance and states she only has one path. He stands irritated and she leaps up in a defensive posture. The General can’t believe his daughter would assume that fighting pose with him. And all over a wimpy Prince like that? He strides off shaking his head. The General’s daughter looks at the dead sparrow on the ground and smiles. That has to be one of the most interesting courtship rituals I’ve seen. I of course have never thought to go bird hunting with someone as a date. I need to open myself up to new options.
Eight Prince Wang Wook (Kang Ha Neul) goes to visit Hae Soo, but the doors are shut do the drought. Still he manages to get a note into Hae Soo’s room. She sees the note and reads washing hole. She realizes where the prince wants to meet her.
Hae Soo meets Wang Wook in the secret passage. They are both happy to see each other, big smiles on their faces. Wang Wook asks if she’d like to leave the palace. Hae Soo says sure she’d like to, but Wang So told her that no matter where she went he never be able to escape the grasp of the King. Wang Wook can only agree with that. Hae Soo tells him that she’ll live well until she can officially leave the palace. She wonders if he’ll be able to forget her. He notes that a rain festival is imminent. Wang Wook notes that if it rains the King will grant a favor at the festival, perhaps let a court lady leave the palace. Hae Soo surprised that could be an option. Without guile she asks if Wang Wook will allow her back into his home. Wang Wook claims that he’ll buy everything that she needs so she can make soap and fill his house with them. Hae Soo looks into his eyes and says it must rain. Wang Wook looks into her eyes and says it must rain. They hold hands and she gently puts her head on his shoulder. They both smile sweet contented smiles. This couple has beauty, gentleness, and passion for each other that is just below the surface. While Wang Wook is careful never to utter words of love, his eyes convey the love he feels.
Hae Soo meets the Crown Prince and Ji Mong. She tells him how to properly care for his skin. He warns her their meetings must be secret. Wang So arrives and tells the Crown Prince it time to leave. The Crown Prince and Ji Mong depart. Hae Soo demurely bows her head to Wang So and walks past him. As she exits the meeting place two court ladies take her forcibly. Wang So sees this.
Hae Soo is taken to Queen Yoo and Wang Yo. Queen Yoo wants to know why she’s meeting with the Crown Prince. Hae Soo claims she was seen him before he went off to fight the rebellion. The court ladies put the contents of her basket on display. They note that these are things that she should not have taken away from the palace. Queen Yoo wants to know if these were for the Crown Prince. Hae Soo states she ran an errand involving the basket and then stopped by to see the Crown Prince. Queen Yoo asks if the Crown Prince is ill. Like a mouse caught in a trap, Hae Soo is eyes go wide and she claims that she knows nothing. Queen Yoo roughly grabs her braid and pulls her head back. Wang So sees the rough treatment. Royal Concubine Oh calls out and says that Hae Soo was running an errand for her. Queen Yoo turns to Royal Concubine Oh, disbelief evident on her face. Royal Concubine Oh says that the King’s knees were hurting and she sent Hae Soo to treat this. Royal Concubine Oh reminds Queen Yoo that they are not allowed to speak of anything regarding the King, so Hae Soo was bound to secrecy. She bows respectfully to Queen Yoo. But the Queen doesn’t just let it lie. She asks why an inexperienced girl like Hae Soo was sent. Upping the ante Royal Concubine Oh asks if Queen Yoo would rather her attend the King. Obviously Queen Yoo would prefer Royal Concubine Oh never see the King again (though her jealousy has more to do with domination than love). That hits the mark and Queen Yoo strides away. Royal Concubine Oh states she will punish Hae Soo. Isn’t it interesting that people are forever going to bat to save Hae Soo? Has there been an episode in the series were someone hasn’t stepped up to save her? And certainly is not always her fault, she’s often placed in situations where because of the royal intrigues of the court she is like a rope being used in tug-of-war. Unfortunately, it appears the rope is the one that could get burned more than any others.
Royal Concubine Oh walks clutching her stomach. Anyone else thinking that she really does have something desperately wrong and not just prefer bland food as she said to Hae Soo? Does this mean another one of Hae Soo’s protectors will soon be dead? Hae Soo thanks Royal Concubine Oh for saving her. Royal Concubine Oh slaps her. Royal Concubine Oh reminds Hae Soo that she told her to stay away from the Crown Prince. She rues the day that she ever took Hae Soo into her household. Fed up Hae Soo asks why can’t she help the prince? She knows how to make it better for him, why can’t she help? And why does Royal Concubine Oh lecture and punish her more than any other court lady? Royal Concubine Oh tells her she knows nothing of how to survive at the palace. Hae Soo agrees that she knows nothing of how to survive at the palace. But why doesn’t Royal Concubine Oh help her, teach her? Still clutching her stomach Royal Concubine Oh blurts that Hae Soo reminds her of the younger her. Royal Concubine Oh says that Hae Soo is young, trusting, easy pickings for nefarious backstabbing. She bends over and then falls to the ground in obvious pain. Hae Soo is stunned.
When Royal Concubine Oh awakes, Hae Soo comes into the room with porridge. Hae Soo tells Royal Concubine Oh that the doctor secretly came and visited her. Royal Concubine Oh is worried that others will find out. Hae Soo assures her that no one will find out. She tells Royal Concubine Oh that she needs to eat the porridge. Royal Concubine Oh tells her to leave. Hae Soo refuses and says that she knows that Royal Concubine Oh is mean to her because she worries for her safety. Hae Soo promises to become more like Royal Concubine Oh so she can navigate the palace safely. Hae Soo cajoles Royal Concubine Oh to eat the porridge. Both women share a smile. So Hae Soo works her magic on another person. Her open guileless manner draws people like a moth to a flame. It’s hard to imagine Royal Concubine Oh that way because she is so guarded now. But as the interchange with Queen Yoo showed us, Royal Concubine Oh has reason to be guarded when the most powerful Queen in the Kingdom hates her.
The King prays for rain in the heat of the day and becomes faint. It is suggested that one of the other princes take on some of this burden. All the princes are required to drop an item in a bowl that Ji Mong will choose from. Wang Eun tries to get out of dropping his item in the bowl stating that he doesn’t like to do these kind of public activities. Wang Wook and Fourteenth Prince Wang Jung (Ji Soo) tell him this is part of his duties as Prince. Wang Eun notes that once they start praying for rain, there are not allowed to drink water until it does rain. Wang Eun wonders how they would fare if they were not able to drink water for an extended period of time if the drought did not end. Wang Yo tells the worried princes that if it doesn’t rain than the people have the right to kill them. Ha! That panics Wang Eun who begs Ji Mong to remove his name. Ji Mong chides him that no one would try and kill him. Wang So tells his worried brothers that it won’t rain because of the ritual, they only need to do the ritual until it rains. That way it will appear that the royal efforts caused the rain. Ji Mong smiles approvingly at his understanding of the game.
In front of the temple the King announces to everyone that the drought is his fault and he is required to make a sacrifice. Ji Mong brings the bowl with the princes’ names. This is Prince bingo! The King reaches into the bowl and draws out Wang So. Did anyone think that it would be anyone else? When it comes to a prince to sacrifice, Wang So must be the first on the King’s list. All the princes look relieved except for Wang So. The King tells his son that this is the will of the heavens. Ji Mong looks like a man that stacked the deck. Wang So accepts the challenge.
Wang So later says to Ji Mong is an interesting that he was the chosen Prince. Like butter wouldn’t melt in his mouth, Ji Mong notes that it is interesting that Wang So was the chosen Prince. They both know what they’re not saying and Wang So agrees he is the chosen Prince.
On a cloudless hot sunny day, the rain festival is held. The people lined the streets to see which Prince has been chosen. They are a bit shocked and openly skeptical when they realize it is Wang So. A bit chagrined Wang So walks to Ji Mong to accept the ritual items. Ji Mong’s look tells him to buck up. The people are not happy and call Wang So a monster who could never make it rain. They throw rocks and mud. Wang So walks onto the palace bearing the humiliation and the scorn of the people. When he finally enters the palace the King hears the cry of the people that he’s given them a dud Prince. Wang So strides in covered in mud with people still throwing rocks at him. Hae Soo and the pristine Royal princes, Princess, Queens and King look at the soiled Wang So. Poor Wang So seems to have many moments with everyone staring at him. Some enjoy his discomfort and some feel sorry for him. Wang So stands there realizing that yet again he’s an object of scorn for many. But when he looks at Hae Soo and sees what he perceives to be pity, he can’t take it anymore. He drops the ritual items and flees. I like that Wang So ran. He doesn’t have to be stoic and untouchable every time. I don’t know anybody that could take the derision of everyone in one shot. And yes I realize that not everyone was derisive, but again just like with the birthday party, Wang So interprets others reactions as unfavorable. He’s been programmed to believe that, and he can’t break that cycle yet.
Wang So returns to his quarters livid at the day’s events.
Queen Yoo and Wang Yo are thrilled with the day’s event. The Queen Yoo states the drought has created an opportunity to replace the Crown Prince. Wang Yo states he’s sent men to delay the Crown Prince’s return to the palace, so they can capitalize on his absence. Wang Yo laughs at how vulnerable Wang So is whenever anyone mentions his face. The Queen wonders why Wang So was chosen to lead the rain ritual. She comments about the opportunity in a similar manner that Wang So did. That unsettles Wang Yo a bit. The Queen tells her son that this is his time, he can now take hold of the Crown Prince role.
Hae Soo seeks out Wang So. She finds him in a rowboat on the edge of the lake. He doesn’t answer her call so she enters the boat. She teeters and he grabs her hand so she doesn’t fall into the lake. She falls down next to him. He puts his arm around her to steady her. She tells him it’s time to go back because everyone’s worried about him. He tells never to pity him. He asks if she’s ever thought about why she was born and how long she has on this earth. She surprises him by saying yes she has thought about such things. She comments that it is fruitless because you’ll never know why or how long so all you can do is live the best life that you can. She tells him that he’s not the only one that has challenges in their life. She tells him the rain ritual will begin again and he needs to go back. He notes that for someone so young she pretends to know everything. He tells her she’s bothersome.
Hae Soo can’t get Wang So is question out of her head, why was she born. She recalls spreading makeup on her hand in the future. She decides that she can help him so she can leave this time. With makeup?
Ji Mong frets that the Crown Prince isn’t there for the rain ritual Ji Mong frets that the people will become restless if the Crown Prince does not appear. Ji Mong tells Wang So to go and stand in front of the principal in his stead. Wang So doesn’t want to do it. Ji Mong chides him for being a tough for your who is caving because he was mistreated by the public at large. Ji Mong says the thing that we’ve all wanted somebody to say to Wang So… Your two hung up on the scar on your face. You can’t be the leader of the country if you can’t get over that. What you said! Ji Mong also tells him that he’s got a resolve his issues with his mother. Wang So accuses Ji Mong of choosing him so that he could overcome his challenges. Wang So isn’t happy about being played by Ji Mong. Says that Wang So needs to be more confident. Wang So bristles that he doesn’t want more stones thrown at him. Wang So points out treated as less than human while his brothers have all been pampered princes. Ji Mong retorts that this is his opportunity to rise to be King if he’s successful with the rain ritual. Wang So is stunned that Ji Mong really think she could be King. Ji Mong points out that all he can do is provide Wang So the opportunity. He understands that if Wang So doesn’t have the guts to take it and run with it, then so be it. I absolutely wanted to hug Ji Mong for everything that he said to Wang So. He is absolutely correct that Wang So needs to get over his scar, come to some kind of understanding with his mother, and decide whether or not he wants to be King. If he doesn’t want to be King then he needs to be clear so Ji Mong can move on to the next best candidate. But the other thing that Ji Mong did was tell Wang So that he had his confidence and his support if Wang So would only be willing to risk grabbing the brass ring of the throne.
Wang So considers what he wants. He makes his decision. He grabs the rain ritual robe and starts to leave.
Hae Soo finds him and says she’s got something that can help him remove his mask. With pots of makeup before her, she removes Wang So’s mask and looks at his scar. She gently runs her hand over the scar. Wang So grabs her hand and asks if his face makes her feel sorry for him. She quips she can’t feel sorry for something that is always issuing her death threats. Ha! She tells him the scar shouldn’t ruin his life. Wang So asks if he can trust her. She promises he can trust her. Wang So says if she stays true to herself, then he will trust her. He tells her “I am yours”. Swoon! She applies the makeup; they are aware of each other.
The King and the princes wait for Wang So. Ji Mong assures them Wang So will be there. One man suggests Wang Yo be swapped in. Wang Yo approaches the palanquin but Wang So appears and tells him that only he and the Crown Prince can perform the rain ritual. Wang Yo hits Wang So knocking off his mask. Wang So picks the mask off the ground. Wang Yo sees the scar is gone. Ji Mong tells Wang So to sit in the palanquin. Wang So takes off WITHOUT his mask. Wang Yo is not happy. His unhappiness makes me happy!
The people beg Wang So to help them get the rain. They go to throw rocks but notice his mask is gone. They take it as a sign of his power. They bow and chant for rain. Wang So and Ji Mong walk the streets performing the rain ritual. Ji Mong has a satisfied smile on his face. I know how he feels. Wang Yo watches from above livid his brother is seizing this opportunity for power. As Wang So walks into the palace EVERYONE is stunned he is not wearing his mask AND has the support of the people. Queen Yoo is not happy. The King is impassive. Wang Wook realizes Hae Soo helped Wang So. She has a satisfied smile just like Wang Jung. Wang So stares at his mother. Wang Wook does not look happy either. Jealous of Hae Soo’s support AND the power? Wang So looks back and smiles at Hae Soo. She smiles at him but then sees a vision of him smiling an evil smile. Hae Soo wonders if she just helped the prince that will kill his brothers become the next King. It begins to rain! Everyone is stunned! Ji Mong smiles. His plan worked! Baek Ah is happy. Wang Wook loves the rain, he can ask for Hae Soo to return to his house. Queen Yoo stares at Wang Yo livid at the turn of events. Once again, Wang So turns and looks at Hae Soo. She again sees a vision of him smiling an evil smile. Hae Soo again wonders if she just helped the prince that will kill his brothers become the next King. Wang So turns and we see the makeup has been removed by the rain and the scar is unveiled.
Wang So grabbed the brass ring. Finally, Ji Mong set him straight. Deal with your issues and decide if you want to be King. Hae Soo got herself out of the dog house and helped Wang So deal with his scar. But not everyone was happy with Wang So’s ascension to power. Queen Yoo and Wang Yo were livid but Wang Wook wasn’t happy either. If only Hae Soo could remember which prince is the next King.
Hae Soo (IU) grappled with her new reality. She can’t go an episode without someone saving her. This time Royal Concubine Oh put herself on the line and defended Hae Soo to Queen Yoo. Hae Soo was grateful and offered Royal Concubine Oh a rare gift, her friendship and respect. Hae Soo was miffed that Wang So forgave everyone but her. But you can’t keep a good woman down, and she went to Wang So counseling him to return to his duty. Then she realized she could use the magic of makeup to cover the scar. Wang So decided to trust her and accepted her offer of help. Do I see romance between these two? Not yet and maybe never. Hae Soo loves Wang Wook. They have a soft gentle vibe. I still wonder if Wang Wook will have the moxy to openly date or ask the King to allow a marriage. I can only respect Hae Soo’s attitude of making her life the best it can be. Atta girl!
Fourth Prince Wang So (Lee Joon Gi) was forced to decide if he was willing to stay in the background or jump into the spotlight. His shame over his scar and his rejection / banishment by his parents have messed with Wang So’s head and left invisible scars to match the visible scar his witch of a mother gave him. Ji Mong finally said what Wang So needed to hear. “Deal with it. Decide what you want. Go for it.” Wang So was willing to go for it without the makeup but Hae Soo appeared at the critical moment. Wang So had to choose whether or not to trust Hae Soo. He chooses to trust her. I highly doubt anyone has ever touched his scar like she did. It unnerved him. By trusting Hae Soo, he made himself vulnerable with her. It was lovely. Finally, I loved that Wang So analyzed the rain ritual opportunity just like his mother did much to Wang Yo’s chagrin, who didn’t have the insight his mother and brother did. When the people rejected then accepted Wang So, that was a clear indication that Wang So had risen from the ashes of obscurity into the spotlight to vie for the power of the throne. Do I think he’s the prince that kills his brothers? No I don’t.
Eight Prince Wang Wook (Kang Ha Neul) told Hae Soo that he wanted to bring her back to his house if it rained. I appreciate what a beautiful couple Wang Wook and Hae Soo make. I appreciate the sweet, deep, caring vibe they have. However, Wang Wook still seems like a bit of a coward. He did not look happy to see Wang So rise in power due to the rain ritual but he was happy it rained. He now can request Hae Soo be returned to his household. If she is, will he openly court her?
Tenth Prince Wang Eun (Baekhyun) has found the right woman for him. He just doesn’t know if yet. The General’s daughter is sweetly nervous around him. Wang Eun isn’t sweet or kind to her but he couldn’t resist her offer to end his boredom. My hats off to the production team for setting the mood of the scene where they capture the sparrow as a sweet moment then had it grind to a halt when she quickly dispatched the sparrow much to Wang Eun’s horror. The General knew that if his daughter had set her heart on Wang Eun, he could not dissuade her. I liked that.
Fourteenth Prince Wang Jung (Ji Soo) is cheerful. He’s easy to watch but has little impact.
Thirteenth Prince Baek Ah (Nam Joo Hyuk) is the truth speaker. He told the truth to both Hae Soo and Wang So. He was a friend to Hae Soo and Wang So. I’m so pleased that this prince is straightforward and supportive. We didn’t see the princess he met in the last episode. I hope he does get a love interest. He deserves it.
Ninth Prince Wang Won (Yoon Sun Woo) appeared this episode. He has little impact.
Crown Prince Wang Mu (Kim San Ho) has eczema and Hae Soo helped him before he headed out to battle. While the Crown Prince has a huge target on his back, he reached out to Hae Soo to help and thanked her with a necklace. He may not be the most dynamic prince, but he seems like a decent guy to me.
Third Prince Wang Yo (Hong Jong Hyun) got bested by Wang So. I thoroughly enjoyed Wang Yo realizing that his mother and Wang So had similar thoughts about the rain ritual but he didn’t. He was correct when he told his mother that Wang So’s Achilles heel was his scar. But much to his displeasure, when Wang Yo went to make the move and take over in the rain ritual Wang So appeared and blocked Wang Yo. He had to watch Wang So triumph in winning the people and the heavens when it rained. What can I say, his unhappiness is well deserved.
The fifth song of the OST is “All With You” by TAEYEON. Check out the video below.