Scarlet Heart Ryeo Episode 18 Recap

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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

sh_ep18_7ash_ep18_7b 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?

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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!

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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.

My Thoughts

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?


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22 comments on “Scarlet Heart Ryeo Episode 18 Recap
  1. At the very start of episode one, wasn’t our heroine in the dumps for being duped by her best friend, who betrayed her in love and stole her house? I kept waiting for her to flash on that, realize that yup, once again, she’s put all her trust in a false ‘sister’. Did I remember wrongly? Did it not bother her in the least that Chae Ryung poisoned the Crown Prince, who showed so much kindness to Hae Soo? Stretched credibility a bit far for me here, with her decision to abandon the man she claims to love (who has just lost his mother, monster that she was, hell, he’s lost so much period) over his punishment of such a conniving traitor.


    • kjtamuser says:

      Excellent point on Episode 1, that seems so long ago. I agree that Hae Soo was unmoved by the impressive litany of transgressions that Chae Ryung was party to. Sweeping it under the rug because of love was unacceptable. That wasn’t love. That was desperation.

      Hae Soo’s fear always makes her want to run away from Wang So. Will she really do it? Will he let her go?


  2. Review Leaver says:

    Ah….. so the house of cards finally fall. It is beautiful, but unless you think deeply, the SHR episode was rushing things so fast, that most of what happened would come off as shallow emotional decisions by the characters. I would have liked to see a thought scene showing Wang So’s thoughts on marriage to Yeon Hwa after Hae Soo steps aside. I would have liked to see Hae Soo’s thoughts on why she suddenly asks Baek Ah for getting a message to Jung. You instead have the choice of taking what you saw (which was chopped and short and incomplete- and making no sense of the character developement so far) at face value ; which would leave you feeling the characters have changed at baseline for shallow reasons that are stupid. OR you could assume thoughts, if you pondered the whys, and again assume the deeper meanings. I am not sure which is right.

    This was a heart breaking chapter to me. Hae Soo is a rare person, who despite the terrible world remains king and hopeful. She is niave. This has often come across as stupid, but I think it is because both the dialogue and the acting don’t bring it out well. She states clearly to Ji Mong that she is aware of all the hardships faced by her for So’s love, and that she will not change if he is in love with her. Ji Mong trumps this reasoning by helping her recall what happens to a King who cannot control the powers that surround the throne. In that way, Hae Soo is useless to So, and infact, a liability. She knows this. This is why she gives him up.

    I also felt the episode seems to show So very easily going along with this. Hence why I would have liked to see more hashing out his thoughts by the writer. The Wang So we know has been aware he loves Hae Soo more than the throne. He mentions giving it up to Queen H. However, when it is brought to his notice that death is the only way, we have to assume he really gives great throught to what he would achieve by dying. Nothing. Hae Soo would be unprotected and hurt there too. However, he beautifully proposes to Hae Soo despite this, and I agree, that he tried to shield her from even knowing he could die if she chose him, so that her wants and decision would not be influenced by those forces he knew influenced him. He was shocked to know someone had told her, and was clearly aware she too had come to the conclusion he had, and was sacrificing her happiness for his safety. In this situation, they being together without the official bonds was the only way both could be safe for now. I felt he knew this and at some point thought about this and must have agreed to the marriage with great ammounts of regret and bitterness. The only thing we get to see is his expression during the marriage however. Hae Soo at least is given a scene to show how much loss she felt by her own choice, as she dons the outfit of a queen while So is marrying another.

    Queen H (Wook and Yeon Hwa’s mom) could not have been more happy. Again, I now know where her children got the Shadow-master trait. Queen Yoo was in your face about her wants, while this queen is very scary. She must know that by this choice, Wook will be endangered in the future, but has clearly chosen this. I was amazed at the very subtle pressure she puts on So as she notes Hae Soo is writing in foreign script. Did she know about Chae Rung even more than the episode hinted to know these things. How very very Scary. And her plotting in the end is successful. She is aware that her daughter will never have So’s heart- has warned her, and now has a Queen in the family to protect her so that she is never thrown out again. She has sacrificed her son and her daughter to be safe. She hints in her education to Yeon Hwa that all these successes take a sacrifice. Unfortunately Yeon Hwa is young, and likely still does not realize that she cannot seduce the heart of the man she has always wanted to marry. I believe she is going in thinking she can have it all- much like So did last episode.

    Wook- Blah. What a snake. He is aweful,and has opted to totally annhiliate Hae Soo from anyone’s life- especially So’s. So is correct to be so aghast and frustrated with Wook. His mind is a very very scary place. He thinks 10 steps ahead and works form the shadows, with well placed words to allow events to unfold that are horrific. It is Wook who has likely told Yeon Hwa about Hae Soo’s scar. She could have hidden it otherwise. It is his master mind that found this loop hole. He is also masterminding the powerful push against So unless he marries his sister. How he asks So would he give up his wings or his heart was scary. Like mother like son……
    I suppose he’s going to die next episode- good riddance.

    Yeon Hwa. She’s married to the man she wanted to be married to , and he is also the King she wanted him to be. I also agree So seems to sway into her each time, so I have to wonder if he has an attraction that is physical. I thought he did when he first meets her in SHR begining episodes. While its not a mutual deep love and understanding like what he has with Hae So, it will be Interesting. Yeon Hwa is going to keep trying to seduce him- and at some point he will cave. He is married to her. He has to have a heir to the throne by her. Its so sad. Though I agree that she will never fully hold his heart, she will have everything pretty much, and its so unfair given how evil she has been. However, she will use that evil ability now to protect him, so her promise to Hae Soo will stand.

    As to Why Hae Soo left. I don’t think it is so simple that she is shallow and stupid. I think the writing and direction of the episode was, and brings her across this way as they spent no time backgrounding her actions with thoughts. She realizes that she is encaged, without title to a man who is no longer just Wang So, but a King. He has power now to do as he wishes, and the authority to have to punish those in wrong doings. He cannot avoid it. She is the continuous target to control him, as she is a well known weakness. Whether it was to force a marriage or to beat a servant- it revolves around her. Even Chae Rung, who she considered a friend / sister, in the end betrayed her and was used to harm them both due to her role in Wang So’s life. She looks around the room and realizes that she cannot escape the never ending repeat of this. She will be alone, and can trust no one as long as she is in the palace, as it will be used against her. Wang So, the man she loved, was forced to because of those machinations, kill someone she loved. I don’t believe she faults his action of punishing her- but likely wished he would have talked to her and discussed this more, and perhaps give a more quick death to her friend. However, she is coming to realize that she has no role in which to demand that of him any more. She is calling him a king even when alone, and he dictates who she moves and talks to . He will make choices, and cannot consult her on them- and many of them will involve her, as she affects him. At this point, I believe that knowing she has only 10 years to live puts her perspective very different than before. She is only harming him, herself and anyone who comes in her sphere of action if she stays. She may even be framed and killed- as she has been seeing thoughout her palace life. By leaving, she empowers him and also can find some peace in the end of her life.

    Wang So’s loss of his mother till the end was sad. I agree his mother looked like she wanted to claw his eye out again- but he took it desperately to mean she finally would touch his face. He has always been the underdog- and so in the past Hae Soo, who stands up for what is right despite power and position amazed him, because she took his side when it was right to do so. Now he has that power and position- and all the frustrations with it. He is making hard choices, and also a few vengeful ones. Expelling Jung did make sense, politically, so I don’t think he’s gone of the rails……….but he feels the tides are finally evening out all the wrongs he suffered. When he does this , Hae Soo (who has not changed ) will support what is right- and they find themselves at odds. It is sad, for the cracks and crumbling. I knew the Wook in the woodwork would be bad. I believe Yeon Hwa convinces Wook to confess about Hae Soo, so that she can get So to seperate from the girl. Wook’s confession in the moment with Wang So well aware of all his other roles was terrible timing . He likely would need to calm down, but I think Hae Soo will leave when she sees him start after the other brothers- after all, he promised her he would not hurt them when he became king, and he is not keeping up with that promise. It was a bad promise. Wook and Won are toxic and keeping them around would not be the smart king thing to do. Jung while less toxic, is not on his side and has the Yoos and his mother plotting. He also saw the torn edict, and so must be silenced. So did not kill him, but exiled him. However, these are the choices of a king, and Hae Soo never fell in love with a King. She fell in love with Wang So, who has evolved to become a King. The role will bring out that ability for brutality we saw when he single handedly decided to demolish and kill an entire monastary of assasin monks in the past. She understood he was surviving then. She understands it now- but she cannot watch it happen. That’s why she is leaving.


    • kjtamuser says:

      I agree that this episode stuffed several major happening into a single episode. Such is the end of the series; a writer runs out of plot or quickly dispenses key moments. This writer has too much to do and too little time.

      Your overarching point that the rushed plot points didn’t give enough substance to actions is well taken. You’ve certainly considered and filled in the blanks to make up the gap in explanation.

      You mention Hae Soo is naive. Yes she is. Her filter colors events and people in ways that can be difficult to accept.

      Wang So easily accepted Hae Soo’s rejection of his proposal. All the buildup, they finally might have it all, but no. I was surprised Wang So said he’d give up the throne for Hae Soo. I thought that was no longer an option in his mind.

      Good point on Queen Hwango sacrificing Yeon Hwa and Wang Wook to keep herself. “She hints in her education to Yeon Hwa that all these successes take a sacrifice.” She didn’t tell them she meant their sacrifice for her sake!

      Wang Wook has evolved into someone I don’t recognize or like. Wang Yo relished his evil ways, so he was fun to watch. Wang Wook is a depressing lump of a man.

      Yeon Hwa will do her best to protect Wang So and their children. In some ways, they are a good match. But Wang So’s heart will always belong with Hae Soo. The parallels between the King & Concubine Oh and Wang So & Hae Soo are obvious.

      You make several solid points about Hae Soo. I agree with you that “She is only harming him, herself and anyone who comes in her sphere of action if she stays.”

      Well written point…”Wang So, who has evolved to become a King. The role will bring out that ability for brutality we saw when he single handedly decided to demolish and kill an entire monastery of assassin monks in the past. She understood he was surviving then. She understands it now- but she cannot watch it happen.”


  3. Review Leaver says:

    Also, I’m wondering if the contracts with the actors when MLSHR was signed involved a sequel. Lee Jung Ki’s message after Eun’s death- To meet in the next life in the future- made me wonder that. Soon after there was news that the SHR cast had a dinner out, in October. They were done filming months ago- and yes, its sweet to meet and all, but this was on the heels of RouKu 2 million view in China and Asia alone. I would think they met up ? to consider touching up with each other, as perhaps a sequel was in the discussion works, and Ok’d?

    Despite the poor showing in Korea, it has done well overall elsewhere. I hope however that they get a better editor and writer, and the PD gets lessons on how to film shots without always going on zoom. Most of the entire SHR was face zooms – and not all were used appropriately.

    Maybe its just me wishing…..
    but I found those things weird- and wondered if that was why.


    • “I hope however that they get a better editor and writer, and the PD gets lessons on how to film shots without always going on zoom. Most of the entire SHR was face zooms – and not all were used appropriately.” You echoed my sentiments exactly,I was so frustrated by episode sixteen and seventeen that i was just ready to walk away from the Drama,but I have come this far…..sigh 😦


      • Review Leaver says:

        I know….. I’m right there with you. I keep wanting to reach out to the back ground and press a button to unzoom the view, and yell out to the editor that he was a moron, and that the writer forgot to fill in some gaps as I watched these past episodes! It is frustrating, as they had everything going for them, and manage to bungle it. Huff!

        Liked by 1 person

      • kjtamuser says:

        The evolution of this story has been challenging especially if Wang So was the reason why you got hooked this drama.

        I agree on the over utilization of the zoom!


    • Review Leaver says:

      Ok- Now LJK is having a fan meet at the last episode showing in Korea……
      I know he loves fanmeets- but I don’t recall him doing one for a finale before. It just smells of follow up propaganda…..
      I call a follow up sequel. Lets see if I’m on or off base as we go!


    • Review Leaver says:

      Thanks for the informing!
      I didn’t know that there was any formal reported discussions for a sequel… and was guessing. How exciting! Do you recall where you saw such a detail? I can’t believe I missed it….


  4. Jane Tilly says:

    THE SHADOW MASTER’S MASTER—The apple did not fall far from the tree when it comes to Wook and Yeon Hwa—Queen Hwangbo seems to be quite the schemer; unlike her being depicted as passive in earlier episodes—bowing down to Queen Yoo. Queen Hwangbo saw an opportunity and decided to grab the brass ring for herself and possibly her children and why not? No power = death; just ask Eun and his family…oh wait…that’s a question to be asked in the afterlife.

    So gaining the throne and keeping Soo as his woman has driven Wook over the edge and resolved on ruining any chances of So having it all (the monarchy and Soo). The web of Wook’s deceit and his complicity in Hyejong’s (Mu) death is starting to unravel. If Wook truly loved Soo, he would wish for her happiness; instead this selfish, obsessive, spiteful prince is determined to ruin Soo’s life since he cannot have her and make Gwangjeon make a choice between love and power—as Soo asked Wook to do.

    QUEEN YOO 2.0—Yeon Hwa is in for a rude awakening—she cannot have it all. Queen Hwangbo knowing cautioned Yeon Hwa to choose love or power. When Gwangjeon unveiled her and looked like he is ready to perform his martial duty…he paused…turned away, and then when Yeon Hwa blurted out Hae Soo is a liability he should get rid of…she sealed the deal of spending her wedding night alone. Imagine my best Nelson voice “Ha Ha!” When So came back later, he paused outside her door, but he just could not bring himself to do his duty. If Yeon Hwa had not been so cruel to Soo, I might have felt sorry for her…but I don’t—be lonely in your power!

    FOOLISH CHAE RYUNG—While I agree Soo leaving the man she loves over a “sister” who betrayed her does seem extreme, but I don’t equate it as the betrayal of her modern friend who stole her boyfriend—the intent was different. Chae Ryung had been her one and only friend, outside of Lady Oh, since she arrived in Goryeo. I think Chae Ryung considered Soo to be her good friend—how many of us have made decisions in favor of man you love over friends or family members? As a slave, Chae Ryung did not have much choice about her actions; she was emancipated in order to be placed in Damiwan as a spy. Besides being in love with Wang Won, she would feel obligated to do his bidding. While she had to be aware of her complicity of poisoning King Hyejong (Mu), I think Chae was somewhat clueless about the impact of her other actions—I’m not saying being foolish excuses her treason. Chae Ryung’s contribution to the murder of King Hyejong (Mu) should not be dismissed so easily.

    I thought it was interesting Gwangjeon (So) was the one who eavesdropped on her and Won at Damiwon. Per Baek Ah, Gwangjeon made an attempt to protect Chae Ryung by releasing her from palace service, but the lovesick girl implored Soo to arrange for her to stay longer at the behest of Won and continued to spy. Foolish girl…Won was only concerned about protecting himself. He was very quick rolled on Wook and blame his older brother for everything. Won was always carefully assessed the climate before making decisions. Even though he was not the architect of the overthrow stratagems, he was always eager to participate if he felt he would benefit. I cannot forgive or forget him egging on Jeongjeon (Yo) to shoot an arrow at Soo. Won was the only prince who didn’t care about Soo—even Yo had some concern for her, even if it was as his leverage.

    SOO’S WATERSHED MOMENT—@RL has an excellent point about wanting to see Soo and So’s thought processes of their decisions, so their decisions did not appear to be rash. I think their decisions were made after a deep thought process.

    I think Soo has been very accommodating to So’s desire to become king and solidify his power by making Yeon Hwa his queen. I think I would have been long gone with Yeon Hwa in the picture. I see the following as major factors in Soo’s decision to leave So:
    • So becoming king and Soo’s fear he will be the bloody monarch she learned about in history
    • Coming to the realization she is more of a hindrance to So being king—not being able to offer him any power or protection; she can only assuage his stress. While she heard this reasoning from many, Ji Mong drove the point home
    • Being confined to the palace and not being able to continue to work at Damiwon, which gave her a sense of purpose
    • Jung being exiled; Soo’s fear for the other princess’ safety
    • Witnessing Chae Ryung being beaten to death; perhaps a speedier death should have been done as @RL suggested for Soo’s sake. However, Gwangjeon wanted to make an example of the consequences of her behavior to other palace servants by making them witness the beating, thus building Gwangjeon’s fearsome reputation as a warning to others who would consider making the same mistakes
    • Gwangjeon cruelly denying Jung to visit with his dying mother; punishing both Jung and his mother; badly done Gwangjeon!
    • Grasping the reality her influence was not keeping So from becoming a bloody Gwangjeon
    • Continual threats from Queen Yeon Hwa (Queen Yoo 2.0)
    • Fathoming she has no one to trust in the palace
    • Soo’s declining health and the impact of palace stress hastening her decline; it has taken a toll on her health and her hopeful outlook

    This drama should be renamed to Scarlet Heart: No One Can Have it All.


    • Review Leaver says:

      Scarlet Heart: No one can have it all. Perfect. I concur!


    • swati says:

      Totally agree with u. Su’s decision does come from various reasons than just losing Chae Ryung. Heart Break often has varied impact on different people.

      Liked by 1 person

    • kjtamuser says:

      “Queen Hwangbo seems to be quite the schemer”
      That was a surprise, and her willingness to sacrifice her children.

      “Yeon Hwa is in for a rude awakening—she cannot have it all”
      Poetic justice.

      “I think Soo has been very accommodating to So’s desire to become king and solidify his power by making Yeon Hwa his queen.”
      She impressed me with her flexibility about this point.

      Your list of major factors in Hae Soo’s decision to leave Wang So is superb.


  5. swati says:


    Don’t know where to start.

    Yeon Hwa can’t just be the queen. She is clearly too much in love with Wang So. She looks hurt when he leaves on wedding night and also when he pulls back as he realizes she isn’t Su. Queen Yoo 2.0 through and through.

    Wook you better watch out dude because the Big Bad Wolf has returned and is mad as hell. U cornered So and forced his hand. Now u deal with the consequences. M i glad abt that… Absolutely… I have been waiting and waiting for this day when Wang So wants to strike Wang Wook down.

    Won proved how horrible he is once more. Assistant Guyliner u did what you were asked to do so now u can go assist ur horrible bosses in afterlife… Have a nicelife 🙂

    Wang Jung i sympathize with. Wang So’s Mommy issues lead to him missing to meet his mom on her death bed (he was the apple of her eye after all). If he feels angry then i think that’s justified this time. (though it reminds me all the time he unknowingly caused Wang So hurt then i don’t feel so bad anymore).

    Chae Ryung gave preview of what’s to come for the list of people on Wang So’s bad side. Let’s see what just desserts Wang Won and Wang Wook get.

    Ji Mong was point on. I think he is a good friend of Wang So as he is trying to make him see things which are essential even when Wang So doesn’t want to. He is brutally honest at times.

    Su remained true to her character. She forgives everything if you can find her a justified reasoning. Chae Ryung was in love and helped murder the King so its understandable… Ofcourse!!!. Wang So needs power so he should marry Yeon Hwa as that would keep him on the throne (and Alive. Lets not forget only way to leave throne now is to be killed) so understandable. But A King punishing a court lady who was involved in killing his brother and previous King not understandable at all. (mercury poisoning caused Wang Mu too much agony and pain). But Ofcourse Su wouldn’t find the reason justified. Wang So wasn’t forced to do it.. he did it to establish fear and his authority (alien concept to Su) and to some extent revenge for his big brother’s death so not forgiven.

    Su sweetheart if u think u find the palace unbearable now wait for next week when So finds out about ur and Wook’s marriage plans.. I feel sorry for ya. Loving the Big Bad Wolf is really tough.. Also i don’t think she really understands Wang So all that well. He has always shown capacity for cruelty and authority.

    I am gonna write another whole comment on Wang So because i wanna rant a lot about that guy.


    • Jane Tilly says:

      Chae Ryung spying in the palace is enough for a servant to receive capital punishment. Poisoning ☠ King Hyejong (Mu) is treason, which is justifiably punished with death. Sorry Soo, your ‘sister’ earned her death sentence regardless of the method.

      Wook was the mastermind and Won was complicit in this stratagem. I think they could get capital punishment, but it is possible Gwangjeong could give them mercy like Jung, although their crimes are more serious than Jung’s. Next week all will be revealed.

      Since this is a saeguk, a high body count is expected and it doesn’t look like there will be a 😢 happy ending–maybe they can put a positive spin on the ending.😋

      Liked by 1 person

    • kjtamuser says:

      “I have been waiting and waiting for this day when Wang So wants to strike Wang Wook down.”
      I am waiting for that moment too. Wang So seems to be picking of the weaker members of team evil first.

      Ji Mong was honest with Wang So and Hae Soo. He is the master of watching, guiding but not interfering.

      I love the passion this series invokes.


  6. Review Leaver says:

    Poignant Pathos- Check
    Things to keep the lovers apart – check
    Illogical / Somewhat tunnel vision heroine with her decisions- check (Arang was one of the few who did not in Senguk).
    High body count- check.

    OK – so if we want a happy ending (or even an open ended assumed happy ending- )
    we have to wait for the modern time ending/ alternate reality ending or a sequel…….. Lets see which we get. We all have to await Next week…….

    Possible positive spin ending:
    Ending episode with Wang So reborn, somehow getting or having in his possession Hae Soo’s Goreyo Diary (which Queen H gives him), which he can now read- as he’s a modern rebirth………..and finds his soulmate in those pages. Then they meet, while she is sitting somewhere writing that “I came by the water” poem she has been repeating like a mantra , and he somehow recognizes her writing and her in those words. And they take it happily ever after from there- with Eun and his wife happily reincarnated along with Baek Ah and Woo Hee.

    However, I have doubted and I wonder if they will summarize all that as a happy ending for us in the last episode or make us wait for a full sequel. In which case they will end with a partial open sort of end, like C verse did.
    Sooooooo unsatisfying that ending.

    Since American and Chinese money was invested in this, I would not be surprised if a Sequel comes, though sequel milking is not as common in Korean dramas (though it does occur). China streaming alone hit 2 billion views yesterday……….so they see the external numbers.

    LJK’s instagram text about this was so politically correct as he thanked his ” ?international? fans ”
    ( I think the “?” was to not offend his Korea based fans ??? but to also not avoid the issue that this drama was fueled by a non-Korea fan base)………..He’s got all the right moves- that one.
    I wish I could be in Korea to watch that final episode with him at his fan-meet.

    However, looks like I’ll be alone streaming come Monday and Tuesday instead early in the morning, like some addict, hiding as I watch. I am in some ways sooooo glad this came to an end. I’ve not been normal on Monday and Tuesdays; and since episode 15 – all week, since SHR started. My family actually celebrated that it would be done next week-so that I could return to normal; if that’s not a sign I don’t know what is.



    • kjtamuser says:

      “I am in some ways sooooo glad this came to an end. I’ve not been normal on Monday and Tuesdays; and since episode 15 – all week, since SHR started. My family actually celebrated that it would be done next week-so that I could return to normal; if that’s not a sign I don’t know what is.”
      You made me smile with your family celebrating the end of this series!

      I’m ready for this series to finish too. I don’t remember what episode it was but I hit a totally drained point. Since then I’ve been more guarded with how invested I was when I watched.


      • Review Leaver says:

        ” I hit a totally drained point. Since then I’ve been more guarded with how invested I was when I watched.”

        You put it well. I also distanced myself and had to delay watching some episodes to get back in semblance of control and also to take a break from emotional meltdown.

        Liked by 1 person

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October 2016

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