Scholar Who Walks the Night: Episode 10
It’s a turning point in the romance and the plot, though the plot half of that is debatable when we’re talking about this show. Don’t get me wrong—stuff totally happens. It’s just that Scholar’s plot has a way of introducing new information that’s a lot like the old information, dressed in new information clothing. Thankfully there are strong character beats that keep us grounded in the emotional journey, especially when the stakes are life and death.
SONG OF THE DAY
The Daisy – “사랑한단 말은 안해도” (Even If I Don’t Say I Love You) [ Download ]
EPISODE 10 RECAP
Yang-sun wails over her father’s body as Sung-yeol watches from a distance, anxious to get her away to safety. But Prince Yoon rounds the corner and discovers her there, and Sung-yeol is forced to retreat. Urg, at this point couldn’t you just whisk her away and be done with it?
Yoon asks his guard what will happen to Yang-sun now, and he’s told that she’ll become a slave. Sung-yeol returns home and tells his people that he’s going to rescue Yang-sun, and they worry that he’ll expose himself to Gwi that way. All you people do is worry. Imma call you the Worrywarts from now on.
The Worrywarts think it’s conspicuous enough that Yang-sun was allowed to live, but Sung-yeol is determined to save her. Now you’re talking some sense. Su-hyang sees that he won’t budge, and offers to look into a quieter way to get Yang-sun out.
Sung-yeol goes to the temple where Yang-sun said the diary was hidden, and FINALLY gets his hands on Prince Jeonghyeon’s diary. He opens it up carefully once he’s home, and gets emotional as he reads the prince’s words directed at him, thanking him for being his friend and confidante.
The diary doesn’t offer much in the way of clarification, and says that the way to kill Gwi is “people.” Still vague. But there are names listed, and Sung-yeol wonders if maybe these people are the secret plan. If you tell me that we now have to track down six more century-old diaries, I will flip a table.
Advisor Noh tells the king that the prince’s men all took medicine and died willingly without hesitation. And Hak-young? Where is he? The king regrets losing more lives and wonders if there really is any hope of defeating Gwi, and Advisor Noh suggests that the other vampire who released the consort-vamp into the palace yesterday might be helping them in secret.
The king decrees that Eumlan Seosaeng and his followers have been captured and punished, though the prime minister insists to Gwi that it’s a cover-up to protect Yoon, who’s the real Eumlan Seosaeng. Gwi is too angry about the diary to listen though, and is only focused on what Dad said about passing it off to someone else before dying. What if that person is Sung-yeol?
The prime minister is disturbed to see his daughter Hye-ryung walk right into Gwi’s lair, though he notably doesn’t protest when the evil vampire demands to be alone with her. Gwi calls Sung-yeol foolish for loving a human, and tells Hye-ryung to keep a close eye on Yang-sun, because Sung-yeol is sure to be nearby.
Yang-sun is made a slave and told that she’ll have to work herself to the bone to pay for her traitorous crimes.
Sung-yeol tasks the Worrywarts with tracking down the names in the diary, and Su-hyang reports that Prince Yoon has undergone a complete change—he’s now acting like a Noron puppet. She says that Hak-young was declared innocent and released (phew), but Yoon personally dismissed him from office.
The king warns Yoon that he’ll have to convince Gwi that he’s not Eumlan Seosaeng, and Yoon says he’s learned his lesson about being unprepared. He vows to keep his head down and play the part until the time is right.
Hak-young comes up to Yoon, who looks at his old friend coldly. Hak-young just wants to know if Yoon really exiled all the Soron followers and Sungkyunkwan scholars who were once on their side, but Yoon says that he needn’t answer since Hak-young no longer has a post here.
Yoon pauses at Hak-young’s side as he passes and adds, “The Eumlan Seosaeng you served is dead.” But Hak-young turns to him and replies, “Just look ahead and go forward on the path you’ve chosen. Everyone says that you have changed… but I don’t believe that.” Don’t make me cry, Hak-young! Agh, the bromance!
Yoon tries not to betray a reaction as Hak-young says with certainty that he knows Yoon has a reason for dismissing him from office and letting Yang-sun become a slave. Hak-young bids him farewell with a pledge of loyalty: “I will always remain in the same place, waiting for you.” He bows, and Yoon steels himself and walks ahead.
Yoon seeks out Yang-sun, and is stricken with guilt to see her limping along after being so brutally tortured. He approaches her but can’t even say anything, so she asks, “Are you sorry? You should be. You should be a thousand, ten thousand times sorry.”
She almost calls him “hyungnim” out of habit, but corrects herself and says with daggers in her eyes that he can never wash away the wrong that he did to her. But then she tells him, “Take that guilt you feel and save the country and the people. Because that is what Eumlan Seosaeng needs to do.”
That surprises him, but she adds in no uncertain terms that she never wants to see him again. He agrees to never appear before her, and shocks her by saying that he was momentarily bewitched, but all the wicked traitors have been punished now, so she should know her place.
Yang-sun is so taken aback by his sudden change that she drops the jar of salt in her hands. From a distance, Hye-ryung watches this whole exchange with a dark expression. She was expecting to find Sung-yeol in Yang-sun’s orbit, but she’s now realizing that Yoon cares for her too, and looks at Yang-sun jealously.
Sung-yeol hands over the deed to an enormous plot of land in exchange for Yang-sun’s slave papers, and asks his contact about the prime minister. The man says that there are all sorts of rumors about the prime minister offering up his only daughter as a bribe to rise in power, and that his wife is ill because of it.
The prime minister demands to know what Gwi said to Hye-ryung, and when she ignores her father as usual, he tells her not to dream of becoming the prince’s wife. He plans to depose the prince himself, and tells her that Yoon is Eumlan Seosaeng—he will prove it somehow and make Yoon kneel at his feet.
Hye-ryung comes to the gibang to purposely run into Sung-yeol, and mentions seeing Yang-sun. She notes Sung-yeol’s interest in the girl and says that the prince seemed extremely interested in her as well, and stopped to talk to her for a long time.
Yang-sun is berated for spilling the salt earlier and tasked with moving a giant mountain of rice sacks, when she can barely manage to stand upright. She drags them one by one across the courtyard and falls, but she tells herself that she has to endure for Dad’s sake, to take care of their family in his place. She struggles to stand up again, but faints from exhaustion.
Hye-ryung comes home that night to find her mother crouching outside looking for flowers. Mom is clearly mentally ill, because she speaks of her daughter lovingly, and yet looks right at Hye-ryung and doesn’t recognize her. Hye-ryung swallows back her tears as Mom asks repeatedly where her daughter is.
Sung-yeol reads over the diary again, confused as to why Prince Jeonghyeon’s instructions are so vague. To prolong plot? He flips through the pages again and discovers a blank page, and thinks to pry apart the paper.
Sure enough, there’s a hidden page that says that the guardian vampire (so that’d be his sire Hae-seo, and now Sung-yeol) and the one who has the gift and talent to become king are the key. Wait, did we really need a diary to us that Sung-yeol and Yoon have to work together? ‘Cause DUH.
Sung-yeol remembers now what Hae-seo said to Prince Jeonghyeon—that he exists to rid the world of Gwi, but without human will, he is of no use to them.
Ho-jin turns over proof of Yang-sun’s slave ownership and is allowed to take her, though the man scoffs that he’s made a bad deal because she’s nearly dead already. Alarmed, Ho-jin rushes into the storage shed where Yang-sun has just been left to die, and pleads with her to hold on just a little longer as he leads her away.
The hidden page in the diary also makes mention of a maternal line, and Sung-yeol wonders if maybe the names in the diary are connected by maternal lineage. He decides to go see Yoon, but Ho-jin bursts in with Yang-sun on his back and cries that they might be too late—she’s barely breathing.
Sung-yeol takes her in his arms and asks for a bath to be drawn, and Ho-jin has to hold Su-hyang back from interfering. Sung-yeol carries her into a back room (they had time to light candles?) and gets into the tub with her, and hesitates before undressing her to check her wounds.
Then he takes his hawthorn dagger and slits his wrists, letting himself bleed into the water. Ahhhh, now I see why they’re in the tub. I just thought they were being randomly sexy. He bleeds so much that it weakens him, but the water turns red and heals over all of her wounds.
He holds her close and caresses her face as he washes away her scars with his blood. He thinks to himself: “I’m afraid of you. I live at the cost of the one I loved, and I’m not a person… but I fear that I might want to live like a person, by your side, looking at you, touching you.”
His blood heals over all of her scars except for the one she’s had since childhood, and he remembers what Dad told him about him saving her as a child. She starts to stir a little, and he pulls her into his arms. And outside the door, Su-hyang sheds tears silently.
Yoon goes to the temple to see his mother, and is shocked to see Hye-ryung praying in memorial for Eumlan Seosaeng and his men. He yells at her that this is a dangerous thing for her to do, but Mom says it was her idea.
Yoon asks Mom if she knew what his father wanted to achieve, and Mom suddenly worries that Yoon might be Eumlan Seosaeng. She asks him outright and begs him to say no, but instead of answering, Yoon asks to sleep here tonight because he hasn’t slept in so long.
Mom can tell that the answer to her question is yes and begins to cry, and outside the door, Hye-ryung listens in and confirms that what her father said is true. Hye-ryung’s bodyguard worries that Yoon will become suspicious that she approached him on purpose, and Hye-ryung decides she’ll have to make it so that he can’t suspect it.
Sung-yeol watches over Yang-sun as she sleeps, and when she opens her eyes, she reaches up to his face and says it’s cold. She warms his face with her hand, and when he starts to pull away, she clutches his hand and asks him not to go.
She asks him to stay by her side like this, and to my utter shock, he leans down and says with a sweet smile, “I won’t go.” Really? Really, really? And you’re not going to say it’s a dream or anything?
She confesses, “I love you,” and Sung-yeol can only answer in his thoughts: “I… too…” He leans down to kiss her gently on the forehead and then on the lips, and tells her, “This is as far as I can go. You and I cannot be together.”
She asks why, and he says with a smile that she’ll find out the reason for herself someday. He tells her to rest, and she makes him promise not to leave her side as she closes her eyes again.
Later that night, Sung-yeol tells Ho-jin to prepare a boat to Tamra tomorrow, and Ho-jin dares to ask if he really needs to send Yang-sun away. He says that even he can see it plainly—that Sung-yeol cares for her. Ho-jin: “You’ve lived as if you were dead for a hundred and twenty years. Isn’t it okay for you to be a little happy?” Aw. That’s what I’m sayin’. But Sung-yeol says that his sole reason for existing is to rid the world of Gwi, and once that work is done, he’ll cease to exist too.
Yang-sun’s mother prays for her husband’s memorial rites and asks the monk at the temple to continue the rites that Dad had observed every year (for Yang-sun’s birth parents).
The monk says that Dad was a good person and will be rewarded for taking in a child that wasn’t his own. This is news to Mom, who always believed that Yang-sun was Dad’s child out of wedlock, and she now realizes that she must be the child of Scholar Seo.
Yang-sun dreams of being bitten by her father as a child, and wakes up in a cold sweat. Dam hugs her sister in relief and thanks her for coming back to them, and Yang-sun cries as she apologizes for not protecting Dad and bringing him back with her. Dam says it’s not her fault, and that they’ll start over in Tamra, because Sung-yeol is putting them on a boat today.
Sung-yeol decides to go see for himself whether Yoon has switched sides, and Ho-jin asks if he’s really not going to see Yang-sun before she gets on that boat. Yang-sun hangs around outside Sung-yeol’s room hoping to see him, but he remains hidden until Ho-jin leads her away.
Mom asks Su-hyang about Yang-sun’s bio dad Scholar Seo, and cries to hear that he was killed as a traitor aligned with Crown Prince Sadong—it means that his child would be considered a traitor too.
When Mom returns to the house, she slaps Yang-sun across the face coldly and tells her that she’s not her daughter—they’re not related by blood, and she isn’t even Dad’s child. She tells Yang-sun the truth about her parentage, and refuses to let her family come to more harm by being associated with traitors, basically blaming her for getting Dad killed.
Tears spill down Yang-sun’s face as she takes this in, and despite everyone’s protests, Mom refuses to get on that boat if Yang-sun comes with them.
A gust of wind blows through the palace, and when Yoon looks around and back down at his book, suddenly Prince Jeonghyeon’s diary is before him. He asks to speak face-to-face, and this time Sung-yeol shows his face. He introduces himself as Prince Jeonghyeon’s friend who became a vampire, and shares what he’s discovered about the way to kill Gwi.
Sung-yeol takes the diary away before Yoon can actually get his hands on it, and says that he’ll give it to him if Yoon has the will to fight Gwi and seeks him out to show that they’re on the same side. They’re interrupted when the king is announced, and Sung-yeol disappears in the blink of an eye.
Ho-jin comes running up to tell Sung-yeol that there’s a new complication, and back at the house, we see that Yang-sun finally gives in and tells Mom that she won’t go with them. Su-hyang tells her that if she doesn’t run away to Tamra, she could be caught as a slave again, but Yang-sun walks away, leaving her sister in tears.
Sung-yeol returns to hear that Mom and Dam left without Yang-sun, and Su-hyang is upset that Sung-yeol already knew about Yang-sun’s parentage (why does it even matter to you?). When he hears that Yang-sun wandered off alone, he rushes out after her.
The king divulges a bit of his plan to Yoon, and shows him the new palace that’s being built specifically as a means to fight Gwi. He remains vague on the how, but tells Yoon that they’ll devise their own way to fight Gwi without Prince Jeonghyeon’s diary.
Hye-ryung asks Gwi if Yoon has a chance at being king if he might be Eumlan Seosaeng. Gwi says that if it turns out to be true, he can’t let him be king, and sees that Hye-ryung is already worrying about Yoon.
She says that she doesn’t care whether Yoon is king or not, as long as the queen’s place is hers to occupy. Once her father offered her up to Gwi for power and her mother went crazy because of it, she decided that her only goal in life was to rise higher than her father so that he could never have power over her again.
Gwi calls her smart and says that he’ll have nothing to worry about once she’s queen. He muses that she reminds him of someone else—a smart and ambitious woman. She asks if he loved her, and he admits that she was the first woman he’d ever loved.
Hye-ryung: “What happened to her?” Gwi: “I killed her. I couldn’t help it. She had my child without my permission.” OH. OH. Secret weapon, anyone? He says that a child born between a human and a vampire will kill vampires, and guesses that the child died since it’s been over 200 years.
Yang-sun walks through the forest numb from the shock of being abandoned, and all she can think about is the last time their family was together, laughing and talking about how great life would be for them in Tamra.
Sung-yeol runs all over town looking for her, and he winces from the pain in his wrist as blood continues to seep out. Wait, he’s STILL bleeding? Ack.
Yang-sun edges her way toward a massive cliff, thinking about how she let Dad die, her vow to look after their family, and Mom’s cruel words that she killed her father. She inches forward, prepared to die, when Sung-yeol grabs her wrist and whirls her around to face him.
Well thank goodness one of you is thinking straight. Okay, I do feel terribly for Yang-sun, who’s been utterly abandoned when her love for her family was the only thing keeping her alive through all this. What a horrible thing to have your mother drive home the guilt that’s already eating away at you. I’m still disappointed that it drove her to suicide though, because she’s shown herself to be made of tougher stuff—hell, she endured multiple rounds of torture for crying out loud. I just like the story best when our heroine is strong, even if it’s in a silently enduring or noble way, though of course it’s best when she’s feisty and forthright.
It was nice to see some of that in her conversation with Yoon, where she doesn’t let him off the hook for just standing by as her father died in his place. Frankly he deserves worse (I know, he’s the prince and his life is more important in this war, but come on), and I was impressed that she was able to tell him to use that guilt to save the country for the greater good. I trust that Yoon won’t lose sight of that, but it did hurt to see Hak-young and Yang-sun’s pledges of loyalty received so coldly (especially when Hak-young’s was so earnest). Couldn’t you pass along a secret note that you’re just pretending to go dark side? Why didn’t Eumlan Seosaeng have a secret handshake? It would come in really handy right about now.
I pretty much expected this to happen, but I almost couldn’t believe how little we learned from Prince Jeonghyeon’s godforsaken Diary of Vague. I cannot dwell on the fact that we spent ten episodes looking for it, because if I do, I’ll throw something. The one thing that really bothers me is that if Sung-yeol has really spent the last 120 years looking for a way to kill Gwi and THIS is as much progress as he’s made, it doesn’t speak well of him. We learned more from Gwi’s sudden confessional to Hye-ryung (which was frankly out of character for him to just give up such crucial information willingly) than we’ll ever get out of that damned diary. Now we just need our heroes to catch up and find the Spawn of Gwi, which I’m sure will take the next ten episodes to do.
What saved the episode was the emotional step forward from Sung-yeol, who finally lets himself indulge his feelings for a day. Okay, like half a day. He’s so guarded that he can’t even admit that he loves her in his own interior monologue, even though it’s quite obvious that he does. What moved me was his admission that he’s afraid of wanting to live a human life because of her. Of course, we’re all with Ho-jin and asking why he can’t just let himself be happy, but there’s no arguing that there’s a simple happily ever after for someone like him, even in the best of scenarios. For now, I’m just pleased that he isn’t lying about how he feels anymore, and all I want for the near future is for him to stop trying to put Yang-sun on a boat to Tamra. Also, that smiling thing—more of that, please.
- Scholar Who Walks the Night: Episode 9
- Dramabeans Podcast #29
- Scholar Who Walks the Night: Episode 8
- Scholar Who Walks the Night: Episode 7
- Scholar Who Walks the Night: Episode 6
- Scholar Who Walks the Night: Episode 5
- Scholar Who Walks the Night: Episode 4
- Scholar Who Walks the Night: Episode 3
- Scholar Who Walks the Night: Episode 2
- Scholar Who Walks the Night: Episode 1
- From the press conference for Scholar Who Walks the Night
- Lee Jun-ki the scholar walks nights, breaks hearts
- Character stills for Scholar Who Walks the Night