The finale episode is a good one…yes, it’s true!
Scarlet Heart Ryeo Episode 20 (Final) Recap
This is it…the last episode of Scarlet Heart Ryeo…let’s see what the writer has in store…
Fourteenth Prince Wang Jung (Ji Soo) greets Hae Soo (IU) as she arrives at his home. As Wang Jung offers his hand, Hae Soo remembers Wang So offering his hand. Inside Wang Jung tells her that the King has forbidden a wedding but he still whipped up a small celebration. He assures Hae Soo that even though they are married, he will just consider them friends. Really? Hae Soo says she doesn’t care about such matters. Really? This is her house, which is close to his house. He returns the hair pin and thanks her for calling for his help. He leaves unaware that she’s mesmerized by the hair pin Wang So gave her. She opens her trunk and finds Wang So writing “I came to sit by the water, but the clouds came”. She suppresses tears. Wang Jung gets frustrated while practicing his sword and Hae Soo walks over to soothe him. He sees someone watching them. He puts on a show of affection. Then he tells her the doctor is here to examine her.
The doctor tells her she’s pregnant which Hae Soo already knew. Wow! I didn’t see that coming. Wang Jung is shocked. The doctor warns her that her heart palpitations and other health issues concern him. Hae Soo doesn’t care that the pregnancy will stress her body. As long as the baby is healthy, everything else doesn’t matter. Wang Jung doesn’t want Wang So to find out. The doctor warns Hae Soo to avoid cold wind and rest.
Meanwhile, back at the palace…King Wang So (Lee Joon Gi) is livid to get the report of the affection between Wang Jung and Hae Soo. Ji Mong’s reassuring words about Hae Soo’s affectionate nature don’t soothe Wang So.
Hae Soo draws Wang So and suffers a heart palpitation. This time it is Wang So himself that spies on her. Wang Jung sees her clutching her heart and sweeps her into his arms and into his house saying she could harm that baby. Did Wang So hear that?
Wang Jung and Hae Soo laugh over how they first met and the fun times they had when they were young. Wang So listens outside and hears their laughter. He leaves.
Wang So tells Ji Mong to stop updates about Wang Jung and Hae Soo. That means he does not know she’s pregnant with his baby, because he’d never leave her alone if he knew.
Hae Soo has a decent collection of Prince rock portraits. She continues to imagine Wang So by her side. Their happiness is sweet but just a dream.
6 months later…
Wang Jung waits for the news about the crying baby. It’s a girl! Wang Jung orders the midwife to declare the baby stillborn and be careful what she tells the wet nurse.
The doctor tells Wang Jung that Hae Soo is weak. Wang Jung praises the daughter as beautiful and strong. With a tear down her face, Hae Soo gives Wang Jung a letter for Wang So. She tells Wang Jung she wants to see Wang So. Wang Jung hides his disappointment but dispatches the letter to the King. Hae Soo suffers a ringing and lies in bed weaker than ever.
Wang So receives the letter. He sees Wang Jung’s handwriting (Wang Jung switched his outer layer for Hae Soo’s so Wang So does not know the letter is from Hae Soo). Wang So refuses read the letter. Wang So refuses to meet with the messenger.
Hae Soo looks dreadful and is saddened that Wang So refuses to come. Wang Jung tries to cheer Hae Soo with musicians and flowers. The song is the one that caused the King to fall in love with a court woman. Hae Soo smiles at the song she sang at Wang Eun’s birthday party. What a happy slice of time that was. Hae Soo asks if Wang Jung remembers promising treating her life as his. She asks him to care for her daughter and not take her to the palace. Wang Jung knows these are the requests of a dying woman. Hae Soo says Wang So will not come. She leans into Wang Jung. He tells her that in her next life she must remember him. She says she’ll forget everything in her next life. She dies. Wang Jung cries. Awk, tears! Hae Soo, you frustrated me, but your kindness and warmth was undeniable and a positive influence on our princes.
Wang So can’t believe the news. Ji Mong tells him the letter were from Hae Soo. Wang So tears into the letter and sees the outer envelope was Wang Jung’s handwriting but the inner envelope and letter was from Hae Soo. He reads “Life is like a dream. Right and wrong. Love and hate. We get buried and leave the earth without a trace. Are you still angry with me? The opposite of love isn’t hate. It was to throw someone away. I left you with hate not love. Did I leave to rest in comfort? I love you still. When you threw everything aside to stand by my side in the rain, when you threw your body in front of the arrow, I can never forget you. I long for you. I miss you. But I cannot go to you. I’m tired of the heartlessness of a kind man. I hope we can meet again. I wait for you every day.” Wang So weeps as he reads the words he unknowingly denied himself. He rides to Hae Soo.
Thirteenth Prince Baek Ah (Nam Joo Hyuk) finds Wang Jung clutching a vase of ashes and looking at Hae Soo’s Prince rock collection. Awk, tears! Wang Jung hands Baek Ah a letter from Hae Soo. Before he can read it, Wang So bursts in the door yelling for Hae Soo. This is going to be painful to watch. Wang So calls for Hae Soo. He spies the vase that Wang Jung is holding. Wang Jung looks at Wang So and asks what took him so long. Wang So grabs Wang Jung and says he disguised the envelope’s true contents. He yells he didn’t know that Hae Soo’s letters were inside. Wang Jung is shocked and explains he did that because Wang So’s and Hae Soo’s handwriting was similar. Wang Jung yells that he had spies watching the house, so Wang So knew she was dying. Baek Ah snaps that Wang So didn’t want to hear reports about their happy marriage so he stopped them. Wang So weeps and grabs the vase with Hae Soo’s ashes. He tells her they are going home. Awk, the tears are flowing! Wang Jung tries to stop Wang So claiming Hae Soo was his wife. Wang So counters that Hae Soo may be dead, but “she’s my person”. Awk! Baek Ah intervenes and reminds Wang Jung that Hae Soo would want to be with Wang So. Breathing hard, Wang So staggers out of the room with Hae Soo in his hands. Baek Ah tells Wang Jung for Hae Soo’s sake, don’t fight with Wang So anymore. Baek Ah says the Hae Soo was stuck in the middle of the princes for her entire life. Wang Jung weeps with abandon. Baek Ah realizes the Wang Jung truly loved Hae Soo. Baek Ah sees the pain that love is causing and calls Wang Jung foolish. He hugs Wang Jung.
Back at their spot, Wang So holds the vase. He remembers moments with Hae Soo.
Ninth Prince Wang Won (Yoon Sun Woo) stares at a bowl of poison he’s offered. When Baek Ah arrives Wang Won asks if he’s there to confirm his death. Baek Ah hands him a note from Hae Soo. Wang Won is surprised commenting that Hae Soo has been dead for a while. Baek Ah says that Hae Soo’s will requested Chae Ryung’s letter be given to Wang Won. Baek Ah says he can’t do anything else for his brother. He apologizes and leaves. Wang Won reads the letter than Chae Ryung gave to Hae Soo. “I know the end of coming soon. I am a person that couldn’t stop loving.” Wang Won remember moments with Chae Ryung. He falls to his knees.
Yeon Hwa angrily demands that Wang So see their son on his birthday. Wang So isn’t interested. That’s too bad. I was hoping he’d find love with his child. It saddens me to think Wang So is rejecting his son, like his mother rejected him. Yeon Hwa begs him to trust his own son and not view him as competition. Wang So says he knows all about people that hide their true nature behind invisible masks. Wang So says he knows one day Yeon Hwa and their son will make a play for the throne one day. Yeon Hwa pulls the only weapon she has. Yeon Hwa asks if Wang So only thinks of Hae Soo. She comments that Hae Soo spoke of equality for all. Yeon Hwa accuses Wang So of rescinding slavery as a gift to Hae Soo. Wang So does not deny it. He coldly asks what knowing that does for her. Yeon Hwa spits out that she now knows why Hae Soo left Wang So. He says nothing.
Back at their spot, Wang So thinks of Hae Soo. A little girl runs into him just like Hae Soo once did. The little girl is the spitting image of Hae Soo. Wang So gently asks who she is. Wang Jung rushes up and pulls the girl to him. He looks decidedly nervous. Wang Jung never had a poker face (just like Hae Soo). Wang So asks why Wang Jung is at the palace. Wang Jung apologizes saying he came to honor Hae Soo one the anniversary of her death. He promises not to return. Wang So recalls Wang Jung’s request to marry. Wang So notices his daughter is older. He asks her age. Wang Jung tells him not to worry about him. He picks up the little girl. Wang So spies his hair ornament in the little girl’s hair. Yes! He commands Wang Jung to stop. The two brothers stare at each other, both knowing the truth. Wang So commands Wang Jung to leave the little girl. Wang Jung gets on his knees and states only death will keep him from protecting his charge. Wang So looks intrigued by that statement. Wang Jung spills the beans and says “She asked that she not live in the palace. It is scary and lonely. She did not want her to live here. That’s all Hae Soo worried about until she died.” Wang So studies his daughter and his brother. He tells Wang Jung he rescinds the exile order. He asks his brother to visit him from time to time. Awk, tears! With one last look at his daughter, Wang So walks away. Wang Jung hugs her tightly.
Eighth Prince Wang Wook (Kang Ha Neul) tells his mother that he doesn’t understand why she is insisting to take the children to the palace. Queen Hwangbo says it is the Crown Princes’ birthday and he needs playmates. She tells Wang Wook to pack up his children and explain things to his wife. Wang Wook says he doesn’t want his children at the palace. He believes when he dies the exile order won’t affect his children. Queen Hwangbo doesn’t agree saying his children need to be comfortable at the palace. She vows to make Wang Wook’s son Chi the King. Good grief! The family wrangling for the throne, and getting payback against Yeon Hwa, never ends. A caption that states Wang Wook’s son becomes King. Queen Hwangbo explains she tossed her dreams for Wang Wook aside in favor of Yeon Hwa. But she can’t stop scheming to have the King come from their family.
Baek Ah visits Wang Jung and finds a little girl. She’s not Hae Soo’s daughter, who is she? He asks if she’s Wang Jung’s daughter. She confirms this. He introduces himself as her uncle. He asks her name. She says it is Bok Soon. Baek Ah recalls asking Woh Hee her name. She told him it was Bok Soon. He spies Woh Hee’s ornament on the little girl’s dress. Wow! This is Woh Hee’s daughter! Nice touch! Stunned Baek Ah asks the little girl where she got the ornament. The little girl said she’s had it forever. Baek Ah recalls Woh Hee putting the ornament on the ground during their last night at the bath. Wang Wook appears. Is Wang Wook taking care of Baek Ah’s daughter?
With a cough, Wang Wook chides Baek Ah for not marrying. They smile. Wang Wook says Wang So is freeing the slaves and returning their former status. The powerful families are not happy with this. Baek Ah comments that Wang Wook’s interest in the palace is still strong. Wang Wook says he’s curious what kind of King Wang So is becoming. He wonders if Wang So will be known as the most powerful King in history. Baek Ah reminds Wang Wook that Wang So gave up much to be King. Wang Wook coughs and agrees. Baek Ah is concerned for his brother. Wang Wook says lately he can’t stop thinking about certain people. Baek Ah asks if he misses Hae Soo. Wang Wook smiles a sad smile and says he doesn’t know. Wang Wook admits he made mistakes. He coughs. He remembers Lady Hae.
Ji Mong greets Wang So as he prepares to leave the palace. Wow! Wang So reminds Ji Mong that he promised to be the King’s person. Ji Mong counters that he was the King’s person, but the King was Wang So’s father. Ji Mong comments that King Wanggun was his friend, brother and monarch. Ji Mong tells Wang So that Hae Soo was not from this world. Ji Mong encourages Wang So to think back and believes he’ll see the truth of his words. Ji Mong tells Wang So to forget Hae Soo. He jokes if Wang So longs for someone that isn’t there, he’ll be just like him. He bows and leaves. Ji Mong flashes back to happy memories with the princes. Wang So turns and sees the eclipse of the sun.
Memories of Hae Soo, Wang So, and her time travel appear.
Hae Soo wakes in the present day! She can’t believe she woke up crying again. Does she have a scar on her wrist?
At the festival celebrating makeup from Wang So’s reign, Hae Soo tells her friend about the repetitive dream she has about a man with a scar on his face and a half mask. Her friend tells her it’s due to the coma she was in for a year after drowning. She wonders why she cries over this man. She spies Ji Mong but doesn’t know him. Cool! Ji Mong approaches her and she greets him. He stares at her. She looks expectantly at him. He looks at her name tag and asks her last name is Go. Hae Soo says her name is Go Ha Jin. Ji Mong asks if she knows that Go was Hae in the Goryeo era. She smiles and says she’s selling makeup from that era. She says it must be a coincidence. Ji Mong counters there are no coincidences. He states things return to their original place. Hae Soo doesn’t understand. Ji Mong comments on the rose smell. Hae Soo says Goryeo era cosmetics used rose oil. As she explains the serum with rose oil, she hears Baek Ah’s voice. Love it! Ji Mong asks if she’s okay. Hae Soo shrugs off her unease. She explains the BB cream. She flashes to see and hear Wang So declare he’ll never let her go! LOVE IT! She drops the BB cream. Ji Mong tells her she should rest. Her friend rushes to her side and urges her to go home. Hae Soo apologizes to Ji Mong and leaves. He watches her go.
Later Hae Soo visits an exhibit of Goryeo era paintings. She sees a painting of a ceremony and hears it in her head. She flashes back again. She looks at other paintings. When she looks at the one of rain ceremony she flashes to an image of Wang So. Loving this! She flashes to the red vision of Wang So. She flashes to the rain ceremony and the exact moment the painting captures. She realizes this wasn’t a dream. She looks at other paintings and flashes back to herself kneeling, the princes, the birthday party, being with Wang Wook in the snow, the paintings each jar a memory. She stares at the portrait of Wang So. She remembers many moments with Wang So and his declaration that she was his. She reads the description of Wang So’s reign. The emancipation of the slaves. That he was a good and wise King. She remembers thinking that Wang So would no longer be remembered as the bloody King. With tears in her eyes, she stares at the picture of Wang So looking at the palace. With tears down her face she apologizes for leaving him. She falls to her knees and sobs.
Back to the past as Wang So stares at the palace. He hears her sobs. Baek Ah approaches Wang So and tells him Wang Wook has died. Wang So closes his eyes. Baek Ah says he’ll be leaving the palace. He wishes Wang So well. He leaves.
Wang So opens his eyes and turns looking around him. With resignation, he says that life is fleeting. He recalls walking with Hae Soo and telling her his father’s last words were that life is fleeting, short and vain. He told Hae Soo that his father was wrong because they were together and happy. When Hae Soo says nothing Wang So says that look on her face makes him nervous that she’ll leave him one day and go far away. He asks what she fears, what she hides. Hae Soo replies she feels anxious every day in the palace. Every step make her feel like she’s on thin ice. Sometimes she can’t breathe. Wang So asks doesn’t their relationship help? She smiles and says if they’d met in another world and time, it would have been great. In that reality she wouldn’t be afraid. She could freely love him. Wang So remember all this and stands alone. He covers his face with his hand just like his mask used to. We see his scar. Wang So turns to the camera and thinks “If we are not from this world, I will find you. My Hae Soo”. Swoon!
The closing scene is Wang So giving Hae Soo a piggy back ride. The joy on their faces is beautiful.
The writer pulled it out in the bottom of the ninth inning. Fabulous ending! I know this show was about the fight for the throne. But what worked for me was Wang So’s love for Hae Soo. She took her sweet time falling for him, but she got there. Simply put, their happiness is what matters to me and what I’ll remember. I was disappointed how little time they had happy and together. That is unchanged. But this ending softens that ragged edge and gave me the hope that someday Wang So would find her in the future. They will fall in love again and be together. That’s my story and I’m sticking to it.
Nice touch to have Ji Mong in the future. That effectively tied up the loose end of his story.
Hae Soo (IU) dies without seeing Wang So again. Hae Soo didn’t know that Wang So watched her with Wang Jung. Hae Soo didn’t know that Wang So wasn’t rejecting her letters, he was rejecting Wang Jung’s letters. Hae Soo gave birth to a daughter before she died. Her death mattered. Her life mattered. She affected the princes’ lives.
I had my issues with this character. We all justified why Hae Soo did what she did. It was poor writing that made her motivation unclear and this character frustrating. IU’s acting skills weren’t always sufficient in the complex moments. She excelled at the happy playful early times of Hae Soo. When the things got complex, it was harder for her portray effectively.
I loved, loved, loved, that the writer ended the series with Hae Soo back in the future. I wondered the entire series if Hae Soo’s trip to the past was a one-way trip. What a pleasant surprise to find out it wasn’t. Bonus points that Hae Soo remembered her past times with the princes and her love for Wang So. Did I mention I KNOW they get together in the future?
King Wang So (Lee Joon Gi) lost the love of his life when she died. He said couldn’t take watching Hae Soo and Wang Jung happy together. I don’t really believe that Wang So could ever stop watching Hae Soo but the writer forced his ignorance to sharpen the pain of her death and his aloneness in the world.
It saddened me to see Wang So reject his son because he knew one day Yeon Hwa would use him as a weapon against him. It gladdened me to see Wang So meet his daughter and gracefully accept Hae Soo’s wishes that she not live at the palace. Instead he asked Wang Jung to bring her to the palace from time to time. Lovely!
Do I accept Wang So without recrimination? Yes, I do. Whether he was a wolf, or a wolf in sheep’s clothing, or a kind man trapped by rejection and abuse, or a heartless kind man, it doesn’t matter. He loved with abandon no matter what it cost him. Only when he put the throne before Hae Soo did he lose everything that mattered. Was the price too high? I think so. Wang So probably thought so too.
This was my first time watching Lee Joon Gi. This guy can act! He was sublime. He did his best to rise above and elevate the writing which was subpar at times. Lee Joon Gi made Wang So the most swoonable character I’ve had the pleasure to watch. He made this series shine for me. Is there a fan club? Sign me up!
Eight Prince Wang Wook (Kang Ha Neul) lived a quiet life in exile. He remembered his wife, Lady Hae at the end. That was surprising but fitting. I didn’t hate this character at the end. I was surprised but not surprised when Queen Hwangbo keep scheming to get her family on the throne.
Fourteenth Prince Wang Jung (Ji Soo) loved Hae Soo and stood by her to the end. Wang Jung was a good husband. He protected Hae Soo. He cared for her daughter. He made peace, of sorts, with Wang So.
Thirteenth Prince Baek Ah (Nam Joo Hyuk) found his daughter. Baek Ah had the joy of finding his daughter. I’ll admit the scene setup confused me. Whose house was his daughter living in? I was happy to see a permanent testament to Woh Hee and Baek Ah’s love exist. I loved this sweet, considerate, supportive man. After Wang So, he was my second favorite prince.
Ninth Prince Wang Won (Yoon Sun Woo) got a bowl of poison and a letter. I going to believe he drank the poison after he read the letter and sank to his knees.
How did I do on my wish list for the final episode?
Wang So. I asked the question, could Wang So be happy without Hae Soo? The answer was no, but he wasn’t miserable, yet he was alone. As I guessed, Wang So did not achieve romantic happiness with another as Hae Soo was the love of his life. My wish for Wang So was to find happiness in his children. While he rejected he son, much to my dismay, he was open to his daughter and Hae Soo’s wishes, much to my pleasure.
Hae Soo. My wish for Hae Soo was contentment with Wang Jung. She accepted his friendship but she longed for Wang So. I asked if she would die in the past. The answer was yes. I asked if Hae Soo if being sent from the future a one-way trip. Much to my delight it wasn’t. Did I mention I’m positive that Hae Soo and Wang So get together in the future?
Baek Ah. My wish for Baek Ah was to find another woman to love. That didn’t happen but he wasn’t miserable, yet he was alone.
Wang Jung. My wish for Wang Jung was to find contentment with Hae Soo. They had a brief, peaceful marriage. I was pleased that he found another woman to marry though we never saw her.
Yeon Hwa. My wish was that Yeon Hwa would bear Wang So a son. That happened. Knowing she was rejected by Wang So doesn’t bother me. Knowing her mother schemed to put Wang Wook’s son on the throne pleased me.
Wang Wook. My wish was that he lived in exile the rest of this life. He did but he wasn’t miserable. He remarried and had children. His son would eventually become King though he didn’t live to see it.
Wang Won. My wish was that he dies. I believe he drank the poison and granted my wish.