100 Days My Prince: Episode 9
As if Yul’s identity crisis and resulting marriage weren’t confusing enough, just when he starts coming to terms with his situation, everything gets flipped on him and leaves him more confused than ever. He takes matters into his own hands, but it’s dangerous enough having a presumed-dead crown prince walking around a mountain village without him waltzing right into the palace. Yul has no idea that he might be about to make his situation a whole lot worse.
EPISODE 9 RECAP
Yul returns home from his errand in the next village over to find Hong-shim setting out a nice dinner. He ignores the food to ask if she sent him there to learn that he’s not Won-deuk, and she says she did. She admits she doesn’t know who he is, and that she lied to him because she didn’t want to get married according to the crown prince’s edict.
She tells Yul that her choices were to be beaten to death, or become Master Park’s concubine, so she used Yul to avoid both options. He asks if she’s telling the truth now because she no longer needs him, or because his desire to sleep together became burdensome?
Instead of answering, Hong-shim tells him that he can cut his wedding shirt (and end the marriage) if he wants, but that he can still stay here until his memories return. He asks darkly, “My heart… what will you do about my heart?” Oof.
Later that night, Hong-shim finds Yul’s straw shoes outside his room and lets herself in. His wedding shirt is still intact, but he’s sleeping on the bare floor, so Hong-shim tucks a pillow under his head and covers him up. After she leaves, Yul opens his eyes.
Moo-yeon’s arrow wound is tended to by his men, and when Crown Princess So-hye comes to check on him, they tell her that he’s not critically wounded, though he still hasn’t woken up. So-hye confronts her father, asking if he tried to kill Moo-yeon, but Minister Kim says that if he had, he wouldn’t now be letting Moo-yeon recover in his home.
He mentions that So-hye and Moo-yeon were alone when he was shot, but she defends herself and says that she was only paying him for a great service he did for her, to prevent future trouble. Minister Kim just tells his daughter to rest, because if she loses the baby, everything will be in vain.
Dad brings Hong-shim two eggs to share with Won-deuk, but she grumps, “He’s not Won-deuk anymore.” Dad is worried about what Yul will do, but Hong-shim only says that her brother came back for her so she’ll be leaving soon, after she pays off Yul’s debt.
Dad finds Yul staring at the breakfast Hong-shim left for him, and he attempts to take the blame for the whole Won-deuk fiasco. Yul wants to see where Dad found him, so Dad takes him to the spot. But when Yul asks about the clothes he was wearing, Dad refuses to show them to him, unwilling to help him regain his memories.
He says that someone obviously intended to kill Yul, and Yul asks if that’s how he came to raise Hong-shim. Dad tells him that his family, and Hong-shim’s family too, were killed due to false charges. He says that he couldn’t let a little girl die, and that he felt the same way when he saw Yul.
Yul asks what he’ll do if Yul turns out to be a criminal. Dad says his instinct says he’s not — but that even if he’s the worst sort of criminal, he’s not that person right now. Dad asks if he could just stay as Won-deuk, his son-in-law, and if not, if Yul would at least ease up on Hong-shim while he’s off doing his duties, because this is not her fault.
While in the forest harvesting herbs, Kkeut-nyeo teases Hong-shim for not wearing her precious flower shoes. She asks if Dad stayed at her house last night to give Hong-shim and Yul time alone, and Hong-shim is deliberately evasive. Hong-shim asks if Kkeut-nyeo likes being married to Gu-dol, and Kkeut-nyeo says that he’s thoughtless, but he’s also sweet and kind.
She asks about Yul, and Hong-shim says, “He’s strong, so strong that I keep depending on him. I used to be so independent.” Kkeut-nyeo tells her to just be independent when he’s not around, and when she starts talking about marrying their children to each other, Hong-shim’s chin wobbles and she starts to cry.
Yul is walking in the forest when an arrow strikes a tree right beside his face. He imagines himself in the soldiers’ camp where he had his first flashback, and he cringes away from several more arrows, but when he comes back to reality, there are no arrows at all.
Hong-shim tells Kkeut-nyeo that Yul is not Won-deuk, but Kkeut-nyeo is a good friend and reassures her that Yul won’t leave her even if he regains his true memories. Hong-shim hugs her, saying that she’s always considered Kkeut-nyeo a sister, and Kkeut-nyeo complains that it sounds like she’s saying goodbye. Then she tosses Hong-shim into the pond, hee.
Yul sees their water battle, and when she gets home later, he sneers that she was smiling and laughing after how she made him feel. He says he doesn’t like that she seems fine, and tells her to sit so he can check something.
He says he wants to know how much she lied, and she confirms that the magistrate’s office was the first place they ever met, and that he never proposed to her under a cherry tree. Yul wants to know who did, and Hong-shim fibs that she made it all up.
Yul wants to know if the night at the watermill really happened with anyone, admitting that he’s jealous. Hong-shim confesses that her father asked if she’d like to marry a boy named Won-deuk who lives across the river, but that she never met him because he joined the army. Yul seems relieved that there was never a night at the watermill with Won-deuk, and tells Hong-shim that the real Won-deuk is unattractive. PFFT.
He scoffs when she says that looks aren’t important, but she suddenly notices Yul’s pretty face, and she stammers that looks are maybe a tiny bit important, ha. Yul says that she started the marriage, but only he can end it: “Until I end it, you are my wife and I am your husband. Remember that.”
Je-yoon and his friends go to the gibang to celebrate his promotion to magistrate, though they tell him to come back to the big city soon. Guard Kwon figures out that there must be a lady Je-yoon likes in Songjoo, which would explain why he’s not all that sad to be leaving, and Ae-wol’s smile slips at that news.
Later, Je-yoon thanks Ae-wol for allowing his letter to be “stolen” like they planned. She asks about his earlier promise to take her to see the flowers in bloom, and he says he’ll keep his promise, before handing her a beautiful little mirror. She looks at it in puzzlement and Je-yoon says that since she’s pretty as a flower, there’s no need to go looking for other flowers. Before he goes, he asks her to spy on Minister Kim if he ever comes here.
Yul sits up late that night, then finds Hong-shim to talk. He tells her that marriage is one of life’s biggest events, but that his was ruined by her lies. He wants compensation, and he accusingly shows her his frayed sleeves, calling his clothes insufficient compensation for saving her life.
Hong-shim asks if he wants new clothes, and he says pointedly that he could tell her what he really wants. RAWR, but Hong-shim quickly agrees to make him new clothes, ha. Next, he wants a new name, since he’s not Won-deuk. He says that he feels strongly that his surname is Lee, and he makes Hong-shim write down all the names he thinks of to go with Lee.
When he hits on Lee Yoon, it sounds almost right to him. Hong-shim is nodding off, and Yul quickly sticks his shoulder under her head before she faceplants onto the table. LOL, Yul is mostly upset that Hong-shim can sleep while in the same room with him.
She snuggles into the crook of his neck, and he looks like his heart might explode. Then he smacks her head and bellows at her to sleep in her own room. After she leaves, poor Yul can’t figure out what to do with himself.
Je-yoon’s first job as magistrate is to check on a man who was found with a terrible injury (it’s Eunuch Yang, who evidently survived Minister Kim’s attempt to silence him). Je-yoon tells the doctor that the man must live no matter what.
Someone sneaks into Yul’s room that night while he’s sleeping, unsheathes a sword, and brings it down… but it’s just a nightmare. Yul recalls his memories of being shot at, and wonders if the attacks were all by the same person. He thinks, I must figure out who I am so that I can make a decision — whether I can stay with you, or have to leave you.
In the morning, Yul visits the magistrate’s office and requests to read the records of the area. Town Official Park doesn’t want to show him the records since he’s a peasant, so Yul leaves, but Town Official Park wonders belatedly how he even knew about the records.
Hong-shim is at home dealing with the noble whose horse Yul took when he rescued her. She offers to find the horse to prevent the man from going to the magistrate over it, and the noble gives her one day.
Soon she’s galloping through town and right past Je-yoon, who squints at her as she passes. She’s having trouble controlling the horse, so Je-yoon cuts off her horse with his. Her horse rears, throwing her off its back, and Je-yoon leaps to catch her and cushion her fall.
Hong-shim whines at Je-yoon for letting the horse get away, then gapes when she belatedly recognizes him. She tells him that she’s married, but he thinks she’s just saying that to get rid of him. He says he can’t leave the village because he’s the magistrate. But not even that piques her interest and she just deep-bows before running off to catch the horse.
Je-yoon meets Town Official Park, and something about Town Official Park makes him wary. He takes note of his voice and hands, since he won’t recognize his face later. He asks Town Official Park to have Na Won-deuk brought to him while he gets settled at the office.
Meanwhile, Yul lets himself into the library and finds the book that mentions the search of the mountains, which is how he learns that the men he brought water to were palace guards. He hides when Town Official Park leads Je-yoon in, but Je-yoon spots him.
He stops Yul as he’s leaving and asks what he was doing in the library. When Yul turns around, Je-yoon peers at him curiously, but his face blindness prevents him from recognizing Yul as the crown prince. Town Official Park introduces Yul as Won-deuk, so Je-yoon rewards him with four rolls of silk from the king for exposing the former magistrate’s corruption.
Gu-dol tells Yul that he’s going to the palace in Hanyang to help deliver the village’s offerings. Yul takes the silk to Hong-shim to sell and to pay off his debt, but he says he needs to go to Hanyang, “… to find my memory.”
Hong-shim packs for Yul’s trip, and he promises to return. She calls out “Won-deuk-ah!” and he turns, though he says he hates that he’s used to the name. Hong-shim says that she hopes he gets his memory back, and watches him go a little sadly.
Dad is startled to see so much valuable silk, so Hong-shim explains that one of the books a villager asked Yul to read was Magistrate Jo’s ledger. Yul bought it, and Hong-shim gave it to the royal inspector, exposing the magistrate’s misdeeds, so the king sent the silk as a gift.
She tells Dad that Yul went to Hanyang to deliver the king’s tribute and hopefully regain his memories. She adds woefully that she doesn’t think he’ll return. But at least now she can repay the debt and leave with her brother. Dad says that he knows she cares for Yul, and he tries to go after Yul, but Hong-shim stops him.
Je-yoon has a letter from Minister Kim warning him about Master Park. Minister Kim says that if he wants to work for him, Je-yoon must first prove his loyalty to Master Park.
He steps outside to meet the villagers, but he fixates on Hong-shim and has to be prompted to introduce himself. He tells the villagers that despite his young age, he’s not a spoiled aristocrat, but merely the son of a concubine. He asks them to trust him since he’s practically one of them, and invites them to come to him with any problems in the future.
He asks Hong-shim to speak privately, curious if it’s true she’s married. She says she is, but that she wore her hair down when they first met because she wasn’t married then. She explains that she married quickly due to the crown prince’s edict.
When the men arrive in Hanyang, Gu-dol wants to eat since the palace seems far away, but Yul says it’s not, as if he knows. When they finally get to the palace, the guard at the gate peers closely at Yul, but doesn’t say anything.
Je-yoon meets with Master Park and his spoiled little dog, which Master Park boasts was a gift brought directly from China. Je-yoon greets the dog in Chinese before asking Master Park respectfully why Master Park didn’t come out earlier during his greetings to the village. Master Park says he was busy attending to his affairs. The village has somehow escaped the nationwide drought, but recently his well dried up, and Je-yoon offers to help with that.
The villagers are called to the magistrate’s office again, where Je-yoon asks them to bring water from the stream to Master Park’s well. Hong-shim argues that you can’t refill a dried-up well, but Je-yoon asks them to try, which causes the villagers to declare him worse than the last magistrate.
While inside the palace, Yul looks around at the buildings, but what feels the most familiar are the swords the palace guards carry. He follows a pair of guards who report to Guard Kwon, but when Yul tries to follow him, he’s stopped.
Luckily Gu-dol intervenes and leads Yul away, disbelieving Yul when he says he thinks he knows Guard Kwon. They pass Soo-ji, who gets a good look at Yul, but he convinces himself that he’s seeing things because the crown prince is dead.
The men get clear of the palace, but Yul goes back for another look. He comes within a few feet of Minister Kim, but thank goodness, Minister Kim doesn’t see him.
Minister Kim meets with one of his informers at the gibang, and the man tells him that the queen is conspiring against him. To prove he’s not planning against him right now, the informer says that a rumor will soon surface that the crown princess is not carrying a royal baby.
Outside the room, Ae-wol hears this, and quickly hurries away.
Moo-yeon finally wakes after being shot by an arrow. He finds Soo-ji pacing outside, worried he might die. Soo-ji confesses that he saw a man at the palace who looked exactly like the crown prince, but Moo-yeon says it’s not possible.
Yul is still watching the palace that evening, and when he sees Guard Kwon leave for the day, he follows him. He hears the bookseller hawking Elementary Learning, the book that young Hong-shim shamed him into reading, and while he’s hesitating, Moo-yeon spots him.
He follows Yul out of the city, and draws his sword, But when he attacks, Yul easily avoids his swings and disarms him in seconds. Yul asks Moo-yeon, “You must know who I am. Tell me. Who am I?”
Annoyed at having to pour water into a well that will never refill, Hong-shim leads Je-yoon to a spot where she says there’s plenty of water for a well. She tricks him into falling into a hole, and when he asks for help out, she tosses him a stick and cheerfully tells him to start digging, since he’s the one who said that anything can be done with hard work. LOL.
She finally throws him a rope and tells him that he seemed like a nice person in Hanyang, and his lantern helped her find her brother, but that she’s disappointed in him now. She hopes not to be disappointed in the future, and he grumbles, “What about my disappointment?”
Queen Park instructs two terrified palace ladies to spread the rumor about Crown Princess So-hye, just before Minister Kim is let into her chambers. He asks her who the father of the princess’s child is, since she knows so much about it, but she says that of course it’s Yul’s baby.
Minister Kim tells her that he made her queen because her fortune said she wouldn’t bear a child, but she gave birth to a son. He says that he let her and her father’s treachery slide but he shows her his blank scroll with the king’s stamp on it, and asks what will happen if he writes her name on it.
Hong-shim runs into Gu-dol, who says that Yul stayed behind in the city. She walks home slowly, wondering why she’s disappointed when this is only a fake marriage and Yul isn’t her real husband. But she lights up when she sees Yul waiting for her in the road.
Hong-shim says that she didn’t think he would return, and asks if he found his memories. Instead of answering, Yul just steps in, takes her face in his hands, and kisses her. After only hesitating a moment, Hong-shim kisses him back.
Awww, finally they kiss, and it’s a good one! But that scene was also tinged with sadness, and my guess is that Yul knows who he is now, whether or not he remembers it himself, and that kiss was like a goodbye. If he’s the crown prince, then he can’t stay with Hong-shim, at least not for now. That kiss definitely feels like a sad farewell.
While I appreciate that 100 Days My Prince is attentive to detail and that there’s an explanation for everything, it’s frustrating that we get the explanations so long after we’re thoroughly confused. It would have been nice to know, oh, three weeks ago, that Hong-shim genuinely thought Yul was a guy named Won-deuk at first, but that she was telling white lies about their relationship to convince Yul to marry her. It would also have helped to have had the magistrate’s ledger explained before all the hoopla surrounding it was over and done with. It feels like the writer is holding back details in an attempt to create tension, but it’s not been done very well and is only creating confusion. Too bad the show is pre-produced and it’s too late to change it, but at least most things seem to have enough explanation to make sense now, and the things that remain mysterious (like So-hye’s baby’s father) are simply mysterious in an intriguing way, and not a confusing way.
But back to the show — of all the reactions I expected from Yul when he first learned he isn’t really Won-deuk, I wasn’t expecting his primary emotion to be hurt, thinking that Hong-shim lied because she didn’t want to sleep with him. That just shows how much he cares about her, that the main thing he was upset about was his assumption that she didn’t want him the way he wanted her. But he was upset about Hong-shim and her father’s lies, too, and I don’t blame him for being as upset as he was with them. Lying to him the way they did was incredibly cruel — what if he’d had a family waiting for him (well, a normal family)? He was entirely at their mercy, forced to trust them, and they lied about who he was, made him marry a girl he didn’t know, and put him in situations where he was very out of his depth. I’m glad that the show didn’t gloss over all that and let Yul be angry (and Hong-shim be ashamed) for a while, because the wrongness of what was done to Yul needed to be addressed.
But I also love how Yul’s world is becoming all about Hong-shim, and whether he can stay with her as her husband. Even his desire to rediscover his identity is largely so that he will know if he can stay with her or not. I’m a little concerned about his existing wife, So-hye, and what he’ll do when he remembers that he has a crown princess, because he’s already shown that he’s not the sort of man who would set her aside for getting pregnant by another man (which would likely result in her death). On the other hand, I’m not that concerned about So-hye getting in the way of Hong-shim becoming Yul’s real wife, because I have a feeling that So-hye and/or her father will sign their own death warrants well before, or shortly after, Yul returns to the palace. And Yul was there the night Hong-shim’s family were branded as traitors, so I have confidence that he could clear her name so that they could stay married once So-hye is no longer his wife. In the meantime, I’m just enjoying how, no matter how dark things get or how angry Yul is with Hong-shim, he’s still hoping for a way to stay with her.