Haechi Episodes 47-48 “Legendary Beast that Differentiates between Good and Evil” (Final)
King Yeoninggun Lee Geum (Jung Il Woo) makes a bold statement at the inspector agency’s supreme court. He says the time has come to end their internal corruption. He states no one trusts the agency. The top officials shift uncomfortably. The King declares this will not continue and today he is abolishing the minister of personnel that had oversight for three agencies. The top officials stand up and began shouting their dissent at the King. Unmoved, the King orders the Prime Minister to read his decree. Chaos ensues with everyone shouting. But the King is unshaken.
As the King exits, those in favor of his plan thank him for the bold move. He warns utter chaos inside the organization will ensure. Inspector Park Moon Soo (Kwon Yool) promises they will do all they can. The King appreciates it. The king’s secretary dashes up with the shocking news that Prince Milpoonggun is at the palace causing a ruckus.
At the palace courtyard, Prince Milpoonggun Lee Tan (Jung Moon Sung) shouts “I will sit on the throne. I am the king”. The guards go to arrest him. He struggles, they hit him down. The King strides in the courtyard. Prince Milpoonggun and King Yeoninggun lock eyes.
Dal Moon (Park Hoon) kills the hired man that betrayed and killed his first love.
Sitting in jail, the Evil Inspector overhears that Prince Milpoonggun is back.
The Dowager Queen asks Court Maid Yeo Ji (Go Ara) what the ruckus is. Yeo Ji reports Prince Milpoonggun is back and armed.
Prince Milpoonggun struggles to stand but can’t. He asks the King why is he the chosen one? Why did he built a collation among the politcal parties? Why is he succeeding? Why couldn’t he achieve the same? The King asks Prince Milpoonggun why he came to the palace alone when he could have escaped. Prince Milpoonggun declares he came to die like a proud king would. He shakes with fear. The King sees him shaking. The King says that if Prince Milpoonggun had made different bold choices maybe he would be king. But instead he committed numerous evil acts for which he will be punished. The King orders Prince Milpoonggun taken away. The guards drag Prince Milpoonggun away.
As he is taken away Prince Milpoonggun vows he will not die by the King’s hands. He grabs a sword from one of the guard. He rushes the King. Yeo Ji rushes to protect the King. Prince Milpoonggun evades everyone and nears the King who Yeo Ji stands in front of. The King spins to offer his back and protect Yeo Ji. Prince Milpoonggun wields his sword. Silence ensues…the King turns to see the sword in Prince Milpoonggun’s belly. The Prince shoves the sword in even deeper. The Prince tells the King he is the winner and he is the loser. Prince Milpoonggun recalls the concubine’s words that she will be waiting for him in the after life and to die as a king. Prince Milpoonggun declares he is dying as a king. His fingers fall from the sword as he passes to the afterlife.
Great death scene. Prince Milpoonggun died with honor by his standards. I shake my head at how close he got to the King.
The Sorin Chief Justice ltells Minister Min Jin Hun (Lee Kyung Young) that Prince Milpoonggun committed suicide at the palace. Minister Min regrets using the Prince has a pawn in the political process. The Chief Justice wisely tells Minister Min that a life without regret is not a life well lived.
I love these two former adversaries, now friends. Their evolution has been wonderful.
The inspectors discuss the Prince’s death. They ask Moon Soo if the Evil Inspector will also face death.
As the King reflects on what just happened, the Prime Minister arrives and reminds him he must decide the fate of the remaining rebels.
The King calls the ministers and decrees immediately the Narin General will die by capital punishment and the Evil Inspector will be beheaded. The Narin General and the Evil Inspector are taken from their jail cells.
The citizens gather to watch the executions. The Narin General and Evil Inspector kneel among the other rebels to face death. The Evil Inspector whines that this is the General’s fault. The General snaps he fought for a great cause and must face death with pride. The Evil Inspector scoffs. Moon Soo approaches and tells the Evil Inspector if he’s been a man with honor then maybe he could be part of the new government. The Evil Inspector states one day Moon Soo will kneel before the executioner too. Moon Soo counters if so, he’ll do it without fear. He orders the executioner to begin. As the executioner dances around the rebels, the Evil Inspector has a moment of reflection. The executioner swings his sword decisively.
Moon Soo is right. The Evil Inspector made every self-serving choice that included murder on his own. He could have chosen a different path. The General died believing his cause was just…I must acknowledge his unwavering stance.
Dal Moon sends his first love of in a boat filled with flowers. He wishes that she’s born who she wants to be in the next life. A tear rolls down his face as he pushes the boat down the river.
Yeo Ji visits the King knowing the day was a difficult one. The King admits he’ll always have problems to deal with, he’ll always worry whether or not he made the right decision, etc. Yeo Ji points out sometimes he’ll make the right choice and sometimes the wrong choice. Regardless, Yeo Ji states she respects him. Yeo Ji admits she loves him. The King turns and approaches. He sees the tears in her eyes. He gently hugs her. She hugs him back. They pull apart and he gently cups her face.
Yes! She admitted she loved him.
Minister Min hears the pleas of the Norin Minister to help them defeat the King’s latest initiative. Minister Min believes in the initiate and reminds his former colleagues that they told him recently he wasn’t qualified. He indicates he has plenty of packing to do and asks if they’d like to help.
The Prime Minister and second in command worry the King hasn’t had enough sleep for days and the big meeting is today. The King sweeps into the room and teases them not to disparage him. He states when hunting you never let the prey have time to regroup.
The King enters the meeting room. Not all the minister have a happy face. The King states today’s meeting begins with abolishing the minister of personnel and reorganization of the three agencies.
The inspectors sign a petition supporting the King’s initiative.
Back at the meeting arguments are made. The King counters his proposal covers the points made. He asks if everyone has read his proposal. He sees the ministers swaying on their feet. He apologizes for going long and grants them a 30 minute break before they reconvene.
While strolling around the palace courtyard, the King ask the Prime Minister if he was mean with only a 30 minute break. The Prime Minister confirms that. The King smiles and says he gets to sit during the meeting and murmurs it is good to be King.
The minister complain to each other about the length of the myriad of meetings they’ve endured. They wonder if the King is trying to wear them down.
Moon Soo gives the second in command the inspector’s petition. They agree the time has come for reform.
The King surprises the Prime Minister when he proposes a series of discussions with the people. The King states past kings have looked at the people as laborers and tax payers but never listened to them directly. He points out he spent many years living with the people. As a son of a peasant woman, who better than him to reach out?
The notices are published in the capital. The people are surprised. Dal Moon learns of the King’s intent. He’s pleased and states the King is going to add king of the streets to his repertoire.
The Sorin ministers complain about the public discussion. The Chief Justice points out those that pay the taxes should be asked about them.
The first public discussion begins., No surprise but the people have opinions. The King encourages them to unburden themselves without fear.
The Dowager Queen hears the public discussion is going long and sometimes heated. The court kitchen is busy preparing food for the discussion. Yeo Ji isn’t cooking but bring raw ingredients. The Dowager Queen finds her there. She quips that Yeo Ji always puts the King’s needs first and leaves her behind. The King’s court lady offers to switch. Yeo Ji is shocked. The Dowager Queen laughs that she was teasing. However she is going to implement the switch. The King’s court lady shares that she told the Dowager Queen about the King’s feeling. Yeo Ji is shocked. The Dowager Queen declares she will help with the cooking. Everyone is surprised. The Dowager Queen states she was a good cook before she came to the palace. She rolls up her sleeves and gets to work.
The Dowager Queen is another character I’ve enjoyed. Her initial resistance to Lee Geum made sense because she backed her own son. But she grew to understand the wisdom and ended up being a staunch support. Lee Guem’s companion turned court lady has been another winner character. She’s had his back every step of the way and graciously stepped back when he only felt friendship.
It is late and the public discussion continues. The people say the military tax is one burden too much. The King suggests the aristocrats pay taxes. They disagree. The King points out they have the money and should pay their fair share. A minister tells the King he’s being lead by the people. The King ponders and agrees. He counters shouldn’t the government be lead by the people’s needs? He tells everyone he’ll take a majority vote on the matter. All those that support to the south gate and those that oppose to the north gate. He smiles as the people scamper to the south gate.
The King writes a message to his people, fair taxes and love from the king. And they love it!
Moon Soo sends two inspectors undercover as beggars to track an a inspector skimming rice. The undercover operatives aren’t excited.
Dal Moon provides the King information. He jokes that all the public discussions the King is having is starting make him worry the King wants to be king of the streets. Dal Moon reminds the King that is his titled. The King reminds Dal Moon that King is king over all. They both smile.
Retired Minister Min who has taken up painting vases is surprised when the King pays an unexpected visit. The King asks why he will not accept his offer to join his support team. Minister Min replies that the legendary beast Haechi can distinguish between good and evil but man cannot. Minister Min admits that he equated gaining power with winning and adding power with losing. He got tired of the rat race. He suspects one day the King will tire of the never ending fight of increment improvements. But in his heart he hopes the King’s stamina will last a long time and so he can continue to make the Government better. Minister Min believes that the King is the one man that can make the impossible come to fruition. The King’s choice to surround himself with like-minded friends is his secret weapon. As the King leaves he turns and Minister Min gets on his knees and bows.
Awk! Tears! The was surprisingly moving.
Moon Soo and his two inspectors go to arrest the inspector skimming rice. It takes a moment for Moon Soo to local his badge declaring he is an royal inspector. The gig is up!
Dal Moon tells his men they have another assignment from the King. With vigor they all move out. Dal Moon smiles.
The King meets Yeo Ji outside. She worries he is working to hard. He shrugs and says his job requires him to be tired. He holds her hand shocking her. She protests. He assures them no one will see them. Just then his trusted adviser arrives. They drop hands. The adviser apologizes. They walk and the King notices a bridge isn’t sturdy. He goes to talk to the beggars that live under the bridge about it’s status much to the dismay of the adviser and Yeo Ji. But as the King chats easily with his people, Yeo Ji smiles at the man she loves.
The King looks around, smiles and thinks “As I walk this road, I hope I don’t tire. Life and politics is about incremental improvements.”
One day at a time. While not as riveting as the previous episode – and how could it be when most of the impediments were vanquished – Writer Kim Yi Young left us with the message that the fight to improve the world is never ending. The King did not take no for an answer and tirelessly worked to change the government. Minister Min was right that a source of the King’s strength was his cadre of supporters. Dal Moon sent his first love’s body down the river. Moon Soo became a royal inspector. Minister Min retired but still dispensed wisdom. Yeo Ji and the King held hands. In the end we saw every character smile and committed to the King’s vision. There is strength in numbers.
How did I do on my wish list for the final episode?
* The foes are vanquished. GRANTED – Prince Milpoonggun, the Narin General, and the Evil Inspector died.
* The King wins the battle to change. GRANTED – This isn’t a one-time win but an ongoing battle. I applaud the King’s unrelenting determination and surrounding himself by a supportive time.
*Team Good has moments without struggle and has moments of happiness. GRANTED – Writer Kim showed Team Good doing what they loved…working for the King’s vision and enjoying that work.
* Yeo Ji declares her feelings. GRANTED – Yeo Ji admitted she loves the King. Her support and love is a source of strength.
* Evil Prince Milpoonggun stormed the palace with the fervent belief he should be King. When the King offered the facts that if he’d been a better man and made smarter choices, he might have the throne, the Prince knew it was true. He lunged at the King only to turn the sword on himself and commit suicide. It was a dramatic death for the series dramatic evil character. This character was multifaceted due to good writing and acting. I felt empathy for this mad, denied man.
* Minister Min retired. His political party whined when he supported the King’s efforts. Tired of the rat race, he quit. And when they wanted him back, he declined. When the King wanted him back, he declined but not without telling the King that he supports the King’s drive for incremental positive changes to the government. I enjoyed this character’s evolution from political magician to a man that saw the King was worth supporting. He wasn’t always right but he spoke his own truth. And he grew to respect and support the King’s vision and hoped he would succeed.
King Yeoninggun Lee Geum (Jung Il Woo) vowed to never stop making the government better. He was like the energizer bunny. He wouldn’t stop pursing his agenda for incremental changes. Lee Geum did so many things right in this series – he navigated the political quagmire, he surrounded himself with supporters that helped his cause and gave him strength, and in the end he turned the negative “peasant prince” into a positive “King for all”. Jung Il Woo hit the mark in this role. He still has “it”.
Court Lady Yeo Ji (Go Ara) admitted her love for the King. I was pleased when she did. She stepped in front of the King when the Prince Milpoonggun appeared to be ready to strike the King. The Dowager Queen sent her to the King’s palace so she could support the King directly. The King appreciated and needed her sweet support.
Dal Moon (Park Hoon) sent his lost love to the afterlife. He cried when he sent her down the river in a flower laden boat. He was impressed with the King’s idea of public forums. He teased the King that he was the king of the streets. We had more smiles from Dal Moon in this episode than the entire series. I enjoyed this character. Even with his Achilles heel of helping his first love, his evolution of man for hire to stalwart supporter of the King’s vision was worthwhile.
Park Moon Soo (Kwon Yool) was a justice seeking angel. Moon Soo had a strong moral compass. He didn’t suffer fools gladly and bluntly told the evil inspector he brought the impending execution on himself. I enjoyed Moon Soo and his two sidekick inspectors as royal inspectors, finding and gathering evidence to arrest corruption the perfect ending for this character. His evolution from not bright enough to pass the civil service test to inspector to army lead to royal inspector was never boring.
I rank these episodes (on a scale from 1-10) as terrific (ep 47-48). My rating chart is below.