At the special military exam, the shooting competition begins. Each candidate must get 3 shots in the bull’s eye in the allotted time. Ba Woo (Jung Il Woo) gets 2 shots in the bull’s eye. Lee Dae Yeob (Shin Hyun Soo) shots are in the bull’s eye. Before the third and final shot, 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. Dae Yeob rushes to Ba Woo’s side. Vice Premiere Lee (Dae Yeob’s father) can’t hide his pleasure. King Gwanghae understands this was Vice Premiere Lee’s doing. Ba Woo staggers upright determined to get the third shot completed. He struggles to aim. Dae Yeob provides guidance. Ba Woo fires. It hits the bull eye. He falls back into Dae Yeob’s arms. The king glares at Vice Premiere Lee.
At the King’s room, he takes the ministers to task and declares the candidate did not act alone. They must find out who is behind the attack. Vice Premiere Lee looks uncomfortable.
Kim Ja Jaeom waits by Ba Woo’s bedside until he wakes. Kim Ja Jaeom notes that was a close call.
Flashback…Per the king’s orders Kim Ja Jaeom pulls Ba Woo aside. He gives him a flak jacket to wear underneath his clothes.
Ba Woo thanks Kim Ja Jaeom for the flak jacket knowing it saved his life. Kim Ja Jaeom reveals it was the king’s order he followed. Kim Ja Jaeom assures Ba Woo he passed the special military exam. Ba Woo exits the room, Dae Yeob is waiting and asks how he’s feeling. Ba Woo says Dae Yeob’s father started it first. He walks away. Dae Yeob can’t refute the statement.
Ba Woo’s mother, sister, son Cha Dol and the intrepid trio (Soo Kyung, Chun Bae, and Court Lady Jo) wait for Ba Woo to return. Cha Dol hugs his father. Soo Kyung notices Ba Woo wince at the contact. His mother tells him to rest. Ba Woo and Chun Bae walk away. Ba Woo’s mother orders Soo Kyung to take care of Ba Woo. Soo Kyung promises to do so.
Chun Bae can’t believe Ba Woo was shot. Chun Bae tells his friend they can’t run away this time. Ba Woo states he must retaliate or Vice Premiere Lee will view him as weak.
Lee Won Yeob (Dae Yeob’s brother and Vice Premiere’s eldest son) wishes the shot had killed Ba Woo. Vice Premiere Lee notes it was a solid warning.
Soo Kyung (Kwon Yuri) rushes to Ba Woo’s side. She urges him to lean on his family. She goes to fetch his dinner.
Soo Kyung reports Ba Woo’s refusal to acknowledge his injury to Court Lady Jo and Chun Bae. She asks Chun Bae to take care of Ba Woo. Court Lady Jo points out Vice Premiere Lee won’t stop.
The next day, Won Yeob tells the candidate to lay low until the investigation is complete. Dae Yeob sees the exchange. He warns his brother the king won’t like it.
The king takes the ministers to task for letting the candidate leave. They cite the law for accidental shootings allows the perpetrator to be released after flogging. The king barks it wasn’t an accident. The minister begs to differ. The king declares he wants to interrogate the candidate. The minister points out it was their purview. The king gets irate and orders them out. He calls for his personal guard, Jung Yeong, and reports his head is hurting terribly. He orders his medicine brought.
Vice Premiere Lee tells the ministers the king’s madness is getting worse.
The king takes the medicine. He orders Jung Yeong to bring Ba Woo and Dae Yeob to him.
Soo Kyung finishes dressing Ba Woo. She warns him not to trust her father. Ba Woo promises.
Ba Woo’s family hope the discussion with the king is positive. Soo Kyung watches Ba Woo leave the compound.
The king chastises Dae Yeob for not knowing his father would attempt to kill Ba Woo. The king chastises Ba Woo for once again being Vice Premiere Lee’s victim. He calls them lazy. The king wonders if he should reveal that his daughter is alive, though she’d be banished to the temple for the rest of her life. He asks what they will do to stop that. Ba Woo says he’ll come up with a plan if he’s allowed to go home. The king gives Ba Woo 2 weeks to solve the problem. Ba Woo leaves.
The king assures Dae Yeob he doesn’t want to kill Vice Premiere Lee, just have him retire from his position. The king notes Vice Premiere Lee helped him ascend to the throne. The king points out if the Vice Premiere Lee were killed, chaos would ensue. Instead, if Dae Yeob provides the evidence the king needs to force the resignation, it would be a peaceful transition. Dae Yeob agrees to help the king. Pleased the king tells Dae Yeob he’ll remember this support and how Dae Yeob cares for Soo Kyung. Dae Yeob leaves.
The king tells Jung Yeong that Dae Yeob has to trust him if he wants the prize, Soo Kyung.
Outside Ba Woo asks Dae Yeob what the king said. Dae Yeob reminds Ba Woo they aren’t friends. Ba Woo wants to destroy his father and family. If it weren’t for Soo Kyung, he’d have killed Ba Woo.
Chun Bae and Court Lady Jo meet with Soo Kyung. She asks about past silk smuggling activities. She wonders which shop Vice Premiere Lee’s household buys their silks from. Court Lady Jo reminds her that they can’t be seen by the general public.
Soo Kyung takes Ba Woo’s sister to the silk seller. She asks if they have foreign silks. The seller takes them to the back room where the smuggled silks are sold. Ba Woo’s sister loves them. They don’t know a man has spotted them. Soo Kyung orders some silks.
Was the man Ba Woo’s sister’s husband?
Back home, Soo Kyung shows Ba Woo’s mother the silks. She loves them.
Ba Woo’s mother asks her daughter where the land contract for their former home. Ba Woo’s sister admits she took it to free her husband, Oragbeoni Chil Seong, and reunite them. Ba Woo’s sister declares she had to take care of it because no one else would. Ba Woo’s mother says she’ll talk to Ba Woo. She holds out her hand for the land deed. Her daughter is forced to admit she already used it and doesn’t understand why she hasn’t heard from her husband. Ba Woo’s mother can’t believe it.
Soo Kyung proposes that Vice Premiere Lee is involved in smuggling silks to raise money to commit treason.
Ba Woo and Chun Bae go to town. Ba Woo spots his sister’s husband. Chun Bae grabs him. Having never met Ba Woo, the husband tells all. His wife’s family was reinstated as nobles, he was emancipated, but he couldn’t return to his wife without his own funds. Ba Woo tells him to quit. He refuses. He shares that the seller likes to gamble. That gets Ba Woo’s attention.
The silk seller gambles with the locals including Ba Woo and Chun Bae. He borrows money from Chun Bae in exchange for some silks. Chun Bae makes him sign a note of debt before he hands over the money. The seller loses. The seller offers more silk for more money. Chun Bae makes him sign another note of debt. The seller loses again.
When Chun Bae goes to collect, the seller refuses to pay. The seller brings out his workers. Chun Bae brings his hired thugs and takes the promised silks. Chun Bae tells the seller that he couldn’t duck his debt.
Ba Woo, Chun Bae, and the hire thug leader celebrate the successful execution of their plan. Ba Woo declares now that the seller has lost all his silks, he’ll force him to need to purchase smuggled silks.
Soo Kyung goes to the seller and requests a large order of foreign silks. The seller admits he doesn’t have any now. Soo Kyung tells him she’ll go to another seller. The seller promises he can deliver the foreign silks.
Soo Kyung reports to Ba Woo that the silk seller promised he’d acquire more foreign silks. Ba Woo thanks her for helping. He tells her he won’t involve her anymore. Soo Kyung wants to help and take care of him, just as he did for her. That puts a smile on Ba Woo’s face. He tells Soo Kyung she’s beautiful. She teases him and asks if he just realized that fact. Ba Woo enumerates her beauty. He declares there is no one pretty than her. She smiles. They head home.
Soo Kyung finds Court Lady Jo cooking. She apologizes for not being able to help and joins in. Ba Woo’s mother demands to know where Soo Kyung was and why her meal isn’t ready. Soo Kyung apologizes for the delay. Ba Woo’s sister drags her mother away. Court Lady Jo doesn’t like to see Soo Kyung prostrate herself. Chun Bae overhears.
Chun Bae tells Court Lady Jo this is the way mothers-in-law treat wives sometimes. Court Lady Jo is irked. The meal wasn’t late. Chun Bae offers her a snack. Court Lady Jo pushes it away. Then she sees the snack. Court Lady Jo says Royal Consort Soui (Soo Kyung’s mother) loves this snack. She gets an idea, stands and tells Chun Bae to follow. Chun Bae hopes he’ll get lucky.
Court Lady Jo explains who the Royal Consort Soui is. She wants to reunite Soo Kyung and her mother. He warns her she can’t go near the palace for fear of being spotted.
Chun Bae arranges for Court Lady Jo to secretly meet with Royal Consort Soui’s court lady. She learns Royal Consort Soui is still despondent over Soo Kyung’s death.
Royal Consort Soui isn’t hungry. Her court lady urges her to eat.
Court Lady Jo informs Soo Kyung that her mother isn’t eating well and taking medicine per the king’s order. Court Lady Jo tears up. Her mother isn’t getting better. Her heart is broken. Soo Kyung cries. Court Lady Jo suggests Soo Kyung write a letter. Soo Kyung counters she’s hidden herself for a reason and won’t put her mother in danger. Court Lady Jo reminds Soo Kyung that the king knows everything. What could go wrong?
Soo Kyung writes her mother a letter sobbing as she explains she’s sorry and hopes one day to see her again.
Court Lady Jo passes the letter to Royal Consort Soui’s court lady with strict instructions that no one but Royal Consort Soui know about it or those that do could be in danger. Royal Consort Soui’s court lady promises to be discreet.
Royal Consort Soui’s court lady takes the letter to Court Lady Kim. She reads and returns to the letter stating it must be delivered to the Royal Consort Soui. Court Lady Kim orders her assistant to fetch Kim Ja Jaeom.
Royal Consort Soui is surprised to hear Court Lady Jo is in the area and had a letter for her. She sends her court lady away. Alone, Royal Consort Soui reads the letter. She recognizes Soo Kyung’s handwriting. She believes her daughter is alive. She freaks out.
Court Lady Kim informs Kim Ja Jaeom about the letter and its contents. Court Lady Kim guesses that Ba Woo is protecting Soo Kyung. Kim Ja Jaeom relays that Ba Woo told him he was longer with Soo Kyung. Court Lady Kim scoffs that Kim Ja Jaeom is gullible. Court Lady Kim order Kim Ja Jaeom to go to Ba Woo’s home and look for Soo Kyung.
Kim Ja Jaeom arrives at Ba Woo’s home. The guards bar his entry. Chun Bae relays to Ba Woo that Kim Ja Jaeom is at the gate. Chun Bae order Soo Kyung and Court Lady Jo not to come outside. Kim Ja Jaeom enters the courtyard and Ba Woo greets him. Ba Woo leads a suspicious Kim Ja Jaeom to the greeting room.
Chun Bae reports to Court Lady Jo and Soo Kyung that Ba Woo is handling Kim Ja Jaeom. Court Lady Jo worries that Ba Woo’s mother and sister might reveal Ba Woo has a wife.
Ba Woo asks Kim Ja Jaeom why he came. Kim Ja Jaeom claims concern over his wound. Ba Woo thanks him for his concern. Kim Ja Jaeom points out they are both part of the western allies. Kim Ja Jaeom tells him it is time to work together to get rid of Vice Premiere Lee. Ba Woo agrees. Kim Ja Jaeom suggests Soo Kyung is the perfect weapon. Ba Woo asks why he brings up Soo Kyung. He says he doesn’t know where Soo Kyung is. Kim Ja Jaeom doubts him. Ba Woo points out that he’d use Soo Kyung against Vice Premiere Lee if he knew where she was. He got shot by Vice Premiere Lee’s man and wants revenge.
Kim Ja Jaeom reports the meeting to Court Lady Kim. He doesn’t quite believe Ba Woo told him everything. Court Lady Kim isn’t impressed that Kim Ja Jaeom didn’t learn everything. She’s suspicious that the king’s guards protect the house. Kim Ja Jaeom wonders if the king installed his daughter in the household.
Royal Consort Soui can’t believe her husband hid that Soo Kyung was alive. Why didn’t he tell her when she was in obvious misery? The king shares he couldn’t let her know because it would be Soo Kyung in further danger. The king believes if Vice Premiere Lee learns Soo Kyung is alive, he’ll kill her. The king promises his hidden Soo Kyung in a safe place away from Vice Premiere Lee’s preying eyes. Royal Consort Soui cries.
Soo Kyung thinks about her mother.
The king offers his wife a handkerchief. He apologizes about the situation. He reiterates he’s doing his best to keep Soo Kyung safe. Royal Consort Soui trusts the king. He admits his heart is sad too. Royal Consort Soui knows he loves their daughter. She promises to trust his next steps. She begs him to let her see Soo Kyung just once.
The king tells Ba Woo to facilitate a meeting between Royal Consort Soui and Soo Kyung.
Ba Woo’s sister bursts with joy when she tells her mother her dream that she’ll see her husband soon. Her mother watches her cantor away with limited grace. She bemoans her daughters lack of polish. Soo Kyung offers to teach. Ba Woo’s mother doubts Soo Kyung is qualified but she’s desperate.
Soo Kyung teaches Ba Woo’s sister to walk. She complains about the repetition but improves. Soo Kyung suggest she eat with chopsticks not her hands. Slurping his outlawed. Chewing with her mouth closed is recommended. She flees. Ba Woo’s mother realizes she needs polishing too.
Soo Kyung finds Ba Woo’s sister eating alone. Soo Kyung understands that Ba Woo’s sister’s new status as a noblewoman is a big change. Ba Woo’s sister points out she’s lived her entire live as a commoner. Soo Kyung encourages her to work hard and make her husband proud.
Ba Woo’s husband reports to Ba Woo that the imported silk will be in town soon. Chun Bae and his men battle the silk seller and his men for the silk. Ba Woo snatches the approved import bill with Won Yeob’s signature.
Ba Woo takes the approved import bill to the king. The king calls Vice Premiere Lee treacherous. The king asks Ba Woo what he would do. Ba Woo recommends immediate action.
The king makes Won Yeob cry when he fires him for authorizing smuggling in front of everyone. Vice Premiere Lee isn’t happy. Kim Ja Jaeom loves it.
The ministers wonder if Vice Premiere Lee is losing power and status. Vice Premiere Lee isn’t happy when he overhears them.
Vice Premiere Lee sees Kim Ja Jaeom and Ba Woo talking. He approaches. Kim Ja Jaeom leaves. Vice Premiere Lee asks if Ba Woo orchestrated that. Ba Woo asks if Vice Premiere Lee orchestrated the gunshot to his chest. Vice Premiere Lee warns the king’s protection isn’t infinite. Ba Woo warns Vice Premiere Lee’s power isn’t either.
Vice Premiere Lee chastises Won Yeob for getting caught because of his greed.
Won Yeob gets drunk at the gisaeng house. Tae Chul arrives to escort him home.
Chun Bae drinks with Ba Woo’s sister’s husband.
Won Yeob bumps into the man as he exits. Tae Chul knows he’s seen the man somewhere. Won Yeob demands to know who the man is. Tae Chul reveals the man is Ba Woo’s brother-in-law, who worked for the silk seller. Won Yeob orders Tae Chul to capture the man.
Won Yeob beats the man. Tae Chul tells him to calm down. Enraged, he murders the man with Tae Chul’s sword.
Court Lady Jo learns the brother-in-law is dead. Ba Woo returns home and she tells him.
Ba Woo arrives at the gisaeng house. Chun Bae shows him the covered body. Ba Woo identifies the body. With Tae Chul and Won Yeob present, he’s told Won Yeob reported an assailant running away holding a sword. Chun Bae refutes that. He points at Won Yeob and states he killed him. Ba Woo is blocked when he goes for Won Yeob. He’s told an investigation will be conducted. Won Yeob swaggers forward and states scum that bother him will be eliminated. Ba Woo punches Won Yeob. Dae Yeob intervenes and tells Ba Woo to back off. Ba Woo brags Dae Yeob and declares they aren’t friends and one of them will have to die.
The ripple effects never stop. Writers Kim Ji Soo and Park Cheol propagated character’s actions to others. The king sicced Ba Woo on Vice Premiere Lee. Ba Woo found proof of the smuggling that funds Vice Premiere Lee. Ba Woo urged the king to act. He fired Won Yeob. Vice Premiere Lee chastised Won Yeob. Enraged and drunk, Won Yeob killed Ba Woo’s brother-in-law. Ba Woo warned Dae Yeob that one of them must die. Soo Kyung’s alive status was revealed to her mother, who in turn went to the king. He assured his wife he was protecting their daughter from the villainous Vice Premiere Lee. It can’t be long before Vice Premiere Lee learns Soo Kyung is alive and under Ba Woo’s protection. Too many people know.
Ba Woo (Jung Il Woo) and Vice Premiere Lee warned each other. Vice Premiere Lee’s candidate’s shot to Ba Woo’s chest was thwarted by the flak jacket Kim Ja Jaeom gave Ba Woo per the king’s orders. It’s been nice to see the king effectively make his own chess moves. I assume Ba Woo knows the king is using him only while it benefits the king. Dae Yeob told Ba Woo they weren’t friends. Ba Woo told Dae Yeob they weren’t friends and only one of them will survive.
Soo Kyung (Kwon Yuri) wrote her mother a letter. She believed that only her mother would read the letter. Nope, Court Lady Kim received the letter and quickly surmised that Soo Kyung was living in Ba Woo’s house. Kim Ja Jaeom didn’t spot her when he visited. Maybe next time. Soo Kyung showed moxy when she found the silk seller and manipulated him. Chun Bae’s bond of debt and merry men did the rest. I loved it when she teased Ba Woo for just noticing after he called her pretty.
Lee Dae Yeob (Shin Hyun Soo) is the king’s mole. Dae Yeob and Ba Woo both know the king is using both of them. Dae Yeob’s goal is simple, protect Soo Kyung. Ba Woo’s goal is the same. Vice Premiere Lee won’t let Ba Woo win. One of them will die. If push came to shove, whose life would Dae Yeob save?
I rank this episode as terrific, 9 on a 10-point scale.