The King Loves: Episodes 31-32
Won becomes more vulnerable than ever as he tries to defend himself from multiple threats and preserve the friendships that mean so much to him at the same time. Rin ends up in a unique position to better understand what is behind all of the chaos that threatens Won’s future, and he makes a bold decision meant to help not only his friend, but the people of Goryeo.
EPISODE 31 RECAP
Won hands Jang Eui the letter for San and orders him to deliver it and bring her back safely. Meanwhile, Princess Wonsung instructs Furatai to kill Rin and San if they refuse to be taken into custody.
As he follows the funeral procession, Furatai realizes that he won’t be able to arrest the pair until they near the outskirts of the city, while from his hidden location, King Chungryeol orders Song In to bring Rin there to ensure his safety.
That order is passed down to Moo-suk, but he’s forced back by the crowd of mourners as the funeral procession makes its way through the city.
With Rin and San in sight, both parties move at the same time — but the cart puller, Gae-won, blocks Moo-suk with a broom while Furatai gets stopped by a swinging basket, courtesy of the Geumgajeong cook. Furatai rips off Bi-yeon’s veil to confirm that San has disappeared, and Moo-suk retreats before he’s recognized.
Jang Eui tries to find the funeral procession, but a small carriage catches his attention on its way out of the city. Just then, Gae-won runs by as he escapes Furatai and is forced to hide after Jang Eui delays him with questions. When Jang Eui promises Furatai that he’ll report his actions to Won, he runs off, and Jang Eui detains Gae-won.
Won enters Geumgajeong to find the cart pullers and Goo-hyung waiting. Distressed that Rin and San disappeared during the funeral, Won asks Gae-won and Yeom Bok for details, since he heard that they were involved.
The cook explains, “[Rin] said there would not be a chance once they got to the cemetery,” and Gae-won adds that Rin asked, “If you see anyone with a sword near the procession, stop them.” The cook stopped Princess Wonsung’s soldiers while Gae-won blocked the assassin who had him steal the arrows.
Goo-hyung shares that San knew of the plan and met with the household servants before the funeral. She had explained about the plot to discredit her father to seize his properties and warned the servants that they would be forced to give false testimonies. They had been given money, and San sent them to homes throughout Goryeo as she instructed, “After they carry my father out, you should leave as well.”
When Goo-hyung mentions that San is with Rin, Yeom Bok asks Gae-won if they will get married after the funeral. Gae-won tries to silence him, but Goo-hyung explains that Minister Eun met with Wang Young to discuss his final wish: a marriage between Rin and San.
Won can’t believe his ears and drops heavily into a chair. When he asks his guards about Jang Eui, Gae-won volunteers that the bodyguard followed the carriage with Rin and San to deliver something.
Won laughs that Rin is making him crazy, “He does not know how to scheme. I am the schemer. He should have come to me. I would have helped him. I would have played dirty or been evil to help him.” Won then informs Yeom Bok, “The wedding you hope for will not happen. My foolishly loyal friend, Rin, is protecting my woman.”
Moo-suk finds Bi-yeon in the marketplace before she leaves town with Goo-hyung. Moo-suk wants to know if San will join them, but Bi-yeon confides that she’s traveling east. Before he leaves, Moo-suk tears the veil from Bi-yeon’s face and tells her that if he doesn’t care about her face, then it shouldn’t matter what others think.
San leads the way through a wooded area while Rin keeps a close eye on her. When she loses her footing, he’s there to offer a steadying hand. As the sun lowers, San points to an area where they can rest for the night, and Rin realizes that she’s familiar with their surroundings.
San admits that she traveled this way with her father, and when she falls silent, Rin encourages her: “Go on talking about him. I will listen.” San eventually shares that her father traveled often and that she accompanied him on a few trips. Rin smiles when San confides that she posed as a servant and called her father “Master” in public, but in private, he ignored her until she whispered, “Father.”
Meanwhile, Eunuch Kim is relieved when Won finally returns to the palace and explains that his mother is waiting. When Won turns away, Eunuch Kim reminds him that his bride will be the one to pay if he avoids Princess Wonsung.
Princess Wonsung greets Won with the order, “Cancel your wedding plans.” Won wearily implores, “Stop scheming, and stop harming innocent people.” Before Princess Wonsung can claim, yet again, that her efforts were meant to keep Won alive, he challenges her, “No. It was to keep you alive. You were so bored each and every day that you used me as a toy. To give you a reason to live.”
Won instructs his mother to leave Dan alone or he will make her pay before storming out. A tear trickles down Princess Wonsung’s face, and then she experiences another violent coughing fit.
Boo-yong updates the king on the growing rift between Won and his mother. When she urges him to return to the palace to attend Won’s wedding, King Chungryeol foggily asks, “Is the crown prince still alive?” King Chungryeol remembers what a happy child Won once was and tries to figure out what went wrong between him and his son. He thinks that perhaps Won’s mother made Won hate him but then asks, “Or is that what you whispered? Right into my ear. ‘Your Majesty, your son dislikes you. He hates you. He wants to kill you.'”
Boo-yong hesitates briefly, then asks the king how he could say such a terrible thing. As Boo-yong pours tea, King Chungryeol remembers that San had challenged him to his face for not believing in his own son. When the king mumbles, “The crown prince. Is he still alive,” Boo-yong just lays him down with a satisfied smile.
Once he has a fire burning, Rin produces a small bottle of wine that he brought to help San sleep. When San shares that her father wasn’t very good at drinking, Rin suggests that they offer him just one cup. San approaches a large boulder to apologize to her father for leaving his funeral as she pours out a cup of wine. Rin pours another cup for San to drink, happy to see how much she enjoys it.
San addresses her father again, “Once we get to the ocean, I will get on the ship you prepared and go to the place you prepared. Do not worry. Rin is escorting me until I get there.”
Rin corrects San and explains that not only will he accompany her on the ship, “I will go wherever you go. And I will stay wherever you stay. I will stay with you for a long time.” When San looks at him blankly, Rin shares, “That is what your father wanted. Did you not hear?” San says nothing, and Rin asks if it’s because she has thoughts of Won.
Dan meets with Won, who immediately guesses that she’s been crying. When she insists that no one made her cry, Won decides that Dan must be scared to spend the night in the palace, but Dan explains that she won’t be getting any sleep because of the wedding preparations.
Won apologizes for the the absence of honored guests and an elaborate party due to the rushed wedding. Dan reminds him that the purpose of the wedding was to remove her name from the tribute list and becomes serious when she asks, “Your priority is still not me… and I will never be your priority, right?”
Won ignores her question and summons Jin Gwan to tell him, “You do not have to follow me around anymore. Protect the crown princess from now on.” With that done, Won walks away and leaves his sad bride behind.
Moo-suk’s party thrashes through the woods while Rin throws a robe over San. Rin notices her staring at him as he tends their fire and when she closes her eyes, it’s Rin’s turn to look at her. Eventually, they share a long gaze, broken only when a self-conscious San throws the robe over her head.
In the morning, San finds herself alone, along with a dying fire. She discovers Rin knee-deep in the river trying to catch a fish with his dagger. To his dismay, San drops a large rock into the water as she teases, “Goodness, I do not see anything. Where are all the fish?” San makes fun of Rin’s failure to catch anything, and when she sabotages his efforts with another rock, they playfully splash around in the water.
Rin is the first to see Moo-suk’s party when they appear on the riverbank, and though he and San run away, they’re surrounded by the time they reach a nearby pavilion. Rin reminds Moo-suk that he told him to wait, but the assassin confesses that he didn’t believe that Rin would return.
Moo-suk has orders to escort Rin, and if he refuses to cooperate, “Then I will get rid of the person who is distracting you.” On cue, Moo-suk’s men unsheathe their swords and point them at San. Rin tells her to continue her journey on her own and ignores her offer to fight alongside him as he vows, “Whatever it takes and wherever you are, I will follow you.”
Rin lowers his dagger and agrees to go with Moo-suk, who falls to one knee. The other men immediately follow suit as Rin adds, “I will only leave after I see her leave safely.” After a nod from Rin, San runs off as Jang Eui observes them from a distance.
San returns to the campsite and confronts the person who followed her. When she sees that it’s Jang Eui, she pulls him toward Rin and explains that Moo-suk took him. Jang Eui argues that it didn’t appear that Rin was taken away and then presents Won’s letter. He explains that he must return with San’s answer as she holds her mother’s ring in her hand.
Teacher Lee is escorted by Generals Ko Sung and Lim Chi-young to see Won, who assumes that he’s there for the wedding. He’s actually there to discuss Won’s unnecessary decision to forgive the charge of embezzlement against his friend, because Minister Eun and Wang Young were innocent all along.
General Ko Sung explains that even though the grain had supposedly been in storage for months, the ink from the stamps was fresh. Teacher Lee adds that not only did Minister Eun die in the palace, but so did the court lady who was sent to remove the incense that killed him.
One of the palace doctors testifies that he was told that the court lady hung herself, but an examination of her body revealed that she was poisoned first. Teacher Lee reminds Won that the day after the deaths, an anonymous letter was sent to accuse Minister Eun and Wang Young of stealing the grain.
Teacher Lee concludes that the plot originated within Princess Wonsung’s palace and wants to know Won’s thoughts. Won chooses to ignore Teacher Lee’s grievances and has him sent to a place called Naksujae with orders that no one is to be allowed near him.
EPISODE 32 RECAP
The soldiers of the king’s secret palace bow before Rin as Moo-suk leads him to Song In. Boo-yong serves a tea designed to block poison and Rin is understandably reluctant to drink it until Song In explains, “I can only have my tea once you have yours. You are not just Master Rin anymore.”
Rin drinks the tea and reminds Song In that he’s there to see the king. Boo-yong excuses herself to check on him while Song In explains that the king’s health is failing. (I’ll bet it is.) Song In lies that King Chungryeol made up the excuse of a hunting trip to hide his illness so that Won wouldn’t ask him to give up the kingship permanently.
Rin wants to know why Jeon is no longer the choice for crown prince, and Song In explains that because of his drinking and womanizing, “We had a lot of complaints.” When Rin questions his use of the word we, Song In divulges, “The powers behind the curtain who actually run this country. Some of the families go back to the establishment of Goryeo, and there is a general who survived the great war.”
Rin asks Song In if they plan to replace Won with a crown prince of their choice while hiding the sick king. Song In admits to something like that just as Boo-yong reappears to say that she couldn’t wake the king, but Rin refuses to be stalled and goes to see him anyway.
Rin kneels before the king’s room and announces his presence, but when there’s no reply, he parts a door and becomes alarmed at what he sees. He rushes to King Chungryeol’s side and offers to summon his physician, but the king grabs Rin to ask, “The crown prince, is he still alive?” Rin can only stare at King Chungryeol with concern.
A frustrated General Lim Chi-young confesses to General Ko Sung that he wants to confront Won. General Ko Sung urges him to wait until after his wedding the next day and suggests that they go for a drink.
Minister Song runs up with gifts that he claims are from Won, boxes full of silver bullion, with the explanation, “The crown prince said you have been through a lot and that you should cover it up. He shall take care of the rest.” General Lim Chi-young angrily demands to know if Won means their investigation and is asked, “What were you investigating that he would pay so much to make you cover it up?”
Song In next meets with the ministers who regularly work in Won’s office and lies that Generals Ko Sung and Lim Chi-young confirmed that Minister Eun ended up dead because Won wanted his money, as well as his daughter. Minister Song has the ministers hanging on his every word when he claims that San refused Won, who then retaliated by framing her in order to ruin her family.
Won tries to work in his office but notices that the ministers keep staring at him. King Chungryeol’s voice is heard saying, “First, the mother, and now, her son is killing my people.” We then see Rin support the frail king during a stroll in the courtyard with Song In and Boo-yong close behind.
King Chungryeol acknowledges that Minister Eun quietly sent grain and money whenever he heard that the royal finances were in trouble and never asked for anything in return. The king sways when he thinks of what happened to Minister Eun, and Rin looks around for a place to sit.
King Chungryeol studies Rin and admits that he reminds him of his first wife (Rin’s aunt). He observes, “You look most like her… her grace and loyalty. You have them as well.” Rin asks about her, but the king admits that he couldn’t bear to see her again.
King Chungryeol grabs Rin and pulls him closer to warn, “The crown prince is like his mother. They were born with thorns all over their bodies. Stay close, and they will prick and poison you. Then they will hold you even closer. ‘You are mine. You must stay with me. Do not look elsewhere.’ Your blood is spilling everywhere, but they will not let go.”
Boo-yong escorts the king away so that Song In can ask Rin to accompany the king to Won’s wedding. Song In promises that Rin’s appearance will please many officials, and when he adds that the generals are turning against Won, Rin walks off without a word. When Song In follows after him, we see that one of Won’s guards listened to their exchange.
Won reads a scroll to his mother, “Appoint Eun Young-baek’s daughter, San, to take over the financial duties her father once held.” Won explains that because the order falls under her jurisdiction, it requires her approval. He sets the order before his mother and orders Court Lady Jo to bring her seal.
Princess Wonsung warns that the ministers believe Won defended a criminal. He admits that they really think that he’s committed murder, for either money or love.
Princess Wonsung warns Won that San’s presence in the palace will confirm the rumors and cause him serious damage, but Won tells his mother that she should have thought of that sooner.
When Princess Wonsung calmly asks Won to give San up, Won accuses her of framing Rin, but she argues that Rin isn’t his friend. Won evenly explains, “San will stay close to me here. I will keep her close and protect her. If you do not want that, you can leave.” With no choice, Princess Wonsung affixes her seal to Won’s order.
Outside, Won asks Eunuch Kim about Jang Eui, who has yet to return. His other guard returns just then with news about Rin.
Rin sits alone with King Chungryeol as he sleeps, and when Boo-yong offers him a room of his own, he dismisses her. For the first time in a long time, there is no incense burning in the king’s room.
Rin keeps vigil over the king as Won’s guard reports that his father isn’t hunting and that Rin and Song In are with him, as well as Prince Gangyang. When Won learns that San isn’t there, he’s certain that the guard’s report is wrong.
An excited Court Lady Jo announces to Princess Wonsung that King Chungryeol has returned to the palace in time for the wedding. When asked, Court Lady Jo admits that Boo-yong is with the king and informs her that Rin is with him as well.
The king makes his return to the palace with the aid of Boo-yong and Rin. Minister Song runs up and takes Rin’s place to help the feeble king back to his rooms.
As Won is dressed for his wedding, Eunuch Kim reports that Rin arrived with the king. Won starts to leave, but Eunuch Kim explains that Rin is no longer with the king and is probably with his sister.
Rin walks through the palace grounds as Jang Eui escorts San to see Won. Before they can reach him, they are blocked by Furatai and Princess Wonsung’s men.
Rin is surprised when Generals Ko Sung and Lim Chi-young find him to ask if Won had Minister Eun killed. General Ko Sung explains the rumor while General Lim Chi-young worries that the man that they swore to serve killed someone for love.
When Furatai escorts San and Jang Eui to a courtyard and announces their presence, a set of doors opens on Dan in her wedding gown. San assumes that she’s there against her will, but Dan explains she was asked to speak to San on Princess Wonsung’s behalf.
Dan admits that she didn’t believe that San would come to the palace and asks, “Why are you here?” When San doesn’t understand the question, Dan waits until Jin Gwan steps away to explain, “The crown prince and I will be married today.”
San confesses that she was away and didn’t hear the news. When she admits that she’s there to see Won, Dan asks San to leave without meeting him. San explains that she has to keep a promise, but Dan warns that San’s presence will put Won in danger and begs, “I want you to stay far away from the crown prince. I do not want him to see you.”
Rin passes Furatai and his men as they leave the courtyard and runs in that direction to find Dan. When his sister covers her face at the sight of him, Rin thinks that Dan is happy that he made it to her wedding, but Dan tearfully confesses that she sent San away.
Jang Eui meets with Won just as San approaches a small bridge on the palace grounds. Rin finds her and is about to approach when he notices Won in the distance, dressed for his wedding, as he meets with Jang Eui.
Rin seems to make a decision and calls out to San as he recalls his question for her the day before, “Is it the crown prince?” San had admitted that she felt as if they were connected by a thread and that Won was always in her way.
San had worried about what would happen to Won if they both left him and lamented, “I should not have tied this thread with him to begin with.”
A frantic Won starts to run off, but stops when he notices Rin and San on the bridge. Rin steps closer as he confirms that San feels connected to Won and concludes, “It must be the red thread of fate. I will cut off that thread for you right now.”
Rin surprises San when he places his arm around her waist and pulls her close. Rin proceeds to kiss her, and San pushes him away as Won witnesses the scene from a distance.
Eventually, San closes her eyes and drops her arms as Rin continues to kiss her. Won, meanwhile, struggles with the reality that his best friend just shattered his world.
This episode gave us a lot of Rin as he found himself thrust to the front of the plot to depose Won. That cliffhanger kiss was not at all what I expected, since Rin’s motivation has more to do with the knowledge of an impending coup than with his love for San. As the one chosen to replace Won as crown prince, Rin has seen firsthand the grave danger that threatens not only Won, but the king and the entire country of Goryeo.
By shifting attention to Rin, the plot to depose Won picked up steam because he doesn’t present the problems that Jeon did. Plus, Rin has excellent character and is well respected. He’s also loyal to Won, but his feelings for San and the knowledge that the king is being held hostage put a strain on Rin that can’t be minimized. Even if Rin remains rock solid, the rumors that have been created to undermine Won are only growing stronger, and he’s edging ever closer to that cliff that Princess Wonsung alluded to.
Since Won’s priority is having San by his side, he brushes aside the threats to his position as crown prince, but Rin can see that Won isn’t the only one who will be harmed if he’s eventually deposed. Once Song In mentioned that King Chungryeol’s health is failing, Rin understood that it’s a setup for his eventual demise (and we know that Boo-yong is capable of making that happen). His meeting with Prince Gangyang served as a peek into what could be waiting for Won once he’s deposed, since it would be foolhardy to kill him and risk an attack from Yuan. Even though the story is that Princess Wonsung was responsible for Prince Gangyang’s poisoning, Rin is shrewd enough to know that it’s possible to divert blame to an innocent party since his family was just falsely accused in that embezzlement scheme. Who can say that Song In wasn’t behind that plot to build support for his plan to control the throne?
Rin is more influenced by what is best for others, and I don’t think that has changed. He realizes that San has become a dangerous liability for Won, who has the potential to be a good king. If Song In’s allies successfully depose Won, Rin would be made crown prince, something that he’s never wanted, and he and the king would be managed by the very people who set up Won. That would hurt the people of Goryeo because Song In’s faction is dangerous and corrupt, and they would only grow in power. Won is trying to eliminate corruption, but the rumors and suspicions are crushing him, and he will never sever ties with San in order to continue what he has started.
Rin knows Won better than anyone, and he recognizes that San is his fatal flaw. By kissing her, Rin is setting into motion a plan that he hopes will prevent Won from keeping San next to him. I don’t think that his reasons are selfish ones, rather, I think that they are desperate and dangerous ones because he risks making an enemy of Won. It’s a sacrifice that Rin is willing to make for the greater good, but for his gamble to have a prayer, he’s going to need some help, and I can only guess where that could come from. I’m hoping that the king has figured out his dangerous situation and will soon have a clearer head. Hopefully, Rin will be able to reason with the generals — and, of course, there’s still Teacher Lee. Once he figures out that Princess Wonsung isn’t guilty of Minister Eun’s murder, he can help to squash the false rumors. Finally, San is sure to do whatever she can to help Won become a good king, and she has the wealth needed to make a difference.
There’s so much to resolve in the episodes that are left, especially since we still don’t definitively know how San feels about the two men after her heart. With political intrigue and Won’s reaction to his friend’s move on his woman, the pending wedding promises to be memorable for all the wrong reasons.
- 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