100 Days My Prince: Episode 15
The time draws closer when our prince can no longer delay the inevitable, and he’s forced to confront his enemy face-to-face. He’s bent on revenge, but true to character, Yul’s ideas of revenge are creative and much longer-lasting than simple death. The trick will be keeping his nemesis from attaining his own goals in the meantime, which would be disastrous not just for the prince and his love’s future, but the future of the entire country.
EPISODE 15 RECAP
Hong-shim recognizes Minister Kim as soon as he arrives home, and he says she seems familiar. Hong-shim claims they’ve never met, as she only recently moved to town. It works for now, and Minister Kim goes inside, while Soo-ji tells Hong-shim that she was braver than most to meet his father’s gaze.
She asks if Soo-ji knows anyone named Moo-yeon, and he blurts out, “How do you know Moo-yeon?” before backpedaling that actually, he meant Woo-yeon. He shoos her on home, and from her expression, she didn’t believe a word he said.
Over dinner, So-hye asks Yul about the fire at his library and the supposed loss of his journal. So-hye suggests he forget the journal, but Yul snaps that he can’t shut off his heart as easily as she can.
When he asks about her baby, she tells him that she had a dream of a marble as bright as the moon, which she believes predicts a son. Yul says darkly that he won’t be able to look at the child because he fell in love with another woman while he was away.
He says he’ll probably go see her tonight, unmoved when So-hye calls him cruel. Yul replies that jealousy is unbecoming of a future queen, but then he smirks that he shouldn’t worry, because she probably doesn’t care about his feelings for another woman.
He gets up to leave, but So-hye demands that he not go see the other woman, reminding him of who his father-in-law is. Yul just says he’d love to see Minister Kim’s reaction to his defiance and goes anyway. Guard Kwon tries to at least get Yul to change out of his royal robes, but Yul spits that the palace isn’t safe for him, either.
The king arrives and accuses Yul of causing all of the recent disturbances. Yul glares at his father, looking so angry that the king even takes a step back, and growls, “Why did you do it? Why did you marry me into Minister Kim’s family?”
They speak privately, and Yul says that he wants to break ties with Minister Kim because he tried to murder him. King Neungseon is genuinely shocked, though he believes Yul and wants to have Minister Kim arrested. But Yul decides that he wants to punish Minister Kim himself, and asks the king for full authority to take his own revenge.
Surprised to find what feels like half the village at his Hanyang house, Je-yoon learns that Gu-dol and Kkeut-nyeo came because Master Park is making unreasonable demands. Since he was able to befriend the crown prince, they ask Je-yoon to help them see Yul and hopefully get good jobs in the palace.
Je-yoon explains that Yul isn’t in a position to do that, and asks why Master Park is demanding so much firewood in summer. All they know is that he claims Minister Kim wants it, which seems odd to Je-yoon.
Yul tells the king that he won’t be able to use standard tactics against Minister Kim, a master schemer himself. The king asks how he can help as a father, but he’s horrified by Yul’s question – he wants to know why he ordered Yul’s mother killed. King Neungseon admits that his wife was an obstacle because she was a relative of the previous king, but he insists that he had no idea Minister Kim planned to murder her.
Yul is finally able to visit Hong-shim early in the morning, and he teases that she must not be sleeping well out of longing for him. Shyly, she says he must be here to see Town Official Park, Gu-dol, and Kkeut-nyeo, but Yul says he’s in a hurry.
He warns Hong-shim not to go anywhere without his permission, promising to return for her once he’s completed his duty. When Hong-shim asks, Yul reminds her of that night so long ago, and how he told her he would marry her. He vows to keep that promise now.
He travels with Dad, Guard Kwon, and Je-yoon to the site of the ambush, where he remembers ordering his old friend and guard, Dong-joo, not to fight for him anymore. Dong-joo had disobeyed, forced Yul to trade clothing with him and drew the assassins away. Dad gives Yul Dong-joo’s uniform; that was what he was wearing when Dad found him.
Yul remembers more — that Dong-joo had said that his only friend had gone to the palace to be the crown prince, so Dong-joo’s life goal was to be his guard so he could see his friend again. He’d sworn to survive and stay beside Yul after he became king. Swamped by his memories of Dong-joo from childhood to adulthood, Yul cries for the loss of his friend.
Hong-shim asks Gu-dol, Kkeut-nyeo, and Town Official Park for help saving her brother from Minister Kim’s house. Kkeut-nyeo is all in, Gu-dol is willing to help for a recommendation to Yul, and Town Official Park is tempted by the possibility of a job in the palace.
Je-yoon reassures Yul that it’s not his fault so many died in the ambush, and Guard Kwon urges Yul to quickly arrest and execute Minister Kim. But Yul has other plans — death offers peace, he says, but living in dishonor is like dying every day.
When Minister Kim learns that Je-yoon went with Yul to the mountain, he knows that Je-yoon has decided to side against him. The Minister of War worries that Yul’s memory has returned, so Minister Kim orders him to call their allies for a secret meeting.
While visiting Songjoo village, Dad begs Je-yoon to help Yul as much as he can, making Je-yoon jealous of Dad’s devotion. When Dad spots former loan shark Ma-chil bossing around his old neighbor, Yang-choon, he storms over to smack Ma-chil upside the head and give him a piece of his mind.
Je-yoon asks Ma-chil what Master Park needs all the firewood for, but Ma-chil doesn’t know. Je-yoon whispers that he’s on a mission for the crown prince, so Ma-chil offers to tell him whatever he learns, sighing that he misses “our Won-deuk-ie.”
Yul has gone back to town, where he heads straight for Minister Kim’s home. Minister Kim is out, but Soo-ji offers to keep Yul company until he returns, and he’s tickled pink when Yul is nice to him for once. Yul snaps that he’s uncomfortable, but then smiles and says that some refreshments would help.
While Soo-ji runs for refreshments, Yul quickly looks around the room. All he finds is a box containing a rock, which seem strange.
When Minister Kim returns and learns that Yul is in his rooms alone, he scurries to stop him. Yul is innocently admiring a sword, and he challenges Minister Kim to a sword fight, saying that he remembers training with someone, but not who it was. They face each other in the courtyard and draw their weapons.
Yul fights aggressively at first, while Minister Kim calmly deflects his attacks. Eventually Minister Kim goes on the offensive, and Yul barely manages to duck in time to avoid losing his head. He praises Minister Kim’s skill, and Minister Kim tells him that he used to train with his old friend and personal guard, Dong-joo.
Suddenly, an arrow flies towards Yul, narrowly missing him. Several black-clad assassins swarm the courtyard, and Minister Kim orders Soo-ji to take the crown prince inside. He does, but Yul sends him back out to protect his father, to Soo-ji’s great reluctance. Once Yul is alone, he grabs Minister Kim’s sword and resumes searching his rooms.
It’s not until he finds his way to a storage room that he discovers something interesting — a pile of arrows, hidden in a bale of hay.
Meanwhile, Hong-shim smears coal on Gu-dol, Kkeut-nyeo, and Town Official Park to make them look like filthy beggars (LOL, she gave Kkeut-nyeo a mustache and unibrow) and prepares to send them to Minister Kim’s house as a distraction. Awww, Gu-dol has stage fright. They start their song just as Minister Kim’s men chase off the assassins, so Hong-shim decides it’s a bad time and sends them home, but she stays to do some scouting.
Yul comes across a building with a padlocked door, and inside, we see Moo-yeon bound and gagged. As he tries to free himself with a jagged rock, he thinks about how Minister Kim had snarled that Moo-yeon had even more reason to kill the crown prince if he knew he was the father of So-hye’s baby.
He’d choked Moo-yeon and blamed him for the mess he’s in, but he’d refused to kill Moo-yeon, saying that he must live for So-hye’s sake. But he’d told Moo-yeon that So-hye would stay and give birth to the crown prince’s baby, and become the queen. As the price for loving his daughter, Minister Kim said that he would choose how Moo-yeon will die.
Moo-yeon manages to cut himself free just as Yul breaks the lock keeping him prisoner. Moo-yeon makes a run for it, but he doesn’t get far before running straight into Hong-shim. When Hong-shim asks what’s happening, Yul — shocked to hear her call Moo-yeon “brother” — just says that he’s got the wrong person and walks away.
When Minister Kim finds that Moo-yeon has escaped, he immediately suspects that Yul has recovered his memory. Meanwhile, Yul tells Guard Kwon that the man who tried to kill him is the brother of his beloved, and that he’s no longer sure how he’ll get his revenge.
Moo-yeon tells Hong-shim that he’s been working for Minister Kim as an assassin, and she’s understandably horrified. He explains that he went to kill Minister Kim the night they parted, but when he couldn’t, he offered do anything asked of him in return for Hong-shim’s freedom.
Hong-shim pieces the clues together and figures out that it’s Moo-yeon who’s been trying to kill Yul, and he reveals that So-hye’s baby is not Yul’s. Hong-shim asks why Moo-yeon came back to Hanyang, then answers her own question — to kill Yul before he regains his memories.
She’s in such shock that she collapses while trying to get back to Je-yoon’s house. Dad and Je-yoon find her, having returned from Songjoo village, and Kkeut-nyeo tells them that she was at Minister Kim’s home looking for her brother. When she wakes, she asks if Yul has recovered his memory, and Je-yoon confirms it. Hong-shim realizes that Yul must know who tried to kill him and why, so she asks Je-yoon’s help getting into the palace.
By this time, Minister Kim has figured out that Yul has regained his memories. The Minister of War isn’t so sure, since Eunuch Song surely would have reported it if Yul remembered everything. Moo-yeon is the only person who could tell the truth to Yul, so Minister Kim orders him found and killed.
Minister Kim holds his secret meeting in the gisaeng house, where he tells his followers that Ming will attack the Jurchens (who lived in Jin, now northern China), and they practically salivate at the idea of how much money they’ll make from the war. Minister Kim plans to send the crown prince into battle, hoping that will rid him of his Yul problem.
Eunuch Song presents a maid to Yul, saying that she has a letter for him. Yul is shocked to see that it’s Hong-shim, and he takes her to his room. Once they’re alone, Yul calls Hong-shim reckless, but she just grins as she compliments him on how good he looks in his robes.
She asks if he went to Songjoo village because he regained his memory, and he admits that he did. Hong-shim remains cheerful and says she’ll do anything he wants… and what he wants is the porridge she made for him in the village. He leads Hong-shim to the royal kitchen, where they accidentally break a jar of valuable salt.
The crash draws the attention of the guards, so Yul and Hong-shim hide in a corner until they leave. They belatedly realize how close they are, and Hong-shim teases Yul when his ears turn red, making him jump back and huff that it’s just hot.
He thoroughly enjoys the porridge Hong-shim makes for him, admitting that he’s had trouble eating and sleeping since returning to the palace. He says that if things had been different, they’d have been married long ago, and never would have been separated. He lies down with his head in Hong-shim’s lap, sighing, “If only I were really Won-deuk…”
Hong-shim traces Yul’s eyebrows as she did once before, and he closes his eyes and goes to sleep. He wakes later, alone, and finally reads the letter Hong-shim brought for him. It says:
Life does not flow as we want it to. It follows its own path. I hoped for us to be each other’s destiny, but the dethronement of the former king led us down an ill-fated road. My brother wishes to speak with you. Do not hesitate for my sake. Do whatever seems fit and punish him if you must. Sever the ill-fated relationship that started on the night of the dethronement. Only you can do it.
Yul meets with Moo-yeon in the woods the following day and calls him by his real name, Yoon Seok-ha. Moo-yeon tells Yul that he was branded the son of a traitor, and that becoming Minister Kim’s assassin was the only way to save his and his sister’s lives.
Yul asks Moo-yeon to testify that Minister Kim ordered him to assassinate Yul, promising to find a way to protect them. Wracked with guilt, Moo-yeon says that it’s his fault Minister Kim wanted Yul killed, and Yul guesses that Moo-yeon is the father of So-hye’s baby.
Moo-yeon offers his life in exchange for Hong-shim and So-hye’s lives, but Yul snarls that he can’t forgive Moo-yeon’s involvement, and Moo-yeon finds himself surrounded by Yul’s guards.
So-hye is holding Moo-yeon’s red bracelet when Yul enters her rooms unannounced, and he remembers seeing that bracelet on Moo-yeon’s wrist. He orders the guards to remove So-hye from the palace, spinning a story that she sneaked out to meet her lover and was killed.
Guard Kwon does as ordered, stopping So-hye’s palanquin in the woods and dismissing the other guards. He draws his sword, and So-hye kneels to wait, resigned, for her death. Guard Kwon raises his sword and brings it down sharply… then as a confused So-hye stares at him, he declares her dead and tells her to be gone on the crown prince’s orders.
She’s still kneeling, shaken, when Moo-yeon arrives and holds out a hand to her. He takes her in his arms as Yul writes in his journal, “I have not forgiven them. This is the only thing I can do for Yi-seo. I cannot take away her brother’s life with my own hands.”
Hong-shim watches Dad sleep, internally thanking him for taking care of her for so long. In the morning, she sneaks into Minister Kim’s home, but Soo-ji finds her lurking in Minister Kim’s rooms and orders her out. She puts a knife to his neck and demands to know where Minister Kim is, and Soo-ji stammers that Minister Kim went to rescue his daughter.
Moo-yeon is leading So-hye through the forest when they’re surrounded by assassins. Moo-yeon pushes So-hye behind him and gives her one last, long look before drawing his sword. He fights valiantly, taking out one attacker after another, until they’re all dead.
But as he starts to lead So-hye away, an arrow strikes him, then several more, and he collapses. He reminds So-hye that he once told her that he wouldn’t be reincarnated, but now he says it was a lie. He promises to find her, no matter what he has to be reborn as, and So-hye cries as she holds him. Her father’s men wrench So-hye away from Moo-yeon, but she fights them, screaming, as Minister Kim plunges his sword into Moo-yeon’s heart.
Moo-yeon’s eyes never leave So-hye as we hear his voice: “A long time ago, it once rained for a long time. The whole land flooded and even the dandelions were about to drown. A small dandelion prayed to the sky to be spared, then suddenly the wind blew. The dandelion seeds took flight and landed on a sunny hill, and soon, they sprouted and bloomed. If we ride the wind, we will be able to bloom somewhere else.”
Too late, all Hong-shim finds when she arrives is Moo-yeon’s body, still bristling with arrows. She quietly calls out to him, then realizes that he’s gone, and she sobs in grief.
At the palace, Je-yoon reports to Yul that the reason Master Park needs so much firewood is because he’s smelting iron. Yul thinks of the rock he found in Minister Kim’s room (iron ore?), and deduces that Minister Kim is planning to start a war.
Heading back to his rooms, Yul is infuriated to find So-hye there waiting for him. He bellows a demand to know why she’s here, and she tells him in a small, broken voice, that Moo-yeon is dead at her father’s hand. Yul goes straight to Minister Kim to say that forgiveness is the best revenge, so he considered it for a second, but then he realized it doesn’t suit him. He tosses his journal on Minister Kim’s desk and informs him that he’s done for.
Minister Kim asks calmly how Yul can prove that what he wrote is the truth, but his smug gaze falters when Yul says that Minister Kim should have let So-hye and Moo-yeon go, because the crown princess’s testimony will be the proof. Recovering, Minister Kim says that these are trivial matters when a war has just broken out, and their people are being taken prisoner.
He tells Yul that it’s his duty to save the nation, and Yul yells that he’s aware Minister Kim did this on purpose. Minister Kim warns that there’s nothing Yul can do but walk into the trap, because “Yoon Yi-seo… I have that girl.”
Minister Kim has really painted himself into a corner, and while I know he thinks that this time they’ll work, his plans rely too much on chance to be very stable. He’s gambling too much on his hopes that Yul will be killed in battle, So-hye will still go along with his plans even after he brutally murdered her baby’s father, and nobody who opposes him will ever find out any of this. But the politics of this drama have never been its strong point, and at least it’s not a boring story line, so I’m giving it a pass since it’s almost over. Mostly I just want to wrap all this up quickly in the finale, and I expect a lot of cuteness in the last episode to make up for the lack of Yul and Hong-shim romance these last couple of weeks.
One of the strengths of 100 Days My Prince is its unique and very human characters. From Yul and Hong-shim, down to the quirky villagers, each character has a distinct personality that feels fresh and does a pretty good job avoiding the trap of becoming predictable. I love Kkeut-nyeo’s fierce opinions, Gu-dol’s goofy but loyal devotion, and even Town Official Park’s way of always coming through when he’s needed. Even Je-yoon served a larger narrative purpose than just to make Yul jealous, and it’s been fun watching him help solve Yul’s mystery and their reluctant bromance.
In particular, I’ve consistently found King Neungseon to be a fascinating character, the way he so badly wishes to be a strong leader but crumbles the moment someone stronger stands up to him. It was interesting to see Neungseon do it all over again with Yul in this episode… the moment Yul declared his intent to get his own revenge on Minister Kim, the king was all, “What can I do, how can I help?” I respect his ability to recognize when he’s outmatched, while I also find it frustrating that he’s so wishy-washy and unreliable. But I can see why he was the perfect person for Minister Kim to install on the throne because he would never be able to stand up against him. However, I think Minister Kim has met his match in Yul, and that he somehow managed to create his own worst enemy. He tried so hard for so many years to mold and manipulate Yul into his next puppet, and Yul would probably have remained pliant and fearful if he hadn’t experienced his failed assassination and memory loss. But by trying to kill him, Minister Kim inadvertently gave Yul back the one thing that inspires him to fight — Hong-shim.
I really love seeing how much Yul has been changed by his experiences — he’s not a better person necessarily, because he was always a good man with strong morals, but he never had a reason to stand up for anything. His time as Won-deuk taught him a lot about compassion and love, and he particularly showed this in how he dealt with So-hye and Moo-yeon… by the laws of the time, he could have had them both killed, including their child. But Yul never wanted to see So-hye die for her infidelity, or he would have ordered it when he first learned of her baby, and after finding Hong-shim again, he knows how rare and precious love is. Before, he simply told So-hye to decide what to do and laid all the responsibility on her, but now — even though he didn’t forgive her — he tried to give her a way to be with Moo-yeon.
Even though I knew it was coming pretty much from the beginning, Moo-yeon’s death was still heartbreaking. I even felt bad for So-hye, whom I’ve never liked, for having to witness her love die such a gruesome death. Their love story was so tragic, and so obviously doomed from the beginning, but I also really liked the analogy of the dandelion, which was a symbol of their love for each other and their longing for freedom. It was a sweet way to show that, even though they can’t be together, the seeds of their love will still spread and grow long after they’re gone.