When desperation makes you obsessed, you’ll lose a lot of things. Queen Shim doesn’t take her own advice, nor as she learnt a thing. Hong Joo’s having a laugh at pulling the strings. Jun’s mark comes as a saving grace and an added responsibility and Hyeon Seo acts in ways we do not understand.
Top 10 Moments:
- Yeon Hee continues to maintain the charade
After Jun wakes up and calls her Persimmons, with an offer to help her out of any bind that would have her hiding her identity, Yeon Hee cuts through the offer for help quick, by reminding Jun that he’s in no position to help anyone. The words remind him of his precarious position (he’s still on the run after all) and he pulls back, admitting that he’d confused her with someone else. Yeon Hee runs to the sanctity of her room, Hong Joo’s warning about death of those she loves and all who love her, ringing in her ears. Yo Gwang who had noticed the exchange between Jun and Yeon Hee informs her about believing that Jun is done with the restoration and tells of his plans to release him the next day. Yeon Hee looks sad, but she passes on the oblivion elixir to Yo Gwang.
2. Jun drinks the oblivion elixir
The next morning, as promised, Jun hands Yeon Hee the transcribed Grimoire and heads out. Yeon Hee’s sad to see him go but doesn’t stop him, even though she turns around to get one last glimpse of him. After walking for miles, Yo Gwang has them stop and pours the oblivion elixir into another bottle. He hands the new bottle to Jun, claiming that it’s water, and has a mini tussle with Jun over who should drink from the bottle first. Finally, Jun agrees to drink, but a whiff of it tells him exactly what it is. He asks Yo Gwang if that’s truly what Yeon Hee wants, leaving Yo Gwang stunned that he’d known the truth all along. Jun says his thanks, and whilst thinking about Yeon Hee’s kite (which he clearly saw in the temple on top the mountain) he drinks the elixir.
3. Sunjo summons Hong Joo back to the palace
Back in the palace, Sunjo remembers Hong Joo’s promise to help him get rid of all the thorns suffocating him (I’m guessing she means that literarily and figuratively) on the condition that he summon her back to the palace. Whilst Queen Shim is still dealing with the fact that the servant girl she’d had tail the king is now missing (Hong Joo killed her when she caught her snooping around), Sunjo calls together the council to inform them that not only is he rebuilding Sungsuchung (the shamaness temple), but he’s also summoned Hong Joo to become the head of said temple.
4. Jun receives a not so pleasant welcome back home and pays Ok a visit
After getting back to town, Jun dons a hat to keep his face hidden from view and firstly discovers the hanging limps and severed body that was placed in the center of the village, bearing a poster of his face and decrying him as the Red Gentleman Robe and secondly, he finds out that the villages had placed placards cursing him, all over his mother’s grave. He heads straight to a gambling room where he gives Soon Deuk all his winnings as a down payment for a job he wants her to do. Cue to a very drunk Ok entering a palanquin. The palanquin changes hands and soon Ok’s screaming for his mother as the palanquin which had been left at the edge of a cliff teeters, but he’s saved seconds before it goes crashing down. His rescuer reveals himself to be Jun who tells him that he would capture the true Red Gentleman’s robe and clear his name. Until he does so however, he promises to keep his eye on Ok.
5. Queen Shim makes a supplication then lets it all go
Having heard the announcement about Hong Joo’s return, Queen Shim spends all night, outside Sunjo’s quarters pleading with him not to make a decision that would spell doom for the royal family. Although everyone pleads with her to go back to her chambers so as not to fall ill, she refuses to leave until Sunjo changes his mind. In Sunjo’s quarters, Hong Joo opens the jar with the Crown Prince’s spirit and transfers the Crown Prince’s spirit into Sunjo’s body. Queen Shim’s tirade against Hong Joo’s halted when Sunjo walks out of his quarters. Except, when the Queen bows, it’s not Sunjo that talks to her but her son. At first she doesn’t believe him, but soon, she’s seeing the Crown Prince’s face superimposed on Sunjo and they’re both crying over each other’s shoulder whilst Hong Joo smiles. Amidst the reconciliation, Sunjo’s soul returns to his body, calls Queen Shim “Queen Dowager” and then faints. Upon hearing Hong Joo’s promise to return to her the Crown Prince, Queen Shim lets go of her opposition to Hong Joo’s return and instead asks Sunjo to rebuild the shamaness temple.
6. Hong Joo plans to hijack the king’s body
After her meeting with the king, Queen Shim runs into Hong Joo and asks her if Hong Joo can really help her see her son again as long as the temple gets rebuilt. Hong Joo comes clean to her that the soul is secured, but for Queen Shim to see the Crown Prince again, the Crown Prince would need a body: King Sunjo’s body. She lures Queen Shim in with the suggestion that the throne belonged to the Crown Prince anyway, and if he hadn’t died, Sunjo wouldn’t be king (I wonder why Queen Shim has forgotten exactly who killed the Crown Prince and prevented him from sitting on the throne). Flashback takes us to when King Myungjong was at the throes of death and the ministers had been begging for him to abdicate the throne and choose a successor. Hong Joo had taken control of the king’s body to select Sunjo for the honor of being the next king, all according to her, so she can make the way right for the Crown Prince to return.
7. Hyeon Seo makes his appearance
Upon leaving Hong Joo’s lair, Hyeon Seo returns home, but is careful to avoid being seen by his wife and their servants. Back in his room, he takes a moment to stare at his Monk uniform, but then heads to a corner where he’d hidden the very last page of the grimoire (seriously Hyeon Seo? You didn’t give Yeon Hee all the information she needed? What if you’d died!).
8. Poong Yeon continues to investigate and Jun gets caught
Knowing fully well that Sunjo is treading on thin ice with the whole lying to the country about the Red Gentleman’s Robe having been captured, Poong Yeon continues with his investigation which leads to him meeting the other gisaeng’s Man Weol had worked with. And although they expressed their disbelief towards Jun being responsible for her death, one of them does remember to inform Poong Yeon about Man Weol visiting the 100 year old tree and then turning beautiful overnight, only to die the very next day. In the meanwhile, Jun, who has been troubled by the unjust death of Man Weol also begins to investigate, starting from the shed where the murder occurred and heading to her rooms next. He’s at her room when he overhears Poong Yeon and Sol Gae talking about the strange incident of those who got their wishes granted at the 100 year old tree, meeting their deaths not quite long after. Jun barely has enough time to don female garb before Poong Yeon bursts into the room and then walks back out when he notices a ‘lady’ inside. Except, the lady is wearing men’s shoes. Poong Yeon catches that very important detail and acts quick enough to nab Jun before he can escape.
9. The boundary breaks down again and Jun might be the key
Whilst Jun is in prison because Poong Yeon is convinced that he maybe knows something about the Red Gentleman’s Robe (Seriously Poong Yeon? I thought you were more intelligent than this!), the talisman around the mountain catch fire on their own again (this time with Yeon Hee still within the boundary) and Yo Gwang tries to keep Yeon Hee from seeing them burn. Trying to figure out exactly what is happening, Yo Gwang heads to the Taoist library where he discovers the symbol he’d seen on Jun’s chest inscribed into the floors. Identifying it as Ok Choo Kyung, the boundary in itself, he realizes that Jun is a walking living boundary, then starts to lament about him being stupid enough to have given Jun the oblivion elixir. He locates Jun in prison and tries to get him to remember who he is, except we see later see that Yeon Hee didn’t actually give him the oblivion elixir. She’d given him a placebo instead. Jun knows exactly who Yo Gwang is.
10. The curse takes effect and Jun saves the day
Hyeon Seo after leaving his house heads straight to the temple where Yeon Hee’s at. Whether under his own influence or the influence of Hong Joo, he deactivates the talisman placed at the base of the mountain and all the other talismans in the temple blaze up. With the talisman gone, Hong Joo is able to sense Yeon Hee’s energy and sends her henchgirls to go investigate, whilst the curse on Yeon Hee and Poong Yeon comes right back, with Poong Yeon going unconscious and Yeon Hee being tormented by the curse which turns her hair white and tries to strangle her. Just as she loses consciousness and drops to the ground, Jun catches her mid drop and everything stabilizes as the curse deactivates and Yeon Hee’s hair turns black again.
Character I wanted to bitch slap:
The former Queen Dowager started this whole mess and now Queen Shim would complete it. Just because Hong Joo promised her son back, she forgot all the damage creating that son caused in the first place. 22 years later and this woman still hasn’t learnt her lesson. For shame.
Headache inducing moment
Because this was the moment when Queen Shim would have stopped the further advent of disaster by coming clean to Sunjo about exactly who and what Hong Joo is. But she didn’t and we all know that there would be even more destruction in its wake.
This episode’s a Ramos Gin Fizz. It’s layered and complex, sweet and tart and takes you on a wild ride that has you shouting “More! More!”