Seo Ri’s saved (thank goodness!) but Jun makes a discovery that just might put their dreams of a life together to an end. Poong Yeon finally lets go of his feelings. The candles are still getting lit. Hong Joo makes a desperate plea and Hyun Seo throws himself into the game, for one last time.
The Episode in 10 Moments:
- Seo Ri is rescued
We pick up from Seo Ri getting set ablaze, with Jun trying to break out of his cell but failing and Sunjo looking regretful. Seo Ri’s frightened and Hong Joo smiles and overhead the sky darkens and the villagers are surprised. Over at Queen Park’s room, the black magic smoke takes effect, lifting her high into the air as it starts to do its thing: attempt to kill her. Sunjo hears the sounds and goes running to Queen Park’s room where he sees her airborne and struggling against the black magic. At that moment, he remembers Queen Shim’s warning that Hong Joo’s plan is to lay a curse on the royal family and he remembers Hong Joo’s words to Seo Ri that all she has to do is transfer her curse to the royal family (wait seriously though dude. You want to tell me that immediately she said those words they didn’t get through to you? What an idiot). He immediately runs to Jun to ask if it’s truly Hong Joo’s plan to kill Seo Ri and transfer the curse to the royal family. Jun says yes and begs him to release him so he can save Seo Ri. Over at Seo Ri’s execution, the fire burns bright although the force of her power burns a bit of the talisman, meaning she’s able to manipulate a bit of the fire. She shifts the wood slightly with her mind, which temporarily worries Hong Joo but she isn’t able to pull it off completely. And then, the talisman starts to break and her hair starts to turn white. At the sight, Zombie Poong Yeon reacts as he starts to hear the lies Hong Joo had planted in his head about Seo Ri not being Yeon Hee and him being the only one who can rescue Yeon Hee. His good self eventually wins out at exactly the same time an exhausted Seo Ri’s hair turns black again and she slumps within her bonds. At that same moment, Jun comes running in and fights with the guards and Poong Yeon joins in the fray. Hong Joo, seeing that her moment is about to slip her by, grabs a sword and heads towards Jun but Poong Yeon slashes at her shoulder and she falls (good for you Poong Yeon). Jun uses the momentum to leap onto the pyre and get Seo Ri out. Poong Yeon follows after them and over at Queen Park’s room, the black magic leaves her.
2. Jun doesn’t want history to repeat itself and Queen Park loses the baby
Over in the mountains (seriously though, unless the location has been moved, there is no reason why you guys should go back there. EVERYBODY knows that location. Come on guys), Jun nurses Seo Ri back to health whilst she wonders why he put himself in so much danger. Jun explains that he’d been worried that history would repeat itself and just like he hadn’t been able to save his mother, he wouldn’t have been able to save Seo Ri. Still in the mountains with them, Yo Gwang’s finally recovered although he’s not up to his usual form and Soon Deuk tells Jun that it had been Hyun Seo who’d attacked him. Jun wonders what it was that Hyun Seo wanted and just as Soon Deuk makes to tell him, Yo Gwang covers her mouth and keeps her from saying anything (of course, sure. Don’t tell Jun about the last page in the grimoire so Hong Joo who will probably hear about it from Hyun Seo will know to kill Jun and Jun would have no idea that he should protect himself). He drags Soon Deuk off before she can say anything and Seo Ri comes out to join Jun and to inform him of her desire to return to the palace because she fears that Queen Park’s baby might be in danger. Jun then leads Seo Ri towards the palace gate, keeping her head covered so the citizens won’t recognize her. They get to the gate and find the eunuch who had been stationed there to lead them to safety in the vague hope that Seo Ri returns. Queen Shim can’t receive her though as she’s ill. As for Queen Park, she’s lost the baby (no.no.no.no) and Sunjo leaves his wife’s room stunned and in grief. Seo Ri and Jun spot him but he doesn’t notice them, and then they return to Seo Ri’s room where they set out to brewing a potion.
3. Sunjo finally (finally) comes around and Poong Yeon’s leaving
They take the brewed potion to Sunjo and Seo Ri tells him to give it to Queen Park as she’s probably the one most distraught about everything that’s happened, and the potion would be sure to help ease her worries. Sunjo wonders if Seo Ri doesn’t despise him and Seo Ri replies that she despises and hates him (you go girl. No need to be all nice and meek on his ass. He sent you out to burn), but she’s only doing it because she feels bad that he lost his child. She didn’t make the elixir for him (good girl). Sunjo sighs and states that as long as the plague remains, the people would continue to blame Seo Ri as the cause of their misfortune. Jun pipes up at that point to state that he thinks the plague is the result of Hong Joo’s black magic and he believes that the plague will be removed the minute Seo Ri breaks the curse. Sunjo wonders if the curse is even breakable and admits that it was because of his own shortcomings that he believed Hong Joo and as a result, he lost his child. He states that it wouldn’t happen again and tells them that he will leave Hong Joo’s punishment up to them and they can ask him for anything they would need to make that happen. Jun replies that knowing that Sunjo has finally realized the truth is help enough (no! Keep that blank cheque Jun. You might need it) and Sunjo drops the news that Poong Yeon has quit his position as the head of the Imperial Taoist branch and is planning on leaving. He tells Seo Ri to head over and say goodbye but by the time she gets there, the doors are locked. She calls out to Poong Yeon telling him that it’s not his fault and she’s all right. She states that he can even come and see for himself. But Poong Yeon who’s inside doesn’t answer and Seo Ri has to leave. Poong Yeon silently apologizes as he tells Seo Ri that he can’t ever see her again
4. Queen Shim finally figures out what’s important and Hong Joo gets the last page
Seo Ri catches a glimpse of Queen Shim outside the Taoist temple and pays her a visit. She tells Queen Shim that she can never understand her, but she will try to understand why Queen Shim went to such great lengths to have a child. She expresses her wish that Queen Shim stay healthy and makes to leave but Queen Shim stops her to tell her that she must be sure to break the curse so she can live the life she wants to live (finally moving beyond the do it for the royal family are we? Progress. Sweet, progress). She tells Seo Ri that that’s all she wants and Seo Ri calls her mother as she agrees to do so (awwww). Over at her lair, Hong Joo’s recovering from her wounds and telling Hyun Seo that she’s sure Hyun Seo would have told her to stop because everything’s now over. But Hong Joo refuses to give up because she was almost there. She asks for the last page of the Grimoire of curses, figuring that there must be something there that she can use. And although black magic controlled Hyun Seo hesitates, he pulls out the page and then collapses. Hong Joo retrieves the page from his hand and reads it (drats!!!!!).
5. Poong Yeon sees into his own heart and lights a candle
Up in the mountains, Jun brews a potion and then goes to meet Poong Yeon who confirms that he really is leaving as he’s worried that he might put Seo Ri in danger again. Jun tells him that Seo Ri is aware that Poong Yeon couldn’t do anything about it, but Poong Yeon states that he was the one who wasn’t able to control his emotions, and to make it worse, he’s terrified of the part of himself that keeps trying to hurt her. Jun then gives him a potion, stating that it’s an elixir that would allow Poong Yeon to catch a glimpse into his own heart. Whilst alone, Poong Yeon finally drinks the potion and the elixir mark behind his ear flares. Immediately he’s hit with multiple images of himself promising to protect Yeon Hee. He even flashes back to his childhood self when Hyun Seo had reminded him that he must protect Yeon Hee and Poong Yeon had replied that he will never leave her side no matter what (awwwww) and will protect her for the rest of his life. The elixir mark flares again and then Hyun Seo appears in front of Poong Yeon and asks him if his asking him to protect Yeon Hee had been to much for Poong Yeon to bear. Poong Yeon reminds him that Hyun Seo had been the one who asked him to protect Yeon Hee when she was a baby and that’s why he had to become someone who protects her forever. Hyun Seo corrects him that he never told him to protect Yeon Hee for the rest of his life, so why does Poong Yeon think that way. Poong Yeon replies that because she was someone he had to protect, he thought he had to take responsibility for her. Hyun Seo then asks if Poong Yeon had confused his sense of responsibility for love. Poong Yeon denies it, stating that he wanted to protect Yeon Hee because he loved her. Hyun Seo points out that he’d failed in the protection department and Poong Yeon replies that it wasn’t because his feelings were lacking. Hyun Seo then tells him that it was because Poong Yeon went down the wrong path, obsessing over Yeon Hee because of his need to protect her rather than his feelings of love. He then asks Poong Yeon if he can now let Yeon Hee go and Poong Yeon cries. He heads up to the mountains to see Seo Ri and she expresses her fear that she’d thought he would have said that he can’t bear to see her again. Poong Yeon apologizes, for bringing her pain when he’d told her that he would protect her. He continues that he’d thought he always had to be by her side to protect her and had thought he must be by her side no matter what. He thought that that was what would be best for her and that their fates were thus intertwined. And because of his misguided sense of responsibility, he’s put her in even more danger. But now, all he hopes for her, is that she be happy (awwww). Seo Ri silently tells him that what she now hopes for him is that he live for himself and not for her. They hold hands and smile at each other and immediately, a candle is lit (awwww). Over at Hong Joo’s lair, she’s hit with the pain. She finally crawls to Hyun Seo and tells him that he’s used up the last bit of black magic in him and now he can neither live as her instrument or as a human being. She asks him why he’d told the others about her blade of black magic and Hyun Seo replies that it was the only way to get them to defeat her. Hong Joo replies that Hyun Seo is no longer of any use to her and her henchgirls come and carry him out.
6. Poong Yeon’s rid of black magic and Hyun Seo’s back in the game
Hong Joo’s henchgirls send their darts flying at Poong Yeon and he chases after them. They lead him to Hyun Seo and then disappear and Hong Joo watches sadly as Poong Yeon runs off with his father on his back. Poong Yeon takes Hyun Seo to the Taoist temple. Yo Gwang comes running in, calling for Hyun Seo but Hyun Seo’s not responsive. Poong Yeon then asks Yo Gwang what happened to Hyun Seo and Yo Gwang explains that it was only black magic that had been keeping Hyun Seo alive and now, the black magic’s run out, which has put Hyun Seo in danger. Poong Yeon then asks if Hyun Seo will be able to survive if they get black magic (wait what?! Seriously Poong Yeon? Haven’t you learned anything?) but Yo Gwang replies that even black magic wouldn’t be of any help anymore as it would just mean that Hyun Seo will suffer more pain and then die. The words have Poong Yeon holding onto Hyun Seo’s hands whilst Yo Gwang leaves them alone. Poong Yeon then asks Hyun Seo if this is the reward his god’s given him after his lifetime of servitude. He asks if this is the end game to Hyun Seo abandoning him and his mother and asks the unconscious Hyun Seo exactly what Poong Yeon was to him that he couldn’t trust Poong Yeon or come to him for help. He tearfully asks Hyun Seo why he had to handle everything on his own and then breaks down in tears. Suddenly, the black magic starts to act up and Poong Yeon begins to groan. Hyun Seo’s hands immediately move to cover Poong Yeon’s chest and extract the black magic out of it, thus leaving Poong Yeon black magic free whilst Hyun Seo uses the last of the black magic to power himself. He also collects back the holy fire blessing he’d passed on to Poong Yeon, causing the slashes on Hyun Seo’s palms to glow and then coughs out blood as he apologizes to Poong Yeon and tells him that that’s all he can do for him. Poong Yeon cries as he asks Hyun Seo what Hyun Seo expects him to do after Hyun Seo’s gone and Hyun Seo can only repeat that he’s sorry as he leaves.
7. Hyun Seo comes for the last page of the Grimoire
Hyun Seo heads out to Hong Joo’s lair where’s she surprised to realized that he’d taken the black magic that had been plaguing Poong Yeon. He indicates to the last page of the Grimoire as he asks if she really thinks she can use that to stop him. Hong Joo though knows that Jun would willingly sacrifice himself for Seo Ri and would light the last candle for her and she wonders if Hyun Seo has come because he thinks she will do something to Jun. She makes to leave but Hyun Seo grabs hold of her hand and they struggle until Hong Joo kneels and begs him to help her one more time. She entreats him as she cries, stating that he’s been the one she’s put her trust in since she was eighteen years old and now she’s not using black magic against him but just begging him to let her once more do as she wants. Hyun Seo replies that even if he spares her life several times over, he can’t just allow her to do as she wants. With that, he grabs the page and walks away, leaving a crying Hong Joo behind.
8. Dreaming of a future after the curse and Ok’s still a coward
Seo Ri and Jun watch the night sky and although she gets just a bit dizzy at the sight of a shooting star, she continues by pointing out they have two more days to go. Jun draws her closer to him and promises her that they will spend many more days together after they’re able to break the curse. Seo Ri asks him if they will have thirty years together and Jun smiles as he asks why her proposal was so gruff (cute). Seo Ri grumbles that it wasn’t a proposal and Jun asks who else he would live with (awwww. *sniff*. You guys have to survive okay? You have to make it. I don’t think my heart will be able to handle it otherwise). Seo Ri asks if he wants to live with her then and Jun again asks who else he would live with, and shudders at the thought of living with Yo Gwang (hahaha. We still remember your cuddling session from episode 17 though. Hahahaha). He tells her that everything will be fine, they’ll light all the candles and live perfectly normal lives like just like she wants. He tells her that he believes in her just like she believes in him and they go back to watching the sky. Meanwhile, on the other side of town, Ok goes to meet the same smuggler that Jun had met when he’d been trying to sneak out of the country with his mother. The smuggler gives Ok the usual spiel of he only sells tickets to people once because people either make it to China, become food for the fishes when the boat sinks or get arrested. Most of the time time though, they get arrested and soldiers can be very cruel people. Unlike Jun who had forged ahead after hearing the horrifying words, Ok immediately changes his mind, stating that he hadn’t known all that (hahaha. Coward. Absolute coward). He goes to his friend to ask what his options are and his friend tells him that he can either run away or turn himself in. Ok grumbles, wondering what he’s done wrong then wails as he asks once again what he should do.
9. Jun learns what’s in the last page
Jun goes to meet Soon Deuk to ask her what it was that Hyun Seo had wanted. She hesitates and he offers her money to spill the beans. But Soon Deuk has loyalty and refuses the money and Jun tells her that he thinks it might be very important (It is! IT IS!) because Yo Gwang had almost gotten killed as a result of it. The words do the trick and Soon Deuk confesses that Hyun Seo had asked for the last page in the Grimoire of curses. On his way back, he’s stopped by Hyun Seo who hands him the page and tells him that they won’t be able to light the final candle no matter how many wishes have been granted (Wait, is there now only one candle? Last time I thought they were five left, and then when we removed Poong Yeon’s lit candle, four. When did the other three get lit?). Jun is understandably suspicious about whether or not it’s actually Hyun Seo he’s talking to or controlled Hyun Seo. Hyun Seo explains that the the last candle can only be lit by a sacrifice of true love which mean Jun would have to make a sacrifice for Seo Ri (wait, why can’t you make the sacrifice? Or Queen Shim? Don’t you guys love her? Or must it be a romantic sacrifice? I want my two babies to be together. No one person dying and the other person being left behind bullshit) as that’s the only way her curse can be broken. Jun asks if by sacrifice Hyun Seo means he would have to die for Seo Ri and Hyun Seo nods. He promises to stand by Jun no matter his decision and apologizes for all the trouble he’s caused Jun and Seo Ri, especially now that he must bring such a big burden their way. He walks away and Jun calls out to him not be so guilt ridden as he’s Seo Ri’s only father-figure.
10. Jun has found the reason why he was born
Jun heads back to the mountains where Seo Ri’s waiting for him. He lies about where’s he been, saying that he’d been looking around trying to find someone who would help them light a candle. Seo Ri tells him that she will not be impatient or worried because she believes what he said, that everything will be alright. She smiles and he smiles back at her. But when she heads in to sleep, he walks back to their remaining candles (three unlit candles left. Shouldn’t they be four?) and remembers Hyun Seo’s words about him sacrificing himself to break the curse. He brings out the Grimoire page and then sets it ablaze. The next morning, he comes to see the sleeping Seo Ri and internally tells her that he’s finally found the reason why he was born. He tells her that she’s given him a reason to live and she’s helped him live every day with her to the fullest. He places a gentle kiss on her forehead and vows to use the remaining days he has left for her (no. I’m not crying. Something just got in my eye is all). He walks away from her and stops at the entrance to temple as he states that if what he’s about to do is for her sake, he hopes she never finds out about it.
Character I wanted to bitchslap:
No one in this episode.
Headache inducing moment:
Because if I had a penny for every time Yo Gwang decides that it’s a good idea to keep vital information that would cause danger in the future, away from the team, I would be very rich. Argh!
This episode’s an East Indian Negroni. Beautifully complex and back to being the Mirror of the Witch that we know and love. Our characters are all where they’re meant to be and seeing Jun with Seo Ri has my heart aching in so many ways. Their love is so pure and beautiful to see but realizing that time is ticking for Seo Ri and Jun believes he has to die in order to save her and break her curse is the very definition of bittersweet, a perfect balance that catches me in the heart and has me keeping my fingers and toes crossed that they have a happy ending. Where’s an ever-after potion when you need one?