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Ruler–Master of the Mask: Episodes 7-8

While our heroes and villains fight for control, we see how powerlessness can destroy a person’s will, but too much power can also create a monster. As Prince Sun learns just how weak he is, he uses this newfound knowledge to forge on ahead and change himself rather than stay idle. However, the more Sun continues to struggle, the more his enemies wish for his demise.

 
EPISODE 7 RECAP

Dressed in the prince’s robe and mask, Chung-woon steps onto the platform where Deputy Magistrate Han awaits his execution. Ga-eun, Lee Sun, and Woo Bo push their way to the front of the crowd as Chung-woon loudly declares that he, the prince, will behead Deputy Magistrate Han for falsely using his name and make him an example for all to see.

Ga-eun breaks past the guards and throws herself to the ground, begging the prince to spare her father’s life. The guards drag her away, but now the crowd joins her in asking the prince to spare the magistrate’s life.

However, Deputy Magistrate Han explains to the crowd that he committed high treason, and so he must pay for his crimes. He turns to face his daughter for the last time and gives her a small nod.

Dae-mok stands in his pavilion, smirking as the beat of the drum off in the distance signals the impending death of Magistrate Han. Chung-woon hesitantly lifts his sword, and Woo Bo turns away, leaving with a stern look on his face.

Shaking, Chung-woon drops his sword, unable to kill the innocent man, so Magistrate Han calmly encourages him to overcome this ordeal. The real Prince Sun finally arrives at the execution site with Hwa-goon and desperately yells at them to stop. However, his protests fall on deaf ears as Chung-woon closes his eyes and lets his sword fall down.

Deputy Magistrate Han’s loyal officer Park Moo-ha turns Ga-eun away, and the deafening thump behind her proclaims her father’s death. She turns around and cries out for her father before collapsing from the shock. Lee Sun catches her fall, and when he looks up, he sees the real Prince Sun in the crowd.

Infuriated, Woo Bo confronts Dae-mok, who invites him in. Seated across a table, Woo Bo hands Dae-mok a cup and pours him a drink. However, once the cup is filled, Woo Bo continues to pour, and the alcohol flows out of a small hole in the bottom of the cup. Woo Bo explains that the cup will never overflow, and Dae-mok laughs, thanking Woo Bo for enlightening him once again.

He brings up the time when Woo Bo first enlightened him, and in flashback, we see a powerless Dae-mok begging Woo Bo for an answer. After his wife was murdered, Dae-mok realized that he had no power and asked Woo Bo how he could protect his loved ones. Woo Bo calmly told him that the day he realized his power, he would no longer be a dog but a master, and so he’d advised Dae-mok to become a master.

Dae-mok haughtily notes how he became a master they all fear, and Woo Bo yells at him for misinterpreting his words. He accuses Dae-mok of abusing his power and being no better than those he despised, but Dae-mok coldly states that he never said he would be different.

Smiling, he mocks Woo Bo, asking if he didn’t foresee the dog hunting the tiger (aka, the king), and Woo Bo overturns the table: “You have truly given up on being human and have become a dog!” Dae-mok’s guards apprehend Woo Bo, but Dae-mok forgives his outburst, though he warns the old scholar that a smart tongue can save or kill a person.

Woo Bo returns to the execution site where Prince Sun remains kneeling, racked by guilt. In a trembling voice, Sun asks Woo Bo how he can stop people from dying for him and confesses that he feels like a monster. He begs the old scholar to teach him how to defeat Pyunsoohwe, but Woo Bo admits that he doesn’t know. Instead, he advises the young prince to go elsewhere and see with new eyes: “That will be the answer.”

Having silently waited in the back, Hwa-goon rushes to Prince Sun when he stumbles to get up and asks him how she can help. He wonders if she knows who he is, and she carefully answers that he’s the man who saved her life. She tells him her name and requests that he call her by it the next time they meet.

Dae-mok decides the prince’s initiation will be held in three days, and Hwa-goon’s father wonders what Dae-mok will do with the prince. He argues that as the next leader of Pyunsoohwe, he should know the plans, but Dae-mok asks, “When did I make you my successor?”

Right then, Hwa-goon interrupts their meeting and runs up to her grandfather. She admits her defeat and asks what he’ll do to the prince. When she hears of the initiation, Hwa-goon begs for more time to win the prince’s heart, but Dae-mok makes it clear that the prince has only two options: join or die.

The king informs Commander Lee that the initiation will be held in three days and orders him to find another “Lee Sun.” Commander Lee believes there isn’t enough time to properly prepare a substitute, but the king is adamant about keeping the real prince away from Pyunsoohwe.

Meanwhile, Prince Sun walks to Ga-eun’s house, and when she sees him, Ga-eun frantically runs up to him, asking him to let her meet the prince. Growing more impassioned, Ga-eun wonders how the prince could kill her father and questions the prince’s sense of justice before collapsing to the floor.

Shaken, Prince Sun falls to his knees and stays motionless until Lee Sun joins him at nightfall. Knowing that the prince didn’t kill Ga-eun’s father, Lee Sun asks who ordered the execution, but Prince Sun just blames himself. He apologizes for breaking his promise with Lee Sun and for being the prince.

Lee Sun remembers the conversation he overheard in the palace and asks why the king is looking for someone named “Lee Sun.” The prince explains that the king is searching for a substitute, and Lee Sun offers to be that substitute.

The proposal breaks Prince Sun out of his stupor, and thinking back to Woo Bo’s words, Sun thinks of an idea and accepts Lee Sun’s service. Suddenly, Commander Lee appears and asks if the peasant’s name is indeed “Lee Sun.”

Kneeling in front of the king, Prince Sun explains his plan to switch places with the peasant Lee Sun, but the king disapproves of his idea to live among the commoners. Sun argues back that it was originally the king’s decision to raise him in a mask to create a substitute, and he states that he’s not running away, he’s leaving to find a solution.

Unconvinced, the king points out that he can’t have a mere peasant living in the castle, but Sun defends his friend, calling him smart and trustworthy. He explains that Lee Sun still offered to help even after hearing that all the substitutes died, but the king still orders Commander Lee to make sure that he’s not a spy.

Paranoid and inhumane, the king has Lee Sun stripped and tortured as he personally questions him about his intentions to help the prince. When Lee Sun first says that he thought the prince would become a king who’s for the people, the king roars at him for thinking despite his lowly status, and he has Lee Sun waterboarded.

The king asks again why Lee Sun is helping, and this time Lee Sun says that he wanted to give his loyalty to the prince. He desperately pleads with the king, asking if those of lowly birth can’t even give their loyalty, but this time, the king accuses him of belittling the prince.

Outside the torture chamber, a spy watches, but Commander Lee cuts him down before he can escape. He throws the dead body into the room, which terrifies Lee Sun, and when the king bellows at him for daring to think and have a will, Lee Sun finally wails, “I’m starving!” Throwing himself to the ground, Lee Sun cries that he just wanted food and to live without worries, and his degrading pleas satisfy the king. Ugh, this is horrible.

In private, the king orders Commander Lee to get the substitute ready and reminds the commander that the prince’s initiation will be the last chance they have to get rid of Dae-mok.

Prince Sun approaches the king, who’s praying outside, and he explains how he must visit two people before switching places with Lee Sun. The king announces his disapproval, but Sun remains undeterred, firmly believing in his ordained duty. The king scoffs at him, and staring at the bright sun, he promises to approve if it starts to rain.

Sun declares that he must bring water back to the people since it’s his fault that people are dying while he remained unaware of their plight. The king rebukes him for blaming himself, but Sun knows that he’s in no position to allow ignorance to shield him from responsibility. Sun vows to find a way to return the water, and as if it’s a sign from the heavens, rain starts to fall.

Pyunsoohwe holds a celebratory meeting, and the group members praise Dae-mok for capturing both the king and prince. They inform their leader that the prince is weak and laying idle in his room, and soon, he’ll come to beg for his life.

Suddenly, the doors swing open, and Prince Sun stands in the entrance. Chung-woon demands that the group show respect to the prince, and the members anxiously look towards their leader for guidance. After a moment, Dae-mok bows to the prince, and the rest of the group follows suit.

Sun walks into the middle of the room and sits himself at the table, waving away Dae-mok’s suggestion to sit at the head. Dae-mok insists on the law, but Sun abruptly states that if they were to go according to the law, they should all kneel in the courtyard before him.

The prince notes how formalities are irrelevant in this place, and Dae-mok relents as he sits across from the prince. Sun explains that he came for advice, and Dae-mok obliges by telling the prince to select someone trustworthy to steer his vessel.

Sun asks if that person is Dae-mok, but he laughs, claiming to be too old and inadequate for such a role. He advises the prince to pick a wise man and give him his unwavering trust in order to ascend to the throne peacefully.

To express his gratitude, Sun presents a potted plant as a gift and begins to explain how he saw these wild flowers two years ago. He moved them to his greenhouse afterward, but when the new year came, the flowers failed to bloom. He decided to wait another year, and learned that the flower only blossoms after enduring the cold.

Sun comments on how a true flower needs to endure the snow and wind, and Dae-mok praises the prince’s graciousness. Dae-mok states that his only desire is for the prince to become a king who loves his people, and meeting Dae-mok’s gaze, Sun declares that he shall.

Once the prince is gone, Dae-mok accuses his followers for providing him with false information about a weak-minded prince. Staring at the gift, Dae-mok sees the flowers for what they truly are: a declaration of war.

 
EPISODE 8 RECAP

Ga-eun stares towards the horizon, and her father places a garment over her shoulders. She turns to smile at him, but it’s actually Prince Sun standing there instead. She tells Sun that her father brought her here to see the moon, and Sun recalls a saying about how the sun and moon can never be with one another.

However, he tells her to look closely since one can see them together in the sky, and like them, her father will always be with her. He promises to always stay by her side and protect her no matter where she is or how she’s changed, and to prove it, he places a necklace of a sun and moon around her neck.

He reveals his plans to leave in order to keep his promise with Deputy Magistrate Han, but he wonders if Ga-eun will stay by his side and watch him keep that promise. He asks her to come here in three days to leave with him and tenderly kisses her on the forehead.

Prince Sun rides through the town with Lee Sun accompanying him by foot as a eunuch. The queen greets the king’s procession and praises him for bringing rain. She begins to bring up the matter of choosing the prince’s bride, but the king sharply quiets her.

In the king’s private chamber, Royal Consort Lee tries to stop Prince Sun from leaving, but the king has already given him his permission. Sun declares his intentions to leave but adds that he wishes to take Ga-eun with him.

As Ga-eun wraps her father’s robe, she discovers the prince’s letter, and realizes that the (fake) prince lied about her father’s crime. However, she remembers her father announcing his transgressions and begins to sob, confused about why he lied.

Through her tears, Ga-eun notices a sword nearby and walks with determination to the palace. Unsheathing the sword, she cuts down a flag, and the guards apprehend her. As she’s thrown to the ground, Ga-eun announces herself and yells that she’s here to kill the prince. That escalated quickly.

Commander Lee informs the king that Ga-eun is in jail, and the king remembers his promise to the late Deputy Magistrate Han to protect his daughter.

Elsewhere, Prince Sun brings Lee Sun to all his daily activities and teaches him how to talk and walk like him. The last place he takes Lee Sun is his greenhouse, where he explains that this is his favorite place in the palace because he’s free to cry here when things get too tough to handle.

Facing his friend, Prince Sun asks Lee Sun one last time if he’s truly all right with this task. After the initiation, Lee Sun will have to pretend to be the prince, and Sun understands more than anyone how difficult it is to live behind a mask, unable to trust or reveal your heart to anyone.

He warns Lee Sun that this life will more difficult than when he was a peasant, but Lee Sun replies, “As I trust you, trust me.” The only thing worrying Lee Sun is his family, but Prince Sun promises to take care of them in his stead.

Lee Sun is filled with gratitude, but he quickly lowers his head when his gaze meets the prince’s. However, Prince Sun reminds him that the mask makes him the prince, so he should never bow his head. Smiling at his friend, Prince Sun asks if he would be willing to be his loyal companion and servant when he comes back, and Lee Sun can’t believe someone like him could remain by the prince’s side.

Chung-won interrupts their conversation and informs them of Ga-eun’s predicament. Lee Sun quickly advises the prince to switch places with him and go see Ga-eun, and Prince Sun easily leaves the greenhouse dressed as a eunuch. As Lee Sun dons the mask, Commander Lee comes in to take him away.

Dressed as the prince, Lee Sun kneels before the king, who informs him that the initiation is actually today. He informs him of what will take place and orders him to endure the poison. The king asks for his name, and though Lee Sun stutters in the beginning, he confidently states that he’s Lee Sun, his gaze steady and firm.

Hearing that Ga-eun was released, Sun returns to the house to find her, but there’s only a pouch with a letter and the necklace he gave her. In the letter, Gae-eun asks for forgiveness for breaking the promise, and writes that she no longer wants to see him.

However, through her tears, she whispers: “If I come back alive, I will be with you.” Holding on to the necklace, Sun dares not to be greedy and only wishes for Ga-eun to come back safely.

The king passes his message to Commander Lee that Pyunsoohwe wishes to be their ally, but they will not join hands. Instead, they will finally get rid of them, and Commander Lee raises his sword as he leads his group of men toward the Pyunsoohwe hideout, reminding them that the future of Joseon lies in their hands.

Shaking, Lee Sun is delivered to Pyunsoohwe and dragged to the center of the circle to begin his initiation. Dae-mok rips off his mask and turns his face towards Gon’s direction, who only reveals part of the truth (though he knows the whole truth, since he saw the real Prince Sun) and states that the shaking initiate had the prince’s medallion.

Satisfied with the answer, Dae-mok hands Lee Sun a cup, and he drinks the poison in one gulp. Instantly, he feels the stabbing pain from the poison and clutches his heart. Dae-mok commands him to speak his name, and Lee Sun flashes back to when Ga-eun first gave him his name before announcing it aloud.

Outside the entrance, Commander Lee kills the two guards and signals his men to attack. However, it appears that they’ve been caught in their own trap as Dae-mok forces Lee Sun to swallow more poison, and Commander Lee’s army is met with a barrage of arrows.

Though Lee Sun fulfills his duty, loudly proclaiming himself as Crown Prince Lee Sun, Commander Lee and his men fail as the soldiers fall one by one. Spying from the woods, Hwa-goon surmises that the king sent a fake prince and orders Gon to save the real one.

A magistrate visits the queen and urges her to make a quick decision. Meanwhile, Prince Sun rides with Chung-woon, still believing that the initiation will start tomorrow. He returns to the palace, unaware of the mutiny brewing inside.

Ga-eun sits before Consort Lee, and the latter apologizes for the death of Deputy Magistrate Han. Ga-eun doesn’t want her apologies, but when Consort Lee explains that the prince isn’t at fault, Ga-eun brandishes the prince’s letter, demanding to know who else should be held responsible.

Consort Lee asks Ga-eun if she’s ever heard of Dae-mok, but Ga-eun believes this doesn’t dissolve the prince’s culpability for her father’s death. Just then, a commotion outside interrupts their conversation, and Consort Lee’s court lady opens the window to reveal a procession led by Dae-mok, who’s holding onto the fake prince.

Dragging Lee Sun, Dae-mok marches into the king’s chamber and throws the fake prince to the ground. He accuses the king of plotting to kill him, but laughs since the king has only stabbed himself instead. Dae-mok threatens to kill the real prince, and the king roars at him.

Consort Lee orders her court lady to lead Ga-eun out to safety while she goes to the king, but Consort Lee has already been poisoned. Ga-eun quickly tastes the water nearby, and after confirming that it’s safe, she orders Consort Lee to drink and throw up the poison.

While Consort Lee fights for her life, the king does the same as he draws his sword and attacks Dae-mok’s men. Commander Lee arrives and deftly jumps to the king’s side, pushing back the intruders.

Though Ga-eun carries Consort Lee to the door, the poison has already ravaged her body, so Consort Lee uses her last moments to tell Ga-eun the truth about her father’s death. She explains that those men outside were the ones responsible for killing Deputy Magistrate Han.

As the king and his chief commander continue to fight, Consort Lee bestows a final mission to Ga-eun: find the crock she planted from the greenhouse and deliver it to “Chun-soo” (aka, Prince Sun).

Prince Sun arrives at the palace, but seeing the empty courtyard, he hastens towards the king’s room. He stops at the entrance, temporarily paralyzed by the scene before him, and yells for his father. Dae-mok hears his cry and orders his men to change targets.

Prince Sun grabs a sword and joins the fight as Chung-woon also jumps into the fray. The king orders Commander Lee to go protect his son, and Dae-mok watches with unease as his men fail to kill the prince. He grabs the nearest sword and menacingly marches toward Sun, who’s pinned to the wall.

As Dae-mok raises his sword, the king shouts and rushes toward him, but Dae-mok easily parries the king’s attacks. Swiftly, Dae-mok pierces the king through the stomach, but even as he dies, the king looks toward his son and tells him to escape. Powerless, Sun watches the king die and can only scream for his father one last time.

 
COMMENTS

Part of this show’s merit is that this drama’s world is populated by interesting characters with dubious moral compasses. The king undeniably loves Prince Sun, but his actions show that he’s as much an unhinged king as he is a protective father. The way he treated Lee Sun was monstrous, and it broke my heart to see Lee Sun break down and grovel while the king watched in an almost satisfied manner. He treats others with such contempt that I’m surprised he’s even capable of such unwavering love and devotion to his son.

Granted, even his love for Prince Sun twisted into an overbearing protectiveness that over time would have been Sun’s undoing if he never escaped from his father’s mask. Despite that, his death still showed just how much he wanted to protect his son, and though I can’t honestly say that I was saddened by his death, watching Sun’s reaction and devastation was gut-wrenching. While it would be nice to protect our naïve and good-natured prince from further harm, the death of the king was inevitable, and I know Sun will rise from this occasion even stronger and more determined.

It’s interesting how the show decided to kill both leads’ fathers this episode (these episodes?) since it feels like an informal arc has closed. Both Prince Sun and Ga-eun have witnessed their father’s death, and it’s the aftermath of these events that will shape the rest of the story and their actions. We’ve seen a bit of Ga-eun’s future trajectory as she slowly deals with her grief and decided, recklessly (I’ll blame the grief for her moment of madness), to confront the perpetrator to find the truth behind her father’s death. She’s stubborn and unrelenting in her pursuit of truth and justice, and hopefully, Ga-eun will be able to put the pieces together and come together with Prince Sun in the end to fight against the true evil ruining the kingdom from within. Otherwise, it’ll be too sad to see their relationship crumble, because they make an adorable pair.

Speaking of evil, I’m really enjoying Pyunsoohwe and Dae-mok. Heo Jun-ho is putting in an excellent performance as Dae-mok, and I’m really enjoying his portrayal. He infuses the character with a sense of foreboding and danger that isn’t a result of posturing or yelling. He makes the slightest smile or glance meaningful, and conveys a menacing aura with such ease. While Yoo Seung-ho is clearly carrying the show and doing an amazing job as Prince Sun (those eyes! That smile!), Dae-mok is just the right villain who’s able to balance the prince and go up against him. The scene when the two first clashed was electric, and the verbal sparring and charged gazes were intense. Every good story needs a compelling and terrifying villain, and Ruler has got it in the form of Dae-mok.

This has been brought up before, but the colors of this show are beautiful. The director knows how to use colors and lighting to his advantage in order to create a certain atmosphere and send a message to the audience. For example, the colors suddenly become dull in the rain scene between the king and the prince, representing the chasm that has formed in their relationship and the prince’s realization of his father’s true nature. On the other hand, the colors were soft and abundant during the scene between Sun and Ga-eun when he first proposed that she stay by his side. To me, the colors represented the rose-colored nature of their love for one another that’s both a bit hazy and strong all at once. Overall, the show is doing a wonderful job so far in setting up its story, and at the very least, it’s beautiful to look at.

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Yay..... 1st 2 cmt.....

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Really it is hard to cmt 1st in db now a days...??

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Quote from Dramabeans commenting policy:
'Please help keep Dramabeans awesome! Post often, post responsibly!
No Firsts. Please, no “First” comments to hold your place in line. It’s cutting the queue, and no one likes a queue-cutter. The threaded comments are for conversations, not for holding your place while you write up the thing you really want to say. We promise we’ll still read your comments twenty minutes later.'

Can we please stop with the pointless first comments? Can staff please also be more strict when it comes to ensuring the site's policies are respected? I mean, everyone is welcome to weigh in their opinions but these firsts comments don't add an ounce to the conversation at all.

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Sorry if I had offended anyone by this cmt.... I was really excited to find no one cmted and I dont check this page often..... if me posting such cmts are intolerable then belive me this is going to be my last cmt.....
Sorry fellow commentors.....

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Really 8 downvotes? For this? Aren't you guys a bit much...

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As mentioned above, it's against the site's rules. It's pretty normal on most sites to downvote rulebreaking comments.

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But Dramabeans isn't most sites. It's Dramabeans, where people are nice and talk to each other. This comment got more downvotes than comments insulting actors' looks, and literally bashing them. It doesn't make sense. It was innocently done.

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I'm having deja vu. Didn't this episode already get recapped?

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I am so happy with Myung-soo's acting in this drama. He's doing his best to hold his own against a powerhouse like Yoo Seung-ho, that scene in the greenhouse was so precious.

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Boy really stepped up his game. I'm still having problems with his gagging and screaming but otherwise he's quite decent.

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Cool name... "ek ladhki thi is kim eun sooks no 1fan"....... r u that ladhki ☺

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Yes, I am the one who's Kim Eun-sook's no 1 fan. Lol.

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ek ladhki?u are indian...am also her no fan

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No, I'm not Indian.

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I am thinking about Hwarang while watching this drama. The story wherein the Prince being unknown by people in order to protect him is also evident on the previous drama. I hope the storyline will be different this time.

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Well, Ruler managed to get through many things in four episodes than the 20 episodes Hwarang had.

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But... but Aro needs saving, again and again and again and again...

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This show will be my undoing.. how can i ever watch another sageuk without thinking of Yoo Seung Ho's crown price and future king. He's truly magnetic. You can't help but only see him when he's on screen.

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This show will be my undoing.. how can i ever watch another sageuk without thinking of Yoo Seung Ho's crown price and future king. He's truly magnetic. You can't help but only see him when he's on screen.

And kudos to the writer and director too. The dialogues are so engaging. You're never bored and there's no filler scenes too which is unusual for a k-drama. Just goes to show how tightly written the drama is.

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This show is too good.

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This show will be my undoing.. how can i ever watch another sageuk without thinking of Yoo Seung Ho's crown price and future king. He's truly magnetic. You can't help but only see him when he's on screen.
And kudos to the writer and director too. The dialogues are so engaging. You're never bored and there's no filler scenes too which is unusual for a k-drama. Just goes to show how tightly written the drama is.

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Hear! tons of meaty dialogues. Both from the protagonists and the villains. some of my fave from episode 7-8 alone:
Daemok - Woo Bo confrontation,
Prince Sun - Daemok
Prince Sun - King
And Prince Sun's Moon/Sun referencing. Ugh. As beautiful as its cinematography.

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We are still in episode 8 (or maybe 4?) but it feels like the drama has given us so much. I know this will serve as background to a bigger story but the past episodes just heaped too much story, angst and drama, I don't know what else it will give us. I'm happy that they are not dragging too much and hell yeah, smart villians for figuring things fast but I'm half scared and excited to see what other drama is in store for us. What else is there to cover for 16/32 more episodes???

I need/crave for theories to feed my curiosity. Anybody here who has some interesting theories on what could possibly happen next?

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Yes, there is really a lot of angst and action going on for 4/8 episodes. How many times has the CP cried in these 4/8 episodes? I don't recall an episode where his eyes don't well up with tears. I wonder if the show will get more angsty in the future.

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Hhmm, how about this - CP manages to escape and actually does go far away to better himself like he wanted to (cuz since dae mok knows his face staying around there wont be wise)...so Peasant Yi Sun (who's already injested the poison) is placed on the throne and made a puppet king and he loses his timid(?), innocent(?) nature and becomes embittered.

Ga Eun finds the crock and goes on a journey deliver it to CP though shes still unaware of his true identity...their love continues to blossom as they both get stronger to defeat the enemy - basically dae mok.

I really cant think far tbh. I was so surprised when they brought peasant Yi in knowing full well that he was a fake. There was no mystery left when they even confirmed the CPs face so i really wonder where the shows gonna go.

On a side note, what was the Queen mother being asked permission for? At first i though she may hv been aware that they were coming to kill the king..sorta like in a coup where they tell a powerful insider whats gonna happen and ask for their support.

Oh and what do you think about the relationship btwn azula- ahem I mean- Our purple robed villaness and Gon? It seems he adores her to a certain level.

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This is the reason why I'm craving for theories. Dae-mok knows Yi Sun is a fake and the true identity of Crown Prince Sun. What else can happen? But maybe Dae-mok saying it is better to control a a fake prince to gain access to the throne is a foreshadowing. Only a handful of people know the face of the prince and he can use this to his advantage.

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Why wouldn't dae mok know that lee sun is a fake cp? I mean just look at the confrontation of the cp when he went to meet dae mok with such boldness, dae mok has taken in all that so when he told fake cp to drink the wine and lee sun being the idiot he is gave in easily and drank, dae mok must have had his doubts from there, that how can someone who was bold enough to confront me easily dink this wine? Dae mok is not stupid, even i was a little annoyed at the scene because lee sun drank the wine so easily. If that was the real prince he would have hesitated and put up a fight first even though, they would have forcibly choke it down his throat.

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Yesssss. Honestly, I never believe they could fool daemok that easy and to add up, Prince Lee Sun and King's plans clashes which just lead to both failure.

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i think that's why dae mok ordered fake cp to drink another sip of wine. He's already suspicious, and the attack from royal guards confirmed his suspicion. why would king made an attack if the one who attended the initiation was real cp

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The man is very smart, and i bet he's starting to doubt Gon's loyalty..
Only God knows where he was since he wasn't there in the last scene..

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@cutie I remember Gon is with Hwa Goon back at the cave. She ordered that they should rescue the real prince.

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Yes, this! I was annoyed seeing fake Lee Yeon cowering at the initiation and cowering in the King's chambers while everyone was fighting. The contrast of that with the real Prince's surprise visit to Dae Mok was just glaring. I get that this is a new (an terrifying) experience for someone who has a low image of himself but he volunteered to fill the Prince's shoes and should know better if he is truly committed to doing a good job of it. Man up!
Another annoyance was seeing the real Prince in eunuch wear running into the fight scene only to announce his true identity by screaming "FATHER!!". He gave away the one card he had. Not very smart Mr. Prince-I-want-to-defeat-the-baddies.

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Aahh, I do wonder how this is gonna go. And how is Ga Eun going to be a pillar of support to the prince (like she's said to be).?

I think peasant sun is also gonna hv to play a role in convincing her that CP didn't kill her dad.

Aaahhh plot twist...peasant sun does a 180 the wrong way and tells her CP did kill her aboji.

Im really trying to see how it'll all play out. This drama is really not predictable!

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Oh, the Queen. It doesn't look like she have any previous alliance with Pyunsoohwe but she did recognized Dae Mok's influence before when she noted Hwa Gun that no one in the country survived after disobeying him.
I think pyunsoohwe ordered her to clear out the palace since Dae Mok will come. I assume she could possibly do that since she's the second highest next to king. And obviously, she adhered.

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i love it keeps me guessing and am sure the writer has a plan and i dont think there will be more angsty in the future........ they have killed all they could kill the remaining are the children who will have to grow up and become strong to defeat dae muk.....i think peasant lee sun will be the fake king but he is smart so they wont completely control him and i think prince lee sun and kim so hyun will have to run and find alliences to defent dae muk

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IKR! The skeptic part of me think that this is the conflict guys, the story will go downhill from here. But as Yoo Seung Ho's fan I want to be optimistic and believe that they have a bigger story to tell and these past episodes is an origin story of Prince Sun and Gaeun to become the superheroes of Joseon (Just like Batman, The Flash or Elsa LOL).

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Not sure but I'm pessimistic now after I watched how the Crown Prince just came to the King's chamber without being suspicious and revealed himself in front of the bad guys, Lee Sun's failed impersonation, incapable palace's guards, and many more failed stuffs that I've started to notice.
This show is a beautifully shot nonetheless, which I really appreciate. But I just want more.

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I know that we are just at the beginning despite all that has happened, but I guess I can share some of my ruminations ;).

Like others above me, I see the crown prince having to flee since the cat is out of the bag: his face has been made public to his enemies. This will place peasant Lee Sun as the puppet king. While he will be expected to know his place and cower in fear, the experience might serve to embitter him as well as make him crave real power.

I wonder how peasant Lee Sun's intelligence will come into play--the intelligence that society would not ordinarily allow him to display in a way that would threaten the status quo. Will that intelligence twist him on the throne? Will he possibly die without ever getting to exercise it in a positive way? If things end well, might Prince Lee See as newly-crowned king appoint him to a ministerial position within the palace? That would be something truly great for peasant Lee Sun's character, but I fear that tragedy is in store for him, no matter what.

For some reason, I can't make any predictions about the other characters. I guess, I'll leave those thoughts to everyone else for now :).

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Exactly! I cant really make any predictions for the other characters either!

But i think a time skip is in order...
Hhmm what if down the line, our purple villaness partners up with peasant lee? Not romantically of course...but what if she learns from him or smth?

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LOL! I guess it just feels easy to postulate about his character's trajectory. I think you and I might need to wait a few more episodes before we can start thinking about the other characters :).

Regarding the pairing of our lady in purple and peasant Lee Sun--that could be very interesing and, yes, not in a romantic way.

As much as I don't like time skips, you and others here might be right.

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Lol, "our lady in purple" that made me laugh haha! I literally hv been attributing that colour to her because i cant remember her name.

Yeah and Gon is also an interesting character. I wonder about his loyalties.

Do you see ]peasant lee becoming bitter and turning evil tho? Sm1 in the comments below speculated that he could become the puppet king they want and so his umgair actions toward the people would further fuel Ga Euns hatred toward "the prince"

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@nanabot

I'm glad I made you laugh. And her name doesn't come to mind as easily for me as well.

Yes, I asked a couple of questions about Gon in the discussion thread for episodes 5&6. I can see him going through a conflict of loyalties.

I don't necessarily see peasant Lee becoming evil, but I can see him becoming twisted in some way.

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Damn,the scene between Dae Mok and Yi Sun was sooo awesome,Yi Sun was so badass marching in uninvited and declaring war in such a elegant manner...Yi Sun is such a romantic,how can one even resist him while looking with those eyes and saying such deep and poetic stuff declaring his love...Also,having the Yoo Seung Ho trademark crying scenes are a delight and pain in my heart,such an amazing contradiction...This was such an intense episode,quite curious what the writers will have in store for us from now on

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sorry for the duplicate comments. something's wrong with my server. can the admin help in deleting them please.?

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Now that DM has seen the true CP's appearance, that takes the suspense off the show a little. I thought DM will initiate the fake CP without ever really knowing the true CP's appearance. Now I wonder the route the show has in store for the two CP in in the future episodes.

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Yeah me too. I was stumped when i realised that the crown princes iddntity was revealed so early...my mind went-"okay, so whats the use of the second Yi Sun being in the show now?"

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Yeah, for me it's like
"After so many years wearing a mask, many innocent substitutes died in his place.. just because one word -Abamama- .. DM could identified who's the real prince.. ??"

I still don't understand how DM know Lee sun wasn't the real prince

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their personality in the presence of dae muk were different..one was confident while the other was scared and the soldiers who went to kill dae muk ran and left the"fake prince" behind which is unlikely...if he was a true prince they would have died for him...and dae muk is smart enough to figure all this out.....i think lee sun wil b a fake king but he and the true prince will have to run and find power plus alliences

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Ooo thankyouu

I hope Lee Sun never betrayed our Prince Sun

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The way Lee Sun walks is enough to make anyone notice he isn't the real prince, not to mention his height and his voice are obviously different with Prince Sun's. I would flip a table if MD didn't figure it out that fast ?

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Dae Mok could use peasant sun to sit on the throne. And maybe, it might benefit our prince's future plans. It has been mentioned repeatedly how intelligent peasant sun but he must overcome his enormous terror first before he could be of help. Dae Mok already holds his life because of the poison and if he succumb himself in fear, I'm worried he could become one of the bad guys

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But, what is prince sun going to do now? Even If he runs away, how will he get enough allies to overthrow dae mok and absolve pyunsowhe? Maybe he will join with ga eun and woo bo and start a revolution among the people?

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That is my same theory as of now. I also have read somewhere that there will be a 5yr transition and I'm thinking how relevant it could be.. (sorry if It come off as a spoiler)

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There will definitely be a time jump. A child actress will be playing an older version of Yi Sun's sister.

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He'll put the fake prince on the throne and definetly will try to kill the real Prince..

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Even though there have been only 8 (4) episodes, I feel overwhelmed with all the information being thrown at me. There is just so much happening with the Seons and Ga-Eun. I love the budding romance and bromance and want more of it. But because of everything's that happening, I really hope the drama doesn't get repetitive or boring towards the end when the writers have less and less to write about. So far, so good and I hope it keeps being that way!

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My best friend has FINALLY relented to watching k-dramas with me and we've gone through five, starting with City Hunter and now she's truly hooked with Chicago Typewriter. I've been waiting for the right sageuk and this one is it. I thought it might be Moonlight Drawn by Clouds but Ruler of the Mask might take the trophy. Anybody besides me lauding Infinite's L for his truly wonderful launch into dramatic acting. I LOVE him in this vulnerable role. He is giving his all.!!

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I haven't watched L before in any shows. After toning down his shouting in the previous episodes, I find his acting serviceable for a sageuk. I love his portrayal of the cowardly peasant, and can't wait when he becomes the fake CP.

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Oh gosh yes, I love Myungsoo, bad acting and all. But in the previous episode and this one, he really stepped it up. I hope he can continue to improve over the course of the drama.

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this sageuk take the trophy for me too especially if they continue to keep me on edge

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I love the scene between the true CP and DM. It's so powerful and intense the way they look at each other and the words they throw at each other. I love the use of the flower growing during wintry seasons in the conversation. It shows the willpower of the true CP in protecting his people.

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Yes, that was so nice, so powerful, I loved it when CP said if they were going to go by the law, they would've been kneeling in front of him, I went "Oooooh" at that, LOL!

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And dae mok's flustered face.
I love how this young prince can showdown to dae mok's authoritative & intimidating presence. I want more of this!

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me too it was epic ...like u got served

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My favourite scene.

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Although the young-inexperienced-prince-confronts-enemy scene has been done many times before in almost every sageuk, I really loved this particular scene! It shows Prince Sun's intelligence and strength. At first, I didn't get the meaning behind that flower he gave to MD, but thankfully MD 'explained' it so I could fully understand the whole scene lol. Further, It's beautifully shot as well. So. Epic.

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I signed up for a fluffy love story drama scene why is this so dark ? But Yoo Seung Ho acting is really magnificently done. He really just catches your eye everytime it shows him

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When is politics ever not dark?

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if u have seen the teaser bfr it aired u wld have known it wwas more war than fluffy at least at the beginningg......but is a melodrama and romance so i think u will get ur wish sooon...the prince romance story its starting to see light and i think ysh and ksy have a lot of scenes together in the future

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When was this advertised as a fluffy love story? It's an epic sageuk where the good guys and bad guys vie for power.

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We are in ep4/8 and Pyunsoohwe already know the real Sun face. But seeing LeeSun wearing King garb in the teaser makes me think maybe Pyunsoohwe will use LeeSun as the puppet king. As nobody in the palace know real prince/future king face. And we gonna have the story of Prince Sun quest to defeat Pyunsoohwe and take his right as a king back.

Its ep 4/8 and YoonSoHee potrayal of HwaGoon irked me. I cannot fathom the direction of her character. Is she bratty granddaughter of the evil or is she willing to betray family for love as what her character described. Is it the character or is it the actress? I think it is the latter.

The scene where Prince Sun meets GaEun is very beautiful! These two leads are the main drive for me in this drama!

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Everytime I see Yoon So Hee as Hwa Goon here, I keep thinking how nice it is if Park Bo Young is to play her character (it could be because SWDBS after effect).
I know it is impossible and I am probably biased about my opinion, but can you imagine a mini badass warrior potrayed by Bo Young? How likeable that character would be?
But then again it might not work as Ga Eun character might be overshadowed, not because Kim So Hyun is lacking but probably because Hwa Goon character would be more interesting than Ga Eun, who is your typical sageuk leading lady.. proper and nice.

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i think ga eun character will change soon enough she cant b bad ass from the start.....now she has goals and motivation lets see where the writter will take us and am sure ksy will deliver big time

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Yes, I agree about how the director is very good with colours! A very beautiful show! Even if the story gone asthray later which I hope not, I will keep watching these for my eyes satisfaction. So much pretty. I have yet to mentiom Yoo Seung Ho on the top of it.. so pretty!

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This episode took such an expected turn of events, I did not see any of this coming but I sure enjoyed it! I love how fast the pace is in this drama, a lot keeps happening but I do wish it slows down a bit and focus on each character on their own so we get to know them a little better!

The torturing scene was brutal and when peasant Sun fell on his knees and cried that he was hungry, I just couldn't take it! L did a good job here, I really felt for him!

Pyunsoowhe is more powerful than I thought, attacking the palace and actually killing the king, I would've never imagined them being able to do that! Now that Dae-mok knows who the real Crown Prince is, what is he going to do with peasant Sun, is he going to use him and make him his puppet King! Since no one knows who the real prince is, no one will question that move, the mask is going to be the biggest hurdle for our real CP, no one is going to believe him! There was a lot of heartbreak for him in this episode and I'm really looking forward to see how he'll overcome that!

That forehead kiss scene was just so beautiful!

And yes, Heo Jun-ho is amazing, never saw a performance of his that was not this great!

Thank you for the recap, Lovepark!

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I just thought the security at the royal palace is super lax. Don't they have guards and bodyguards who are well versed in martial arts to protect them? It seems unbelievable that the Pyunsoowhe group can just enter the palace as and when they please, even if they are very powerful?

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I know, I was wondering where all the guards were, it's a palace with such a poor security, how! They should've made it a little difficult to get to the king but I guess Pyunsoowhe bought them all and they're all just corrupt! I'm also wondering about the decision the queen had to make, is she with Pyunsoowhe? Is she the one who let them in?

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I think it is related with the queen scene, where one of the higher minister meet her and asking her to decide, then they show us where all the palace maids run and I think they hide themselves. So not only the palace maids, all the palace people on the guard that night got the instruction to hide. Hence the lack of security at the palace.
My hope is Queen is doing it just to save herself and the palace, she is the only royalty left in the palace, while CP after this will be on the run, so who going to keep the royalty organization in the place if not her. When the time is there, she will give back the authority of the palace to Prince Sun. This is what I think and what I hope.
I hope Woobo will enter palace as the one who will guide "king". We need someone who can be trust and wise in the palace to guide "king". The near him to the king the better.

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i also think the queen is involved but also dae muk has lot of connection and power even in the palace

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I don't know why that torture scene was funny to me when it was supposed to be sad, i was laughing at the whole scene maybe it was because of the way he was shouting..

Most of the royal guards were already been shot down when they escorted fake prince to phyunsoohwe..

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I am so disappointed with the way the crown prince's face was revealed to dae mok just like that. Why is the plot moving so fast, don't they have 20 (or 40) episodes to tell the story? I hope they have more story in store for us. I would have really liked it if it was a battle of wits between the king's side and pyunsoo group where not knowing the crown prince's face is the trump card the king's side had. But now it seems like that is not the case. :(

I really liked the way crown prince delivered the flowers to dae mok but the flipside is, he knows he is going to be replaced by someone else. So, why show them his true nature? If he had not interefered, I think there was more chance dae mok would have believed L as the crown prince since they were already thinking he is weak minded and depressed.

The drama is definitely beautiful to watch but I didn't realize the way they were using the colours until you mentioned it, lovepark. And thanks for the recap!

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I agree that I was a bit disappointed too when Prince Sun revealed himself to Dae Mok. But I think that there is more to the story. I'm guessing that most of the story will take place outside the palace with Prince Sun, on the run, and trying to learn about his people and gain both strength and knowledge to defeat Pyunsoohwe once and for all.

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Yeah, I hope so too. I just thought that was the point of the mask, in creating a mystery around the prince's identity. So, for that to have no value to the villain now was disappointing for me. But, still the people doesn't know who their prince is, so I guess there is still some point to the mask. Only now the purpose it was originally used for is now defeated.

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Yea, I totally agree with that. Now that his face has been revealed, the mystery has gone...simply because Dae Mok not only knows, but that he doesn't care anymore. He has a puppet to put in place on the throne.
But I think what matters now isn't Prince Sun's face being exposed. It's Peasant Sun's face being covered up. The people didn't know the Crown Prince's face before. And they will never know now either.
So now that Peasant Sun is probably going to take the CP's place, his real identify doesn't matter to Dae Mok. It's the mask that carries the real power...no matter who is wearing it.

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u said exactly my though about the mask........thats why its called master of the mask...who ever wears it is the one with power his identity doesnt mtter..the mask is poer and the symbol of the prince

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Spot on observation about the significance of the mask, chingu!

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@maskros heheh hi there chingu! Thanks;)

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@martha haha you said it better than me! ;)

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Agree! But that's what the Prince will have to overcome in order to be the true King. As we saw before, Royal symbols have power as they signify the royal identity to people who have never seen the King or Crown Prince up close. It was why they mistook peasant Lee Sun as the Prince and why they will probably be able to use him as a puppet in the future if they cover his face with the mask. But the real challenge for the Prince will lie in becoming a true leader/King to his people and taking back power. Only in doing so can he prove that it is not the mere symbols that hold power but those who don't need symbols to hide behind. Only by mastering the mask can he become the true ruler

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The prince showing up in front of Daemos was because he was planning to do the initiation himself, wasn't it? He only wanted Lee Sun to take over his position once the initiation was done. He didn't know that the King lied about the time the initiation would take place and forced Lee Sun to do it instead of him.

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No, the CP knew all along that his king father was looking for someone to stand in for him during the initiation and asked Lee Sun to do it for him. At the beginning of ep 7 where he visited Ga Eun after her father was executed, and Lee Sun asked to be his substitute, he said to Lee Sun that he heard the king wanted a boy to replace him for the initiation, then after contemplating Woo Bo's advice to 'see things from a different perspective', he took up Lee Sun's offer again (after turning it down) and asked Lee Sun whether he would become his stand-in.

The only thing he didn't know was that he would have to drink the poisoned wine and the king's change of plan.

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No, I think the CP knew that the king was looking for someone to take his place. But he didn't know that the king had intended for that stand in to take his place in the initiation. Prince Sun himself told his dad that he wanted to go to the initiation himself.

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But the king didn't listen and sent Peasant Sun instead. A day earlier than planned...so the CP didn't know the change of date.

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@ravennightstar
I've just watched the scenes again and boy I'm confused by the script.
When the CP went to meet Ga Eun and Lee Sun offered to be his substituted, he accepted the offer and asked 'Would you do it (being his stand-in the initiation) for me?' which indicated that he wanted Lee Sun to be his stand-in during the initiation while he could view the whole situation from a different perspective, as Woo Bo had suggested prior to that.

Then during the next scene when he was asking for his papa's permission for Lee Sun to be his stand-in after the initiation, he offered to take the initiation himself.

Now I'm having a headache, lol.

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True the cp got the wrong date.

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@HyeMi

The CP asked Lee Sun if he would do it for him - as in if he would be a fake prince for him so he can be outside the palace and find answers to help the people. But CP never planned to just send Lee Sun to Dae Mok like that. He's too good a person to allow his friend such danger. It was the King who moved the initiation 1 day ahead leaving CP with no idea about what's going on.

CP and CW even had a conversation about it. They needed to be back by a certain time in order to attend the initiation for the next day. So even his bodyguard had no idea.

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@maskros
I just checked the recap, and I'm sure that Prince Sun was talking about Peasant Sun taking his place after the initiation. He wanted to witness the initiation himself, and the leave the palace to figure out how to beat Dae Mok. That's why he asked Peasant Sun if he was sure he could stand living in his place. Because CP knows that it's not going to be easy for Sun.

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Yeah, the plot moves very fast. Wow, all those dead people. I just wish we know more about the people they killed in this show (the eunuch, king, consort lee, Gaeun's dad). I'm sad when they died, but that's only because of Prince Sun. I feel sad for him. And I guess also because they're good actors.

I actually love stories with so much conflict, tension and danger like this. In dramas or tv series when a character is faced with a dangerous situation and they come out easily unscathed without consequence, I think the writers of those shows is gutless or just lazy. But turns out too much of a good thing can become a bad thing, because by the time the King died I sighed and rolled my eyes.. We get it, the Prince's story tragic, people lost their life because of him. Don't kill more people please.

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I don't think the king was killed for the sake of tragedy though, it was for the sake of the plot so that the Pyunsoohwe could put a puppet ruler on the throne. While some of the deaths were to make Prince Sun realize the responsibility of his position, killing off the older generation also serves a dramatic purpose in leaving the young people to solve the problems on their own.

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Ooh, I like the fast pace in which the story is travelling. It makes me feel assured that there is more to explore...even if that means more tears and more heartbreak.

Prince Sun's declaration of war against Dae Mok? I love it, I love it! But now Dae Mok is angry. And when he is angry, boy is he scary! That final scene where he just barged in with soldiers behind him? That doesn't just show the palace is lax in security, but it displays the power of Dae Mok. That is, no one, not even the king, is powerful enough to stop him. The only thing Prince Sun can do now is run because the palace has just been invaded and Dae Mok has found himself a better puppet.

During the initiation ceremony, I think that Dae Mok saw something in Peasant Sun. Even though he knew Sun was a fake, he still kept him alive. That makes me think that either Dae Mok thought he would be easy to control, or that he saw something in him that showed that he is more than a weakling.

My heart broke for Peasant Sun in this episode. Especially the king's horrendous method of interrogating him. I loved L's portrayal of Peasant Sun in this scene. Even though it was almost too hard to watch him go through the pain. Now that he is caught be Dae Mok, I can only assume that he is the perfect puppet for Dae Mok to use.The king is dead, Prince Lee Sun would be forced to run and the throne will be left empty for Dae Mok to fill with whoever he pleases.
I'm worried that Peasant Sun's loyalties may shift when he begins to almost like sitting on the throne. The bromance ended as soon as it begun! T _ T

@chingu Hiii there! Saving you a spot here;D
I didn't really talk about the ladies of the show, so if you do, I'll reply to that lol:D

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The scene where Peasant Sun was tortured by the King for wanting to help the Prince was just uncomfortable to watch. Especially when the King posed just one question that really can't be answered with concrete proof and he kept asking it over and over. Ugh, the poor boy!
But, didn't Peasant Sun say multiple times throughout the episodes about how he's hungry and always felt lacking in taking care of his mom and sister because of class injustices? It sounds like he'll initially like the taste of sitting on the throne even though he's there as a puppet. Maybe there will be a point when that taste turns sour and he'll remember his desire for justice to be served? Everyone who survives and stays in the palace while Prince Sun is away will have to make a turn-about to help him when he's ready to come back to deal with Dae Mok otherwise, how will Prince Sun prove that he's the real prince? Let's see who those people will be.

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I really love Crown Prince and Ga Eun!!! They are both so suit together!! I Love hw CP kiss Ga Eun forehead...I was screaming(squealing) with giddy...my tv was almost worn out becuz I shake it too Much!! I was really mesmerized by their chemistry...It's been said that the kiss scene at he forehead was the reason for the result of the ratings...if that kiss can boost up the ratings,imagine if both of them kiss for REAL??!!! I Die(cause of too much happiness)...And I really like CP in person...He is so full of righteousness and sense of justice....he love his people so much that he willingly to die rather than kill innocent live....he love his friends(chung woon,lee sun,and....Chun Soo,you will be remember)I cried a lot to see the whole people that the CP love one by one been taken away...poor him....how my heart broke in pieces to see how Ga Eun mourned for her father dead...to see her state,I almost thought Kim So Hyun is Ga Eun for real...she really is a best actress!! LOVE HER! And Yoo Seung Ho...oh I really fell for his eyes...too much emotion...he really know to express the CP true feeling like he is him....love HIM too! Dae Mok is a very scary,like his vibe every scene he is in,like he keeps telling the audience 'Look at ME a bad scary villain!' I really like L acting,he's improving so much...it really hit me when the king interogate him almost naked,and I was like 'is it really necessary to that?!' poor peasant lee sun...Hwa Gun well...she is a villain character,but I like her too. Her character makes the drama seem more interesting too...Woo bo as our smart scholars...either he know that he is actually teaching the CP about how to deal with the Pyunswoo...or not...still every speech and advice he give simply give anyone encouragement and motivation....really I like him too! Wish I had that kind of teacher....he wasn't actually teaching,but he is teaching... you guys know what I mean right?? Anyway,I like all the characters in this drama...all of them make this drama so interesting...wish the rating goes higher and successful!And please all of the actor and actor need to have award for their hardwork....Fighting Ruler!!!

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This episode just throws all my assumptions off the window. I didn't expect Daemok to find out about the real prince's identity this fast and to easily know that Peasant Sun is not the real one. But I guess that shows that we have a clever villain here, one that won't be easily beaten. Although the plot is moving so fast, I hope they still have a lot of story. I don't know what to expect in the upcoming episodes, though based on next week preview I think Daemok will force Lee Sun to take the throne while Sun will start living as a commoner, and then there will be a 5 year time jump. Hopefully once Sun starts living outside of the palace, Gaeun will have more roles to play in the story as she starts helping Sun planning the take down of Pyunsoohwe. I am not sure what Hwagun will be up to after all of this. Will she be helping Daemok or the prince?

I can't feel sad for The King's death, but I feel sorry for Prince Sun for all the deaths of the people he loves, and I am sure there will be more deaths. Three out of the four young main characters' fathers are dad, Hwagun's dad should be careful lol.

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Based on the character's description, Hwa Gun will go against her grandfather and persuade her dad to rebel against his grandpa. That is her way of protecting the prince . I believe that she will become a tragic character who sacrifices for her love, knowing that CP doesnt even love her back.

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I think so too!

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Well this episode took a very unexpected turn. Where do we go from here? I'm excited for the prospect of having more to the story than what was advertised in the synopsis, but I'm also worried because we have 16 episodes left.

Nonetheless, there were some really great moments here in Episode 4 that got me going 'oohh' and 'awww'. I love that tender moment between Prince Sun and Gaeun. Also, when Prince Sun confronted Daemok and presented him with the flower, good stuff. Real good stuff. However, I had much preferred if he did not do it. The stark contrast between his confident demeanor and the terrified prince who showed up at the initiation ceremony tipped Daemok off that there's something not right with the masked prince in front of him.

I did not like that scene when Lee Sun was tortured. Poor kid. However, thanks to that scene, I got to witness more of Myungsoo's acting improvements and I applaud him. He's really stepping up with his acting. He conveyed his emotions very well.

I sure hope the writer knows where to take this story. I'm looking forward to next week.

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The moment Dae Mok barged in the king's chamber carrying peasant sun in front of him like an actual puppet, I know that it means he's his next puppet king.

He's soooooo believably scary and dangerous when he said, "How dare you lie to me?!" His whole expression looks like the most horrible monster in him has awaken and there's no stopping him even killing his disobedient puppet king HIMSELF.
(insert: dae mok covering the king's mouth in his last attempt to warn his son to run before pulling out the sword and throwing him off like a useless toy *geeez*)
I swear, I was holding my breath for the whole sequence.

As expected, Heo Jun Ho will own this antagonistic role and how I wish her grand daughter also try to.

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I was staring at the scene unbelievably, he was soo crazy and mad at the king for lying to him..

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Okay, this episode DEFINITELY needed more Chung-Woon (and I'm not just saying that because he stole my heart). I was honestly very disappointed in regards to this character in this episode. He took on the burden of killing an innocent man, just so his charge, the Crown Prince, didn't have to do it (which just shows you that he cares not just for the CP's physical, but also emotional wellbeing). And you could clearly see that he struggled so hard with this situation. He was faltering. And hadn't it been for Deputy Magistrate Han himself telling him that it's okay, he wouldn't have done it. And then.... nothing. It was not dealt with. The next time we see Chung-Woon (which was quite a time later) it was business as usual, being the silent bodyguard behind the prince.
It's not like I was expecting a huge dramatic breakdown or whatever (wouldn't have fit the character), but at least a conversation of ANY kind between the CP and him to deal with what happened. Asking Chung-Woon why he did it, telling him it's okay, telling him it's not okay, just ANYTHING to address what just happened. But nothing.
And I get that Chung-Woon isn't the main focus of this drama, but this scene was, and he was part of it, and it should have been dealt with.
I guess I still have hope that it's going to be addressed in the future in a scene with Ga-Eun, when she finds out who the CP really is or whatever, but the lack of a scene between Chung-Woon and the CP regarding that execution just felt weird in this episode, especially after those bromantic scenes in epsiode 5-6.
Or maybe I just need to take a chill pill to realize that I once again fell in love with a background character that is not going to be dealt with in the way I need it. I guess all I can pray for is that he won't be killed to become another motivation for the CP to destroy the Pyunsoohwe organization. Just let him live. Please.

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I fell for Chung-Woon too ! He and the CP need to discuss of his act. They can't act like usual when he killed his master's crush's father.

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I think the prince doesn't know that his body guard is the one who killed GE's father.

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Cp doesn't know yet, i'll prefer if the person behind the mask remains mystery to him, seriously bromance is in danger here.
Shut your mouth chungwoon don't say anything yet..

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I hate to say this but I think the Crown Prince shot himself in the foot by appearing before the Pyunsoowhe a day before his substitute's initiation. If Dae Mok had never met him nor had that conversation with him, he would have bought the peasant Lee Sun's performance as the sniveling, weak, crown prince. I'm much disappointed in the character of Crown Prince Sun, which is not a reflection on YSH's performance, as he's knocking it out of the park, but he is written as such a naive, thoughtless, impulsive character who was indulged by both parents, is quite ignorant of politics and doesn't yet know how to deal with political adversity, doesn't think things through to realize that his actions have consequences that can affect other people and his own father. I blame him directly for Dae Mok's beheading of Ga eun's father and for the failure of his father's plan to protect him, thus provoking Dae Mok to assassinate the king in the palace. I'm watching reruns of Moonlight Drawn by Clouds and the difference between the Crown Princes' actions and maturity is night and day. I can't help wishing that Ruler's Prince was more politically savvy and more astute, and when faced with the consequences of his actions, doesn't break down and cry like a child, but thinks on his feet; his father did him a disservice by sheltering him from politics. I also wasn't very sold on the "pendant, moon sun scene", it had a cringe factor for me as despite their initial attraction to each other, I'm not yet sold on their romance. I hope to see the growth arc of our CP, especially since my expectations of what could happen has been blown away by the latest events.

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Please read @deirdre 's comment up there: the King fooled his son about the initiation date and I guess Crown Prince wanted to take it himself (he is not aware of the poison-drug matter).

Anyway, you underestimate Dae-mok's intelligence. Or maybe it's me who is overestimating it. But I'm sure sending a fake prince is a strategy Dae-mok was already warned about.

For me, now the story is way more interesting. Crown Prince and his pals must fight Pyunsoohwe from the outside.

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Prince Sun didn't know that the king had intended for Peasant Sun to take the initiation. So as far as Prince Sun knew, he was going to appear before Dae Mok to see what kind of person he is, before going to the initiation himself two days later. He made sure to tell Peasant Sun that he can take his place after the initiation.

You might be right in calling the crown prince naive and impulsive, but i don't think he is thoughtless. Yes, he's been living a sheltered life, but that doesn't make him stupid or thoughtless. He cares for his people. He wants the best for them.

The king made sure that no mention of Pysoonhwe ever reached the prince. That's why the prince had no idea that such a group even existed.

Also, you're saying he cries like a child. What else is he supposed do? He has never been through a traumatic experience such as witnessing an execution that he blames on himself. He has had no/limited exposure to the outside world and how things run. He has barely crossed paths with Dae Mok and his group. I think breaking down and crying is the only, normal thing a person could do. This is not a situation where you think on your feet. It can be, if he had been brought up surrounded by politics, taught how to strategise and defeat/fight against enemies. But he hasn't.
Now that he is basically on the run, the crown prince does need to think on his feet. And he'll be able to do that after experiencing life outside the palace. That would make him stronger and smarter.

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Just wanna add a bit about the Prince crying like a child : well, he IS a 'child'. This is what this story is about : the growing up of the Prince from being a child into a real king. Right now, he has all the idealistic of a Prince, but the character needs to grow first. He is just like what the King said : the Prince is not ready yet.

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Yea, I totally agree with you. He is a child. At this point in time, he is powerless to do anything. The rest of the story will be about his growth as a naive prince to a smarter and stronger king.

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But isn't it the whole point of this story? That is to tell how the CP grows from a naive, idealistic and politically inexperienced person to someone more mature and savvy? He doesn't get the hang of politics because his father has kept him from being involved in it for the longest time, while CP Yi Yeong was always portrayed as a genius and well-versed in politics, with good understanding of his enemy's machinations. Ruler and CP Lee sun are not built upon the same premise, so I personally find it unfair to compare both princes since their upbringings were entirely different.

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Yes, so agree with this

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Everything he ever did was to save his people, he thinks he has the power to save them when he doesn't know that there is a group who holds superior power, little does he know, he's been kept in darkness this whole years.
Everything that ever happened has been technically the king's fault and i'm glad he admitted it, the only mistake the crown pince made at the last scene was to shout abamama instead of calling cho ha, but was that really his fault? This is what he's been calling his father, he has the freedom to address him anything he wants as a son.
The king caused his own death to be fair.
And i don't think it's right to bring up moonlight drawn by clouds up because the drama was never half as serious as this one, well for me...

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I'm pretty sure that these first four/eight episodes are intended as backstory, like the childhood portions of some dramas. Personally I really liked that Prince Sun is depicted as sheltered and naive in these early episodes, because it will be all the more powerful when we see him growing up and becoming a hero later on. It's basically a coming-of-age story.

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Spot on!

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I have 1 question : how did that Pyunsoo Group become so powerful ? They could easily sneak up to literally everywhere in the palace ( the prince's room, the jail ) and poisoned the prince and the Queen. I really enjoy the show, since I love the casts and the story, but this one thing really has been bugging me.

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I think it's cuz of the connections. The people in the group are made up of many powerful members of society, who hv power in their various fields. They iniciate sm1and help the person rise, and they gain favours automatically from them. It's basically a power breeds power scenario.

As for breaking into the palace- i think the queen may hv had smth to do with it...remember that scene where they were asking her to decide? And then the next thing the palace maids are running? Yh that definitely helped.

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There is some parallel to the historical King Yeongjo. He ascended the throne with the help of the noron faction so he was indebted to them much like this king and the Pyunsoohwe group. They are the real power behind the throne.

I believe the king is uncompromising when it comes to his son's safety because he is the only hope of defeating Dae-mok and he needs to stay alive to do that.

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Thx nanabot, kiara! I dont know Korean history and and I rarely watch palace/historical drama, so I'm not familiar with King Yeonjo or the noron faction. It's just the background story should be more clear, since we see a flashback of a poor DM (so we need to know how he became more powerful than the King in, perhaps, 20-30 years).

@nanabot, sorry I forgot about the scene of the Queen. I should rewatch, I guess. Thanks!

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I thought the rain scene was really well done.
Did anyone else notice the Prince's mask has rain cloud like designs on it? I thought it was such a subtle yet powerful metaphor for the Prince being the rain that the people needed. Just as the clouds bring rain after a period of drought, so will the Prince bring the water to the people and free them from tyranny and hardships. I thought it was very well done even though I laughed my ass off when it went literally dark within seconds and rain started pouring out of freaking no where! =P

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I'm not sure why a lot seems concerned by how much ground we've covered in the first 4 episodes. I love that it's like that. I've always believed that it's better to reveal secrets early so a writer is able to think of more interesting plot for the future episodes. If they get stuck trying to uncover a secret all viewers already know, it would quite easily get boring.

When this drama was first announced, I had hoped it would be just as epic as The Princess Man was. That drama covered so much plot in every episode and never lost steam right till the very end of 24 episodes. This has 4 less and I am yet to have any reason to doubt the writer's ability to keep us on the edge.

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I like this one ore than the Princess Man, coz Ruler is more unpredictable. I thought that we are going to have the Prince still being unknown to the villain until several episodes ahead, so I was surpised when his face was revealed in epi 4. Actually, I prefer that his face is till a secret until some time later .. but it's okay. At least Ga Ryung still didnt know.

And I'm very happy that this is pre produced, so I can be sure that the story was already fixed .

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They still fliming.

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They-re still filming?? But I read old articles that this was a preproduced drama . Ouch, if it isnt one, then I cant have too much hope coz the style can change in the middle, depending on the viewers' reaction

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Yes, they're still filming. I guess they pre-filmed only around 10 episodes. Episode 4 was just filmed a month ago.
Its actually a good thing if they want to get some opinions for improvement.
For instance, seeing how knetz criticize Yoon So Hee, I hope the production could do something about it. Either So Hee step up her game or a doubled effort on a part of the PD to make her scenes more believable 'coz she appears so unnatural.

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They wanted to preproduced but because of changing actress in the middle, the weather or such, there hasnt been information they finish filming yet. MDBC started in june, finished in oct for 18 epis. Ruler started in jan so they finished sometime this month or next month.

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Thx joyee, C! I have no problem with the 2nd girl, although it's good if her acting becomes better. Then again, most Kdramas that I liked changed styles in midway into something that I didnt like, so I prefer to watch a preproduced one. Oh well, we'll see how this one goes.

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Same here. The first four episodes are setup. I think it's a little too early to be worried about running out of plot when the main plot hasn't even started yet.

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Also, I was so confused by this turn of events. I don't understand why the guards had to go attack Dae-mok's men during the fake prince's initiation. Wasn't that literally your plan? To use to fake prince all along? Also, did you just not agree with the Crown Prince about the whole living among peasants and learning how to take Pyunsoo out from the inside? You had a whole plan going! Why would you fuck that up with a half-assed plan last minute????

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Okay, @ravennightstar and @Mandy, please help enlighten me (serious question, no sarcasm intended) because I'm left confused here. These are the lines from the script for ep 7-8; I typed them down for easy analysis.
Scene 1: Lee Sun commoner and Lee Sun the CP, outside Ga Eun's house.
Lee Sun: Your Highness, why is the King looking for a boy named Lee Sun?
CP: I heard that he wants the boy to attend the initiation instead of me.
Lee Sun: I will be that boy. (...)
CP: Thank you. However, it will be useless to avoid them for a moment with a substitute.
-flashback to conversation with Woo Bo-
CP: A way to look at things with a fresh set of eyes. Lee sun-ya, could you really be my substitute?

So from the italic part I deduce that the CP is aware that a boy sharing the same name with him is needed for the initiation, and his taking up Lee Sun's offer means Lee Sun will attend the initiation in his place. But then in the next scene:
Scene 2: Both boys in the King's chamber.
CP: I wish to stay with the people in order to see Pyunsoo Group from their view. Please approve of this.
King: You will find a way to fight Pyunsoo Group and defeat them while leaving that boy of low birth in the palace?
CP: It was you who raised me with a mask on my face to find a substitute.
King: I understand why you came to such determination. However, he cannot be your substitute after the initiation.
CP: I will have the initiation myself.

Again, the italic parts:
- What I take from the king's line is that he implicitly means while it might be alright for Lee Sun to stand in for the CP during the initiation, he won't approve of the idea after the initiation has finished. Then CP offers to take the initiation himself.

Which led to my previous understanding/ assumption that the CP knew fully well that Lee Sun would replace him during the initiation, and finally agreed to it (Scene 1) plus also wanted Lee Sun to also be his substitute after the initiation so that he could find a way to counter Pyunsoo's power, but changed his mind during the conversation with the King (Scene 2). Or am I understanding things wrong? This part has left me pretty confused tbh.

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Hi hyemi, I just want to share my opinion regarding this. Your understanding of those two scenes you mentioned are the same as mine but I think Prince Sun assumed that he did get the king's approval of his counter offer during that scene at the rain ritual site. Therefore, in his mind, he'll have the initiation himself and Lee Sun as his stand in after.

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Hmm, yea that's a bit confusing.
But I'm thinking that the CP just said that (he wants the boy to attend the initiation instead of me) knowing that he was going to tell his father that he wanted to go to the initiation...if that makes sense lol.

I'm not sure what the king meant about Peasant Sun not being CP's substitute after the initiation. Because, wasn't that the whole point of CP's mission? That is, he wanted someone to take his place after he leaves the palace to investigate the weakness of the Pysoonhwe group.

Sorry if I just confused you more. ?

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This is a really late reply but this is my understanding of both scenes:

In the first scene, CP thanked Lee Sun for wanting to help him and take his place in the initiation but also said very clearly that it would be of no use. But suddenly he changed his mind and asked for Lee Sun to be his substitute - I understood that as after the initiation, while he's away, someone can take over as crown prince.

Scene 2:
The king insists that he can only have 3 days away from the palace - as in Lee Sun will take his place in the initiation while he's away, then he has to come back and be CP again. That's why he said "I will have the initiation myself". He wants to make it clear Lee Sun will be his substitute after the initiation.

They both obviously had different ideas which was why the King moved the ceremony to 1 day in advance knowing CP will insist to attend it himself and then leave. And the King's whole mission was to not allow his son to become a puppet by drinking that potion.

I could be completely wrong but I understood it to be like that...

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Predictions : I think we'll get a time jump by the end of next episode ... Since Dae Mok now knows the crown prince's identity, he will be forced to hide among the people to compose himself and learn from his mistakes. That would explain why we see Yoo Seung-Ho in commoner clothes and hair untied in the teasers ... It will also give Ga Eun time to mourn the loss of her father and therefore meet Chun Soo alias Prince Sun again with any resentment. The pace might slow down a little, but it will allow us to connect with the two leads and their relationship more. It will be like an underdog story from now on, with all the odds against the hero but like Hamlet, he will be on the run to claim back his throne.
Meanwhile Lee Sun will become Dae Mok's puppet king, and will little by little turn to the bad side, that's why in the trailer we see him in red royal robes, looking very mean as people bow to him lol Maybe he will start to do bad things, fueling Ga Eun's hatred for the crown prince. Though at this point I don't see her going on a full revenge mission as we were promised at the beginning ...
Finally I've seen comments comparing Ruler with Moonlight Drawn By Clouds and I think it is unfair to compare the crown princes, Moonlight was clearly a love story above all, and the political machinations were just there to serve the love story, whereas Ruler is like the opposite, setting the political ground first and taking a lot of time to develop the love story.

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they compare the princes. PBG didnt cry as much as YSH. Both of them are sad childs with weak fathers. YSH is excellent but everything is too heavy.

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Yeah he could have toned it down a little, but it is a melodrama after all, and given the situations he's been thrown into in the last episodes, I find it quite understandable. ^^ I think/hope there will be less crying scenes from now on, as we progress in the story and as the prince gains confidence !

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His father & mother just died on the same night and because of the same big enemy.
Let's expect more YSH tears but I'm not complaining. After facing horrible deaths and painful realizations about being the nation's prince, i'll find it odd if the supposed to be naive & idealistic prince didn't cry hard as YSH did.

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Let us put a cut to all this MDBC-RMOTM comparisons here on DB. It is futile to compare two shows on a basis that it is both historical and have a Crown Prince protagonist who struggles their way to rule for the people because aside from that, everything is completely different.

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You know i like this theory though! Peasant Lees actions making Ga Eun hate him(nee- the crown prince) even more and fuel her up for revenge against him but then the mask falls during their altercation and Tada!!! Shes face to face with Peasant Sun(who had probanly gone "missing")

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"To me, the colors represented the rose-colored nature of their love for one another that’s both a bit hazy and strong all at once."

Idk. I'm not yet convinced. We're still too too early on in the story to conclude that they're 'strongly inlove'... maybe in the future episodes, but certainly not now.

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On a side note, I would have really liked Ga Eun to embark on a revenge mission against the crown prince, but sadly I don't really see that happen now because it would not serve the love storyline, the writers made them separate by the last episode for her to get past the loss of the father over time. Making her hate the crown prince is not really compatible with developping the love story, as he would always feel remorseful towards her seeing her still so bitter about it.

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Started watching for KSH, but I'm getting hooked. Like some others have said, I'm still hoping GE gets more screentime and more purpose to the storyline soon. This is my first YSH drama and totally fallen for how expressive his eyes are!! I've got to look up some of his other dramas...

I'm not 100% sold on their love story yet, but doesn't stop me from replaying CPxGE scenes repeatedly. I feel like the fact that both CP and GE are going to go on their own journey from now on is supposed to represent that they aren't in the stage of "true love" yet, and so other things (revenge, defeating Pyunsoohwe) are more important for now.

I'm really curious to find out what CP and GE are going to be doing during the supposed 5-year time jump...actually, make that what everyone is going to be during the timejump...All bets are in the air now! I can't really see why/how GE will take 5 years to get her revenge. Is HG going to keep following CP during the 5 years? It can't be that CP can hide within Pyunsoohwe given that Daemok knows his face now. Poor LS will be stuck in the palace alone - I think he'll turn on CP too.

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I have a feel that Lee Seon will die in the end too. Probably Prince Seon have to listen to Dae Mok as they already poisoned Lee Seon in the first place. Sigh the endless sacrifices. Rain befall

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I fear the possibility of death in Peasant Lee Sun's future as well.

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I feel either Lee Seon or Hwa Goon will die. Maybe even both. Clearly this drama does not hold back on killing off its cast.

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You know, I thought that the drama would make the prince's mask an asset to him. But the villains used that against him. It took me by suprise and certainly upped my interest in the drama. Now the only people who can help him claim back his position are dead. The villains know what he looks like. I wonder how he'll survive.

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I started out with a lot of excitement for this show. But I'm honestly so confused and I'm wondering why it's so lackluster. Firstly, Ruler is only in this second week. Maybe the full length episodes have been split, but just because it says episode 7-8 doesn't mean it's actually episode 7-8, but it's like the show doesn't know that, and has forgotten we are only on episode four. I don't care about anyone at all because the show hasn't given me reasons to care. Also when did Kim So Hyun fall in love woth the Crown Prince like whaaat? I felt nothing during their moment because I was not there when they fell in love. That one moment they had in the first two episodes is not enough for me to believe in their relationship. I can't just love a couple because the show says they are the main couple, the show should prove to me why I should get behind them. The dad was always super terrible so I'm not sad he died, but the villains in this show are so weird. They feel like they were written for a bad disney movie. Maybe it's because I just finished Rebel which I thought really fleshed out it's characters and brought them to life, but I feel so static watching these people. Everything is so intense and I'm like IT'S ONLY WEEK TWO I DON'T UNDERSTAND. Am I the only one confused here? I might drop it or watch it while doing menial tasks. Or maybe I'll just watch it when I'm down because watching everyone being super extra, especially Yoon Sohee with her terrible acting but also poorly written character actually makes me laugh because it's so bad it's good? Like it's one of those shows to me, and I lament the Ruler I thought I was getting when I started watching this.

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One more thing: although this show is riddled with plotholes, bad writing/pacing, and a few actors who are overacting, this show does have one thing I love: Directing and camera work. Some scenes are just filled with color it's amazing, and the people who make the sets are killing it. It's a very gorgeous show to watch, and I appreciate that. I wanted to say at least one good thing about the show, because it's not unbearable, just not up to my expectations. Which is fine, I will just lower them and recognize I'm watching just an okay show, not a good one.

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But Ga Eun and Prince Sun did not outright say that they love each other yet, didn't they ? Why are you so upset about that ?
And I think the villain is quite good, actually. We all thought that he would be fooled by the switch of identity but he managed to figure it out on his own ! I think that the writers made the choice to set up a strong political base for the story first before developing the characters' relationships, the downside being that part of the audience might not really connect with the characters' pain and loss yet, the bright side being that the show is unpredictable and that's a good thing to keep the audience on the edge of their seat ^^

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I agree. I'm also not feeling that they're deeply in love yet, but obviously, they do care with each other and recognized that there is a budding special feelings between them. They are just teenagers after all.

And I also agree to how the villain is written so far.
Imagine if Dae Mok didn't realize the Prince in the initiation is not the real prince and got fooled, I will not buy that he is a smart bad guy who was able to rise from being a slave to a powerful person behind the king.

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CP-GE are not deeply in love yet, but I believe that they consider each other as first crushes that are important for them. Also, this is supposed to be in ancient era. The boy meet a beautiful elegant smart girl that had 'saved' him, while the girl had a handsome sweet spontaneous boy who clearly showed his affection and asked her to be with him. Why wouldnt they fall in love? Right now, they are both still have their own trauma, so they go separate ways. But, it's natural that each has become an important person for the other.

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I've been lurking on dramabeans for a year+ now (without making an account) but man my frustration and feels are too great I gotta vent.

1) Why is there so much acceptance over the CP behaviour? I mean yes I get that his naive and immature self is necessary to show character development (and of course we wouldn't have any story if he was logical and could expertly handle political situations). But like...

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Haha whoops clumsy fingers pressing send before I was done *covers face*

2) Why does HG love the CP? Perhaps she may have not actually said anything but she did let him kiss her forehead and present her a necklace with flowery words which are an extension of the love (or like) he has for her. Soooo.... what exactly in