The official interrogation begins. All the ministers are present. King Gwanghae enters. At the king’s signal, Kim Ja Jaeom orders the prisoner brought forward. Ba Woo, his face covered, is led to the interrogation chair. He’s seated. Won Yeob orders the prisoner’s face revealed. It’s Ba Woo. Vice Premiere Lee’s eyes bug out in shock. Ba Woo looks into Vice Premiere Lee’s shocked face. Kim Ja Jaeom asks Ba Woo is he created the banned book. Ba Woo (Jung Il Woo) confirms. Kim Ja Jaeom asks Ba Woo if he supplied the book to the book shop owner Sa. Ba Woo confirms. Kim Ja Jaeom shows Ba Woo the sales ledger. Kim Ja Jaeom asks Ba Woo is there is only one sales ledger. Ba Woo states there is another. Lee Won Yeob (Vice Premiere Lee’s eldest son) declares this is false. Kim Ja Jaeom begs to differ and produces the redacted sales ledger. Kim Ja Jaeom presents the original and redacted sales ledgers as evidence. The king confirms the same person generated both ledgers. Purchases from Vice Premiere Lee’s allies are revealed.
After the interrogation. Vice Premiere Lee tells Won Yeob to find Dae Yeob while he goes and calms his allies.
Ba Woo is brought to King Gwanghae who asks if Ba Woo resents him. Ba Woo says nothing. The king asks if he’s really Kim Dae Seok, grandson of Kim Jae Nam. Ba Woo confirms this. The king asks why Ba Woo has been brought here. Ba Woo states the king wants to use him. The king’s personal guard, Jung Yeong, doesn’t like the impertinent answer. The king asks how. Ba Woo believes the king will use him as a sword. The king asks how. Ba Woo says he’s a sword that has not been annealed yet (heated then cooled slowly to toughen). He asks the king to restore his name so he can act as the king’s sword. The king asks how his daughter is. Ba Woo says nothing. The king says if Ba Woo passes a special military exam, then they can continue the conversation. He dismisses Ba Woo. Jung Yeong takes Ba Woo away. The king chuckles.
When Vice Premiere Lee returns home with his guard commander Tae Chul, Won Yeob reports Dae Yeob is gone. This was deliberate. Vice Premiere Lee doesn’t understand why Dae Yeob did this. Won Yeob wonders if Dae Yeob learned the secret from Vice Premiere Lee’s sister, and Dae Yeob’s aunt, Haeindang Lee. Vice Premiere Lee orders Won Yeob to bring Haeindang Lee to him. Vice Premiere Lee orders Tae Chul to kill Ba Woo.
Tae Chul brings men to attack the jail. Jung Yeong and the king’s guards meet them. Fighting ensures. Tae Chul order his men to retreat. Jung Yeong and Tae Chul lock eyes before he exits.
Jung Yeong reports the attempt to the king. He knows this won’t be Vice Premiere Lee’s only attempt to kill Ba Woo. Court Lady Kim reports a local police officer committed suicide and claimed in his note he was responsible. The king chuckles how quickly Vice Premiere Lee identified a scapegoat. He orders Kim Ja Jaeom to mobilize the western allies against Vice Premiere Lee’s northern allies.
Kim Ja Jaeom tells his western allies they must strike Vice Premiere Lee’s northern allies.
The king has the Vice Premiere Lee come to the palace and points out his wife bought the book. Vice Premiere Lee apologizes. The king wonders how he can appease the riled up western faction. He reveals the west want titles restored that were stripped during the investigation of Kim Jae Nam. The king says most of them are dead or pardoned so the impact won’t be great. He asks Vice Premiere Lee’s opinion. The king offers grant Vice Premiere Lee’s wish to keep Queen Inmok in confinement at the western palace. The king tells him to make his decision with due haste. Vice Premiere Lee backs away and declares he will, The king chuckles.
Love seeing the king have the upper hand with Vice Premiere Lee.
The king demotes Won Yeob one rank but doesn’t fire him. Won Yeob is relieved. Kim Ja Jaeom is irked. The king reveals Sunkyunkwan Royal Academy will be converted into officers’ residence. The king declares all titles are restored that were stripped during the investigation of Kim Jae Nam.
Kim Ja Jaeom informs Ba Woo his title has been restored. Members of the west want to meet with him. Ba Woo declines. He remembers that Kim Ja Jaeom betrayed his identity to Vice Premiere Lee. Ba Woo thanks Kim Ja Jaeom for his help. He says he’s going to see his family.
Lee Dae Yeob (Shin Hyun Soo, Vice Premiere Lee’s young son) kneels before the king. He remembers the king’s previous promises. The king orders Dae Yeob to pass a special military exam. This is how Dae Yeob can prove his loyalty to the king. Then Dae Yeob will be the king’s sword. In addition, Dae Yeob must tell the king everything his father does. Dae Yeob agrees to the terms.
Ba Woo returns home to a waiting Soo Kyung, Chun Bae, Cha Dol, and Court Lady Jo. Cha Dol rushes into his father’s arms. Chun Bae and Ba Woo hug. Chun Bae teases Ba Woo about his noble origins. The tension between Ba Woo and Soo Kyung is obvious. She turns away. Chun Bae tells Ba Woo to follow her. Ba Woo follows Soo Kyung. Chun Bae tells Court Lady Jo they should make a celebration dinner. He takes Court Lady Jo’s hand. It takes her a moment to pull away.
Soo Kyung (Kwon Yuri) tells Ba Woo she’ll accord him his due per his nobility. Ba Woo tells her to treat him the same. She says they can’t be the same. Ba Woo hugs her. She hugs him back. He asks her real name and states he doesn’t want to think of her as princess. He apologizes for leaving her. She reminds him they agreed to it. She asks what happens next. Ba Woo says his family home will be restored to him. Ba Woo says this is happening because of her. She urges him to make haste and claim his family home before Vice Premiere Lee makes trouble for him. She says she’s okay with his new path. Ba Woo takes her hand. She cries.
It’s over before really it started.
Chun Bae isn’t happy to learn he’ll be separated from Court Lady Jo. He tells Court Lady Jo he’ll stay with her. Ba Woo and Soo Kyung return. Court Lady Jo follows. Chun Bae hugs Ba Woo and asks if he can live without him. Chun Bae says he’ll stay with Soo Kyung and Court Lady Jo. Ba Woo tells him it isn’t necessary. Dae Yeob appears.
Soo Kyung tells Court Lady Jo the separate it best for everyone. She’s surprised with Dae Yeob arrives. She thanks him for saving her when she tried to steal the original sales ledger. Ba Woo knows becoming an enemy of his father was a risk. Dae Yeob counters he didn’t do it for Ba Woo and didn’t expect it to turn out this way. Ba Woo offers Vice Premiere Lee’s treason letter to even the score. He believes it can save Dae Yeob. He accepts the letter. Soo Kyung smiles.
Cha Dol bows to Soo Kyung and promises to let her know how he’s doing once he’s settled in the new house. Soo Kyung tells him to study and do as his father says. Court Lady Jo wishes Cha Dol well. Ba Woo and Soo Kyung lock eyes. Ba Woo turns to leave. Jung Yeong, his men and the king men arrive much to Soo Kyung and Court Lady Jo’s surprise.
Soo Kyung bows to her father. He tells her to look at him. The king sees her resentment. He tells her to hate him. Soo Kyung declares the princess is dead as he wanted. The king says he didn’t want her dead but had to make political decisions to keep the throne. He reminds her that is his priority. He hopes his daughter will understand even if she can’t forgive him. Soo Kyung says she’s no longer the princess. The king remembers that he named her because she was fiery. As a young girl she was a tomboy.
Flashback…a young Soo Kyung wants to hunt with her father. He agrees. They play and laugh. The queen and Soo Kyung’s mother enters and chuckles.
The king remembers they did hunt together. He takes his daughter’s hands and says they are rough now because of what he’s done. He vows to protect her now. He asks her to trust him. He swears he’s doing this as her father, not as the king. Soo Kyung cries. They hug.
Chun Bae and Court Lady Jo fret about what will happen next.
Ba Woo finds Soo Kyung alone and looking at the sea. He asks if the conversation with her father made her feel better. He tells her Dae Yeob has returned home and will have the ammunition to best his father. Soo Kyung says her father will send guards to protect them. Ba Woo can’t believe what he just heard. Soo Kyung will live with him? They don’t have to separate? His face floods with joy. Soo Kyung smiles. They hold hands.
Dae Yeob returns home and claims he did everything he did to retrieve the treason letter. Won Yeob doesn’t believe him. Dae Yeob pleads with his father to believe him. Vice Premiere Lee orders Tae Chul to toss out. Haeindang Lee (Soo Kyung’s aunt) asks to speak with her brother. Won Yeob tries to block her. Haeindang Lee insinuates she’ll say more than anyone wants her to. Vice Premiere Lee agrees to speak with his sister. Haeindang Lee tells Won Yeob to leave Dae Yeob alone while she talks to her brother. Dae Yeob asks what’s going on. Won Yeob orders him to keep quiet.
Dae Yeob isn’t happy that his sister threatened him. She counters he wants her dead to the secret won’t be revealed. She asks for his compassion. Vice Premiere Lee says she is his sister. Haeindang Lee draws her brother’s sword and give it to him. She tells him to kill her if he can’t forgive Dae Yeob. And if he can’t do that, she’ll tell the world the secret. Vice Premiere Lee doesn’t like being threatened. Haeindang Lee counters he threatened her first. She has kept her mouth shut all these years. He threatened her with death years ago. Vice Premiere Lee barks that Dae Yeob is a traitor. Haeindang Lee barks Dae Yeob is the only reason she’s alive. Vice Premiere Lee declares Dae Yeob almost destroyed the family. Haeindang Lee counters she doesn’t care about the family or it’s secrets, she only cares if Dae Yeob lives. She offers the choice once again – forgive Dae Yeob or strike her dead. She closes her eyes for the blow. Vice Premiere Lee can’t believe it. He pounds the table in fury.
Does that mean Vice Premiere Lee has a heart? Does that mean Haeindang Lee is Dae Yeob’s mother?
Haeindang Lee exits her brother’s room. She tells Dae Yeob to stand and come with her. Dae Yeob follows.
Haeindang Lee tells Dae Yeob his father hasn’t forgiven him or allowed him back into the family. Dae Yeob will be watched. Dae Yeob apologizes for causing her distress. He promises an explanation in the future. Haeindang Lee scoffs this mess is because of Soo Kyung. Haeindang Lee threatens to tell Vice Premiere Lee that Soo Kyung is alive if Dae Yeob doesn’t keep his nose clean. Dae Yeob is shocked. Haeindang Lee declares she won’t watch him destroyed because of Soo Kyung. Dae Yeob counters he created this mess. Haeindang Lee orders him to keep quiet. Haeindang Lee states Soo Kyung can live IF he keeps his mouth shut and does as he’s told to do. She leaves.
Vice Premiere Lee informs the king that Ba Woo’s family home was destroyed years ago. He suggests Ba Woo take an available home near him. The king agrees with the proviso that his guards attend Ba Woo, so Vice Premiere Lee’s guards don’t act as spies for Vice Premiere Lee. The king also demands Ba Woo’s mother and sister are released from Vice Premiere Lee’s care.
Ba Woo’s mother wishes bad fortune for Won Yeob and Tae Chul on the way out.
She’s not going to give their air b&b a good rating.
Ba Woo, Cha Dol, Chun Bae, Soo Kyung and Court Lady Jo arrive at their new home. It is guarded by the king’s guards. Ba Woo’s sister alert her mother Ba Woo has arrived. Ba Woo’s mother rushes into his arms. Ba Woo apologizes for taking so long to reunite them. Ba Woo’s mother sobs while everyone watches. Ba Woo apologizes to his sister. She spots Cha Dol. Ba Woo introduces Cha Dol to his grandmother and aunt. Cha Dol introduces Soo Kyung as his mother. Chun Bae explains he’s a life long friend. Ignoring Chun Bae’s claim of wife, Court Lady Jo explains she’s like a sister to Cha Dol’s mother and informs them her name is Yeo Ju Daek.
Soo Kyung and Ba Woo bow to his mother. She peppers Soo Kyung with questions. Ba Woo says all will be revealed in time. Soo Kyung tells Ba Woo’s mother that she was an orphan since a young child. Ba Woo’s mother is sympathetic. She warns Soo Kyung as the new daughter in law, she’ll need to behave with decorum. Soo Kyung promises not to make trouble for the family.
After the meeting, Ba Woo and Soo Kyung report that all went well to a relieved Chun Bae and Court Lady Jo. Ba Woo is chagrined but asks Chun Bae and Court Lady Jo to act as servants to he doesn’t have to worry about Vice Premiere Lee bribing or planting servants to spy on him.
Ba Woo’s sister to thrilled to have comfortable bedding. She wants to get married. Ba Woo’s mother wonders about Soo Kyung. Her air is that of a lady. Ba Woo’s sister thinks she was pretentious.
Alone in their room, Ba Woo and Soo Kyung aren’t quite comfortable. Soo Kyung suggests they wish his mother good night.
Ba Woo’s mother worries that even though Soo Kyung has nice manners she’s just a commoner and now they are nobles again. She worries Cha Dol can’t risk in rank with a commoner for a mother. Ba Woo’s sister suggests that Ba Woo marry another woman. Having overheard, Ba Woo bursts into the room and declares he won’t marry another woman. They point out Cha Dol is at a disadvantage with a commoner mother. Ba Woo tells them to hush. He stalks away.
Ba Woo apologizes to Soo Kyung about her mother’s attitude. Soo Kyung points out she’s lying about her birth her status as Cha Dol’s mother. She vows to serve his mother well. Ba Woo tells her his mother may not soften. Soo Kyung assures him she can take it as long as he is on her side. Ba Woo is grateful. Soo Kyung gives him noble clothing and congratulates him.
The king tells Court Lady Kim he’s using Ba Woo as bait. Once Vice Premiere Lee takes it, they must act. He tells her to watch Vice Premiere Lee closely. If Ba Woo dies, it is only collateral damage.
Vice Premiere Lee is surprised Ba Woo refused servants. Vice Premiere Lee wonders what Ba Woo is hiding.
The next morning, Ba Woo dons his new clothes. Soo Kyung calls him dashing. While Ba Woo studies, Soo Kyung sews. She chides him not to watch her but study. Soo Kyung tells him the martial arts mastery is important too. He asks if she’ll teach him.
Ba Woo learns how to shoot a rifle while Soo Kyung watches. He improves.
Soo Kyung teaches him archery. She can’t help but chuckle at his poor showing. She shows him how it is done, but misses. Ba Woo takes her hands, flustering her. He puts her hands on his face to warm them.
The candidates show their skills to the king and ministers. Dae Yeob and Ba Woo seem to have comparable skill levels in the opening rounds. Dae Yeob’s archery skill are excellent. Ba Woo’s skills are start slow and finish strong. The shooting competition is next. Ba Woo visualizes. Vice Premiere Lee nods to one of the candidates.
Flashback…Vice Premiere Lee pays a candidate to “accidentally shoot” Ba Woo. If Ba Woo dies the monetary reward is better. Vice Premiere Lee guarantees his protection and sponsorship.
Dae Yeob notices the silent communication between the candidate and his father.
Flashback…Vice Premiere Lee tells Dae Yeob if he kills Ba Woo, he’ll be welcomed back into the family.
The king notices the anticipation on Vice Premiere Lee’s face. He motions Kim Ja Jaeom over for a private word.
The shooting competition begins. Vice Premiere Lee’s candidate drops his gun powder, goes to the ground, and aims his weapon at Ba Woo. Both Dae Yeob and Ba Woo see what will happen too late. The candidate fires. The bullet appears to pierce Ba Woo’s chest. Blood spurts out of his mouth. He falls to his knees.
Nobility didn’t remove the danger. Writers Kim Ji Soo and Park Cheol kept the heat on Ba Woo. He’s being used by the king. He’s being pursued by Vice Premiere Lee. Meanwhile Soo Kyung has to keep her head down and serve Ba Woo’s mother. Chun Bae and Court Lady Jo are now servants to Ba Woo’s house. The episode ended with what appeared to be a bull-eye to Ba Woo’s heart. How will he survive?
Ba Woo (Jung Il Woo) is still a target. Vice Premiere Lee wants him dead and paid someone to shoot him. The shot looked like a hit to Ba Woo’s heart. We’ve got 8 episodes to go, so Ba Woo isn’t dying. Vice Premiere Lee is relentless and won’t stop until Ba Woo is dead. While Ba Woo gained Soo Kyung as his acknowledged wife, they aren’t ready for physical intimacy. They continued to inch forward with several lovely moments. The best part of his return to nobility? The scraggly bangs are tucked out of sight!
Soo Kyung (Kwon Yuri) will play the dutiful daughter-in-law. She’s not going to find easy acceptance from Ba Woo’s mother who doesn’t want her son yoked to a commoner. If she only knew! The conversation with the king and Soo Kyung was good stuff. Little does she know her father is ready to sacrifice Ba Woo for his ultimate goal – destruction of his arch enemy Vice Premiere Lee. I enjoyed Soo Kyung and Ba Woo’s sweet scenes. Will they ever be a couple or will the possibility be the payoff?
Lee Dae Yeob (Shin Hyun Soo) was told by his father to kill Ba Woo for the golden ticket back into the family fold. Dae Yeob was lucky his aunt interceded with his father. Is she Dae Yeob’s mother? Why would this be a big secret? Who is Dae Yeob’s father? Is that the big secret?
The twelfth song is “Blossom” sung by Sage . “Blossom” lyrics (link).
I rank this episode as almost terrific, 8.5 on a 10-point scale.