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Mirror of the Witch: Episode 14

With all the manipulation happening within these palace walls, any hope of breaking free is wearing thin. At this point, Hong-joo’s black magic is slowly backing our heroes into a corner and it’s going to take everything they’ve got to fight back. As we’ve seen with Yeon-hee and friends, they’ve got plenty of fighting spirit. Now they just need a little more help.

 

 
EPISODE 14 RECAP

Feeling as if he’s all out of options, Poong-yeon winds up in Hong-joo’s lair, asking if her black magic can grab hold of someone’s heart. More than that, he wonders if pouring out his hate towards those at fault will release some of the agony he’s feeling in his heart.

Sensing another potential mouse to trap, Hong-joo smiles and asks if returning Yeon-hee to him is all he wants. She tells him if that’s the case, he has to get rid of that vicious cursed child that has possessed her and taken control. Thankfully, Poong-yeon isn’t completely out of it and warns her not to toy with him. Hong-joo retorts that if he doesn’t believe her, she’ll have to give him proof.

She conjures up a spell that reaches the urn she’d left in the queen dowager’s room. Black smoke rises from the urn, but the queen dowager wakes up and frantically douses the urn with water. She’s able to get rid of the smoke long enough to call out to her guards, but she gets no response. With no one coming to her aid, she’s helpless as Hong-joo’s spell takes hold of her.

The next morning, Yeon-hee finds the queen dowager bedridden. She tenses when she notices the queen dowager’s hands have turned grey.

Hong-joo informs the king that as long as the spell isn’t broken, the queen dowager won’t make it past tomorrow night. A smile forms on the king’s face, but it immediately disappears when Hong-joo voices her worries about the princess. Since the queen dowager is Yeon-hee’s mother, she won’t just stand by and do nothing.

She asks the king if there’s anyone he trusts to protect him. The king’s face falls, unable to say anything. Hong-joo says it’s a shame that he no longer has Poong-yeon by his side. The king: “Don’t ever say that name in front of me again.”

Yeon-hee, Jun, and Yo-gwang have Hyun-seo inspect the queen dowager and eagerly wait for his diagnosis. Unbeknownst to them, his eyes flash, once again under Hong-joo’s command. In her lair, Hong-joo says out loud that the queen dowager is under the influence of black magic. Now acting as her puppet, Hyun-seo repeats everything she says, telling the trio the only way to break the spell is to find the talisman that triggered it.

Hyun-seo tries to get up and nearly collapses. Yeon-hee rushes to his side, asking if he’s okay. He looks at her, the struggle to return to his real self evident in his eyes. It looks like he just might break through—even Hong-joo takes a breath—but Hong-joo’s hold on him stays strong and he insists he’s fine. Yo-gwang doesn’t look so convinced, but he remains silent.

Jun walks Yeon-hee out of the queen dowager’s quarters, telling her not to worry—they’ll search through every crevice of the palace to find the talisman that’s killing the queen dowager with black magic. She’s about to give him a grateful smile when a pain in her chest stops her. She looks up just in time to see a star fall in the night sky.

She thinks back to Yo-gwang telling her they only had twenty days until the Northern Star disappears, and in the meantime, she’d start feeling weaker. So she was slowly dying just as the Mauigeumseo said, she realized. She asked Yo-gwang not tell Jun or Poong-yeon about it. With hope, she reminded him they still had to light the candles. “I won’t die,” she said confidently.

But in the present, the pain in her chest is too much and she passes out, the curse tattoo behind her ear flashing an intense red, which Jun notices. He holds her up so she doesn’t collapse, and takes her back to her room where he sits by her bedside and wipes at her forehead tenderly. He remembers reading the passage in the Mauigeumseo about the Northern Star and her dwindling time, looking worried about her deteriorating strength.

Yeon-hee comes to and weakly says she must’ve been too stressed over the queen dowager’s sudden illness. Jun can see through her lies, but he just smiles and tells her to get some more sleep, and he’ll stay by her side. She falls back asleep almost instantly. Her curse mark flashes again, leaving Jun unsettled.

Ok rushes to the king’s side after hearing of Poong-yeon’s dismissal. Ok swears that from now on, he’ll be protecting the king. However, the king doesn’t exactly look comforted. “Can you even put your own life on the line to protect me?” he asks.

Cue record scratch. Ok’s head pops up and his eyes dart everywhere except the king’s face. Ok stutters yes. The king was told somebody might kill him, so he says he’ll need Ok to stay by him at all times and protect him. Ok’s head pops up again with a “Pardon? I mean, y-yes! I-I will protect you!” The king scoffs—as do I—and sends him out, declining his protection. Ok goes straight to his mother to tell her what happened thinking he dodged death, and she nearly clocks him for showing hesitation when he should’ve expressed more devotion to the king.

The king goes out for a stroll, his servants hanging back. Poong-yeon watches him from a distance, remembering Hong-joo telling him to look out for the king since he no longer has anyone he can trust by his side. She urged Poong-yeon to see clearly what it is that is threatening the king’s life and to only believe what his eyes see.

The king runs into Yeon-hee and asks if she’s on her way to visit the queen dowager. He feigns concern and says he can’t help but worry that it’ll cause rumors, all the problems arising coincidentally after she entered the palace. Yeon-hee doesn’t bat an eyelash and tells the king he should be worrying about Hong-joo.

Yeon-hee: “Please don’t be lured by whatever that person says. Your Majesty is the father who raises this nation’s people, who look up to you to lead them. When the father is somehow unstable, how uneasy must the people of the country feel?”

The king isn’t listening though. He just points out the fact that she resembles her mother so much, and wonders if Yeon-hee could possibly be interested in the throne, like her mother was. He suggests she start acting like a princess, frolicking in the flowers, instead of being arrogant.

Yeon-hee rejoins her friends as Yo-gwang makes a tracking amulet for the talisman holding the queen dowager’s curse. The boys go out searching while Yeon-hee stays with her mother. They light the tracker on fire and launch it into the air. Yo-gwang prays for its powers until it bursts into a small orb of green light, and the boys follow it.

Meanwhile, the queen dowager starts squirming in her sleep. She clasps her throat, struggling to breathe. Yeon-hee watches with tears in her eyes as her mother suffers until she just can’t take it anymore. She takes off and charges right into Hong-joo’s lair.

She demands that Hong-joo quit her tricks and tell her where the talisman is. Hong-joo steps closer to Yeon-hee, insisting her black magic isn’t enough to take the queen dowager down. There’s someone else out there who hates the queen dowager even more than Hong-joo does…

Which is right when the tracking orb leads the boys to the king’s quarters. Yeon-hee can hardly believe it. “Are you saying His Majesty is the one who cursed the queen dowager?” she asks. Hong-joo confirms this with a wicked twinkle in her eye.

Hong-joo says the talisman that contained that murderous hatred towards the queen dowager is now in the hands of the owner of that hatred. In other words, to save the queen, Yeon-hee must harm the king. Hong-joo expresses fake sympathy, saying it looks like she’ll have to either die for committing treason or simply let the queen dowager die.

Back at the king’s quarters, the boys enter his room after knocking out the guards with a smoke bomb. They figure since the orb led them there, the talisman must be among the king’s belongings. They search the entire room, but come up with nothing. They wonder where in the world it could be when they’re startled by the sound of the doors opening.

The king returns after getting some fresh air and thinking over Yeon-hee’s words earlier. Jun and Yo-gwang dart behind the folded screen before the king trudges in, the wounds on his body weighing down on him. As the king inspects his bloody shoulder covered in horrific thorns, Jun peeks around the screen, completely shellshocked at the king’s unusual condition.

Outside, Poong-yeon takes notice of the unconscious guards and enters the king’s room, remaining calm and collected. The king doesn’t want him here, but Poong-yeon insists he has something to tell him, eyeing the folded screen. He maintains a steady voice as he slowly removes his sword from its sheath. The king watches this, suddenly fully aware of the situation.

Poong-yeon swiftly knocks the screen over, causing Jun and Yo-gwang to come tumbling out. Poong-yeon is confused when he sees Yo-gwang, while the king demands to know why they’re trespassing. Paranoid, the king figures they must be trying to kill him.

Jun tries to explain that they were just trying to help the queen dowager, but the king cuts him off: “So it was the queen dowager who ordered you to do this?” He’s convinced now that this is the case. As the king and Jun argue, Yo-gwang notices something protruding from the king’s chest.

Yo-gwang’s eyes grow wide. Carved right into the king’s skin is the talisman they’d been searching for. He reaches for his dagger.

The king is done with these two. He orders Poong-yeon to kill them right now. Staring right at Jun, Poong-yeon raises his sword above his head…

“Please stop this!” Yeon-hee’s firm voice stops him cold. She stares him down, her eyes pleading. Poong-yeon seems to soften at her presence. That is, until Jun calls her name. Before Jun can step toward her, Poong-yeon’s expression hardens again and his sword is back on Jun’s throat.

The king steps forward instead, feeling as if he just caught the princess red-handed. She’s not paying attention though; all she sees is the talisman on his chest. Fuming that this only proves her ill intentions towards him, the king orders Poong-yeon to kill her too. But Poong-yeon is still as a statue, allowing Jun and Yo-gwang the chance to escape his hold and jump in front of Yeon-hee.

Something settles within Poong-yeon as he numbly stares at the woman he thought he loved. Hong-joo’s words echo in his head. “Only when you kill the vicious cursed child will the kind and innocent Yeon-hee return.” Oh no.

He slowly makes his way to Yeon-hee, Hong-joo’s voice in his head and the king’s voice in his ear, telling him this sister of his tried to shed royal blood. Poong-yeon raises his sword, but with the horrified expression on Yeon-hee’s face, he just can’t do it.

The king snatches the sword and shoves Poong-yeon aside. “If you won’t kill her, I will,” he seethes. He tries to lunge at Yeon-hee, but she’s too quick for him. She grabs Yo-gwang’s dagger and buries it in the king’s chest, destroying the talisman. Hong-joo feels the full impact of the curse breaking and collapses, while the queen dowager sits up, her pain subsiding.

But, of course, all Poong-yeon and the king see is what looks like Yeon-hee attempting murder. Once she sees that the symbol has disappeared from the king’s chest, Yeon-hee retracts the dagger. The king falls to the floor, angrier than ever. He shouts to the guards outside and orders them to arrest Yeon-hee for trying to kill him.

The guards drag Yeon-hee and the boys out and head towards the prison. Hong-joo then saunters into the king’s room, and the first thing she does is give Poong-yeon the “I told you so” lecture. Does he understand now, she asks, that she is no longer the old Yeon-hee? That she is now just a cursed being? Poong-yeon just picks up his sword and leaves, emotionally drained. Um, is no one going to help the bleeding king lying on the floor?

Once separated, Yeon-hee is taken to her own cell. However, Yo-gwang manages to cut the ties around his wrists and break free. Together, he and Jun fight off the guards until there’s only one person left in their way: Poong-yeon.

Jun attempts to get past him with his sword, but Poong-yeon pins him against a wall, telling him it’s no use running back to Yeon-hee; there’s nothing he can do. Jun fiercely protests, but Poong-yeon stands his ground. Finally, Jun gives up and lets Yo-gwang drag him out of there.

As soon as they come to a stop, Jun tries to turn back again, intent on saving Yeon-hee. Yo-gwang reaffirms Poong-yeon’s words—acting recklessly could lead to worsening her sentence. Frustrated, Jun demands to know what the king’s deal is. Why is he trying to get rid of Yeon-hee? Yo-gwang finally tells him that the king thinks Yeon-hee is the source of his mysterious illness. They both know that’s hogwash, so it all points back to Hong-joo.

The only problem is, as long as the king remains Hong-joo’s puppet, he’ll never believe what they say. Determination sets into Jun’s shoulders. If they can’t tell the king, they’ll have to show him.

Hong-joo rushes to Hyun-seo’s side, thrilled that at last, he can use his great powers for her. She leads the possessed Hyun-seo to Yeon-hee’s prison cell, where Hong-joo’s minions have already posted a string of talismans to keep her powers contained.

Yeon-hee jumps up at the sight of Hyun-seo, calling out “Father!” But she can sense something’s wrong. Hong-joo looks up at Hyun-seo expectantly, willing him to light this place on fire with the spiritual force he holds within. It’s what Hong-joo tried to have him do when Yeon-hee was an infant, and the only way to kill her now. Under Hong-joo’s full command, his eyes flash in response, and his dead expression causes Yeon-hee to back away in fear.

Hyun-seo approaches her cell and motions his hands to summon the fire. Over. And over. But nothing happens. He makes the same motion like a malfunctioning robot, his face still blank. Hong-joo doesn’t understand. She grabs his hand, perplexed by the scar left from their blood bond.

Hong-joo returns to her lair in a daze, contemplating this new problem that’s arisen. Hyun-seo has lost the spiritual force—a force that is passed on to the head Taoist master from generation to generation. She’s positive that ability wouldn’t have just disappeared… She stops in her tracks, thinking, “Could it be possible?”

Much to the king’s dismay, he gets a visit from a now recovered queen dowager. But contrary to what he thinks, the queen isn’t here to gloat. She’s here to apologize. She explains Yeon-hee’s intentions of breaking Hong-joo’s curse, but the king’s not hearing it. To him, Yeon-hee’s just a criminal.

The queen clenches her jaw. “I’ll withdraw the regency,” she says. That certainly gets the king’s attention. But even this gesture doesn’t seem to move him. He tells her to go ahead and take the throne—isn’t that why she had the princess try to kill him? He sends the queen out, having nothing left to say.

The queen dowager runs into Hong-joo out in the corridors. Hong-joo feigns concern over her health, but the queen dowager is far past all the nice talk and gets right to it, asking why Hong-joo didn’t just kill her. Hong-joo repeats that it’s not the queen dowager she wants dead. The queen dowager counters that since she survived, she’ll watch Hong-joo suffer for her sins herself. And she won’t let her daughter be taken away from her.

The king goes out to think again, flashing back to an encounter with Hong-joo after he got stabbed. Hong-joo had said outright that she used him as bait to capture the princess. That was it for the king—after toying with his life, how could he trust her? He egged her on, poking her in the shoulder and asking if she could even heal his illness.

Hong-joo grabbed his arm, her black magic seeping into it and creating a new patch of thorns. Getting in his face, she’d told him to just do what she says. After all, it was she who had gotten him the throne in the first place. She did it because she knew he was weak, narrow-minded, and timid—with zero capacity of being king. With each jab, the king lost a bit of confidence, looking more and more like a kicked puppy.

Now, more confused than ever, the king sighs and bends over in pain, grabbing onto a nearby post. Mere seconds later, an arrow holding a note lands inches from his hand. It’s from Jun, telling the king to meet him tomorrow to reveal the real Red Cloak. If he doesn’t come, Jun will reveal Red Cloak’s identity in front of the whole marketplace.

We see Jun watching the king from afar, leaving after confirming the message was read. Hong-joo’s minions take note of his departure from the palace, and they report back to Hong-joo.

Jun makes his way back to Cheongbing Temple, where he’s been holding Sol-gae captive all this time. Jun tells her of his meeting with the king tomorrow, and promises to show her the true face of the one she trusts.

The following day, Jun escorts Sol-gae through the forest to meet with the king. As soon as they’re in a clearing, the two are ambushed by Hong-joo’s minions and their arrows. One arrow gets Sol-gae right in the chest and she goes down.

Once the lead minion confirms she must be done for, she halts the others and calls them back. They tell Hong-joo the problem is taken care of. Hong-joo nods, telling them they did a good job. “She was a smart girl,” she says, “what a pity.” Their mission now accomplished, they make their way out of the forest.

Once the coast is clear, Jun pops out to watch them leave. The king comes out from behind a tree, having seen everything, and they exchange knowing glances. Jun then helps Sol-gae to another spot, an arrow still embedded in her chest. Jun asks if she’s okay, and instead of answering, she just removes her mask. Oh, it’s Yo-gwang! Okay, did not expect that, Show. One point for you.

Jun pulls the arrow out for him—fortunately stopped by the vest Yo-gwang is wearing underneath. They look up to see Sol-gae approach, taking in what she just witnessed. A flashback shows Jun revealing his entire plan to Sol-gae, daring her to see what would happen if they lured Hong-joo out.

Back in the present, Jun presents her with the arrow that could have very well pierced her own chest. Jun suggests she quit getting blood on her hands for someone who would do this to her. He says after witnessing that, there’s no need to feel any more burden. It hits Sol-gae all at once and she sheds a tear.

One down, another to go. Jun walks straight up to the king’s room, and the guards automatically let him in. Jun kneels before his king, ready to reveal the truth.

Poong-yeon wanders into the prison, unable to drag himself all the way to Yeon-hee’s cell. “Just think of her as an evil spirit,” a voice calls out. Hong-joo steps closer to him. “If a person is possessed by an evil spirit, shouldn’t we kick it out?” She assures him that if Yeon-hee’s curse is removed, she’ll return to the Yeon-hee he once knew. As long as he helps Hong-joo.

Yeon-hee grows more restless when she looks out her window and sees yet another star fall in the sky. She’s running out of time. She’s surprised to see Poong-yeon come in, but he just throws her a blanket and leaves without a word. Outside, Hong-joo’s minions are waiting for him.

The next thing we know, Poong-yeon wakes up in a locked room filled with unlit candles. He looks up to see the face of a ghost and goes ballistic. He flails around, telling the ghost to get away, his motions lighting the candles around him.

In awe, he concentrates on one candle with a shaky hand, and surely enough, it lights up too. Hidden behind a curtain, Hong-joo watches him with a satisfied smile. She’s found what she was looking for.

Jun firmly states that it is Hong-joo’s black magic that is to blame for the king’s illness, not Yeon-hee. After having shown the king that Hong-joo was the real murderer behind Red Cloak, Jun will now show the king that she is the cause of all of his pain.

All Jun asks is that the king spare Yeon-hee’s life. A humorless laugh escapes the king’s mouth. He doesn’t see why he should easily trust Jun and hand over the princess. He turns his back on Jun.

“Your Majesty!” Jun calls out as he looks the king dead in the eye, “I will try to heal your illness.”

 
COMMENTS

All right, that’s what I’m talking about, Jun! Those last few minutes really had me worried for our heroes, but I’m so happy to see their little group slowly growing in terms of allies. Each time Yeon-hee and Jun successfully untangle someone out of Hong-joo’s web, it just feels so rewarding. And if they can get the king fully on their side, it might be the most rewarding moment for me yet. It’s been frustrating, to say the least, watching the king completely lose himself (and his sanity) in Hong-joo’s lies and manipulations. I was almost beginning to think he was too far gone to be saved, but this episode proved to me that underneath all that corruption is a young man who just wants to be a good king for his country.

In that flashback when Hong-joo had revealed she chose him as king because he was weak, I could see something break within him. After hearing he’d been used as bait to get to Yeon-hee, he had to hear that he had been used by Hong-joo this entire time. And even though I’ve been angry with him the past few episodes, it really pained me to watch that realization wash over his face. Which is why this ending has me so excited for the events to come. If Jun can really ease the king over to their side, I see the beginning of a very beautiful bromance between king and royal physician (Please, please give me that bromance!) and the beginning of Hong-joo’s end.

But it can’t be done with the king alone. Along with the queen dowager and now Sol-gae, it’s such a relief to see more and more characters open their eyes to the deceit so plainly laid in front of them by Hong-joo’s black magic. They’ve both suffered and though it’s undeniable they’ve done some terrible, unforgivable things, I hope we see them make up for it by helping our team. Except now, we have Poong-yeon to worry about.

Poong-yeon has been unstable for a while now, so I guess it was only natural for him to fall into Hong-joo’s manipulations. Like a lot of these characters, I feel so bad for him but I also want to punch him. He’s allowing his fears of losing the old innocent Yeon-hee to drive him crazy, hurting Yeon-hee and the people around her. I just can’t believe he’s willing to accept that getting rid of the new cursed Yeon-hee will turn things back to normal. It makes it sound like her cursed side is a leech latching onto her rather than just being a part of who she is now. It doesn’t make sense to me, so I don’t understand why it makes sense to him, other than the fact that he’s in such a deep level of desperation that he’s willing to do anything to get her back. On the surface, that can sound romantic, but it’s so easy for that desperation to shift into obsession. Does that make me dislike his character? Not really. That desperation is just a weakness of his, a weakness that Hong-joo fed off of. I just hope he can save himself before this weakness becomes his downfall.

 
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Thanks for the recap, SailorJumun.
One great episode. I like the fact that our heroes aren't scared of the evil shamannes, instead they face her head on. I like the Queen Dowager more and more every episode, especially when she warned Hongju not to mess with her children. Such a brave move! I didn't expect her to do that considering her excessive love for her son (I didn't expect she would love Yeonhee just that much). she grows from a power blinded queen to a loving mother. This episode too, when she confronts the king to defend Yeonhee. I love her!

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I love that heo jun is kinda acting like her husband just being by her side like this!! hehe

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Tbh, in the past at their age, Yeon Hee and Heo Joon would have probably married and had children. Hehe

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For some reason this show starts to feel like wash-rinse-dry-repeat for me. I still like it, but I hardly see any progress in it.

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I get what you mean, it's kinda like they're going back and forth between Hong Joo and the main characters but there has been some significant plot progress.

Such as the prince's soul being destroyed, I mean that could've been dragged out way long but they killed him off which ended that arc.

Hyun Seo giving Yeon Hui the ability to have her own talisman, so she's not reliant on Jun to move around anymore. Plus her gang has taken more initiative and isn't hiding in the forest.

Sol Gae moving onto the good team yays!

We also finally got the confrontation with the King, so everything is pretty much in the open for everyone.

It could be since we're seeing Poong Yeon being all wish washy in his actions and thoughts regarding
Yeon Hee that he could be slowing the pace of the story down a little? Hyun Seo being all defective doesn't help either...

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Let me join in the team that wants to punch Poong-Yeon too!

I was wondering when Hong Joo was going to attack the Queen Dowager and she finally did. I can't help but think it's so sad how much Hyun Seo has sacrificed to protect Yeon Hee, and yet in the end his son is now contributing to the destruction of it. So good to finally see Sol Gae on the good guys side now too!

Thanks for the recap.

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Seems like PoongYeon's been reading Harry Potterand is believing that the cursed side of YeonHee is a horcrux.

You do you, PoongYeon. Just... eh.

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Hey Peeps!

Lol his charismatic appearance has diminished quite a bit since his denial of Yeon Hui hasn't it.

I checked out your blog and wow you recap so fast! I'd like to read it more often but the pictures are so big I can't hide the webpages much at work haha. Boss might be wondering why I'm looking at all these good looking asian people on my computer.

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(Phone. Use your smart phone.)

What do you mean the pictures on my blog are so big? They're the same size as they are here!

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Ahhh yess I do use my phone sometimes, but if your head is constantly looking downwards and not forward at the screen they can tell lol

Nope the images on dramabeans are wider but lower in height than the images on your blog. It could be just me being picky, will def check out your blog later after work tho!

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Oh, you mean the banner?

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what's the name of your blog?

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Click my username...

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I LOVE THIS DRAMA! If I haven't said it, I'd say it again that this drama is LOVE!

The drama is not without flaws or plot holes, but still enjoyable and exciting for me! The cast' acting kinda make it up for me. Kudos for the actors! And I hope the writers still have some stories to tell because the last couple of eps he/she seems run out of ideas already.

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I can understand that Poong-Yeon deserves a good punch or at least a firm kick in the shins for his wanting Yeon Hui to be something that she USED to be and that SHE IS NOT ANYMORE. Depending on how he is written and acted forward, however, will determine if he is going to go to the 'dark' side, or if he is just mistaken and flawed, much like our king, but in a different way.

Part of my appreciation of this show is that EVERY single character feels very rich and alive without being "perfect." In fact, some of the most interesting characters are the most imperfect. Obviously, Hong Joo is one of the most deeply flawed characters-but the most captivating! And I would have NEVER imagined liking the queen dowager after her betrayal of Yeon-Hui's biological mother. Never, EVER. But her growth and development have moved my mind. Her utter love for BOTH her children was what did it for me. Her "letting go" of her long-anticipated, cultivated, cherished and lost son for the sake of her returned and living daughter literally made me gasp. I was so moved! So, what I mean to say is... all of these characters are so well-developed that although many (including our King and Peong Yeon) may have made or are making some bad decisions, I hope against hope that they will eventually learn (as our Queen Dowager did) that Hong Joo is to NOT be trusted and turn their faith back toward the people that truly love and support them.

This show. <3!

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Wow! Those moments with Sol Gae and the King! It's like the Avengers are finally assembling :D I hope to see Soondeuk in the next episodes too. I missed her already. I think she will be a great addition to the team.

This drama is one of the best historical fictions for me. The writer wonderfully created a world of fantasy in the bounds of history. Now, I'm getting more pumped up that at the end of the episode, Heo Joon is becoming more Heo Joon-ish (aka Great Royal Physician). So excited for the next episodes!

PS. I just love this show that I don't know how I'm going to deal with the withdrawal later on. Huhu

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Thanks for the recap and the thoughtful comments! And that screenshot where the king scoffed at Heo Ok is just perfectly timed. His expression is on point!

I really wonder about Heo Ok's mom. Sometimes, it seems like she's putting up with her son because he's her son... but more concerned about family name and honour. I wouldn't put it past her to throw him under the bus if there's a real threat to family honour. Actually, I'd love to see that happen! *crosses fins*

I'm glad we're finally seeing the king start to regain some sanity again. He seemed nuanced and smart - not benevolent, but at least trying to rule well - so I didn't want to end up hating him. And I'd like more of his bromance with Poong Yeon. Those two guys really need that mutual support.

Uh, and did we miss a scene where Hong Joo puts the talisman on the king? Is that new (i.e. related to cursing the Queen)? Or did he and the physician simply never noticed the talisman mark on his chest all this time?

I like that Poong Yeon is still wavering, that he still cares for Yeon Hee enough not to blindly follow everything Hong Joo says, like letting the boys go so that they can save her.

I was so tired of Yo-Gwang's wishy washiness aout Hyun Seo's bewitchment, so I'm glad now it's out in the open - at least to Yeon Hee, for whom it really matters - that he can't always be trusted.

I love the twist for Sol Gae here. I wasn't counting her joining (RIGHT? There's no way she would betray them again after this, right?) Heo Jun's gang; I'd thought she would just be good to Poong Yeon or sacrifice herself to prevent PY sacrificing himself for YH, so this is a very very interesting plot development. And I like how Heo Jun treated her with dignity throughout. I'd expected his anger about Manwol to hate Sol Gae and her heinous crimes, but somehow he proved himself to be a lot more compassionate. And can we get more back story on Sol Gae, please?

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IICR, there was a scene where Hong Joo burnt a talisman in her lair and flung it up the air. That's how the talisman must have been embedded onto the king's chest. It was the king's hatred for the dowager queen that fueled the curse on the queen. YH stabbed the talisman on the king's chest to destroy it, breaking the curse on the queen, making it appear as if she was trying to kill the king in Poong Yeon's eyes. Remember that Hong Joo had specifically told Poong Yeon to observe closely YH's action. A devilish plan by Hong Joo, do nothing and the queen dies or destroy the talisman and appear like the king's murderer. :-(

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Thanks for the recap, SailorJumun!

I'm glad to finally see those who have been manipulated by Hongjoo slowly coming to their senses: Queen dowager, Solgae, and King. If they can join Team Yeonhee/Jun, that would be awesome.

I've been waiting to see the royal physician aspect being developed for Jun's arc, so it was very satisfying to see him step up with that offer to the king in the ending scene.

Queen dowager is showing growth as her love for her daughter has moved her to put Yeonhee first and even renounce the regency. And Solgae witnessing that Hongjoo wanted to kill her off must have hurt, so I hope she will now consider helping the good side and maybe she will be key in countering whatever Poongyeon might end up doing under Hongjoo's manipulations.

Love the tender Jun-Yeonhee moments. I hope she can tough it out till all those candles are lit and that Jun and her will find the solution to help heal the king and also put an end to Hongjoo's black magic once and for all.

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I've been waiting eagerly for his royal physician arc too! After all, he memorized the book of potions so many episodes ago.

But I wonder if the potions must be brewed personally by YH for the candle lighting to happen. Will it work if Jun brewed the potions alone?

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Good question. I think Jun can do it without YH since he also knows how to make the potions. Probably the most important aspect is to have the wisher make the wish and take the potion with a sincere heart.

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Silly me, I never new that Koreans had a magic smoke that could knock out guards before they could sound an alarm. And I never new that Korean bandanas were such good gas-masks that you could hold one over your mouth and run through the smoke before the guards were done bouncing off the floor.
And the guards... "Look, suspicious smoke! Let's go inhale.."

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The writer played Tenchu Stealth Assassins as a kid... watch out for poisoned rice next.

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HAHAHAHAHAHAHA!

But isn't this a fantasy Sageuk? We need to suspend all beliefs. Although nothing excuses the guards' behaviour.

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Pfft!!!! Bwahahahaha, good one Lord Cobol, i thought i was the only one who noticed that, but since is a fantasy drama they can pretty much get away with anything that does not make any logical sense.

Say, has anyone noticed that this is where Jun will become the royal physician? Remember that the official plot line said that he would soon or later become the royal physician.

That is progress to me!!!! But Hongjoo, my goodness.... your the coolest and evilest female villain i have ever seen in either western or Asian dramas, even movies! For heavens sake!!!

She's so cunning, manipulative, scary, determined, that right there is an epitome of a 'scorned woman', but i feel sorry for her because she reminds me of a drug addict (in the loosest way possible), she so blinded by this obsessive hatred and grudge towards the Royal family that she's willing to do anything even if it means letting total darkness consume her very soul, but there's a small part of her that wants to hang on to that one good thing she thought she had, Hyun Seo.

may goodness, such delicious tragedy.....

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So, Hyu Seo lost his ability to produce fire due to Hong Joo's cut on his palms? and the ability is auto transferred to Poong Yeon because he is HS descendant? Or HS purposely transferred his ability to PY?

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I think the sharing of blood between HJ and HS blocked his ability, since it was apparently a blood-right, thus triggering its transference to PY.

This just makes me angrier at HS's choices to keep YH and PY in the dark about so many things. Especially PY. Since this is a blood-right, passed down through the generations, HS must have known that PY would someday have the sills to become a shaman. But instead of teaching him SOMETHING, ANYTHING, about magic, about the curse, about the princess, he left his son in the dark and tried to prevent his developing feelings through mere commands.

Let's not forget that Jun and PY are apparently similar in age, meaning unlike YH (who in her youth, seclusion, and innocence could still be considered a child 5 years ago), PY was an full fledged adult, who could have been entrusted with some of the family secrets. Even a little of instruction of magic back then would have left PY so much less vulnerable to HongJoo's manipulation now, since he has no prior knowledge or outside means of validating her explanations of how the curse or magic works. Just like the king was mislead about his illness since he lack any other possible explanations, HS left his son in ignorance and that has come back to cause trouble in a big way.

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I think HS has lost his ability to create fire because for all intents and purposes he's dead and is only animated by HJ's will. The ability has passed down the family line through the ages and probably gets transferred when the current holder dies. You could see HJ working thinking it through and then we cut to PY lighting candles.

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lee yi kyung and lee ji hoon need to rekindle their school 2013 bromance ASAP !!!

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That side trio bromance killed me. (After Woobin's and Jongsuk's bromance killed me, of course.)

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too bad oh jungho is not in this drama :/
i wonder if these two will speak to each other?
predicting their greatest friendship in the future? lol

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Or maybe someone will contact them via walkie-talkie and tell them what's gonna happen.

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Oooooo.......niceeeeeee....Signal reference lol...signal sageuk version..im in!!!

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Agree! At least, they finally had a scene in this episode where they were together :) hope to see more of them.

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Hong Joo's confession was too convenient. Just a couple scenes after Jun said he'll show the king Hong Joo's true colors, we get Hong Joo outing herself. Considering how manipulative Hong Joo has always been, that move seemed out of character.

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Remember how in episode 8, Yo-gwang broke into a cell to get Jun out using the disguise talisman? Jun obviously knows that Yo-gwang can disguise himself using that (having witnessed it himself), so when he said they'll have to show the king if they can't tell him and then this scene (of Hong-joo's confession) appeared in the same episode a while later, I couldn't help thinking it might be Yo-gwang underneath the Hong-joo disguise...

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it just dawned on me that heo jun most likely won't die.. because he's a royal physician in history and he lived for quite long..

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Be a bit lame it the royal physician didn't live very long....
Like the old saying, "Physician, **** yourself".

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I used to like this series from the first 8 episodes but somehow the rules get muddled after ep 6. I know this is a fantasy but I can only suspend my disbelief for so long.

Starting with, wasn't Hong Joo the one who killed the crown prince and hid herself after it just so she could demonstrate to the royal family her powers. The whole palace was looking for her yet when she comes back 5 yrs after, everyone including herself thinks, she was kick out of the palace.

After the queen regent breaks the urn were the crown prince is trapped, his soul gets freed easily? If breaking the vase frees him then why do they need the taoist rite to cleanse his soul and etc. Etc. Etc?

From the start, Hong Joo kept saying that only his twin brother can kill Yeon Hui so everyone is aware of it and she kept using that twin brother against her, then why does everyone kept believing she's the only one who can save Yeon Hui from her curse when clearly she's never going to save her from it?

Yo Gwang have seen that there is something wrong and evil with Choi Hyun Seo after he tried to choke him, Choi Hyun Seo even told him to kill him before Yeon Hui discover that he had turned evil, then why trust him to perform rites for your group when Yo Gwang is aware that he was already corrupted with evil magic? Why does he still trust him?

And that finding spell Yo Gwang made, its supposed to find the talisman right? So it led them to the king's room but the talisman is at the king's chest and the king was not in the room when it led them there. Then Yo Gwang and Heo Jun put the guards to sleep and left them right were they fell so they can enter the room, why didn't the king or his guards saw the sleeping guards outside his room?

So Hong Joo finally revealed to the king that she was the one who made him a king and that he only exist as his puppet then why won't he believe Heo Jun when he tells him Hong Joo is just using him?

If Hyun Seo can create a talisman that Yeon Hui can carry by herself then why keep her hidden on a consecrated grounds or at the temple? Why didn't he just made one from the start?

Lastly, I really hate it when characters don't talk things through with themselves. Come on guys, how old are all of you? Why is everyone keeping a secret instead of talking to each other? We've seen a few new dramas lately that doesn't depend on this trope anymore (ahem... Healer, to name one) and still works out just fine.

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I agree that the plot holes are getting bigger. But there are some explanations to your question.

For the Prince's soul. Yon Hee did tease just dropping the urn. But they wanted to have a proper funeral service.

Hong Joo is not going to save Yon Hee, but she is tied to the curse. If she dies, the candles will go out. Though that rule was a late addition.

There are multiple entrances to go to the wing's room. Yo Gwang knocked out the guards from the other side.

Hyun Seo did not create the talisman in Yon Hee before because he knew doing so would kill him.

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