In another jam-packed episode, Boong-do again flirts with death (well, he’s been doing that for almost every episode now) and comes very very close to doing just that.
Hee-jin returns home, cutting a desolate figure as she takes in the neatly folded clothes, handphone and wallet. But her fears swell at the sight of his blood-soaked bandages.
Tongues start wagging the moment Boong-do rides through the crowded streets, everyone still astonished by his recent vanishing act.
Back home, the servants fret while Boong-do asks for water to wash up. Yoon-wol rushes over but gets even more worried when she sees the bloodied water.
In her anxiety, she enters Boong-do’s room even before he acknowledges her. Boong-do notes it’s rather out of character of her. But all she cares about is his wound, berating him for not seeking medical care. Boong-do assures her that he’s fine – that other world is beyond anything she’s ever imagined. Chastened, she asks for his plans now.
Boong-do admits that he regrets not taking her advice. His deliberate use of the amulet has created this calamity so he intends to right things again. But again Yoon-wol surprises him by telling him to leave.
And we soon learn why. The guards have swarmed his residence having received news of his return.
Yoon-wol would rather he leaves now, since it has been his intention all along. Why stay now? Even if he proves his innocence, is that really important? Boong-do calmly tells her he will leave when the time is right but not before. Yoon-wol implores him to read the current situation – the strange atmosphere in town, rumors about the King bestowing a poison drink to the Queen, for sure he would not be spared. The people are angry and there’s no way out of this mess – so he should just leave!
Boong-do reminds her how angry she was the last time he wanted to leave. Yoon-wol finally confessed it was her jealousy speaking. On the surface, she claims she only wanted him safe but in truth, she just wants him to stay by her side.
A servant announces that the guards have surrounded the place. Boong-do tells him to let them in or else everyone will be arrested. As he rises to meet his fate, Yoon-wol grab holds of his arms in fear. He gently disengages his arm, gives her a little reassuring smile and leaves.
Minister Nam, head of the Soron faction explains that the situation is very unfavorable to the Queen and suggests that they pin the blame on Boong-do – he was the one making indecent advances and she’d protected her honor to the death. But the Queen refuses to consider it – she is not going to repay Boong-do’s kindness by making him the fall guy. If the King distrusts her, she will accept whatever punishment coming her way. Just then, the maid announces that Boong-do has been summoned before the King.
Boong-do apologizes for his late show-up. He was comatose after being shot by arrows and had only just regained consciousness. Unconvinced, the King asks where he’s been. Boong-do explains that he only remembers the moment he was shot. When he opened his eyes again, he found he was kidnapped by unknown people. He risked his life trying to escape and have just only managed to make his way back home. But on his arrival in town, he heard rumors suggesting he vanished with black magic and engaged in suspicious conduct. He swears his innocence, claiming he’s framed by the kidnappers.
Boong-do surrenders his amulet, explaining that it’s just an amulet written for his protection. Claims of its supernatural powers are just superstition of the womenfolk. He thinks that the people who actually believed in the unspeakable allegations are the ones with harbors rebellious thought towards the Royal Family.
The King continues to raise questions over his appearance at the Queen’s residence during her banishment, him missing during his exile in Jeju, him not in his hometown where he claims to be. His fury is great as he demands for a credible explanation. Boong-do insists it’s the work of the rebels but his explanation rings hollow in the face of all the damning circumstantial evidence.
The King is incredulous with his insistence that the behind-bars Min-am is masterminding the entire so-called plot to frame him. King is no more trusting of Boong-do than he is of Min-am. The court officials shift uncomfortably, silent on the matter. Blind with rage, King finally orders that Min-am is brought before him immediately.
In prison, Min-am receives news of his sure-to-happen impending pardon. Even though he is pleased that his plans are working according to plan, he remains uneasy until everything is settled. His henchman is less wary, believing their plans to be fool-proof.
Just then, the guards are here with orders to bring him before the King, where he is to be interrogated with Boong-do. Min-am is surprised by this turn of events. Even more so when he learns that Boong-do has surrendered himself.
On the interrogation field, Min-am looks over warily to a calm Boong-do who is also tied to the prisoner’s chair. The King outlines Boong-do’s accusation towards Min-am, which he denies vehemently. King also agrees that Boong-do’s kidnapping story is improbable. Boong-do points out that the alternative possibility of black magic is even less credible but the King refused to listen and demands that he proves himself through death.
It’s a case of once bitten twice shy. King is still furious that he has been manipulated since the Gisa hwanguk five years ago, as certain officials within the cabinet attempt to control the court’s proceedings. So this time he will not take sides. He used to admire Boong-do but this time he has no intention of forgiving him. Even if he is proven innocent, but because of the uproar he’s caused, which resulted in the tainting of the Royal Family’s name – he’s to be held responsible no matter what happens.
The King orders that Boong-do be shot with arrows to prove his case. The ministers and officials advise caution but the King refuses to entertain their so-called opinions. He gives his word that if Boong-do still dies wearing the amulet, he would immediately sentence the guilty Min-am to death. But if he does vanish, even if he does retain his life but that would mean the rumors are true, so he shall never again set foot in Joseon and all the people related to this matter would be punished accordingly.
The guard slips the amulet into his clothing and a serene-looking Boong-do glances over at Min-am.
BD: This feels intriguing. I didn’t expect this to happen. Even though it’s not the best possible scenario I’d envisioned, it’s not exactly the worst either. If this doesn’t happen, our fight will never end. (Oh yyeah!)
Min-am’s face crumples as he realizes what he means – Boong-do never surrendered the REAL amulet. And the flashback shows us exactly that, Boong-do made a duplicate.
BD: Let’s die together. It shouldn’t be that bad if we have company in the underworld. (No!!!!)
All eyes are on Boong-do as the drawn arrows are released….
In the present day, Hee-jin is in a car with Jo driving (glad she’s not driving this time T.T). She feels an uneasy sense of foreboding and shifts uncomfortably in her seat as Jo gripes about Dong-min cancelling a photoshoot.
Meanwhile, Boong-do is shot three times in the chest. (OMG that would make it 5 arrow wounds in a month!) His wounds bleed (ok the blood looks real fake) and he faints dead away much to the astonishment of the King and Min-am.
Boong-do’s “death” spells doom for Min-am and the King is beyond furious to find himself once again duped by Min-am. He orders that Boong-do is treated immediately by the royal physician and the guards scramble to free Boong-do from his shackles.
Hee-jin is overwhelmed by the uneasy feelings and asks Jo to stop the car. She asks that Jo search the annals and read it out to her. She’s too afraid to read it herself. Jo reads the entry on the 5th of June which describes the events as we know it, only it ends with Kim Boong-do dying after three shots to the chest.
After receiving news of Boong-do’s death, the King grabs a sword and levels it to Min-am.
K: Because of your evil schemes, I sentence my friend to death and doubt the Queen’s loyalty to me. Do you think that I will let you off?!
The King eventually sentences Min-am to extreme execution and all other related people are arrested for interrogation. By this point of the narration, Hee-jin is literally shaking. Jo receives a call informing her of the change in filming schedule again. She sets off immediately, fretting over the unusually quiet Hee-jin. Hee-jin faints and the alarmed Jo is so distracted she narrowly misses driving into the rear end of another car but swerves onto the curb hitting a tree. OMG another accident!??
Both Hee-jin and Jo are rushed to the hospital but they appear to be relatively unharmed. The doctor asks about her injury but Hee-jin remains quiet. When the nurse removes Hee-jin’s hand which is shielding her eyes, everyone is surprised to find Hee-jin already in tears. She continues to wail and sob in earnest as the confused doctors and anxious Jo looks on. (Arg…just kill me already. T.T)
In Joseon, another heart is also hurting. Yoon-wol grieves quietly at the funeral wake as the visitors whisper that the family will fade into oblivion now that their only heir is dead. In the palace, the Queen also mourns the death of the loyal Boong-do.
Chun-soo relays the news of Hee-jin and Jo’s accident to Dong-min. Chun-soo is feeling a little sorry especially since the accident occurred right after his phonecall informing them about the cancelling of the photoshoot. Dong-min is less contrite though that could be his pride talking. Chun-soo declares he will visit them with or without Dong-min.
Dong-min does tag along though he pretty much pretends he doesn’t care. As Chun-soo attend to the wheelchair-bound Jo, he slips away to find Hee-jin.
He takes a peek, surprised to find her crying. Hee-jin glances at him but ignores his concern, too worn out to deal with him. Jo and Chun-soo enter the room just then. Jo tells him Hee-jin is sleeping but she’s unharmed. But something seems to have changed; Dong-min appears to be genuinely worried looking at her pitiful expression. Dare I hope he’s finally going to redeem himself?
In the car, Dong-min couldn’t help thinking about Hee-jin crying pitifully to herself. It finally occurred to him that his actions might have been too much. Well, better late than never I say!
The next day, Jo overhears the nurse describing a severely injured man escaping from the hospital. The curious thing is the man looks exactly like the man Jo was guardian to. Even his wounds are the same. From arrows.
Jo relays what she heard to Hee-jin. Jo thinks it strange that there are so many arrow wounds recently. The man had vanished without a trace after being saved from near death. Hee-jin is on alert mode. Thinking back to Boong-do’s parting words, her relief is apparent as she considers the possibility that he might have made it after all.
One month later. Min-am and his cohorts are sentenced to death. At the last moment before the sword falls (and the fellow takes an awfully long time, just strike already!), Min-am is stunned to see Boong-do among the crowd.
Flash to one month earlier (before Boong-do is shot at the interrogation field), the King receives another anonymous letter and proceeds to the library where Boong-do awaits him! Boong-do admits the amulet’s power is real and that he did leave Jeju for the Queen’s residence that night. But it was only to carry out the King’s order. He also admits to have written the anonymous letter detailing Min-am’s conspiracy. He does not expect to be forgiven for keeping the King in the loop, but he does not regret what he’s done because he knows that it’s what the King wishes – the Queen’s safety and Min-am’s fall from grace.
He’s only returned because he could not bear to see the King suspect the Queen of infidelity just because of some rumors; and the court’s hard-earned stability again falls into disarray.
The King confesses that what happened that night was indeed what he wished for and so he is reluctant to hand over the power back to them (Min-am and gang). Still, King would not forgive him, for lying, for using spells – how does he expect the King to believe him? Boong-do understands it’s useless to debate the matter any further and asks that the King kill him.
BD: Because I’d cheated death and attempted to prolong life, things have progressed as such. Only by dying according to the order of fate will everything be returned to its rightful place once more. Please kill me. In this situation, there is no way to placate the people. Only my death will prove that the amulet is a farce. That is the best way.
The King asks if he’s sincere, and he assures the King that he is. However, Boong-do wants the King to sentence Min-am to death after his death. Because Min-am knows of the amulet’s existence and so as long as he lives, he will continue to create problems with it.
In the next scene, the King leaves the library and returns to his entourage. But we learn what happened next. King is incredulous that Boong-do expects him to kill him with his own hand. He suspects Boong-do is up to something, not understanding why Boong-do would gamble his life in this way.
BD: The reason I ask your highness to kill me is actually because I want to live. I will live. I want to live so very much. Therefore, I beg that you allow me to die with honor. That way, I shall never appear on this soil again.
In the next scene, Han-dong meets up with Boong-do in secret. Boong-do instructs a confused Han-dong to remember the exact location of a certain place. If he is shot by arrows the next day, Han-dong is to bring his corpse to this exact place immediately. He might die, but there is a slight chance he might make it.
Cut to the scene after Boong-do is shot, where we now see how the King’s lips curl ever so slightly. Boong-do is severely wounded but the physician declares he’s beyond help. The King’s eunuch instructs him to announce that Boong-do is dead.
The next flashback shows us the place which Boong-do has marked with his sword. Which is where the ambulance would be in the present day. Hah. I’ve already guessed as much.
Han-dong brings Boong-do to the place as instructed and stuffs the amulet behind Boong-do’s bandage. Because Boong-do is already in danger of dying, he warps immediately to the present where he was promptly attended to.
Coincidentally, that was when Hee-jin and Jo arrive in another ambulance. Phew, talk about a busy day. They are wheeled one after another into the emergency ward, neither aware of each other’s presence.
Boong-do is operated upon, and even resuscitated mid-surgery.
Which brings us back to Min-am’s execution. (Gosh. That was one long series of overlapping flashbacks). The sword finally falls and Min-am is dead. For real.
Boong-do visits his own grave where he is eventually joined by Han-dong who hands over a letter which is his will. Han-dong informs him that the servants have decided to stay in Han-yang and they are allocated to two households, one of which is his uncle. Yoon-wol has returned to Seryunggak, back as a Gisaeng.
Han-dong has already told Yoon-wol that Boong-do is alive but that she’ll never see him again. And this is what she has to say: “It’s good enough that he’s alive.”
Everything now settled, Boong-do dismisses Han-dong. But Han-dong is tearful to be thus forever separated. Boong-do is now a dead man here; he can no longer exist in this world.
He rides away purposefully but glances back once out of sight with tears in his eyes. But almost immediately, he rides away again in full speed to the edge of a lake.
In Seryunggak, Yoon-wol sheds tears for him.
Boong-do bids farewell to his horse which gallops right back to Han-dong. Han-dong rides to the lake but only finds Boong-do’s hat and sword.
Hee-jin is startled to find the erect figure of Boong-do in a white shirt and black slacks standing in her balcony. She composes herself and approaches him slowly.
HJ: If I continue dating you, I’d probably die young.
Boong-do finally faces her and Hee-jin is surprised to see him crying.
BD: Even though it’s a little late…I’m back.
HJ: Are you crying? Why?
BD: No idea. I’m not sure myself. Without a place to return to, I really feel like an orphan now.
HJ: After worrying over you for so long, I really feel aggrieved. I’d intended to give you a slap when I see you again. Seeing you in tears, I can’t bring myself to say anything. You really are a player, it’s innate. What are you feeling lonely about? You have me. Me! I’m right here. The prettiest girl on earth.
Boong-do hugs her close.
HJ: Is everything over now?
BD: It’s over.
BD: It should be. [... ] There’re still so many words I don’t understand…many more that I’ve only heard for the first time, but one thing remains the same…
HJ: What is it?
BD: I love you. (EEEEEEEEEEEEEEeeeeeee!!!!!)
I’m so happppppppppppppppppppy. After spending the entire episode with my heart in my throat worrying and fretting over Boong-do and his risky plan, I’m just so relieved he made it out in one piece. I swear the guy has a death wish or something. If he’s so smart, can’t he like come out with something a little less risky and spare Hee-jin (and us!) all that drama. Hihi. Kidding.
I’ve never mentioned it before ‘cause I’m usually not one to harp on the technical aspect much, but I’m loving the editing a lot. Details are revealed little by little with a generous help of flashbacks upon flashbacks. It ought to be confusing and all, but it’s not. The clever use of flashbacks only enhances the flow of the story and adds to the general sense of anticipation.
I think YIN is doing a pretty good job here. So far all her scenes feel very real and natural and her crying over Boong-do really got me in the heart. No wonder there are rumors of the two dating. The ending montage on the extension of their date is just so sweet.
Now that the Joseon bit has ended somewhat satisfactorily, does it mean the next two episodes would be focused on the present? Dong-min is already softening towards Hee-jin so hopefully he redeems himself soon enough. Two episodes seem quite long for the present day conflict, which has so far been rather weak. But I’m placing my faith on the writer to make this another memorable drama for me.