100 Days My Prince: Episode 2
Prepare yourself for some more palace intrigue as Yul digs deeper into the mystery of who might be trying to kill him. He’s both shocked and not at all surprised as he learns some unexpected truths, and he decides that if he’s going to survive palace life, he’s going to have to do it alone. But an unexpected turn of events lands him in a situation he never expected, and he’s about to find himself facing the toughest struggle of his life — marriage.
EPISODE 2 RECAP
Having traveled into town to look for her brother, our heroine Hong-shim dresses in her upper-class finery and heads out. Crown Prince Yul spots her under a cherry tree, admiring the drifting blossoms, and he’s struck by how much she reminds him of his first love, Yi-suh.
Not far away, Je-yoon, who works for the Capital District Office, also sees Hong-shim. She sees Yul watching her and runs, and Yul gives chase. They pass right by Je-yoon, who purposely steps in front of Yul and bumps into him, slowing his pursuit and giving Hong-shim time to hide.
Yul eventually gives up, and he gasps to his guard, Dong-joo, that Yi-suh would have looked just like that woman if she’d lived. Dong-joo reminds him that her whole family was slaughtered, and he asks why Yul can’t forget her. Yul says that she stays in his memories because he exchanged her life for royal robes.
Je-yoon finds Hong-shim huddled under the bridge and pulls her out. He introduces himself and asks why she ran away, noticing that her pack doesn’t match her clothes. He asks to see it, so Hong-shim attempts to escape using some martial arts skills she knows, but instead she finds herself with both wrists locked in his grip.
Her fighting skill just makes Je-yoon more suspicious, so she tells him she’s Yeon Hong-shim from Songju Village. Je-yoon asks if she’s in Hanyang (the capital) to see a lover, but Hong-shim snaps that she’s visiting her brother, whom she promised to meet on this bridge on the 15th of every month.
She takes offense to Je-yoon’s questioning, so he tells her boldly, “I’m interested in you.” Hong-shim just stares at him, then huffs wordlessly and goes on her way. Je-yoon trails after her adorably until she asks why he’s following her, and he starts talking about how pretty the moon is while grinning right at her. Right, the moon is pretty.
Hong-shim warns him not to dare hit on her, so he says he’s protecting her in case those men chase her again. He guesses that her brother isn’t coming, and says he’ll see her here on the 15th of every month, then saunters off with a jaunty wave.
With their only witness to the poisoning (the lady physician, Song-sun) dead and her killer escaped, Dong-joo wonders how Yul can get proof that someone is trying to poison him. Yul thinks about the fletching on the arrow that killed the physician, gets a crafty look in his eye, and says, “I need to throw a feast.”
He dresses in his finest robes for the feast, and he and Crown Princess So-hye sit together at a table just below the king and his new wife. His father tells Yul that he’s glad he feels better in time to celebrate his birthday, and Yul diplomatically (yet somehow sarcastically) credits the queen for praying for his recovery.
Queen Park notes that the crown princess doesn’t look well, so So-hye explains that she didn’t sleep well last night. Yul just says he’s proceeding with the next phase of entertainment, and the king mentions that Yul asked for bows and arrows for his birthday and must be anxious to see his gifts.
Yul’s plan, as outlined to Dong-joo, is that arrows may all look the same, but they are actually unique to their makers. He’d noticed that the arrow used by Song-sun’s killer was made of rare wood and feathers, and notching unique to a level of assassins that only the rich can afford.
As the nobles present Yul with sets of bows and arrows, he examines them and declares them excellent, but none of them shows the characteristics he’s looking for. Last is Queen Park’s eldest son, Grand Prince Seowon, who brings Yul a set he says that his mother chose. But as soon as Yul sees the arrows, he realizes they aren’t what he’s looking for.
Minister Kim remarks that with all of these fine bows and arrows, Yul will be an even better archer than he already is. The king notices that Minister Park hasn’t given Yul a gift, offended that his son’s father-in-law has no gift for him.
Minister Kim explains that he’s worried Yul will be disappointed in the quality of his gift, but when Yul opens the case, he immediately recognizes the arrows. Minister Kim says that he uses these very arrows for hunting, and Yul levels a glare at him, wondering if he killed the physician Song-sun, and if he’s trying to kill him, too.
He can’t help but remember witnessing Minister Kim killing Yi-suh’s father, and hearing him order the children killed as well. Minister Kim takes his expression as disappointment in the gift, but Yul says darkly that it’s exactly what he wanted. He abruptly declares the feast over.
In private, Yul goes over what he knows: Minister Kim had Song-sun killed, almost certainly to cover up his plan to kill Yul. What he doesn’t know is why Minister Kim wants him dead, but his musings are interrupted by the crown princess, who asks to speak to him alone.
So-hye reveals that she knows Yul left the palace in disguise, which makes her skeptical that he was actually sick or if he faked it to avoid sleeping with her. Yul sneers that he’d never do something so cheap and dirty, making it sound like he’s referring to sleeping with her, not tricking her.
She picks up on this and says that her father risked his life to help Yul’s father become king, but Yul scoffs that Minister Kim gained a lot personally from that “risk,” and is even richer than the royal family. So-hye asks if that’s why Yul hates her, but he asks why she’s suddenly making an issue of this when they both know their marriage is for show.
She says that she knows he studies every night because he’s trying to make up for his lack of royal education when he was young. But she adds that without a son, he’ll never be considered an acceptable crown prince.
She requests for the first and last time that he sleep with her tonight, and places his hand on her cheek. He touches her lips as he whispers that it must not have been easy to ask that, then leans in close to hiss, “However, my heart cannot seem to persuade my body.”
He tells So-hye that he doesn’t have the luxury of worrying about a future without a son, and orders her to leave. Furious and humiliated, the crown princess goes straight to her father to tell him that her plan failed. She says she doesn’t have much time left, and Minister Kim nods that he understands.
On her way back to her village, Hong-shim is nearly mowed down by the village official, who stammers that he’s seen a ghost. He blames the ghost’s presence on Hong-shim’s unmarried state before running away. Hong-shim just sniffs and heads home to her adoptive father, who greets her with dinner.
While she eats, he asks her not to go to Hanyang next month, because she has more important things to worry about, like the men who came to nag him about her marriage while she was gone. She tells him that she’s already told the officials about being promised to Won-deuk, but her father just mumbles in annoyance.
In the morning, Yul shows Dong-joo the bow and arrow set from Minister Kim. He mentions the story of the frog who gives the scorpion a ride across the river only to get stung, making both of them drown. He says he wants to know why the scorpion stung the frog, as he looses an arrow and splits another arrow straight down the middle. Damn.
He sends Dong-joo to the royal infirmary to retrieve the pharmacy journals, but they’re mostly missing, having been taken two days ago. Yul learns that it was Je-yoon and goes to confront him, finding him working on royal advisor Soo-ji’s question, wanting the promotion that goes to the man who answers it.
Yul tells Je-yoon that his answer (“to harbor”) is both right and wrong, and asks why he took the pharmacy journals. Je-yoon says that he’s investigating the murder of the physician Song-sun. Yul asks Je-yoon what he found, and learns that it wasn’t a crime of passion, because nobody had a grudge against Song-sun.
Je-yoon thinks that it was a premeditated murder caused by issues in the royal infirmary. He says that Song-sun was still in training, but on February 14, she was asked to take another physician’s night shift. The journals don’t say exactly what happened on that day, but the following day, Song-sun was put in charge of the crown princess’s chambers.
Je-yoon continues that on the night Song-sun was murdered, someone saw two men at her home, but Yul stops him there and orders him not to investigate any further. He concludes that if Minister Kim tried to kill him, then the crown princess must be involved, and he wonders why she wants to kill him and why she met Song-sun that day.
He imagines that the crown princess ordered Song-sun to steal the list warning Yul of the foods he shouldn’t eat. He goes looking through the medical notes on the crown princess, and sees that on the day she promoted Song-sun, she didn’t undergo her monthly physical examination. Looking back, he realizes that she’s been skipping her exams every month, and he tells Dong-joo that he’s known the answer to his suspicions all along.
So-hye is surprised by an unexpected visit from Yul. He dismisses her attendant, getting her hopes up so much she backs into the door, ha. So-hye can’t hide her tiny smile, until Yul bluntly says he’s not pleased to be here, and brings in a physician.
The sight of the doctor makes So-hye cringe in on herself, and Yul says that he noticed that she’s missed some examinations. The physician reaches to take So-hye’s pulse on Yul’s order, but So-hye claims to have indigestion that will show in her pulse and asks to be examined later when she feels better.
Yul dismisses the physician, and once they’re alone, he says to his wife that they’ve never even held hands, and asks how she could be pregnant under those circumstances. Oooooh. Although she claims not to understand, So-hye’s expression gives away the truth.
Yul tells her that a friend’s wife got pregnant when they’d never slept together, and he asks So-hye how the woman should be punished. So-hye calls the situation tragic, but Yul retorts with a triumphant snarl that she should go down in history as a lewd woman who disgraced her family. He says he would tell the woman that her and her family are doomed, but before that, he’d give her time to make her own decision.
King Neungseon admits to his advisers that the continued lack of rain is worrying him. Minister Kim suggests that he not participate in the upcoming rain ceremony, warning that it could look bad if yet another ritual fails to work.
Yul finds his father when he’s ordered to perform the rain ceremony and asks that the order be revoked. He says he’s trying to resolve a difficult problem, but King Neungseon accuses Yul of trying to humiliate him when the country is in chaos and he’s being blamed.
Yul tries to hide his hurt as he asks why his father isn’t even asking his reason. He says that he’s his son before he’s the crown prince, so his father should be concerned about the struggle he’s facing. The king just moans that whatever it is can’t be worse than the complaints that are pouring in.
He’s all, Fine, let’s hear it, but Yul just spits that compared to the burden of the country, his struggle is light as a feather. King Neungseon says accusingly that Yul has looked at him with those eyes for years, condemning him for killing thousands of people in order to take the throne.
He heaves a huge sigh, then says that he knew he was the former king’s next target, and that if he didn’t take out his sword, he and Yul would both be dead. He tells Yul that he has no right to resent him, but Yul replies, “No. I will resent you. At least for today, I will resent you all I want as your son. But after today, I will not see you as your son, so I will not resent you anymore.”
He says he’ll participate in the rain ceremony, and that afterward, whatever he does will be for the country. He warns his father not to stop him, then turns and leaves.
Yul goes back to his room and writes that he’s a horrible son, because his resentment towards his father has never faded since he entered the palace. He pulls out a box, and inside is the ribbon that Yi-suh tied around his injured arm all those years ago. He thinks, “I know that you will not come back alive, and my heart will not be lightened. But I still have to take revenge. I will make them pay for killing you and humiliating me, no matter what.”
Minister Kim brings So-hye the sulfur that she requests, and when she tells him that she’s pregnant, he immediately guesses that it’s not Yul’s baby. He asks if she’s planning to kill herself, but she only asks for time to protect their family. She says that if she fails, she’ll resolve it by killing herself, or Yul. He asks who the father of her baby is, but So-hye just tells him not to worry, because her baby will be the next crown prince regardless of his father’s identity.
Later she recalls Yul’s threat that she and her family will be destroyed, and wonders if she’ll have to use the poison. Her attendant informs her that Yul will be at the next rain ceremony, and she tells the woman to get rid of the sulfur. She thinks to herself that Yul started this, so he has no right to resent her.
Her father meets with the same assassin who killed Song-sun, whose name is MOO-YEON. He tells Moo-yeon that he has an urgent mission, and Moo-yeon asks where the crown prince will be heading. Minister Kim wants to know why he never asks him why, but Moo-yeon says ominously that he doesn’t need a reason, but this time he needs a promise.
In the village, Hong-shim’s father nods off, then jerks awake with a loud yell that scares them both. He whines that he had a terrible nightmare where Hong-shim was walking down a road being followed by an old, drooling dog. He tried to scare it away with a stick, but it wouldn’t leave. Hong-shim says that’s just a silly dream, and won’t come true.
They’re called outside by Master Park, the richest man in the village, who giggles excitedly as he delivers treats which he explains are meant to lesson Hong-shim’s hardships. She awkwardly says she’ll share them with the neighbors, but Master Park forbids it, saying they’re all for her. Uh, I think we found the “old, drooling dog.” He practically slobbers all over Hong-shim as he talks to her about the herbs she’s gathered, but he eventually leaves.
Bodyguard Dong-joo isn’t happy about Yul’s leaving the palace for the rain ceremony and orders guards to follow them in secret. They stand on a mountain, and Yul comments that it’s uncommonly beautiful here, looking more peaceful than he ever does in the palace.
Dong-joo asks about Yul’s tragic secret, but Yul just asks if Dong-joo thinks he’s too serious sometimes, warning that if Dong-joo keeps it up he’ll find it “uncomfortable,” but he’s very nearly smiling when he says it. Dong-joo fires back that it makes him uncomfortable every time Yul says that.
This time Yul does smile as he tells Dong-joo to forget about palace affairs while they’re out here. But his smile drops as he adds, “Because when we return, it will be a bloodbath.”
Yul and his entourage travel through the forest nervously, startling at every little sound. They don’t hear the true danger — the assassin, Moo-yeon, drawing his bow. Luckily Yul sees the arrow flying towards his head just in time to duck, and his men surround him.
But they’re quickly overcome by a whole gang of assassins, who take out a large number of guards and even court ladies with a single volley of arrows. Dong-joo urges Yul to escape, but instead he draws his own bow and starts picking off assassins one at a time.
Moo-yeon draws on Yul, but Yul sees him and takes aim back at him. They fire almost simultaneously, and both manage to avoid serious injury, though both arrows draw blood. Another arrow hits Yul’s horse and he’s thrown to the ground, and Dong-joo guides him away from the fighting.
Moo-yeon sees them escaping and takes two of his men to pursue them. He fires an arrow into Dong-joo’s leg, and when Dong-joo stops to pull the arrow out, he reassures Yul that the palace guards will rescue them. Yul is more worried about the arrow Moo-yeon shot at him, which he recognized as the same ones that killed the physician.
He realizes that Minister Kim set up this ambush, and he tells Dong-joo that he has five arrows left, so he can take out ten assassins if he can hit two at once. Plus, he says, he’s as good with the sword as he is with bow and arrow, and Dong-joo snaps that this is no time to brag, ha.
He tells Yul to escape and let him stay and fight, but Yul officially orders him not to fight for him anymore, and to protect himself instead. When it looks like Dong-joo will continue arguing, Yul rephrases it: “Do it for a friend.”
Dong-joo apologizes, but says that Yul will be uncomfortable no matter what he says. He suddenly grabs his sword and whips it up to Yul’s neck. NOOO, Dong-joo, what are you doing??
Moo-yeon and his men creep up on Dong-joo and Yul’s hiding place, only to see them break and run in two different directions. Moo-yeon and another man follow Yul, while the third assassin follows Dong-joo. The third assassin manages to land an arrow in Dong-joo’s shoulder, causing him to roll down a hill, hitting his head on a rock on the way down. The assassin leaves, figuring Dong-joo dead.
Moo-yeon chases Yul to the edge of a cliff, but he doesn’t realize that it’s not Yul — it’s Dong-joo dressed in Yul’s clothing. Dong-joo loads one arrow into Yul’s bow, but as he spins to shoot, he’s struck in the chest by Moo-yeon’s arrow. He falls backwards off the cliff and lands in the river, and the assassins watch his body float away.
Hong-shim’s father develops a sudden upset stomach and runs for the latrine. As he’s reaching for something to wipe with, he’s startled by the sight of a man’s bloody hand in the bushes.
At the battle site, a guard wakes, and he’s horrified to find himself the only survivor. He makes his way to the palace to report that the crown prince is missing. Stricken with grief, King Neungseon orders all available troops sent to find Yul immediately, and the culprits identified and arrested.
But Minister Kim says that the people’s resentment towards him is at a new height due to the drought, and if they heard the crown prince was attacked, their regard would only get worse. The ministers believe that Yul must be alive since a body hasn’t been found. They advise the king to keep this a secret and have the guards investigate quietly, and he puts Minister Kim in charge.
Crown Princess So-hye must know of her father’s plan to eliminate Yul, because as she works on her embroidery, she thinks, “You must return as a dead body. That is how I wish to see you.” Meanwhile, the queen prays fervently for Yul never to return.
Hong-shim takes all of her herbs to Master Park to sell, but he’s more interested in her. He offers to marry her (which would make her his fifth concubine, gross), but she says she’s already engaged. Master Park warns that tomorrow is the deadline for all singles to be married, and that she could be flogged to death for waiting for someone who might not return.
He asks if she would rather die than be his concubine, and Hong-shim is all, So, I gotta go… He buys her herbs anyway, so she takes them to the storage room, but while she’s inside, someone closes and locks the door. In the morning, Master Park comes to see if she’s changed her mind. Hong-shim gives him a firm no, and he chuckles that that’s too bad.
While she’s gone, Hong-shim’s father takes home Yul, who he found in the bushes, and doctors his arrow wound. Even though Yul has been unconscious for days, Dad can’t resist his handsome, regal features, and reaches out to see if his skin is as soft as it looks. Yul twitches and wakes, so Dad helps him sit up and asks his name.
But Yul only gasps, “I… don’t remember.” Dad guesses that the blow to his head knocked him stupid, earning some vicious side-eye from Yul. HA, I love that he hasn’t lost that royal haughtiness.
Gu-dol comes running up to Dad and Hong-shim’s home, wailing that Hong-shim is going to die. He says she’s been taken to be flogged, and Dad nearly runs off and leaves Yul alone in the house, but he stops, getting an idea.
Hong-shim is flogged about thirty times before the magistrate asks if she’d like to change her mind and marry Master Park. She sobs that she’s already engaged, but the magistrate says that it’s the last day, and she won’t survive disobeying the crown prince’s order.
Hong-shim bravely asks if the crown prince ordered punishment for those who don’t get married (oh, good point, he did not). She demands to see the crown prince herself, but the magistrate just orders her flogging resumed. He asks one last time if she chooses marriage or flogging, and her glower answers the question eloquently.
Before she’s struck again, a loud voice calls out a halt. It’s Dad, who runs in and falls to his knees, screaming that Won-deuk is back from the army. Hong-shim looks confused, knowing that Won-deuk doesn’t exist, and the magistrate accuses Dad of lying.
But Dad yells, “Won-deuk-aaaaaah!!”
Into the courtyard walks Yul, carrying himself like a king despite his filthy clothes. Hong-shim cranes her neck to see him, and he stares her directly in the eyes.
Oh, how fun! I hope this means we can start in on the funny part of the show, now that the backstory is laid out all nice and neat. The promos definitely sold this drama as a comedy, and while I don’t mind dramatic sageuk angst, I came here for laughs and fun. I do care what happens in the palace, and I’m terribly sad for Dong-joo’s sacrifice, but the show has been heavy on the drama and light on the humor, so I’m all ready to flip that and have some serious fun next week. It’s going to be hilarious to see Yul trying to fit into this village of peasants with his haughty air and snooty way of speaking — it will be like when he and Hong-shim were kids all over again, only this time, he’ll have no idea what’s really going on.
I actually haven’t minded how politics-heavy these first two episodes have been, because it’s an interesting mystery, and watching Yul use his intelligence to figure out what’s going on behind the scenes in the palace has been pretty exciting (especially considering how Yi-suh always called him dumb, when he’s anything but). That said, I think the groundwork has been well-laid, and I’m ready for some mistaken-identity unwilling-marriage cohabitation hijinks. The story has been heavily weighted in Yul’s favor, and I think Yul is great, but Hong-shim is also great and I want to see more of her. As little screen time as she’s gotten, Hong-shim has shown herself to be intelligent, resourceful, fearless, and loyal, as proven by her determination to go look for her brother every month, even though he never shows up.
Is anyone else worried that when she finds him, Hong-shim’s brother will end up being someone horrible, like Moo-yeon the assassin? I considered that it might be Je-yoon, but 1) he has a crush on her and that’s icky, and 2) they were too old when they were separated not to recognize each other easily. Whoever he is, I do think that Hong-shim’s brother will create quite a stir when he’s eventually found, probably just when Hong-shim and Yul think they’re safe.
What I like about Yul, despite his being a total grump (understandably!), is his rock-solid set of values. Even before figuring out that his wife and her father are probably trying to kill him, he actually had a noble and admirable reason for dodging his princely duties. He witnessed the coup that put his father on the throne, and he saw innocent people killed, including (he believes) his first love Yi-suh. So he doesn’t walk around miserable and refuse to behave as the crown prince should out of laziness, or fear, or rebellion — he’s protesting the very fact that he’s the crown prince at all. Added to that, he was forced to marry the daughter of the man responsible for everything, so it’s no wonder he’s refusing to play the dutiful husband. It makes me feel a bit less weird about Yul’s upcoming marriage to Hong-shim, because his marriage to So-hye may be legal, but it’s certainly not a real marriage in any sense of the word.
But there are moments that show that life in the palace hasn’t completely beaten Yul down. When he stood on that mountain and remarked on its beauty, he looked serene and almost happy in a way he never does in the palace, and he even cracked a joke. He’s proved that, even in the grip of great betrayal, he still harbors kindness, such as when he gave So-hye a chance to make her own decision about her illegitimate pregnancy, when a word from him could have her whole family killed and solve his problem in one fell swoop. I think that Yul found the best of himself when he met Yi-suh, and since (he believes) she died, he’s just been trying to stay alive and alert in order to get revenge. So I’m really looking forward to seeing him turn back into that smiling, happy, carefree boy who just purely loved the girl who saw his true self, because I think that the Yul who still loves Yi-suh is going to be a pretty amazing person once he’s set free… after being put in his place a few times, of course.