Scholar Who Walks the Night: Episode 11
Our good guys are starting to head in the same direction, which is promising, though there’s still work to be done getting them all on the same page. Or rather, getting them to realize they’re on the same page—but trust is a long game, and takes a while to build. Luckily for us, the episode balances out the seriousness of recent weeks with a dose of cuteness, which has been missed and is a welcome addition. Because we all know how this story’s gonna go—we’re just here to enjoy the ride, and I’d much rather enjoy it with laughs and smiling than torture and self-sacrifice.
SONG OF THE DAY
Postmen – “맴돌아” (Circling) [ Download ]
EPISODE 11 RECAP
With her father dead and her family gone, Yang-sun finds herself on the top of a cliff, contemplating throwing herself from it. Sung-yeol finds her there and asks if she means to kill herself. Yang-sun answers that she doesn’t know why she should continue to live, nor does she want to.
In the palace, Yoon mulls over Sung-yeol’s direction to find him at the gibang if he wants Prince Jeonghyeon’s diary. The king has a plan to fight Gwi without the diary, but Sung-yeol’s offering it outright…
Gwi decides it’s time for the prince to choose whether to serve him, and has a test in mind: The prince must marry the woman Gwi chooses for him. The king’s attempt to take more time is overridden, and Gwi declares that the queen-to-be will be the prime minister’s daughter, Hye-ryung.
Sung-yeol takes Yang-sun from cliff’s edge to water’s edge, and explains that this is a place where souls wander; they’re unable to move on because they are held back by concern over their loved ones. Perhaps her father is one of the souls, he suggests. He tells her to look out at the land, sea, sky—gifts her father gave his life so she could have. Which is why, even though it will be agony to continue living, she must do it, if only to think of her father’s sacrifice.
Then he surprises her by admitting, “I also lived in this way.” He tells Yang-sun to let her father go so he can move on, and she does so tearfully, wishing him rest in a better place.
Sung-yeol does the same, bidding Myung-hee goodbye in his heart, thinking,
“Myung-hee, I too will send you on now. I’m sorry. I thought I would only keep you in my heart for the rest of my life. Going to join you was my only reason for living. But I have embraced another woman in my heart. The end will come someday, but I cannot ignore this girl. I’m sorry. I’m truly sorry, Myung-hee.”
Night has fallen by the time they’re walking back, and Yang-sun is nearly swaying on her feet from fatigue. Sung-yeol drops down to offer her his back, and as he carries her, she asks if she’s too heavy. He replies that it’s not as heavy as her heart is, which I swear would be unbearably cheesy but for his matter-of-fact delivery.
Sung-yeol takes her home and shows her to the room where she’ll be staying now. Su-hyang starts to follow them with that perpetual look of jealous hurt on her face, while Ho-jin holds her back. Gah, why does the woman sidekick always have to be jealous, while the guy gets to be sweet and emotionally supportive?
Yang-sun starts to protest that she can’t impose on Sung-yeol further, but he points out that she has nowhere to go and is in no condition to leave. And then, to take the romantic bloom off the proceedings, he holds up her slave papers and says it’s not in her power to refuse: “From today, your owner is me. Without my permission, you may not leave this place.” God, drama, will you cut out the romantic mood music already? This is not swoony. He adds, “Without my permission, you may not be hurt or cry. You are mine now, and you may not treat your body carelessly.”
Yang-sun asks if he found the diary per her father’s dying words, and he confirms it. She calls it her father’s last possessions and asks to see it, and also what makes it so dangerous. Sung-yeol explains that it contains the secret method for ridding the world of the bloodsucker that controls the palace, which Eumlan Seosaeng had written about.
She wishes him luck in achieving his goal and to avenge the injustices suffered by everyone Gwi victimized. She returns the book, saying that she wishes she could keep her father’s last possession, but he’ll need it more. At that, Sung-yeol takes out the decorative box—her half of the pair gifted by the prince—and gives it to her to hold onto, since it is also part of her father’s possessions.
He asks if she recognizes it, and she replies that she doesn’t, although later as she looks it over, she recalls Yoon telling her about the pair of matching boxes.
Seung-yeol’s team wonders why Yang-sun’s biological father raised her as a boy, which is something they’ll have to look into. Moreover, they’ll have to look into the first clue in the diary, whether or not the prince joins them in the mission.
Unable to sleep, Yang-sun wanders into the library and marvels at all the books. She notes that most of them are antique texts and wonders if he has any romances, which is when he arrives to direct her to the next shelf to find what she’s looking for. She explains that she was looking for a book to help her sleep, teasing that those antiques are just the thing.
Sung-yeol joins her with a book and they sit down to read, though Yang-sun spends some of that time stealing glances at him while pretending she’s not. A while later, he’s still reading but she’s nodded off, and Sung-yeol smiles as he watches her sleep, seemingly in a pleasant dream.
He tucks her into bed, but her dream turns distressed as she starts to fidget and break into a cold sweat. We see the nightmare she’s reliving, of her newly turned father biting her in the shoulder ten years ago, and she jerks awake and claps a hand to her old scar. She tells Sung-yeol that she’s recently started dreaming about being bitten. Must be a new occurrence, since we know she hadn’t previously been able to remember her childhood.
Su-hyang worries that Yang-sun’s memory will be jogged, and asks what’ll happen if Yang-sun remembers being Jin, and that Sung-yeol, regardless of the good intentions, killed her father. What if she discovers he’s a vampire?
Sung-yeol replies flatly, “She would leave. I know this well.” She urges him not to give his heart when Yang-sun will leave in the end, and Sung-yeol replies that dreams always come to an end. But to himself, he adds that he wants to treasure Yang-sun while the dream lasts.
The next day, Yang-sun takes to her new role with gusto, insisting on sweeping and cleaning despite Ho-jin’s protests. Sung-yeol tells him to let her do as she wants for now, though it’s not long before Ho-jin goes running back to complain at how terrible her housekeeping is (“She must have learned it all from books!”). He wails that he’s scared of her and her inedible cooking, but she smiles that angelic smile and he can’t even be angry with her.
Sung-yeol takes this in with amusement, and even eats her obviously wretched cooking without complaint, complimenting it to boot. He adds that she shouldn’t overdo things—she’ll figure out her reason for living in due course.
Gwi calls the prime minister before him to inform him of the plans to marry Hye-ryung and the prince. The prime minister protests that it’s too early and that he’s still out to prove that the prince is Eumlan Seosaeng, while Hye-ryung coolly counters that Eumlan Seosaeng was caught and killed—the priority is to catch Sung-yeol, who likely has the diary now.
There’s palpable tension between father and daughter, though the prime minister isn’t about to stand up to Gwi and reluctantly leaves upon dismissal. Gwi is entertained at the idea of a daughter hating her father and wanting to rise above him. Wouldn’t it be better for her to be Gwi’s woman, he suggests, rather than the king’s? She just replies, “I wish to be a human with power.”
Sung-yeol puzzles over the name-clues in diary, which is when Yang-sun sneaks up and peers over his shoulder. Seeing the list of names, she wonders if he’s writing a novel—she recognizes that list as a family tree for a novel’s characters.
Based on that pattern, she identifies the first two names as husband and wife, with the third as their daughter. From there, Sung-yeol fills in the rest of the blanks: the fourth name is the daughter’s husband, and the fifth name is their daughter.
And thus, the clue comes into clarity: it’s a matrilineal family tree.
Yang-sun asks if this was helpful, and he pats her head and smiles that her novel-writing came in handy.
The prime minister is furious to hear that Yang-sun was sold, and the man who did the selling is retroactively full of apologies, having been swayed by the huge sum given to him. When shown a drawing of Sung-yeol’s face, he confirms that this was the man who bought her, and says he frequents a certain gibang. The prime minister orders the prince watched and Sung-yeol investigated, while one of his men eavesdrops at the door. Hm, are you a mole too?
Sung-yeol takes a look at Scholar Seo’s old house, which has fallen to shambles in the past decade. He poses as a prospective buyer to the estate, and the broker tsk-tsks over the old misfortune. Sung-yeol asks what happened to the child, and the man replies that there was a massive search at the time to find the corpse, which was never found.
Sung-yeol notices that there’s an urn with burnt incense sticks, and asks if anybody comes by the house. The broker replies that one man does come by every year on the death memorial, surmising that he has some connection to the family. All he knows is that he’s a tiger hunter who goes hunting in the mountains.
The king asks Yoon why he isn’t busy making wedding preparations. Yoon replies that marrying the prime minister’s daughter is tantamount to marrying the enemy—she will report on his every move to her father and Gwi. The king says that it’s a test of his loyalty, and that Yoon must do what the king has done for years: conceal his true purpose from those closest to him.
Yoon asks if they can accomplish this on their own strength, and broaches the idea of joining forces with the man who has been helping him in secret. But the king is firmly against trusting another vampire and quashes the notion. He hands over a list of five names, saying, “Before the hunt begins, secretly gather the hunters.”
On the list is the name of a former official who was close friends with both Crown Prince Sadong and Scholar Seo. Accused of treason, he hid his identity and has been living as a hunter. Ah, okay, I see where we’re going.
Yoon makes an unannounced visit to see Hak-young, who is thrilled to welcome him, saying he has been waiting. All of one episode, but okay, it’s still a sweet bromantic reunion. Yoon apologizes for making him wait, explaining that although he appears to have caved on the outside, his spirit has not. Yoon asks his friend to find somebody for him, though it looks like Sung-yeol beats him to the punch by arriving at the hunter’s hut in the mountains.
The hut is empty, or so it seems until a blade appears at Sung-yeol’s neck. It’s the hunter, Baek In-ho (aw, Han Jung-soo, are you destined to chase Lee Jun-ki around forever?), who asks if he’s a thief or a ghost. Sung-yeol gives Scholar Seo’s name and that gets him to put the sword away, though not without cutting into his skin. He draws blood.
Baek In-ho sees the cut heal over right before his eyes, though he doesn’t react. He says that he was best friends with Scholar Seo, who was killed by a vampire dressed in black—he has been living all this while for the day he could get his revenge. He accuses Sung-yeol of being that vampire and launches into an attack.
Sung-yeol keeps him at bay, and when the fight flings them outdoors, Baek In-ho realizes he’s a special vampire to be out in daylight. Sung-yeol warns that he would have already killed him if that were his goal, but Baek just goes after him with renewed vigor. Sung-yeol dodges the daggers readily, but even he’s not faster than a speeding bullet and the shot lands in his arm. Sung-yeol runs off, and Baek vows not to let him get away.
Sung-yeol makes it back home, and his team leaps into action to tend to the wound. Yang-sun is alarmed to see him bleeding and weak, but they usher her out quickly as Su-hyang takes on the task of removing the bullet and tending to the injury. Sung-yeol weathers the pain, which triggers his vampire impulses and makes his eyes glare red.
Su-hyang tells a worried Yang-sun that he’s fine, and to ensure she keeps out of the way, she instructs that Yang-sun help out at the gibang tonight.
Baek In-ho doggedly follows Sung-yeol’s trail, deducing that the vampire’s home is located nearby. He hides as Yang-sun and Ho-jin walk by on their way to the gibang… and one look at Yang-sun in men’s clothing triggers recognition.
Yoon arrives outside the gibang, considering Sung-yeol’s offer to come to him to get the diary. But the king’s warnings win out, and he decides not to go inside, turning to leave instead. As he does, he passes right by Yang-sun, who doesn’t notice him on her way in, and he decides to follow her inside.
Once inside, she sees him in the distance and recalls his harsh words from their last encounter. Not wanting to encounter him, she hurries away before he can find her in the crowd, and Yoon has to head out empty-handed. He’s followed by the spy ordered to watch him… but then his spy is attacked by the other spy, who stabs Spy 1 in the gut. Just to keep things straight: The prime minister has spies out to watch the prince and Sung-yeol, but already in the prime minister’s household is another spy, who may or may not be looking out for the prince’s interests. Basically, we should assume everybody’s being followed.
Sung-yeol drinks blood to restore his strength, and Su-hyang surmises that this hunter is quite a formidable adversary. But Sung-yeol doesn’t feel Baek In-ho is an enemy.
When he hears that Yang-sun was sent to the gibang, he bolts up in alarm, declaring that the gibang is the worst place for her to be—if the prince were to find her there, she’d be in danger.
For now, Yang-sun finds a spot out of the way and examines the decorative box. Thinking over what she’s recently learned of her parentage, she wonders if it could be true that she’s the old friend Yoon was looking for.
Sung-yeol bursts in and finds her here, equal parts relieved and upset. He reminds her that she wasn’t to go anywhere without permission, and I kid you not, they have a literal “Who’s your master?” “You are” exchange right then and there. Gack.
Sung-yeol leads her away, and she leaves the box behind (really? Your father’s dying possession?), to be found later by hunter Baek In-ho.
On the walk home, Yang-sun asks if he’s angry with her because she did something he didn’t order her to do. He replies that he’s not keeping her near to make her work, and when she asks why, he replies, “Why do you think?” Orrrrr you could just tell her. Girl’s not really the best on the deductive reasoning front, haven’t we established this already?
She goes through the possibilities, like he’s worried or doesn’t want to waste his investment in her. She can’t quite say the last possibility out loud, thinking to herself, “Because… you love me.”
She won’t tell him what she’s thinking, but he replies that whatever that third option is, that’s the correct one.
Ah, the spy’s spy turns out to be working for Hye-ryung, and he reports that the prince has not yet made contact with Sung-yeol. She decides she’ll have to act before her father does.
Late that night, Yang-sun sees Sung-yeol’s light still on and sits close to his door, thinking over his non-confession earlier. Sung-yeol sees her shadow nearing and watches from inside, smiling.
The next day, Hak-young brings hunter Baek In-ho to meet the prince, who receives his former martial arts teacher warmly. Baek In-ho hands over the box he’d found at the gibang, which Yoon recognizes as belonging to Jin. Baek explains that he’s found Jin, and thinks that (s)he’s being held hostage by the same vampire that killed his father. Moreover, Baek knows where that vampire lives.
Meanwhile, over at Sung-yeol’s, the team worries that the lack of contact from the prince indicates that he’s fallen in line with Gwi. And of course, without the royal’s cooperation, that super-secret master plan to defeat Gwi is useless. Sung-yeol wonders if he’s misjudged Yoon, and grarrrr, won’t somebody clear up the misunderstanding? Hearing of Baek In-ho’s past service, he deduces that Baek was aligned with Sadong’s goals to defeat Gwi, and may even know of that secret plan.
Yang-sun comes by with a feast for Sung-yeol, at least in terms of quantity. Based on his reaction it’s no better than the last time, and he has to choke down a bite because she’s watching so expectantly.
Just then, he senses something in the distance and heads out. In the woods nearby, Baek In-ho leads the prince and Hak-young as they approach the house, and excuses himself to scope out the premises first. Sung-yeol watches from the perimeter and approaches when Yoon is alone, approaching with hostile eyes—he’d given Yoon the opportunity to prove he wanted to fight Gwi, but Yoon didn’t seek him out and now comes with backup.
“Did Gwi send you?” he asks. Yoon replies that he’s here to take Jin back, and that Sung-yeol was the vampire to kill Jin’s father. Sung-yeol retorts that Gwi was the one to cause the man’s death, but Yoon cuts him off and says he can’t trust a vampire.
“I am different from Gwi,” Sung-yeol declares, calling Gwi his enemy too. But Yoon can’t believe him, asking what he’ll do after defeating Gwi. “I will end this beastly life myself,” Sung-yeol replies.
Yoon sneers, saying that Sung-yeol could change his mind and decide to subjugate the weak humans, like Gwi. He provokes Sung-yeol’s temper enough to prompt the red eyes, and Sung-yeol grabs him by the throat, lifting him high into the air.
Yoon pulls out a dagger and holds it to Sung-yeol’s throat. “You do this, and say you are different from Gwi?” he scoffs.
“I am! I have a person’s heart!” Sung-yeol says. “And to keep myself from forgetting that, I have suffered such agony the likes of which you cannot even imagine.”
And that’s when Yang-sun arrives in the clearing, calling out to Sung-yeol. With a grunt of frustration, Sung-yeol lets go of his hold, tossing the prince aside.
I’ve resigned myself to the expectation that this drama is just going to take its sweet time getting all our good guys on the same mission, so it’s not a surprise to have Sung-yeol and Yoon at odds and mistrusting each others’ motives. I do like the addition of the hunter, who gives us another link to the past and has already provided more movement in connecting Yang-sun to Jin than the other characters have done all show long. Mostly, it’s good to see the prince back in action after seeing him shun his faithful followers for the sake of the greater plan, and even though the swiftness of the turnaround almost undoes the big angst of the rift, I’m just glad to have him back with his best buddy and actively planning to fight Gwi.
Mostly, I was glad to have Yang-sun and Sung-yeol back together again, even if I’m forcing myself to forget that whole gross “I am your master” speech. Whatever, Neanderthal Scholar. I know that he doesn’t mean it in the way it sounds, but that’s the thing about words and the power of using them in certain ways, and I am not gonna smile and swoon when you doublespeak your way around your love confession by reminding your girl that you legit own her. Blech.
Oh right, but I was saying that I actually liked them together, now that Sung-yeol is past the denial phase and able to recognize that he does in fact love this woman and that it will probably end badly, but that he’s human enough to want to live the moments of happiness while they’re in front of him. It would be nice if he could actually express that a little to his beloved instead of assuming that “Number three” is the same as saying “I love you.” But I suppose it’s been a long road of acceptance, so I’ll cut him a little slack for not being ready to say the words.
The humor is what I’ve been sorely missing from this drama, and it wasn’t until it made a reappearance that I remembered how much better it is when it’s being cute and playing off the couple’s rapport, rather than building the angst of their separation. I love Sung-yeol choking down her terrible food and giving her space to figure out her new place in life (and recognizing that her housemaid duties were not about accepting her slave status but about finding a purpose to her life), and it was nice to see Yang-sun be useful in return by finding the pattern to the names in the diary. She’s adorable and plucky as a character, but good golly could I do without her needing to be saved every five seconds. I like being reminded that she actually knows things, and that she could contribute actively to this plot. Let’s see more of that, shall we?
- Scholar Who Walks the Night: Episode 10
- 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