Premiere Lee’s guard commander Tae Chul leads Ba Woo’s mother and sister through the woods. Ba Woo follows. Premiere Lee’s guard commander Tae Chul arrives at Vice Premiere Lee’s house. Lee Dae Yeob (Shin Hyun Soo) greets Premiere Lee’s guard commander Tae Chul and orders Ba Woo’s mother and sister brought inside. Ba Woo considers talking to Dae Yeob but he steps into the house before Ba Woo can signal him. Ba Woo’s mother and sister are taken to a room, unbound, and locked in. Dae Yeob watches as Premiere Lee’s guard commander Tae Chul secures the door. Vice Premiere Lee (Dae Yeob’s father) asks if it bothers him that someone else in the room where Soo Kyung used to live. Dae Yeob claims he’s worried that Ba Woo might come after them.
Ba Woo’s sister isn’t happy to be in the home of the man that killed her father and grandfather. Ba Woo’s mother reminds her not to speak freely. Ba Woo’s sister asks about her brother. Ba Woo’s mother tells her be quiet about her brother, the walls might have ears.
Ba Woo (Jung Il Woo) meets with Geo Jeong, the lone survivor of the boat disaster engineered by Vice Premiere Lee. Ba Woo asks Geo Jeong to tell him everything. People whom he loves are at risk.
Chun Bae (Ba Woo’s partner) watches Cha Dol (Ba Woo’s son) fly kites with the other village children.
Soo Kyung (Kwon Yuri) labors over drawing the erotic art.
Chun Bae takes the art to the book shop owner Sa who yells that clothed people aren’t erotic. Chun Bae asks for more time. book shop owner Sa order Chun Bae to bring the erotic art or he’ll turn him in to the authorities for the debt he owes.
Chun Bae tells Soo Kyung and Court Lady Jo that the art wasn’t accepted. Soo Kyung notes Ba Woo hasn’t been around for several days. Chun Bae believes Ba Woo is looking for a way to pay back the debt. Soo Kyung says they should all work together as a family to eliminate the debt.
That night, Ba Woo follows the top official of the town and corners him. He ties him to a tree and demands to know the real truth about the cooper and sulfur smuggled on the boats. The official won’t talk. Ba Woo takes out his knife. The official relents that a powerful man from Ming (China) is coming soon.
Vice Premiere Lee shares that the Ming’s Emperor’s right-hand man is coming soon. He tells Lee Won Yeob (Dae Yeob’s brother and Vice Premiere’s eldest son) and Premiere Lee’s guard commander Tae Chul they must garner his support – either through money or women. Vice Premiere Lee asks if Kim Dae Seok (aka Ba Woo), the grandson of the prince and father-in-law of the previous king Seon Jo whom Vice Premiere Lee framed and murdered, has been caught. Premiere Lee’s guard commander Tae Chul reports they haven’t found him yet. Vice Premiere Lee orders wanted posters circulated. He worries at what a desperate Ba Woo might do.
Ba Woo returns home and stares at the women’s hut. He decides not to bother them and goes in the men’s hut.
Soo Kyung struggles to draw while Court Lady Jo dozes. She decides to write a story.
The next morning, Chun Bae report Ba Woo is back home and still asleep. Soo Kyung smiles.
Chun Bae looks at Soo Kyung’s drawings suggests the people be disrobed. Soo Kyung refuses. Court Lady Jo shares written court lady stories that Soo Kyung transcribed. Court Lady Jo declares the stories are entertaining. Chun Bae wants less clothes. No go is the response. Chun Bae wonders what if the story was on one side of the page and an illustration on the other. Soo Kyung and Court Lady Jo love the idea.
Chun Bae takes the illustrated story to the book shop owner Sa. He points out that these stories would sell to men and women, not just men like the erotica. He urges the book shop owner Sa to read the story.
Soo Kyung and Court Lady Jo wait and wonder if the book will be a success.
The book shop owner Sa has tears (just as Chun Bae predicted) when he completes the story. He wants more copies. Chun Bae wants as much automation (wooden block printing) as possible. The book shop owner Sa wants to see if the books sell first before he commits to that.
Chun Bae takes the stories to village and uses his story telling abilities to draw a crowd. He hypes the book and garners interest. Court Lady Jo takes the stories to the village women, hypes the book and garners interest.
Ba Woo tells the monk his mother and sister have been taken captive by Vice Premiere Lee. The monk urges Ba Woo to not be rash. Ba Woo declares he won’t be rash but he won’t stay still. He asks the monk to look in on his mother and sister. The monk reminds Ba Woo that Vice Premiere Lee is crafty and smart.
At the docks, Ba Woo watches the Chinese guests arrive. He sees Court Lady Jo and Ba Woo leaving the book shop owner Sa.
Back home, Chun Bae and Court Lady Jo are flushed with happiness at the book’s reception. Ba Woo enters and brandishes the book in anger. He blames Chun Bae for forcing Soo Kyung to sully her hands with this. Ba Woo drags Chun Bae outside. Soo Kyung and Court Lady Jo follow. Soo Kyung intervenes and declares she wanted to create the book. Ba Woo orders her to stop. Soo Kyung refuses. She declares Ba Woo shouldn’t bear the burden alone. She points out that Ba Woo wanted her to stop living as princess. She’s doing that. Ba Woo barks that titillating court stories lowers her. He rips the book in half. Soo Kyung, Court Lady Jo, and Chun Bae are horrified at the callous treatment of the book they labored over. Court Lady Jo declares that Soo Kyung didn’t make the decision to create the books casually. Court Lady Jo proclaims Soo Kyung’s effort is helping the family finances and he should be grateful. She pronounces his pride bigger than the family. Ba Woo stalks away. Soo Kyung follows Ba Woo.
Ba Woo blows off steam while walking the beach. He sees Soo Kyung looking to the sea.
Chun Bae delivers a handful of books to the book shop owner Sa. He says if the books sell, he’ll automate the process more.
Soo Kyung and Court Lady Jo create the books. It’s tiring. Soo Kyung worries they won’t be able to make the deadline. Ba Woo calls to Soo Kyung to come outside.
She finds a stack of bound books with the text just waiting for her drawings. Soo Kyung can’t believe it. She looks to the men’s hut and smiles.
Inside the hut, Ba Woo wonders about Soo Kyung’s reaction. He pokes a hole through the paper and sees Soo Kyung holding the books with a smile. She looks at him and thanks him for his effort. Ba Woo smiles in satisfaction.
The wanted poster with Ba Woo’s likeness is posted. He spins to avoid the crowds. He sees Won Yeob and Premiere Lee’s guard commander Tae Chul and follow them.
At the pier, Won Yeob greets the emissary of the Ming’s Emperor’s right-hand man, Lord Zhang, and escorts him to a more private location. Ba Woo watches and follows.
Won Yeob entertains the emissary of the Ming’s Emperor’s right-hand man at a gisaeng house. Won Yeob plies him with liquor and asks for his support to deliver a letter from his father to the Ming’s Emperor’s right-hand man. The emissary isn’t agreeable until the chests of money are presented, then he takes the letter and assures it will be delivered. The letter is placed in a chest of money. Smiles all around.
A gisaeng tells Ba Woo about the letter from Won Yeob that the emissary is to deliver to the Ming’s Emperor’s right-hand man. That gets Ba Woo’s attention.
Ba Woo returns home and stares at the night sky. He wants to free his mother and sister but the path isn’t straightforward. Soo Kyung joins him. Ba Woo tells her drawing must be tiring. She admits she wanted to see him before retiring. They sit next to each other and look at the night sky in between looks at each other.
During breakfast with Court Lady Jo, Soo Kyung, and Chun Bae Ba Woo states finally had a good night’s rest. Soo Kyung smiles.
Ba Woo watches Premiere Lee’s guard commander Tae Chul and Won Yeob escort the Ming emissary to their boat. He passes Geo Jeong and they nod at each other. CJ calls out to Won Yeob and Premiere Lee’s guard commander Tae Chul that they can’t kill him. This creates a distraction allowing Ba Woo to take Vice Premiere Lee’s letter from the chest of money.
Ba Woo reads Vice Premiere Lee’s letter. It is outright treason. Vice Premiere Lee requests the Ming emperor’s support after he disposes the current king, who he claims doesn’t care about the Ming emperor and is working against him. Vice Premiere Lee declares he must act. He vows he’ll repay the Ming emperor’s support by sending men, guns, and food to help in the fight in the north. Ba Woo knows that Vice Premiere Lee doesn’t care about the country, only seizing power.
King Gwanghae (Soo Kyung’s father) proposes a series of promotions to Vice Premiere Lee including Kim Ja Jaeom. The Vice Premiere Lee agrees with all the promotions except Kim Ja Jaeom. The king counters that Vice Premiere Lee is already investigating Kim Ja Jaeom separately and that should not affect this promotion. He dares Vice Premiere Lee to go back on his promise.
At court, the king announces the promotions to a room full of ministers. Kim Ja Jaeom takes the opportunity to bring the book of titillating court stories to the king’s attention. He says it is infesting the village and the king’s own court. He blames Won Yeob’s lack of policing for the viral book. The king yells at Won Yeob for allowing this to happen on his watch. He orders Won Yeob to gather and burn all the books. Won Yeob can only agree while he seethes.
Won Yeob curses Kim Ja Jaeom as he watches the pile of books burn.
Court Lady Kim is delighted that Kim Ja Jaeom annoyed Won Yeob so thoroughly and publicly. Kim Ja Jaeom thanks her for the tip on the books. They agree the books are everywhere and gathering all of them won’t be easy for Won Yeob.
Won Yeob is horrified to find his mother reading the titillating book. He demands she give it to him.
Won Yeob shows Dae Yeob the book. Dae Yeob immediately recognizes that Soo Kyung drew the pictures. He urges Won Yeob to allow him to find out the man behind the books and stop anymore from being created. Won Yeob wants to him. Dae Yeob points out his brother has enough on his plate. He promises Won Yeob he’ll find the culprit. Won Yeob agrees to let Dae Yeob make the effort.
Dae Yeob takes the book and compares the drawings to ones he has from Soo Kyung. The artistry is a match. Dae Yeob is troubled that Soo Kyung would stoop so low.
Soo Kyung, Court Lady Jo and Chun Bae continue to work on the books. Soo Kyung asks if Chun Bae knows why Ba Woo is troubled. Chun Bae claims Ba Woo is working on something but hasn’t shared the particulars.
Ba Woo tells the monk about Vice Premiere Lee’s treasonous letter. Ba Woo admits the wanted posters with his likeness make things tricky. He doesn’t know what would happen to him or his mother and sister if he took the letter to the king. Ba Woo admits he has a plan.
Dae Yeob tries to find out where Ba Woo is living. The man claims he doesn’t know Ba Woo’s current whereabouts. Dae Yeob puts his sword to the man’s throat. The man admits he saw Ba Woo with slave hunters. Dae Yeob learns the slave hunters are headquartered in Jemulpo.
Dae Yeob reports to his brother the author may be living in Jemulpo. He convinces Won Yeob not send someone with him and to let him handle it solo. He swears he is treating the situation with the gravity it deserves. Won Yeob agrees to let Dae Yeob handle it.
Ba Woo boldly breaks into Vice Premiere Lee’s bedroom and puts a sword at his throat while he sleeps. Vice Premiere Lee wakes and demands to know who the masked man is. He asks if it is Kim Dae Seok. Ba Woo removes his mask and confirms he is the grandson of the prince and father-in-law of the previous king Seon Jo and his real name is Kim Dae Seok. Vice Premiere Lee asks if he’s come for revenge. Ba Woo retorts if he wanted revenge, he would have killed him. Vice Premiere Lee assumes he wants his mother and sister. Ba Woo confirms that. Vice Premiere Lee points out Ba Woo could die. Ba Woo scoffs that he doesn’t fear death. Vice Premiere Lee counters that Ba Woo fears for the safety of his mother and sister. Vice Premiere Lee reveals he’s followed Ba Woo and knows his cares about Soo Kyung. Vice Premiere Lee scoffs that Ba Woo is too tender hearted and couldn’t put those he loves in a worse situation for revenge. Ba Woo goes to strike but pulls back. Ba Woo declares that Vice Premiere Lee is an evil schemer. He shows Vice Premiere Lee the letter to the emperor of Ming he stole. Vice Premiere Lee can’t believe his eyes. He asks how Ba Woo got it. Ba Woo chuckles that’s for him to find out. Ba Woo notes the Chinese ship has sailed and the letter is with him. Ba Woo offers a trade. Bring his mother and sister to the shrine at 8pm tomorrow and he’ll bring the letter. Ba Woo warns that Vice Premiere Lee doesn’t show, the letter goes to the king. Vice Premiere Lee doesn’t believe Ba Woo won’t trick him. Ba Woo counters tricks are Vice Premiere Lee’s specialty. He says they’ll meet tomorrow night. He thrusts the sword into the floor. Vice Premiere Lee cowers. When he opens his eyes, Ba Woo is gone. Vice Premiere Lee calls to his security, livid that he was vulnerable.
Won Yeob and Premiere Lee’s guard commander Tae Chul report Ba Woo is gone. Vice Premiere Lee orders Ba Woo’s mother and sister moved. Vice Premiere Lee orders the shrine searched tomorrow morning.
Nice to see Vice Premiere Lee off-kilter.
Ba Woo explains his plan to the monk. He says he’ll return tomorrow. The monk invites him to stay the night. Ba Woo wants to return home to say goodbye to Cha Dol should he fail. He knows the Vice Premiere Lee is formidable opponent.
Ba Woo returns home. He looks the female’s hut then enter then male’s hut. Cha Dol snuggles into his lap.
The next morning, Ba Woo prepares to leave. He looks at the letter.
Chun Bae gets too close to Court Lady Jo and she flashes her knife which glints in the morning son. Ba Woo exits the hut. Soo Kyung asks where he’s going. Ba Woo says he has business to attend to. He says he’ll spend the night and not to worry. Soo Kyung asks what is going on. Ba Woo won’t say.
Dae Yeob arrives with some of his father’s guards. Everyone is taken aback. Dae Yeob declares Ba Woo is the author of the titillating book and must be arrested. His men grab Ba Woo. Soo Kyung rushes to Dae Yeob demands to know why he’s doing this. Dae Yeob orders his men to take Ba Woo away. Ba Woo tells Soo Kyung not to interfere with a look. Soo Kyung puts her arms out to stop Ba Woo from being taken away. Soo Kyung declares she’s the one that should be arrested. Ba Woo’s eyes tell her to stop. Dae Yeob can’t believe Soo Kyung’s defense of Ba Woo. He orders his men to take Ba Woo away.
Soo Kyung tells Dae Yeob she did the book and should be the one arrested. Dae Yeob glares and walks away. But Soo Kyung can’t be silent. She cries out Ba Woo’s name. He stops and turns. Her eyes tell him, her voice tells him, that he’s special to her, that he matters to her. Dae Yeob and the guards pull Ba Woo away. Soo Kyung calls his name over and over.
Ba Woo is put in jail after having his hands put in wooden shackles. book shop owner Sa is the other occupant. He’s surprised Ba Woo, not Soo Kyung is here. Ba Woo warns him to keep his mouth shut about Soo Kyung.
Court Lady Jo tries to talk Soo Kyung out of visiting Ba Woo in jail. She stops when Dae Yeob exits the jail.
Soo Kyung asks why Dae Yeob is doing this. Dae Yeob declares Ba Woo confessed to the crime. Soo Kyung counters that Dae Yeob recognized her drawings and knew it was her not Ba Woo. Dae Yeob doesn’t claim otherwise. He tells her she can’t see Ba Woo. Soo Kyung demands to know why Dae Yeob is doing this. Dae Yeob demands to know why Soo Kyung is living like a commoner. Why did she reject the life he offered? Soo Kyung declares she’s happy, truly happy living a simple life. She demands he answer why he’s doing this. Dae Yeob shouts that he’s protecting her. If he doesn’t protect her, he has no reason to live. Dae Yeob walk away. A tear trickles down Soo Kyung’s face.
Dae Yeob orders Court Lady Jo to take Soo Kyung to safety before she’s recognized. Court Lady Jo admits she doesn’t control Soo Kyung. Dae Yeob counters Soo Kyung must stay hidden to live. Court Lady Jo asks what will happen to Ba Woo. Dae Yeob walks away without an answer.
Cha Dol greets Soo Kyung and Court Lady Jo when they return home. He asks where his father is. Court Lady Jo lies that Ba Woo went to see his grandmother.
Court Lady Jo frets. Soo Kyung worries. Chun Bae reports that Ba Woo is being moved to a more secure jail. He believes it is certain death. The women don’t understand why Ba Woo would die because of the book. Chun Bae wants to tells them Ba Woo’s real identity but can’t break the promise to his friend. Soo Kyung tells Court Lady Jo she wants to walk to the sea. Court Lady Jo offers to go. Soo Kyung refuses. She tells Court Lady Jo she needs space to freely cry.
Ba Woo sits in the jail cell. He thinks of his mother and sister. Dae Yeob arrives.
Court Lady Jo arrives at the jail and claims she’s a relative of the boss.
In a private room, Dae Yeob says Ba Woo’s life is in danger. He asks if he’ll protect Soo Kyung to the end. Ba Woo counters that’s not what Dae Yeob wants to know. Dae Yeob says he knows that Ba Woo is the grandson of the prince and father-in-law of the previous king Seon Jo and his real name is Kim Dae Seok. Dae Yeob states as long as Soo Kyung is safe, he could care less about Ba Woo’s quest for vengeance. Just as Soo Kyung comes to the door, she overhears Ba Woo ask what Dae Yeob would do if he extracted revenge. Dae Yeob tells Ba Woo his mother and sister are safe and merely pawns to capture him and nothing will happen to them. Ba Woo begs to differ. His mother was made into a slave after Dae Yeob’s father killed his father. Now she’s in his father’s power again, scared and alone. Uncomfortable, Dae Yeob says that’s not what he meant. Ba Woo counters he knows that Dae Yeob doesn’t think or care what could happen to his mother and sister. Ba Woo points out assailants don’t think about those they beat down. Dae Yeob asks if Ba Woo will take his revenge. Ba Woo asks if Dae Yeob will kill him. Dae Yeob recommends that Ba Woo forget revenge and go back to his simple life. Ba Woo barks Dae Yeob’s father plastered wanted dead or alive poster with his face across the country. He took his mother and sister hostage. Ba Woo scoffs that Dae Yeob only cares about himself, his family and his father. Ba Woo proclaims he was willing to live the simple life and not seek revenge against Dae Yeob’s father. But Dae Yeob’s father has forced his hand. Now he must resume his previous life as Kim Dae Seok. Ba Woo yells Dae Yeob’s father created this mess. Soo Kyung’s eyes widen in surprise. Ba Woo states if anything happens to his mother and sister, he’ll go crazy for revenge. Ba Woo stands and exits. Soo Kyung watches Ba Woo taken away.
Shocked and grappling with Ba Woo’s truth, Soo Kyung sinks onto the beach. She remembers the moment she wanted to die because it would be easier for everyone. She remembers Ba Woo telling her he understood what it was like to be alive but dead. She realizes that’s exactly Ba Woo’s state. Alive as Ba Woo, dead as Kim Dae Seok. She cries. The pain that Ba Woo must have felt rips her heart. She remembers Ba Woo’s hatred of royalty. She remembers his negativity. Soo Kyung understands everything. This is why Ba Woo tried to dump her repeatedly. She sobs.
Court Lady Jo watches Cha Dol sleep. Chun Bae tells Soo Kyung this isn’t a good idea. She could get hurt. Soo Kyung counters that getting to Ba Woo is worth the risk. Is he with her? Chun Bae follows.
The monk waits for Ba Woo.
Ba Woo paces in his cell.
Chun Bae bribes the guard at the gate. Soo Kyung enters the jail.
Soo Kyung sees Ba Woo and rushes to him. Ba Woo turns and rushes to her. He orders her to leave. Soo Kyung cries. He asks what is wrong. She cries harder. He asks if she’s okay. She takes his hands and asks if he’s okay. Ba Woo assures her he is fine. He tells her to take care of herself. Soo Kyung apologizes. Tears fill Ba Woo’s eyes. She says all his troubles began with her. He tells her to leave and not come back. He can’t look at her. Soo Kyung sees his pain, his dead but alive status, and the loneliness. Soo Kyung touches his face with tenderness. She wonders how he lived with that much pain. Ba Woo stares into her tear-filled eyes. He touchers her face with tenderness. Soo Kyung’s heart breaks that he gave it all up for her. Ba Woo sobs as he holds her hands.
Soo Kyung learns who Ba Woo really is. Writers Kim Ji Soo and Park Cheol let Soo Kyung in on the secret, that Ba Woo is Kim Dae Soek, former noble and grandson of the king’s brother. To gain freedom of his mother and sister, Ba Woo boldly stole the treasonous note penned by Vice Premiere Lee. He offered to trade for his mother and sister. But Dae Yeob’s arrival at their house changed everything. Ba Woo was taken into custody. Soo Kyung declares to Dae Yeob that she was the artist not Ba Woo. Dae Yeob didn’t care, his goal is her safety, or so he claims. Ba Woo is in a bind. How can he save his mother and sister? How can he escape jail? How can he keep Soo Kyung, the woman he loves, safe?
Ba Woo (Jung Il Woo) was forced to get leverage. Ba Woo made the salient point to Dae Yeob. He was willing to live a simple life and NOT take his revenge but Vice Premiere Lee’s actions against his family forced his hand. I loved that Ba Woo slipped into Vice Premiere Lee’s bedroom with none the wiser. Vice Premiere Lee’s shock when Ba Woo revealed he had the treasonous letter was satisfying.
Soo Kyung (Kwon Yuri) realized Ba Woo risked everything for her. With the reveal of Ba Woo’s true identity, the puzzle pieces fit in place. Soo Kyung saw why he pushed her away again and again. Soo Kyung saw the common ground in his understanding of her alive but dead status. Even before she knew everything, when Dae Yeob took Ba Woo away, Soo Kyung declares herself as she cried his name. Overhearing the conversation between Dae Yeob and Ba Woo she finally learned who Ba Woo once was. It was time. Soo Kyung had several scenes where she didn’t kowtow and stood strong for her point out view. This was actress Kwon Yuri’s best episode to date.
Lee Dae Yeob (Shin Hyun Soo) claimed Soo Kyung’s safety was his goal. He arrested Ba Woo even though he knew Soo Kyung was the artist. He did it so Soo Kyung wasn’t blamed. Ba Woo confessed so Soo Kyung wasn’t blamed. The conversation between Dae Yeob and Ba Woo revealed Dae Yeob’s perspective that protecting his family without thought to the horrible life Ba Woo’s family had been forced to live was acceptable. Dae Yeob seems harder now.
The tenth song in this prolific OST is the ballad “Fallen Star” sung by Susan. “Fallen Star” lyrics (link).
I rank this episode as terrific, 9 on a 10-point scale.