The King Loves: Episodes 27-28
Won has always been a victim of the constant power struggle between his mother and father, but that tug of war now threatens those closest to him. His friends’ very existence makes them vulnerable in many circles, and Won is learning that he can’t anticipate where and when they might be attacked. Worse, a tragedy highlights just how dangerous the palace really is and that there are limits to the power that Won hoped would solve all his problems.
EPISODE 27 RECAP
With Jeon in sight, San hides in the shadows and raises her dagger. But before she can strike, Won pulls her away and holds her back as he explains that her revenge will only harm her. Won’s words seem to get through to her as San cries quietly against his shoulder.
The next morning at Geumgajeong, Won offers San a drink of fresh water when she emerges from a wash room. After a night spent throwing up, she heads up the stairs unsteadily with a concerned Won right behind her.
Meanwhile, Furatai leads party that arrests Wang Young and Jeon. Dan runs out in alarm, but her father orders her inside and reminds the guards to treat her with respect, since she’s to become the crown princess.
Back at Geumgajeong, San collapses onto Won’s bed, and when he asks if she wants to be alone or have him stay, she throws the blanket over her head in answer. Won can’t help but observe, “First, you go into my bed without permission, and now, you send me away?”
Jang Eui announces that Dan came alone on foot to see Won, without even a servant to accompany her (which would have been unheard of for a lady of her station). With a backward glance at the sick San, Won follows his bodyguard downstairs.
A shaken Dan collapses into a chair after she greets Won. He chastises her for traveling alone through the marketplace, at least until she informs him that her father and Jeon were arrested by Princess Wonsung’s guards. Won orders Jin Gwan to protect Dan while he investigates the matter. Dan worriedly confides that she can’t find Rin anywhere and leans against Won in tears just San comes downstairs and sees them together.
At the same time, Rin is stripped of his small sword and outer robe in the interrogation hall. Soon he is joined by his father and Jeon, who loudly protests his arrest. Wang Young is taken aback at the sight of Rin as the guards roughly lead his youngest son away.
Won confronts his mother and reminds her that Rin was only twelve years old when Minister Eun’s party was attacked. He wonders if her assault on Rin’s family is because of Dan before reminding his mother that he chose Dan as his crown princess. Princess Wonsung insists, “You made the wrong choice. Jeon and Rin have to go in order for you to live.”
Princess Wonsung insists that her actions are meant to protect Won. He notes that his mother used that same excuse to kick out the former queen and send his half-brother to a temple, much to her annoyance.
Won argues that he’ll use his royal authority to resolve the matter himself. When his mother asks if he’s determined to see Rin dead, Won asks, “Why? If I let him go, will you send out an assassin?” Princess Wonsung admits that she’s thought about it, and claims that Won will thank her in the future.
Dan enters Won’s room at Geumgajeong for the first time, and the rumpled bed catches her eye. Dan confesses that in spite of her family’s turmoil, she can’t help but wonder if San slept there, but San insists that Won considers her one of the boys.
Trembling, Dan manages to ask, “Did my second brother do something wicked to your family? Can you please forgive him?” When San looks away, Dan pleads, “You do know that Rin loves you. Do you not? Could you please consider him and forgive everything?”
San exits the room just as the cook arrives with a tea tray. San takes the tray but stands motionless as she struggles with Dan’s request, eventually throwing the tray to the floor.
San returns to Dan to confess, “I was going to kill your second brother with my own hands. I was going to kill him and leave far away. I was going to do that for Rin… how much more do you want me to forgive?” Tearfully, San admits that many people died because of Jeon, including her mother.
Rin, Jeon, and their father are tied to posts in the interrogation hall as Jeon decries the harsh treatment of a royal family. Wang Young urges him to maintain his dignity, but Jeon doesn’t, and instead taunts Rin to ask if Won abandoned him.
Rin looks up at the falling rain while Won watches him from a balcony. Jang Eui reminds Won that as king, he has the power to release Rin immediately.
San returns home to a worried Goo-hyung, who explains that her father was about to leave without her. Minister Eun walks out to announce that the culprits in her mother’s murder were caught and that they’ve been summoned to the palace. Eunuch Choi, who delivered the news, explains that Princess Wonsung believes that as victims, they have a right to attend the interrogation.
Minister Eun and San meet with Princess Wonsung, who finally understands that San was sent away not to avoid selection as a tribute, but to thwart Jeon’s plan to force San into marriage to finance his plan to become the crown prince. Princess Wonsung explains that a witness came forward, but because of his low birth, his testimony is insufficient against a royal family member.
Minister Eun is surprised when Princess Wonsung expects San to testify that the assassins were in league with Jeon. San recalls Rin’s disagreement with the cart pullers about that very fact and realizes the claim is true, even though she didn’t actually witness it. Minister Eun doesn’t think that San should testify, but Princess Wonsung reminds him that he was almost forced to finance treason and urges San to help not only the country, but Won as well.
Princess Wonsung gently takes San’s hand as she suggests, “I am sure your mother is still unable to leave your side. It is time to resolve her deep sorrow and let her rest in peace.”
The arrival of the ministers at the interrogation hall signals that the proceedings are about to begin. Jeon panics when his father urges him to tell the truth, and he desperately asks Rin to do something, but Rin stoically maintains his silence.
Won intercepts San as she and her father accompany Princess Wonsung to the interrogation hall. Jang Eui keeps watch as Won explains to San that his intent was to find proof of Song In’s involvement in her mother’s death, but his mother decided use the opportunity to get rid of Rin.
Won wants to know if San plans to lie as his mother asked. When she insists that Jeon must pay for what he did to her mother, Won reminds her that Rin will be declared guilty as well. He protests that Rin only suspected Jeon’s involvement, but she argues that he knew the truth all along and said nothing. (He’s not the only one.)
Won explains that the arrest of his family proves why Rin was compelled to remain silent all this time and pleads with San to consider the innocent. San struggles with what that means for Jeon: “Should I let him live as if nothing happened after what he did?” Won takes San’s hands as he asks her to cover up Jeon’s crime, but she yanks them away angrily and answers, “You save your friend. I will do what I must.”
Song In visits an unseen contact at a deserted palace and barely cracks open the doors to a room filled with incense and candles. He reports that Princess Wonsung took the bait, explaining that after Jeon is beheaded, Dan made a slave, and Rin and his father are exiled, Rin will be desperate for a way out. Song In adds that the only surprise was Won’s silence.
San is reunited with her father as Eunuch Choi explains that she will soon be called to testify. Minister Eun suggests a visit to her mother’s grave once their ordeal is over.
As she waits, San can’t help but think of Rin and the times that he put himself in harm’s way to help her. Her thoughts are interrupted when Eunuch Choi announces that it’s time to testify.
When San enters the interrogation hall, she avoids eye contact with Rin. She testifies that she saw an assassin the day of the massacre and verifies that Jeon was also at the scene. When San is asked to identify Jeon, he tries to speak with her, but is silenced by a hard blow to his knee. San then points to Jeon in front of all those assembled.
San is then asked, “Did you see Wang Jeon communicate with the assassin?” Princess Wonsung looks on expectantly as Won’s face tightens with concern. When the question is repeated, San struggles to answer and finally looks up at Rin, who offers her a nod of encouragement.
After the question is repeated again, San haltingly answers, “That day, the men protecting me all lost their lives to the assassins.” Rin and Jeon steel themselves when San glances at Princess Wonsung. She tearfully testifies, “And then Master Wang Jeon appeared, and he saved my maid and I.”
Everyone looks up in surprise as San continues, “What I remember is a man with a snake tattoo. He killed everyone. Find that man for me.” San shakily concludes her testimony, “Thanks to Master Jeon, I got out alive. That is all I know.”
Princess Wonsung sends a withering look at San before she strides out of the interrogation hall. When San staggers, Won runs to her side as Rin looks on helplessly. As Won leads her away, San turns back to look at Rin.
Minister Eun steadies San as they leave the palace. Won worries that she’s too sick to leave, but San begs to return home, and Minister Eun explains that he has a carriage already prepared. Won calls out his thanks to San, but she just looks at him weakly and says nothing.
Won chastises his mother for the attack on Rin’s family and informs her that he will handle the remainder of the case. Rin, Jeon and Wang Young are released from their restraints as a penalty is announced: “Wang Jeon… deserves severe punishment, but under the Crown Prince’s orders, he will be confined to his house.”
Won explains to his mother that he rebuked Wang Young for Jeon’s poor behavior and confiscated some of his properties for the national treasury. Princess Wonsung admits that she’s only concerned with Rin and offers a solution far beneath his station as she orders, “Ban him from entering the palace, and name him inspector general.” She adds that there just so happens to be a vacancy in a far away province.
Princess Wonsung admits that she underestimated San’s feelings and confides, “I saw how she looked at Wang Rin. I saw how he looked at her.” When Won challenges her, Princess Wongun protests, “Do you think anyone would know better than me about how a woman looks at a man?”
Won staunchly insists, “Rin would never look at someone I like as a woman. That is what Rin is like. My Rin.”
EPISODE 28 RECAP
While at work in his office, Minister Eun suffers from chest pain and manages to take his medicine just before Goo-hyung announces that he has a visitor. The butler explains that it’s the Chancellor’s son and offers to send him away.
When Minister Eun exits his office, Rin kneels down and confesses, “We have committed an unforgivable crime against your family.” Even though Minister Eun acknowledges that he did nothing wrong, Rin looks stricken over his family’s part in the death of San’s mother. Minister Eun discloses that San isn’t well and offers Rin a chance to visit her.
Goo-hyung escorts Rin to San’s room, and he speaks to her from outside, “Lady San. This is Wang Rin. Thanks to you, my family lived. I do not know how I can thank you.”
San approaches her room as Rin continues to speak to her door and guesses correctly that she went against Princess Wonsung’s order. He apologizes that he won’t be able to protect her since he has to go far away.
When San asks Rin where he’s headed from just behind him, he turns to face her and shares the news of his new assignment. San wishes him a safe trip and walks past him as she returns to her room.
Rin grabs her hand as she passes to ask if she’s all right, but she says that she isn’t. When he begs, “Do not get sick,” San faces Rin and admits that not only did he do nothing wrong, she knows that he was always there for her when she needed him.
But, San adds that she also can’t forget what it was like to hold her mother’s body on the way home from the mountains the day that she died. She explains that that’s why she can’t stay close to him as if nothing ever happened. Rin watches sadly as San returns to her room, unaware that Minister Eun and Goo-hyung witnessed their heartbreaking farewell.
Won works closely with the ministers to weed out officials who were promoted because of connections instead of skill. Jin Gwan quietly reports that Rin visited Minister Eun to formally apologize.
As Won exits his palace, he gets a report on the state of the armies’ weapons from a general and a report that Minister Eun and San left to visit her mother’s grave from one of his guards. When Won asks about Rin, Jang Eui explains that he’s forbidden to enter the palace.
Rin stands just outside of the palace while Jang Eui worriedly asks Won, “You will not send him away, will you? He will be sent to Jeolla Province. You will be lucky to see him once a year.” Won studies his friend as he recalls his mother’s warning and remembers the look that passed between Rin and San when he nodded at her during her testimony.
A rock lands at Rin’s feet, and he looks up just as Won throws another. They meet under a tree outside of the palace and reminisce about the time that they climbed it to get away from wild dogs. Rin is still amazed that Won was able to fall asleep while they waited for his bodyguards, but Won admits that he was only able to do so because Rin held onto him.
When Rin asks why Won liked to sneak away from his bodyguards, the prince admits, “Because I was with you. You were always there. I realized that your life became a mess after you met me. You gave up places you wanted to go to, food you wanted to eat, and people you wished to see. Everything. You always put me first.”
Won looks at Rin and wonders, “Should I have let you go sooner? Then maybe you would be doing better. You could have ridden horses and shot arrows all you wanted. And like whomever you wanted to.” Rin assures Won that if wanted to get away, he would have.
When asked, Rin insists that he wants to go away and travel all over Goryeo so that he can report to Won, if he wishes to hear about it. Won wonders, “Who will hold me if I climb a tree to get away from the wild dogs again?” But Rin just reminds him that he’s no longer a child.
Won acknowledges the injustice that has befallen Rin and admits, “Who will hide the fact that So-hwa’s mother and those men died because of me? I should be the one to leave for causing their deaths.” Won worries about San’s reaction when he tells her the truth, but Rin begs him not to confess so that he can help her to move on.
Accompanied by her father and Goo-hyung, San visits her mother’s grave. Minister Eun is surprised when Won joins them, and even though he tries to discourage the intrusion, Won approaches to pay his respects.
Won and San look out over a lake as she explains that they are at one of her mother’s favorite places. Jang Eui and Jin Gwan keep their distance as San asks why Won is away from the palace when he’s so busy. He reminds San that her teacher sent her to help him but she disappeared, so from now on, she is to stay with him.
Jang Eui tries to find Moo-suk after he sneaks by, but loses him as he passes the large rock where Moo-suk is hidden. From his spot, Moo-suk watches Won and San.
San explains that her teacher gave her one mission: to help Won take his first step. Won announces that Rin is leaving, and he refuses to let San go too. He tells her, “Stay with me. I will keep you close and wait until you can see me.” Won brushes away San’s hair as he adds, “I have a horrible temper, but I am very patient… I will wait and wait. Each time you turn around, I will be there.”
Minister Eun visits Wang Young, who offers thanks for San’s testimony about Jeon’s innocence. Minister Eun clarifies that Jeon was indeed guilty, but San decided to sacrifice her desire for revenge. Wang Young can’t seem to understand and asks, “Do you mean my son actually caused your wife harm?” Minister Eun prepares to explain the reason behind Jeon’s involvement in the attack that killed his wife.
Meanwhile, Bi-yeon visits Moo-suk in a secluded spot and offers him food as she volunteers details about Minister Eun’s visit to Wang Young. (Oh dear.) He’s particularly interested when Bi-yeon mentions that Minister Eun has been hiding his assets. (Great.)
Dan approaches her father’s office with a tray of refreshments and explains to Goo-hyung that she wants to personally serve Minister Eun as a sign of her gratitude. She sends the reluctant butler away with a servant while she prepares to serve her father and his guest, but stops outside the door when she overhears their conversation.
Minister Eun explains to Wang Young, “I know that every day your third son spends here is torture. What my daughter did upset [Princess Wonsung]. Her future is at risk.” He proposes a solution, “How about we marry off our children and send them far away… I have people preparing a house in Saracen.”
Wang Young explains that because a royal marriage adds the woman’s name to the royal register, Princess Wonsung’s approval is required. Minister Eun is well aware of the stipulation and adds, “Once I know we both agree to this, I plan to visit Her Highness.”
Bearing a message for Rin, Jin Gwan notices a dazed Dan outside of her father’s door. He takes the tray from her as Dan tries to decide if she should be happy or sad. Dan tells the bodyguard that she may never see her brother again, but then admits that it’s also a great relief (since San would be out of the picture).
Song In kneels before closed doors with an update, “I thought Lord Eun and his daughter would mess things up, but now, I have a use for them again. We can use them to distance the crown prince from [Princess Wonsung] and create a reason for Rin to come to us.”
Boo-yong slides the doors slightly apart to reveal that Song In’s contact is the king, who is in some kind of altered state thanks to her concoctions. King Chungryeol slurs, “Rin is a good boy… make Won give up his title himself.”
Song In promises that the crown prince will create his own downfall and that Yuan will have no grounds to object. When Song In proclaims that Rin will serve him loyally, the king manages to lift his head and look at Song In. Boo-yong openly adds something to the incense bowl as Song In boldly declares, “Become my puppet king, and stab your son through the heart.”
Rin exits the inspector general’s office and notices Moo-suk. Armed with his small dagger, Rin approaches the assassin who lures him to a meeting with the warning that Minister Eun is in danger.
Eunuch Choi announces to Princess Wonsung that Minister Eun wants to discuss the royal women’s register. He falls to his knees in fear before he continues, “It is about a marriage. With his daughter, Eun San, and Master Wang Rin. He wishes for your permission to marry them off.” Furatai and Court Lady Jo look up in surprise as Princess Wonsung laughs over this latest development.
A woman dressed as one of Princess Wonsung’s attendants enters the room where Minister Eun waits. The woman lights some incense, and when she places a cloth against her face to avoid the fumes, we see that it’s Boo-yong.
Won keeps a close eye on San as she distributes a pile of scrolls to the ministers in his office, but then Jin Gwan delivers a message that causes Won to run off suddenly.
He’s distressed that he wasn’t told sooner, but Jin Gwan admits, “I did not know he would come so soon.” Jang Eui joins them to report that the subject of Won’s concern is at Princess Wonsung’s palace.
Boo-yong stands behind a curtain until the incense has its desired effect on Minister Eun. When he grabs at his chest, she re-enters the room, and after Minister Eun drops his medicine, Boo-yong picks it up as if she means to help him. Minister Eun gasps, “I need that medicine… please.” But Boo-yong just stares blankly at the desperate man as she hides his medicine in her sleeve and walks away.
Minister Eun falls to the floor when he reaches out to her, but Boo-yong continues out the door as her incense continues to fill the room.
Won hurries to his mother’s palace with his bodyguards as San lifts a brush to write on a fresh piece of paper. She pauses as if something is wrong, unconcerned when the ink from her suspended brush drips and spreads ominously.
Won throws open the doors to find Minister Eun on the floor. He stands frozen with shock as Jang Eui runs for a doctor while Jin Gwan rushes to Minister Eun’s side.
He is soon joined by Won, and they check for a pulse in vain until Jin Gwan announces that it’s too late. Won holds San’s father in his arms and tries to wake him as Minister Eun’s arm falls lifelessly to the floor.
For many episodes now, I’ve wondered why Rin chose to be Won’s friend when his life would have been much easier, not to mention safer if he had kept a healthy distance from the crown prince. It was heartening to learn that his many sacrifices over the years were not lost on Won when he acknowledged out loud the many ways that their association has cost Rin personally. And Rin’s personal sacrifices continue as Won stands by while San directs all of her anger and resentment towards Rin, unaware that a boy second only to the king was present the day of the attack that claimed her mother’s life. She has no idea that Rin’s silence not only protected his family, but prevented a scandal from tainting the vulnerable crown prince.
Won and Rin know better than anyone just how dangerous life within the palace really is. This week’s loss of Minister Eun underlines that danger in the most tragic way. While Rin was willing to take on the risk to befriend Won, the arrest of his family is sure to have shaken him and he may come to the same conclusion that Won did — he needs power to protect those that he loves. Song In is certainly counting on him to get to that point so that his faction can displace Won with Rin.
Knowing what he does about the palace, Rin may share San’s late father’s fears and come to the same conclusion, that she should be as far away from the palace, and Won, as possible. He’s already accepted the fact that it’s time for him to leave Won’s side and, with Minister Eun gone, it makes sense that he would want to help San settle somewhere far from the influence of Won’s family.
Minister Eun was sensitive to the trauma that San suffered when her mother died and he wanted to secure a happy future for his daughter. Her life has been fraught with loss and he seemed intent on preserving her from further harm. How unfortunate that one of San’s closest friends happens to be the crown prince, because the palace isn’t compatible with a happy and peaceful existence. Perhaps this explains why Minister Eun decided to arrange for a marriage between Rin and San in a move that took me by surprise. It would certainly offer them both protection that they can’t know in Goryeo or Yuan, but I can’t figure out how he planned to get San to accept the idea when she just rejected Rin.
For now, Won faces danger from both parents – his jealous father and his ruthless mother. Aligned with the power hungry Song In and his murderous accomplice, Boo-young, King Chungryeol is willing to become a puppet king rather than allow Won to ascend. I can only hope that their eventual downfall is a satisfying one because those two annoy me to the point of distraction. Princess Wonsung presents her own dangers as she helps Won acquire power. Her ruthlessness reemerges as she admits that she’s considered assassinating Rin to help secure Won’s position. His reluctance to intervene in the case against Rin’s family is in part an attempt to protect him and if it eliminates a romantic rival as Song In suggested, Won made it clear long ago that his priority is San.
Before his death, Minister Eun planned an escape route for Rin and San to ensure their safety and there are enough people aware of his scheme that it’s bound to come to light. Won may be confident that Rin would never pursue a woman that he loved, but what if that was the final wish of her loving father?
- The King Loves: Episodes 1-2
- Premiere Watch: School 2017, The King Loves, Man Who Dies to Live, Reunited Worlds
- A house and friendship divided in The King Loves
- Tension in a garden of flowers for The King Loves
- Assassin-filled forests and masked dances in The King Loves
- Main writer behind The King Loves revealed to be Song Ji-nah
- The King Loves to play in azalea-filled forests
- Yoon-ah steals the hearts of two best friends in The King Loves
- Im Shi-wan as a young prince for MBC’s The King Loves