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68

Mirror of the Witch: Episode 13

We finally come down to the culmination of the Battle for Prince Sunhoe’s soul, and our hero and heroine display some kick-ass fighting and witching skills, as they join forces to combat forces of evil working through both their friends and their foes. Many of our other characters, meanwhile, come to a crossroads where difficult choices hang in balance — gray just doesn’t cut it anymore. When it comes down to action, it’s time to choose between black and white.

 

 
EPISODE 13 RECAP

Yeon-hee, freshly moved into the palace, confronts Hong-joo and asks if she’s happy to see her. Hong-joo, grinning like a cat with the cream, says of course she is — she has worked hard to find Yeon-hee, and asks if she has come to see her twin brother Prince Sunhoe.

Both ladies glance at the white urn in which the prince’s soul is imprisoned, and Yeon-hee asks if that urn holds her brother. Hong-joo just smiles, and asks how she can be so cold.

Yeon-hee reaches out and summons the urn, which flies through the air into her hands. Hong-joo’s eyes widen with alarm, and Yeon-hee tells her she can no longer bear to stand by and watch Hong-joo’s evil deeds play out. Holding the urn at arm’s length, she lets it totter precariously.

Hong-joo plays it cool, commenting that Yeon-hee will ultimately be the one to kill her brother, and asking what the queen dowager will feel when she learns that Yeon-hee killed him. Yeon-hee coolly asks in return that if one of the twins must die, shouldn’t the currently living one survive?

As the urn tips on the end of Yeon-hee’s fingers, Hong-joo orders Yeon-hee to put the urn down. She snarls that she created the twin siblings, and so she decides who lives and dies.

Hong-joo begins to approach, but Yeon-hee’s eyes glow bright blue, and Hong-joo is violently dragged up into the air. When the shamaness soldiers move towards her, Yeon-hee’s eyes glow, and she generates a force that shoves them away.

In complete control now, Yeon-hee flies over to Hong-joo, who is still dangling in the air, and angrily asks if Hong-joo knows how many innocent people have died because of her terrible deeds. She knows that Hong-joo will try to force the prince to kill his sister again, and again raises the urn up high.

Hong-joo can only gasp out that this isn’t the only way for her to kill Yeon-hee. Yeon-hee replies that she can find that out, takes the urn, and walks resolutely out.

Released from Yeon-hee’s magical grasp, Hong-joo crumples to the floor, and her face hardens.

Hyun-seo, possessed by Hong-joo’s dark power, points a sword at Yo-gwang and demands that Yo-gwang bring him to Yeon-hee.

Yo-gwang is utterly confused and beg his master to come to his senses. Hyun-seo grips Yo-gwang’s throat, choking him and tossing him across the room before he runs out.

Hong-joo faces off against the queen dowager, asking if she was the one who brought Yeon-hee to the palace. She adds that she will have to hide Yeon-hee very carefully, considering Hong-joo has searched the entire country for the princess. In the palace, she might as well be in Hong-joo’s hands.

After Hong-joo leaves, the queen dowager quietly leaves the room through a hidden door behind her screen. She goes to see Yeon-hee, who is hidden in a room past the concealed hallway.

Hong-joo informs the king that the princess has been concealed somewhere in the palace by the queen dowager. Fixating on Hong-joo’s promise that finding and eliminating Yeon-hee will heal his mysterious illness, the king orders Hong-joo to bring the princess to him.

She asks for permission to “hunt” Yeon-hee down in the palace. His eyes get a little crazy, as he turns this request down — only to say that the hunt will be more fun if he does it himself. Hong-joo smiles that she will just watch.

Yeon-hee tells the queen dowager that it would be best to release Prince Sunhoe’s soul as soon as possible. She plans to ask Hyun-seo to perform the cleansing rite immediately.

The queen dowager looks pained and suggests that they can move slowly — she needs a little time. Yeon-hee, knowing that waiting will prolong the danger to her life, gently agrees to wait.

The queen dowager almost immediately changes her mind, since she knows that Hong-joo has already started planning to capture Yeon-hee again. She sighs that she doesn’t know if the ritual can be performed safely. With that, Yeon-hee says there is something the queen dowager must do on her behalf.

Hong-joo enters her rooms to find a tormented Hyun-seo painfully gripping a knife in front of his heart. He seems to be back to his old self, but is unable to actually stab himself. She rushes to his side and admonishes him that his body and soul now belong completely to her — he can’t move or abandon her as he wishes anymore.

She grabs the knife away, and Hyun-seo slumps in defeat. Gently taking his face in her hands, she tells him not to fall into despair and to live as he always has — at least he’s alive. Hyun-seo, in a broken voice, begs her to let him live “like a person.”

Hong-joo only responds that there is much he has to do for her, and when she reaches out her hand, he slowly puts his hand in hers. Hong-joo smiles.

Jun visits Poong-yeon to thank him for his help in Banchon (where Yeon-hee escaped kidnapping). Poong-yeon says brusquely that it was only for Yeon-hee’s sake.

Jun’s raises his suspicions about the identity of Red Cloak, asking if Poong-yeon always brings Sol-gae around with him, and how much he trusts her. Poong-yeon replies that he trusts her with his life.

Jun asks what Poong-yeon would do if Jun found Red Cloak. Gaze intense, Poong-yeon declares that though he is no longer a palace guard, he would help Jun expose Red Cloak in order to protect Yeon-hee and the king. Jun reveals that he has a certain someone in mind, and promises to let him know once he has confirmed his suspicions.

As he leaves, Jun crosses paths with Sol-gae and pauses to watch their interaction. Poong-yeon thinks she looks unwell and notes a fever, which makes her uneasy (since she’s still hiding the injuries sustained as Red Cloak).

Jun calls out, “Red Cloak!” It’s clearly directed at Sol-gae, who tenses while Jun finishes his sentence, telling Poong-yeon that he’ll follow up with him about the identity of Red Cloak.

Heo Ok reports to the king that Yeon-hee eluded their attempted abduction in Banchon. He swears he did his best, leaving no leaf or household unturned.

The king smiles darkly, saying that it’s fine, asking for Ok’s description of Yeon-hee. Ok hilariously describes her poetically as looking ice-cold, frail, with big liquidy eyes. The king wryly says he was very observant, and Ok agrees he’s always had good eyes.

Poong-yeon visits the queen dowager to ask to meet Yeon-hee, presumably to gift her with new clothes, and says that she’s in danger here in the palace. He wants to take her with him.

The queen dowager reminds him that Yeon-hee is a princess who has a job to do in the palace, but Poong-yeon asks if she cares about Yeon-hee’s safety at all. Deeply offended, the queen dowager barely has time to register her displeasure before the head eunuch runs in.

He’s followed a moment later by a contingent of armed guards — and the king, here to hunt Yeon-hee down. As he steps forward, the king pauses to accuse Poong-yeon of betrayal.

The queen dowager takes him to task for daring to intrude her quarters, but the king smirks and says he’s here to protect her from rumors of a witch loose in the palace. Ok jumps in to describe Yeon-hee as the witch, saying that he saw a girl matching the description entering the queen dowager’s chambers.

The queen dowager snaps at the king to just declare her as a traitor if he wants to dethrone her. The king shrugs this off, saying there’s no point since once he’s healed from his illness, she will be as good as powerless. He orders his men to search her chambers in the name of protecting her, wearing a smug smile.

Ok moves aside the folding screen, and the king looks triumphant as the queen’s expression becomes trapped. But when the soldiers find the hidden pathway and come upon an empty room, the queen now smiles as the king grows angry. A eunuch runs in to tell the king that his presence is requested by his council.

The king storms in — and finds Yeon-hee standing there. The king asks who she is, and the queen dowager enters behind him, calling Yeon-hee a princess and Prince Sunhoe’s sister. Yeon-hee bows and formally greets the king.

The king scoffs, demanding to know how a princess suddenly appeared from nowhere. The queen dowager calmly explains that she believed the princess dead, but recently found her alive. She declares that as of today, she is giving Yeon-hee her rightful title as a princess.

Thrown by this twist, the king accuses the queen of having had twins through evil methods, and twins are considered to be evil/unlucky to begin with. The queen dowager tells him not to slander the royal family, and that having twins was the will of the heavens.

The king bursts out that the princess has been the cause of a royal curse and unending suffering, adding that he has heard — just a rumor — that he himself is a victim of the curse through a mysterious illness. The queen dowager promises to take responsibility if this is the case, which the king says could mean dethronement.

The queen dowager agrees, but challenges the king to prove that Yeon-hee is the origin of the curse. The king shoots back that if it’s true, the curse will be fulfilled anyway.

Yeon-hee and the queen dowager run into Hong-joo on their way back, and the queen dowager orders her to always show respect to the princess. She warns that if anything happens to Yeon-hee, she will hold Hong-joo accountable regardless of the circumstances, which Hong-joo finds unfair.

Yeon-hee adds an order for Hong-joo to be present at the ritual for Prince Sunhoe’s cleansing. Hong-joo promises to be there, but her face grows dark as she turns away.

Hong-joo returns to her rooms and confirms that Red Cloak has the real urn — Hong-joo has switched it with a fake. Red Cloak is to return only during the specific hours that Hong-joo can use to kill Yeon-hee with the Crown Prince’s soul.

We meet up with Red Cloak as she moves swiftly through the forest with the urn — and so does Jun, who strolls into her path. She attacks, but Jun fights her off — and today she’s slower and less effective than she usually is, which Jun notes. He asks if she didn’t apply the medicine as he advised, and easily defeats her in her injured state.

Jun unmasks Red Cloak to reveal Sol-gae. She weakly threatens to kill him if he reveals her identity to Poong-yeon, just as she collapses. Jun catches her.

Yeon-hee arrives at the Taoist temple with the white urn to perform the rites. The queen dowager instructs Hong-joo to say a fond farewell, reminding her how close she was to the Prince Sunhoe. Hong-joo assures them that her heart aches as well. Yeon-hee asks why, if her heart hurts so much, Hong-joo stole the real urn containing the prince’s soul.

Hong-joo’s eyes widen as Yeon-hee calls the prince’s name, and the urn — the real urn! — begins to rattle and emit black smoke. Hong-joo reluctantly bows her head to bid farewell to the prince. The queen dowager angrily swears that this isn’t the end — Hong-joo will pay further for her evil actions.

Hong-joo leaves abruptly, and the queen dowager exits to get some fresh air. Then Jun emerges from behind a screen, revealing he has been there all along.

In a flashback, we see that Jun arrived first at the Taoist temple in time to present Yeon-hee with the real urn that he took from Sol-gae. Yeon-hee smiles at him with gratitude.

Then Yo-gwang arrives, and is relieved to hear that all is well with them. Hyun-seo strolls in looking perfectly well and suggests that they begin the cleansing ritual to release the prince’s soul immediately. Yo-gwang eyes him warily.

Yo-gwang sends Yeon-hee out with Jun, remaining alert as he watches Hyun-seo carefully. staying behind along with Hyun-seo, who reassures him not to worry. As Hyun-seo reaches for the urn, we see his expression growing hard. Uh-oh.

Jun teasingly asks if he has to call Yeon-hee “your highness” now. She tells him that the princess arrangement is just a safety precaution, and not to feel uncomfortable. Jun replies that it’s not uncomfortable, just scary. He isn’t referring to her witchy powers, though — he’s afraid to be separated from her again. Yeon-hee gives him a searching gaze, and Poong-yeon walks up just in time to see it.

Poong-yeon grabs her wrist to drag her away, warning Jun not to follow since he has something to say to her in private. Then he shoves the bag of clothes he brought at her and tells her to change so they can leave, insisting that she’s not safe here, near the very people who want to kill her.

But Yeon-hee is determined to keep her enemies close, so she can have a fighting chance to thwart their plans. She apologizes that she doesn’t have the luxury to worry about his feelings right now.

Poong-yeon says he wasn’t trying to avoid her cursed self — he just had to overcome his fears. Now he wants to protect her as a man and not a brother, but she won’t give him a chance. Yeon-hee returns the bell charm that he gave her, saying that it’s the only answer she can give.

Poong-yeon grabs her wrist again, hard, but Jun steps in this time and orders him to let go. Yeon-hee asks Jun to let go, and he reluctantly does. She then asks Poong-yeon the same, and when Poong-yeon warns her that letting go now means she will never see him again, she pulls her wrist free and says she will go with Jun. Poong-yeon’s face twists in anguish as he watches her go.

As Hyun-seo and Yo-gwang prepare the cleansing ritual, Hong-joo begins chanting a spell, and Hyun-seo’s eyes flash. He’s gone when Jun, Yeon-hee, and the queen dowager return to the temple, with only Yo-gwang there, crumpled on the floor bleeding from his head. The white urn is gone, too. Yo-gwang lies that Hyun-seo was not in the room when he was attacked.

Hyun-seo has brought the urn to Hong-joo, of course. The queen dowager rushes out, knowing exactly who is to blame.

The queen dowager angrily confronts Hong-joo, who counters that the queen dowager chose to save Yeon-hee over her son — so Hong-joo is going to do as she will with the prince.

The queen dowager asks what will happen to her son, and Hong-joo just says it’s none of her business — she’s given up on him anyway. The queen dowager says shrilly that she has never, ever given up on her son. Hong-joo snarls back that she should have let her kill Yeon-hee to save the prince. Completely carried away, the queen screams that if Hong-joo had just killed Yeon-hee properly the first time, her son would still be alive. Ouch.

Yeon-hee looks devastated, and Hong-joo is triumphant as she asks Yeon-hee if she understands now who was supposed to live and die. It dawns on queen that Yeon-hee has heard everything that just happened, and Yeon-hee stares at her horrified mother with a pained expression.

Jun grabs a nearby object and throws it at Hong-joo’s hand, forcing her to drop the urn. But instead of breaking, the urn hovers in mid-air, kept safe by Yeon-hee’s power. Tears in her eyes, Yeon-hee summons the urn to herself.

And unbelievably, she hands it over into the queen dowager’s hands. Yeon-hee looks up at her mother with eyes full of hurt before walking away.

Jun tells the queen dowager that even though she abandoned Yeon-hee, Yeon-hee has protected her. The queen dowager starts to cry, and so do I.

As Yeon-hee and Jun turn to leave, the queen dowager’s anguished face twists, and with a sudden wrench, she hurls the jar to the ground. Hong-joo gasps, and everyone watches the black smoky tendrils of the prince’s captured soul turn into white strands of light and vanish into the darkness.

In a low, furious voice, the queen dowager orders Hong-joo to never touch her children — either of them — ever again. She walks out, leaving Hong-joo on the ground in shock.

Jun and Yeon-hee return to her room and begin concocting a potion together, which Yeon-hee then brings to the queen dowager. Yeon-hee kneels by her mother’s bedside and gently tells her to drink it before she sleeps. It’s a dream potion, which will allow her to meet the person she wants to see most in her dreams.

As the queen dowager sleeps that night, her dreams take her to happier times, as she watches a puppet show with her son. Another scene shows Prince Sunhoe painting a lovely portrait of his mother.

In a voiceover, the prince says that if he could keep one day of his whole life, he would hold on to the mundane times he passed with his mother, just talking and laughing. The prince promises to wait to meet his mother again, though he hopes it will be a long time before it happens. The queen dowager cries, in her dreams and in her sleep — and in the temple, another candle is lit.

Hong-joo returns to her lair and collapses to the ground. Clinging to Hyun-seo’s robes, she gasps that he is her only remaining recourse, as the only one with the power to kill Yeon-hee. She tells him he must help her burn with spiritual force when that fateful day comes.

Possessed Hyun-seo approaches Yeon-hee later that night as she prays, reaching out a black hand towards her throat. His eyes flash silver a few times before he regains control of himself, registers what he’s about to do, and pulls away in horror.

Yo-gwang has seen this, and Hyun-seo takes this chance to hand over the the last page of the Mauigeumseo that he’d torn out. He tells Yo-gwang that only the sacrifice of a person who truly loves Yeon-hee will be able to light that last candle — and Jun will be in danger if Hong-joo finds out.

Hyun-seo urges Yo-gwang to kill him the next time he becomes a danger to Yeon-hee, overriding Yo-gwang’s refusals. He wants to die before causing her harm, and before Poong-yeon and Yeon-hee can see him being possessed by an evil spirit.

Poong-yeon trudges alone down a road late at night, and hurls away the clothes he bought for Yeon-hee. He almost reconsiders, but leaves the bundle on the ground, where it suddenly starts to burn.

Jun arrives at Hong-joo’s temple, rushing past her guards and holding his sword at Hong-joo’s throat. She waves her guards away and asks Jun what he wants. He smiles broadly as he asks if he would be crazy to ask for an apology.

Hong-joo tells him that people seek her out either to threaten her or make requests. Jun says he’s curious — if Sol-gae had failed to find Yeon-hee, what would Hong-joo have done?

Hong-joo notes he was the one who took the urn from Sol-gae. Jun replies that he is holding an important card, and all he wants from her is to stop killing people, and to leave Yeon-hee alone. Hong-joo says she’ll consider it. After he leaves, she tells one of her shamans that Jun has Sol-gae, and tells her to go follow him. Ah — so that’s the card Jun’s holding.

Soon-deuk slurps some beef soup at a tavern, gaping when Jun joins her and starts eating her food. He quietly tells her to keep eating, having clocked his shaman followers.

Hong-joo visits the king, who grumbles that he underestimated the queen dowager. Now that Yeon-hee’s been revealed as the princess, it will be very difficult to capture her. Hong-joo is steely, reminding him that without sacrificing her, he will continue to suffer thorns erupting from his body. She suggests that he deals with the thorn in his side that is the queen dowager first.

The king turns on Hong-joo in disbelief — is she telling him to kill the queen dowager? He tells her he will pretend he heard nothing. But, if something were hypothetically were to befall the queen dowager — well, he would know nothing of it. Hong-joo smiles, understanding his meaning.

Hong-joo arrives at the queen dowager’s side with an ornate urn emitting wisps of black smoke. She tells the sleeping queen that she will soon see the son that she misses so much.

Arriving back in her lair, Hong-joo finds Poong-yeon awaiting her. His expression blank and unfocused, Poong-yeon asks in a half-daze if it is possible to use her magic to possess a heart.


COMMENTS

Methinks Hong-joo has found her next puppet. I think we all know the answer to that last question — all together now, NO! Just ask your dad! I was starting to feel sorry for Poong-yeon, who in the course of this series has lost most of his loved ones, but this is crossing a line. His request, though, draws an interesting parallel between him, a man we knew to be a kind and loving brother, and Hong-joo, who asked the exact same thing of Hyun-seo way back when. Driven to extremes, his sense of a loss of control seems to have brought him to the edge, just as the attempted rape drove Hong-joo to want revenge, and to have all that was taken from her by the royal family.

It’s this sense of loss and uncontrollable desire to possess and take back what they see as rightfully theirs that has led both of these characters down darker paths. It’s an interesting common thread between them that suggests that this particular kind of evil is not innate, but generated from their own self-centeredness in difficult circumstances.

Yeon-hee and Jun, meanwhile, are completely opposite: They’re completely unselfish in their relationships, and hardly need to speak to express their support and love for each other. I love how they step up for each other when they need it most. Their scenes alone were sparse this episode, but they were so moving. The way Jun just silently returned the real urn to her, and the way she smiled back at him — there was so much unspoken. Throughout the episodes we can see Yeon-hee almost unconsciously checking in with Jun, and vice versa — they move as a unit, united but independently capable. He doesn’t feel the need to chest-thump or be a Man with a Capital M to protect, own, or control her, like Poong-yeon seems to. He puts her first, through his actions and not just his words.

I also appreciate Yeon-hee’s growth — she’s gone from being a shy, timid girl who’s only lived in a hut in the middle of nowhere, to a gorgeous princess who literally parks herself in Hong-joo’s domain to protect her loved ones. It helps to have magical witchy powers, but I feel like Yeon-hee’s true power comes from her loving and unselfish nature — like when she returns the urn to the queen dowager. That’s a choice that not many would have made, but in terms of how the queen would have felt about losing her son and living with her daughter, the way it happened makes a world of difference. No manipulative magic required — besides making the urn fly, I guess.

Yeon-hee instinctively seems to understand that the path she takes to accomplish things matters, and I admire that she never sinks to Hong-joo’s level to defeat her. The queen dowager’s conflict was great, too — the struggle to let her son go, the grief combined with guilt and fear when faced with the daughter she left to die. I’m glad they’re not brushing over it — she’s neither outright bad, nor all that good — just flawed.

And Yeon-hee’s generosity with her mother’s failings draws a direct contrast with Hong-joo’s selfishness. I like that Hong-joo doesn’t fall into the stereotype of the scorned woman, and that she seems truly satisfied to have Hyun-seo’s body and soul belong to her through dark magic. At this point, I think she clings to him living on, in any form, because he’s the last surviving link to the woman she once was. That, and the fact that apparently he’s now her last resort for killing Yeon-hee.

And ultimately, we see that Hong-joo’s actions spin out of control the tighter she tries to manipulate the people around her — I have a strong feeling that this whole using Hyun-seo thing is not going to work out the way she intended, partly because he seems to love Yeon-hee deeply enough to sacrifice himself for her (possible Jun-saving plot device, anyone?). I would like a more clear understanding of whether Hyun-seo has control over himself — it seems to turn on and off, like a switch, when Hong-joo wants it. But during the scene where he reached out for Yeon-hee’s throat, his eyes switch from possessed to normal several times, which might imply that Hyun-seo is able to fight the possession.

As great as this episode was, I kind of feel like the plot has been going pretty steady for the last few episodes, since there’s been a lot of fighting back and forth over this urn. Now that it’s out of the way, I want to see our heroine and hero take Hong-joo on, mano-a-mano, or womano-a-womano. It’s about time.

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Thanks very much for your recap, hazelair!

You are detailed and thorough, describing and explaining the events so well!

I love this drama to bits!! Such powerful and wonderfully nuanced performances by the main characters...even the evil ones stand out on their own merit.

How sweet, kind, and protective is our Jun...so in tune with our princess! Their rapport is amazing!!

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I totally agree with the Jun saving plot device. There is nothing in the book that says it must be a sacrifice of a romantic love that helps her light the last candle. It could be Hyun Seo or maybe even the Queen. That would be cool, the Queen proving her love for her daughter in the end. We will see...

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Just like Frozen, the act of true love could be about love within a family!

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Just like maleficent
True love kiss is from your mother..
#Finger crossed

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I was hoping for the Queen too! It would go a long way to repair what she did to her daughter. But, it would also be tragic for YH to lose a mom who's starting to love her.

It's actually funny how the show wants us to believe that only Jun has to die for YH when in fact, YH is probably one of the most loved characters in the show. Jun, Yo-gwang, and Hyun-seo are all willing to die for her. Even Poong-yeon would probably die for her if you ask him now.

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This is why it crossed my mind that Yeon Hee might be the one dying, or sacrificing herself. It's sure that it will not be Jun...awww, I need to see our main couple alive and together in the end, but I do not want anyone else to die either, even Hyun Seo who's already halfway...I'm conflicted, but in a good way, MotW keeps being so good at making me care for everyone :)

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story ✅
acting ✅
ost ✅
visually appealing ✅

Love ❤️

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Agh I love this episode so much!

My favourite scene would be the one where The Queen smashes the urn to the ground and warns Hong-Joo to never touch her children. The scene is so powerful I can't even.

And also the following scene where The Queen finally lets go of her son.. I'm not crying. Nope. Not at all.

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Agree with you. I got goosebumps with that scene! It's so powerful that it kind of transcends in your screen. Char! Haha.

Great episode indeed,

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agreed! it was touching coz we've seen the queen move mountains just to have her beloved son back and to finally realize that it's time to let go, amazing!!

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I agree with you! When Jun throws something to Hongjoo's hand, I found it so pleasing that I repeated the scene again LOL

Then seconds later, it turned into a very emotional scene and I repeated the scene all over again, surprised and touched. Great job by the four actors, who turned it to be a very beautiful scene!

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AWWWW MAN. Poor second leads. Half the time they're either narratively useless or they turn evil to service the plot.

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At this point even revealing Sol-Gae's true identity might not even effect Poong-yeon will do much...

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Just a minor point. Why doesn't anyone question the fact that the princess is in her room, alone with a grown man, making potions?

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My take on this is that since she's a princess she basically gets away with most things. So servants or anyone below her would not question her authority or any actions to take.

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Well, if you must ask that, might as well add on these too:

- How does Poon Yeon who was fired from his Captain's post and banned from the palace by the king, now move around the palace freely?
-How does Joon move about freely in the palace, which is not supposed to be open to Joe public?

-Why Yeon Hee who for a long time grew up as Poon Yeon's sister, doesn't find it icky that he's got the hots for her.

I do bump into these discrepancies and choose to let it slide (except for the last one). They don't usually take away my enjoyment of the show. :-D

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Yes indeed. All good points.

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My guess is that :
- Since Poong Yeon was once the captain and the king most precious friend/trusted person, ppl from the palace must find it hard to view him as banned and he must use his (once) authority on them.

- Joon is associated to the princess and the Queen so they must have given him this "pass"

- Did Poon Yeon directly confessed his feelings for her? (I skip his parts sometimes so I might have missed something). If not, perhaps YH just view his feelings as a brotherly love

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In episode 1, joon used to enter the palace frequently through the back door aka court ladies to sell fake medicine to them. O guess his connections are still there.

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This was when he wasn't allowed, he was caught later and had to ran but now he's moving freely with YH

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I love that Heo Joon and Yeon Hee have become emotional pillars for each other, when the situation requires them to be so. When one of them gets emotionally carried away, the other steps in to prevent him/her from making a grave mistake. In this episode, it was when Yeon Hee heard from her own mother that Hong Joo should have properly killed her back then and that the Crown Prince's life takes priority over hers. Sorrow hits Yeon Hee hard, and it's understandable, but I was actually afraid that she'd fall into Hong Joo's trap. But Heo Joon broke that possibility (yey). At that moment, when Hong Joo was trying to manipulate both the Queen and Yeon Hee into probably hating each other, he threw something (?) to take the ceramic jar out of Hong Joo's grasp. (I believe, somehow it reminded even the Queen that Hong Joo is the real enemy here.) I remember in another episode, when it was Heo Joon
who got emotionally carried away to the extent of attempting to kill Ok, Yeon Hee stepped in and reminded him that he should not become a murderer. I dunno, it's just lovely to see them give strength to each other. Yeon Hee is lucky to have Heo Joon in her life, but it's the same with Heo Joon, and I'm totally sold out to this love story. They're probably my favorite drama couple of all time. :D

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Absolutely! I love how you described their relationship. And they keep taking turns to be each other's anchor. I feel that as long as they are together (not necessarily physically, but of one mind and heart), there's no evil that they can't defeat!!

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Thanks for the recap, hazelair!

This series is the highlight of my week. I love how you captured the Jun-Yeonhee relationship. They're so selfless and considerate towards each other, and they don't always need to stick together for the plot to move along. They can operate simultaneously while trying to help and protect each other. Just love these two!!

The climax was definitely when the queen dowager smashed the urn. Wow! How much courage for a mother to do that upon realizing that between a living daughter and a dead son, it's time to let go of the latter and try to protect the former. I hope she can understand the tremendous pain that she's caused Yeonhee and change. I love how Jun told the queen how Yeonhee protected her despite how she was treated. He's always there to stand up for Yeonhee and he's so understanding of her pain.

Poongyeon turning to the dark side was no surprise. I'm just curious how the dark, evil characters like Hong Joo will reach their demise. In terms of the plot, I'm glad another candle got lit since the queen's wish got fulfilled. I'm actually anticipating what other wishes can be granted for the candles and how Jun-Yeonhee will turn these dangerous situations into something that will get them closer to completing the lighting of all the candles.

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Ugh! Methinks Hong-joo will trick Poong-yeon into burning Yeon-hee with the holy flames.

I find Poong-yeon both frustrating and refreshing. Frustrating in that he has clearly stopped loving Yeon-hee on her own merits and he's now obsessed with the girl she once was. Refreshing in that his behavior isn't that much different from your run-of-the-mill first-love-obsessed k-drama hero and yet he isn't romanticized or justified. I love this drama!

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WHY aren't more people watching this incredible show? It's gorgeous, intelligent and intense.
This is truly their loss.

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1. It's cable
2. and it's not TvN
3. They think 14 year gap of Yoon Shi Yoon and Kim Sae Ron are disgusting
4. Yes they thought they would be all kissing in this drama -_-

This drama is so underrated yea?

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*LOL* ..you are absolutely right! Someone posted on other forum that this series lacks romance and I just Sigh../(-_-)

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i always thought that youn hee can't use her power whenever she's in Hoong Joo's Lair and she can only use her power when she turned into a witch with white hair. am i missing something ?

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She was tied down within a talismanic shield that time, so no witchy witchy time methinks.

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If I'm not wrong, the talisman Hyun-seo created for her allowed her to bypass the mystical barriers that Hong-joo put in place, on top of suppressing the other effects of the curse. Since the talisman is now IN her, I think it counters more bad mojo than before.

However, we're also shown that her curse mark has returned - possible weakening of powers, perhaps?

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YH can always use her power, whether she is in white-haired mode or not. The difference is : when she has white-hair, then the curse is taken effect on her (and anyone related to the curse). For example : Heo Joon (as a guy who loves her) will fall sick.

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The Queen Dowager's actions made me sob like a baby. I really didn't expect that she would break the jar. That says a lot about how she has grown. Boo is now finally free and that's probably the best consolation for everyone. It's also the start of a family for Yeonhee. Finally, someone stepped up for her claiming her as family, aside from Jun.

I knew it, Poong Yeon. He's always been standing on risky ground and I'm not surprised that he succumbed to black magic. His "love" is very selfish and it clouds his logic. You know what? I kinda want Sol Gae to be the one to pull him away from it and I also hope she'll be the person to set Hongjoo free, whatever that means.

Jun and Yeonhee are the best together. Please let them be together more.

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Why does everyone believes what Hong Joo says?!!
It's so frustrating when the only reason they are having problems is because EVERYONE believes all those outright lies she is sprouting.
It's like no one has a brain when they are around her.

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+ 1

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As frustrating as this is, I find this realistic. People know they shouldn't trust Hong Joo. They know they shouldn't listen to her, that she has an ulterior motive and paying attention to her is a terrible idea.

And yet, she has this way of preying on people's prejudices and fears. She manipulates the Queen Dowager's longing for her son, the King's desperation for a cure and mistrust of QD, and now Poong-yeon's despair over Yeon-hee. She knows exactly how to speak to these people, when to whisper half-truths and when to outright blackmail them. They know she's a snake, and she never denies this. But she's a snake who somehow makes sense. There are far too many people like her in real life tbh, and they're just as frighteningly effective.

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+1
Which makes her kind of like the devil, if you think about it.

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elle, so true...

HJ plays with the characters’ emotions and what they treasure most, turning their love and strength to their own detriment or downfall. It’s actually good storytelling coz the character remains true to their core, they make their own decisions based on fear (darkness, lies, etc) as opposed to love (light, truth, etc)…

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She knows exactly when they're at their weakest, and strikes then with her machinations and manipulations. Flawless timing on her part! Hong-joo is one SCARY enemy to have!

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Agreed with Elle that Hoong Joo really knows which button to push and using half-truth as the base of her lies to catch her preys, also find it admirable that she always manage to use the circumstances to her advantage. Was so loving her brainy villainy, but then she basically desecrate the guy she loves by making him a zombie, so i fell out of love with her...
But i think also the major part of how her trick works is because everybody is hiding something from everybody else, it's easy to manipulate facts from half truth. Especially those taoist monks, boy, they sure like to keep their secret...

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Gasped out loud when the queen crashed the jar, what a surprising moment. Was beginning to feel like passing-the-jar game, and then bang! *clapping hands for the show
Loving how Heo Jun showed how deep his understanding in Yeon Hee by hitting Hoong Joo's hand, having faith that Yeon Hui cares more for her brother than her own feeling. Hiks! Even the brother, as a bodiless soul trapped in a jar, have enough conscience to stop himself from stabbing Yeon Hee when ordered. Feel so bad for these twins and what might have been. Glad the prince is out of the miserable jar, hope he won't feel hungry wherever he is!
Devastated by Poong Yeon's fall to darkness, but have faith that he will redeem himself and somehow use that fire for something good, please!
On site note, getting a bit tired by Yo Kwang keeping mum about Hyun Seo, ugh whyy...

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Yeah, I agree that Yo Kwang sometimes keeps too much things to himself for far too long, like Hyun Soe's current condition. Must be his loyalty kicking in, whatever Hyun Seo may have become. Stupid Yong Kwang.

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Oh! A new recapper? Hello, @hazelair! Thanks for the recap! ^_^

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Thank you hazelair for the recap.

I'm really glad that the urn was broken and prince Seonhwe's soul was set free and let rest in peace. The queen finally decided to let go of him and understood that she could never bring him back. I think Prince Seonhwe had one of the cruelist fates. His soul was driven out of his body with force, botteled up in an urn and used as a killing device, it's a relief to know that Hong-joo can never use him and he finally gets to rest.

Yeon-hee's decision to stay in the palace is the right one and Poong-yeon needs to accept that. Running away for all of these years did her no good, she needs to confront her enemies to be able to defeat them. I know he feels hurt and lost but turning to Hong-joo and her black magic? Does he really think that's the answer to it? Oh Poong-yeon ah, please get back to your senses!

I hope Yo-gwang doesn't keep the fact that Hyun-seo's turned evil all to himself, and tell Heo jun at least. He's dangerous, and if he was able to attack Yo-gwang, he'll be able to attack Yeon-hee too. After all it's Hong-joo who's controlling him and she wants nothing more than Yeon-hee's death.

Waiting for the next recap, have a lot to say :)

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aaaand Poong-yeon falls to the dark side...or not? It's quite interesting how someone supposedly a good guy falls into Hong-joo’s plot and slowly twist him into a bad guy. I am so looking forward to this conflict. I wonder how he would feel once he knows that Red Robes was beside him all along?

I am so glad that the urn is out because I was getting tired of it being passed around. lmao. Everyone seems to be able to get into any rooms easily. Where are the guards and attendants?

I think that it's either Hyun-seo or the queen who will die to save Yeon-hee. The book didn't say that it has to be a romantic love so my bet is on those two...but leaning more on good ol' Hyun-seo. It would break the big bad evil's heart to have him die over the person who she wants to get rid of the most. I can see her trying to "revive" him once more and die in payment.

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As much as I still love the characters and the acting, the plot makes me loose my appetite for this drama. At some places, there are major plot holes and even the puppet king with his thorn holes seems better patched up. There are story threads that get never fully explored and the shifting of the power plays is also not always understandable. Even if the princess says, that she is better protected where she can see her ennemies, I find it utterly ridiculous, that she just moves in with the queen and lives behind the screen. Where is the secrecy in that? And why does the shaman keep the candles in the temple burning? And if Yean Hui is all so powerful, why not just kill the shaman and be done with it. She knows how to break the curse and with the prince now gone, what could possibly hold her back.The back and forth with the stealing of the urn was really unnerving. Some things are just never explained! Anyone feeling the same way about this?

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I think the reason why the Queen announced Yeon Hee as the Princess was because it became evident that it would be impossible to hide her in the palace. So it was more a temporary thing until they could do the protocols involving bringing out a princess like that. There was another show where the princess was thought dead, then found out not to be...Can't recall the show's name right now, but they had a similar situation of dead then alive.

I too am curious about why all those candles are still burning. The only thing I can think of is that even as powerful as she is, the shaman cannot put them out in any manner other than when she started having the wishers followed then killed. She'd had to start randomly killing everyone to find the hearts that would snuff out the candles I guess?

When Yeon Hee thought the shaman had killed Jun at the cave, she was told not to kill her or all the candles would go out and all the work they did would be for nothing.

The one thing I haven't seen yet (but may have missed a comment added after I read them per episode) is no one has said anything about the fact that Jun is already responsible for one of the candles being lit. They don't ever touch on if one person's earnest wishes can light more than one candle, but since then, I've kinda been working with the assumption that someone else who will die for her out of love must be the one to light the last. If this theory of one per person candle is true, then that also knocks the Queen out.

I've lost track of how many are left to be lit. It is 4 now? Anyone know?

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I think there's still 6 candles left? Last time I checked there were 8 and 2 got lit so...

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Thank you for elaborating, Lilyleftthevalley! The beanies are always good at guessing the motives behind people's actions:-) As for the mythology: It's the writers job to make the magical rules clearer, so that we don't have to ressort to those guessing games. That's part of worldbuilding 101! Too much smoke and mirrors for my taste e.g. the whole making the urn fly business just for show. And where did that majestic tiger of the first episode go? That is the only "uselesss" whimsical magical factor that I would love to revisit. For the rest, the storyverse mythology is quite difficult to grasp and therefore diminishing my enjoyment of this drama.

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The tiger is like the talisman wolves. It's only meant to keep people out of the Black Forest.

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I agree...the wordbuilding was excellent at first but now they keep introducing new rules and things are getting really confusing.

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I don't think the tiger was meant to be something important to this show ( I don't even think that it was a magical tiger. It should be just a normal one, according to my opinion). It was just to show how dangerous and eerie the Black Forest was, and how the mirror shard that was taken by Jun was a powerful magical object with a protection magic.

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Here is my take on the issues :

I too am curious about why all those candles are still burning. The only thing I can think of is that even as powerful as she is, the shaman cannot put them out in any manner other than when she started having the wishers followed then killed. => The candles can't be put out by just blowing it. The wishers of the candles must be killed in order to put out the light. It has been pretty consistent so far since episode 4-5. They said that many people died with their hearts pulled out by the Red Robe, then YH-YG were talking about how they couldn't light a candle for 6 months. It means that the wishers lit the candles, but the Red Robe killed them afterwards, so the candles was put out again. It was more obvious when the Red Robe killed MW (the gisaeng) and pulled her heart out then gave it to Hong Joo. Hong Joo made some rituals with it and, YH's candle, the one that was lit by MW, went out.

...no one has said anything about the fact that Jun is already responsible for one of the candles being lit.... -> I don't remember anyone saying that one person can only lit one candle (or perhaps I missed it ?). In this series, if it is never mentioned, then it's possible *LOL*. So, Jun can still light the last candle. Then again, 'true love' means general and almost all of the main characters in this series have someone that they love. So, the possibility of lighting the last candle is open to them.

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Hee I never meant just by blowing them out. I guess I was thinking more along the lines that somehow HJ's black spirits could snuff them like when the monk can light them without a flint sort of thing.

She also seems to turn magic (as with her blood share), so I also considered if she could use the candles to snuff out the light (life) of the ones who lit them--or at least trace back to them so she knew who to kill.

They haven't declared (as far as I recall too) a one person per candle light rule. When Jun first lit the candle after seeing his mom, I did wonder if others would be lit from other potion related wishes. But if that was the case, the smart potion helped him stay with Yeon Hee a bit longer because he had to rewrite the book, but it seems that unlike losing the ability to see ghosts, he still remembers stuff. So I'm not sure what to think about that potion as a possibly candle lighting.

Speaking of....! Why didn't they ever remake that smart potion and get it to the person who asked for it in the first place? Totally forgot about that until now.

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There was another show where the princess was thought dead, then found out not to be…Can’t recall the show’s name right now, but they had a similar situation of dead then alive.

Are you thinking of the 2009 MBC kdrama "The Great Queen Seondeok (aka Queen Seon Duk)"?

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That is another one! I haven't watched that in ages, so it had slipped my mind.

What is a more recent sageuk where everyone thought the princess died when the boat exploded? (I'm so bad with names--actor or show wise.)

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It was HWAJUNG /SPLENDID POLITICS, with Cha Seung-Won playing Prince Gwanghae as oraboni to Princess Jeongmyeong (Lee Yeon-Hee). Great cast. I really enjoyed it.

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Another rule to light a candle is that they need to drink one of the potions made by Yeon hee. In this episode we see both Heo Jun and Yeon hee make the potion for the Queen that lit up a candle. I wonder if someone (ie the King or Sol gae) drank potions made only by Heo jun could light up a candle?

Heo Jun drank two potions the ghost seeing potion that lit up a candle and also the intelligence potion which was used to memorize the potions book, maybe one potion per candle?

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The only major plot hole that I could think of is YH's power. Sometimes it frustrates me when she is just there, can't do nothing although we have clearly seen she cloud make things fly / could fight others with her power.

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I love the OST, the acting and the special effects, but there are just too many plotholes...

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thank you for the recaps!

Luv your analysis/parallelism of HJ & PY love/affection… it’s so different from Jun & SR, how many times have we seen these two let each other go but eventually found their way back to each other…

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Hands up if you already knew Poong Yeon was joining the stupid train! I know he "loves" Yeon Hee but come on man! You go to Hong Joo?! And to get her to use black magic to win a heart huh? Clearly, he doesn't understand no means no. This scene proves that some men don't know how to deal with heartbreak.

And can I love Jun any freaking more than I already do?! Yes. Yes I can. I love how he defends Yeon Hee but still backs off and lets her defend herself. Seriously. Where can I find my own personal Jun? I need one!

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*stupid train* truly made me LOL, and immediately brought to mind who was in the various cars of the stupid train.

I would have at least felt a teensy bit better if PY had gotten roaring drunk before stumbling to her and asking her in a more boasting sort of way "So, powerful dark one, can you..." Alas...he's just petulant emo soul-less one now who can be led by the nose. *sighs*

This might be a set up for him to "grow up" towards the end, but did they have to make him so pathetic now? Vengeful scorned second male lead is one of my least fav k-themes when it's handled in such a manner where the SML's persona changes so drastically without just cause. He knows it's not her fault she's cursed, and he knows enough to not trust HJ, but all of the sudden his emotions completely strip away all his common sense and morality just so he can get the girl? Really?

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I did! *lol*

I've suspected that PY would join to the dark side because, everytime he played 'mind games' with Hong Joo, he ended up loosing and got emotional :D . It just meant that Hong Joo's word got into him and made him swayed

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Just dropping by to say...."I LOVE THIS SHOW!"

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We were told that there are 6 candles left to be lit right? Then without using any wish plates, a candle was lit when Jun wish was fulfilled (after seeing his mother) and in this episode one more is lit after Queen Shim dreamt of his son. So there are 4 more candles to be lit. As the story now takes place in the palace I have a feeling that the remaining 4 candles would be lit by the central character. I'm betting one of it when the King is healed from his illness. Assuming the last one is the true love sacrifice, another 2 could possibly be either sol gae/poong yeon/yo gwang/soon deuk/hyun seo?

And the my take on the last candle? I think the show is trolling us with Jun being the key but
- he's lit one candle already so as more and more candles is lit later on viewers might think oh no it's gonna be Jun to sacrifice
- he's a historical figure so high chance is he's gonna survive
- true love sacrifice? What if it's a sacrifice not for Yeon Hee?
- I'm betting on Hong Joo being the key here because we have been introduced to her love to Hyun Seo and how she was driven by revenge. We have also been hinted that she's not entirely evil to begin with and so there might be a redemption point for her. But how? Sacrificing herself because of her love for Hyun Seo, perhaps?

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love the two leads!! they have such great chemistry!! is it me or ysy looks so much skinnier here than in real life? or is this because of his hat? hahah

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The dead crown prince had seemed like a decent kid at the beginning of the show, and this episode confirmed it. Pity we didn't get to know more about him. In the earlier episode where the king, possesed by the spirit, hesitates to kill Yeon Hee - I wondered if the hesitation is from the crown prince's reluctance to kill, especially his sister. That was before Heo Jun swooped in and warded off the spell with the shield.

I had high hopes for the king, especially after looking him up on Wiki... I'd thought he was accepting Hong Joo's "cure" with plenty of suspicion and cautiousness, but now she seems to have him completely under her thumb. Come on, prove yourself, king!

Even after the 5-year jump, I was thinking that Yeon Hee looked a bit more burdened (or trying to look serious) but still somewhat child-like. She seems to have aged and hardened significantly in this episode. Might be the makeup and hair too. But, I think KSR's steely expressions in this episode really helped. I love badass Yeon Hee - that she stood up for herself and didn't go all noble idiot when Hong Joo tried to push the blame on her.

And is it a damn Taoist thing to keep dangerous secrets to themselves? Seriously. First it was Hyun-Seo not telling Poong Yeon and Yeon Hee the importance of her talisman barriers. And the curse. And now Yo-Gwang is not telling anyone about Hyun-Seo being possessed by Hong Joo's black magic. COME ON. HE'S A LIABILITY TO EVERYTHING EVERYONE HAS DIED PROTECTING.

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Am I the only one notice that the queen dowager's live is in danger?? You all worried sick about Hong joo/Hyun Seo/Poong yeon/Sol gae/king,don't you guys care whether the queen character goes on...but simply not I guess you all not a favor her at all...oh well,I just love jun and seori wish for the happiness for both of them

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