The King: Eternal Monarch Episode 5 Recap
2019… Republic of Korea…
Detective Gang Shin Jae (Kim Kyung Nam) sends a text to Tae Eul inviting her to play pool. She doesn’t respond.
Lee Gon (Lee Min Ho) gives Myung Na Ri (Kim Yong Ji) a flawless diamond to repay his debt to her. He leaves. Shin Jae arrives and asks about Maximus (Lee Gon’s white horse) and Tae Eul. The horse and owner are gone and Na Ri doesn’t know where Tae Eul is. Shin Jae sees Tae Eul hasn’t read his text yet.
2019… Kingdom of Corea…
Jo Young (Woo Do Hwan) reports to Court Lady Noh Ok Nam that the king is back and he’s brought a female guest. Court Lady Noh instructs him to come to the palace via water to reduce the number of prying eyes.
Detective Jung Tae Eul listens in shock as Lee Gon states he is king of Corea and his name is Lee Gon (though she can’t call him that in this world). Tae Eul is pleased to know his name though she might now be beheaded. Lee Gon chuckles. Jo Young approaches and states they must return. Lee Gon says Maximus is feeling the strain of the travel and needs to be attended to. Jo Young orders the stables cleared. They ride to the stables.
Tae Eul asks Lee Gon what this world is. Lee Gon isn’t sure but notes natures forces aren’t in play. He explains he’s been here multiple times and has yet to find the end of it. Time moves at a difference pace. He promises to report his findings when he gets to the end of this world.
2019… Kingdom of Corea…
The vet reports Maximus is tired but her heart is in the normal range. Lee Gon asks him to return tomorrow morning to tend to Maximus. The vet agrees and leaves. Tae Eul is grappling with this new world. She can’t believe that Jo Young isn’t the person she’s known since she was 3 years old. She asks if his gun is real. She wants him to hand it over. Jo Young refuses. Lee Gon tells Jo Young to give her. Jo Young complies. Tae Eul apologizes and aims the weapon at Lee Gon. Jo Young stands in front of Lee Gon ready to take a bullet. Lee Gon notes she can handle a weapon. Jo Young isn’t NOT happy. Lee Gon tells her this is all true. He says firing the weapon to prove it won’t help. Tae Eul hands over the gun. Jo Young realizes Tae Eul is the woman from the badge.
They take a boat to the palace. Lee Gon welcomes her to his home.
Lee Gon is taken aback when Court Lady Noh is waiting for them. She directs Tae Eul to deposit her belonging. Tae Eul divests herself of handcuffs, phone, badge, etc. Court Lady Noh recognizes Tae Eul from her badge. Court Lady Noh asks to speak with the king. She rags on him for breaking protocol about bring a guest. Lee Gon agrees they need to speak in private. He tells Jo Young to leave Tae Eul alone in the room. He tells Tae Eul he’ll be back soon. Tae Eul calls him your highness. Lee Gon leaves chuckling that finally she believes him.
Tae Eul takes in all the equations. She sinks to the floor wondering what she’s gotten herself into.
Lee Gon’s assistant runs through his jam-packed schedule for tomorrow. Lee Gon agrees to attend all the event. He only wants dinner in his study alone.
Myung Seung A (Kim Yong Ji) is sent by Court Lady Noh to keep an eye on Tae Eul.
Tae Eul spies a picture of a young Lee Gon next to his uncle and young Court Lady Noh. Seung A enters. Tae Eul can’t believe that Na Ri’s alternative self is right in front of her. Tae Eul quizzes her but the two women have nothing in common. Seung A offers tea. Tae Eul would prefer soju.
Jo Young recalls Lee Gon telling him he traveled to a parallel universe called the Republic of Korea where Seoul is the capital and democracy rules. Jo Young recalls seeing the ribbon of nerves light up in the back of Lee Gon’s shoulder. Jo Young grabs a glass with a handkerchief.
Seung A offers to conduct internet searches for Tae Eul. Seung A can’t believe Tae Eul uses the king’s name. Tae Eul says she doesn’t live her and that she’s like an illegal immigrant. Jo Young arrives and asks Seung A to leave.
Tae Eul apologize for the gun incident. She asks if he’s normally solemn and series. He hands her the glass. He goes to Lee Gon’s table and dips her thumb in the ink pad. She presses her thumb on the glass and states he won’t find her in any database. Jo Young asks if she’s from a parallel universe. Tae Eul is taken aback. Jo Young asks about the scar on his shoulder. Tae Eul doesn’t know anything about that. She states she and the king don’t show each other their shoulders. She snipes at Jo Young noting she’s older than him. They lock eyes.
Seung A taps on the door. Jo Young exits. They stare at Lee Gon who has a cart with a covered dish of food. Lee Gon is embarrassed. Jo Young wants to talk. Lee Gon spies the glass. He understands why Jo Young want to run her fingerprints. He declares they can discuss this tomorrow after he reads the quantum mechanics link he’ll send. Seung A says alcohol is needed. Lee Gon asks where the secret booze cooler is.
Jo Young and Seung A walk down the hall. Seung A recalls that when she first met the king, he acted like they’d met before, but they hadn’t. Jo Young wants details on Seung A’s conversation with Tae Eul. Seung A hates to waste an opportunity to spend time with Jo Young but her loyalty is to Court Lady Noh.
Tae Eul downs a beer. Lee Gon admits him bringing a guest without notification is unheard of. He notices Tae Eul’s thumb is inked. She asks for his cell phone. He gives it. She pockets it. He displayed the food he cooked her. She asks him to taste it first. She claims she’s like Alice in Wonderland. Lee Gon assures her poison won’t kill her, beheading will. She eats the food and tells him it isn’t that good. Lee Gon points out that if he calls out loudly, people will come. He demonstrates. Court Lady Noh immediately enters the room, startling them both. She informs Tae Eul she’s prepared a room…far away from Lee Gon’s bedroom. Lee Gon wishes both ladies good night. He tries to wheedle Tae Eul’s room location from Court Lady Noh who refuses to divulge it. He smiles.
Court Lady Noh tells Tae Eul that unexpected guests must be discrete and never divulge what she sees or hears in the palace. Court Lady Noh says her name. Tae Eul asks how she knows her. Court Lady Noh explains that the king has had her badge since he was a young boy. Her rank and name don’t exist. But here she is. Court Lady Noh says Tae Eul’s visit may hurt the king. She requests discretion again.
Tae Eul sits on the floor and considers. Lee Gon arrives through the window. He’s pleased he found her. He gives her a beer. He says he didn’t want her to be alone and afraid. Tae Eul asks when she can see her badge. He promises to show her tomorrow. Tae Eul recalls the small stuffed bear on her keychain that Lee Gon gave her. She comments it is cheap. Lee Gon retorts it was anything but cheap.
Flashback…Determined to win Tae Eul a stuffed animal, Lee Gon plays round after round of a shooting game, handing money over and over until he can only earn the small stuffed bear.
Tae Eul realizes Lee Gon didn’t easily win the bear. She chides him for his poor shooting. Lee Gon declares the game was rigged. He teases the room has surveillance cameras. She believes him. Lee Gon says it’s not true. He puts his head on her shoulder. She tells him to move it. Lee Gon says it is comfortable. Tae Eul asks if he’s ever dated. Lee Gon claims he has. Tae Eul thinks this is his first time. To prove it, Lee Gon softly kisses her. Tae Eul doesn’t respond but doesn’t push him away. He asks her which it is.
Unusual moment for a first kiss.
2019… Republic of Korea…
Head Detective Park Moon Shik shops with his forensics wife and discuss the murder weapon in a current case. She grouses that he’s deserting her for the evening. He claims Shin Jae begged him to come out for a drink.
Shin Jae eats his microwaved meal and reads Head Detective Park’s text asking him to cover for him. Shin Jae wonders where Head Detective Park is really going. He sees Tae Eul hasn’t read his text yet.
2019… Kingdom of Corea…
Lee Gon stops by Tae Eul’s room and wonders if she slept well. He offers her security garb so she can accompany him today. He asks her to hurry so they can leave before Court Lady Noh finds out. Tae Eul reveals Court Lady Noh is in her room. Lee Gon is taken aback. Court Lady Noh tells Lee Gon if they are going go out together, Tae Eul cannot have any photos taken of her. She strides away. Lee Gon claims this is exactly what he wanted to happen.
Decked out in security garb, Tae Eul sticks by Jo Young’s side as the king goes about his day. She’s impressed at the crowds and positive reaction to him. He teases Jo Young that he should be as impressed with him as his team is. He tells Jo Young to execute his request.
Jo Young takes Tae Eul aside and provides her clothing to change into so she can explore. Wisely Tae Eul asks for cash too.
Tae Eul takes a helicopter to his next activity. He checks out Tae Eul’s searches when she borrowed his phone. He’s pleased to learn she searched about him, his girlfriend, the prime minister, etc. He faces changes when he sees she searched for her police unit in Seoul and a train to get there. Her last search is about Prince Geum.
2019… Republic of Korea…
Prince Geum Lee Rim (Lee Jung Jin) (Lee Gon’s uncle) meets pregnant and poor Park Ji Young. He shows her pictures of a happy and rich version of herself. He says this woman exits in a parallel world. She can have this life; all she has to do is kill that version of herself in the parallel world. She’s taken aback. She asks what will happen if she doesn’t agree. Lee Rim offers her picture of how she struggles in this world. She can end her suffering. He’s not sure what she’ll do if she doesn’t go along with him. He notes no one has said no so far. He stands to leave. Seeing her chance at a completely difference life walking out the door, Ji Young grabs him and pledges to do as he wishes. Lee Rim gives her a flip phone and declares he’ll contact her when the time is right. Recall a flip phone was found during Shin Jae and Tae Eul’s murder investigation.
Lee Rim’s plan is slowly unveiling itself.
2019… Kingdom of Corea…
Prime Minister Goo Seo Ryung (Jung Eun Chae) discusses international relationship issues. That done, she sees the picture of herself and Lee Gon at her swearing her in ceremony.
Flashback…Lee Gon swears her in as Prime Minister. She asks what he wants from his prime minister. The king replies written reports. Prime Minister Goo laughs. The king is serious.
Flashback…Lee Gon tells her firmly, he is indebted to no one.
Tae Eul walks through the city. She sees a banner for an exhibit of items of the current king in the museum. She remembers him kissing her. She bumps into a woman and apologizes. She can’t believe it when she reads that country is more successful than the Republic of Korea. The woman explains the mineral rights in the north generate big money. Tae Eul realizes Lee Gon is rich as Croesus. She recalls all the flack she gave him in her world. She sighs.
Tae Eul purchases a ticket. The thugs that chased the rabbit ear woman recognize her and start after her. Jo Young stops them. They tell Jo Young that’s the woman, Luna, they pursued earlier for the money she owed them. Jo Young tells them to leave her to him.
Glad the Jo Young is following her; I had a hard time believing that she was wandering alone.
In Seoul, Tae Eul sees Prime Minister Goo walking the street.
Prime Minister Goo meets her “friends” including the rich Park Ji Young. It’s not a warm gathering. Prime Minister Goo threatens to investigate Ji Young’s husband. The two women shoot daggers at each other.
Tae Eul visits the police station. She sees Head Detective Park exiting for lunch. She greets him. He doesn’t recognize her. He doesn’t know the other team members she cites. Tae Eul apologizes for disturbing him. Head Detective Park leaves for lunch.
Tae Eul takes a taxi to her old neighborhood. She sees Shin Jae’s house. She assumes the Shin Jae in this world is rich. Shin Jae sees her. She sees him. Shin Jae doesn’t recognize her. They pass each other without a word. Shin Jae passes his old house. He goes to the convenience store where he runs into Dr. Jo the psychologist. They share a drink outside. Dr. Jo notes Shin Jae didn’t return for more sessions. Shin Jae says his family moved out of the neighborhood when he was young due to bankruptcy. Dr. Jo asks if he’s still having nightmares. He’s not interested in a session. They drink instead. Shin Jae sees that Tae Eul has yet to read his text.
Hmm, I though this was Corea but the text makes it Korea. Was the Shin Jae/Tae Eul pass in the street real or imagined or in two worlds? This can be confusing.
Tae Eul returns to her old home. They don’t know Ahn Bong Hui. Tae Eul thanks them and leaves. Tae Eul is short the funds to purchase a ticket back to Busan. She calls the palace repeatedly but they don’t believe her when she says the king will want to speak with her.
Lee Gon hears that “Princess Diana” called 17 times asking for her. He instructs the helicopter to take him to Seoul. He wants Jo Young’s location determined. Tae Eul sees the helicopter park on top of the building. She’s startled when Jo Young appears next to her. He reveals the king ordered him to follow her. She’s miffed that he didn’t help her when she was short the money.
They wait outside the building. The security men roll out. Then Lee Gon exits. He walks to Jo Young and Tae Eul. Jo Young steps away. Lee Gon asks why she didn’t stay in Busan and came to Seoul. He asks if she came to find Ahn Bong Hui. She grumbles at Jo Young. Lee Gon asks why she wanted to find this woman. Tae Eul admits this is her mother. Intellectually she knows this world’s mother isn’t her real mother, but she wanted to see if she was alive and if so, make sure she was happy. Lee Gon wished he’d known. Tae Eul says her mother wasn’t here. Lee Gon notes her search history showed other things she was interested in, like his ex-girlfriend. Tae Eul declares he cheated. Jo Young rushes and says Prime Minister Goo’s arrival is imminent.
The words are barely out of Jo Young’s mouth and Prime Minister Goo’s car pulls up. She greets Lee Gon. She greets “the unknown woman” by introducing herself and extending a hand to Tae Eul.
Our couple continues their slow build. Writer Kim Eun Sook let Tae Eul be uncomfortable with the parallel world and her past treatment of Lee Gon. He, back on his turf, was gracious, teasing, and tried to put her at ease. Tae Eul marveled at the Republic of Corea in contrast to Korea. Our couple shared more private one-on-one moments than any other episode. I found their discussion about whether she was the first girl he was dating or not, just okay. I thought it was an odd moment for a first kiss. It wasn’t romantic. She hasn’t decided she’s ready to engage. But the kiss happened. Lee Gon kept it soft and sweet while Tae Eul didn’t engage or pull away. What is working for me is the building of their shared experiences which is allowing them to banter more, something I love to see in couples.
One of the more interesting moments of the episode was when Lee Rim suggested that poor Ji Young assume rich Ji Young’s place in the parallel world. The price…Ji Young would have to murder her counterpart. The flip phone that Lee Rim provided Jo Young was similar to the flip phone in the murder investigation. Lee Rim is putting the pieces together for his next assault on Lee Gon. He is in it to win it.
The bridge between worlds scene surprised me. What’s this other world or reality about?
King Lee Gon (Lee Min Ho) kissed Tae Eul. He took advantage of their dating banter to sneak in their (and his?) first kiss. It could only be an initial exploratory kiss. Lee Gon kept it light and didn’t press Tae Eul. But he got under her skin. Good, because she’s under his skin. I was pleased when Lee Gon had Jo Young watch over Tae Eul as she explored. I couldn’t imagine he’d let her wander without oversight.
Detective Jung Tae Eul (Kim Go Eun) explored the parallel world of Corea. Tae Eul could no longer doubt Lee Gon. She was in his world, his palace, his life. He spent time with her. He facilitated her outing. He gave her a shadow in Jo Young. I enjoyed the interchanges between Tae Eul and Jo Young. Even though Tae Eul didn’t respond during their first kiss, she couldn’t get it out of her mind. Now she has come face to face with Prime Minister Goo, a woman that is like a shark sensing the blood of another woman in Lee Gon’s life.
Jo Young (Woo Do Hwan) is considering the possibility of Lee Gon’s claims. He is wondering if Lee Gon might be right about the parallel world, time stopping, shoulder flare, etc. His interaction with Myeong Seung A was subdued as they were both in duty mode. She groused that she couldn’t get more out of their one-on-one interaction. If Jo Young had revealed himself and given Tae Eul the money to catch the train back to Seoul, the awkward moment between Prime Minister Goo, Lee Gon and Tae Eul could have been avoided.
Prince Geum Lee Rim (Lee Jung Jin) (Lee Gon’s uncle) is offering disenfranchised characters a chance at a new life in a parallel word. The price for the new life…killing yourself in the parallel world. Yikes! He makes it sound logical when it is anything but.
Detective Gang Shin Jae (Kim Kyung Nam) missed Tae Eul. I was confused if he was in Corea or Korea when he and Tae Eul supposedly passed each other in the cross walk. The unread text makes me think this was Korea. If so, we don’t know what kind of life the Corea Shin Jae is living.
I rank this episode as almost very good, 7.5 on a 10-point scale.