There’s distrust brewing everywhere, as the baddies gain the upper hand by splintering our gang with artfully placed misdirection at every turn. Now everyone’s got a hairy eyeball on someone else, which leads to a lot of pointing fingers at all the wrong people for all the wrong reasons. Thankfully our heroine’s still got her eye on the prize, and does a little sense-talking and hero-saving in her spare time. Thank goodness for you.
EPISODE 18 RECAP
Things go from bad to worse when the king sees Woo-chi hovering over a dead guard, knife in hand. He’s already thinking the worst of Woo-chi, so what’s another five murders to add to the rap sheet?
Woo-chi can’t believe the king is being so distrustful, and at least Chan-hwi says he’s just following royal orders. Not that it makes holding a sword to your former ally any better. Woo-chi slams them with smoke and poofs out of there.
Kang-rim watches it all with a smile on his face, and then rushes in to tell the king he’s gotten reports that Jeon Woo-chi raided this tax store and killed the guards. The king orders Kang-rim of all people to lead the charge and have him captured at any cost.
So-chil tries to get the king to calm down (Or should you really be spending your time trying to reverse that lobotomy he got last episode?) when Woo-chi suddenly appears, too angry to just leave it at that.
The king can’t believe he’d show up again, but Woo-chi says that no matter how distrusting the king is, he’s going to protect him. He makes it clear it’s not because of the king himself, but the people, who need a leader.
That just hits the king’s wounded pride all over again and he gets defensive, “Are you trying to teach me? It’s MY kingdom!” Woo-chi: “So what is it that you can do?” Oooh, burn. But damn if it isn’t true, puppet king.
The king fumes and orders Woo-chi out, so he leaves with the reminder, “Don’t forget that I’m always by your side.”
Woo-chi returns home and tells the gang it’s worse than before—now he looks like he murdered people right in front of the king. It’s not something that can be fought without catching the real culprit. And that means going up against Kang-rim.
Everyone protests, but Woo-chi was never one for great planning, and just says he has to try. Mu-yeon argues that it’ll get him killed, and comes up with another plan. Seriously, anything’s gotta be better than just hurling himself at the problem.
To that end, Mu-yeon and Chul-gyun seek out other wizards to try and get them to join their side and give Woo-chi their powers. Ah, smart. But one complains that he won’t join forces with a thief like Jeon Woo-chi, and another is a drunkard. This isn’t going to be easy.
So-chil confers with Chan-hwi and Eun-woo about what to do to change the king’s mind, and I’m just glad these three have better heads on their shoulders. Chan-hwi says that Kang-rim is suspicious, and adds that Woo-chi warned them about him.
So-chil orders them to dig into his past until they figure out what his deal is. Suddenly a eunuch comes running in with a worried expression, and so So-chil follows him to the king’s chambers…
Where he’s living it up with two court ladies and getting drunk? What the…?
Okay, he really DID get a lobotomy. Is this a spell? If this is just you having your rebellious teenage phase, it’s a terrible time to have it.
So-chil orders the girls to get out and begs the king to come to his senses. But he’s still reeling from Woo-chi’s last comment that he might have a kingdom but no power to do anything, and repeats it bitterly as he reaches for another drink.
So-chil stands his ground and refuses to let the king take another drink, inciting his anger. But he won’t let go of the cup. Suddenly the king lowers his voice and asks in a totally different tone, “What do you think, do I seem like a drunk?”
It’s an act? Phew, so no lobotomy. So-chil gapes as the king explains that everything goes back to Minister Oh, so he thought he’d try playing up a new cover.
The king admits now that he leaned on Jeon Woo-chi too much, and says it’s time to get things done on his own. Well I certainly welcome you not being a puppet anymore, but could you maybe let Woo-chi off the hook for murder first?
The rumor spreads throughout the palace, and though the other ministers worry, it’s happy news to Minister Oh who certainly doesn’t mind the king keeping himself busy and useless.
Kang-rim offers to leave Minister Oh if he doesn’t trust him, but Minister Oh tells him to stay, likely because he’s useful, not because he’s willing to trust him. He tasks Kang-rim with finding out what’s behind the king’s recent change in behavior and if it’s for real.
Woo-chi and Bong-gu hear the same rumors, and Woo-chi sighs in disappointment at the king. Eun-woo comes by to fetch them on the king’s orders, and soon Lee Chi is leading the king and his entourage through town.
He asks where they want to go, and the king says he wants to go to the gisaeng house. HA. This is going to be a funny misunderstanding. Kang-rim lurks in the shadows, and reports to Minister Oh that the king went into the gisaeng house.
Thankfully no one followed him all the way in, because he’s really there to meet with a group of Sungkyunkwan scholars he’s recruiting to support him. Finally, the king is doing something politically.
Lee Chi returns to lead them back to the palace, and can’t help himself when he sees the king wobbling around (acting) drunk. He chides that this isn’t behavior befitting a king, and the king smiles to himself when no one is looking.
Chul-gyun and Myung-gi run into the group, and hilariously decide that they’re going to teach the young servant a lesson for being drunk when his master is clearly sober. Pfft.
Chul-gyun raises a hand like he’s going to give the king a noogie, and Eun-woo grabs his arm and twists it around in one swift motion. She kicks them both to the ground, and later in the morning Woo-chi finally has a chance to tell them that they were messing with the king.
Hee, I do love these two idiots.
They gasp, thankful to have left with their lives, and then wonder what the king was doing drinking at the gisaeng house. Hye-ryung sighs that he must really be lonely because of the queen’s absence.
That gives Woo-chi pause, and he and Mu-yeon stop in to check on the queen. Her hands are covered with scrapes and scars from working so hard in the cold winter, but she tells them not to worry and that she’s doing well.
She asks why they haven’t been brining her news of the king lately, and they lie that there’s nothing out of the ordinary to report. She admits that she knows about the king’s trips outside the palace, and though Mu-yeon protests he’s just wavering, the queen says it’s better that he forget her quickly and move on.
On their way back home, Woo-chi complains that he really doesn’t know what the king is doing, and that he’s got half a mind to whoosh him here so he can see how hard the queen is working.
Mu-yeon holds his hand and reassures him that they’ll work it out. He asks why it’s been so hard to see her lately—what’s she doing, running around with Chul-gyun all day? She says it’s a secret, but soon she’ll have a present for him.
Woo-chi: “A present? You’re my present!” Hahaha. Did he just ad-lib that? It came out so…Cha Tae-hyun. They walk home hand-in-hand and smiling. Adorable.
The king invites Minister Jang for a drink and plays up the idea that he’d love to have him as a father-in-law. He’s smart—next in line behind Minister Oh is the guy you want on your side, even if it’s under false pretenses.
Minister Jang is happy to make the power play for the king’s favor, and the king easily gets him to help keep his excursions outside the palace a secret.
And then one night the king stumbles over to a court lady’s room and announces that he’ll be sleeping here. But once inside, he quickly changes and makes his escape.
Problem is, someone arrives at the palace demanding to see the king, so the council storms in… and Minister Oh storms into the court lady’s room and discovers that he’s not there at all.
Bong-gu finds out that a bunch of officers were dispatched in one big group, so Woo-chi sends him to follow, with some speedy talismans for a boost. Bong-gu gets discovered while spying, and tries his abracadabra log-splitting spell, which doesn’t work so well on people.
Embarrassed, he asks the officers to wait while he tries it again, and then finally does his super-speed incantation and whizzes away. I could get used to Bong-gu having powers. He tells Woo-chi that the troops went toward the gisaeng house.
Inside, the king wonders why no one is here tonight, when suddenly the doors slam open… and in walks Minister Oh. Crap.
He sits down with a shit-eating grin on his face: “I heard you were enjoying your time with scholars, so I thought I’d join in.” They try to act like they don’t know what he means, but then he produces a letter taken from one of the scholars he poached outside. In it, Minister Oh is called a traitor.
He surprises them by burning the letter and saying that he’s not going to bother investigating all the names of his supporters. All the king needs to do is sit on his throne, and his council will run the country without a problem.
The poor king is terrified, and has no leverage to do anything but nod silently in compliance. Woo-chi arrives in time to see the king being led out by Minister Oh, and realizes that he’s too late.
Minister Oh has So-chil by the balls (er, metaphorically ’cause yunno…eunuch) and asks if he wants to meet the same fate as the king’s father-in-law or join his side. So-chil stews angrily, but eventually joins Team Baddie. What? You’d better be a double agent, mister.
Woo-chi grumbles to hear that So-chil has traded loyalties so easily and decides to punish them. So-chil brings Minister Oh a tray of special arrows that only the king uses for target practice, and Woo-chi turns them into twigs. Tell me that’s not the extent of your plan, Woo-chi.
Kang-rim immediately jumps in Minister Oh’s way and announces that Jeon Woo-chi is here, and Woo-chi is forced to back down for now.
Mu-yeon continues on her quest to find other wizards to help out, and Chul-gyun sighs that they’ll never find anyone willing to give up their powers, least of all to Woo-chi. But then the next wizard they visit recognizes her and bows reverently, crying, “Princess! I too came from Yuldo!” Oh yay, finally a break.
With that man’s help they find a few more wizards, and then present them to Woo-chi as the solution. He immediately turns them down—he’s not the kind of wizard to steal someone else’s powers to make himself stronger.
But Mu-yeon argues that this isn’t about him, it’s about saving a country. Listen to her, please. You’re gonna get yourself killed without this.
They convince him to do it for the greater good, so the others surround him and send their powers, and Woo-chi absorbs their abilities. Awww yeah, power up!
They seem to do it safely (not like Kang-rim’s life-sucking version) with talismans to guide the way, and when Woo-chi opens his eyes, he’s geared up with five more wizards’ powers under his belt.
He arms Bong-gu with talismans and tells him to attack, to test out his new powers. Of course Bong-gu’s idea of attacking a blindfolded Woo-chi is to run around him in circles and get in a few jabs (and a chin-tickle, ha).
Woo-chi knocks him down without tensing a muscle, and decides that he’s ready to go up against Kang-rim.
But the first matter of business is to find out what So-chil is doing in Minister Oh’s camp. At least Woo-chi gives him the benefit of the doubt, assuming there’s a greater plan. He finds So-chil in the palace and asks what his true intentions are.
So-chil surprises Woo-chi by asking if he still trusts the young and immature king. He says that it doesn’t much matter who sits on the throne; his job is to faithfully guard the seat and he’s done his job.
Woo-chi makes his disappointment clear, reminding him that he’s the only one left by the king’s side. But it seems that So-chil has lost his faith in the weak and powerless king.
When the king accuses him of turning his back, he bristles, “Have you lost your faith in me? As you did in Jeon Woo-chi?” Ouch. I can’t even argue, because the king is driving away his best people; there’s no doubt about that.
Kang-rim reports the same news to Ma Sook, who warns him not to underestimate So-chil. “He is someone who kept his position while the king was replaced three times.” Point taken, sir. Now I’m worried.
And then Woo-chi discovers So-chil doing something rather suspicious that night—he sees him take a sword from the palace and act really shifty about it. The next day he hears that Minister Oh is having a huge gathering that night and everyone’s scrambling to prepare gifts.
He wonders if So-chil really means to offer up a stolen palace treasure as a gift to the enemy. Woo-chi goes to the party bearing a small gift of his own, pretending to use his connection to Oh Kyu to curry favor with his powerful father.
Oh Kyu bats him aside, insisting this is no place for someone as low on the totem pole as him. And in the distance, he sees So-chil arrive with the sword wrapped up as a gift. He asks to present it to Minister Oh discreetly, as it is a palace treasure.
Woo-chi watches as they go inside. He tests the perimeter, but guards are everywhere.
At the same time, the king finds a letter waiting for him. It’s from So-chil, who apologizes for being so powerless and unable to give the king what he really needs. He says he intends to die with Minister Oh that night, and pleads for the king to be a great father to his country. Damn.
The king calls Chan-hwi and Eun-woo, and orders them to go save So-chil and bring him back alive at any cost.
Minister Oh opens up the gift and gasps—it’s King Taejo’s sword, the one he used to establish the nation of Joseon. So-chil presents it humbly…and then yanks the sword out and holds it to Minister Oh’s throat.
He makes his kamikaze mission rather clear, but Minister Oh doesn’t even blink as So-chil raises the sword in a cry…
Drat, it’s because Kang-rim is just outside the door. He storms in and puts So-chil in a freeze-hold. He knocks him down with one twist of his fingers, but thankfully they don’t kill him right away because the house is crowded with people.
They haul him away and Minister Oh orders him killed and buried somewhere quietly. When the officers arrive, Kang-rim sends his minions to go kill So-chil on their own.
They drag So-chil into the woods and a sword is raised to his neck…
He braces himself, but then Woo-chi arrives just in time to save him from getting his head chopped off, and he watches gratefully as Woo-chi fights off all the henchmen.
But then mid-attack, one of them sees an opening and throws a dagger aimed at Woo-chi’s back…
And So-chil jumps in its path to save Woo-chi. Oh noes!
Woo-chi stands there in shock for a second before grabbing hold of So-chil. He slumps down in Woo-chi’s arms, and then looks up at him with a smile, before falling to the ground.
Aw man. I really like So-chil. Don’t die! What will the king do without you? I thought they had already done the worst and killed off his father-in-law and taken away his queen, but now his trusted counsel too? Part of me is still mad at the king for flip-flopping on Woo-chi, so I’m not even fully sympathetic for his plight. I’m more upset that we’re losing So-chil as a character, because I rather like him. He adds a nice bit of gravitas to the good guys’ team, so I’m sad to see him go.
This week’s episodes were a marked downturn, mostly because we spent way too much time away from Woo-chi as the central character. We had some great momentum building over the last few weeks, with the formation of the Scoobies and Woo-chi figuring out how to be a hero. This show can be so cute and fun sometimes.
There were capers and jokes, and each side character got a moment to shine, but we were always grounded with Woo-chi. But now we’re getting deeper and deeper into the king’s story, and it’s starting to wear thin, especially when the king’s being a big ol’ brat. I was okay with a shift in focus to the king and queen when they were adorably sweet and idealistic, but now that the king is being stubborn and prideful, I have less patience for the time spent away from Woo-chi’s central conflict. When the main character is just running around reacting and collecting clues to other people’s schemes, we can’t help but be less invested.
I hope next week we’ll be back to Woo-chi’s journey as a hero, especially now that he’s been suped up with extra wizard mojo. (Yay for Mu-yeon and her princess creds, and also bright ideas.) This isn’t a show that needs to have a huge angsty turn, because it’s best when it’s light and fun, and our hero is at his best when he’s feeling mischievous and creative. I’m excited at the prospect of brand new powers, and wish he’d gone for more of a test-drive in this episode, but hopefully there’s lots of that to come.
- Jeon Woo-chi: Episode 17
- Jeon Woo-chi: Episode 16
- Jeon Woo-chi: Episode 15
- Jeon Woo-chi: Episode 14
- Jeon Woo-chi: Episode 13
- Jeon Woo-chi: Episode 12
- Jeon Woo-chi: Episode 11
- Jeon Woo-chi: Episode 10
- Jeon Woo-chi: Episode 9
- Jeon Woo-chi: Episode 8
- Jeon Woo-chi: Episode 7
- Jeon Woo-chi: Episode 6
- Jeon Woo-chi: Episode 5
- Jeon Woo-chi: Episode 4
- Jeon Woo-chi: Episode 3
- Jeon Woo-chi: Episode 2
- Jeon Woo-chi: Episode 1