The foursome (Ba Woo, Soo Kyung, Court Lady Jo and Chun Bae) gathers around a ladder they’ve set at the west palace wall. Ba Woo / Kim Dae Seok (Jung Il Woo). goes up first. He helps Court Lady Jo up and over the wall. Soo Kyung (Kwon Yuri) heads up the ladder next. Guards spot them and rush over. Ba Woo tries to pull Soo Kyung up while the guards try to pull Soo Kyung down. One tries to stab Ba Woo who grabs the blade with his hand. Soo Kyung stares into his eyes knowing they won’t be able to escape. Soo Kyung releases Ba Woo’s hand. He can’t believe it. The guards pull her down. Ba Woo falls on the other side of the wall next to Court Lady Jo. She sees the blood on his hand. Chun Bae (Ba Woo’s friend) can’t dispatch the guards alone. Lee Dae Yeob (Shin Hyun Soo) arrives and begins to fight the guards. He gets a slash in his side. Just as a guard comes up behind him, Soo Kyung hits the guard over the head. Down he goes. Dae Yeob and Soo Kyung stare at each other. Ba Woo calls to see if everyone is okay. Soo Kyung calls that she’s okay. Chun Bae calls that he’s okay. More guards can be heard approaching. Soo Kyung tells Ba Woo to take care of himself. Chun Bae and Soo Kyung help the wounded Dae Yeob away.
Ba Woo and Court Lady Jo meet with the dowager queen and explain the situation. She admits she can do little to help. Ba Woo is desperate to save his wife. He’s told about a secret passage to the outside but is warned to use it in the morning after the guards make their rounds.
Ba Woo decides to use the secret passage right away. The dowager queen’s daughter catches him and reminds him this passage is their only lifeline to the outside world. He can’t blow it by leaving now. Ba Woo begs her indulgence. His wife saved his life.
Dae Yeob tells Chun Bae and Soo Kyung to return to the western palace before the guards cut off any hope of entry. Soo Kyung won’t leave a wounded Dae Yeob. She tells Chun Bae to return to the western palace.
Dae Yeob calls to his mother, Haeindang Lee, before he enters her rooms. She shocked at his injury. She’s shocked to see Soo Kyung. She orders them to the back room while she gets help.
In the back room, Dae Yeob tells Soo Kyung to return to the western palace before she’s stuck here. Soo Kyung says she doesn’t want to hurt Dae Yeob but he needs to know something. She formally married and became Ba Woo’s wife. Dae Yeob offers his congratulations. He assures her his feelings for her are gone. Helping her is a repayment for all the dreadful things Vice Premiere Lee has done to her. Dae Yeob tells her to leave. Soo Kyung promises to leave once she says goodbye to his aunt. He wishes her safe journey. Soo Kyung leaves the room. Dae Yeob cries.
Dae Yeob maintained his dignity. While I like Soo Kyung’s forthrightness, that was a bit of a sucker punch to the wounded Dae Yeob.
Vice Premiere Lee learns from Lee Won Yeob (Vice Premiere’s eldest son) and his guard commander Tae Chul that Ba Woo and Soo Kyung were not caught. Tae Chul wonders if the king tipped them. Won Yeob is sure it was someone else. Vice Premiere Lee barks it doesn’t matter. They must be found, caught, and killed ASAP. He won’t have his plans ruined.
Haeindang Lee can’t stop the bleeding. Tae Chul enters the room. Haeindang Lee begs him not to tell Vice Premiere Lee. Tae Chul turns to leave. Dae Yeob staggers to his feet and put his sword at Tae Chul’s throat. Haeindang Lee declares Tae Chul has helped him in the past. While Dae Yeob appreciates Tae Chul’s past support, he won’t let Soo Kyung die. Haeindang Lee says the king will save Soo Kyung. Dae Yeob counters that Vice Premiere Lee will overthrow the powerless king. He won’t let the faithful Tae Chul help Vice Premiere Lee kill Soo Kyung. Haeindang Lee reveals that Tae Chul once took a blow from Vice Premiere Lee that was meant for her while she held Dae Yeob. Tae Chul takes Dae Yeob sword and tells him he’ll get the medicine.
Tae Chul is sweet on Haeindang Lee. Tae Chul is the man you want on your side!
Ba Woo waits by the secret tunnel. Court Lady Jo finds him. She tells him Soo Kyung will preserve until he saves her.
Soo Kyung and Haeindang Lee clean the blood off the floor. She reveals she is Dae Yeob’s mother and his father was Prince Imhae, son of the former king. Soo Kyung realizes this is why Haeindang Lee was always so kind to Dae Yeob. Haeindang Lee asks Soo Kyung to let Dae Yeob go. Soo Kyung shares she formally married and became Ba Woo’s wife.
In the morning, Dae Yeob wakes. Haeindang Lee tells him Soo Kyung left for the western palace. Dae Yeob sits up worried that Soo Kyung will be captured. Haeindang Lee counters that Soo Kyung was worried her husband would leave the western palace to search for her and was willing to risk it to stop him.
Ba Woo leaves the western palace through the secret passage. He meets Chun Bae. Dae Yeob finds them. Neither of the know where Soo Kyung is and aren’t happy about it.
Soo Kyung is cornered at the western palace wall. She’s taken away. Ba Woo can only watch helpless.
Ba Woo tells Chun Bae to enter the western palace through the secret passageway. He’ll save Soo Kyung by talking to the king. He tells Dae Yeob he’ll handle this alone.
Won Yeob is beaming when he reports that Soo Kyung has been captured by the palace guards. Vice Premiere Lee barks they have to retrieve her before the king gets involved.
Meanwhile, at the temple, Ba Woo’s sister reports to the monk that her mother is praying for Ba Woo. We see Cha Dol and Ba Woo’s mother pray for Ba Woo’s safety. Cha Dol assures his grandmother his father will find a way. She smiles.
Disguised as a guard from another province, Ba Woo goes to the palace states he has a message for the commander of the royal guards. Jung Yeong appears and lies that he ordered this man to come. The guards allow Ba Woo to enter. Jung Yeong tells Ba Woo to follow him.
Jung Yeong calls Ba Woo an idiot for coming to the palace. Ba Woo declares he must speak to the king in private.
Ba Woo begs King Gwanghae (Soo Kyung’s father) to save his daughter. The king points out he doesn’t have the power to save his daughter. Ba Woo declares he must try and stop it. The king barks he’s not happy with the situation. Ba Woo implores the king to do what he can.
Won Yeob reports Jung Yeong has the princess to Vice Premiere Lee. He’s not happy.
Jung Yeong brings Soo Kyung to the king. Ba Woo is thrilled to see her. She’s thrilled to see him. Jung Yeong clears his throat so the couple tones down the joy on their faces. The king notices. Court Lady Kim notices. Soo Kyung thanks the king for sending Jung Yeong to warn them that Vice Premiere Lee was coming to capture them. The king glares at Jung Yeong. Soo Kyung goes on to thank her father for saving her today. For the cherry on the sundae, Soo Kyung informs her father she married Ba Woo. She apologizes for not getting his approval. The king clinches his fists and ducks his head in anger. Ba Woo states he disobeyed the king and deserves punishment. Soo Kyung counters she deserves punishment. The king agrees they deserve punishment but that will come later. Court Lady Kim notes Vice Premiere Lee must know that Soo Kyung has disappeared and they need to strategize the next step. Soo Kyung suggests a self-coup to retain her father’s power. The king is intrigued. Soo Kyung provides a historical example. She suggests the western faction gather their army and attack Vice Premiere Lee. The king wonders if the western faction can be trusted. Soo Kyung suggests the king lock the western faction’s support by releasing the dowager queen in the west palace, and redistribute the north faction’s power to the western faction. The king declares no one must learn that Soo Kyung is staying in the palace. He tells her to go rest.
LOL, Soo Kyung is going to tell anyone that will listen that she married Ba Woo. She unmasked Jung Yeong as the secret supporter. Of course, she didn’t know that this was a secret, so she attributed the act to her father, never thinking that Jung Yeong would make a move without her father’s knowledge.
Everyone leaves but Ba Woo. The king tells him the only way to save Soo Kyung is to stop Vice Premiere Lee’s coup to replace him. Ba Woo vows to stop Vice Premiere Lee or kill Vice Premiere Lee and himself.
Vice Premiere Lee is desperate to know where Soo Kyung is. Won Yeob suggests the western palace. Vice Premiere Lee scoffs.
Jung Yeong escorts Ba Woo to where Soo Kyung is staying. Ba Woo asks if the king will punish Jung Yeong for his actions. Jung Yeong replies the king already knew. He notes Ba Woo has the bigger problem to solve. He tells him to go to Soo Kyung.
Ba Woo and Soo Kyung hug. They assure each other they are physically okay. Ba Woo asks why she revealed their marriage. Soo Kyung explains by telling her father, it forces him to protect Ba Woo as he is the king’s son-in-law. Ba Woo smiles. They hug.
Court Lady Jo and Chun Bae pace at the wester palace. They run into each other and Chun Bae’s hand finds its way to Court Lady Jo’s bottom. She chastises him.
Court Lady Kim tells the king that Soo Kyung’s plan has merit. He tells her to meet with Kim Ja Jaeom and determine what the western faction thinks.
Kim Ja Jaeom tells Court Lady Kim that Vice Premiere Lee and the northern faction are very active. He assures Court Lady Kim he’s loyal to her. She wants to add another person to the meeting.
Kim Ja Jaeom takes Ba Woo to the meeting of the western faction. Kim Ja Jaeom introduces Ba Woo to their leader Prince Neungyang. Ba Woo wonders if the western faction is planning their own coup. He decides to leave and apologizes for his rudeness.
Outside, Kim Ja Jaeom demands to know why Ba Woo walked away. Ba Woo doesn’t want to get involved. Prince Neungyang rushes outside and begs Ba Woo to help him. Even if Ba Woo won’t back him, he could put in a good word with the dowager queen.
Dae Yeob drinks while he waits for Ba Woo. He demands details when Ba Woo arrives.
Royal Consort Soui (Soo Kyung’s mother) tells her daughter to forgive her father’s failings. Soo Kyung assures her mother she doesn’t resent her father. She can see her mother because of him. Both women smile. Soo Kyung assures her mother Court Lady Jo is taking good care of her. Her mother sees Soo Kyung’s glow when she speaks of Ba Woo. Her mother shares she’s felt favorably about Ba Woo because his actions reveal his caring. She frets Soo Kyung didn’t have a proper wedding. Soo Kyung describes the ceremony she and Ba Woo shared. Her mother is happy Soo Kyung is happy. Soo Kyung believes that one day Ba Woo will greet her mother as her son-in-law. Her mother hopes that day comes.
Ba Woo tells Dae Yeob about the western faction’s coup. Ba Woo implores Dae Yeob to help him stop Vice Premiere Lee’s coup. This is the only way to save Soo Kyung.
Dae Yeob tells his mother he doesn’t want to be king. She believes if Dae Yeob rejects the throne, until an alternative is found, Vice Premiere Lee won’t be able to conduct the coup. Dae Yeob believes she will be taken hostage and he’ll be forced to comply. His mother tells him not to worry about her. She has a backup plan. Unaware that Tae Chul listens outside the room, she explains she has a handkerchief she made Dae Yeob’s father. It reveals who killed him. Dae Yeob takes the handkerchief, opens it and see Vice Premiere Lee’s name in blood. Haeindang Lee explains Dae Yeob’s father was poisoned so he expelled blood and wrote the killer’s name. To make sure, Vice Premiere Lee sent an assassin to kill Dae Yeob’s father. She reveals Tae Chul gave her the handkerchief provide the details. Dae Yeob asks why Vice Premiere Lee killed his father. Haeindang Lee states it was deemed the current king was a better choice so Dae Yeob’s father had to go. Her brother blocked her access and accused him of treason to establish the path to eliminate him. The current king didn’t want to kill his brother, so Vice Premiere Lee sent assassins. Haeindang Lee declares she didn’t want to tell this secret but her brother forced her hand. She folds the handkerchief. She tells him to wait for him. She exits the room.
Dae Yeob follows. Tae Chul blocks her. Haeindang Lee declares she’s kept this proof for this moment. Tae Chul declares Vice Premiere Lee will kill her and Dae Yeob if he knows about the handkerchief. Tae Chul is adamant, continuing to keep silent is the only way they’ll survive. Tae Chul takes the handkerchief from Haeindang Lee and gives it to Dae Yeob with the recommendation to destroy it. Dae Yeob walks away. Haeindang Lee protests and stops her from going after Dae Yeob.
Dae Yeob holds the handkerchief above the fire. He sees his father’s dying words. He burns the handkerchief. He cries. Haeindang Lee can’t believe. Dae Yeob declares he can’t let her die, she’s too important to him. Dae Yeob holds his mother as she sobs.
Vice Premiere Lee can’t be trusted – ever. Not sure I believe Vice Premiere Lee won’t kill them if they keep their mouths shut.
Won Yeob finds his father brooding. He tells Won Yeob to ensure everything is being readied for the coup.
Ba Woo and Dae Yeob follow Vice Premiere Lee’s guards carrying coffins. At a camp, they observe the guards practicing their fight skills. Ba Woo takes out a rifle and fires into the air. Won Yeob and Tae Chul rush out of the tent. Tae Chul and Won Yeob and guards rush to investigate.
Dae Yeob and Ba Woo attack the remaining guards at the camp. They open the coffins and find rifles. They search and find more rifles and gunpowder. Ba Woo finds an underground storage where more gunpowder is stored. Ba Woo declares they have to blow them up. Ba Woo spreads a trail of gunpowder. Dae Yeob tells him he’ll delay the incoming soldiers. They wish each other well. Ba Woo lights the gunpowder and runs. Everything blows.
Ba Woo searches for Dae Yeob. He sees Tae Chul and Won Yeob and guards escorting a bound Dae Yeob.
Won Yeob brings Dae Yeob to his father. Vice Premiere Lee orders Dae Yeob unbound. Vice Premiere Lee asks why he did something that foolish. Dae Yeob remarks he won’t work with the enemy, so kill him. He knows who ordered his father killed. Vice Premiere Lee shrugs those are only rumors. Dae Yeob declares he won’t believe anything out of his mouth. Vice Premiere Lee tells him to rest. Dae Yeob states he won’t cooperate. Vice Premiere Lee promises to provide proof of his innocence. Dae Yeob walks away. Won Yeob points out Dae Yeob can’t be trusted. He suggests they threaten Dae Yeob’s mother. Vice Premiere Lee is sure she’ll kill herself if they use her to blackmail Dae Yeob. Vice Premiere Lee knows a way to force Dae Yeob to cooperate.
Vice Premiere Lee tells the king he knows Soo Kyung is in the palace. He wants to know where. The king asks what happens if he doesn’t tell. Vice Premiere Lee threatens a coup. The king wants to think about it. Vice Premiere Lee gives him 2 hours. The king barks he’ll let him know. Vice Premiere Lee repeats he’ll be back in 2 hours. The king clutches his heart. Court Lady Kim rushes to him and calls for the royal physician.
Yep, IT IS ON!
Court Lady Kim tells Ba Woo and Soo Kyung Vice Premiere Lee went to see the king. For Soo Kyung’s safety, she needs to relocated. However, Ba Woo can’t join her since it is a woman only location.
Soo Kyung follows Court Lady Kim. She asks where they are going. Court Lady Kim says they are almost there. She delivers Soo Kyung to Vice Premiere Lee. Soo Kyung asks if her father knows about this. Court Lady Kim says her father is unaware. Soo Kyung can’t believe Court Lady Kim is working with not against Vice Premiere Lee. Court Lady Kim retorts she’s trying to save king and country. She reminds Vice Premiere Lee he promised he won’t initiate a coup. Vice Premiere Lee tells her not to worry. Court Lady Kim says Soo Kyung knows what to do. She leaves. Soo Kyung stares at Vice Premiere Lee who orders her to leave with him. Soo Kyung says her father won’t for him. Vice Premiere Lee scoffs the king knew this moment would happen. Soo Kyung asks if Court Lady Kim lied. Vice Premiere Lee shares Court Lady Kim makes all the tactical choices for the king so he doesn’t have to. Vice Premiere Lee threatens the king if she resists.
The king rages at Court Lady Kim for handing his daughter to Vice Premiere Lee. Court Lady Kim claims she did it for him. This buys the western faction time. The king screams at her. She tells him to kill her. The king wants to but can’t.
Ba Woo learns from Jung Yeong that Court Lady Kim turned over Soo Kyung. Ba Woo declares they have to rescue Soo Kyung. Jung Yeong says that isn’t possible.
The king wonders what Vice Premiere Lee’s next move will be. Court Lady Kim believes Vice Premiere Lee won’t initiate the coup right away. She asks what to do with Ba Woo. Soo Kyung’s mother storms into the room and chews out the king for selling his daughter to the enemy. Court Lady Kim declares she made the choice for king and country. Soo Kyung’s mother knocks her to the ground. She demands to know if the king would have made the same choice. She can’t believe the king loves his throne more than his daughter. Court Lady Kim says it was the best choice. Soo Kyung’s mother tells her to keep her mouth shut. She demands to know how a father could hand over his daughter to someone that will likely kill her. The king says nothing. Soo Kyung’s mother declares he’s no longer a husband or a father. She vows to never see him again. Ba Woo listens in the hallway with Jung Yeong. Soo Kyung’s mother tells her husband to relish the power that he earned by abandoning his daughter. She declares the king is on his own. She leaves. The king cries. He wants to be left alone.
Ba Woo asks Soo Kyung’s mother if she’s okay. She bemoans all the cruel calamities that have plagued her daughter. Ba Woo vows to save her.
The king sits alone. He remembers his wife’s words. He cries.
Vice Premiere Lee brings Dae Yeob into the room with Soo Kyung. Dae Yeob can’t believe his eyes. He demands to know what this means. Vice Premiere Lee states this is a token of his allegiance to his highness. Now Dae Yeob can take the woman he wants. Soo Kyung tells him to shut up.
Vice Premiere Lee seemingly holds all the cards. Writers Kim Ji Soo and Park Cheol continued the chess game and kept Vice Premiere Lee in the state of check, attacking the enemy king. If check can’t be neutralized, it is checkmate and the game is over. Vice Premiere Lee hasn’t achieved checkmate yet, but he has every advantage. Can Ba Woo save Soo Kyung? Can Dae Yeob save Soo Kyung? Will Vice Premiere Lee be the ultimate victor?
Ba Woo (Jung Il Woo) loses Soo Kyung. His gut must have been screaming not to trust Court Lady Kim. Soo Kyung did, he agreed to go along, and she’s gone. Ba Woo quickly departed from the western faction coup discussions. He wants his wife and family; this political stuff isn’t his priority. But he can’t avoid it when Vice Premiere Lee continues to threaten those he loves.
Soo Kyung (Kwon Yuri) is in Vice Premiere Lee’s clutches. She trusted Court Lady Kim. Bad choice. However, the king would have made the same choice 2 hours later, so Soo Kyung was on her way to Vice Premiere Lee one way or another. My hats off to Soo Kyung’s mother for ripping into the king.
Lee Dae Yeob (Shin Hyun Soo) destroyed the evidence that Vice Premiere Lee killed his father. Dae Yeob finally gave his mother some love explaining he couldn’t put her in danger and therefore burned the handkerchief where his father wrote his murderer’s name, Vice Premiere Lee, in his own blood. That’s quite a keepsake. Dae Yeob and Ba Woo blew up gun & gunpowder, but that didn’t matter. The coup will happen. Vice Premiere Lee will blackmail Dae Yeob with Soo Kyung. Dae Yeob has honor but he’s in between a rock and a hard place.
What’s my wish list for the final episode?
- Soo Kyung lives and spend the rest of her days with Ba Woo and his family. Nobility sucks for these two. It causes all kinds of hassle. If they live as commoners, do they have a better chance at happiness?
- Vice Premiere Lee dies. Historically I don’t think that is accurate, but it’s what I want.
- Dae Yeob lives. I don’t know if that is possible, but it is what I want. He has a sense of honor. He is a friend to Ba Woo even though he pretends it is all for Soo Kyung. Could Ba Woo’s dream of friendship come true in this lifetime?
The seventeenth song of the OST is “Flower” sung by fla4free. Link to lyrics.
The eighteenth song of the OST is “Song of Dawn” sung by Grace Kim. Link to lyrics.
I rank this episode as terrific, 9 on a 10-point scale.