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83

Ruler–Master of the Mask: Episodes 33-34

As this show winds down to its conclusion, Sun gears up to meet the final obstacles between himself and the throne. I have to say, this episode is just filled with plot developments and reawakened subplots that I never expected – and while I can’t say I’m thrilled with how they actually played out, props to the show for surprising me so hard, and even for adding some well-done emotional moments as well. All in all, I’m glad that we’re at least left with some inkling of closure in the near future – because at this point, what more can you ask for?

 
EPISODE 33 RECAP

Accompanied by Gon, Sun and Chung-woon hurriedly help the children escape from the poppy fields and raise their swords to confront the chief of the Water Bureau, who’s hot on their trail. The chief starts to attack when he gasps in shock to see Sun, who is supposed to be dead.

Before the chief can ask any questions, however, they notice the fire burning in the fields behind them. With no choice, the chief orders his men to go help put out the fire, giving Sun, Chung-woon, and Gon a chance to escape.

Meanwhile in the poppy fields, Mae-chang and Moo-ha dig up poppy flowers, hoping to gather enough to figure out how to make an antidote. When they notice the fire, they swiftly gather what they have and escape.

Hearing news of the burning fields, an infuriated Dae-mok mounts his horse and races to the scene. At the fields, meanwhile, Hwa-goon’s poor father stares at the ruined fields in despair, imploring Hwa-goon to think of a solution or even escape by herself to avoid Dae-mok’s inevitable wrath.

Hwa-goon, however, only apologizes to her father, telling him emptily that she does not regret her actions. To his shock, she informs him that the crown prince is alive, and thus, she can’t run away: “I must stay and protect him.”

Dae-mok storms into the fields at that moment, screaming at the Water Bureau chief to explain what happened. Terrified by Dae-mok’s rage, the chief pushes forth a random guard to answer in his stead, who shakily explains that an intruder escaped with Chung-woon and all of the children.

Before anyone can stop him, Dae-mok takes the chief’s sword and cuts down the innocent guard. Next, Dae-mok turns to target Hwa-goon’s father, screaming that he has failed once again despite the numerous chances he’s been afforded.

Just as he lifts his sword to cut down his own son, however, Hwa-goon inserts herself between them to protect her father, shouting that she was the one behind the fire. Dae-mok stares at her in disbelieving fury, preparing to unleash his wrath.

But this time, the chief of the Water Bureau steps forward, telling Dae-mok that the culprit wasn’t Hwa-goon, but the crown prince. The chief tells him he saw the crown prince escape with Hwa-goon. When Hwa-goon screams that it isn’t true, Dae-mok turns to her, fury deep in his eyes.

Sun and Chung-woon hurry to escape through the fields with the children when suddenly, Moo-ha and Mae-chang stumble into their paths while making their own escape. They all draw their weapons before recognizing each other in elated disbelief, sharing teary embraces at their reunion.

Chung-woon reminds them that Pyunsoohwe will find them soon and urges them to get the children to safety as soon as possible. They hurry away.

Standing on a tower overlooking the fields, Dae-mok asks Hwa-goon what she thinks Pyunsoohwe is to him. Hwa-goon responds: “An entity more important than life itself… just as the crown prince is to me.” Her words only anger him further, however, and he reminds her that he won’t forgive anyone who betrays Pyunsoohwe – even if that person is his own granddaughter. Hwa-goon only tells him that she’s glad she lived without regrets, and asks him to tell her father that she’s sorry.

With those words, Dae-mok ruthlessly orders the chief of the Water Bureau to kill her. The horrified chief draws his sword, but when he hesitates for too long, Dae-mok grabs the sword from him and cuts her down himself. Damn.

Hwa-goon falls from the tower and drops down to the ground. As her father rushes forth to gather her body in his arms, Hwa-goon flashes back to her first moments in the greenhouse with Sun, and whispers his name with her dying breath.

As Dae-mok approaches with the chief, Hwa-goon’s father screams: “Are you even human? How could you kill your own blood?!” Without a word, Dae-mok simply plunges the bloody sword into the soil and storms away. He orders the chief to find and kill the crown prince at all costs.

Meanwhile in the village, Sun returns the children to their families, who embrace their long-lost children with tears of gratitude. Sun brings the last four children to a temple, promising that he’ll be back to see them soon.

When Sun asks Chung-woon if he might see Ga-eun, however, Chung-woon advises him otherwise, telling him that there are many people waiting for them. Instead, they go to meet Woo Bo and the chief of the Supply Office, who greet them with tears of joy.

Woo Bo brings Sun to his house to explain what he knows about the poison. He tells Sun that as his body reacts to the poison, the character for his name appears on his back and cures him, which is how he’s survived three poppy pills.

Chung-woon suggests that the character on Sun’s body and Woo Bo’s testimony should be sufficient proof of Sun’s royal identity, but Woo Bo tells him that they need more evidence – specifically, a pot hidden by the late king, which contains his written testament as to Sun’s bodily reaction to the poison. All he knows is that the pot is hidden somewhere in the palace.

At that moment, a villager hurries to warn them that the Water Bureau is on their way to find and kill Sun. Thankfully, by the time the Water Bureau arrives, Sun and his friends manage to clear out.

Gon spies on the Water Bureau’s actions in hiding before hurrying to report to Hwa-goon. When he arrives at Hwa-goon’s room, however, he finds Hwa-goon’s father grieving over her dead body. Gon falls to his knees in shock, and Hwa-goon’s father dryly notes that he doesn’t even know how to cry.

When he leaves the room, however, Gon begins to tear up, reaching for her motionless hand. Remembering what she’d told him – that protecting the crown prince is the same as protecting her – he vows to follow her command until his death.

Dae-mok meets with a Pyunsoohwe member, who swears to keep the ruined poppy fields a secret for now, but notes that they must find a solution before their victims need another dose of the antidote.

At that moment, Hwa-goon’s father interrupts them in a grief-stricken daze. He screams at Dae-mok that Pyunsoohwe shouldn’t be more important than his family: “You’d said that the point of Pyunsoohwe to protect those precious to you!”

Insisting that Dae-mok will soon lose everything that he treasures and die a lonely and tragic death, Hwa-goon’s father tells him that this is the end of their relationship. To Dae-mok’s shock, Hwa-goon’s father gives him one final bow before parting ways with his father, leaving Dae-mok alone in the dark.

At the palace, Ga-eun visits Lee Sun to confront him about his promotion of the Water Bureau chief. She angrily reminds him that the chief is his father’s murderer and the cause of the suffering of many citizens, but he refuses to budge. Telling her that times have changed, Lee Sun insists that teaming up with the chief is the only way to protect people like his father: “I will become a king for the subjects,” he declares. “My priority is to gain enough strength to fight Dae-mok.”

At that, Ga-eun dryly tells him that all of his subjects will be dead by then. When an annoyed Lee Sun orders an end to the conversation, Ga-eun then tells him that she wishes to visit the temple by herself to pay respects to her father. He starts to cite concerns about her safety, but finally grants her permission as long as she goes with his mother. Ga-eun suggests taking Kko-mool with her as well, but Lee Sun tells her that Kko-mool will stay with him.

Sun meets with his loyal advisors that night to discuss their strategy. They note that the village is crawling with Dae-mok’s men, making it impossible for Sun to move around freely. Instead, Woo Bo declares, they must change their strategy: “Fight Pyunsoohwe from inside the palace!” Everyone but Moo-ha agrees, urging Sun to return to the throne and take control of the nation.

But unexpectedly, Sun refuses: “I do not have the right to return to the throne.” He recounts to them what Dae-mok told him about the late king, who assassinated the former king and joined forces with Pyunsoohwe.

Shaken, everyone starts to deny the possibility – but this time, Mae-chang speaks up to confirm the truth. Sun hangs his head in dismay.

Later that night, Sun sits outside the house, deep in thought. When Woo Bo approaches, Sun tells him that he has just as little right to the throne as Lee Sun does for lying and forcing his way to the throne: “Who is the real king, and who is fake?” Woo Bo sighs, unable to respond.

Ga-eun and Lee Sun’s mother head to the temple the next morning to pray. Teary-eyed, Ga-eun confesses to Lee Sun’s mother that she doesn’t want to return to the palace and that Lee Sun has changed too much. Lee Sun’s mother understands, worried for Lee Sun, who is sure to be in danger if the true king returns.

To her shock, however, Ga-eun tells her that the true king cannot return, and that the true king is actually the chief peddler. Ga-eun then gets up to visit her father’s grave. When Lee Sun’s mother starts to go with her, Ga-eun asks to let her go alone, insisting that she won’t leave her and Kko-mool alone.

Lee Sun’s mother relents, and Ga-eun walks through the mountain path to her father’s grave, looking at the flowers and reminiscing about her time here with Sun. She pays her respects to her father.

The four girls from the poppy fields play together at the temple, cheery and healthy. Woo Bo drops by to ask them about the spots on their skin from the poison, but they shy away from him in fear. Noting their reservations, Woo Bo makes goofy faces at them until they laugh, promising that he’ll make an antidote for their sicknesses soon.

As Ga-eun returns from her father’s grave, holding Sun’s pendant, she stops to see Sun in the distance. They turn and stare at each other in shock.

 
EPISODE 34 RECAP

Overjoyed to see each other again, Ga-eun and Sun run into each other’s arms. Eyes brimming with tears, Ga-eun tells him that’s been waiting to say something: “I love you.”

Sun pulls her into an embrace, and they share a kiss among the flowers.

Meanwhile at the palace, the disgraced queen dowager attempts to fight her way to Lee Sun’s room, where the guards prevent her from entering without his permission. Hearing her pathetic struggle, Lee Sun grants her entry, and she finally walks in to see Lee Sun hard at work at his desk, studying his royal line of ancestry.

The queen dowager snorts at his efforts: “Do you think you can become royalty simply by memorizing those names?!” She wonders how long he can keep up the act as the fake prince, swearing to return the true prince to the throne. Lee Sun just laughs at her and tells her that the true prince is dead.

Despite her rage, Lee Sun overpowers her, pinpointing the real reason she came to see him: She needs the poppy antidote, but is too proud to beg Dae-mok for it, and now needs his help. Lee Sun entreats her to remember that he’s the real king now, reminding her that she’s powerless, and orders the guards to take her away. The Minister of War watches her leave, and she glares at him in fury before storming back to her place of forced isolation.

Lee Sun visits Kko-mool in the greenhouse to give her some snacks, but finds her hiding from him in fear. Lee Sun smiles gently at her, telling her that he wants them to be friends, and baits her with a sweet slice of watermelon. When Lee Sun asks if she doesn’t like it here, Kko-mool tells him that she prefers living in the village and asks him to come there with her. He can only smile sadly back.

Ga-eun and Sun pay respects to her father before heading back to the village, hand in hand. As they walk, Ga-eun suggests that she start properly calling him “Your Highness,” but his face falls. He tells her that he may not have the right to return to the throne, reminding her that he caused her father’s death and the suffering of the people.

But in return, Ga-eun reminds him of all the times he saved the people from their suffering, protecting them from the Water Bureau. She insists that Sun has the right to the throne not because of his bloodline, but because of the love he has for his subjects. Sun listens, swayed.

At that moment, Chung-woon catches up to them to inform them that a search has begun for the pot. At Ga-eun’s confusion, Sun explains that the pot contains proof of his identity, and Ga-eun (FINALLY) recalls the late Consort Lee’s words that the pot is hidden in the greenhouse.

Ga-eun explains this to Sun and Chung-woon before telling them that she’ll look for it, since she’s the only one who can go in naturally. As they speak, Lee Sun’s mother walks by, newly noting the Sun as the king. Uh-oh.

At Pyunsoohwe, Dae-mok informs his advisor that they have only fifty antidotes left, and will use those to choose who will live and die. They begin to make a hit list.

As Ga-eun and Lee Sun’s mother are escorted back to the palace in sedan chairs, Sun sees her off in hiding, fearing for Ga-eun’s safety.

That night, Lee Sun’s mother goes to visit him at the palace, informing him that the crown prince is alive. Shocked by this information, Lee Sun hurries to see Dae-mok to discuss a way to keep the crown prince from returning to the throne. He asks Dae-mok to make a deal with him to prevent Sun’s return: “I will take everything away from him.”

The next morning, Lee Sun holds a meeting of his ministers, declaring that he will now name his new wife and queen since the last selection was made void. He names Ga-eun as his bride, of course, and the palace wastes no time in making the declaration to her.

At Pyunsoohwe, the second state councilor comes to complain to Dae-mok about Ga-eun’s selection as queen, insisting that someone from Pyunsoohwe should be on the throne. But Dae-mok informs them that this is all according to plan, and they can always change the queen later.

Sun and Chung-woon run into Gon in the marketplace that day. Sun stops Chung-woon from drawing his sword to hear him out, and is shocked to find out that Hwa-goon has been killed by Dae-mok to protect him. When Sun wonders what he can do to repay her, Gon urges him to become king, since it’s what Hwa-goon wanted.

Dae-mok meets with the Pyunsoohwe elders, who are furious that Dae-mok’s own granddaughter could have destroyed the poppy fields. When they demand to know how he plans to resolve this, Dae-mok informs them that this is the perfect way to transform Pyunsoohwe for the better: “We will destroy anyone who isn’t absolutely loyal to Pyunsoohwe.”

Meanwhile, Chung-woon presents Sun with a copy of Dae-mok’s hit list that he made in secret, telling him that he plans to save only his most loyal followers with the limited number of remaining antidotes. Sun reads through the list to find the names of the queen dowager and her followers, but is surprised to see other loyal Pyunsoohwe members like the second state councilor. Gon tells him that around seventy-five Pyunsoohwe members will be killed despite their membership.

Shaking in fury, Sun orders them to gather his people to make a declaration. When his loyal followers are gathered, Sun announces his decision: “Although my father joined with Pyunsoohwe to become king, I will become king to destroy Pyunsoohwe.”

He presents the hit list to them, telling them that though they might be Pyunsoohwe members now, they are still his subjects. Declaring that he will return to the throne, he swears to create an antidote, save his subjects, and punish Dae-mok and Pyunsoohwe for their actions.

Sun then turns to his friends, asking if they will support him. Everyone stands, swearing to accept his command.

 
COMMENTS

First of all, a moment of silence for our dear, beloved Hwa-goon! It’s startling how much my opinion of her has changed since the first episodes of the show – particularly because it’s not really that her character got better, but everyone else just got way worse. While I’m certainly frustrated and upset that such a fun character was wasted on a love for a man that made no sense, I truly didn’t expect the writers to kill her off, and I’m at least glad that the show surprised me. Of course, I’m absolutely appalled that the writers could even think to do such a thing, considering that she’s one of the more likable characters, but at this point, I’m in it for the ride, and a ride is what it gave me.

In a similar vein, it never occurred to me that Dae-mok’s character arc would be… losing the people precious to him. Sure, that’s a common arc for villains, but it wasn’t at all apparent to me that it was important enough to be the final strike to Dae-mok’s character, especially since he never seemed to like his son (at all) and loved Hwa-goon more for her strategic brilliance than for her bloodline. Still, I was happy to see that he had an arc at all, especially in the scene where his son declared his departure from him, and Dae-mok was shown to be emotionally affected by it, since it added some dimension to what little we had before. In a sense, I’m satisfied, but also very dissatisfied, because the moral narrative did seem to come out of nowhere.

Finally, I do think this episode only went to prove lovepark’s point about how much more interesting the secondary and tertiary characters are than their main counterparts. While I wasn’t thrilled with many parts of the episode, I have to say that I enjoyed it overall due to many of the unexpected character moments. Hwa-goon’s father has always demonstrated a clear love for his daughter, which made his arc in this episode tragically satisfying to see, and Mae-chang and Woo Bo’s relationship with the children was another nice thing to revisit, even in small doses. It would especially be remiss not to mention the lovely note of the loyalty between friends and servants that has constantly been represented in this show – Chung-woon and Sun, Hyun-seok and Lee Sun, and Gon and (sniff) Hwa-goon.

Meanwhile, I found that the current main conflict of whether Sun deserves to be on the throne was actually pretty interesting, especially touching upon the idea that neither Sun nor Lee Sun technically have the “divine-given” right to be king, per se. But like almost every issue or subplot in this show – romantic subplots, power struggles with the queen dowager, and so on – it didn’t go on long enough to carry any weight. It’s touch and go, in that it sets up the issue but doesn’t escalate it, until it falls flat and deflates. But I guess to flip the issue on its head, you could say that Ruler—Master of the Mask doesn’t linger in the past, so I won’t linger in past episodes, either. Here’s to a strong end, Show.

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RIP Hwa-Goon. You'll be missed dearly. I'm sure in your next lifetime you'll meet someone who'll love you and make you happy.

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Rip indeed....... am jst curiously and a lil bit anxious to see how it all end. One can never know, there might be something 2 actually look forward to.

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RIP Hwagoon. I enjoyed watching your crazy love.

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In the next life, I hope she'll reincarnate with Gon aka the best bodyguard ever

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Seriously, i 've almost guessed that Gon would be in love with her :"( since Gon had always loyal to the fullest with Hwa Goon from the beginning.... But i'm very upset that Hwa Goon's fate must be ended like this...

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I like hwa goon character more than ga eun.... rip

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poor hwa gun.

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Hwa Goon is the only character that was consistent and developed well in this drama, so I can't say I am sad with her death but not that I'm happy as well. If with her death will finally make Dae Mok back into action, I'm all for it. Dae Mok has been on 'vacation' for too long that I want to see his real evilness together with his inner conflicts in at least the last 3 epi.

Fake King & Real King can switch their place soon without so much fights, they simply don't have time for that.

I'm no longer curious with the plot and characters' development I'll just see how it ends and move on (and ban this writer probably, except if she finally can prove that she can balance the plot, and characters in her drama. I can ignore if there is only one main character she forgot about his/her existence, but not when she only remember one character and forget the rest).

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Is it normal that I don't watch this show but enjoy reading Dramabean's comments on it? It is just a little hilarious how hanshimi tries to stay optimistic and there are literally no ship wars or any wars in the comment section...

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I do the same.. i wish i could do it for The Best Hit.. that shipping is making me crazy

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same i dropped this way early on but always skim through the recaps to see what's going on or watch clips on youtube of particular scenes that look interesting

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Finally got my feels in this episode ... teary Gon got to me. Everything else, blah.

And can I say how proud I am that I was only two episodes off on Ga-Eun remembering the pot? My original prediction (weeks ago!) was cliffhanger on episodes 36. Yeah me! My years of dramawatching have almost paid off.

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I was way off in my prediction, I thought she's remember the pot by Ep 39 or 38 at the earliest

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Hwa-Goon was always faithful to Sun in her affection. She started the series as my least favorite character (and actress), but soon got her game up and I really enjoyed her character. She died as a hero.

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Awww I feel so sorry for Gon, he valued Hwa Gun so much. ??? RIP Hwa Gun, my favorite character in this show. I can never agree no any reason why they need to kill off her character after all the help that she gave. Like, is that really the best that you can? Ugh.

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It felt too anti-climactic to kill her off, after the awesome ways she saved CP and everything. But I was glad bad ass Dae Mok came back.

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Justice for Hwagoon. I just knooooow something wil happen to her when CP finally called her name. Such bittersweet love. She was consistent until the end for her love. What more can I look forward in this show? Lol

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Why did Hwa Gun have to tell her grandfather about her involvement and die anyway? She could have just let him think the Crown Prince does it, he wants to kill the Crown Prince regardless anyway, and if she's alive she can help him more.

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The writers wanted to kill her off anyways so they made her take the blame

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Hwa Gun's death impacted myself more than I thought...even to the point of forgetting there were another 2 episodes left to complete the week. Is not that I purposely didn't want to continue the show...is only that my main interest died. Now is only Gon and Chung Woon.

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Loyalty between masters and servants - Hyunseok and Lee Sun? Um I wouldn't exactly count them in that group since Hyunseok actively put on an act
to befriend Lee Sun in order to spy on/manipulate him on behalf of Pyunsoohwe haha. I do agree with the other pairs though.

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LOL oops, you're so right... I think I totally blocked that detail out of my memory because it made me so sad LOL.

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This sound so unreasonable but the death of Hwagoon made me hate Sun and Ga Eun eveeeen more.....
Yeon seo hee isn't that good in acting but her character is one of the best in this drama. I never see what prince sees in Ga Eun.. there's this amazing smart woman who sacrificed for you .
You would have died long time ago if she wasn't there risking her life for you.... and he doesn't look a tiny bit grateful at all

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Lol, I think I'm in the same position as you're as I felt so annoyed when I watched the scene between Crown Prince and Ga Eun. I guess I was being unreasonable as well.

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I don't think you're being unreasonable- those are justified feeling because the love story is also underdeveloped. Just feel bad for KSH as an actress- when the character descriptions first came out, my expectation for GE as a character was a Hua Mulan or at least a Kim Sun from Goblin type character. But GE has turned out to be like Cosette from Les Miserables, so loved by many within the story but so hated by the audience because the story never fleshes out why she is deserving of the love. Whereas HG is written to be like Eponine- does everything for the male lead and even gives up her life at the end. It's not fault of the actors, but the characterization flaws just make me want to bang my head against the wall.

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She really did her best despite the terrible writing and showed flashes of fierceness whenever the character allowed. I hope she rests well and comes back with a good project when she's ready. This might be my least fav KSH character but her and YSH really brought the chemistry whenever they were on screen together. Such a visually stunning couple.

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That's probably because he never saw her as anything more than a loyal subject like Chung Won. And I guess it is normal for subjects to protect their masters.

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I kinda mad at the writer for killing Hwa Goon, and now I kinda have no other reason for me to stick around and watch this drama. If her death is necessary for Dae Mok to become more evil, I'd like to see it! Don't just kill off a character w/o any purpose! Thank God that this drama will be over next week. I really just wanna move on with this drama and watch my favorite ahjussi in action.

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Well, 33 was the highlight of the show. I had rather she preserved her life to see her grandfather and his evil sect finally ruined. I also think she would have made a fitting Queen. It's all down hill now and my interest is waining. Having watched ahead without subs I don't have any expectations left. Nice IG stills @Soo -hee!

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Your interest is waining, but the ratings soar up high after your beloved HG dead.

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I just don't get why Lee Sun's mom had to tell Lee Sun that Sun is alive. I mean I know she fears for his life because he is impersonating the king but what about all that Sun did as Chun Soo/Chief Peddler? Doesn't she know about his character/values?

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Because of the so called mother 's love for her son. ? Regardless how bad her son and how good someone else, she will still prioritize her own son.

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They have successfully killed off the most useful person in the show and left us with all the useless ones.

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I cant believe the writter killed off Hwagun. The only usefull character in this drama.
And LOL Ga eun finally remember about the pot when the plot needs the pot. What happen to 46677 other time when she was still free running around in and out the garden??
I need to stay away from this writer future's work!

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Neither HG have any character development. It's just that, her actions are the most interesting in the recent eps when everyone else appears so bland to me. The writer really put the spotlight on her, tossing everyone else sideways. why? because.. she's about to die. I just can't with this kind of writing.. *rolls eyes*
But, kudos to most of the actors of this show. Acting wise, almost everyone are doing a great job in that department. You saved this show.

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Well to me, most of her actions were interesting though burning the poppy field was the ultimate badass. I've liked her when she left Pyunsoo when she thought CP was dead and she said to Dae Mok that she hated him, and she managed to become head merchant with her intelligent manipulative skill. Then she betrayed CP once when she tried to save her own father, but still helping CP to achieve his goal later. She also manipulated the merchant deals in the border so that she could both help CP and save her family, Pyunsoo from the attack plan by the General. She also could think of Queen Dowager's plot and put herself as one of the judges for queen selection, again, by manipulating the whole situation. IMO she had grown a lot and she's an interesting character, not just because she burnt the poppy field.

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Why do I feel that the writers killed off Hwa Goon because she was receiving much more love and admiration than Kim So Hyun's character, Ga Eun? HG was the second lead - second leads are not supposed to be killed off. At least to my knowledge of watching k-dramas

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There's no conspiracy theory needed.. it's just really subpar writing. Honestly the only things that saved this show's ratings are the acting and the popularity of its leads. Even though there's so much hate for KSH's character, it has to be admitted that in the hands of a lesser actress, that character would have been even worse. I don't like GE as a character but KSH has at least given her a few flashes of steel even among the flood of tears that she is commanded to pour/ leak out every episode.

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I'm just laughing with these conspiracy theories. The mediocre writing capability of the writers is crystal clear-- nuff said. Thank the leads' acting caliber, popularity & solid fan base or these show will long lost be forgotten. This is no a personal opinion, knets comments is a justification.

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If they have put nugu actors as the main leads, the rating won't even be double digit imo. Although both main leads are wasted in this drama, they have a solid fanbase that give them unconditional support. If this drama has better writing, it can even reach 20% with this kind of hype. This drama is nothing like Rebel which was less hyped, and solely depended on the strength of the plot & acting but still managed to maintain double digits for most epi.

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I saw many Kdramas that the second leads dead for the lead tbh.

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The second lead in moonlight also dies so I don't know where your conspiracy theory is coming from. In most saeguks 1 of the 4 leads almost always dies and its hardly ever the main lead.

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Poor Hwagun ??? tbh I hope she can be with Gon since Seja only loves Gaeun.
PLEASE FIND THE POT ASAP, GAEUN! It has been more than 10 episodes since Seja's mom told her to find the pot and she already went to the green house numerous times!
I still have hopes for the ending! A happy ending for all casts will be better. Especially if Daemok can be kind and make Pyunsoo Group a positive supporting group to the kingdom.

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Hwa goon is an amazing woman, and character. Well-rounded.
Never thought I'll switch side to her after only two eps.
Poor Gon losing his agasshi.

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when i started watching this, I want to stop because at the 1st part I really dont like Hwa Goon, but as the show progress, even if she is kinda obsess with CP, she became my favorite character. She is badass!! She keeps me hooked in the show, i always anticipate her time on screen.

Im so sad she was killed!!! Gon, also made me cry, the way he simply mourn for her lady..

She is now also my favorite 2nd lead, she and sul hee of fight my way!

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I never thought they would kill Hwa Goon. I thought she was going to keep helping the CP, poor Gon he looked so sad, maybe he's determined to follow HG's order because he's guilty feeling about betraying her, maybe just she did when she helped her father instead of CP.

I never thought Dae mok cared about his family or anybody else but Hwa goon. It was interesting to see him affected by his son departure. And the others Pywhatever members seem to question his decisions.

I know a lot of you didn't like her, I didn't but I think what I liked about her character is that she was kind of active, she did something. And compared to the lead character she was. I wish they could've done a better background story for her and the CP so her love for him didn't look like and irrational obsession but for us to see it as true love.

I liked how the DQ confronted Lee Sun. It was about time. I fear for her now. He seems like he's changed enough to maybe kill her. Idk.

I seriously hope they don't make Ga eun fail on this task. I do. In my opinion it's the only thing she can do now to help and I really hope she doesn't end up being in need of being rescued again.

I want a good decent ending for this show. Even when I disliked some parts, I've enjoyed others and got me interested in YSH's future work because he's good and he's cute even when he wore that beautiful silver mask.

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My Hwa Goooon!!! Noooooo...

And i don't care about the rest

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It felt like the killing off of Hwa-goon was necessary in order for the two main leads to shine from this episode onwards... I have resigned to think that the focus of the plot is Sun's character development to become King eg watching a child grow up, making mistakes from lack of planning and learning from them...

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The story is essentially supposed to be about the Crown Prince only and his journey. Unfortunately the writers lost track of it and started focusing on a single secondary character. Now the crown prince looks like a supporting character rather than the main character. It is sad.

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Nooo.. poor HwaGoon! ? Why does it have to be her? Was rooting for her and her happiness with someone who loves her.

DaeMok could be punished with his son and granddaughter leaving his side. But not outright kill her. I was hoping that Gon could've saved her at least. ?

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I knew Gon couldn't come on the right time to save her, even if he did, Hwa-gun would've not let him do anything, I wasn't expecting Dae-mok to do it himself but he did, that just makes him a monster!

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He is a monster. I couldnt believe he killed his own granddaughter. The same granddaughter he seemed to favor more than his son. Its absolutely awful.?

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I have to agree with the recapper that HG didn't get better as a character but the others just got way worse. The writing for this show has been quite terrible, they are lucky to have a solid acting pair to lead the show and strong veteran actors to support them. Only after killing a 2nd lead can the main leads finally have something to do! Why couldn't they have done all of that earlier? I don't think I'll ever get over this show wasting the abilities and explosive chemistry of the leads. But yes finally it's finale week next week!

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Well in best part of 30 episodes these two characters have had thin characters and little development. I simply do not accept the leads signed to this show without knowing that. Either they or their agents would have gone through just what their part entailed.

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The leads only almost have the first episode script before they signed on and a brief character synopsis. That's how drama casting works. You put your faith in the writer and PD. And changes were made to the script after casting that's why even though initially they were told that all 4 will have numerous scenes together they ended up hardly having any. Unfortunately actors can't back out after the full script is revealed to them over the course of the shooting as the media deems it unprofessional.

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If this drama end up being the highest rating of the year and someone got daesang for this....

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They should get a daesang for acting! The whole cast. But if they get a daesang for writing...

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Lol even daesang for acting is too much for this kind of show. I don't say the acting is not good, in fact Yoo Seung Ho and Kim So Hyun trying their best despite of mediocre script. It is a pity that this show has veterans like Heo Jun Ho, but the medicore script made them unable to display their greatest skills.

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I don't think either of them has encountered such a terrible script before! Kudos to them for giving it their all in portraying largely uninteresting characters. I guess any sort of daesang would be kindness to this show but hoping that the cast gets due recognition for their efforts.

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This show has marred my opinion of the 3 actors - Yoo Seung Ho, Kim So Hyun and Yoon So Hee.

Yoon So Hee is not ready for saeguk. Given that she's already very limited as an actress, going into saeguk has highlighted her flaws.She's probably taken a lot of flak for her performance, just hope she'll take this as a lesson to improve on her acting.

I think KSH's not in her element here. I can't blame her much because she has worst written character of the lot.

Yoo Seung Ho's not benefiting from this PD's guidance at all. If anything, the PD is encouraging him to display those fixed expressions. I noticed this when I could categorize all his screenshots into a few facial expressions. I am also one of those in the minority who's not moved by YSH's crying. Instead of a crying face, I want something more - where the actor reaches deep down inside and cry for real.

I know that most of what I see on screen is attributed to the terrible writing and directing. If these actors look bad, most of the blame should be on the production. However, I agree with @seralovestteobokki that daesang for acting is too much. Overall, there's a very juvenile tone to the whole thing. YSH and KSH are still not ready to play more mature saeguk roles.

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I actually think this drama is not a fair introduction to their abilities to play mature saeguk characters since they probably spent more time trying to understand the motivations of their characters and try and cover up the plot holes and terrible directing with acting. That said I do agree they played their younger versions better than the 'adult' ones but then again their adult versions have been largely incompetent. At least the younger versions had the excuse of naive idealism as an excuse. I'm still looking forward to them doing more saeguk in the future though because they really have a gravitas for it.

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The problem is, daesang for MBC (I'm not sure other stations do the same or not) are based solely on votes - so it means regardless how mediocre the script it, the one who receives the highest votes will win. I didn't really complaint about the previous winners, some were popular and their drama/roles were also not bad, it if it not the best. There's also some controversies which Lee Jong Suk won last year over Kim So Yeon, but since it's all about votes so what can we do.

Yoo Seung Ho imo has improved in this drama, although he still has more to improve but for me this drama might be his best performance so far, although personally it's not daesang worthy.

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Yoon So-hee has a great future with or without saeguks. It's the saeguk that's limited especially when written by a novice like this one.

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Me too on Yoo Seung Ho's crying. We know that he is a good actor but his scenes here look like came from an acting factory. It was an actor's cry and not a character's cry.

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Now I'm sincerely hope the next drama Man Who Dies To Live will do well, get high rating and give Choi Min Soo Daesang for MBC Award. We will never know about the rating, who knows ahjusshi might still holding more power. We still have The King Loves (as a hyped show) for MBC drama so far, which has probability to get high rating as well.

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I find the teasers for King Loves very pretty but uninspiring. Still I'm sure the fan base of Siwan and Yoona will see the drama through to high ratings. Plus I have hope for the story because of the writer.

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What a crazy old man to kill his own granddaughter, must be all the evilness embedded or written into his character. He got no one to protect now that his family abandoned him. So full on evilness.

I think must write on how Lee Sun L's acting has been throughout the series. For an idol he is servicable in this royal role. Yoo seung ho and Kim so hyun in terms of acting cannot say enough how they are suited to sageuks as even I as an international viewer am able to say they speak their lines really well and Seung Ho speaks royal language really well.

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I agree their saeguk speech is impeccable especially for their age! I love hearing them speak. Hopefully this drama won't keep them away from saeguks for fear of another disaster! Lol

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I think I forgot how evil Dae-mok could be because I was actually really surprised of that in this episode, so heartless, he didn't even shed a tear when he killed his own grand-daughter, that shake in chief of WB's hand should've been in his but he didn't even let himself think twice, damn, so cruel!

My heart broke for Gon, his silent tears for Hwa-gun, just so sad!

And yes, finally, Ga-eun remembered the jar and Sun decided to take his right place as the King, I wished Lee Sun wouldn't turn evil because Pyunsoowhe can betray him any moment and I don't think he's powerful enough to be "evil" alone! I don't know how he's going to redeem himself, I just hope he wouldn't die!

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Yes, mostly sageuk drama will get one of the second leads die. Moon Embrace Sun, Hwajung, The Princess Man, etc. And mostly they died protecting the leads. So it's not strange for me to see HG death here, I've seen lots.

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aish I am really getting irritated that Hwa-gun died. The writer should not have killed her character but they don't have any other choice other than that. They could not think of a perfect closure to that character, so they just killed her. I knew Dae-mok is evil but I never thought he will kill his own grand-daughter, the show showed us a glimpse of his past where he suffers the loss of his precious ones bcoz of not wielding power. So I thought "the master will tame the Tiger" for his own protection but it turned out that he himself has gone insane making him the architect of his own destruction. So my interest has now piqued how his character is going to bear the weight of the blood in his hands. What is that he want did he become a power hungry wild dog killing his own people. Anyway feeling sad for Hwa-gun, poor Gon and her father. Why did u die just why? the lead characters I have nothing to say and couldn't feel them anymore( sorry for that). Anyway one thing that is clear so far is the writer surely thought of an amazing plot and potentially strong characters but couldn't handle the weight of his own creation.

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The lead characters are the point of the story though. You're supposed to care about them. The writing is to blame entirely if people aren't able to. Such a shame though. A beautiful cast wasted.

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Ya the writing is the one to blame, they really have wasted the lead characters. Before I got frustrated seeing them but now I just got tired. The other characters are more interesting than them, ga-eun at last giving a encouraging speech to sun just really pissed me off, she suddenly got a light bulb in her head. The writers really made me hate them how could you guys not feel any guilt when a girl sacrificed her life for you. Okay that's enough I know that's not your fault but I can't help blame u for that , hope everyone will get a happy ending ( but hwa-gun ).

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Ya the writing is the one to blame, they really have wasted the lead characters. Before I got frustrated seeing them but now I just got tired. The other characters are more interesting than them, ga-eun at last giving a encouraging speech to sun just really pissed me off, she suddenly got a light bulb in her head (hwa-gun had complete hope that he would become a great king right from the start but now I doubt her faith). The writers really made me hate them how could you guys not feel any guilt when a girl sacrificed her life for you. Okay that's enough I know that's not your fault but I can't help blame u for that , hope everyone will get a happy ending ( but hwa-gun ).

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Well at least the lead pair is stunning in terms of visual. They are quite a beautiful sight. Despite the poor plotting and character development this show is beautiful to look at.

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Write a comment...How could Dae Mok kill his own granddaughter. He's so heartless. HW sacrifice her life just to save Crown Prince . I'll miss u you Hwa Goon

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I did not like Hwa-goon in the beginning but she was growing on me. I was surprised by her death and a bit sad. Tbh, I feel like the character of Hwa-goon would have been able to help Sun way more than Ga-eun can. Especially in these last episodes.

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Yoo Seung Ho & Kim So Hyun have such a satisfying chemistry. That kiss was short but beautiful. The background was gorgeous.

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Gosh....i am really sad cause of her death...R.IP Hwa goon...really cant wait.for the fight of the fake and true king. Dae mok is really like Telmur or whatever his name is in Empress ki, him killing his own granddraughter is ....frighten, just wish for him to lost all his subjects or members and die a miserable death that is befitting for a wicked, cruel, evil people like him.

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There's been a lot of lamentations for HwaGoon I see. To be honest, my feelings for HwaGoon hasn't changed much. Sure, her obsession toward Sun has changed but she still isn't...here's the thing. My problem with Hwagoon is that she isn't a good person then, and not a good person now. Has she let go of her obsession, not by much, it just changed. She knows what her grandfather is doing, she knows that he uses children as labour, but she didn't care. I would be totally okay with her if she actually believed in her grandfather's cause, she didn't, she only cared what her grandfather is doing once Sun entered the pictures, once she 'fell in love'. Then she went batshit crazy, then sure, after she thought him died the first time, she soften, but she still hadn't tried to do anything about her grandfather's agenda. She only cared again when she found out Sun is alive. She only burned the poppy so Sun can get away, not because she wanted to save the children. I would have liked her more, if she learned from Sun, if she had taken his banner and joined the fight because she believed in his cause, and not because she is in love with him. It would have added more dimension to her character.

It's the same with Ga Eun. I have a problem with her too. And Lee Sun. I have a problem with everyone of them. Shoddy writing all around. HwaGoon could have been such an interesting character with so many layers, and I would have rooted for her if she was written better.

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I'm relief I decided to stop watching this before I watch Hwa Goon's death. Its too much for me to handle *cries a river* My love for Hwa Goon and Gon won't end!

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So the battle starts... Thanks for the recap

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I know I am later to the party but that's just when the show Ruler aired on my country with subtitles and all.
I don't get the initial dislike for HG's character's actress. I liked her from the start. Initially thought she is going to be the lead but realized quickly that's not the case as soon as they introduced GE. However I liked HG from the start. I think the actress played very well and got better with time. Not sure where the compliants about bad acting coming from. I didn't really sense that or at least it didn't bother me enough. I think she has a bigger and more important role here and I wish she survived. Killing her off like that felt wrong but served a purpose. I kinda wish CP actually witnessed that to see an immediate emotional redaction from him.
Heck I am a sophisticated guy and I like the show overall and having a blast with it from the start. I really "shipped" CP and HG but I knew this won't happen because it's a KD. Wish they let CP somehow fall in love with her as well.
At any rate, the major thing bothering me this episode was that scene where the 3 best swordsmen if the show: Gon, CW and CP were all standing badass ready to pounce at those red guards and.... Nothing happened.
I couldn't wait for them to kick their butts and wipe the dirt with their faces but nope nada.
And the whole thing didn't make sense. I mean CW and Gon alone could take twice as many guards solo, why wouldn't the 3 of them fight back thr pursuers earlier? There weren't enough if them to pose a really threat especially with Gon around. That was hilarious of them to run. But I just ignored that.

Wonder if it was better off to kill GE off at earilier point and then somehow develop something between HG and CP. Or maybe just remove GE character completely and make a romance between rival sides. Would have been refreshing to see the lead having feelings for the 2ndry.
Either way like the show and her character and sucks it's going to end.
I think people are way too critical and take things way seriously here.
I think the ideas and concepts here are brilliant fresh and unique but also familiar at times and I love that. Yes there are writing flaws but I am not pausing to think about them too much.
Just enjoy it for it is. Cheers

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