Drama Recaps
Tree With Deep Roots: Episode 8
by | November 3, 2011 | 48 Comments

Is the King losing his mind? How are we properly equipped to deal with this?! Okay, maybe I’m overreacting – but we’ve seriously got a King In Crisis. It makes for some awesome dramatic material when a character can have intense ideological conversations with his younger self, but someone get that man an inhaler and a hug, stat! He’s got a country to run!


Chae-yoon and Pyung duke it out in a fun fight sequence (how fun? some of it takes place IN MID-AIR), as Chae-yoon seems thrilled that he’s pretty evenly matched. He’s also not above baiting his opponent, and assures Pyung they’ll have some really good times once he’s arrested and therefore available to be officially tortured. That’s a little dark, Chae-yoon, but we’ll roll with it.

They’re both out of breath in the middle of the fight, but are ready to continue until they hear Mu-hyul in the distance. So-yi has alerted both him and the King per Chae-yoon’s command, but now that’s working against him since it gives Pyung time to escape. Pyung does, however, end up dropping the cloth-covered package. At least Chae-yoon makes sure to secretly pocket it before he gives chase.

The assassin knows that Chae-yoon won’t give up, and devises a pretty neat plan to keep him at bay. He uses the leaping method to make it back to Cho-tak, who’s still wounded from their earlier encounter, and stabs him through the chest. Chae-yoon can now choose between saving his friend, or leaving him to chase Pyung. No matter how enraged Chae-yoon is, he’s still a good person (this is the second time he’s chosen to save someone over pursuing Pyung) and tends to his friend instead while Pyung gets away.

He has a short exchange with Mu-hyul and leads him up the mountain, where he’s sure that someone has died. They don’t find a body, only some evidence that a body was there (along with some blood-covered leaves). They conclude that the assassin must have stolen the body again. Goodness, can a dead body just be in the proper hands for once? Dead bodies might as well be currency, for the amount of times they’re traded/borrowed/stolen/returned.

In the morning, Chae-yoon enters a room to find that Park-po called the butcher/coroner/now-surgeon (what doesn’t he do?) Ga Ri-on, to save Cho-tak’s life the night before. Park-po has established a joking rapport with Cho-tak, and says something about saving his ‘lowly life’ – which is curious for two reasons: one, that Cho-tak hears those words and nervously looks toward Chae-yoon because of reason number two, that Chae-yoon takes those words Very Seriously. There are lowly people and lowly ranks, he says, but a lowly life doesn’t exist. Park-po better get that straight, and fast.

They’re interrupted by their superior, who looks like he’s seen a ghost and can barely speak. This sends Chae-yoon, Park-po, and the butcher/coroner/surgeon to a crime scene in the making.

It’s like a modern movie crime scene, and everyone is gathered as a body is being found and there’s commotion and chaos. This time, however, it’s over a boat that’s been found floating in the water. The King, the scholars, and even all the court ladies are waiting with bated breath, but Sejong has his finest of poker faces on. My guess is that he has a very good idea of what’s in that boat.

Mu-hyul certainly knows, and orders Ga Ri-on to take a look at the corpse. He pulls back the cloth to reveal Scholar Jang Seong-soo, looking incredibly dead, to everyone’s horror and shock. So-yi takes one look at the body before her eyes roll back into her head, and she faints on the spot.

Everyone gets their chance to give their best Shocked Face, but it isn’t until the message underneath the body is revealed that Scholar Sung Sam-moon falls to the ground, and the King looks like he’s trying just a little too hard to keep his temper. The note is written in hanja, and reads: “A flower is just a flower. It cannot be a root.” Why, that’s exactly what was carved in the wall by Jung Do-jun in his personal cave! And also what his nephew, Jung Ki-joon, wrote on his test paper so many years ago. There’s a family resemblance going on here.

It’s the motto for Hidden Root, and the message can’t be more clear: Hidden Root is here. It’s time for Sejong to officially start watching his back.

Mu-hyul gets a bad feeling when Sejong sends everyone away because he wants to take a nap. He knows Sejong can’t even sleep at night, so who is he fooling that he wants to sleep during the middle of the day?

Only a nap was never on Sejong’s mind, as he tosses and turns in bed, stewing on his rage and clutching his heart. He’s left grappling with the idealistic version of who he used to be along with all the implications of Hidden Root, and it’s taking a very physical toll on him. He remembers how his father mocked him on his deathbed, saying that the path his son was choosing to lead the country with would be far more wretched – and Sejong agrees and yells it into the empty room. It is more wretched. He couldn’t be more wretched as he fights with his darker side, the one that doesn’t want to hide the venom of power, but he won’t give in. That would mean losing to his father, who’d be smugly winning this battle from far beyond the grave.

In a mirror of Sejong’s suffering, So-yi is also in bed, grasping her heart and unable to breathe. The other court ladies muse that it isn’t like So-yi was the only one to see the dead body, but they don’t know that So-yi knew that man one moment, before he was dead the next. If she’s that involved in the King’s language project, then everyone who has died so far has been someone she knows. Just like it’s taking a toll on Sejong, the deaths are taking a toll on her.

Sam-moon, deeply affected by all the recent body-related events, gives his friend and fellow scholar Park Paeng-nyeon notice for a leave of absence. He needs to take the time off to get to the bottom of this mystery – no matter what it takes.

Revelation time! Points to whoever called Official Lee Shin-juk as a member of Hidden Root (haha, just kidding – about anyone actually calling it). He tells a fellow official-turned-confidant (by revealing this secret, he’s effectively bound their fates together) that it has been twenty years since he last received an order and he thought the group had disbanded. But, in true sleeper cell fashion, he’s just gotten an order to reactivate – and it seems like these twenty years on his own haven’t changed his views. He’s siding with Hidden Root.

He has a flashback to a conversation he had with Jung Ki-joon twenty years ago – when he asked where Jung Ki-joon would go, the latter replied that there’s nowhere he can’t go. He’ll hide among the people.

Pyung, meanwhile, meets with his fellow cohorts in Hidden Root, and the wound on his face isn’t missed by the Leader. He lies about Kang Chae-yoon being the cause, maybe out of intrigue for Chae-yoon’s skills. Once he’s outside, though, he sends a man to go find Lee Bang-ji – the very teacher of Chae-yoon that’s been missing for two years.

It’s time for the body examination scene that’s become routine (but no less fun) every time a new dead body springs up. This time it’s only Chae-yoon and the butcher/coroner/surgeon (I can’t help it, I love that he’s a jack of all trades) and the body of the recently-deceased Scholar Jang Seong-soo. Ga Ri-on pulls a long needle from the base of his skull, placed in the acupuncture point of the brain that causes instant and horrible death. But that’s not all, because of the way the body is contorted so strangely, Ga Ri-on also concludes that a form of very deadly poison was also used to murder him. Curiouser and curiouser – why would Pyung use two completely different methods of murder, when one or the other is completely capable of killing a man?

Chae-yoon knows he’s being followed when he leaves the morgue, but he’s such a cool cat that he lets himself be followed and ‘captured’ by none other than Scholar Sung Sam-moon, who clearly is missing some experience in human abduction.

Sam-moon may be professionally smart for a living, but he’s terrible at being secretive and menacing and is swiftly outmaneuvered by Chae-yoon. He even ends up with a shiner as their roles are switched, and it becomes clear who’s really wearing the investigator pants in this new duo that I love so much.

These two complete each other intellectually and Chae-yoon could use a good scholar on his side, precisely because he doesn’t know everything – so everyone wins. He gives the teamwork proposition to Sam-moon with a burned piece of paper, giving the scholar three reasons why they should work together: one, that piece of paper is what Yoon-pil left before he died, two, if Sam-moon finds out what it means Chae-yoon will give him the book Scholar Jang had before he died, and three, they have the same goal. They both want to solve the mystery, and now they can work together to help each other.

In a bit of dark humor, the King calls a sudden assembly between the scholars and the officials. The room is tense as everyone expects the talk to be about all the recent murders… but Sejong’s mood is light as he declares he agenda for the day: tax law reform!

It’s a brilliant move by Sejong, because he’s able to use this hot-button issue to completely sideswipe everyone… into forgetting about the murders and talking about tax laws. The only one who sees through this is Jo Mal-saeng, and his expressions are truly priceless. Words can’t express how much I adore this character as of late – it’s like he’s the only adult in a room full of squabbling children, and he knows it.

As an audience, we know that the tax reform move was a ploy on Sejong’s part, but when Prince Gwangpyeong tries to make the same assumption to his father, Sejong goes strangely still. Prince Gwangpyeong is really just calling out the truth – that Sejong brought up the tax issue to see which officials are or are not on his side – but perhaps Sejong has taken Jo Mal-saeng’s words about suspecting everyone to heart, as he doesn’t confide anything to his own son about his true plans.

Park-po saw So-yi leaving the palace in disguise earlier in the day (she wasn’t wearing her Official Court Lady Hanbok), and shows Chae-yoon where she’s gone – it’s none other than the mountainside of all the happenings of the past night, and she seems to be looking for something. What she doesn’t know is that Chae-yoon has been secretly keeping the package, and he wants to let her find it. Since he still doesn’t have a grasp as to where her loyalties lie, he’s confident that he’ll find out once he sees what she does with the book she’s so desperately searching for.

So-yi may as well be blind and deaf (but maybe she’s just too focused), because Chae-yoon and Park-po are pretty much putting no effort into concealing themselves two feet from where she ‘finds’ the book. If Chae-yoon was hoping he could follow her around with that book he finds himself sorely mistaken, as instead So-yi studies every page, committing the entire work to her uncanny memory before she rips the pages and burns them.

This doesn’t give Chae-yoon any better idea as to where her loyalties lie, but he’s intrigued.

To Sejong’s dismay, his idea of bringing up tax law reform and another census have worked to alienate him from officials and scholars alike (he had to have known this was bound to happen before he started it). Shim Jong-soo is under covert operations from Hidden Root, and doesn’t shy away from riling the others against Sejong by saying that what the King is really saying with all these ‘tax reformation’ ideas… is that Neo-Confucianism Can’t Lead Joseon. Gasp! Unacceptable.

When Mu-hyul apprises Sejong of these secret meetings behind his back, he goes into a frenzy. Poor King. He’s upset because his best just isn’t good enough. What on earth did he ever did so wrong? All he ever wanted to do was build a country. All his opposition ever does is throw the book (of Confucius) at him. He’s genuinely upset and bewildered when he honestly asks Mu-hyul: “When did Confucius ever say a nation couldn’t make their own almanac? When did Confucius ever say we couldn’t hear what the people have to say in person?” It’s slightly (unintentionally) hilarious that he’s asking these questions in such a serious context, because they’re funny questions to ask.

Sejong has been losing his mind a little all episode, buckling under the weight of the crown and the secret group that clearly has it out for him. In a truly brilliant scene he finds himself alone in Jiphyunjeon, the place that he created against his father’s wishes, face-to-face with his younger self (how I missed you Song Joong-ki, let me count the ways).

Sejong is hopping mad as he spits profanities to his younger self, telling him that he (the younger Lee Do) killed those innocent people. If he hadn’t been so petty and lofty when he was young, this wouldn’t have happened. If he hadn’t decided to take the wretched path and try to use words and rhetoric instead of using power, maybe things would be different.

With a beautiful hint of menace, the younger Lee Do assures his older counterpart that it’s not too late to change things. Sejong can still go to his father’s tomb, just like the Great King predicted so long ago, and go cry and beg for forgiveness. These are exactly the words that Sejong needs to hear but doesn’t want to, and he goes from rage into a crying mess as he finds himself left alone once again, faced with only his inner demons.

Goodness. Give me a moment to collect myself from how unexpectedly awesome that scene was. I know what will help take my mind off of the sheer win of what just happened…

A romantic montage, of course! Chae-yoon has been following So-yi around as part of his investigation, and he ends up at the butcher/coroner/surgeon’s shop/morgue where So-yi has just recently come and gone. He finds out that she’s been coming to get two types of herbs – one as a sort of speed to stay awake, and the other a really strong anesthetic to put her into a minor coma. Something concerns him about this, and it’s enough for him to step out of the role of silent watcher to warn her against doing that to herself. He’s taken that exact combination of herbs before, and knows she won’t last long.

But he also knows why she’s taking them – what happened to her, he asks, that makes her so afraid of what’s in her dreams? If only he knew that words he said to her so long ago still haunt her dreams today.

Neither Chae-yoon or So-yi heard Sejong and his entourage arrive, but Sejong has heard their conversation. He wants to know how Chae-yoon knows about the herbs, and this scene is interesting for many reasons. There’s the subtext of the conversation itself, added to the weight of the secret (Ddol-bok is alive, So-yi!) that Sejong knows but isn’t telling.

Chae-yoon doesn’t lie, and tells the King that he took those herbs because his father was his whole world, and when he died, Chae-yoon was alone. He couldn’t sleep at night because he felt like his father would be in his dreams, asking him why he died. It’s pretty terrible to imagine, and judging by how emotional Sejong and So-yi get, they must feel the same way.

Sejong is more interested as to how Chae-yoon overcame this drug habit, clearly looking out for So-yi’s well-being. Revenge, according to Chae-yoon, is what fixed his miserable situation. But it still didn’t make his heart less heavy, and Sejong wonders why he’s continuing a path that makes him wretched (see the parallels?).

Chae-yoon: “I, without determination, am no longer myself.”

And Sejong, realizing that he’s not himself without his determination, has a revelation. He even tells Chae-yoon to continue on his path. He’ll go on his.


Whaaaat? Goodness gracious. This King takes ‘understanding’ to a whole new level. It was a little different when he was selectively ignoring the fact that Chae-yoon wanted to assassinate him, but now he’s even encouraging him? If Mu-hyul was upset about Chae-yoon before, he is positively going to have an aneurism over this.

This is the second time Chae-yoon has inadvertently saved Sejong during a time of kingly crisis. I wonder how Chae-yoon would react to know that he helped to shape the very kind of man and ruler that Sejong is now. If it weren’t for him, maybe Sejong (the Sejong in this story, not the historical Sejong) wouldn’t have ever stood up to his father. And even now, if it weren’t for Chae-yoon, maybe Sejong would have stayed in the emotional rut he’s been in these past episodes. But both times, Chae-yoon has managed to give the King a revelation just by being frank.

Seeing Song Joong-ki again was unfair because I MISS HIM. Therefore, it was bittersweet but so great to see the two versions of this character face off against each other. Han Suk-kyu is a more jaded version of his younger self and it shows – he still internalizes everything, but instead of being sad, he’s angry (most of the time). Where Song Joong-ki would have given us teary eyes, Han Suk-kyu gives us bared teeth. It suits the amount of years that he’s been bearing the heavy and terrible burden of ruling a country, but it’s definitely a new and interesting take on King Sejong. I’ll be glad if this conversation with Chae-yoon normalizes him for the following episodes, because I get the feeling the murders are going to keep piling up. But Han Suk-kyu can’t really get much angrier, so what’s a King to do?

In contrast, my love of Chae-yoon has only grown since my shaky first impression. He’s resourceful, which I like, and smart – which I love. How awesome is it that he’s paired up with Sam-moon? I can only hope we’ll get some crime-solving hijinks out of this relationship.


48 Comments from the Beanut Gallery
  1. kate

    haha agreed, i thought this episode made the drama start to get better

    • 1.1 kate

      OMG anyone saw ep 10 yet? I’m so shocked. That was one great episode. Full of unexpected twists!

  2. Suzi Q

    Was doing a search on Google and found out that there was a drama with the same name in 1983. Same story?

    Anyway, this version is excellent. One of the best episodes where King Sejong loses his cool.Song Joong Ki is back!

    Usually, Jang Hyuk kinda irritates me as in Midas, but in this drama and in Chuno,I’m enjoying his performance.

    I love murder mysteries and historical themes. Can’t wait for Chae Yoon to be revealed as Ddol-bok, and the shit hits the fan.

  3. Jolyn

    I really Love the last scene of this episode.
    Any takers? πŸ˜›

  4. laya

    Thank you for the recap! <3

  5. ninsarama

    wasn’t that scene just amajing?!??! <3 <3 <3 *sighhhhh* i had goosebumps. it really shows how much song joongki has grown as an actor. He was holding his own with Han Sukkyu, who is a veteran actor. phew. i'm hoping for more song joongki cameos but im not counting on it πŸ™

    • 5.1 eunshil


  6. eunshil

    I’ve seen ep10. I know who “HE” is!
    thanks for the recap!

  7. myweithisway

    This drama gets too intense sometimes, but boy do I still love it!

  8. anais

    HeadsNo2, after having seen Ep 10, OMG… Be wary of spoilers. If you haven’t seen Ep 10 yet, you’ve no idea how good you are. Or perhaps you do… In either case, I bow to you.

  9. Birdie

    Thank you for the recaps which I enjoyed reading. I love this line “Dead bodies might as well be currency, for the amount of times they’re traded/borrowed/stolen/returned” LOL.

    This is the best episode so far. The way the confrontation between the younger(slightly blurry) and older king was done was a stroke of genius.

    • 9.1 anais

      Actually, the dead bodies are being used as proxy currency in this exchange of power. More deaths mean greater destabilization of Sejong’s foundation. HeadsNo2, I thought that observation was brilliant.

  10. 10 Ani

    “Gasp! Unacceptable.”

    Hahahaha. I couldn’t help but hear Mitchell Pritchett say “cue the gasp” while Cam holds his chest and gasps. Hahaha. Made my day.

  11. 11 bd

    I just wished there were more quality dramas like this (despite it’s popularity, “Secret Garden” wasn’t quality in either writing or acting).

    And not to get all political and all, but Neo-Confucianism played a big hand in the stagnation and decay of Joseon.

    • 11.1 KDaddict

      If u want to say how much u love this or any other drama, go ahead. It is totally unnecessary n uncalled for to step on SeGa in order to make your point. Maybe u r not aware, there is a certain etiquette to these boards. Or that SeGa won many prizes at the Seoul International Drama Fes 2010 and Korean Drama Fes 2010, and for Best Writing n Acting. So viewers n panels of experts disagree w you. You can say that it is not your cup of tea, but do Not say that “it wasn’t quality in either writing or acting”.

      • 11.1.1 roomi

        Wow, no need to get that defensive over a drama. Anyone is free to have an opinion. So what if it won some prize? Doesn’t mean everyone must love it now. I liked secret garden, it was decent enough, a little overrated imo.

  12. 12 Laica

    Thanks for the recap, HeadsNo2! I’ve finally caught up in my watching to your recaps.

    Can I just say that I LOVED this episode. King Sejong’s teetering-on-the-edge-of-sanity scenes had me holding my breath and watching in fascination. Especially when he confronted his younger self in JHJ. Wow.

    As much as I loved Song Joong-ki’s Lee Do, I am not disappointed in the grown-up version. As you noted in your comments, it makes sense for him to become jaded and irritable in the many intervening years.

    I love how different this drama is from any I’ve seen before. It tackles the burden of kingship as many sageuks do, but it’s also focused more on what it means to be a ruler, its costs and sacrifices, in a way I haven’t seen before. It’s not just talk but manifested as lives and relationships. (Though I admit I haven’t watched a lot of sageuks. They kind of bore me, I confess.)

    But not this one. How amazing are the relationships in this drama? Sejong and Chae-yoon are my favourite pair. Both have saved each other in the past, yet they might also end up destroying each other. Sejong and So-yi is another I love. I don’t think he’s in love with her, but I think he sees her as the one thing he’s managed to save, something pure that supports his dream and inspires him to keep going to build his Joseon. And I think she idolizes him. I can’t wait until she finds out he knows Chae-yoon is Ddol-bok, and that the latter plans to kill her saviour.

    Plus the dialogue is so brilliant. And the mystery is actually mysterious. How nice to watch a show that doesn’t assume its audience is brain-dead. I think I’ve found my next drama addiction…

    • 12.1 Laica

      I forgot to mention… my love for Chae-yoon grows with every episode. He’s complex, tortured, badass, good-hearted, and smart (not to mention insanely hot). What a great hero.

    • 12.2 anais

      So well put. So much so that I almost googled to see if you yourself have a blog full of your writing.

      As for your point about burdens of kingship, there was another drama that made me realize this. Yi San. As the title indicates, that drama went to great lengths to try to humanize Jeongjo. How well it did so is a matter of public debate, but I personally found LSJ’s portrayal of Yi San to be very touching. In general, Jeongjo’s biography is full of heartbreaking personal losses that make for good drama.

      I’m impressed that the writers of Tree have been able to build such dramatic tension for Sejong, especially since he is so mythologized in Korean history.

      • 12.2.1 Laica

        Aw, thanks, that made my day. I do contribute to Thundie’s Prattle actually, but I’ve only written one post so far. Life is busy. Are you the same anais I’ve been spazzing over Maru/CYHMH with over at TP? πŸ™‚

        I haven’t seen Yi San. Agree with you about Sejong. I mean, I know intellectually that he goes on to do great things and thus probably keeps his marbles, but I was very worried in this episode that he was going to go insane – his performance was so real and mesmerizing, and the scenes were written so well.

        • anais

          Yes, same Anais. I realized the same after I posted this comment. πŸ™‚

          As for Sejong, yeah, definitely he was treading a very fine line there. The pressures must have been intense. And the actor gave a thrilling performance.

          (I’m about to go off on this tangent now.)

          A psychologist friend of mine told me that those who seek power (such as the Presidency of the United States) or fame (via Reality TV for example) do have a diagnosable personality profile (since it’s not exactly a “disorder”) similar to narcissism.

          And of course, there is the saying about the fine line between genius and insanity.

          If Lady Hyegyeong’s memoirs are to be believed, Yeongjo (Jeongjo’s grandfather) definitely showed neurotic symptoms, ones that manifest themselves far more overtly and tragically in Crown Prince Sado. Yeongjo was known to possess a brilliant mind, often besting his ministers and scholars.

          • Laica

            Heh, hi again!

            Hmm, it’s true that it takes a kind of narcissism to seek the approval of so many people, and to want to be in the spotlight. Although with actors, I wonder if it might not often come after the fame hits, and they are constantly being ogled, photographed, chased by fans, etc.

            Royalty is different though – as messed up as the institution is, one is born into it and thus unable to actively seek it. Though that might be even worse. How many unsuitable or even insane monarchs have stayed in power because it was “God’s will”?

          • anais

            Oh, yeah, that’s why I started that whole digression that ended up being a digression rather than being on point.

            Yes, royalty. I do think they are very different from fame-seekers or power-mongers. The psychic burdens that royalty must bear, especially those heirs further down the line. The founders and the earlier dynastic rulers still had to duke it out while they attempted to solidify their power – as so evident in Tree – so those individuals may have exhibited the megalomania of the power-hungry. However, I think of Sejong, Munjong, Danjong, Jungjong, Injong, Jeongjo, and the psychic toll of having to be on guard against those who’d kill them to have their way with the country.

            As for unsuitable or insane monarchs – Yeonsangun. Nuff said. That’s probably the one time the Sadaebu’s coups actually helped rather than hurt the country.

  13. 13 jessybee

    Its getting better and better! thanks HeadsNo2, I am silently anticipating your weekly recap on TWDR. They are so insightful! I am so going to find the time to watch this drama πŸ™‚

  14. 14 Noemi

    That scene…sheer brilliance! Thanks for the recap, HeadsNo2!

  15. 15 neener

    love the recaps!!!

    I so hate myself for not being able to watch this and just read…..but at least I got to read?hehehe

  16. 16 mskololia

    What an excellent episode. I have to admit it blew me away. It had me in its grip for days….

    After watching it I was left marvelling at what I just experienced…I was going to say “watched”, but it was much more. Kudos drama for stepping out of the comfort zone!

    This is why I love historical dramas.

    Thanks HNo2 for the wonderful recap!

  17. 17 anais

    After watching that scene with SJG and HSG, I found myself fixated on two thoughts.

    For SJK, what an exhilarating experience that must have been. To sneer, taunt, mock, and dominate a character portrayed by one of Kdrama’s much respected veteran actor, what did SJG have to muster in himself to pull it off convincingly? The rush he must have felt in his veins as he enacted that scene.

    As for HSK, to allow a junior actor’s character to sneer and terrorize his own and to allow him to be so vulnerable to the point of being almost feral… Just wow.

    That scene must have been so thrilling to depict. I wonder how both men felt at the end of that day. If no one has yet, someone ought to interview them about acting out that scene.

    • 17.1 Laica

      I know, right! I was enjoying the scene immensely for what it was, but when the young Sejong grabbed the elder’s collar and mocked him, a part of me was thinking, “What must be going through SJK’s mind right now?” And what an awesome opportunity for a young actor. I wonder if things got awkward between them after that. I would definitely read that interview!

      • 17.1.1 anais

        I wonder if there were gasps from the crew filming them.

        Gah, I’m such a kdrama addict…

        • Laica

          Right there with you πŸ™‚

  18. 18 Pepper Fish

    The body examination scenes totally remind me of Cadfael! It’s so much fun watching a medieval monk or a Joseon era butcher look for clues on a corpse. Hahaha.

  19. 19 Arhazivory

    Both kings are brilliant and that scene just killed it. It was…..epic. I had to replay it. And I dunno if its a mind thing but they both resemble each other: two baby-faced kings.

    This drama is really on another level.

  20. 20 AuntieMame

    I wonder if there’s any contemporary political significance to the questions King Sejong raised about neo-Confucianism and tax reform, almanac, etc.

    I wonder if neo-Confucianism is still used as a deterrent when changes are proposed.

    To me, this was one fantastic episode, especially for the acting and the dialogs.

    Thank you for another great recap.

  21. 21 dany

    Great episode! I love the detective-scholar pairing, too, it’s just awesome.

  22. 22 himonogirl

    I was totally in awe of SJK’s performance…Man, from fusion sageuk SKKS to current Tree, he can easily blend in with each character, and make them feel real and relatable.
    And it was only a matter of minutes! Yet I could totally relate to his raw feelings.

    Aww, so want to watch Penny-Pinching Romance to see how he fares as a real lead~

    Oh, I LOVE the opening picture: look, attitude, smile. Perfect.

  23. 23 GoKorNavy

    The scene where the grown-up Sejong is tormented by the younger version is like watching a Hamlet play. Simply brilliantly done by Han Suk-gyu.

  24. 24 GoKorNavy

    This is a very entertaining sageuk. Still, the best sageuk of all time is 용의 눈물 (Tears of the Dragon) which had a superb cast and performance.

  25. 25 KDaddict

    “Wow”, With every popular show, there are people who think that it is way over rated, whether it is LTM, My Princess, 49Ds, Heartstrings, etc. Point is: It doesn’t hurt to learn to make a point, that one loves this show, without unnecessarily stepping on a show that other people clearly dearly love.
    So what it won some price? Not some prize. But prizes. Not the station’s own annual award show, but nation wide and international drama awards. Some opinions fly in the face of reality is so what.

  26. 26 asianromance

    Thank you so much for this recap and the for the recap for episode 7. The part where Chae Yoon was explaining how he felt after the death of his father. It was so riveting, so heartbreaking, I had to pause every few words like Chae Yoon did. Did you all notice at one point Mu-Hyul (or maybe just the actor who plays Mu-Hyul)’s throat was moving, moved by Chae Yoon’s sadness and trying not to cry.

  27. 27 Elizabeth

    just a great excuse to get Joong ki back into the storyline! LOL

    • 27.1 Jomo

      I hope they find more!

  28. 28 antonia

    love this episode love this recap (many thanks) and love this drama so much… its so good
    plus SJK!!!! i missed him so much and he is so brilliant, that scene i had to rewatch cause it was freaking awesome!!!
    and yes i’m liking chae yoon more and more (it was hard at first cause i didn’t like his child version)
    and sam moon is adorable, please writer don’t kill him
    the mistery is also goooood
    what can i say? this drama is amazing!

  29. 29 LK

    Can someone remind me who Shim Jong-soo is?

    • 29.1 Hanjigol Dolbok

      it’s the scholoar supervisor who is a hidden root.

  30. 30 Jomo

    Thanks for the recap…I like how they are setting us up for the battle royale between the Rebel Alliance (Aren’t they supposed to be the good guys?), the Emperor/King (supposed to be bad guys?) with the clown Chae Yoon trying to figure out which side he is supposed to be on.

    I feel like I should be rooting [ πŸ™‚ PUN ] for the Roots, but I just can’t. I like the Kings for this play-off series.

  31. 31 Hanjigol Dolbok

    I watched episode 10 and it’s really getting amazing, Jang Hyuk is awesome, I wish him best of luck for the emmy award !

  32. 32 Lilian

    Haven’t seen Jang Hyuk in a drama for ages. I should start doing so again!

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