Wang So begins his revenge quest. Is history coming true?
Scarlet Heart Ryeo Episode 18 Recap
With relish, Yeon Hwa tells Hae Soo (IU) that she will marry Wang So and become Queen. Until Wang So says so, Hae Soo won’t believe it. Yeon Hwa explains that the powerful families are circling the throne and Wang So must solidify his power. Yeon Hwa demeans Hae Soo by telling her that a woman who waits all day in a pretty room for Wang So to be available isn’t the kind of woman that should be Queen. Yeon Hwa deals the trump card and tells Hae Soo a King cannot marry a woman with a scar on her body. She smiles. Hae Soo eyes widen knowing that rule stopped her from marrying Wang So’s father, the former King. Yeon Hwa is thrilled to see Hae Soo silenced. She tells Hae Soo that they can coexist. Yeon Hwa states as the daughter of the former King she is the best woman to protect Wang So. Just like her brother Wang Wook, Yeon Hwa knows she’s just check-mated Hae Soo as she sweeps out of the room.
Meanwhile in the King’s chamber, eighth Prince Wang Wook (Kang Ha Neul)is delivering the same message to Wang So (Lee Joon Gi). A King cannot marry a woman with a scar on her body. Wang Wook identifies Wang So’s only option to marry Hae Soo would be to abdicate the throne. Wang Wook asks Wang So which he will give up – the throne or Hae Soo? Wang So smiles and states as King he has everything at his fingertips. In fact, as he points to his scar, he even became King with a scar. Touché!
Dinner between Hae Soo and Wang So is a quiet affair.
A minister visits Wang So and tells him that the powerful families are uneasy and unhappy. He recommends that Wang So marry Yeon Hwa. Wang So isn’t interested. The minister scoffs that Wang So must not want to be on the throne for much longer. Thirteenth Prince Baek Ah (Nam Joo Hyuk) tells the minister to mind his tounge. Being Wang So’s advisor can’t be a dream job for Baek Ah.
Queen Hwangbo tells Wang So she’s worried that the Kingdom Wang So’s father worked so hard to build will splinter if the powerful families are not soothed. Queen Hwangbo remarks she did her part to protect the Kingdom by forcing Wang Wook to abandon his quest for the throne. Queen Hwangbo offers Wang So a journal that Hae Soo kept. Queen Hwangbo notes that Hae Soo has no background and has weaknesses. Wang So puts his hand on the journal and says he doesn’t care about the throne. Queen Hwangbo says the only way he’ll exit the throne is by death. That gets Wang So’s attention.
Hae Soo tells Chae Ryung she convinced Wang So to allow her to say at the palace. Chae Ryung is thrilled. She asks Hae Soo if it’s true that Yeon Hwa will be Queen. Ji Mong interrupts wanting to speak with Hae Soo.
Ji Mong recalls happy memories of the princes. Hae Soo smiles at his recollections. Ji Mong is blunt, he tells Hae Soo to forget the dream of marrying Wang So. Ji Mong says that Wang So won’t give her up, she must release him first. Hae Soo counters that she didn’t wait this long to let happiness slip through her fingers. If Wang So will be true to her, why would she give up now? Ji Mong goes for the jugular and asks Hae Soo if another prince dies because she refused to do the right thing, can she live with the guilt? That upsets Hae Soo. Ji Mong says Hae Soo can be Wang So’s comfort but not his strength. He declares Hae Soo is not the King’s soulmate. Harsh!
Hae Soo finds Wang So brooding on the throne. She suggests they go the market wearing masks so no one will recognize them. Wang So agrees.
They wear the masks at times but it’s more about relishing their alone time and having fun.
Hae Soo takes Wang So to her makeshift prayer tower. Wang So quips it looks like she wants a proposal. Hae Soo agrees she wants a proposal. Wang So says there are many reason why he loves her. He declares that he must live with her. He asks her to marry him. Tears fill Hae Soo’s eyes. Wang So looks at her with concern. Hae Soo whispers that she cannot marry him. She echoes Ji Mong’s words and tells him that she can only be his comfort. She states it would be too hard on her to marry him. Wang So demands to know who she’s been talking to. He is firm, he will not give up on her because of her scar. Hae Soo assures him she’ll stay by his side. She dodging her desire to wed him by stating whether wife or Queen the palace rules would throttle her spontaneous nature. She can’t live like that. She gently caresses his face and says she’s fine. He takes her hand. He states if he can’t marry her than she can’t leave him. He won’t let her go. Earnestly Wang So declares that she is his and cannot leave him. Wang So hugs her and declares she is his only Queen. Hae Soo hugs him back. Lovely moment between our couple. Hae Soo to the high road and refused to marry him. Wang So assured Hae Soo that it would only be her in his heart. While not exactly the truth zone, our couple understood exactly what they weren’t saying too. There is an edge of desperation in Wang So as he says she can’t leave him, does Hae Soo see it?
Wang So marries Yeon Hwa. Queen Hwangbo is thrilled. Wang Wook wishes them well. Yeon Hwa smiles broadly. Wang So looks like he’s taking bitter medicine.
Hae Soo stares at herself in the mirror and remembers Wang So declaring she was his only queen.
Fourteenth Prince Wang Jung (Ji Soo) finds Hae Soo at the makeshift prayer tower. He jokes that he didn’t want to attend the wedding either. Hae Soo assures him she’s fine. She shares that Wang Jung’s father once told her to relish the present and not focus on the future. Wang Jung suggests they run away together and escape the palace confines. Hae Soo quips that his idea of running away is fighting battles. Wang Jung assures Hae Soo that she need only say “I want it” to signal him to whisk her away. She smiles at his gallantry. She returns to praying. Wang Jung prays too. Want to bet they are praying for very different things?
It’s the wedding night…Wang So lifts the veil from Yeon Hwa’s face. They stare at each other. He sways towards her. She looks at him in anticipation. He draws back. He turns and starts to walk away. Yeon Hwa tells him that Hae Soo can be used against him again and again. She recommends he rid himself of Hae Soo. Wang So firmly tells her to focus on being the Queen. He warns her not to cross that line with him again. Yeon Hwa gets the message. Wang So strides out of the room. Tears fill her eyes, the dream of winning Wang So eludes Yeon Hwa. Do I feel sorry for her? Nope. Good scene. Yeon Hwa had to try to convince Wang So to ditch Hae Soo. It wasn’t subtle but watching Wang So walk away from her on her wedding night forced the threat. Accordingly, Wang So had to knock Yeon Hwa down and let her know she’s Queen politically but not personally.
Chae Ryung finds Hae Soo and asks if she’s okay. They remember Lady Hae. Chae Ryung prays to her family and tells them she’s well. Hae Soo prays to her family and declares she’s doing well. Chae Ryung offers Hae Soo comfort. Wang So sees them together. He doesn’t disturb them and walks away. He walks by Yeon Hwa’s room but doesn’t enter. Yeon Hwa sits alone on her wedding night. Do I feel sorry for her? Nope.
Wang So declares he’s decided to name his reign era “Gwangdeok”. Wang Wook omits praising the name (ha!) and tells Wang So that the powerful families are distributing rice to those pressed into slavery to build the capital. He suggests that Wang So not worry about the finances. Wang So agrees. Baek Ah is surprised. Wang Wook is pleased. Wang So thinks compromising isn’t always fun. Wang So declares with the power families supporting him, he’ll have time to hunt, fish and read. Wang So nonchalantly states Wang Jung will be banished to his hometown. Baek Ah takes exception and states Wang So must have a reason to do this. Wang So states the reason is his opposition to Wang So becoming King. With a smile on his face, Wang So states that he out of deference to their shared mother he isn’t killing Wang Jung, merely banishing him. Wang So is clear, Wang Jung will be killed if he returns to the palace. That gets everyone buzzing.
Queen Yoo is upset at Wang So’s edict to banish Wang Jung. She faints.
Hae Soo is surprised when Baek Ah and Woo Hee tell her of Wang Jung’s banishment. Baek Ah adds that Wang Jung has been stripped of his military position too. Hae Soo is aghast that Wang Jung will be not allowed to move freely. She wants to talk to the King. Woo Hee tells her to stay out of it. Woo Hee states this isn’t a simple argument between squabbling youthful brothers. Baek Ah tells Hae Soo to talk to Wang So after things have calmed down. Want to bet that Wang So won’t change his mind?
Yeon Hwa visits Queen Yoo who lies listless on her bed. She asks Yeon Hwa to bring her Wang Jung. Yeon Hwa says she’ll bring Wang So. Queen Yoo only wants to see Wang Jung. Wang So enters the chambers. Wang So tells Yeon Hwa and the court ladies he will personally attend to his mother. He sits on her bed and tells her to recover soon.
Wang Jung demands to see his mother. The palace guards refuse to let Wang Jung enter.
Hae Soo pleads with Wang So to allow Wang Jung to see his mother. Irritated, Wang So realizes that Hae Soo sent for Wang Jung. She confirms she did. She begs Wang So to allow Wang Jung to be with his mother. Wang So snaps that Wang Jung will die if he sees his mother. Hae Soo can’t believe Wang So’s rigidity. Wang So tells her Wang Jung is lucky he didn’t kill him for trying to see his mother. Wang So warns Hae Soo that if Wang Jung enters the palace, he’s a dead man, even if Hae Soo leads him in personally. Hae Soo is dismayed.
Wang Jung waits outside the palace. Baek Ah brings his brother water. Wang Jung pours it on his head. Nice!
Queen Yoo refuses the soup that Wang So tries to feed her. Wang So says she’s refused food and water for 5 days. He asks if she’ll die because of this. She pleads for Wang Jung. Wang So tells her that he’s all she has left. Wang Yo is dead. Wang Jung is banished. He’s the King and protecting her. Queen Yoo remembers a younger Wang So declaring that he’d be the only son she’d see and that he’d never leave her, even though she threw him away. Queen Yoo is living the nightmare of his promise. With smiling malice, Wang So declares he’ll build her temples and tells stories about their fabulous relationship. A tear runs down his face as Wang So declares he will finally become her favorite son. He tells her she’s living his revenge because she threw him away. She reaches for his scar, gasps, and dies. Wang So is shocked. The tears turn from malice to pain. Wang So feels the pain of a son rejected by his mother for a lifetime, the pain of hoping her touch of his scar meant something as she breathed her last breath. I didn’t think Queen Yoo’s touch of his scar was gentle. It looked like she wanted to claw at the scar.
Hae Soo exits the palace and tells Wang Jung his mother is dead. She brings him to see her. Wang So enters and tells Wang Jung that he must leave before his punishment is reinstated. Wang Jung stares at his mother and says nothing. Tears fill his eyes at the cruelty of being denied access to his mother when she was on death’s door.
Wang So is livid that Hae Soo brought Wang Jung to see his mother. He snaps she is supposed to take his side. Hae Soo retorts this isn’t about taking sides. Wang Jung deserved to see his mother. Wang So rages that he was cast aside son. He never had alone time with her for any of his 25 years. Hae Soo goes to touch his scar but he stops her by grabbing her hand. He tells her she should have supported and understood this from his perspective. He leaves. Hae Soo shakes her head. They are unraveling!
Wang So asks ninth Prince Wang Won (Yoon Sun Woo) who poisoned the Crown Prince’s bath water. Wang Won claims not to know. Wang So asks if Chae Ryung was originally Wang Won’s servant before she transferred to Wang Wook’s home. Wang So believes Wang Won and Wang Wook worked together to put Chae Ryung in position where she could do their bidding. Wang So asks Wang Won if Wang Wook was the mastermind. Wang Won says nothing. Wang So goes for the jugular, stating if Wang Wook wasn’t the mastermind, then Wang So will assume it was Wang Won. That gets the cowardly Wang Won’s attention. He declares he wasn’t the mastermind. Ji Mong reminds him he could be put into a pot of boiling water if he doesn’t admit the details. Wang Won declares he only did as he was told. Wang Won declares Wang Wook and Wang Yo plotted together. Wang So barely keeps his temper in check. He tells Wang Won he has one more question. Wang Won folded easily, how will Wang So get his revenge?
Hae Soo comes looking for Chae Ryung. Woo Hee doesn’t know where she is. Instead she shows her someone being beaten inside a rug. All the court ladies are watching per the King’s orders. Hae Soo asks Ji Mong why the King is doing this awful thing. Ji Mong states a court lady is being punished for a terrible crime. Hae Soo realizes who it might be in the rug. Ji Mong confirms it is Chae Ryung. Hae Soo staggers to the rug. The guard unrolls a bloody Chae Ryung. Hae Soo faints.
While she sleeps, Hae Soo recalls happy memories with Chae Ryung. Wang So is livid that the doctor didn’t inform him that Hae Soo was ill. Hae Soo wakes after calling for Chae Ryung. She sits up. She pushes Wang So away. She demands to know how Wang So could have Chae Ryung beaten. Wang So tells her that Chae Ryung was a spy that reported on Hae Soo to Wang Won. Wang So tells her a journal was made raised suspicion that Hae Soo was a foreign spy. Wang So references the journal Queen Hwangbo gave him. Wang So tells Hae Soo that Chae Ryung was complicit in stopping their marriage. Wang So tells Hae Soo that Chae Ryung poisoned the Crown Prince’s bath water. Hae Soo recalls Chae Ryung’s too strident denial of poisoning the bath water. Wang So tells Hae Soo the Chae Ryung told Hae Soo about the secret entrance to the baths and that Chae Ryung learned it from Wang Won. Wang So says Wang Wook and Wang Yo blocked the escape path Wang Eun wanted to use. Hae Soo recalls Wang Wook saying Chae Ryung told him about the secret entrance to the baths. Wang So says that Chae Ryung wanted to stay near Hae Soo to tear them apart and harm Hae Soo. Wang So states he has no reason to forgive Chae Ryung for years of treasonous actions. Hae Soo cries for the girl she once knew. Wang So tells her to rest. He leaves. Hae Soo stares at the cloth Chae Ryung gave her. That was an impressive list of charges against Chae Ryung!
In anger Wang So declares all the schemes came from Wang Wook. Baek Ah listens to Wang So demand whether or not he should allow Wang Wook to continue playing with him. Baek Ah urges further investigation. Wang So snaps that his only supporters are Baek Ah and Hae Soo. Wang So snarls that because Wang Wook he’s become a monster to Hae Soo. Wang So declares Wang Wook will pay. I confirm, being Wang So’s advisor is not a dream job for Baek Ah! Wang Wook, your time is coming. Wang So is going to extract his revenge.
Hae Soo examines the scarf and sees a message from Chae Ryung where she tells Hae Soo she knows her time is short. Chae Ryung writes she regrets not admitting the truth when she had the chance. Chae Ryung claims love drove her do these things. We see a sweet scene of a young Chae Ryung begging for help and a young Wang Won giving her something and telling her he liked her persistence. More scenes between Chae Ryung and Wang Won. Her love is evident. Hae Soo finishes reading the scarf where Chae Ryung tells her she has no regrets. Hae Soo looks around her room. Or is it her cage?
As Wang So staggers to his room, he thinks he sees a masked Hae Soo. As he goes to kiss her, he stops when he realizes it is Yeon Hwa. He tells warns her she was not to be greedy. Yeon Hwa scoffs that a mere mask fooled him. She reminds him that he told her to be a Queen. Yeon Hwa states they both want to protect the throne and an heir will help do that. She promises to make their son King. She hugs him. Wang So smiles. He asks if she’d reject Wang Wook and her family if he asked her to. She pulls away and stares at him. Wang So asks again, would she reject Wang Wook and her family at his request? He states if they produce an heir, he will become the Crown Prince. She will become the Queen Mother. She stares at him. He smiles. Has he found one way to strike at Wang Wook and Yeon Hwa and their family?
Baek Ah finds Hae Soo wondering what do to. She says Wang So killed her little sister. Baek Ah shares that Wang So knew that Chae Ryung was up to no good and tried to get her to leave the palace. Baek Ah states if Chae Ryung had left the palace when she had the chance, Wang So would have let her go without reprisal. Hae Soo thinks Wang So’s punishment was cruel. Hae Soo wonders how to escape this misery. She echoes Chae Ryung’s lame justification of love driving her choices. Her heart palpitations begin because of the stress. Baek Ah reminds her that Wang So is worried about her. Hae Soo braces herself and asks Baek Ah for a favor. She offers him the hair ornament that Wang So gave her. She asks him to give it to Wang Jung along with the message “I want it”. Baek Ah asks if Wang Jung does what she want, will she be happy? Hae Soo confirms this will make her happy. Baek Ah repeats “I want it”. Hae Soo says she wants it desperately.
Hae Soo can’t take it anymore. I’m not surprised by her choice to leave Wang So. I’m not surprised by her ridiculous choice to pardon the astonishing long list of Chae Ryung’s actions because Chae Ryung was in love with Wang Won. I’m not surprised that she could not accept Wang So’s actions. Wang So is going to blow a gasket. Fury will consume him. Will he be like he was when he wiped out the temple dwellers?
This story line is the adult version of King of the Hill. You know the children’s game whose object is to stay on top of a pile as the “King of the Hill”. Other players attempt to knock the current King off the pile and take their place, thus becoming the new King of the Hill. Watching all these characters succumb to the lure of the throne, sacrifice/compromise their ethics, make deals with the devil, etc. has been fascinating. No character that decides they want the throne goes unscathed. They all change…and not for the better.
King Wang So (Lee Joon Gi) married Yeon Hwa not Hae Soo. He said he was willing to ditch the throne to marry Hae Sop. I don’t believe that statement. Hae Soo refused his marriage proposal for his sake. Wang So accepted her refusal for his sake.
Wang So forced his mother to be nursed by him on her death bed. Wang So had the crazy look when he declared this was his revenge for her rejection. Was he justified? Yes. Was he cold and cruel? Yes. Was he justified? Yes.
Wang So decided that it was time to punish those that stood against him. He started with the low hanging fruit of Chae Ryung and put the squeeze on Wang Won to name Wang Wook as the perpetrator. Wang So got more than he expected when he learned Wang Wook and Wang Yo jointly plotted against him.
It was Wang So’s punishment of Chae Ryung that broke Hae Soo. Wang So clearly and methodically listed all of Chae Ryung’s efforts to undermine him. But to his surprise, Hae Soo didn’t care what Chae Ryung did but granted an exemption why Chae Ryung did it.
What hurts my heart for Wang So is his realization that his posse of supporters which was once the General, Ji Mong, Baek Ah, and Hae Soo is shrinking. He doesn’t want to be rejected by those he loves. Yet this happens to him.
With the evidence of plots being uncovered left and right, Wang So is now on the path of revenge. His brothers will pay for their treason. History will stand. This saddens me.
Hae Soo (IU) released Wang So from marrying her so he would not have to give up the throne. Ji Mong told her she couldn’t marry Wang So without Wang So abdicating the throne. Hae Soo couldn’t allow Wang So to walk away from his destiny, so she refused his proposal. Granted, Wang So did not try hard to change her mind.
I must give Hae Soo respect for how well she dealt with Yeon Hwa marrying Wang So. It hurt, but she didn’t turn away from him. She believed that has long as she was his number one girl and had his love it was sufficient.
It was Hae Soo’s inability to accept Wang So’s method of punishment that was the straw the broke the camel’s back. Her willingness to absolve Chae Ryung of a litany of treasonous acts because she was “in love” is faulty logic. Wang So must had had a difficult time with Hae Soo’s choice to forgive Chae Ryung but not accept his actions. Weren’t Wang So’s choices made for love too? Wasn’t he protecting those he loved?
Finally, Hae Soo decided fleeing Wang So’s stranglehold was her only choice. Will she succeed or die for this choice? Will Wang So kill her like his father killed his true love, Royal Concubine Oh?
Eight Prince Wang Wook (Kang Ha Neul) enjoyed cornering Wang So into marrying his sister. He is no friend of Wang So. Now Wang So knows many of his plots against him. How will he take his revenge?
Fourteenth Prince Wang Jung (Ji Soo) offered Hae Soo a “get out of the palace” card. He told her that she need only utter “I want it” and he’d whisk her from her stifling life at the palace. How long will it take Baek Ah to get him the message and for him to return to rescue Hae Soo? I respected his vigil to see his mother. Wang So was wrong to keep him from seeing his mother until after she was dead.
Thirteenth Prince Baek Ah (Nam Joo Hyuk) saw Wang So evolving into someone he didn’t like. Baek Ah stood in the King’s chamber and saw his outbursts and anger. He has to be reeling with the evolution that is happening right in front of his eyes. He could not deny Hae Soo her request to get a message to Wang Jung. He knows how Wang So is changing. He knows how palace life is difficult for Hae Soo. He is friend to both of them, so he was willing to help. When Wang So finds out, will it cost Baek Ah his life? Baek Ah is still unaware of Woo Hee’s spying for Wang Yo. I can’t believe this will remain buried for much longer.
Ninth Prince Wang Won (Yoon Sun Woo) identified Wang Wook as the mastermind to Wang So. He folded easy under Wang So’s scrutiny providing details on Wang Wook’s and Wang Yo’s joint and separate plotting against Wang So. The King must have been shocked at the extent of the plans created to destroy him and his quest for the throne. Wang Won’s using Chae Ryung came to an end as Wang So had Chae Ryung beaten. Wang Won deserves worse than that. Will he get it? Wang So can’t let him get away it, right?