The King: Eternal Monarch Episode 10 Recap
2019…Republic of Korea…
Detective Gang Shin Jae (Kim Kyung Nam) eats at a food cart.
Flashback…Shin Jae and Tae Eul eat at a food cart when they were younger.
Shin Jae tells his therapist about the long dream of a nice house, kind mother and how he hopes Kang Hyeon Min (himself in the Kingdom of Corea) is just a dream. Shin Jae shares he get someone from the world he came from.
Detective Jung Tae Eul (Kim Go Eun) finds him at the food cart. She states she staked out this food cart. She’s willing to talk to him about the truth. She tells him in the other world, there are people with the same faces they have. Tae Eul says she’s been there. She wants him to help her. She starts to share about the cell phones. Shin Jae declares she’s delusional. He strides away.
2019…Kingdom of Corea…
Flashback… Lee Gon searches the footage. He jumps out of his chair when he remembers.
Flashback…a young Lee Gon is cut by Lee Rim’s half of the magic flute. Lee Rim’s face is young NOT old.
Flashback…Lee Gon grapples with the realization. He KNOWS Lee Rim has evaded aging in the in between world. He realizes he has missed this point. He looks at his watch. He’s got 5 hours. He must find Lee Rim’s obelisks that he uses to transport between the worlds.
In Between World…
Lee Gon rides Maximus through the in between world.
Court Lady Noh’s voice over “when the sun goes down over the white rapids, I shall wait by the gate. Between the shadows of the birds at dawn, I see the brightness of the day.”
Republic of Korea…
Tae Eul walks in the bamboo forest. She stares at where the portal would be. She sees a red balloon. She sees Lee Gon. They are stunned to see each other. Tae Eul cries and runs towards him. They run into each other’s arms. She sobs. He asks if she’s been waiting here. He says he missed her like crazy. He only wanted to hear her voice. He admits he was going to call her from the payphone nearby. He shows her the coins he brought. She sobs and hugs him. He holds on tightly.
Kingdom of Corea…
Lee Gon’s secretary asks Court Lady Noh Ok Nam where the king is. Court Lady Noh states he’ll be back soon. Lee Gon enters the room. He asks the date and is happy to learn he’s back in time. His secretary asks if he was on a fabulous trip. He tells her it was good and he’ll see her tomorrow.
Republic of Korea…
Tae Eul and Jo Young (Woo Do Hwan) dine and discuss the eminent arrival his Eun Sub’s family. Tae Eul offers advice. Jo Young is sure he’ll be fine. They wish each other happy new year. Jo Young leaves.
Jo Young is taken aback by the outfit he has to wear. His young sister says Jo Young isn’t Eun Sub. Mom laughs. Jo Young is horrified when his younger brother finds his gun. He unloads the bullets and tells his mother the gun is a souvenir. His younger sister doesn’t believe him and walks away. Jo Young murmurs his 7-year-old sister is smarter than some of the royal guards.
The police team bemoans working on New Years eve. Tae Eul, Detective Shim, Head Detective Park, and Detective Jang try to see the positives. Shin Jae surprises them when he arrives and rejoins the team. As the others walk away, Shin Jae tells Tae Eul he’s ready to hear about the cell phones now. Tae Eul smiles.
Kingdom of Corea…
Lee Gon marks the new year with an event. He tells everyone the plus sign can help them face what will come. He notes 2020 is the year of rat, and of time and direction. He wishes everyone a happy new year. Prime Minister Goo Seo Ryung (Jung Eun Chae) watches him from the first row. Jo Eun Sub (Woo Do Hwan) is impressed with his charisma.
Flashback…Prime Minister Goo asks Court Lady Noh what the king looks for in a woman. Court Lady Noh reminds her she has 1 year left in her term. Prime Minister Goo counters that she got married and divorced in a year, so she has plenty of time. She asks Court Lady Noh to help her. How can she crush the king’s heart? Court Lady Noh points out that most would ask what would win the king’s heart, not crush it. Court Lady Noh refuses to help Prime Minister Goo because the king is guarded around her.
You go Court Lady Noh!
Prime Minister Goo congratulates Lee Gon on his speech. She hopes she’ll have his support this year. Lee Gon hopes she’ll pick the correct path this year. Jo Young gets a call from Detective Kang. Lee Gon tells him to take the call. He even gives him tips how to lower his voice. Lee Gon explains to a confused Prime Minister Goo and her secretary, he likes it when Jo Young answers phone calls in that tone of voice.
Lee Gon and Jo Young arrive at the police station to see Detective Kang who is shocked the king has come.
Luna (Kim Go Eun) feeds a cat. She tells the cat she’s borrowing the cat’s name and legally that is her name. We see the name Luna on the cat’s tag. She warns the cat to trust no one.
Detective Kang gives Lee Gon the mug shot of Luna and tells him she was released early from prison several weeks ago apparently because of a terminal illness. Lee Gon asks to meet Luna. Lee Gon asks for information on Gi Hwan. He’s told Gi Hwan is dead. Lee Gon realizes those dead have stolen the lives of others with the same face.
At the New Year’s Eve festivities that Prime Minister Goo attends, it begins to snow.
Lee Gon watches the snow fall. He wishes Tae Eul a happy new year. Time stops. Lee Gon leaves to intercept Lee Rim.
Lee Rim walks the streets of Corea. He watches the crowd greet the king. Lee Gon looks into the crowd and lets Maximus lead him through the crowd. Lee Gon believes Lee Rim is watching him.
Flashback…Lee Gon can’t find Lee Rim’s face in the footage of the events he’s attended.
Lee Gon walks towards Lee Gon. Lee Gon passes Lee Rim without stopping. Lee Rim is surprised. He starts to walk away. Lee Gon stops Maximus.
His security team reports no one came through the bamboo forest. Lee Gon wonders what he’s missing. Obviously guarding the bamboo forest was insufficient. Lee Gon realizes if Lee Rim guarded the portal in Republic of Korea, he was never caught. It hits him, the portals are different for each of them. Lee Gon asks for a shortcut that doesn’t pass through the palace. The security guard mentions a farm path that leads to Haeundae. Lee Gon declares they are heading to there and orders the team to follow.
Lee Gon calls Myung Seung A (Kim Yong Ji) and requests the prepared event at Haeundae be posted on social media. Seung A says the king is using the event to invite someone.
The masses see the event posting. They see the king ride through town. He looks through the crowd for Lee Rim.
Lee Rim walks the streets of Corea. He watches the crowd greet the king. Lee Gon looks into the crowd and lets Maximus lead him through the crowd. Lee Gon believes Lee Rim is watching him. Lee Gon walks towards Lee Gon. Lee Gon passes Lee Rim without stopping. Lee Rim is surprised. He starts to walk away. Lee Gon stops Maximus.
Lee Gon spins Maximus around. He stares into the crowd. There is only one man that isn’t looking at him. One man with his back turned. Lee Gon moves Maximus forward. The crowd parts. Lee Gon looks at the man. Lee Rim turns and stares into Lee Gon’s eyes.
Lee Gon yells “Traitor, Lee Rim!” Lee Rim stares at his nephew.
Flashback… Lee Gon utters the phrase from the sword. Lee Gon asks if he remembers his voice. Lee Gon promises he remembers his. Lee Rim confirms it is him. He asks how his nephew has been. Lee Gon says Lee Rim is alive. Lee Rim confirms. He has been waiting living a different life until he could claim the life he wants. Lee Gon tells him to wait. He promises to find his uncle. Lee Rim commends his nephew for sounding like a king. He invites Lee Gon to find him. He says Lee Gon will have to resurrect a dead man. He warns that will cause chaos and he’ll relish every moment.
Palace security arrives. Lee Gon orders them to arrest Lee Rim. Guns are drawn. Lee Rim’s men take hostages. Lee Rim gets off his horse and tells them men to stand down. Someone aims his weapon at Lee Gon. Eun Sub flings his body in front of Lee Gon and takes the bullet in his back shoulder. Lee Rim and Lee Gon stare at each other. Lee Rim turns and walks away. His men injure two people. They walk away. Lee Gon orders his men to secure the people first, then get the braggards. Cradling Eun Sub, he tells his sword to wake.
Prime Minister Goo learns there was a shootout. She asks about Lee Rim. Prime Minister Goo recalls her mother saying she saw a man that looked like Lee Rim. She asks for CCTV. She wonders about the king’s honesty.
Prince Buyeong hears about the shoot out in a coffee shop. Security men arrive to secure him.
Eun Sub’s bullet proof vest saved him. The doctor tells Lee Gon it will be 2 weeks of recovery. The citizens that were injured are healing too. The doctor report Court Lady Noh has called many times. He leaves. Eun Sub states he had to save Lee Gon because Jo Young promised he’d do the same for his siblings. Eun Sub says he’s earned the title unbreakable sword today. Lee Gon agrees and thanks him.
Lee Rim walks the street until he arrives at a location with a do not enter sign. He meets his assistant who reports the country is in an uproar. Lee Rim smiles that the country either believes him dead or 70 years old, not who he really is. He knows Lee Gon’s declaration is chaos inducing. His assistant says Prince Buyeong visited the bookstore. He believes it was an accident. Lee Rim muses it could be destiny. He looks forward to meeting Prince Buyeong in person.
Republic of Korea…
Jo Young watches Shin Jae’s mother enter her home.
At the hotel, he remembers a woman with that same face in the palace.
Tae Eul brings Shin Jae to the hotel. Neither man is happy to see each other. Tae Eul points out they have a bigger problem to deal with and they’ll have to get along. Tae Eul lays out who she knows that have crossed between Kingdom of Corea and Republic of Korea. They discuss the phones. Shin Jae points out taking Gi Hwan back to Kingdom of Corea creates a problem in Republic of Korea. Jo Young points out Shin Jae is subject to Kingdom of Corea laws too. Tae Eul doesn’t understand what they are talking about.
Kingdom of Corea…
Court Lady Noh is relieved when Lee Gon returns to the palace. He confirms Lee Rim is back, looking the same as 25 years ago. Court Lady Noh doesn’t understand how that can be. Lee Rim points out that disbelief is why he let Lee Rim go.
Prime Minister Goo calls Lee Gon. She asks if Lee Rim is really back or if it his followers. Lee Gon states today’s action was terrorism whether it was Lee Rim or his followers. He tells her to focus on protecting the citizens. He hangs up.
His secretary handles the press conference. She states that Lee Gon found one of Lee Rim’s followers and chased him. They ask why the followers have resurfaced. The response is that doesn’t matter, only that they are caught.
Republic of Korea…
In prison, Jang Yeon Ji plays dumb about the two different phones when Tae Eul and Shin Jae question her. Tae Eul produces the phone. Tae Eul guesses that Yeon Ji killed her roommate for overhearing something when she talked on that phone. Yeon Ji claims not to understand. Shin Jae believes Yeon Ji is not telling them all she knows.
Lee Rim’s assistant sees Shin Jae and back out of the police parking lot. Shin Jae sees him and wonders. Tae Eul asks why he’s distracted. Shin Jae remembers a man taking photos of him when he was with Head Detective Park. He asks Tae Eul if she recognizes the man in the car backing away. Shin Jae urges her to get to their car.
Shin Jae looks up the car’s license plate. Head Detective Park remembers the license plate number from their night drinking. Head Detective Park approves a vehicle check on the car. He assigns Shin Jae to work with Detective Jang. Head Detective Park tells Detective Shim he’s the one he’s with tonight.
Kingdom of Corea…
Prince Buyeong listens to the complaints about Prime Minister Goo and Lee Gon. They recommend he make a move to become king. Prince Buyeong gets angry at his team. Lee Gon arrives shocking them all.
Prince Buyeong apologizes about the men complaining. Lee Gon asks about Prince Buyeong’s granddaughter. Lee Gon wonders if he’s doing the right thing. Lee Gon confirms that Lee Rim is alive and hasn’t aged. Lee Gon says the confrontation with Lee Rim won’t happen here. He asks Prince Buyeong to stay at the palace to take over, should something happen. Lee Gon promises to protect himself. He orders Prince Buyeong to do the same and stay at the palace. Prince Buyeong agrees.
Republic of Korea…
Shin Jae learns the car is licensed to a missing person. This doesn’t surprise Tae Eul. Shin Jae asks about what Tae Eul believes. Tae Eul shares that the other world is called the Kingdom of Corea. She describes what she saw, how the king is loved, and how there are counterparts of people they know there. She admits he wasn’t there when she searched for him. She guesses he lives abroad. Shin Jae counters that he lives here. Tae Eul asks where is here. Shin Jae says they should eat while the food is hot.
Jo Young stares at the evidence board.
Shin Jae brings Tae Eul to the marker for Lee Gon’s counterpart in Republic of Korea. Tae Eul is surprised. He admits he did a bit of snooping. Shin Jae says he knows who the boy is. He says this is why she couldn’t find him in Kingdom of Corea. Shin Jae admits when Jo Young arrived, he knew the name of the man that claimed to be king. Tae Eul asks if the man told him his name. Shin Jae says no, he knew his name. Shin Jae says Lee Gon was the right name. He says she couldn’t find him in Kingdom of Corea, because he lives here. He admits he doesn’t know who he was in Kingdom of Corea. Shin Jae wonders why he’s here. He wonders if Tae Eul will still be his friend. She hugs him and cries. Shin Jae cries.
Kingdom of Corea…
Prime Minister Goo visits her ex-husband in prison. He marvels that the ultimate traitor, Lee Rim, is alive. He sees her caution. Prime Minister Goo admits the CCTV proof is gone. She asks if he can get the footage. He asks if she wants to catch a traitor or become one. She asks for the footage. He asks if he’ll get early release. Prime Minister Goo agrees. He tells her he’ll call her when he has the footage.
Prince Buyeong is startled to find Lee Rim in his study. He exclaims Lee Rim hasn’t aged. Lee Rim counters that Prince Buyeong already knew the body wasn’t his, therefore he was alive. Prince Buyeong calls for his guards. Lee Rim wipes the blood from his face and informs him that he killed all of them. Lee Rim declares he’s here to collect what is his. He holds the signet ring. Prince Buyeong orders him to put the ring down. Lee Rim declares the king doesn’t deserve the ring, he does. He snaps that being the son of a concubine doesn’t change that he should be on the throne. As rightful heir, Lee Rim puts the ring on. Prince Buyeong tells him they can’t covet the ring. Lee Rim counters he and Prince Buyeong don’t have the same rights to the throne. He pushes Prince Buyeong and puts his hand on his throat. Lee Rim declares he can kill Prince Buyeong in this instance then kill Lee Gon next and take the other half of the magic flute. He declares he’ll have both parts of the magic flute and the power will be great. Lee Rim wants Lee Gon to feel the loss of someone precious to him, to crush his spirit. He strangles Prince Buyeong. Lee Rim leans over the dead man and puts the signet ring on his hand. He says this all part of his plan.
Is the ring to frame poor Prince Buyeong? Lee Rim is the big bad.
The boy reads a book outside the bookstore while wearing Luna’s bunny ear hoody. Lee Rim arrives. Lighting rips. The boys sees Lee Rim’s face light up. The boy asks why Lee Rim has blood on him. Lee Rim states he’s in the middle of a battle. He asks what the boy is reading. The boy replies King Arthur about a man with noble blood drawing the sword and becoming king. Lee Rim retorts that only those with noble blood being king isn’t a good story. Lee Rim states blood doesn’t matter, drawing a sword and being able to weld it does. The boy asks what happens if a villain draws the sword. Lee Rim retorts that justice doesn’t make the sword. Instead the sword decides what justice is. The boy notes things keep changing. He returns to his reading.
Writer Kim just provided a solution. That was a slightly odd scene. Lee Rim talking to the boy, the conversation content, was a bit off. But hey, it provided a large clue about who can save the day didn’t it?
Republic of Korea…
Tae Eul visits Jo Young. She brings food. Jo Young shows her the phone she gave Lee Gon. Jo Young admits he can’t use the phone. Tae Eul checks the search history and finds a message to her. She smiles. She deletes it and returns the phone to Jo Young. She notes traces from the two worlds must be erased. Jo Young notes she’s the only one that can erase the king’s words. He asks if she can cope with what is happening. Lee Rim, the coming confrontation, the need for the king to have a queen. Jo Young asks if Tae Eul could become queen and keep the two worlds a secret.
Kingdom of Corea…
Lee Gon thinks of Tae Eul. His secretary enters the room and breaks down delivering the news that Prince Buyeong is dead.
Lee Gon arrives to attend the funeral. Court Lady Noh faints at the end of the airplane step. Lee Gon hears the wails of the country.
Republic of Korea…
Tae Eul waters the plant with seeds from Kingdom of Corea. None have sprouted yet. She looks into the yard. Lee Gon is there. He’s dressed in official dress. She rushes out of the house. Lee Gon approaches. He’s somber. He asks how she’s been. She confirms she’s well. She notes it has been awhile. He says he came from far away. He brings her flowers. Tae Eul hesitates. Lee Gon puts the flowers in her hand. Lee Gon tells her he can’t stay. Tae Eul is surprised. Lee Gon tells her he loves her. He admits he is crazy in love with her. She can’t help but see his tears. Lee Gon kisses her softly. She gently holds his hand that cups her face.
Lee Gon’s voiceover “there will come a day when it seems I’ve disappeared. Don’t worry too much when that happens. I’m walking through frozen moments in time”.
Lee Gon is gone but the flowers he gave her are there. Tae Eul sobs.
Evil strikes a blow. Writer Kim Eun Sook delivered the first direct and open strikes by evil in 25 years. Lee Rim returned to Kingdom of Corea and confronted Lee Gon. Knowing the official stance was Lee Rim was dead, Lee Gon was in a bit of a bind. When he told his security team to arrest Lee Rim, he was surprised to see Lee Rim’s counter forces behind their evil master. Two citizens were seized and injured, Eun Sub was shot, and Lee Gon was forced to let Lee Rim and his minions escape. But that was only the first blow. Lee Rim told Prince Buyeong that he deserved to be on the throne. He wanted to make Lee Gon suffer. So, he killed Prince Buyeong. It worked; Lee Gon suffered. Lee Gon believes Lee Rim wants eternal life. But doesn’t he also want perpetual power? Does he want that power not only in Kingdom of Corea but Republic of Korea too?
King Lee Gon (Lee Min Ho) confronted Lee Rim but it didn’t go as planned. Lee Gon planned to arrest Lee Rim but his nemesis had a counter move and his forces struck back. Lee Gon isn’t perfect. Good, we don’t need a perfect hero, we need one that learns from mistakes. Lee Gon dodged the question if it was Lee Rim or not. He pointed out to Prime Minister Goo that treason 25 years ago by Lee Rim and in the current day by his followers was still treason. I found Prime Minister Goo’s second conversation with her ex-husband even more interesting than the first. He directly asked her if she was working to catch a traitor or become one herself. Prime Minister Goo is determined to marry Lee Gon within the year. He is in love with Tae Eul. Does she have any leverage to force him to marry her? Writer Kim fueled the romance and dangled forever as a possibility and not a possibility with scenes at the beginning and end of the episode. This couple has a way to go and many obstacles to face before we know if forever can work.
Detective Jung Tae Eul (Kim Go Eun) worked with Shin Jae and Jo Young. I liked the team work between the three of them. Jo Young cut to the chase when he asked Tae Eul if she’d consider leaving her world to live forever as the queen in Lee Gon’s world. She had no answer because it isn’t a simple question. Then Lee Gon returned bearing flowers, a declaration of love, a kiss and a disappearance. If that was real and not a dream, it was unsettling for Tae Eul to have the man she loved, vanish while holding her in a tender kiss leaving her clutching the flowers, he gave her. Luna’s role continues to be unknown.
Jo Young / Eun Sub (Woo Do Hwan) worked to keep their promises to each other to protect. Eun Sub instinctively took a bullet meant for Lee Gon earning the unbreakable sword title. Jo Young tried to integrate himself in Eun Sub’s family. Eun Sub’s younger sibling immediately knew this wasn’t her brother but their mother believed her eyes. I enjoyed the comradery of Jo Young and Shin Jae. Jo Young got down to brass tacks with Tae Eul and asked if she could give up her world for Lee Gon.
Prince Geum Lee Rim (Lee Jung Jin) (Lee Gon’s uncle) was one step ahead of his nephew. Lee Rim drew first blood. He harmed citizens, Jo Young was shot instead of Lee Gon, he killed Prince Buyeong’s guards before strangling Prince Buyeong. He believes he should be king. I was a bit surprised when Writer Kim introduced King Arthur into the storyline. That clearly points to another character as a spoiler for Lee Rim. I did find the conversation between Lee Rim and the boy about the story bit odd, but considering it offers an option to defeat Lee Rim, I’ll take it. Lee Rim is the big bad, but he seems to soften his evil by how he gets the job done with a sense of style and due diligence.
Detective Gang Shin Jae (Kim Kyung Nam) accepted where he came from and joined Team King. He couldn’t run away from his origin anymore. He joined Tae Eul and Jo Young to sort out who was transferring between the worlds. He didn’t overtly specify he was from Kingdom of Corea to Tae Eul but if she listened carefully, he implied it. The comradery between Jo Young and Shin Jae was a pleasure to watch. This wounded character resonates with me. He deserves to find his tribe. You know it and I know it…he will become more important as this story progresses.
The ninth song of the OST is “Heart Break” sung by Gaeko and Kim Nayoung
I rank this episode as almost terrific, 8.5 on a 10-point scale.