A lot of questions come up in this episode. Will Hwon actually sleep with Bo Kyung? Will Yang Myung keep up his hopeless romantic hijinks? Will all the threats on people’s lives lead to anyone actually dying? Or will there be more fake dying? What’s going on with Yeom and Min Hwa that has her shopping for sex tonics? Some will be answered, while new questions will be raised. Let’s break it down.
Hwon tells Bo Kyung that he’ll “undo his robe” for her, to grant her her ultimate wish of being mother to the future king. Elsewhere there are shamans shaman-ing all over the place. Nok Young and the Seongsucheong Gals are praying for a successful consummation, but Nok Young’s back alley shaman friend is casting a spell to keep the consummation from happening. While the shamans pray Jan Shil is overcome and collapses to the floor, but no one seems to care. Is is that they’re forbidden from breaking ranks, or does this just happen every time they pray? Like, “Oh! There goes another one! Some shamans just can’t handle their juju. Anyway, let’s carry on!”
Hwon has Bo Kyung pinned on the bed, and her eyes fill with tears as she tells him that she’s a woman too. He’s so caught up with thinking of a dead girl he can’t see that there’s a woman that wants him right by his side. Suddenly Hwon clutches his heart, as though the ghost of Yeon Woo was tugging at his heartstrings, and has trouble breathing. Bo Kyung thinks he’s faking again, and calls him out on it, but then realizes that he’s passed out right on top of her. She calls for help, as Hwon remains unconscious. She wears an expression that says, “Yeesh. When are we going to get this show on the road already?”
Wol thanks Yang Myung for seeing her as not just a human, but as a woman, and showing her his true feelings. But, she answers, she can’t just return his feelings because she’s grateful to him. She tells him that she’s just a shaman, and she cannot know love because she’s a vessel to be filled by God and nothing else (hehehe). Yang Myung asks if there’s really no one that can win her heart – is there someone she’s thinking of? But before Wol can answer Jan Shil runs over to tell Wol that the king has collapsed and she’s wanted in his room immediately.
There are many attendants and doctors fussing over Hwon, but when Wol enters and sits beside him his condition immediately, miraculously, improves. She stays by his bedside all night, and when she gets up to leave Hwon reaches out and grabs her, asking her to stay. He smiles and asks if she was worried that he’d be with another woman, but Wol quickly answers that she has no right to be worrying about that. She agrees to stay with Hwon till morning.
The special investigators gather to find out exactly what the hell went wrong last night. They wonder if it was the date of consummation, or if the doctor missed something in his exam, but in the end they agree that there was a strange energy creeping around during the night. They fear that someone sent the bad energy to harm the king.
The queen dowager and queen mother run into each other outside Hwon’s quarters and decide to go check on Bo Kyung together. Bo Kyung tells the women that she blames herself for what happened, and she should have known better, since she had an ominous dream the night before. Bo Kyung then weaves a tale of how she dreamt of a woman in white who told her that she would take Bo Kyung’s place beside the king and that Bo Kyung would never bear a son. Sneaky, sneaky Bo Kyung. She adds that she’s been hearing rumors about the king’s fondness for the shaman, and that although it’s supposed to be a secret, he knows of her existence. The QD and QM sit in shock as Bo Kyung slyly smiles to herself. You think you’re so crafty, Bo Kyung, but if you were really smart you’d take my advice and fake a pregnancy, then steal a baby and claim it’s yours. Then everyone wins! Except the person that had their baby stolen.
The Yoon Squad meets to discuss how they can use the latest development to their advantage. It’s going to be quite the scandal when everyone knows that the king knew about the shaman by his bedside, and then kept her there every night. The sinister ministers decide to place the blame on Wol, saying that she used her shaman powers to keep the consummation from happening.
While on laundry duty, Wol overhears two other shamans discussing the king’s sex life. One wonders why the king always falls ill when he’s supposed to be with the queen, and the other answers that he’s still hung up on the first would-be-queen, Lady Heo. Shaman 1 says that’s ridiculous – how could a guy remain chaste like that for eight years? Shaman 2 agrees, and says that the most likely scenario is that it’s Lady Heo’s vengeful spirit that’s keeping the king and queen apart. In a sense that’s true, since memories of Yeon Woo, AKA her spirit, haunt Hwon and keep him from feeling romantic toward anyone else.
Hwon’s secret agent, Gyu Tae, questions the doctor that gave medicine to Yeon Woo’s father so long ago. I’m guessing it was some sort of cure and not the deadly elixir that Papa Heo gave Yeon Woo later on. The medicine man recalls that Yeon Woo’s body was still warm even after she’d been dead for quite some time. Curioser and curioser.
Just a few moments after Gye Tae leaves, Min Hwa and her mother in law show up to get some tonics. While Min Hwa asks the apothecary to secretly send her a sex potion for Yeom, Mama Heo stares at the door frame, where she had measured Yeon Woo’s height just before her death. She wonders aloud how tall Yeon Woo would be now. Min Hwa looks on nervously, still holding on to her grandmother’s evil secret.
Wol sits in her room going over the details she’s acquired: Yeon Woo, Eunwol Building, would-be-queen, Heo family, etc. She repeats the name Heo Yeon Woo over and over, hearing voices of family and friends saying it. Her eyes grow wide, but before we can know what she’s realized the royal guard comes to arrest her. Wol is bound and carted away, charged with high treason. Jan Shil and Seol return just in time to see Wol being dragged out. Seol follows Wol, and tells Jan Shil to alert Nok Young.
Too bad Nok Young isn’t around – she’s at a meeting with her shaman buddy, who used his powers to stop the consummation. She scolds him for this decision, but he insists that the consummation cannot take place until the rightful queen is reinstated. Nok Young disagrees and believes that Hwon and Wol must be kept apart at all costs. Nok Young tells him she crossed the line when she saved Yeon Woo’s life, and she would have killed her if it wasn’t for Ah Ri’s dying wish. Nok Young wants to stay on the path she’s on – hiding Wol and keeping her apart from the king. The other shaman says they need to set things right, and the fates want Wol and Hwon to be together.
Wol is taken to an interrogation room where she’s asked why she wasn’t in the king’s quarters the night of the attack (Hwon told her not to come), then where was she (in the yard at Seungsucheong), and does she have an alibi. Here Wol falters. She does have an alibi – Yang Myug was with her – but she protects him and says that she was alone.
Yoon enters and asks to speak to Wol alone. He tells her that the punishment for high treason is death by dismemberment, and she will be tortured until she confesses. But he can save her from this fate if she corroborates a story that she was having an affair with the king, and cast a spell over the consummation out of jealousy. So she can lie and ultimately help destroy the king, or she can have all her bones broken and then be killed. What great options. Talk about a Sophie’s choice!
Seol anxiously waits outside for a chance to see Wol. Nok Young arrives, just in time to see Yoon pause outside, wondering why Wol looked so familiar.
Nok Young visits Wol in jail, and the first thing on Wol’s mind is how the king is doing. Nok Young scolds Wol for thinking about the king instead of herself. There are serious charges against her, after all. Wol admits that she knows she’s pretty much guaranteed death, as a shaman is an easy scapegoat when shady political dealings are afoot. She asks Nok Young to help her devise a way to help Hwon, which Nok Young immediately declares foolish. Even if Wol sacrificed herself to save Hwon, he’d still be damaged by her death and blame himself.
Hwon gets news of Wol’s arrest, and while he’s plotting a way to save his love, Yang Myung is trying to heal his broken heart by running away. Just as he’s about to leave, Jan Shil runs up to him and begs him to help Wol. Yang Myung puts on a stern expression and says that Wol is no longer his concern. That’s the ultimate way to prove you’re over someone – just stand by and watch them die.
Wol is tied up and awaits her inquisition. Yoon keeps wondering where he’s seen her before, and another minister reminds him that they ran into her in the market. Yoon smiles as he remembers that she was running by with Hwon. Speak of the devil! Hwon bursts in and demands to know what’s going on. Of course, this is what the Yoon Squad was hoping for all along, as it only helps solidify their accusations. Hwon is visibly upset to see Wol tied up and tortured.
When Hwon speaks with the ministers privately, it doesn’t take him long to realize he’s playing right into their plot, and there’s not much he can do to stop them. He yells in rage in his room, and gets up to go save Wol. Hyung Sun stops him and reminds him that although he’s a man, he’s a king first. He needs to thwart the Yoon Squad’s plans instead of worrying about just one girl. Hyung sun tells Hwon that Wol is smart and will find a way to save herself. Uhhh, name one time Wol saved herself. Without some kind intervention, she’s totally dead.
Wol screams through her torture, but refuses to give in to Yoon and confess. The two have a staring contest, and Yoon orders her torture to continue until she confesses.
Meanwhile, Nok Young is begging the queen dowager to let Wol go. She insists that Wol isn’t powerful enough to use black magic and disrupt the consummation. The queen dowager refuses, but Nok Young reminds her that she has some major dirt on the QD. Nok Young explains that she might as well confess her sins and die alongside her spiritual daughter. This of course means the QD would be revealed as a murderer, and can you imagine what Hwon would do when he found out? The queen dowager is thoroughly spooked.
Hwon enters his grandmother’s chambers; he bows and asks her to help him. He tells her that he wants her to stop the inquisition at once. Grandma wonders if he really has fallen in love with a lowly shaman, and Hwon smiles, saying, “I’m a man, aren’t I?” He tells the queen dowager that he was merely infatuated, not in love – he knows his position of power is much more important than lusting after some shaman. King Brown Noser then tell the QD that she’s the only one who has the power and clout to stop this. Hwon thinks to himself that if anyone’s going to be the one sacrificed to help the whole, it’s going to be him.
Wol’s torture continues, but comes to a halt when Yang Myung bursts in saying he can prove Wol’s innocence. He tells Yoon that he was in the yard at Seongsucheong with Wol when the attack occurred. Yoon questions this, as this could mean serious consequences for Yang Myung, but just as Yang Myung is about to explain that he and Wol are secret lovahs, Wol interrupts him to explain that she asked him to meet her there. She says that she wanted to escape shaman life, but didn’t know how, so she called on a man who once saved her life to help her. She tells Yoon that she didn’t know he was a royal, or she wouldn’t have put him in that position. Is this whole gang trying to Spartacus their way out of this mess? Yeesh.
The queen dowager sends word to Yoon that she wants the inquisition stopped. Yoon goes to her to ask why, and she tells him Wol has enough alibis and excuses to save her life. Her punishment should just be banishment from the palace. Plus, now that Yang Myung has admitted he was with Wol the night of the attack, they now have leverage to get Yang Myung kicked out of the palace as well.
Yang Myung visits Wol in jail and asks her to change her story so that he’s the one that seduced her, making her innocent of all charges. Wol refuses, and when Yang Myung implies that she’s trying to protect him she corrects him, saying that she was only using him before to save herself. Yang Myung says if that’s true then he won’t try to protect her either. Obviously both of them are lying, since all this group of crazy kids wants to do is sacrifice themselves for each other.
Hwon finds out about Yang Myung’s interruption of the torture, and is surprised to learn that Wol and Yang Myung are acquainted. Yang Myung comes to the king to ask his permission to run away with Wol. The two brothers eye each other, and Hwon comments that it’s not like Yang Myung to throw away everything for some lowly shaman. Yang Myung counters that Hwon must not know him very well. I mean, yeah, that’s basically all Yang Myung does. Hwon refuses to hand Wol over to his brother, and reminds him of when Yang Myung said that he would give up everythign to protect Yeon Woo. Hwon adds that if he’s trying to do the same for Wol, Yang Myung should think about whether she’d really be safer with him.
Yang Myung, furious, storms out. He thinks to himself that Hwon gets everything he’s ever wanted, and when Yang Myung wants just one thing…. Grumble grumble grumble.
Hwon asks Woon if he was too hard on his brother, adding that he no longer wants to lose the people that he loves. He knows now that Yoon will use Yang Myung’s love for Wol just as he used Hwon’s. But the person who’s really going to suffer is Wol.
A Few Thoughts…
Oh man. These kids have to stop trying to be heroic and sacrificing their lives all over the place. If they keep trying to die for each other they’ll all end up dead. I believe that’s called the law of Romeo and Juliet. And Wol, who thinks she’s the most noble of them all with her plans to take the fall and save her brother lovers, is just being dumb. We’ve proven Wol can’t take care of her own problems. She just sits around thinking about things and not taking action. And when she finally does take action it’s the wrong action. I think smart Yeon Woo died for real when Yeon Woo fake died.
Another thing that bothered me throughout this whole episode, and series, is how shamans are considered lowly people. Hello! They can put a curse on you! Don’t go talking smack about someone that can kill you with black magic. If someone had that kind of power I’d make them second only to the king.
Overall I like that the stakes are getting higher. Prison Wol is, so far, my favorite version of Adult Wol. Her dumb decisions and just plain aloofness make me dislike Wol most of the time, and I feel like now just a little bit of sense has finally been tortured into her. Now she just needs to stop being the martyr and start being the strong woman she was when she was 13.