Wang So changes his career path.
Scarlet Heart Ryeo Episode 16 Recap
Hae Soo (IU), tenth Prince Wang Eun (Baekhyun), and his wife Soon Duk hear the soldiers coming for them. Soon Duk tells Wang Eun that she will go face the soldiers alone. He doesn’t want her to go, but she convinces him that as the General’s daughter, she will not be injured. Soon Duk gives Hae Soo a look that tells her to take care of her husband. Soon Duk runs towards the soldiers. Hae Soo tries to take Wang Eun with her but he pulls away. He realizes that he can’t let his wife face what lies ahead alone. He takes off after her. Hae Soo stares at him believing that he is running to his death.
Fourth Prince Wang So (Lee Joon Gi) asks Princess Yeon Hwa how she knew where Wang Eun was. Yeon Hwa explains that as a young child Wang Eun would fashion things out of towels, and those things were all over Hae Soo’s house. Wang So strides away. Sometimes I’d like to wipe that smug smile off her face.
Ji Mong and the General learn that Wang Eun and his daughter are fighting the soldiers at Hae Soo’s house. The General starts running hoping that he gets to his daughter in time.
Wang Eun and Soon Duk valiantly try and stave off the soldiers surrounding them. But when Soon Duk is struck down, the tide turns. Wang Eun stands in front of his wife and tells her he will protect her now. But she is stuck again and dies.
Wang Eun can’t be protected from the wicked arrow of Wang Yo (Hong Jong Hyun). The King shoots an arrow directly into his arm. Wang Eun is shocked that he’s been shot. Wang So arrives and stares into his brother’s eyes. Fourteenth Prince Wang Jung (Ji Soo) and Hae Soo arrive but are blocked by soldiers. But an arm wound isn’t enough for our smiling King. He takes the next arrow and shoots it into Wang Eun’s chest. With his last moments of life, Wang Eun tells Wang So that Wang Yo manipulated him on the day he asked Wang So to remove his mask as a birthday gift. He has one last favor to ask. He says it’s something that only Wang So can do. He stares at him meaningfully and Wang So understands that his brother is asking Wang So to end his life, so he can be with the woman he loves in the afterlife. The King has another arrow ready to finish Wang Eun off but Wang So honors his brother’s final request and raises his sword. Wang Jung and Hae Soo stare in horror as Wang So does what his brother his asked him to do. Wang Eun falls to the ground and dies reaching towards his beloved wife with his last breaths. The King, having accomplished his goal to squelch treason by killing his brother, his supposed enemy, leaves. Wang So is overcome by pain and remorse. Once again he has shouldered a burden that no one else would want. He laughs hysterically as the pain guts his heart. Hae Soo sinks to the ground. Wang So leaves trying to get the grip on what he just did.
That death scene took longer than I expected. Couple of things stood out to me. Wang Yo even though you are good-looking, your heart is black; all that matters is your own power and for that reason, in this moment, you repulsed me. Wang So, why oh why do you take on burdens that torture you? Just like when you stepped into the fight with Wang Yo not allowing Wang Wook to kill his own brother. Instead you did that, and tortured yourself for two years until Wang Yo returned alive. I hope that Wang Jung understands that Wang So did not kill his brother for sport, I would assume so, but you just never know. Hae Soo please realize what you saw Wang So do was a mercy killing, not the slaughter that Wang Yo perpetrated.
The General sees a dazed Wang So walking. The General sees blood on Wang So’s sword. The General runs towards his daughter hoping against hope that she’s not dead.
The General, Wang Jung, and Hae Soo, sit on the ground by the bodies of Wang Eun and Soon Duk. The General tells them that he wanted his daughter to marry Baek Ah or Wang Jung, but she insisted upon Wang Eun. The General says that she said that Wang Eun was her first love. She believes she would have married him even if she knew what would happen in the end. The General pays his daughter a high compliment saying that Soon Duk was true to herself and didn’t know how to change. Who wouldn’t want to go through life being respected for being authentically themselves? The General asks Hae Soo if his daughter got love from her husband. Hae Soo assures General that his daughter was well loved. That pleases the General. He cradles his daughter and says he can do nothing for her anymore, as tears streamed down his face. Wang Jung mutters that he will kill Wang So for killing his brother. I’m disappointed. Wang Jung must not have eyes or ears. Did he not see his brother, the King, with a bow and arrow in his hand, ready to kill his brother? Did he not see or hear Wang Eun plead for mercy from Wang So? Wang Jung grabs his sword and goes to find Wang So. Hae Soo grabs him and tells him that Wang Eun wanted Wang So to kill him. She tells Wang Jung not to hurt Wang So. She tells Wang Jung that Wang So is in a lot of pain. Wang Jung yells his frustration and drops the knife. I guess one out of two isn’t bad. Hae Soo saw that Wang Eun asked Wang So to end his life, but I don’t know how Wang Jung did not recognize this considering he was closer to Wang Eun.
Wang So stops in front of the palace and stares. He tells Ji Mong that he must become a killing dog that turns on his master. He declares he will become a rabid wolf dog. Wang So, you a wolf, that’s your spirit animal. Wang So walks away and thinks to himself “I will become King.” We knew this day would come. I hate the emotional knots wrapped around Wang So. His sorrow over Wang Eun’s death and his role in it, was plain to see. But Wang So must take a stand and rid the Kingdom of Wang Yo. He’ll also have to take on the silent but deadly Wang Wook.
Speaking of Eighth Prince Wang Wook (Kang Ha Neul), he learns that Wang Eun is dead from Wang Yo. He grips his hands to hide his emotion. Wang Wook, I know you loved Wang Eun but you didn’t help save him. You are complicit in his death. Wang Wook congratulates the King on removing another obstacle. Wang Yo believes this will bring the important families in line. He also plans to move the capital to satisfy his uncle.
Thirteenth Prince Baek Ah (Nam Joo Hyuk) visits Wang So and tells him that even though Wang Eun and his wife were declared traitors he and Wang Jung found their bodies in the woods and gave them a proper burial. Wang So tells Baek Ah that Wang Eun remembered the cruel birthday trick that Wang Yo talked him into. Baek Ah tells Wang So he honored Wang Eun with his actions. Ji Mong brings Wang So the letter he just found from Hae Soo telling him that Wang Eun was at her house. Wang So sighs.
Hae Soo sighs. Her knee hurts. She rubs it as she waits for Wang So to come. When Wang So does appear, she runs to him but stops short when she sees the look on his face. Wang So believes she must consider him a monster. Hae Soo says he had a difficult choice. Wang So asks why Hae Soo hid the truth of Wang Eun’s whereabouts. He correctly surmises that she didn’t trust him and believed he’d kill Wang So. To her credit, Hae Soo confirms this. She explains she was worried about Wang Eun, worried that Wang So would have to do something awful, and felt if Wang Eun could escape, all would be well. She didn’t see that withholding the truth would hurt them until it was too late. The letter was her attempt to make things right. Even though it took her time, she declares her full trust in Wang So. She admits that she trusts Wang So in everything, even with her heart. She admits she likes him. Wang So declares he no longer cares for her. He only sees her lack of faith in him. He says Wang Eun died because of her. He lays it on thick, telling her that when he became the King’s dog he still cared for her, but today changed everything. He looks at her tear streaked face and declares their relationship over. She declares he’s lying. He invokes the “truth zone” and says they don’t lie to each other. He walks away. She cries, stunned that once again, her timing in matters of the heart is off.
Wang So staggers into his apartment, undone by what he forced himself to do. The agony on his face is evident.
Not a bad scene. It was very subdued. Considering Wang Eun’s death and the emotional drain of that event, I get that they were tired. Wang So obviously lied so he could pursue his goal, and eliminate risk to her and himself, by cutting her out of his life. I have to shake my head at Hae Soo. She took too long to realize and admit her feelings to Wang So. I worry that Wang So is hurting. His pain never sits well with me.
The King gifts Wang So with land for dispensing with Wang Eun. He sees that Wang So is bummed out, so he orders him to oversee the building of the new capital. Wang So thanks the King for his faith in him.
Wang Jung asks the King how he can live with his actions. The King calmly states difficult positions require difficult choices. He warns Wang Jung that he will only tolerate a certain amount of back talk. Wang Jung tells the King he’s leaving with the troops. The King approves, warning Wang Jung to avoid battle and stay safe for their mother’s sake. Wang Jung refuses to cower and claims he will fight and pay for his brother’s crimes. Bold statement! He drops the broken bloody arrow he extracted from Wang Eun’s body onto the ground. He tells his brother this is a reminder of Wang Eun. He leaves. Nicely done! I didn’t know Wang Jung had it in him!
The King is spooked when he imagines hearing Wang Eun calling to him. He tells his minister to put more food out for the recently departed. Serves you right Wang Yo, you deserve to be haunted by your innocent brother. There was no one more innocent of treason than Wang Eun!
As Wang So exits the palace with Wang Wook, the General looks at him and “congratulates” him on his new role earned by killing his daughter. He stalks away. The others leave him commenting on his bad behavior. Wang Wook stares at him and strides away.
Flashback…Wang So, Baek Ah, Ji Mong meet with the General who asks Wang So if it’s true that he’s decided to become King. Wang So confirms this. The General scoffs that Ji Mong has been spouting Wang So’s destiny of becoming King for years. I love that he called Ji Mong a quack! The General confesses Wang So’s father, the former King, believed Wang So would be King one day. He sent the General to watch over Wang So. Wang So doesn’t care what the stars predict, he only knows that he must become King. He won’t stop until he reaches the throne. Wang So tells the others they must decide now, are they with him or against him? Baek Ah is with him. Ji Mong is with him. The General says he’ll decide after he sees who Wang So is willing to throw away to reach his goal. He reminds Wang So that his father was always willing to throw away people to maintain the Kingdom. Nice moment amount Wang So’s supporters. I liked that Baek Ah supported him because he was the younger brother, Ji Mong supported him because he had to stand behind his predictions, and the General needed proof that Wang So was serious enough to toss away the most important person to him before he agreed to support Wang So’s quest to become King.
Baek Ah tells Hae Soo that Wang So has left for the new capital. Hae Soo can’t believe that he’d leave without saying goodbye. She goes to their meeting spot, but he’s not there. She declares she will wait for him.
I know I should be pleased that she’s finally found faith in their love, but I’m irked that it took her to the 80% complete point of this series to sort out her feelings. And yes, I know it’s the writer’s choice to do this, but it diminishes this character, and I wish it had been handled a bit differently. I’d preferred to have seen strong love between them only to have them torn apart again and again by life’s cruel circumstances.
Two years pass…
Chae Ryung finds Hae Soo excited to see Hae Soo’s reaction when she learns who is returning to the palace. Hae Soo is excited when she realizes Chae Ryung must be referring to Wang So. She runs to see him. Chae Ryung smiles broadly.
But Hae Soo doesn’t find Wang So at her house, she finds Wang Jung, and she’s disappointed. But she’s happy to see Wang Jung and greets him. Happy to drink Hae Soo’s delicious tea, Wang Jung admits he stopped by Wang Eun’s grave and bragged to his sister in law that he is now a top General. He’s relieved Hae Soo is still at the palace. She didn’t have anywhere else to be, she quips. Wang Jung asks if she got married. Still single Hae Soo claims to be planning to retire and travel, joking she’s built up a nice nest egg to do this with.
Wang Jung and Hae Soo greet Baek Ah and Woo Hee. Baek Ah is happy to see Wang Jung who stares at Woo Hee like he can’t quite remember who she is. Hae Soo explains she’s a court lady who stopped by for tea. Wang Jung realizes Woo Hee is the former gisaeng. He tells Baek Ah he consorts with murders and gisaengs. Baek Ah doesn’t like that. Wang Jung warns Baek Ah that one day Wang So will kill him. Wang Jung tells him to stop sending musicians to spy on him. Baek Ah calls him paranoid. Wang Jung strides away.
Baek Ah can’t believe that Wang Jung spotted his spy. Hae Soo can’t believe Baek Ah sent a spy. Baek Ah confirms it stating he wanted to know that Wang Jung was well. Baek Ah asks Hae Soo where Wang So is. Hae Soo is disappointed Wang So did not come to see her. Good to see Woo Hee there. What was the price Wang Yo made her pay?
Wang Yo has gone a bit mad in the interim and is at the temple banging and praying to those he killed. I never expected him to feel guilty. I suppose he doesn’t feel guilty, rather he’s sorry he’s haunted and desperate to make it stop. Couldn’t happen to a nicer guy. Queen Yoo arrives not happy to see Wang Yo praying yet again. She tells him with Wang Jung back he’ll need to decide what to do. She urges Wang Yo to make Wang Jung the Crown Prince, he needs the support. Wang Yo asks if she sees him as her son or a sacrificial animal to gain the power of the throne. She doesn’t have to answer; they both know the answer. Wang Yo wants to know if Wang Jung wants the throne. Wang So is announced and enters the room. Wang Yo declares that he’ll make either Wang Jung or Wang So the Crown Prince. Queen Yoo admonishes him to discuss it with her later. She storms past Wang So without acknowledging him. Wang Yo declares Wang So useful and goes back to praying.
Hae Soo sees Wang Wook and Wang Jung in the hallway. Wang Wook stares and says nothing.
Wang Wook, Wang Jung, and Wang So meet with the King who is upset construction on the new capital is delayed again. Hae Soo enters with tea and glances at Wang So. He does not look at her. She takes the King tea. Wang So explains the delays are due to poor supplies and lack of manpower. The King throws a tea cup at Wang So and squeezes Hae Soo’s wrist forcefully declaring Wang So must complete the job. Wang So grits his teeth seeing Hae Soo hurt by his brother. Wang Jung goes to intervene but Wang Wook stops him. To distract the King, Wang So falls to his knees and states he must confess something. Wang Wook tells the King they must talk in private. The King releases Hae Soo and she walks out of the room. All three brothers are relieved. Is Hae Soo like a Lays potato chip, once you fall in love with her, you can’t stop?
Chae Ryung asks Hae Soo why she always writes the same phrase. Hae Soo admits she lies the sound of “I came to sit by the water but the clouds came”. Recall Wang So wrote that to her once.
Wang So goes to their spot. She’s not there. He remembers moments from their past. He smiles a secret smile. He senses that she’s there. Super moment where his face tells you everything. Lee Joon Gi is a master at facial expressions. Hae Soo stares at him. Wang So stares at her.
The King and Ninth Prince Wang Won (Yoon Sun Woo) stare at Wang So and Hae Soo. The King declares that Wang So is useful if his leash is tightened just the right way. Wang Won asks if the King believes that it’s over between Hae Soo and Wang So. Ahem, anyone with eyes can see it is not. In addition, anyone with eyes can see that Wang Wook still loves her and Wang Jung too. Wang Won tells the King everyone needs a good whipping now and then. Wang Won is scum!
Hae Soo starts towards Wang So but he tells her to stop. He wishes they hadn’t seen each other. The King draws his bow and aims at Hae Soo. Wang So sees the King take aim and tackles her taking her out danger from the deadly arrow. As they lay on the ground they stare into each other’s eyes. Hae Soo notices Wang So’s arm is bleeding. The King and Wang Won, aka “smug and smugger”, feign concern for Wang So’s arm. Wang Won says that Wang So and Hae Soo are still chummy. Wang So refutes that stating he couldn’t let the King kill a court lady for sport. The King agrees it wouldn’t look good. He smiles and offers an insincere apology. Wang So warns Wang Won to be careful. Wang Won scoffs and leaves. Wang So winces in pain and leaves. Hae Soo stares at the arrow in the tree.
In her room, Hae Soo stares at the arrow she took from the tree. Woo Hee appears per her request. Hae Soo asks if Woo Hee can get a message to Baek Ah. Woo Hee confirms she can. Hae Soo says she wants to see Wang So. Woo Hee warns her it is dangerous. Hae Soo is prepared for the danger.
The King thanks Wang Jung for settling the unrest at the borders. He offers Wang Jung anything, except the throne, that he wants. Wang Jung gets that look that screams Hae Soo and tells the King there’s something (or someone) that he’s wanted for a long time.
Wang Jung goes to Hae Soo’s home but she’s out. Chae Ryung continues to be the worst liar on the planet claiming Hae Soo is ill. Wang Jung tries to see Hae Soo anyhow but Chae Ryung effectively stops him with concerns for his health. Wang Jung gives Chae Ryung a message for Hae Soo.
Hae Soo finds Wang So trying to recovering from his wound but struggling. She runs her fingers over the scars on his back (he’s shirtless). She tends his wound. He wakes and sees her but it’s blurry and he falls back asleep. When he wakes he finds Hae Soo asleep against the wall. He bends down and stares at her. Yep, he still loves her. He touches her face and she wakes. He pulls his hand away. He asks whys she’s there. She had to ask him something, so she asked Baek Ah to arrange the meeting. She asks Wang So if he lied when he said he no longer cared for her. He tells her to return to the palace. But Hae Soo didn’t come this far to be dismissed. She points out this is a safe spot and she risked her life to see him. She tells him she’s thought about him every day for the last 2 years. She’s wished they could travel back in time, to when they could openly care for each other. With his back to her, Wang So smiles in pleasure at the confession. Hae Soo admits she trusts him. Isn’t that the same as I love you? Hae Soo invokes the “truth zone” and tells him to answer honestly. She asks if he still loves her. Wang So wages a battle within himself, should he tell the truth or lie to protect her. Throwing caution to the wind, he kisses her. She kisses him back. He pulls away and looks at her tenderly. He hugs her. She hugs him back. Next we see she’s sleeping in her nightgown. He watches her sleep. He gently stokes her face. She wakes and smiles. He smiles. They make shadow animals and laugh together. He smiles at her. They eat together. She feeds him. They watch the night sky and laugh when he struggles to pronounce Pegasus. The good times must be ending because Ji Mong appears.
Ji Mong explains that they inadvertently scared the King to a near death state. LOL! Serves him right! Hae Soo guesses it is a heart attack. Wang So guesses it is guilt over the deaths Wang Yo is responsible for. Ji Mong tells Wang So the time to make his move has come.
Wang So stares at the night sky knowing his world is about to change. Hae Soo stands next to him and asks if he wants the throne. Wang So confirms this. Hae Soo asks if he will toss her aside because of the throne. Wang So states that the King used Hae Soo to control him. Hae Soo asks if he’ll relinquish his quest for the throne. Wang So says he’ll convince her he’s the right man to be the next King. She reminds him that he said he didn’t want the throne as long as they were together. That was then, this is now. Wang So states they agreed not to lie to each other. He admits his desire to become King started to save the princes from killing each other. But his assignment to build the new palace showed him that the right kind of King can change the world. “I won’t be controlled anymore. I’ll eliminate the absurdity of the present Kingdom. I want to be King.”
At the 80% complete point in this series. We all hoped that if the young lovers died (as we expected they would), it would be quick. Soon Duk’s death was quick while Wang Eun’s took longer. He asked Wang So to release him, and his brother complied with this last wish. Done with being controlled by the King and helplessly watching the King eliminate his brothers, Wang So decided he must gain the throne. To that end he walked away from Hae Soo, who was finally ready to fully trust. Too little, too late, as she had to wait 2 years for his return. But once Wang So returned, the chemistry was apparent and they finally had a romantic rendezvous. With Wang Yo near death, Wang So told Hae Soo that he rescinded his earlier claim to be satisfied with a life of only her and declared he would become the next King.
Fourth Prince Wang So (Lee Joon Gi) decided he wanted the throne. He reached the end of his rope. Being a passive slave to Wang Yo’s whims wasn’t protecting those he loved. Wang So decided the power of the throne was the only way to do this. He’s right. But does he realize that he may be carving out a life that will satisfy professionally but be lacking personally? When Wang Eun asked Wang So to kill him, I groaned that Wang So was once again put in a dreadful position. But Wang So honored his brother’s final wish, even though it ripped him up. Wang Yo’s reward for his “loyalty” was building the new capital far away. Wang So broke things off with Hae Soo to prove to the General he could put the throne before love. But a weakened Wang So couldn’t lie anymore when Hae Soo invoked the “truth zone” and wanted to know if he still loved her. I loved the emotions that played on his face as he considered how to answer. He kissed her and they enjoyed time together. One thing is a constant in this drama, our leading couple only get snatches of time together (Episode 14 and Episode 16). With the news that Wang Yo was near death, Wang So told Hae Soo he would make his play for the throne. Will she stand by him?
Eight Prince Wang Wook (Kang Ha Neul) is stern. He was still the loyal servant of Wang Yo waiting for his chance to become King. Now he’s got two obstacles; Wang So (formidable) and Wang Jung (dispensable). What evil scheme will he concoct to win the throne?
Tenth Prince Wang Eun (Baekhyun) died. It was an effective death scene and the most maturity this character ever displayed. At least he went out being the best he’d ever been. While I appreciated his apology/explanation for asking Wang So to remove his mask on his birthday, I did not appreciate his request that Wang So mercy kill him. Wang So has a tender heart. Yes, I said Wang So has a tender heart. He only pretends otherwise. Wang Eun’s request gutted our sweet Wang So. I felt terrible for him.
Fourteenth Prince Wang Jung (Ji Soo) left the palace after Wang Eun died. I was pleased that he and Baek Ah gave Wang Eun and his wife a proper burial. I was displeased when he believed Wang So killed Wang Eun for the King. I shook my head in amazement that Wang Jung was oblivious to Wang Eun’s plea for mercy. Talk about lack of trust in Wang So, Wang Jung was the poster child this episode. Even Wang Yo had more trust in Wang So. But let’s face it, Wang Jung isn’t the smartest prince in the bunch.
Thirteenth Prince Baek Ah (Nam Joo Hyuk) arranged the fateful meeting between Wang So and Hae Soo. Baek Ah is the perfect friend. I was happy to see him with Woo Hee. Wang Wook’s slander against Woo Hee, raised Baek Ah’s ire. I wonder what he’d be like really angry.
Ninth Prince Wang Wook (Yoon Sun Woo) was the loyal lap dog of team evil. He’s scum.
King Wang Yo (Hong Jong Hyun) suffered hallucinations after killing Wang Eun’s family. Serves him right. I felt no pity for him. He sunk to a new low when he shot the arrows into sweet Wang Eun. Labeling him as a traitor, hunting him down, and then plunging arrows into Wang Eun, was despicable.
The twelfth song of the OST is “Be With You” by Akdong Musician. Check out the video below.