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Ruler–Master of the Mask: Episodes 27-28

This episode proves that the recent improvements we’ve been seeing weren’t just a fluke, which is good news. Now that the main plot has started to move again, Sun must face the consequences of his lies as he battles against his greatest enemy. It’s an episode filled with plenty of action and emotion, though I can’t help but wish that this had happened sooner.

 
EPISODE 27 RECAP

Mae-chang confronts Ga-eun, asking if she really didn’t know that she would be chosen as a final candidate for queen, and Ga-eun explains that she was only supposed to stay until the second round. Confused, Ga-eun gets up to ask the queen dowager directly, but Mae-chang stops her.

She urges Ga-eun to reconsider her trust in the queen dowager, revealing the truth about her as the true culprit behind Sun’s attempted murder. Thus, Mae-chang advises Ga-eun to trust Sun and wait.

The queen dowager meets with Lee Sun and reminds him to return the favor, since she did as he wanted and chose Ga-eun as one of the finalists. Smiling, Lee Sun promises to help make her niece his queen.

Pyunsoohwe meets over the recent development in the queen selection process, and Dae-mok disdainfully notes that their candidate might lose because of Ga-eun. Meanwhile, the queen dowager reassures the Minister of War that the queen has basically been decided, adding that soon, he’ll be the king’s father-in-law.

Sun asks the Inspector General if they could invalidate the selection process, but the latter can only apologize. Woo Bo offers to persuade Lee Sun, but Sun tells him that it’s pointless since Lee Sun made up his mind the moment he broke his promise with him.

Later that night, Dae-mok meets with a mysterious person, and asks if it’s an urgent matter since the orders were to lie low. (Omo, is this who I think it is?) Elsewhere, Sun stares into a fire, and tells Chung-woon that he’ll take Ga-eun out.

As Lee Sun orders the head eunuch to make Ga-eun comfortable, Hyun-seok arrives, bearing a gift from the chief peddler. Lee Sun finds two pills and a letter from Sun that explains how he searched for an antidote to the poppy and finally found one.

Though initially excited, Lee Sun curbs his enthusiasm, and Hyun-seok fuels the flames of doubt by questioning how Sun could have found the antidote when only Dae-mok knows the formula. He then informs Lee Sun about the time that Sun glared at him and recommends that the king have the royal taster eat one of the two pills first.

Hence, the royal taster arrives, and after eating a pill, she tells Lee Sun that it’s safe. However, she suddenly clutches her throat and throws up blood before falling to the ground in convulsions. Hyun-seok knocks the pill from Lee Sun’s hand just as he’s about to eat it and checks on the royal taster to declare her death.

That night, Hyun-seok secretly disposes of the body, but the head eunuch watches from the shadows with a suspicious look. After completing the task, Hyun-seok reports to Lee Sun, who wearily talks about Sun and their friendship. His voice slowly rises with anger as he accuses Sun of being just like those who killed his father.

Convinced that Sun never intended to keep him alive, Lee Sun chucks the chest from Sun across the room before pulling Hyun-seok closer to him. With a crazed look, Lee Sun tells Hyun-seok that he trusts him, and asks if Hyun-seok sees him as his king. When Hyun-seok replies in the affirmative, Lee Sun reveals that the chief peddler is the true crown prince, leaving Hyun-seok completely shocked.

Fueled by his rage and jealousy, Lee Sun goes to Dae-mok and tells him that he wants to be a real king. Dae-mok reminds him that he is the king, but Lee Sun just says that he wishes to be a real king and not a fake. Irked by the implication, Dae-mok asks if he means to show his face to the people and stop being a puppet.

Realizing his mistake, Lee Sun clarifies what he meant: “The real one must die.” He tells Dae-mok that the crown prince is alive, and for the first time, Dae-mok sits up, taken aback.

As Hwa-goon searches the grounds for Gon, a servant tells her that Dae-mok is looking for her, and so she goes to her grandfather’s chambers only to find Gon lying on the floor, beaten and bloody. She accuses Dae-mok of overstepping his bounds by punishing her person, but Dae-mok simply states that he kept Gon alive precisely because he is her bodyguard. Handing her a knife, he gives her two options: take the punishment herself, or kill Gon.

Having finally uncovered the real reason behind Hwa-goon’s change of heart, Dae-mok explains how Hwa-goon must have saved the prince back then at the cliff, and Hwa-goon assumes Gon betrayed her. Exasperated, Dae-mok tells her that Gon didn’t say a word. Instead, Dae-mok claims he learned from one of his many informants that the chief peddler is the crown prince before he proceeds to shout at his granddaughter for saving the man who tried to kill him.

Right then, Hwa-goon’s father walks in, but the two proceed to ignore him as Dae-mok offers Hwa-goon another chance. With fire burning in her eyes, Hwa-goon rejects his attempts for reconciliation and tells Dae-mok that their deal still stands regardless of the true identity of the chief peddler.

Drawing the knife up to her neck, Hwa-goon threatens to kills herself in front of him if he breaks his promise, and Hwa-goon’s father jumps in to restrain her. He quickly sputters out excuses for Hwa-goon as he drags her away with the chief of the Water Bureau, and Dae-mok orders them to lock her in her room. While being dragged away, Hwa-goon screams at Dae-mok to spare Sun’s life, but her pleas only seem to infuriate him further.

Sun finds Mae-chang at the palace to ask for a favor, so Mae-chang delivers a letter to Ga-eun on his behalf. Ga-eun reads the letter and exchanges smiles with Mae-chang as she explains that Sun will come to take her away tonight.

Once night falls, Mae-chang escorts Ga-eun to the palace gates, but the guards stop and apprehend them. Brought before the king, Ga-eun apologizes and asks him to only punish her, and to her surprise, the king grants her wish. In a tired voice, he then asks her to follow him, and Ga-eun has no choice but to oblige.

The head eunuch scolds Mae-chang for helping Sun again, but this time she pushes back, asking why she can’t help. She says that a little girl named Yang (the one who died from the poison) moved her heart after years of living as a bystander, adding that she hopes her heart and desperation will be able to move him. Bowing her head, Mae-chang begs the head eunuch to help Sun, but he just huffs at her before leaving.

In the greenhouse, Lee Sun dejectedly asks if Ga-eun doesn’t recognize him before proceeding to take off his mask. Ga-eun drops to the floor, averting her gaze, but looks up once he reveals his identity as “Lee Sun.”

The sight of her childhood friend brings Ga-eun to tears as she tells him that she and his family have been waiting for him. Overcoming the initial shock, Ga-eun asks why he’s here, and Lee Sun says that the real prince made him wear his mask five years ago and then ran away.

Still confused, Ga-eun wonders why he didn’t tell her the truth from the beginning, and Lee Sun blames the prince. He tells her that the real crown prince is someone she knows… Sun.

Falling to the ground in shock, Ga-eun argues that there must be a misunderstanding, since Sun is the chief peddler, and she loves him. Lee Sun only expresses his regrets over not telling her sooner, and now with a hardened look, Ga-eun asks Lee Sun to confirm if Sun is the true crown prince.

Sun waits nervously for Ga-eun, but only Mae-chang arrives to let him know that they were caught. Desperate, he attempts to go in by himself to save her, but from the back, Ga-eun comes out to meet them. She explains that a friend helped her escape, and too happy to see her, Sun doesn’t question it.

He thanks Mae-chang for her help, but as he reaches out to take Ga-eun’s hand, she pulls away. Mae-chang interprets this as embarrassment, and quickly leaves to give them some privacy. However, once Mae-chang is gone, Ga-eun tells Sun that she forgot something as she asks him to accompany her.

She leads him to the greenhouse, which she opens with a key, and walks up to a desk with a letter on it. Realizing that something is wrong, Sun asks how Ga-eun obtained a key to the greenhouse, but she ignores his question as she explains the importance of this letter. She hands it to Sun to read, and his eyes widen as he realizes that it’s the order he once wrote to Ga-eun’s father.

She tells him that it’s the only proof of her father’s innocence, adding that she was able to continue living after his death because of Sun and her desire to avenge her father. Taking a step forward, she asks him if he is the owner of this greenhouse, which would make him the very same crown prince who killed her father.

 
EPISODE 28 RECAP

At his silence, Ga-eun grabs his arm and yells at him to tell her that he isn’t the prince. However, Sun confesses the truth, and Ga-eun stares at him with abhorrence. When she asks him why he deceived her, he only says that he was afraid of losing her, and begs for forgiveness.

She can’t believe his audacity as she berates herself for saving the man who killed her father and deceived her. Pulling out her dagger, she declares her intentions to kill him and avenge her father, but even as Ga-eun brings the knife to his neck, Sun remains motionless.

Unable to kill the man she loves/loved, Ga-eun cries and tells him that this doesn’t mean she forgives him — she’s only letting him live so that her father’s sacrifice was not in vain. Throwing the necklace Sun gave her at his feet, Ga-eun yells at him to leave, but once they’re both alone, they each fall to the ground, sobbing.

Hyun-seok reports to Lee Sun that Sun left the greenhouse alone, and as Sun returns to Chung-woon without Ga-eun, he explains that she found out the truth.

Lee Sun goes to the greenhouse, where Ga-eun has exhausted herself from crying. He tenderly reminds her of their teacher’s words about how fate is like a river that submerges, destroys, and passes everything when it gets angry. As a result, he says that nothing will happen now, adding that she shouldn’t worry. Holding her in his arms, Lee Sun promises to protect her.

Chung-woon informs Woo Bo about Ga-eun, but he can’t help but blame himself for being the one who killed her father. Woo Bo admonishes him as he says that Dae-mok is the true perpetrator, but Chung-woon is convinced that Ga-eun should resent him instead of Sun.

The mysterious person from before waits for Dae-mok in his chamber, and as Dae-mok walks in, the spy is revealed: it’s Hyun-seok. He informs Dae-mok that both Sun and Lee Sun love Ga-eun, and Dae-mok smiles at this news as he wonders if they can catch two rabbits with one trap.

Hyun-seok then returns the remaining antidote to Dae-mok, who explains that the pill only works on those addicted to the poppy — it would be lethal to everyone else.

Returning to the palace, Hyun-seok delivers a letter to Lee Sun from Dae-mok, easily playing the part of a concerned guard. Lee Sun informs Hyun-seok about the content of the letter, which contains Dae-mok’s offer to make him king if he kills Sun.

That evening, Lee Sun calls Sun for a meeting and admits to Sun that he told Ga-eun about his true identity. Sun doesn’t understand why Lee Sun disregarded his request, so Lee Sun explains that he no longer trusts him.

He tells Sun that his and Ga-eun’s fathers died because of him, all but daring Sun to come up with an excuse. Sun accepts the blame since he was ultimately responsible for their deaths, but Lee Sun coldly states, “It was this façade that fooled me.”

Lee Sun explains that he once believed that Sun would become a king for the people, but now, he’s realized that he was wrong. He accuses Sun of fearing Dae-mok and of running away while leaving him behind as bait that Dae-mok could kill anytime. Though Sun tries to interject, Lee Sun tells him to save his excuses, since today will be their last meeting.

Adding that he no longer plans to return the throne to him, Lee Sun even confesses to telling Dae-mok about Sun’s secret. With a smile, Lee Sun explains that he lured Sun into a trap, and as one last token of their friendship, he advises the prince to run while he still can.

Then as a final warning, Lee Sun warns the prince against coming back if he manages to escape tonight, because if he does, he’ll have to kill Sun himself.

Chung-woon enters the palace to fetch Sun, but guards are already crawling everywhere to find them. Recalling Lee Sun’s final advice, Sun hastily arrives at an unguarded gate, but even there, they’re soon surrounded. They manage to fight off the guards and escape, only to end up trapped in a hallway with nowhere to run.

Suddenly, the door behind them opens, and the head eunuch steps out.

Soon after, Hyun-seok arrives in the empty hall and pushes open the door to the eunuchs’ quarters. The head eunuch comes out of another room with a yawn, and when Hyun-seok asks if they saw anyone suspicious come in, two young eunuchs lie that someone jumped over the wall.

With the coast clear, the head eunuch returns to the room where Sun and Chung-woon are hiding. Bitterly, he notes how much Sun resembles the traitor who stole the throne, and then silently motions them out.

Hyun-seok reports his failure to Dae-mok, who’s surprised that Sun could have escaped from their elaborate trap. He reasons that there must still be pro-Sun people inside the palace he doesn’t know about.

Back in the palace, Lee Sun visits Ga-eun, who’s sleeping because Mae-chang gave her some medicine to help her rest. He caresses Ga-eun’s face and says that she is the most important person to him, and Mae-chang observes his actions with a cold expression.

As dawn approaches, Sun practices his swordsmanship in the woods alone, haunted by the memories of losing Ga-eun and Lee Sun’s trust. Remembering Lee Sun’s parting words, Sun strikes a practice dummy and then drops his sword, the hilt covered in blood.

Mae-chang continues to watch over Ga-eun until they’re suddenly interrupted by assassins entering the room. Mae-chang draws a small knife from her sleeve, but hides it again when the chief of the Water Bureau recognizes her from the Trade Bureau. He spares her life before ordering his men to take Ga-eun.

Mae-chang goes to Sun and passes along Dae-mok’s message about coming alone if he wants Ga-eun back. However, Mae-chang addresses him as “Crown Prince,” and Sun asks how she knows his true identity. She tells him that she knew since the Trade Bureau, but reminds him about the more urgent issue at hand.

She advises him not to go since he must live to become king, and Woo Bo agrees that they can’t trade his life for Ga-eun’s. No matter how precious Ga-eun may be to him as a student, Woo Bo says that he can’t sacrifice Sun, since the people of Joseon depend on him.

Ga-eun wakes up in an unfamiliar room before being escorted to meet Dae-mok. He introduces himself, but Ga-eun says that she already knows of him, considering that her father died while investigating him. Unafraid, Ga-eun says that life is unfair, since a righteous man like her father died while a man like Dae-mok still lives.

Dae-mok remains unfazed by her boldness and simply tells her that justice belongs to those with power. He calls her father foolish for chasing after justice while following the powerless prince, but Ga-eun shouts at him, expressing her pride in her father for refusing to join hands with a man like him.

A commotion outside interrupts their meeting, and Dae-mok notes with an amused grin that he must have really came to save her. Ga-eun turns around just as the doors slide open to reveal none other than Sun himself, flanked by two guards.

 
COMMENTS

I didn’t realize I missed Dae-mok this much until this episode. While Hwa-goon is shaping up to be an interesting character, she’s definitely not a villain, and when the show had Dae-mok’s hands tied, the lack of an opponent for Sun was glaringly obvious. This episode was a much needed improvement from previous weeks, and I really credit Dae-mok’s return as the source. While it’s disappointing to think that Sun couldn’t fight against Dae-mok without first being provoked (and for all the dragging that occurred during that time), I’m actually pleasantly surprised at how easily won over I am with the show simply because my favorite character is back in action.

The thing that I like about Dae-mok is that once he starts to move, he means business. He’s willing to kill and send a strong message, which heightens the stakes. There’s real tension when Dae-mok is involved, because unlike the other “villains” or opponents in Sun’s path to the throne, he knows how to manipulate and intimidate people. Despite reusing Ga-eun as the “damsel in distress” at the end, I liked this development more than the previous ones because it was used as a test, and for once, Ga-eun didn’t act like a submissive observer in her situation.

Though it was reckless, she fought back against Dae-mok with her words, and I believed her, since it’s not like she has much to lose. She probably assumed that she would die, so rather than cower in fear, she acted brazenly and was willing to die with her head held high in front of the man who had a hand in her father’s murder. It was a glimpse of Ga-eun’s strong character, and I hope the show continues to develop this side of her further.

While the Hyun-seok reveal wasn’t too much of a shock, I was surprised by how much I enjoyed this new tidbit and how much it added to the story. Lee Sun has become a rather despicable character who had mostly lost my sympathies, but knowing Hyun-seok was also a spy planted by Dae-mok made me feel a twinge of pity for Lee Sun. The one person he trusts in the palace is also his enemy, and the more Lee Sun thinks he’s taking control of his life, the more he’s actually entangling himself in Dae-mok’s elaborate web. Though he’s petty, obsessive, and probably a bit deranged, he’s a product of his circumstances and wasn’t able to avert the hand fate dealt him, and knowing that he truly was alone this entire time makes me a little sad for our poor fake king.

I doubt this development will be enough for those who have already dropped the show to pick it up again, but for those still sticking with it, I think there has been some satisfying progress that will make continuing to watch this show worth it — with some adjusted expectations, of course. However, the fast pace has returned and the characters are slowly coming into their own. There’s less wishy-washy behavior going on, and the writer seems to know where to take the characters. Now that most of the truths have been revealed and people finally know each other, I’m looking forward to see how the battle will unfold. There’s no more dancing around issues and recycling the same conflicts (*cough* like keeping Ga-eun in the dark), which means that we actually get to see reactions and consequences. Maybe it’s a low bar, but dang, I’ll take it!

It doesn’t happen often, but occasionally, a show will improve midway into its run. While Ruler was never a terrible show, it has definitely been faltering, but after this episode, I’m cautiously optimistic. I don’t know if it’s too late for it to be brilliant, but it’s been a while since I’ve been excited to watch the next episode for Ruler. I hope I don’t jinx it, but this might be one of those rare occasions where a show that starts to go downhill takes a surprise turn and impresses the viewers in its final act.

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I knew that Yoo Seung-ho's acting was incredible, but the scene in which Ga-eun confronts him about his true identity left me speechless. Damn, his expression was just indescribable. I have no idea how is he capable of showing so much with a single look. And this utter defeat, sorrow in his eyes when she pointed the knife at him. I was floored.

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I absolutely agree. You stated it perfect!

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Kim Sohyun was so amazing in that too. Basically what i've been waiting for her to show all series long.

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For someone so young, I'm unable to explain how fantastic he is. He expresses everything through his eyes that he never really needs words. Yoo Seung-ho is born an actor. Not a lot of people can develop that kind of deep acting. I was rendered speechless so much so that I felt his pain a thousand times over Ga-eun's despite KSH also does doing very well. That has to say something about his ability.

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Yes, I'm deeply touched by Seung Ho - So Hyun 's acting.

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this week was really good..
story, pace, overall flow of the drama picked up..

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Being one of those who dropped this drama, I'll give this another episode or two before I decide to pick it up again. I hope some sense is knocked into Lee Sun soon because I'd hate for him to turn full-blown evil.

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I've stuck with this drama & will probably continue to casually watch it. Ugh, I wish the last couple weeks of episodes had been stronger; I've lost my emotional connection to the characters. Ga-Eun's greenhouse confrontation with Sun was powerful but I didn't feel it.

And she's forgotten about the pot yet again ...

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lol everyone just cares about the pot

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Haha. I too was wondering about the pot. She has the memory of a goldfish.

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HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA! The pot! It's the very thing I keep on waiting Ga Eun would do and sneak into the greenhouse ever since she entered the palace. But I guess it slipped her mind because she's busy attending the queen order.
If, the script writer makes her suddenly remember the pot after hearing Sun confession and angrily wreck the greenhouse searching for the pot would be a satisfaction for me. It is one of the proof/reason of her father's death right.

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When will she remember about the pot? so many times they are in the greenhouse, nobody remember about the pot..

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I really like Hwa Goon's character. She should have been the main lead and played by Kim So Hyun. I can see so much possibilities in this set up than what we're given. I mourn for that lost opportunity. But with what we have, I hope that Ga-eun would finally realize that she should be joining the prince to overthrow Dae-mok. She's been told from the start by her father that she should not blame the prince. The prince's mother also gave her a clue to the real culprit but she's still stuck on her revenge on the wrong guy and gets rescued by the guy that she wants revenge on. I want my female leads to have brains and spunk. Wake up Ga-eun. I really want to like you.

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I do so agree HG character is more interesting but I think KSH is too young to be convincing, its not that I don't like her acting. Through most of this she and CP have been stuck with one dimentional characters and their acting for me has been the same. A story decently told is what we need: nothing substitutes that!

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Tbh, I will love HG if she is played by Kim So Hyun or a better actress. Kim So Hyun will be fabulous in this type of character. What made me restrained from loving Hwa Gun is Yoon So Hee's unconvincing acting and that is sad because I normally will love this kind of female character.

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So we must agree to differ,. KSH is too sacherine sweet and has a face that says "innocent" she's also no ultra actress but she has a devoted following. Yoon So-hee looks more mature and also complex but she can also be sweetly demure . I saw her in My love Uen dong. She was completely lovable in that. Her acting is not off and she is capable of a much bigger part than this. One day not far away that will be recognised.

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I can see what you're saying about YSH. I think Ms. Sera The Temper is saying 'KSH will be fabulous in this type of character' because KSH has played quite a bit of feisty characters before. I'm not sure if this is the first drama you've seen KSH in but Ruler is a pretty horrible intro to her. It's only until recently that she started playing 'nice' characters. If you've seen her in the 3-ep Page Turner then 'too saccharine sweet' will probably be the last thing to describe her. Haha

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We agree to diagree then :) I saw YSH in few drama before she is serviceable in modern drama but should stay away from sageuk until she acquired basic skills.

@mochi completely agree. I used to see Kim So Hyun as just like another child actor (has potential to grow) until I saw her in School 2015 ( even I couldn't finish it) and Page Turner. Her acting skills are no joke for someone as young as her. There are reasons why she and Kim Yoo Jung received much attention, not only pretty faces but the talents they have. Her role in Ruler is not enough to see her acting skill.

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"A story decently told is what we need: nothing substitutes that!" this, I agree with you. Doesn't matter how great the actor/actress is, if the story and character wasn't properly made it would become like this. Us viewer isn't satisfy. Kdrama fans would definitely has come through at least one drama like this before.

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I think Hwa Goon's character seems more interesting only because in comparison Ga Eun's character is very badly written. But in fact she's not that interesting. And if Hwa Goon was the lead female character the plot would have been too similar to previous shows (The Princess' Man ?) ...

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Really happy to be the first commenter. The sinister and cunning Dae-mok is back to the game. The thing obvious from this episode is that once Dae-mok starts his brains of wheels turning the show regains its glory...He surely is the screen stealer. The end reminds me of their first face off which was mind blowing, do you guys remember that time when the crown Prince pissed the ultimate Dae-mok with his words. I am super excited about how it will turn out this time. Though they were more things which are important to discuss in this episode I am clearly blinded by Dae-mok. The other thing which captured my heart was gon's loyalty to Hwa-gun. All the body guards are really cool ha Chung-woon. I wish people will stop blaming themselves for the magistrate's death and move on taking it as a strength to continue fighting. I can understand the pain but being smart they should realize it's their enemy's fault. Anyway ruler this your style keep it up.

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Oops turns out I am not the first one, when typing there were nill comments.Aish beanie's are rely super fast haha I am embarrassed now.

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I really like this drama,it is different then other kdrama where we can predict what will.happen in the next story...we just keep getting surprises,likely a lot things happened in the drama non of it happen the way fan want...so I really anticipated with this drama...because it is unpredictable...love all the cast fighting!! This drama will definitely had successful rating...love you all....

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I totally agree. This show keeps making me predict what happen next every episode, and it is so unpredictable, which makes it so different from so many Kdrama out there. I am so much in love with this show, and of course Seung Ho - So Hyun 's great chemistry.

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Really liked these episodes ! I was quite impressed by L's acting, he has definitely improved since the beginning of the show, and I thoroughly enjoyed the scene where Lee Sun confronts the crown prince.
What happened this week should have happened ages ago by the way ... The writers should have spent more time developing the characters' relationships with each other before the time skip, and less time making Ga Eun like a damsel in distress after the 5 year jump.

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Sun and Ga-eun have got to be two of the stupidest characters. I enjoyed the return of a narative of sorts but the bravura performance from Kim So-Hyun didn't convince me of the love between her character and that of Yoo Seung-ho's. He is the one whom I have thought pathetic (not L's Yi Sun) almost thoughout this drama. I see no eveidence he has any judgement, planning or savey. Only anger raises action from him. He really sacrifices those he loves but I don't see it as being for the ultimate benefit of the people. One again the writing is barely acceptable and the way this was sold on Naver and V Live was simply OTT. Poor Hwa-Goon, your faithful loyalty and fierce defiance: he's not worth it!

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Oh, soory folks but I forgot one last thing. I just sat through these two episodes again as I only saw the raws over the week end. If that ***** fake King doesn't stop stooping I will scream! My neck and shoulders are aching too now. LOL

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By the way, Lee Sun's turning bad was not only inevitable, it was also totally understandable.
He spent 5 years being Daek Mok's puppet king, couldn't see his family during all this time, then learns that the real king was alive all this time (having made no progress in avenging his father's death like he promised), AND has to watch him make googly eyes at the woman he loves. Worse, he has to watch them "flirt" while knowing that Ga Eun does not know Sun's true identity, adding to the feeling of injustice. And the cherry on the cake is him being sent poisonous pills and believing that they come from Sun. I would have gone crazy too !

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All your points make sense. But it still sucks that such an innocent, book loving boy would become so jaded...as much as beanies are praising that the story is finally getting back on track, I dislike it even more...only because it seems that the only way out for Lee Sun at the end of the show just wouldn't be pretty. He's committed highest of high treason, and even if he is repentant and the CP is magnanimous, anything less than exile just doesn't make sense...but he's a victim of circumstance!!!

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Yeah it's a shame that Lee Sun turned out this way, but it was logic.
Him being innocent at the beginnning was done on purpose, in order to give emphasis to his change of character later on, and to add drama to the plot.
I really like his character, because he's not only the second love interest like in many others shows, he's fully part of the main plot by becoming the fake king and wearing the mask.
I like that not only his unrequited love, but also the subtle traits of character that we saw early on (his budding jealousy towards the crown prince and his hot temper and impulsiveness), as well as his poor background and the loss of his father, all of these elements were leading to his betrayal.
Had the writers spent more time focusing on his character (maybe by adding some bromanche with the CP before the time skip ?), his treason would have been even more epic.

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tbvh he was not that innocent. I already figured it out he is quite ambitious from the earlier epi.

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Yup, his mother pointed it out when he's been missing. That Lee Sun dont like being poor and would choose comfort.

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This weeks episodes were better than last weeks, which were better than the weeks before, in terms of the storyline and the pace. *fingers crossed* that the remaining episodes will be good also

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When Ga Eun asked CP to meet her at the greenhouse, I thought she found the "thing" in the pot which CP's dying mother asked her to...geeeeez. I'm actually CURIOUS! Seerasly. WHAT'S IN THAT BLARDY POT???????

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I think this part of the plot has been conveniently forgotten for now by the writers. It may be brought back if they recall that line they wrote.

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No not forgotten at all. What was supposedly hidden in a pot in the greenhouse was the written order from Sun requiring his Magistrate to interrogate the Water Bureaux and thus clearing GE's father of any blame. The writer is lazy and does not care for detail; she thus has the "order" appear as a simple letter in an envelope; no pot; no greenhouse search. no GE inviolvement and no drama.

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FInally, the song and dance is over the Crown Prince identity. Now, I just wonder how the writers will take the story from here.

Anyone able to answer how many more episodes are there for this drama?

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So sad that Lee Sun finally becomes an antagonist in this episode... I just really want him to be happy :( Hopefully, our crown prince kicks some butts in the next episodes because he's practically hadn't done that much against to DaeMok to really impair him.

Is it just me who feels bad for HwaGon? Been secretly wishing that the love line will focus on her and the CP hahaha no complains with GaEun though. Just that HGxCP adds more drama kkkkk

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I'm one of those who stopped watching this a while back, but I've still been following the recaps. For me, the plot was always interesting, even in the slower middle episodes, but the characters and relationships are poorly written. And as far as I'm concerned, the love triangle played out in almost the most annoying way possible in this episode, so I definitely don't plan on picking it up again.

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i thought Im the only one liking Hwa Gun than Ga Eun not that I hate KSY. But Hwa Gun character is interesting than GaEun. And I think the thing that is in the pot that's been forgotten ages ago by GaEun is CP's jade emblem or the king's letter clearing GaEun's dad.

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When the chips are down our dear CP doesn't give a **** for Yi Sun (whom he treats as just a pawn anyway) who is also a legitamate rival regarding GE. The character we are offered as CP does not in any way come near a person capable of being a Great King. Thus far, this is the single greatest weakness in this drama of largely one dimentional characters with wafer thin naratives.

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Finally we're getting improvements. I think it is a nice detail to viewers who still stick to this show.

I really enjoy the performance of YSH he's awesome! That scene in the greenhouse was really good, both of them were really great. It is sad that even though YSH had been given a handful of scenes where he can be really emotional and show his talent, it was not the same to KSH who's a really good actress and has a bright future ahead, but her character was so toned down and used as utilery between two boys. She did deserve a better character.

As for Lee Sun I started to dislike him a LOT since last week, even when it gives a nice turn to the show, I don't know but I also think maybe L does better this way, being kinda mean rather than being in emotional charged scenes. He needs to work a LOT. I hate the way he stands, he gave his character a huchback maybe trying to portray him as insecure and weak.

I like Hwa goon she's not mean she's just in loved and she's really trying to protect the object of her affection so badly, and seriously I felt bad for Gon, he just follows her orders like he must. And it was nice to see she doesn't care being punished. I enjoyed her scene.

This drama and it obssesion with poison reminds me of Faith. Who can be trusted. Sometimes I don't know Who's in which side. Everybody wants to kill Sun even the queen dowager (or whatever it is spelled, sorry) and now Hyuk S is a spy too.

For the first time in a while I want to see and I am waiting this week's episodes, let's hope it keeps getting better.

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Still hoping for people to love Ruler as much as I do, flaws and all... the story is promising, if only they do something with Ga Eun's, and yes, they need not falter after this. I usually say ratings are just like icing on the cake, bonus, and should not define anything but Yoo Seung Ho and Kim So Hyun deserve more. Kim So Hyun's star potential is so under utilised here. Agree that Hwa Goon can be a potentially lead character instead of Ga Eun, and it must be that Kim So Hyun takes that role instead.

I don't mind Yoon So-hee, I like her in Marriage Not Dating, and a movie she was with L, The Day After We Broke Up or One More Time in Netflix. Must be, I'm not liking Hwa Goon because she's taking the spotlight from Ga Eun (which was a meh character until recently). But the drama can really be re-written that Kim So Hyun's Hwa Goon is the lead a la Moon Chae Won's Princess's Man.

I thought L was okay in My Lovely Girl and that movie with Yoon So hee. I'm so affected with the turn of his character so maybe he's doing a good job being annoying. He serves his purpose of providing the conflict. I do hope his character can still be redeemed.

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Well I've just watched the raws for the next two: exciting action - not before time - but what kind of demonic fraternity leader allows its victim to make a long diatribe? Really, not for the first time this show is silly to the point of derision. The one consolation is the actors finally have something to act and we see that it's not just the leads who can!

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Whatever happened to Ga-run looking for the clue in the greenhouse that would lead her to the true person that killed her father???

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The writer wrote the "finding the crock in the greenhouse" out - if you go back through the episodes you will see the written order from CP to the Magistrate (exonerating him) is already in GE's possesion but she does not know it was CP's body guard who actually beheaded her father.

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Eposode 30 reminds me of Alice in Wonderland's Through the Looking Glass...complete with Mad Hatters tea party, but how I wish we dramatic and decisive move from HG, or failing that, a people's army raised against DM killing him and Pyunsoohwe!

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My question... where are all the generals and their armies. Like what happened to that General that was willing to follow the Crown Prince. He knows that the Crown Prince is actually alive right because the Crown Prince sent a messenger. So where is he why havent other generals moved at all against the dae mok? I mean he is great and all but I fail to see what he would do to stand up against an army? The citizen sure as hell would not defend him.

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Thanks to Hwagoon..under CP's request, the general is busy protecting the borders...because whatever agreements they had with their border-enemys(?), Hwagoon made them futile (for the time-being i guess...err...i hope) :)

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I'm not a big fan of saguks as most bore me out within the first few episodes, the character introductions take soooooo looooooong. I saw Yoo Seung Ho in Remember-Son's War and was floored at how brilliantly he portrayed his character (and those beautiful emotion-filled eyes he has *heart flutter*) so I kept my eye on the drama, specifically for him (that hair... *heart nearly stops*). I watched the episodes on and off, not really paying attention to the plotline, but just watching the scenes with Seung Ho in it. Gosh golly, I was floored in Remember, but I was blown away with this. The scene when Ga Un finds out the truth and confronts him with it was simply heart-breaking. You could just see the sadness and guilt in his eyes when he didn't move away from the knife. I'm still not quite invested in the plot-line, but if it continues like this, I may just have to pull a few all-nighters just to figure out what's going on. I am excited for how everything goes turns out!!!

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Can I just say after watching 30-31 episode this week my love for Hwa goon just grew, her love for the Crown Prince is so real. She did not ask for it to be return by the prince nor did any evil deeds to his lover Ga Eun. You've just entered my favorite character, her acting is good maybe she is a little stiff but you never know maybe it is her character she is portraying as she is holding back her feelings not to be greedy and do anything bad. Love her Yoon So-hee

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I am so glad to see you write that! I have refrained from commenting until now in fear of spoiling but despite the inherant faults, my love for this drama is growing with every episode. I have had an almost irrational love for Yoon So-hee since 2013 Sward and Flower and Let's Eat. AsianWiki has loads of commments explaining her appeal. I rest my case with the caution I am watching for the next recaps like a hawk and I'm prepared.

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*sword*

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Thanks for the recap

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What was the trade bureau incident? I forgot lol

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Coming back to this recap cuz this episode (28) was one of the most emotional ones for me. The Crown Prince lost the trust of two of his closest friends in one day! How heartbreaking! I feel so sorry for him cuz I know their fathers' deaths are not entirely his fault. I feel for him. I feel for Ga Eun and Lee Sun.
I'm actually kinda surprised that a lot of people would drop this drama. To me, it really isn't that bad. I guess the main factor is Yoo Seung Ho's incredible acting. But omg, Kim So Hyun was AMAZING in this episode!! I would rewatch the confession scene repeatedly just to see her talents.

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I miss HG, I hate that Gaeun girl, she is so stupid!

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