This is the first episode since the kids left that has had my complete, undivided attention from beginning to end. We finally get some action and excitement! Sure, there were exciting moments before, but this episode really upped the stakes and kept me on the edge of my seat. After weeks of wondering when we were going to get to the good stuff, this episode delivered. And how!
Wol is cleared of the charge that she used the dark arts against the king, but she is still found guilty of seducing a royal (Yang Myung) using her powers. She’s banished to a far away region to care for the sick, and forced to wear a badge marking her as a sneaky temptress.
Hwon meets with Grandma and thanks her for her help. Don Grandma gives him the old “Someday… I’m going to ask you to do a service for me” speech. Hwon agrees without question. A little advice, Hwon: You may not end up with a horse head in your bed, but joining Team QD will most likely not end well.
The king meets with his ministers, who tell him an eclipse is coming, so he better watch out. Apparently it can be a very dangerous time in the palace when the moon (AKA Wol) conceals the sun (AKA the king). Ooooh, symbolism! The ministers add that Wol will be exiled the day before the eclipse, and Yang Myung is going to be punished as well.
Yang Myung attempts to leave the house, but is stopped by guards and told that he is under house arrest by order of the king. In fact, Hwon was against Yang Myung receiving punishment (he was declared innocent after all), but Yang Myung doesn’t know this, and he sits in his room angrily cursing his brother.
The Sinister Ministers meet to drink and laugh at how they were able to secretly chide the king at their meeting. The minister that ordered Wol’s torture sits swooning over some mysterious girl – the first girl to ever challenge him, who looked beautiful even covered in blood. Oh dear, we’ve got another guy drinking the I Love Wol Kool-Aid. Get in line, pal.
Wol wakes up in her cell to find that she has a midnight visitor – Hwon. He reminds her of her promise to not leave him until he cleared up his confused feelings. He tells her that he’s figured things out, and he realizes now that he was using her as a substitute for Yeon Woo, and she can now leave his side. He invites her to respond, to tell him that she hates him, but she refuses, and lets him go.
Outside, Hwon walks with heavy steps, then breaks down in sobs when he reaches Woon. He tells Woon that Wol gave him so much comfort, but he could not do the same for her. Woon assures him that he protected Wol in his own way. Hwon, still sobbing, wonders how he possibly protected her, and I have to second that emotion. I guess he’s responsible for her not being dead? So instead of a tragic ending, her story just has a sad, depressing ending that takes her away from Hwon forever? Nice try, Woon, but this is a sad, sad situation no matter how you look at it.
Yoon wonders again why Wol seems so familiar, and he suddenly remembers Ah Ri, and how her torture was similar to Wol’s. He remembers Ah Ri’s threat that the moon and heavens would take their revenge on Yoon for all his dastardly deeds.
That evening Bo Kyung again hears crying coming from the Eunwol building. She asks her aide if she hears anything, but she does not. Bo Kyung looks around, wondering if she’s going crazy, and then looks in the mirror. The face looking back at Bo Kyung isn’t her own, but that of 13 year old Yeon Woo. Yikes! In her chambers the Queen Dowager also hears crying, but her attendant hears nothing. The QD thinks to herself that she knows she heard it – and it’s definitely coming from the Eunwol building.
Nok Young’s shaman sense is tingling. She looks up at the moon and says that the eclipse will unite the ties she has been trying to sever. There will be blood, and no one will escape unharmed.
Min Hwa lies awake in her bed, crying and replaying the night she was trapped in the closet and found out Grandma is a murderer. Min Hwa’s servant has a hard time waking her up in the morning, but Min Hwa springs to life after hearing that Yeom has returned early from his travels. Although she’s advised to play it cool and let Yeom come to her, Min Hwa bursts into Yeom’s room and gives him a huge hug. Awww. They’re so cute, but I can’t help but wonder if Yeom’s feelings have changed, and if he finally sees Min Hwa as his wife instead of a little sister. I hope so. They’re adorable and Min Hwa, as my favorite, deserves all the happiness in the world.
The queen dowager meets with the head diviner to ask about the crying coming from the Eunwol building. He says it’s probably because of the upcoming eclipse, and asks if the queen dowager has heard anything. She quickly responds that she has not, and it’s just a rumor being spread around. The diviner suggests calling on Nok Young to help, but the QD dismisses this idea immediately. After all, she and Nok Young aren’t exactly on friendly terms, and the queen dowager doesn’t want to give Nok Young any more ammunition to use against her. The diviner next suggests a memorial service to be held on the day of the eclipse to calm the spirit. Since that type of service is under the jurisdiction of Seongsucheong, Queenie D shoots the idea down. The diviner tells her there’s one other option…
After bribing a guard, Nok Young goes to see Wol. She’s saddened to see Wol covered in blood, her scarlet letter badge lying beside her. In typical Wol fashion, Wol first apologizes for causing anyone to worry about her. Listen Wol, if you’re banged up and bloody, sitting in a prison cell waiting to be exiled, it’s okay to put yourself first.
Nok Young tells Wol about a friend she had, and how the last time she saw her was when she was in a cell just like Wol. That friend’s last request was for Nok Young to protect Wol. Wol asks if that friend was her mother, which tugged at my heartstrings a little. What Wol really needs now is some motherly love (even if it’s just a memory), and Nok Young isn’t exactly the touchy-feely type. Nok Young tells Wol that in trying to protect her, she ended up putting Wol in danger. Wol assures her that she always protected her, from taking her in as a child to assuring Wol that she was special and shouldn’t kill herself. (Kill herself?! Yeesh.) Nok Young ends her visit by bowing to Wol, which is probably the most outwardly loving thing she’s ever done.
Seol and Jan Shil overhear some of the other shamans gossiping about Wol. Seol grows increasingly annoyed until she can’t take it anymore. She screams and runs up to the girls, kicking one in the chest and drawing her sword on the other two. She tells them she’s looking for trouble, so they should go ahead and keep talking. The mean girls all scurry away.
Nok Young tells Wol that she should trust herself only, and she alone can decide what to protect and what to leave behind. Wol is confused by Nok Young’s words, but the head shaman continues, telling Wol that she is the strongest person she knows, and smart enough to make the right choices. To herself, Nok Young adds that Wol should never forgive her.
Seol stops Nok Young and yells at her, asking if she’s just going to leave Wol to be sent off to hang out with sickos for the rest of her life. Seol angrily tells Nok Young that she did everything Nok Young asked of her, including lying to Wol about her past. Nok Young tells her that nothing can block the brightness of the moon, so they must wait for the moon to reveal itself. Everything will be clear, but now it’s up to Wol to make it happen.
Hyung Sun tells Hwon that Wol will be taken away in an hour. Hyung Sun adds that in the meantime he’ll go make Hwon a snowman (meaning, he’ll let Hwon sneak out and see Wol), but this will be the last time. He tells the king that spring will soon come, and the snow will melt. Hwon tears up at this meaningful gesture from his oldest companion.
Hwon and Woon put on their noblemen disguises and watch Wol be taken away by the guards. At one point Wol turns around, sure she saw something out of the corner of her eye, but nothing’s there. When her head is turned back, Hwon and Woon appear again.
Bo Kyung is less than thrilled to hear that Hwon snuck out last night to go to the prison. In fact, she’s furious. She thinks to herself that she should have killed Wol when she had the chance. She turns toward the mirror and again sees Yeon Woo’s face. This time Bo Kyung completely freaks out and smashes the mirror, giving herself a pretty nasty gash on her hand in the process.
Hwon is called to see Bo Kyung after hearing that she had a complete breakdown and won’t let anyone near her. He asks for a cloth and forces Bo Kyung to let him treat her wound. She tells Hwon that he was her first love. He knows how painful it is to lose your first love – so why is he so heartless towards her? Hwon hugs Bo Kyung (which is probably the kindest thing he’s ever done for anyone, puppet shows included) and thinks to himself that everyone is hurting: Himself, Bo Kyung, Yang Myung, and Wol.
Wol is paraded through the town while the citizens yell and throw things at her. Mama Heo watches all the commotion and suddenly tries to run toward Wol, yelling, “Yeon Woo!” Wol turns back to see who’s yelling, but she misses her mother. The court lady holds Mom back, and the two end up lying in the street, sobbing in each other’s arms as Wol continues her march.
Wol is handed off to a new group of guards after a bribe. She’s shocked, and asks the new guard if he’s unafraid of breaking the law. He tells her he’s under the command of something much scarier.
Yang Myung is shocked to hear that Wol’s group has been lost, perhaps intercepted by bandits. He rushes outside to find Woon there, reminding Yang Myung that he’s under house arrest. Yang Myung draws his sword and challenges Woon, but then remembers that Woon cannot draw his own sword without the king’s permission. Yang Myung wonders aloud if Woon will follow orders, or pull out his sword and defend himself. Woon tells Yang Myung that a sword drawn out of anger or love is a dangerous thing, then unsheathes his own sword and battles his old friend. Yang Myung is quickly unarmed, and he tearily asks Woon if he understands how he feels, and if he’s going to be reported for treason. Woon tells Yang Myung that this wasn’t a fight between a prince and a guard, but between friends.
Wol is finally brought to her new prison, which turns out to be the palace. The head diviner approaches, and we get a flashback explaining his plan. The diviner proposed to the queen dowager that they use Wol as a vessel for the ghost, which they will capture in Wol’s body during the eclipse. He explains that the vessel will have to spend time with the vengeful ghost, and then allow it in her body. This can be dangerous, since the ghost will drive out the good spirits inside her, and typically this causes the vessel to go crazy or even die. But in this case the “ghost” is actually Wol’s old memories, so if they’re reunited, we could get our old Wol back! These silly villains don’t know what they’re in for.
Wol is taken to her old room in the Eunwol building and locked up. The guards also barricade the door with furniture, but the door opens inward, so this is pretty stupid on their part. Alone in the room, Wol looks around and remembers the rumors she’s heard about the Eunwol building and the girl who lived there. She realizes that the ghost she’s supposed to comfort is that of Hwon’s lost love.
The next morning preparations are made for the eclipse ritual. The guards gather to go over the security plan, but the king’s secret agent Hong Gyu Tae is missing. He’s finally found canoodling with a corpse. He’s not revealing a fetish, but rather doing research to see if it’s possible for a body to stay warm after death. Turns out he was snuggling up to the dead body to see if he could warm it up with a nice hug. He realizes that this is impossible, and if a body is still warm, it has to mean that the person is not yet dead.
Gyu Tae reports his findings to Hwon: There were no signs of murder, and while the body was still warm, the doctor couldn’t find a pulse.
Wol wakes up to find that she’s lured the ghost out of hiding. 13 year old Yeon Woo sits with her back to Wol, and Wol smiles, saying, “I was waiting for you.” Wol asks Yeon Woo why she was crying. Did she miss the king? Does she have a message for him? Wol tells her young self that she will help Yeon Woo, so she should share her problems with her. Yeon Woo turns around and Wol, understandably, freaks the heck out. Then she wakes up, disoriented and clutching her throat. Wol crawls across the floor, just as Yeon Woo did the night she died. Is this how Wol will get her memory back?!
The eclipse ritual commences. Nok Young describes the eclipse in voiceover, explaining that once the moon obscures the sun, everything will find its rightful place. Hwon recalls the details of Yeon Woo’s death - A mysterious illness with no known cause… that’s just like what Hwon has been suffering from. He realizes the only cause could be dark, murderous energy.
Wol lies on the floor, suddenly recalling all of Yeon Woo’s memories. She sees her father administering the medicine that ultimately “killed” her, and her parents grieving over her body. She sobs, finally remembering her parents. The memories start flooding back, and we see her moments with young Hwon with voiceover of the things Hwon said to her as an adult. Wol starts screaming and sobbing, suddenly inundated with memories of her past self.
Nok Young goes to Ah Ri’s grave and prays for Wol’s safety, now that the truth has been revealed.
Hwon finally realizes that the only cause of Yeon Woo’s illness could be dark magic. He calls for Nok Young to be brought to him in secret – if anyone would know if dark magic can kill, it would be her.
The head diviner enters the Eunwol building, prepared to dispose of Wol’s dead body. He finds her bent over, and as she slowly raises her head he asks if she comforted the ghost. Wol looks at him and answers, “Yes. She will never cry again.”
A Few Thoughts…
Finally! It feels like we’ve been waiting forever to get Yeon Woo back. Plus, it looks like with her memories Wol also got back her assertive, strong nature. I was so sick of seeing her wistfully look out windows and cry and try to sacrifice herself for various royals. Enough! Now it’s time for Yeon Woo to come back and take action. I can’t wait to see what she does now.
Wol’s memory returning was the biggest revelation in this episode, but I also think we got to see some characters develop in their own ways. Yeom turning around to hug Min Hwa was a fantastic turning point in their relationship. I hope this means there’s more lovey dovey stuff for them in the future. I almost care more about them being together than I do Wol and Hwon.
Speaking of hugs, how about that moment between Bo Kyung and Hwon? That was the first time, in my opinion, that Hwon has put his own interests aside and cared for another person. Sure, he did nice things for Yeon Woo back in the day, and I really do believe he loves/loved her, but showing compassion for Bo Kyung was a huge change (for the better) for his character.
And of course I can’t forget Woon. Woon-ah, how I love you and your mysterious, beautiful ways. Woon and Yang Myung’s adult relationship is complicated to say the least. When Yang Myung fought Woon he wasn’t just fighting to escape his home, but also fighting his friend for joining forces with his brother. At the end when Woon tells Yang Myung they were fighting as friends, he is reminding Yang Myung that they will always be BFFs, and Woon will always have his back. It was a nice callback to the bromance Yang Myung, Woon, and Yeom shared as teenagers.