Haechi Episodes 45-46 “An Old Hope”
Nervous that no rebels have arrived at the meeting place, Prince Milpoonggun Lee Tan (Jung Moon Sung) send his men to find out what is going on. His concubine calls his name. He spins thrilled to see her. He’s dismayed when she declares the Narin General deserted him. He doesn’t want to believe it but the voices of the royal army change his mind.
Park Moon Soo (Kwon Yool) leads the Narin General into the palace courtyard. He forces him to kneel. King Yeoninggun Lee Geum (Jung Il Woo) arrives. He looks at the Narin General. They lock eyes. King Yeoninggun declares finally he meets the leader of the rebels. He promises to put him to death. The Narin General spits that the King is unworthy of the throne. Everyone gasps. The General says the King isn’t any different from him, except he was born a Narin. Moon Soo tells the General he’s crossed the line and puts his sword at his throat. The General tells Moon Soo to behead him now, since he will die anyway. He declares that he only pursued toppling the Government because the country is unjust to Narins. Moon Soo asks the King to give him permission to kill. The King asks the General if that’s the primary reason he caused chaos and killed innocent people. The King agrees that he and the General aren’t different. He understands discrimination based on birth because he was born with a peasant mother. The King tells the General he tried to topple the one king that would understand his viewpoint. But the King declares the General’s methods were wrong. There are ways to change the current system. The King vows to do so.
Moon Soo throws the Narin General in a jail cell. He vows to kill him and his rebel comrades.
The King is dismayed to learn Prince Milpoonggun has not been captured.
The royal army searches for Prince Milpoonggun. The concubine has hidden them and promises to find an escape route. Prince Milpoonggun declares he won’t leave, he is the rightful king. The concubine slaps him and spits that everyone has used him. She boasts that simple praise is all he needed to become putty in her hands. She dares him to rise above his stupidity.
The concubine begs Dal Moon’s man to find her a ship to China and not tell Dal Moon. When he hesitates, she hands over half the money Dal Moon gave her and promises the other half when she boards the ship.
Prince Milpoonggun remembers all the rejections and snubs over his lifetime. He cries he is the true King. He must do this for his father.
King Yeoninggun’s orders makes his minister balk. Just then Moon Soo arrives asking for the status of capturing Prince Milpoonggun. The King states 5 units are searching for the Prince and he cannot escape. The King surprises Moon Soo when he asks him to return to being an inspector to change the path of that organization’s political relationship in Government. Moon Soo steps into the courtyard knowing his time as a leader in the army is over.
The King calls a meeting of all the senior ministers. The Norin and Sorin ministers are dismayed to see the Narin minister join them. The Sorin Chief Justice locks eyes with Minister Min Jin Hun (Lee Kyung Young). King Yeoninggun arrives and tells the assembled minister that victory was achieved because they banded together for a single cause regardless of their political party. He stuns the Norin and Sorin minister when he appoints three Narin minister to key positions. The Norin and Sorins protest declaring the Narin likely aided the rebels. That gets the Narin ministers upset. Will a brawl break out?
The Dowager Queen asks Court Maid Yeo Ji (Go Ara) how the three party meeting went. Yeo Ji states everyone was upset at the end of the meeting. The Dowager Queen worries that the King has picked a path to alienation.
The Minister of War (the King’s former teacher) and another trusted Minister urge the King not to do this now. The King declares now is the best time for reform. He must honor his promise to the people that the government will change. If he does not, unrest will occur again.
Yeo Jin isn’t able to see the King due to his meetings. She worries.
The Sorin Ministers complain to the Chief Justice. He barks that they can’t afford a turf war if they want to keep the Government stable.
The Norin Ministers complain to Minister Min. He declares a deal was the only option at that moment of the political game. He says if they don’t like it he’ll resign. He walks out. The Norin Ministers are stunned and decide the head inspector must be called. The head inspector responds to their summons.
Minister Min warns the King that the head inspector, a Norin, will be summoned. The King says he’s prepared for this. He apologizes for putting Minister Min is a tricky situation. Minister Min shares that he once dreamed of appointment the best man for a position regardless of political affiliation but learned that was impossible. He knows the King will learn the same lesson. The King has THE question – if this was doomed to fail, why did Minister Min help him? Minister Min starts to answer…and the scene ends.
Dal Moon (Park Hoon) learns his hired man escorting the concubine never returned for payment. He’s dismayed to learn the hired man doesn’t have an address so they can ask him what happened.
Prince Milpoonggun isn’t happy with his concubine’s plan to escape to China. He points out she deserted him. He points out he knows people think he’s stupid. He points out if he were king, all that would change. People would honor him and she would love him sincerely. The concubine apologizes for not treating him with respect. She asks for another chance.
The Sorin Chief Justice meets with the King who thanks him for his support. The Sorin Chief Justice warns that tomorrow the political war will begin. He reminds the young king he’s an old man must head to his bed. They both smile.
Yeo Ji is surprised when she meets the King in the courtyard a food basket in her hand. He’s delighted she made snacks for him. They sit down and the King digs in a pops a morsel in his mouth. He tries to hide how dreadful it tastes but can’t. Yeo Ji is embarrassed. He chuckles. He asks if she remembers the day he told her what a court lady had to do. Yeo Ji recalls the almost kiss and says she knows he was trying to start a fight with her. The King chuckles and declares that wasn’t the case. He hold in her hands and gently tells her he wants to this when he’s near her. Then he cups her face with one hand then the other and tells her he wants to do this. Then he slowly kisses her while the blossoms of the tree drift in the air.
The inspectors arrest the Narin General’s father-in-law who sputters the King granted pardons but to no avail.
The King is livid. The Sorin Chief Justice meets with the Minister of War and second in command and order the next order of the King to be sent.
The Head Inspector orders the General’s father-in-law to be interrogated immediately.
A group of inspectors stream past Moon Soo. He learns what is going on. Moon Soo bursts in the Head Inspector’s office and hears them say they will do this regardless of the King’s order. Moon Soo declares that statement is the definition of treason and glares.
The Inspector Team Lead hears that the Head Inspector wants Moon Soo dismissed. He and the other inspectors go to assist Moon Soo.
The other minister agree that the King will never win the battle to make appointments based on merit not regardless of political affiliation.
The King stuns the Minister of War when he tells him his next appointment is Prime Minister. The King stuns the second in comment when he tells him his next appointment is Head Inspector. They are adamant they don’t have the knowledge. The King is equally adamant he needs their help or he’ll fail at the greatest mission of his rein, equal employment for all. He clarifies this isn’t an order but a request for them to walk this difficult path with him. His eyes plead that they accept the challenge.
From his jail cell the Evil Inspector overhears that the King appointed Narins and chaos is ensuing. He smiles.
Dal Moon hears the citizens are not happy to hear of the political infighting when their sons were the ones that died quelling the rebellion while the politicians were never in harms way. He decides to tell the King. Just then his second in command bursts in with the address of the hired man. They go to the house…but it is empty. He inspects the contents and guesses Prince Milpoonggun has reunited with the concubine.
Prince Milpoonggun and the concubine follow the hired man who is obviously nervous. Before they get to the docks the hired man demands the remainder of the money. The concubine declares that wasn’t the deal. The hired man draws a knife and demands payment. Prince Milpoonggun won’t take that and start to go after the man, but the concubine steps in between the men. She is stabbed. The hired man runs. The concubine falls to the ground. Prince Milpoonggun cradles her while she bleeds out. He calls for help. She murmurs he must be quiet. He cries. The hired man alerts the army to their whereabouts.
Prince Milpoonggun hears his concubines dying words. She thanks him for his promise to make her queen. She apologizes for never truly loving him. She promises she’ll wait for him in the afterlife and there they will be king and queen. She dies. Prince Milpoonggun sobs that she can’t abandon him. Prince Milpoonggun hears the army coming their way.
Dal Moon searches for the concubine. He hears the army declare they spotted a rebel. He rushes to the spot. The army rushes off to find their real objective Prince Milpoonggun. Dal Moon spots the woman’s body in the ground. He knows who it is. He gently rolls her to confirm. He holds her lifeless hand. He remembers their past. He sobs that he didn’t let her go so she could die like this. He yells his pain.
The King learns of the concubine’s fate and that Dal Moon personally buried her. He has no time to empathize because the next crisis is reported.
The new Head Inspector arrives only to be refused entry by the top officials. Livid Moon Soo wants to use force but the Team Lead tells him that is exactly what the top officials want. When the extra soldiers arrive, the Head Inspector tells them to stop.
A dazed but determined Prince Milpoonggun steals a knife and looks towards the palace.
The King learns that the Head Inspector was refused entry. He recalls that Minister Min stated his support was given because incremental improvements are positive even if things revert to the past ways. The important thing is to never give up hope. The King sighs and tells the Prime Minister they mustn’t give up hope even if things don’t go their way.
Two court maids find a dead body in the courtyard.
The King and the Prime Minister stride in causing the top officials to gape in surprise. The King demands the top officials open a supreme court because he has something to say.
Prince Milpoonggun stands in the courtyard holding the bloody knife yelling “the king is here”. He is immediately surrounded. He falls to his knees are yells “I am the king”!
The King tells the assembled supreme court that their agency is corrupt and not trusted by anyone. He firmly states a new day has dawned. He declares he will change this agency for the good of the country and it’s people. Moon Soo, the Prime Minister and the new Head Inspector are proud as punch as the King declares the dawn of a new day.
Changing old ways is challenging. Writer Kim Yi Young provided rich moments for all the characters in this episode. The King struggled.to make the sweeping changes to the status quo government. Dal Moon faced his love’s death. Moon Soo promised the Narin General he’d kill him. Minister Min dispensed wisdom. Yeo Ji had her first kiss with the King.
One episode to go. What’s on my wish list for the final episode?
* The foes are vanquished. Prince Milpoonggun, the Narin General, and the Evil Inspector need to die.
* The King wins the battle to change. I applaud the King’s unrelenting determination. I want him to succeed. I’m not sure he can convince the self-serving ministers and officials to make it happen.
*Team Good has moments without struggle and has moments of happiness. Team Good has slogged through this entire series determined to win. But it’s been like whack a mole…knock down one obstacle and another pops up. They need a breather to enjoy the spoils.
* Yeo Ji declares her feelings. I’m not sure that Yeo Ji loves the King though I suspect she does. He’s openly declared that she’s “the one”. I’d like her to do the same.
* Evil Prince Milpoonggun was saved by his concubine. She took a knife for him and she died in his arms. That death scene was well constructed. But his overarching need is to be the king. He signed his own death warrant by going to the palace armed. I was a bit surprised by this reckless move but let’s be frank only his handlers have curbed his impulses, and they are all gone. Once again I felt a twang of empathy for this crazy brutal man who lost all his support.
* Minister Min and the King had another moment of solid advice. I don’t doubt that Minister’s Min advice of never lose hope and expect one-step-forward-one-step-back is solid. I’ve enjoyed the relationship between the King and Minister Min.
King Yeoninggun Lee Geum (Jung Il Woo) is the poster child for political quagmire. He can’t catch a break because those in power don’t want to lose or share it. I get that humans never want anything taken from them. But the established politicians aren’t able to see above their own selfish needs and they aren’t serving anyone but themselves. I was pleased to see the King and Yeo Ji enjoy a kiss. The kiss scene was staged beautifully.
Court Lady Yeo Ji (Go Ara) had a kiss from the King. I had to laugh when her snacks almost made the King gag. But that didn’t matter to him. What mattered was having her by his side. His tender kiss was a perfect progression – holding hands, cupping one side of the face, then the other, then a soft kiss that deepened. Unfortunately I don’t feel tons of chemistry between these two actors, so the fact that this is a sidebar story is best.
Dal Moon (Park Hoon) cried over his lost love. He was rudely surprised to learn she had gone missing. I was a bit surprised when his right hand man admitted the man he’d hired to escort her wasn’t the greatest guy. Regardless, when he found her body, he was able to begin mourning her. Frankly, if she hadn’t died, I don’t know if he could ever move on.
Park Moon Soo (Kwon Yool) is like an avenging angel. Moon Soo captured the Narin General and brought him to the King. When he threw him in jail, he promised to kill him. Knowing there would be issues with the inspectors, the King sent him back to his old job. When he learned of the Head Inspector’s treasonous words, he was livid.
I rank these episodes (on a scale from 1-10) as excellent (ep 45-46). My rating chart is below.