The King: Eternal Monarch Episode 14 Recap
2019…Republic of Korea…
Shin Jae enters the locked room with the master key he swiped for the care center’s director. Tae Eul calls him and reports she’s with Eun A’s body in the morgue. Shin Jae says he’ll be there soon. Shin Jae pulls the curtain back and freezes. The picture in the hospital room he woke up in are tacked on the wall. His Korean counterpart, lies on the bed still in a coma all these years later. Shin Jae stares in shock and drops his phone.
As suspected, the man in the bed is the real Korean Shin Jae.
2019…Kingdom of Corea…
Court Lady Noh Ok Nam stares at the new painting of the king but her mind is elsewhere. She worries about the king and where he is heading.
Flashback…Court Lady Noh approaches where the former king was killed by Lee Rim. She wonders about reactions to the king’s actions.
Republic of Korea…
Immobilized by the drugs Luna slipped in his beer, King Lee Gon (Lee Min Ho) lays on the ground clutching Tae Eul’s badge. Luna (Kim Go Eun) searches him for the whip with his half of the magic flute. Lee Gon grips her wrist and states she won’t find it. Luna counters that he’ll either hand over the whip or die. She clarifies Lee Rim wants him to die while she wants the whip. She hides when she hears the door click open and Jo Young (Woo Do Hwan) enters. Jo Young rushes to Lee Gon’s side. Luna dashes out the door. Lee Gon orders Jo Young to catch her. Jo Young declares Lee Gon’s life is more important. Lee Gon orders Jo Young to get the whip for his coat in the closet. Jo Young rushes for the closet and calls Tae Eul to report that Lee Gon has been poisoned and needs immediate medical care. Tae Eul tells Jo Young she’s not in town at the moment but she’ll call someone that can help. She urges him to follow the person’s instructions.
Detective Jung Tae Eul (Kim Go Eun) calls Ms. Kim and reports a poisoning case that can’t come to the hospital because the person is an unregistered resident.
Ms. Kim tells Jo Young (who she believes is Eun Sub) to wait outside as they wheel Lee Gon into a treatment room. Jo Young clutches his fist.
Shin Jae calls the nurse. She’s remembers Shin Jae previous visit to the care center. She notes Shin Jae and the patient look alike. She asks if they are related. Remembering the woman’s distraught and poor state when her husband died, Shin Jae asks how she’s here. The woman shares that her husband’s friend paid off the family debt and got her this job. Shin Jae asks if other family has visited. The woman shakes her head no. She states someone will call on the phone.
Jo Young waits outside Lee Gon’s room. Tae Eul arrives. Ms. Kim comes into the hallway and tells them thanks to Eun Sub’s quick actions, the patient will recover from the ingested poison. Tae Eul tells Ms. Kim that she’ll explain things later and asks her to keep this quiet, even from her husband Head Detective Park. Ms. Kim tells them the patient can only stay the weekend at her friend’s clinic. She leaves.
Jo Young blocks Tae Eul’s entrance to the room reporting that the person that poisoned the king looked like her and he can’t be sure who she is.
Hmm, wouldn’t questions that ONLY Jo Young and Tae Eul would know the answer to clarify?
Tae Eul waits in the hallway.
Tae Eul calls Eun Sub and tells him to take his younger siblings and stay at her father’s house. Jo Eun Sub (Woo Do Hwan). She asks him to call her IF she comes home. Eun Sub realizes what that means. Tae Eul confirms it. She tells him she’s counting on him.
Jo Young exits Lee Gon’s room and finds the hallway empty.
Prince Geum Lee Rim (Lee Jung Jin) (Lee Gon’s uncle) rushes into the bamboo forest with his cane with his half of the magic flute. He wonders how Lee Gon managed to time travel and stop him all those years ago.
Lee Gon wakes. Jo Young asks if he’s okay. Lee Gon asks if Tae Eul knows about the incident. Jo Young confirms she was there. Lee Gon murmurs that Jo Young was probably unkind to Tae Eul. Jo Young wants to take Lee Gon to Corea where he can protect him. Lee Gon asks what Jo Young was going to tell him before he left the room.
Flashback…Jo Young watches Song Jeong Hye (looks like Lee Gon’s mother) in the elevator.
Jo Young claims he can’t remember. Lee Gon doesn’t believe him. He tells Jo Young to tell him when he returns from Corea. He orders Jo Young to protect Tae Eul. Jo Young protests. Lee Gon reveals he was the masked man that saved a younger version of himself all those years ago. Lee Gon notes today is the anniversary of that fateful day. He’s heard the magic flute, just like 24 years ago.
Lee Gon stands before the time portal.
Lee Rim stands before the time portal.
They are on opposite sides of the time portal and can NOT see each other. They approach the time portal, each with their half of the magic flute and enter. They stand in the in between world. Each assumes the other is there. They both start running.
I liked the visualization of them both occupying the in between world.
Yo yo boy’s voiceover “When the magic flute becomes one, in the in between world, both the axes for time and space simultaneously form. When the magic flute becomes one, it takes you to the moment when you wish to save yourself.”
Song Jeong Hye listens to Yo yo boy’s statement. She asks if Lee Rim and Lee Gon were taken from the in between world. He states Lee Gon and Lee Rim were taken to the same point in time. Song Jeong Hye asks why. Yo yo boy notes the king wanted to save both worlds from Lee Rim and Lee Rim wished to save himself.
24 years ago…1 hour before the Lee Rim’s coup attempt…
Lee Rim is surprised time traveling Lee Rim appears. Lee Rim tells his stunned younger self that he knows the dream of the coup is strong and the injustice that his legitimate brother, Lee Ho (Lee Gon’s father), is king. Lee Rim says he’s come to save his foolish younger self. 2019 Lee Rim tells young Lee Rim he’s from the future. Young Lee Rim notes he’d be 70 years old in 2019. Young Lee Rim sees half the magic flute in Lee Rim’s cane. He murmurs the secret of the magic flute must be true. Young Lee Rim says the other world must be real. 2019 Lee Rim tells young Lee Rim to attack and kill young Lee Gon in his chambers before attacking and killing the king, Lee Ho. 2019 Lee Rim declares Lee Gon is the one that stops the coup. Young Lee Rim can’t believe an 8-year-old Lee Gon is a threat. 2019 Lee Gon grabs his younger self and says that kind of thinking is why he only has half the magic flute and the coup failed. He orders his younger self to do as he says. Young Lee Rim quips that 2019 Lee Rim failed and hasn’t gotten wiser with age. He grabs 2019 Lee Rim’s sword and slices his throat. He declares he will carry out the coup as 2019 Lee Rim bleeds out. He declares he will get the whole magic flute. Young Lee Rim picks up the magic flute half that fell on the floor. It dissolves in his hand. He slashes 2019 Lee Rim in a rage.
That surprised me, young Lee Rim killing 2019 Lee Rim.
Yo yo boy states that Lee Rim failed to save himself and created the monster he is today. Song Jeong Hye notes Yo yo boy seems to have first hand knowledge. Song Jeong Hye asks THE question. Who is Yo yo boy? He says he warns people and defeats the enemy. Yo yo boy also wants to save himself and become whole. Song Jeong Hye asks what happened to the king. Yo yo boy says he’s following his destiny. He wonders if the king can return safe and sound and not get lost. Yo yo boy says the magic flute is powerless when halved.
Yo yo boy wants to become whole? Half the magic flute has no power?
24 years ago…Lee Rim’s coup attempt…
2019 Lee Gon arrives and takes out many of Lee Rim’s goons. Lee Rim drops half the magic flute. Lee Gon keeps firing. Lee Rim is forced to retreat with only half the magic flute. 2019 Lee Gon walks to his slain father and closes his eyes. He sees his 8-year-old self holding half the magic flute. The young Lee Gon grabs Tae Eul’s badge from 2019 Lee Rim. Court Lady Noh arrives as 2019 Lee Gon strides away. She demands to know if he’s part of the coup. Surprised, Lee Gon says she won’t believe this but he is her king. Court Lady Noh doesn’t believe him. Lee Gon reveals his face and tells Court Lady Noh he’s indebted to her. He says he’s following her advice and following his destiny. He asks her to let him go. Court Lady Noh is stunned. Lee Gon runs away.
Lee Gon sees blood on the ground. He assumes it is Lee Rim’s blood. But the palace guards arrive. Lee Gon says they are wasting their time with him. He names the traitors – Gi Hwan, Noh Min Ho, Lee Cheol Jin, Kang Hyuek Uk and Choi Sang Min – that are fleeing with Lee Rim as they speak. Lee Gon says they are fleeing via the rear gate. Lee Gon grabs on of the guards and forces the others to drop their guns. He runs away. Lee Gon sees more blood on the ground. He finds a young Seung Heon (Prince Buyeong’s eldest son) closing the rear gate. Lee Gon realizes Seung Heon was the person that made it possible for Lee Rim to escape. Lee Gon shoots Seung Heon in the knee and runs.
It was Seung Heon!
Tae Eul arrives at the clinic to find Lee Gon gone. She calls Lee Gon’s phone but Jo Young answers. He tells her that Lee Gon has returned to Corea. Jo Young relays Lee Gon’s apology for leaving abruptly. Tae Eul cries.
Shin Jae visits his father in prison. Shin Jae asks if his father was the one that swapped Kang Hyeon Min for Gang Shin Jae. His father asks if he met Kang Hyeon Min. Shin Jae believes the swap occurred because Lee Rim needed the care center and morgue. Shin Jae’s father wants to know if Lee Rim will take them to Corea. Shin Jae demands his father tell him the truth. His father says that doctors said Shin Jae would never wake. Lee Rim appeared and promised a swap son that looked identical if he sold him the care center. Shin Jae’s father wants Lee Rim to visit him. Shin Jae realizes his father is nothing but a disappointment.
Shin Jae watches his mother leave her house. He remembers her words that he was a miracle to her. He knows the real Shin Jae is in the care center.
I feel sorry for Shin Jae more than most characters.
Lee Gon dashes through the bamboo forest and sees everyone frozen with the time stop. He sees the 1994 pay phone with a sign boasting about voicemail. He sees a newspaper with the date December 20, 1994. He strides into the time portal.
1994…Kingdom of Corea…Lee Gon watches the younger version of himself mourning his father’s death. He goes through the time portal again.
1994…Republic of Korea…Everyone is still frozen with the stoppage of time. He grabs the newspaper with the date December 22, 1994. He realizes the time axis can only be formed when the magic flute is made whole. He believes he can only move laterally in time with half of the magic flute. He had to time travel 26 years to get to 2019. He calculates 4 months in the in between world. The time stops ends. Lee Gon grabs his head and wonders if he exists in Republic of Korea. He remembers Tae Eul telling him he died when he was 8. He calls the police and says Lee Seong Jae (Lee Rim’s counterpart) Date of Birth February 27, 1951 and Lee Eun Ho (Lee Gon’s father’s counterpart) Date of Birth October 23, 1952, Lee Ji Hun (Lee Gon’s counterpart) Date of Birth October 28, 1987, and Song Jeong Hye (Lee Gon’s mother’s counterpart) Date of Birth August 8, 1965. He tells the police to find that family. He says they will all die except for Song Jeong Hye. The police check. Lee Gon is told Lee Ji Hun died when he lost his footing at a lake. Lee Gon realizes he’s too late, the deaths have occurred. Lee Gon ask if the killer has been found. The police tell him to stay put at the pay phone. Lee Gon hangs up and leaves.
Lee Gon goes to the spot where he and Tae Eul had a lovely moment. He stares at the half of the magic flute. It dissolves.
Lee Gon finds a young Tae Eul holding the black belt after her mother’s death. She asks how he knows her name. Lee Gon murmurs she’s 5 years old. He tells her he must travel years in the future to find her. He says he’ll be there soon. A young Tae Eul asks if he’s a kidnapper. Lee Gon chuckles. When an adult comes up, Lee Gon offers his condolence. He touches a young Tae Eul and says good bye. He walks away.
2019…Republic of Korea…
Tae Eul’s black belt hangs on the clothes line. She waters the seeds from Corea. She doesn’t understand why they won’t sprout. She wonders why Lee Gon is taking so long to return. She gets a call from her forensics friend who plays Lee Gon’s report of the family that the police need to find. Recognizing Lee Gon’s voice, Tae Eul demands to know where the recording came from. Her friend says it is a 1994 report. She tells Tae Eul this guy is a suspect in the family’s death.
Flashback…Lee Gon tells a young Tae Eul he is from 1994. He tells her he’ll be there soon.
Tae Eul says she remembers. When she was 5, he visited her. Tae Eul realizes that the coup took place in 1994 and that’s where Lee Gon went. Then he came to Republic of Korea, 1994. He’s stuck in the past. She cries.
Tae Eul imagines Lee Gon in front of her. She asks how far he came. She asks where should she wait for him.
Shin Jae watches his counterpart in the ambulance. He thanks his doctor for approving the medical transfer. His doctor says Shin Jae’s dreams weren’t dreams but real. She asks which of them is Shin Jae. He wants to know that too.
Shin Jae, Tae Eul, Detective Shin, and Detective Jang gather at the police station to find the footage of where Yoo Jo Yeol went when he left the call center. They all take part of the footage and search for Yoo Jo Yeol. Detective Jang finds him. Detective Shin finds him too. Shin Jae says he’ll get Head Detective Park’s approval.
Lee Rim’s minions take the boys body and set the apartment to blow by allowing the gas to escape into the room with a candle nearby.
The team arrives. Tae Eul smells the gas and orders everyone to run. The apartment explodes.
The heavily pregnant transplanted Ji Young bashes her abusive Korean husband and tries to flee. She runs into Lee Rim’s minion who claims she knows a man that can help restore her to her former life. Ji Young cries in relief. Lee Rim’s minion states the man will want a favor. Ji Young swears she’ll do anything to return to her former life.
Prime Minister Goo Seo Ryung (Jung Eun Chae) takes a phone call from her mother who confirms she’s staying at her sister’s house. She asks her daughter if she’s okay. Prime Minister Goo assures her this is only a temporary snafu that will work out. She tells her mother to say she had mackerel for dinner when she asks. Her mother doesn’t understand. Prime Minister Goo is adamant. She asks her mother what she had for dinner. Her mother says mackerel. Prime Minister Goo says she’ll call her soon.
Flashback…Prime Minister Goo’s throat lights up when she’s with the king.
Prime Minister Goo believes Lee Gon knows about her. She wonders why only Lee Rim and Lee Gon can open the time portal with their half of the magic flute. She wonders why they know about the pain associated with lighting up. She takes out her flip phone. She murmurs she too can have the power the royals have.
Tae Eul walks the bamboo forest. She remembers Lee Gon riding to her in the bamboo forest and their mutual surprise at seeing each other. Tae Eul looks at the pay phone. She remembers Lee Gon telling her he was only going to call her from that pay phone because he only wanted to hear her voice. She goes to the pay phone and puts money in the return coin slot. She wonders how far he is and if he’s almost there. She realizes it is election day.
Flashback…On election day, Myung Na Ri (Kim Yong Ji), Tae Eul’s father, Shin Jae, Eun Sub and Tae Eul eat together. Each gets a call from an unknown number. Shin Jae answers. Lee Gon asks Shin Jae to give Tae Eul the phone. Tae Eul looks outside and sees Lee Gon at a phone booth. She walks outside and speaks with Lee Gon. She asks if he knows her. Lee Gon confirms this. She asks if he’s the man she talked to after her mother’s death when she was 5 years old. Lee Gon confirms this. Tae Eul asks why he’s wearing the same clothes and looks the same. Lee Gon tells her she gave him the outfit as a gift and his gift to her is his face. She starts to put her hair on a ponytail and asks for his ID. She doesn’t have a hair band. Lee Gon gives her one sliding it onto her wrist. She stares at him. Lee Gon says he doesn’t have an ID and he’s not crazy. She asks how he knew she’d need a hair band. He looks at the group in the eatery and says he’s happy they are together. She asks how he knew her name. Lee Gon says her not knowing him hurt even though he knew that’s the way it would be. He says that is why he’s come. To cross paths with her in this moment. He says until he returns, for her not to get tired of waiting for him. He says they’ll meet again and asks her to be nicer to him then. He says they don’t have much time and that’s destiny. He says the time cracks are increasing in the magic flute. He tells her he must go as he loses track of the time stops when he’s with her. He walks away. Tae Eul watches him go.
Tae Eul smiles at the memory. She realizes Lee Gon came to see her back then in 2016. She cries. She sees the date on the pay phone. She sees a note appear next to the payphone.
In the same moment in Lee Gon’s time, he stands in the pay phone and writes a note to Tae Eul ”wait for me just a little bit longer…I’m almost there”.
Tae Eul cries. Lee Gon sighs.
Now that was a beautiful scene! The hope, desperation, the longing.
Jo Young remembers Lee Gon approached him when he was dressed all in black. He wonders where his friend is. Jo Young tells the dressed in black Lee Gon that he should be at the start line. Lee Gon asks if Jo Young has access to the race tracks. Jo Young gives him the card. Lee Gon puts the card in the black hoody with rabbit ears. He places the hoody on a bench. He tells Jo Young not to move the hoody. Lee Gon tells him to remember this – Jo Young will end up in a place called Republic of Korea. He’ll be alone and must find Song Jeong Hye. He thinks that what Jo Young wanted to tell him over a drink. Jo Young asks who Song Jeong Hye is. Lee Gon says it won’t make sense now but it will later when Jo Young figures it out. Lee Gon tells Jo Young to ask Shin Jae for help because he won’t trust Tae Eul. Jo Young asks if Lee Gon has met Tae Eul. Lee Gon says he’s on his way to meet her. Lee Gon order Jo Young not to stop him. If the timing isn’t right, he won’t be able to meet her. Lee Gon tells Jo Young to go to the finish line because he’ll win the race.
Luna grabs the black hoody with rabbit ears. She runs. She finds the access card.
Lee Gon set that up, to what end?
Eun Sub calls Tae Eul that he just saw her go into a store where her father and Na Ri are shopping. Tae Eul tells him not to lose her. Eun Sub assures her as the unbreakable sword, he can be counted on.
Na Ri and Tae Eul’s father bickers while walking home from the grocery store. Luna laughs and asks if they are always like this. They shake their head and walk away. Tae Eul watches Luna who senses someone is watching her. She turns and looks to the area where Tae Eul is. She calls to Na Ri and Tae Eul’s father who have moved on without her. Tae Eul follows. She and Luna meet. The street light flickers on illuminating each other’s faces. Even though she knows Luna looks like her, Tae Eul gasps in shock. Luna reminds Tae Eul that she’d die if they ever met. Luna stabs Tae Eul. She gasps in pain. Luna tells Tae Eul to let go and die. Her father will patrol the neighborhood later and assume punks attacked her. Luna sneers it is time that Tae Eul learn about loss. Luna says her entire life has been about loss. Luna pulls the knife out of Tae Eul. She shoves Tae Eul to the ground, drops the knife, and walks away. Tae Eul struggles with the affects of the knife wound. She calls the police. She reports she’s down and needs backup. She fights the pain and struggles to live.
Flashback…Tae Eul meets Lee Gon when he rides Maximus through town. He says finally they meet.
Tae Eul tells herself in that time to hold Lee Gon in her arms.
Flashback…Tae Eul tells Lee Gon he really came as he said he would. Lee Gon looks at her and says it is strange that she seems to know him.
Tae Eul’s voiceover “when its fate there are no consequences, it is inevitable, but when you realize the meaning, it is too late.”
Tae Eul looks at Lee Gon and says she’s going to skip over this and do something she’ll regret not doing later. She hugs him.
My head exploded this episode. Writer Kim Eun Sook threw so much content into this episode, I wish this were the only episode this weekend, so I could process it all. But no, there’s another one tomorrow. It was good to see the coup scene play out completely. We saw Lee Gon was the masked man, that his younger self snagged Tae Eul’s badge (without his knowledge), that Court Lady Noh encountered him when he turned to leave, and that Seung Heon aided and abetted Lee Rim, allowing him to safely exit after the failed coup.
King Lee Gon (Lee Min Ho) saved his younger self. He and Lee Rim figured out how to time travel. Lee Gon had better luck than Lee Rim did. Then Lee Gon traveled multiple times meeting Tae Eul, Jo Young, Court Lady Noh, etc. They suddenly had memories of their encounters with Lee Gon. Lee Gon is so smart, he may still find a way to fix the time ripples and get what he wants. But Prime Minister Goo is waiting to thwart him. You can’t underestimate a woman scorned personally and professionally. I was surprised when the magic flute dissolved for both Lee Rim and Lee Gon. He met Tae Eul when she was 5 after her mother died. He met her when she was out with the gang, and she remembered him from when she was 5. When Lee Gon wrote the note to Tae Eul in the phone both and she watched it appear, that got me. We ended the episode with Lee Gon’s “first” time travel to meet Tae Eul, but it wasn’t and she knew it. That got me.
Detective Jung Tae Eul (Kim Go Eun) remembered moments with Lee Gon. Tae Eul remembered meeting him when she was 5. She remembered him when he visited her later. When she met him after he dismounted Maximus, this time she knew who he was, but he didn’t know her. She hugged him. That was a touching moment. We wondered if Luna was good or evil. It was evil or should it be called envy with a killing edge? Tae Eul bleeding out after Luna stabbed her was a bit grim. Luna promised to kill Tae Eul should she pursue her. Luna kept the intent of that promise. I hope Tae Eul’s phone call will save her life.
Jo Young / Eun Sub (Woo Do Hwan) remembered moments with Lee Gon. Jo Young remembered moments with Lee Gon in Corea where Lee Gon explained that Jo Young would come to Korea, search for Song Jeong Hye, and be charged with protecting Tae Eul. Jo Young was been in a decidedly disadvantageous position when he went to Republic of Korea. Protecting Lee Gon is what he wants to do, but Lee Gon doesn’t make it easy.
Prince Geum Lee Rim (Lee Jung Jin) (Lee Gon’s uncle) tried to stop his younger self but it didn’t work. Lee Rim confronted his younger self and told him all. But greedy Lee Rim didn’t consider the time travelled version of himself an ally, but an enemy. 2019 Lee Rim was stabbed brutally by his younger self. And when the coup failed as his older version predicted, Lee Rim seethed. I still don’t get what Ji Young’s role is, how Song Jeong Hye will play out, and what Lee Rim’s other minions will affect the final two episodes. Who is yo yo boy? A supernatural force?
Detective Gang Shin Jae (Kim Kyung Nam) found himself in a coma at the care center. Shin Jae’s story evokes empathy from me. He was sold by his father to Lee Rim for the care center and morgue. Then to watch his father want to meet Lee Rim while he reeled with the awful truth, I felt sorry for this character. I’m betting Shin Jae has will have key role in the final two episodes. I look forward to the final reveals. Interrogating Lee Rim is yet to come.
I rank this episode as almost terrific, 8.5 on a 10-point scale.