The King: Eternal Monarch Episode 12 Recap
2019…Kingdom of Corea…
Jo Eun Sub (Woo Do Hwan) startles another patient, a man with a flip phone which clatters to the floor.
Flashback… Song Jeong Hye (looks like Lee Gon’s mother) tries to commit suicide by slashing her wrists. The man in the hospital holds her wrists while a woman arrives to sedate and treat Song Jeong Hye. Staring into the surveillance camera Song Jeong Hye yells that replacing people doesn’t phase him but he refuses to let her die. Does he want to be god? The drugs knock her out. The woman treating Song Jeong Hye is the mother than made the deal with Lee Rim to eliminate those that shamed her son at his birthday party. The men in the surveillance room wonder where the manager is. One says the manager disappeared, the new manager is Ms. Baek, the woman treating Song Jeong Hye.
2019…Republic of Korea…
Myung Na Ri (Kim Yong Ji) tells Jo Young (Woo Do Hwan) that she experienced de ja vue. She saw herself with him but it wasn’t him or her, but people that looked exactly like them. She says her double had short hair and his double was wearing a hospital gown. That gets Jo Young’s attention.
Kingdom of Corea…
Eun Sub is thrilled when Myung Seung A (Kim Yong Ji) visits him in the hospital. He hugs her firmly and called her Na Ri. Seung A asks if he’s delirious. Realizing his error, Eun Sub pulls away. Seung A notes this is the second time he’s done this. She asks who Na Ri is. Eun Sub recalls Jo Young’s description of Seung A. He claims he said ordinary not Na Ri noting he wants to get back to his ordinary life. Seung A remarks he’s a terrible liar. She offers to give him her phone number. Eun Sub recalls other things Jo Young said about Seung A. Eun Sub assumes Jo Young’s vibe and tells her to keep her phone number and not give it freely to other guys. He walks away. Seung A smiles.
Eun Sub is pleased that he extricated himself. He misses Na Ri.
Republic of Korea…
Na Ri considers how odd Jo Young has been lately. Koo Eun A (Jung Eun Chae) enters Na Ri’s eatery and orders a drink to go. Jo Young enters. He stares at Eun A. She stares at him. Wait a minute…is this Prime Minister Goo? Jo Young assumes Eun Sub’s persona. Na Ri apologizes for her friend’s tone. Prime Minister Goo leaves with her drink. Jo Young asks to borrow Na Ri’s car.
What? Prime Minister Goo is time traveling? What?
Kingdom of Corea…
King Lee Gon (Lee Min Ho) and his motorcade pass through the city. He wills Tae Eul to hang on until he gets there.
Lee Gon goes to CCTV central and asks that this woman (video of Tae Eul) be located. They promise to do so cautioning it could take some time. Lee Gon takes a call from Eun Sub reporting that Detective Kang called stating he’d found Luna and she was being pursued. Lee Gon asks Eun Sub to have Detective Kang call him. He is given a laptop and privacy. He watches Tae Eul make her way in the city. He realizes it is Tae Eul not Luna. He thanks Detective Kang for the footage and says that isn’t Luna. He bursts into CCTV central and describes Tae Eul’s attire and approximate location. They begin to search.
Republic of Korea…
Jo Young follows Prime Minister Goo. He calls Tae Eul, no answer. He calls Shin Jae, who answers. Jo Young reports he can’t reach Tae Eul and needs his help. He asks Shin Jae to meet him. Shin Jae agrees nothing he’ll owe him.
Kingdom of Corea…
Court Lady Noh Ok Nam sits up when Lee Gon’s security guard Park enters the room. She sends Ms. Park (Park Sook Jin who is Shin Jae’s mother’s Kingdom of Corea counterpart) away to rest. Court Lady Noh asks for her report on the palace workers that could be the thief. Security Park reports Ms. Park visited a bookstore in the slums twice in her off time. Security Park gives Court Lady Noh a photo that Ms. Park tried to burn. The photo is of Shin Jae and his mother Min Hwa Yun dining in Republic of Korea. The guard reports the bookstore is where Lee Rim’s tribe stayed. Court Lady Noh is shocked. The guard says Ms. Park is NOT who she claims to be. She reports the real Ms. Park lives in the north under the name Min Seon Young. She reports Ms. Min’s son died as a boy. Court Lady Noh tries to understand what this means.
Nice scene! This is a dense series.
Ms. Park puts drugs in the soup on her tray. Court Lady Noh enters the room and marches to Ms. Park. Court Lady Noh slaps her. Court Lady Noh declares despite her efforts to vet the palace workers, Ms. Park is who she’s been searching for. Court Lady Noh asks Ms. Park if she is Ms. Min who lost her son. The poison takes hold of Mr. Park. She falls to the ground. Court Lady Noh orders no one to speak of this. She directs Security Park to take Ms. Park to a secure location and get a doctor. She must learn who controls Ms. Park.
Impressed that Court Lady Noh slapped Ms. Park.
Republic of Korea…
Jo Young forces Prime Minister Goo’s car over. He approaches the car. They stare at each other. Prime Minister Goo gets out and demands to know what he’s doing. Jo Young calls her Prime Minister Goo. She claims he’s mistaken. Jo Young doesn’t think so. Prime Minister Goo warns him mistakes like this are dangerous. A black car rolls by and a man shoots Jo Young in his upper left chest area. Jo Young falls to the ground. People gather around him. Prime Minister Goo drives away. Shin Jae arrives and finds Jo Young on the ground. He tells the onlookers this is a drill as he flashes his badge.
At the hotel, without his bullet proof vest, Jo Young looks at the bruise the bullet left. Shin Jae asks if he needs a doctor. Jo Young assures him he does not. Shin Jae returns the wiped dash cam card from Na Ri’s car. Shin Jae asks what kind of country commonly shootings like that. Jo Young says he’ll explain once Lee Gon returns. He tosses his drink to Shin Jae to open it and warns him not to casually reference the king. Shin Jae retorts he doesn’t have a king. Jo Young reminds Shin Jae he once had a king and remembers him crying when they were both young. Shin Jae asks how long Jo Young has been the king’s right-hand security. Jo Young identifies the first moment when he was 4 years ago. Shin Jae chuckles in disbelief.
Flashback…A young Lee Gon dubbed a younger Jo Young his unbreakable sword.
Jo Young shares at that moment the king was 8 and he was 4. He shares he saw the king’s coronation and only wanted the young king to be happy. He believes their relationship was fate. Shin Jae declares Jo Young’s world is different from his. He asks if they are dating. Jo Young shrugs and says such rumors exist. He notes Shin Jae and Tae Eul are true to the law and protecting their country. Jo Young says it’s the same for him to protect the king. Shin Jae asks why the young king was crying. Jo Young states he was mourning his father. Shin Jae asks what happened to Lee Gon’s father. Jo Young reports his uncle killed his father and Lee Gon witnessed it. Jo Young shares Lee Gon has long lived with death.
Nice scene. I thought Shin Jae knew why the young king was crying on TV.
Kingdom of Corea…
The king’s men rush down the street with Lee Gon leading the charge on Maximus. Lee Gon orders Tae Eul protected as she is the future queen.
Jo Young’s voiceover “the palace is the safest and most dangerous place for the king. Now he’s in a new battle, and that is his fate. I must follow him, wherever the battle takes him.”
A melee between Lee Rim’s men and Lee Gon’s men ensues. Lee Gon welds the 4-tiger sword to great effect. Detective Jung Tae Eul (Kim Go Eun) sobs as she watches the fight. Lee Gon continues to make progress through Lee Rim’s men. Once through Lee Gon locks his eyes on Tae Eul. She staggers towards him. He rushes to her and sweeps her into a hug.
Tae Eul cries as Lee Gon hugs her fiercely. Lee Gon’s men surround them. One of them picks up the gun Tae Eul used. Needing to know if she is okay, Lee Gon pulls away to examine her face. Tae Eul thanks him. Tae Eul says she missed him. She reports the gun has 2 bullets left. Lee Gon holds out his hand and is given the gun. He fires it twice and tosses it down the street. He states it is time to go to the palace. Tae Eul collapses. Lee Gon lifts her in his arms. He directs Security Seok to handle things including Maximus. Lee Gon strides away holding the woman he loves in his arms.
Lee Gon’s secretary nervously waits in the palace. When Lee Gon strides in with Tae Eul she informs him the doctor is waiting in the prepared chambers. Lee Gon states he’s taking her to his room. The secretary directs the doctor to Lee Gon’s room.
Lee Gon takes off Tae Eul’s shoes and stares into her face. Court Lady Noh and the doctors arrive. Court Lady Noh is aghast at the blood on Lee Gon. He assures her it isn’t his blood. Lee Gon says every women he likes is unwell. Lee Gon waits while the medical team attend to Tae Eul. Finally the doctor and Court Lady Noh exit the room. The doctor says Tae Eul will recover and is sleeping. Lee Gon thanks them then enters his room.
Lee Gon watches Tae Eul sleep. She stirs. He tells her to sleep. Tae Eul says she doesn’t want to sleep now they are reunited. She muses she must look terrible. Lee Gon says she’s the prettiest bandage he’s seen. She asks how he found her. He says he’s a decent person here. Tae Eul shares she lost consciousness after drinking water at the Taekwondo Center. She quips having someone to taste food is more important than she thought. Lee Gon urges her to rest and tell him the details later. Tae Eul admits she thought they had their last moment together in the bamboo forest. Lee Gon states many things happened during their time apart, and he was unable to return to her. Tae Eul is relieved the door between them is still open. Lee Gon vows to keep a door between them open forever. Tae Eul asks about Eun Sub. Lee Gon admits his in the hospital but okay. Tae Eul asks to see Eun Sub when she’s better. Lee Gon quips that missing another man isn’t cool. Tae Eul counters that Jo Young is doing okay. Lee Gon admits he misses Jo Young but likes her more. Tae Eul doubts it. Lee Gon apologizes. That gets Tae Eul’s attention. Lee Gon teases he wanted to see her eyes. She tells him to leave. He counters this is his room. Tae Eul says she’ll look around tomorrow. Lee Gon smiles and watches her sleep. He gently kisses her forehead.
Awk! Tears! This couple touches my heart.
A political party discuss the ramifications of what happened – the king whacking traitors, announcing a queen, and Prime Minister Goo’s self isolation. They declare they must learn everything about the future queen.
Republic of Korea…
Luna retrieves a Tae Eul’s phone from a locker. She eats chicken and pursues the contents. The photos of Tae Eul’s life grab her attention. Detective Jang texts the team with a request for dinner orders. Tae Eul doesn’t respond.
At the police station, Detective Jang asks Shin Jae what he wants for dinner. Head Detective Park and Detective Shim inform Shin Jae that Tae Eul took a vacation. Shin Jae is surprised. He sees a text from Tae Eul that she’s okay. He calls her. She doesn’t answer. He texts her. She doesn’t answer.
Kingdom of Corea…
Tae Eul wakes with a start when the doctor removes her IV. Lee Gon’s secretary states the king wanted her to know where he was. Dressed, Tae Eul finds the staff buzzing outside the royal kitchen that the king is washing rice while wearing his navy uniform. Tae Eul pokes her head in. Lee Gon is washing rice. He boasts he’s washed a whole bag. Tae Eul closes the door. Lee Gon tells her to come back. Tae Eul enters the kitchen. Court Lady Noh wonders what this means.
Lee Gon serves Tae Eul a lovely meal. He reminds her she wanted to live like they only had today. As Tae Eul begins to eat, she asks what if last night it wasn’t her but the other her. Lee Gon states he’s dating someone in another world. Lee Gon lists the little things he knows about Tae Eul. She chuckles. Lee Gon states his woman is a warrior when needed. Tae Eul smiles and says she wants to visit Eun Sub. Lee Gon grouses that his woman has one sided conversation with him when he makes her food. Tae Eul asks for her clothes.
Two racks of clothes are brought in for Tae Eul’s inspection. Lee Gon states this should be similar in style to what she favors. She asks for dresses. Two more racks are brought in. Tae Eul admits she was kidding. She looks through the racks and picks clothes. She spies the jacket he was wearing the night he visited her and disappeared when they kissed. She asks when he wears that. Lee Gon says he wears that on glorious moments like when he’d bring her flowers. He asks what kind of flowers she likes. Tae Eul says she doesn’t like flower. She wants to see Eun Sub. Taken aback, Lee Gon has her taken to a room to dress. He stares at the jacket.
Will she tell him about the experience?
Tae Eul looks at the necklace that Lee Gon requested she wear. She puts it on. Then she takes it off and puts it back in the box. She puts the box in her pocket.
As they walk, Lee Gon asks if she found the box. Tae Eul asks if it is a plum blossom. She says it is too pretty to wear on anything other than a glorious day. She asks how he knew which outfit she’d wear. Lee Gon claims he knows everything. They walk through the hall holding hands.
We see the king’s staff removing a box with a necklace from every coat.
At the hospital, the guard tells Eun Sub the king will arrive shortly. Jo Young states he’ll do the security check. He looks for bugs like he saw Jo Young to. He hears Tae Eul’s voice. He turns, sees her, and rushes into her arms. They are thrilled to be reunited. Tae Eul mentions his bravery. Eun Sub brags he could see the bullet flying. Eun Sub asks why she’s got bruises. Tae Eul changes the subject. Lee Gon says he brought the cake Eun Sub requested. Eun Sub is stoked and tells Lee Gon to cut him a piece. Tae Eul does so. Eun Sub marvels at the rich cake noting his younger siblings would love it. Tae Eul tells him his siblings are doing well. She reports his sister quickly ascertained Jo Young wasn’t him. Eun Sub isn’t surprised. Tae Eul asks if he wants to know about Na Ri. Eun Sub claims he hasn’t given her a thought. Tae Eul reports that Na Ri thinks Eun Sub isn’t as handsome as he used to be. That puts a smile on Eun Sub’s face.
Lee Gon and Tae Eul visit the location where she was held. Outside, Tae Eul states Lee Rim brought her. Lee Gon asks if she saw his umbrella. Tae Eul says she only saw Lee Rim’s men. Lee Gon reminds her that he and Lee Rim have half of an item they both want. Lee Gon believes Lee Rim has it in his umbrella. Tae Eul says Lee Gon has it in his crop. Lee Gon believes Lee Rim knows where he keeps his. Tae Eul realizes Lee Rim wanted force Lee Gon to make a deal for the item. She assumes if Lee Gon loses his half, the door from his world closes. Lee Gon confirms. She asks if the battle is about getting the other half. Lee Gon says this is an all or nothing battle. Tae Eul believes she’s a liability. She cries. Lee Gon tells her not to worry. He states he won’t lose anything that is important to him. He suggests they pray together.
Lee Gon takes her to the church where his parents got married. He says this is the only place that is the same in both worlds. He shares his father fell in love with his mother while lecturing at a seminar. He notes his mother was a scientist. When his father asked his mother to marry him, she refused because she was catholic. His father studied the religion for 6 months and came to this church daily. His parents married in this church and he was born. Then his mother passed away 3 years later, never recovering full health after giving birth. He admits he’s never told anyone his history. He’s glad to share it with her. Tae Eul says he’s turned out well. She notes they’ve skipped many things in their relationship. She shares when she was 5, her parents ran the Taekwondo Center together. But her mother died of cancer. She says she still wears her mother’s black belt. Lee Gon says she’s turned out well.
The Priest interrupts them. He notices they are holding hands. Lee Gon says they were walking by and stopped. He asks the priest if he can keep a secret. The priest assures him he can. Lee Gon asks the priest to take a photo of them. Just as the priest is about to take the photo, time stops. Lee Gon stares at the frozen in time Tae Eul.
Court Lady Noh reads a passage “…you promised if you leave, you’d come back. That’s what you promised. I sit by the stream every day and think about something endlessly. You promised if you go, you’d come back. Did you say that so I’d never stop thinking about you?”
Lee Gon cries knowing these moments are threatened by the forces at play, that forever may not be. Lee Gon wipes his tears away and repositions himself for the picture when time restarts.
That evening as the doctor tends Tae Eul wounds, she stares at the 4 tiger sword. The doctor tells her not to drink. Lee Gon reminds her this is his room when the doctor leaves. They bicker. Lightning strikes. Lee Gon grabs his shoulder. He reminds her Jo Young saw it happen. Tae Eul takes a look. Lightning strikes and Lee Gon’s shoulder lights up.
As lightning strikes many of those that have time traveled have parts of their bodies light up just like Lee Gon.
Lee Gon believes it is a crossing between lighting and thunder. Tae Eul assures him she’s fine. She convinces him to peak at her shoulder area. Lee Gon confirms she’s fine. He believes effect is because the time portal has been used improperly.
They bicker. Lee Gon kisses her. Tae Eul is surprised. Lee Gon kisses her. Tae Eul engages. Lee Gon looks into her eyes. She looks into his. The next kiss deepens and….
Republic of Korea…
Lee Rim bumps into Shin Jae. His face is partially shielded by the umbrella. Shin Jae doesn’t see Lee Rim’s face light up when it thunders.
When Lee Rim gets home, he sees Luna’s cigarette. He reviews the security footage and watches her take his money. Lee Rim is not happy. She stares into the camera, waves money, drops the cigarette and leaves.
Lee Rim and Song Jeong Hye eat dinner. She bashes him in the head with a vase and grabs his umbrella. He grabs her and throws her to the floor. He aims his umbrella at her eye. He demands to know why scars are appearing. Song Jeong Hye dares him to kill her. Lee Rim snarls he hasn’t kept her alive for nothing. She’s perfect bait. She has the face of Lee Gon’s mother.
As we thought, though Lee Gon knows this, how effective it will be is TBD.
Kingdom of Corea…
A heavily pregnant Park Ji Young crashes the private room where Prime Minister Goo is having lunch. Prime Minister Goo confirms she was sick. Ji Young knows Prime Minister Goo is visiting the middle east with her husband. Prime Minister Goo assumes her husband told her. Ji Young notes that 4 years of lobbying to become the queen will be fruitless. Prime Minister Goo asks what she means. Ji Young shares the king named another woman queen. Prime Minister Goo reads the articles on Ji Young’s phone. She’s not happy. She advises her friend to give birth in the kingdom. She leaves.
Security Seok learns that Lee Sang Do (recall his Korean counterpart’s body was found in the trunk in episode one) is experiencing pain when it thunders. That gets Lee Gon’s attention. Lee Gon’s secretary reports Prime Minister Goo has just entered the palace without notice.
Lee Gon finds Prime Minister Goo in his study. She claims she’s feeling much better. He asks why she tied him down. She asks where would he have gone. She wants to talk about his marriage proposal. Lee Gon confirms that he has proposed to the woman he loves and supports. Prime Minister Goo says he’s always honest. Thunder strikes. Lee Gon tries not to show his pain. But Prime Minister Goo’s throat lights up and she clutches it in pain. Lee Gon stares. Thunder strikes again. Prime Minister Goo’s throat lights up again. They stare at each other.
Court Lady Noh tells Tae Eul it often rains by the ocean. They drink tea together. Court Lady Noh apologizes for her past treatment of Tae Eul. She says it was to protect the king. Tae Eul understands. Court Lady Noh says she’s going to share something sensitive. Court Lady Noh shares her father is Noh Gi Seop, her mother is Shin Jeong Ae and her sister is Noh Yeong Nam. Court Lady Noh says she left her hometown when she was young and hasn’t heard news of it for 67 years. She asks what happened in the war.
Ah! The Korean war no doubt!
Court Lady Noh clarifies, what happened in war that began in 1950? Tae Eul grapples then gets it. Court Lady Noh is from her world not this one!
Good grief, Prime Minister Goo travels to Republic of Korea and Court Lady Noh is from what is now North Korea. Writer Kim Eun Sook imploded the idea that only Lee Rim and Lee Gon were the major time portals users. She imploded the idea that only Lee Rim and Lee Gon lit up when it thundered. Court Lady Noh’s reveal surprised. Why did she come to Corea? Who recruited her? Prince Byueong? My head hurts when I try and decipher what timeframe certain scenes occurred such as the flowers to Tae Eul moment. Terrific episode!
King Lee Gon (Lee Min Ho) spent time with Tae Eul in Corea. Lee Gon was tender and caring as Tae Eul recovered. He shared the truth about his parents. In return, Tae Eul shared the truth about her parents. He didn’t formally ask Tae Eul to marry him, because you know, he’s the king. But really, he doesn’t know if Tae Eul would live in Corea. This couple is working for me on all levels. There’s a genuine caring between them. They know their time could end at any moment. One of them might not be able to travel to the other. This couple has come far from their initial episodes’ interactions where I thought Lee Gon had more chemistry with Maximus his horse. Lee Gon was shocked to see Prime Minister Goo light up when the lighting struck. Her secret time travel isn’t a secret anymore. At this point, her activities appear to be evil not good. There was another time stop, Lee Gon knows these are dangerous and believes time will stop in both worlds. He must be formulating a plan. Does he have to close the door in Lee Rim’s face? If he left Lee Rim in the in between world, he’d never die. The gravity of the situation is weighing on Lee Gon. I wonder if this couple can survive or if they’ll only be memories to each other.
Detective Jung Tae Eul (Kim Go Eun) spent time with Lee Gon in Corea. Luna dodged stepping into Tae Eul’s shoes by flagrantly robbing Lee Rim then going on vacation. Smart move Luna. She stayed under the radar. I had to chuckle at Tae Eul’s happiness when reunited with Eun Sub. They are cute buddies. Tae Eul’s moments with Lee Gon had more emotional substance. Her philosophy is to live day by day and not look to the future. A sound path for this couple, whose relationship may be cut short by the battle between Lee Rim and Lee Gon. Notably, Tae Eul did not tell Lee Gon about her moment when he gave her the lotus flowers in Korea. Of course, Lee Gon isn’t telling her everything either. Regardless, Tae Eul supports Lee Gon and he supports her. There isn’t an imbalance between them, which is unusual especially given that Lee Gon is a king. I’m enjoying Kim Go Eun’s portrayal of Tae Eul. My quibble is her kissing. She need only respond to Lee Min Ho but she seems to accept but not overly engage. As I stated, this is a quibble but I like my couples to enjoy each other mentally and physically when in love.
Jo Young / Eun Sub (Woo Do Hwan) got shot pursuing Prime Minister Goo in Korea. He knew it was Prime Minister Goo and pursued her. I liked that he called Shin Jae who came. These two have a solid vibe. I think that’s the magic of Woo Do Hwan. His portrayal of Eun Sub is now charming.
Prince Geum Lee Rim (Lee Jung Jin) (Lee Gon’s uncle) plans to use Song Jeong Hye against Lee Gon. Lee Rim believes because Song Jeong Hye has Lee Gon’s mother’s face he can leverage that. But Lee Gon knows that Song Jeong Hye has his mother’s face. He claims it won’t affect him. Will it? Lee Rim lost control of Tae Eul and Luna ripped him off. I have to commend her boldness. Lee Rim wasn’t impressed. What does Lee Rim have planned for Shin Jae?
Detective Gang Shin Jae (Kim Kyung Nam) helped Jo Young. Shin Jae came as Tae Eul promised when she told Lee Gon that Shin Jae was totally trustworthy. He bumped into Lee Rim but didn’t realize it.
The eleventh of the OST is “My Love” sung by Gummy:
I rank this episode as terrific, 9 on a 10-point scale.