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The Crowned Clown: Episode 4

With the true king gone longer than anyone expected, the clown king is faced with making life-or-death decisions that he never expected. He’s learning some pretty harsh lessons, such as that often, there’s no easy answer. He’ll have to make a difficult call — is it worth saving an innocent person, if it means a murderer goes free?

 
EPISODE 4 RECAP

After making their wishes, Ha Sun and So-woon walk back to the palace. So-woon trips but says it’s nothing, though Ha Sun spots the stone she stumbled over. Instead of saying anything, he starts kicking away stones that lie in their path, making sure that So-woon has a clear place to walk safely.

When she returns to her chambers, Court Lady Park gently fusses at So-woon for going out without an escort. So-woon simply sits with a tiny, secret smile on her face, and she tells Court Lady Park that she doesn’t need tea tonight, because she was given enough warmth outside (happy sigh).

Ha Sun is a bit more expressive as he sneaks back into his room through the hidden passageway and finds Minister Lee standing there waiting for him — he screams bloody murder, HA. He claims he stepped out to relieve himself and promises not to do it again (“I’ll call for a chamber pot, even for just a fart!”), and Minister Lee gives him the stink-eye, but lets it go.

He warns him not to let his guard down again, because people are sensing that the king is behaving differently, especially after sparing the lives of Minister Yoo and the dog that bit him. In an authoritative voice, Ha Sun says that Minister Lee let his guard down first, and hands him something wrapped in silk.

It’s an arrowhead, from the arrow that Prince Jin-pyung shot at him, and it’s the first that Minister Lee has heard that someone made an attempt on Ha Sun’s life during the hunt. Ha Sun snaps that he put his life on the line when he returned, but he never said he would die in vain.

He tells Minister Lee that he won’t stand by while he keeps crucial information from him. Minister Lee scoffs sarcastically that he’ll be sure to tell Ha Sun the next time he needs to use him as bait, but Ha Sun says that it’s better than being kept in the dark.

Minister Lee goes to the guard Moo-young about the assassination attempt, and Moo-young blames himself for being distracted after Prince Jin-pyung shot at him. Moo-young already believes that Prince Jin-pyung is behind all this, but Minister Lee says they need proof.

Frustrated by his inability to read the numerous court documents, Ha Sun asks Eunuch Jo to teach him to read Chinese lettering. He complains that he can survive outside the palace using his physical skills, like during the hunt, but he doesn’t have the same advantage in the palace.

Eunuch Jo brings in a mountain of books, saying that these are the books that Yi Heon has read recently. The prospect makes Ha Sun look like he’s going to cry, but Eunuch Jo offers to translate the books into Korean so that Ha Sun can compare the writing and learn the Chinese characters.

He starts with a book of poetry (and a positively evil grin), and they’re still hard at work later when Minister Lee returns. Eunuch Jo steps out to get tea and runs into Minister Lee eavesdropping, and he explains that Ha Sun wanted to learn to read and write. He offers to make Ha Sun stop, but Minister Lee says to let him continue.

Much later, Ha Sun nearly falls asleep while studying, and he giggles to see Eunuch Jo nodding off, as well. Ha Sun lies down and recites some of the poetry he’s been reading, growing emotional at the lonely words. They remind him of Dal-lae, and he envisions himself lying in a sunny field while his sister smiles down at him.

He recalls a day when he was still with his troupe, and they’d been practicing a dance. Gap-soo had gotten tired and told Ha Sun to take his place, and Ha Sun had playfully teased him for being old and useless. Dal-lae had gotten in on the teasing, goading Gap-soo into chasing them as they laughed, carefree and innocent.

The memory makes Ha Sun cry, and Eunuch Jo hears him and asks what’s wrong. Instead of answering, Ha Sun asks him for a favor.

Gap-soo tries his best to make little Dal-lae laugh or smile, but none of his antics work. The same kind monk is taking care of them who’s watching over Yi Heon, but when he enters their room to bring food, Dal-lae hides behind Gap-soo.

Eunuch Jo goes to the gibang to look for Woon-shim and give her something from Ha Sun, but he hides his face and scoots away when Minister Lee also arrives. Minister Lee finds Woon-shim writing a letter and asks why she keeps writing when she never gets a reply, and she just says vaguely that you never know what might happen. Minister Lee says it’s time to give up, and Woon-shim wonders what happened to the kind man so favored by Lord Gil.

Queen So-woon summons Yi Heon’s concubines to her rooms for tea, and Hwa-dang makes a point to be as mean and nasty as she possibly can to the other consorts. She sips her tea and immediately vomits, then collapses to the floor writhing in pain.

When Ha Sun is informed what happened, the first thing he asks if whether So-woon is okay. He finds her outside the physician’s quarters, with Minister Shin inside, but Minister Shin scurries out so the king and queen can check on Hwa-dang.

Hwa-dang sits up when she sees them, but she clutches her belly again in pain. The physician says he’s not sure but that her symptoms indicate a poisonous plant, and Hwa-dang whines that she’s been having symptoms for days.

So-woon offers to have the tea that Hwa-dang drank inspected, but Hwa-dang says there’s no point. Her court lady hands Eunuch Jo a box, which contains a straw doll pierced all over with needles.

Hwa-dang sobs that someone is cursing her, and one of her maids tells Ha Sun that she witnessed someone burying the straw doll on the last night of the full moon. He asks who it was, and she accuses Court Lady Park, So-woon’s attendant. Hwa-dang dramatically begs Ha Sun to find and punish the person who cursed her.

Minister Lee’s advice to Ha Sun is to ignore the whole thing, but Ha Sun is scared the queen will be wrongfully accused. Minister Lee points out that it might be true, and tells Ha Sun that the Internal Court is where the queen and the king’s consorts fight for power.

He says that what happens there can even result in challenges to the throne, so it’s best if the king doesn’t take sides. He reminds Ha Sun of the second way to survive in the palace — ignore everything.

Court Lady Park’s room is searched, with Court Lady Kim looking on smugly. Several more straw dolls are found, as well as a box of poisonous plants, so Court Lady Park is arrested and tortured for a confession as to who ordered her to curse Hwa-dang. Ae-young reports to So-woon that Court Lady Park isn’t naming any names, so So-woon decides to talk to the king.

Eunuch Jo explains to Ha Sun that Court Lady Park’s silence could implicate the queen — unless she names someone else, it will be assumed that the order came from her master. Ha Sun goes for a walk outside, and he accidentally sees So-woon approaching his rooms, then deciding to go back.

He follows her to the wishing bridge, where she’s about to toss another of her hazelnuts and make a wish. He startles her into dropping the hazelnut, and he picks it up for her, saying that the goblin won’t grant her wish if she throws it here.

He tells So-woon that he knows she wanted to speak to him, and she says that she planned to beg him to trust her innocence, but that she got scared he would doubt her. Ha Sun quickly says that he trusted her from the beginning, but So-woon says that makes her even more scared that he’ll choose not to support her.

She ends the conversation, satisfied just to have heard him say he trusts her. Ha Sun asks her to wait, promising to find a way to save her.

Minister Shin and Court Lady Kim are feeling pretty smug, having orchestrated this whole situation. They paid the physician to give them a plant that would make Hwa-dang sick but not kill her, then paid two maids to plant the straw dolls in Court Lady Park’s room, and feed Hwa-dang the plant.

Minister Lee chuckles that they didn’t include Hwa-dang in their plans because she’s a terrible liar, and when Court Lady Kim asks if he was intending to install her as the new queen, he quips that he has a lot of nieces. He tells Court Lady Kim to get rid of Court Lady Park, because if they can make it look like So-woon poisoned Hwa-dang and took the life of her servant, they can petition to have her dethroned.

Moo-young reports to Minister Lee that he’s visited all of the smithies for miles around, but none of them make arrowheads like the one that almost killed Ha Sun. He also checked the arrows of Prince Jin-pyung and the other officials, but none were a match. Minister Lee grumbles that this was the third assassination attempt, and they’ve been lucky so far, but they can no longer depend on luck.

Prince Jin-pyung predicts a bloodbath in the court, but the queen dowager tells him to let her take care of internal issues. She says that she expects less talk and more action, unlike what happened during the hunt, and Prince Jin-pyung meekly agrees. After he’s gone, her servant, Court Lady Jang, comes in to ask for her orders, and the queen dowager tells her to proceed.

Court Lady Jang visits Court Lady Park in prison and brings her some food. Court Lady Park gratefully eats. She asks Court lady Jang to tell the queen dowager that she won’t reveal what she did to the queen, but then she starts to heave and spit up blood. She realizes that she’s been poisoned, and the last thing she hears before she dies is Court Lady Jang’s voice saying, “Rest in peace with the queen dowager’s grace.”

Ha Sun decides to talk to Court Lady Park, but by the time he gets to the prison, she’s already dead. In the morning, Court Lady Kim informs So-woon that Court Lady Park was poisoned to keep her mouth shut. So-woon staggers a bit in shock, but she holds herself together.

Guard Moo-young reports to Ha Sun that Court Lady Park was killed using the same poison that killed the court maid, Gye-hwan. He and Minister Lee still suspect that the queen dowager is behind the poisonings, and Minister Lee says that she’s doing this to hide a dirty little secret of her own.

Confused, Court Lady Kim tells Minister Shin that she didn’t order Court Lady Park killed, and that the queen also seemed surprised when she heard the news. Minister Shin meets with his followers, and soon there’s an official request for Ha Sun to dethrone the queen based on the assumption that she ordered Hwa-dang’s poisoning and Court Lady Park’s murder.

Minister Shin’s supporters all chime in to beg Ha Sun to follow their advice. While walking outside, So-woon can hear the court pleading with Ha Sun to dethrone her, but she remembers his promise to save her.

Hwa-dang feels magically better when she hears that the court is calling for So-woon to be dethroned. She jumps up to find her court lady to have a new dress made in celebration, ha. Yi-geom has put together petitions on Minister Shin’s orders, and Minister Shin says he’ll take them to the king personally.

Ae-young wants to find out from Ha Sun’s maids how he’s doing, but So-woon stops her. Instead, she gives Ae-young something to take to Court Lady Park’s family as thanks for her many years of faithful service. When Ae-young arrives, Court Lady Park’s mother notes that the queen dowager sent someone different this time, so Ae-young goes along with it to find out what she means.

Court Lady Park’s mother gives Ae-young an envelope and a scroll, which Ae-young takes directly to So-woon. She takes both to Ha Sun — the scroll is a huge talisman depicting a woman being pierced with needles, and the letter says: “Queen dowager, as per your command, I performed witchcraft on the queen’s chambers. The scroll to be buried under the building contains a curse administered by a powerful shaman. You must pay extra for it.”

It seems as though Court Lady Park did curse someone, but not Hwa-dang — her target was So-woon. Ha Sun says they can use this evidence to clear So-woon’s name, but So-woon says that it might not be enough and tells him to use these documents to his advantage. He disagrees, and asks her to wait just a little longer for him to find a way to clear her name.

He goes looking for Minister Lee and shows him the letter. Minister Lee grows positively gleeful at its contents, which are enough to eliminate the queen dowager. Ha Sun reminds him that he’s trying to save the queen, not get rid of the queen dowager, but Minister Lee says that Yi Heon’s safety takes priority.

Ha Sun retorts that he’s not willing to sacrifice the queen in order to get rid of the queen dowager, that it’s not a fair trade to “gain one and lose one.” Minister Lee tells him that it’s the king’s decision, and that he’ll be returning soon, so Ha Sun should prepare to leave.

As Ha Sun paces his rooms, frustrated, he accidentally knocks over one of the stacks of books that Eunuch Jo is teaching him to read. One particular book catches his eye, and he gapes at what it says, then jumps up and runs to his desk. He makes a copy of the letter, then rushes to the queen dowager’s quarters so fast her lady barely has time to announce him.

He hands her the scroll from Court Lady Park’s mother, and says that Court Lady Park went to a lot of trouble to make it, then wrote a letter asking her to pay for it. He gives her the copy of the letter that he wrote, and as she reads it, he informs her that she’ll bring him the person who killed Court Lady Park in exchange for his silence.

If not, he says that he’ll notify the court and have Minister Lee draw up her dethronement. The queen dowager scoffs that he’s going to great lengths to save the queen and tells him to inform the court, because she has nothing to hide. He asks if she’ll feel the same if more evidence is found in her lady’s chambers, and he gives her two hours to change her mind.

Meanwhile, Minister Lee visits Yi Heon in the mountains, and he’s horrified to find the king bleeding copiously from his left ear. Yi Heon seems to be in a trance — he says in an emotionless voice that Yul keeps whispering in his ear, and Minister Lee only then notices the sharp stick he holds in his hand. Oh my god, he did this to himself. He collapses while Minister Lee cries over him.

The queen dowager and Court Lady Jang remember when they first entered the palace together, when they were only sixteen. The queen dowager says that she wouldn’t have been able to withstand the pain of losing both her son and her father if not for Court Lady Jang.

Court Lady Jang says tearfully that she’s been blessed to serve the queen dowager, and that she’ll be honored to die for her. The queen dowager says darkly that when she tears the king to shreds and gets her revenge, she’ll give Court Lady Jang a proper funeral. A bit later, Ha Sun finds Court Lady Jang at his door confessing to everything.

Ha Sun and Eunuch Jo wait nervously for Minister Lee to return with Yi Heon before the court assembly. Minister Shin shows up instead, demanding the queen dowager’s dethronement. Looking furious, Ha Sun asks if Minister Shin is saying to dethrone the queen and the queen dowager, and make him look like the most despicable son in history.

Minister Shin falls to his knees, insisting that that’s not his intent. He says that Minister Lee is trying to drive them apart, but Ha Sun bellows for him to be quiet. He says that Court Lady Jang’s guilt has nothing to do with the queen dowager, and that her confession also proves the queen’s innocence.

Minister Shin and the court ministers are forced to let go of the plan to dethrone So-woon for now, but they don’t understand why Ha Sun won’t accuse the queen dowager. But as he promised, Ha Sun has the letter incriminating the queen dowager sent to her, and she burns it.

As he’s looking out over the lake, sighing in relief, Ha Sun spots So-woon in a gazebo nearby. She bows to him in thanks, and he nods his head to her. So-woon grants his wish and gifts Ha Sun with the most beautiful, happiest smile he’s ever seen.

He smiles back, but his smile is tinged with sadness. He whispers, “Do not smile like that. Please do not smile.” He forces himself to turn away.

In his chambers, Ha Sun shows Eunuch Jo a paper on which he’s written, “Thank you, Eunuch Jo,” with a cute caricature of the eunuch. Ha Sun giggles, but Eunuch Jo says this isn’t the time to be silly, because Minister Lee will return soon with Yi Heon. Ha Sun tells Eunuch Jo not to worry too much, because for better or worse, he can only die once.

The king shows no improvement, so Minister Lee returns to the palace alone. He tells Ha Sun to put on ordinary clothing, then leads him away, ordering Eunuch Jo to stay behind unless he wants to die. They walk to a cliff high above the city, Minister Lee ignoring Ha Sun’s questions.

He finally speaks, reminding Ha Sun that he promised to warn him — today is the day he will die. He grabs Ha Sun and yanks him to the edge of the cliff, then takes out a knife and stabs Ha Sun in the chest. Ha Sun looks at him, betrayal written on his face, and Minister Lee whispers, “Ha Sun the clown is dead. Now you are the king of this nation.”

 
COMMENTS

Minister Lee is being a bit dramatic, but I had a feeling that when he said that Ha Sun will die today, he meant figuratively, not literally. He’s probably realized that there’s very little chance that Yi Heon will ever recover enough to lead a country, so what he’s left with is a clown who just happens to be the king’s dead ringer, and he feels he has no other choice. I think that he’s saying that Ha Sun’s former life is over, and that from now on, he will truly be Yi Heon, and have to accept his role as king indefinitely. That’s why he stabbed him – anyone who knows the king intimately, like his queen, his consorts, and his attendants, will know that Yi Heon has a scar on his chest. Minister Lee is giving Ha Sun that same scar, because he’s going to have to pass as Yi Heon in all ways from now on.

Seeing So-woon blossom from her self-imposed stoicism is just… so lovely. She’s such a lady at all times, never making a wrong move or saying a wrong word, but you can still see that underneath her carefully cultivated court behavior, she’s a passionate, emotional woman. She’s beginning to let that side of herself show to Ha Sun, mostly out of anger or fear so far, but the sweeter he is to her and the closer she feels towards him, the more she lets down her guard. And I’m not bothered by the fact that she’s falling for a man who isn’t her husband, because Ha Sun acts a lot like the man we’re told that Yi Heon was before Minister Shin and Court Lady Kim got their claws into him, so So-woon believes that she’s simply getting back the man she married.

I feel so bad for poor Ha Sun, who’s trying to do something that nobody has apparently tried before — rule the country, and be a good person. Not having been raised in the palace, he doesn’t understand how things work and why a good king sometimes has to allow bad things to happen for the good of the country, and since he’s been stuck there a lot longer than anyone expected, he’s being forced to make difficult decisions with far-reaching consequences. So far it hasn’t changed him much (he’s changed, but not by something that happened within the palace), but I dread the day that he can’t find a way out of a situation and has to let someone get hurt or die, in order to prevent a worse wrong to occur. Thank goodness that he’s not just good and caring, but whip-smart — the question is whether he’ll be able to acclimate to palace life in time to use his intellect in the most advantageous way.

Then there’s Yi Heon, who we haven’t seen much of this week, but what we have seen makes me deeply, deeply concerned. He’s done monstrous, unforgivable things, but he was under tremendous stress, terrified for his life, under the influence of drugs, and being manipulated by an even worse monster. How would Yi Heon have been different if he hadn’t had all of that to deal with, on top of the pressure of running a country? Now he’s descending into true madness, and it’s no wonder Minister Lee looks terrified. There’s a very good chance that Yi Heon could die before he gets back to the palace, one way or another, or never recover enough to rule again, and the country will be stuck with a commoner for a king. Although, the way Ha Sun is handling things, I’m not so sure that wouldn’t be a more desirable outcome than regaining a sick, unstable king that could be more easily manipulated than ever.

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Ooohhh! He gave him a scar to match the king's! Now there's no physical way to tell them apart. This is getting good.

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I always post and then have something to add. Today is no different :D
So-woon is wonderful, remaining composed even when finding out her loyal servant wasn't so loyal. And Minister Shin is pure evil; he even uses his injury to his advantage, limping to gain sympathy and then walking perfectly normal when away from the king's sight. Ugh, disgusting. And Ha-sun is going to change because palace life does that to people, but I just hope he doesn't change too much.

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I didn't notice that he'd stopped limping - I just remember thinking "He sure is making a fuss about sacrificing his knee for the king when it doesn't even seem that bad - his walking seems fine to me!" Thanks for pointing that out.

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I indignantly went β€œYou fake!” at the screen. πŸ˜‚

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Except Ha Seon's scar is new and the King's is old. There is a difference but I'm willing to overlook everything because I love the drama. ^^

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"Ha Sun the clown is dead. Now you are the king of this nation."

Ooooooh absolute goosebumps. I thought the scar was shown just to separate the two characters like in the movie, I never thought of Haseon also getting the same scar! I'm getting more and more thrilled and excited!

Btw, I don't think Yi Kyu stabbed Haseon just to figuratively kill him as Haseon but to actually give him exactly the same scar as Yi Heon. Things are getting more urgent while Yi Heon's condition continues to get worse. Yi Kyu can't just keep telling Haseon to look the other way while Shin Chisoo gains more power. He needs Haseon to properly rule and Yi Kyu sees a lot of potential in Haseon.

I look forward to Yi Heon and Dallae meeting really soon. There is a reason the writers put the two together in exactly the same place. They are both broken people, one living in guilt for his dead brother while the other is in terrible need of her older brother.

My heart is already hurting for Haseon and Sowoon and it's going to hurt even more in the future. It's so heartwarming to see Sowoon warm up to him through his simple acts of sweetness like helping her make a wish or silently sweeping away the rocks in her path, but most of all, it's his sincerity towards her that opened up her heart to him. But yeah, the pain is going to amplify when the truth gets out of the bag. Sigh.

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Are you hinting that the scene where Haseon is stabbed is exclusive to the drama version?

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Yep! It's not in the movie.

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I ❀️ an adaptation that made a twist of its own.

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I like the change they are making with the scar. I didn't see it coming.
I also don't think that Chief Secretary Yi is giving up on Yi Heon by declaring Ha Sun as the king. He is clearly loyal to Yi Heon and unless he dies he will always be his king.
It's just that for the time being, he has no choice.

Moo-young seems to be a popular name for the king's guard lol. I guess he still doesn't know that Ha Sun is the substitute.
The king's guard is always by his side even when he sneak out of the palace but Moo-young seems to be more of an errand boy for our chief secretary in this drama.
I hope he'll have a close relationship with Ha Sun. I enjoyed their relationship in the movie.

I'm also looking forward to Yi Heon and Dalhae meeting. They are both dramatized and broken so there is hope that they'd help each other.

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I think the King will find a new motivation when he will learn that Minister Lee subsituted him by Ha Sun forever.

I understand why people want to kill the King. His way to roll the country shows that he's more determined to kill his enemies than save his friends/allies. I'm happy Ha Sun is changing this way to act :)

Poor Lady Park. I liked her with the Queen. At least, the Queen lost her old friend but found back her "husband". The situation will come difficult for Ha Sun. If he's the new King, he will have to give a heir to the throne. I'm pretty sure he won't like to deceive the Queen because he alreafy loves her.

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I got a bit confused... Was Court Lady Park on the Queens side or Queen Dowager side? Also, the tea she gave the Queen last episode to help her sleep was it the same tea that Court Lady Jang and Queen Dowager have - the one in the box?

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Yeah, Court Lady Park seems to be more on the Queen Dowager's side than Sowoon. The reason she's not speaking out is to protect the Queen Dowager and not Sowoon as it turns out. And yes about the tea, it's the same one. I read somewhere that it could possibly a contraceptive, hence it's probably why Yi Heon and Sowoon could not have a child.

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Court Lady Park was probably send by the dowager queen to serve Sowoon in the first place. Her loyalty was with her.

That's what I thought too. The tea is not poison but to prevent the queen from getting pregnant. If she has a child (male heir) with the king, her whole plan to put Prince Jinpyung on the throne will not work.
Also that would be her revenge for killing her son.

It doesn't seems like the dowager queen has been giving Court Lady Park the tea before. It seems like it was recent.

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It seems the dowager queen bribed lady park to curse and slowly poison the young queen. So lady park was not loyal as she pretended to be. I was sad when she was arrested. But after realising what she has done i dont feel sympathetic towards her now. Wish thd queen gets a loyal maid like lady jang of the dowager queen. To die for her master that was very loyal of her (though they both did pretty eveil stuff. But yi heon bought it all on himself by his mistreatment towards his step mom and brother. )

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Thank you so much @weaselking & @shaani 😁
So much bad guys!!

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Cant wait till monday 😁. I also felt betrayed when minister lee stabbed ha sun. I was like is he mad... i watched a raw version first because i couldnt wait until subtitiles come. So i didn't understand their conversations. Then i realised ah lee is giving ha sun the same scar!!! Then came that epic drum beat music. Gave me goosebumps all over.
The queen's wide and beautiful smile at the king and his return smile of wonder after seeing her smile. That was the perfect scene. With autumn leaves, the river slowly flowing, the beautiful music, and the sun behind the kings back. I thought it was perfectly filmed. I watched that part over and over again.,❀️ that couple is so cute. I don't want to think what they both will have to go through once the truth comes out. Will the king be mad at so woon for loving ha sun. When it was his fault that he switched places and left her alone in the palace and with this other man.

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Oh and i absolutely loved ha sun kicking rocks out of so woon's path as well. So cute ❀️

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Sometimes I feel bad for hwa dang. She's also trying to survive in the palace. She's equally terrified of her uncle and also naive, seeing that she actually had to be poisoned to act convincingly. But that doesn't change the fact that she's been horrible to So Woon, who has always been kind to her. Speaking of, I hope atleast the other girl who serves her is faithful. She doesn't deserve to have so many enemies.

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Seon hwa dang is actually kind of naive and foolish but also ambitious, arrogant and rude, thinks highly of herself probably because she's from a noble family (how she belittled the other concubine because she was a seamstress). A dangerous combination though. But she should be pitied for having such an uncle who is vile enough to poison her to get what he wants. But how she treats others are unbearable. Not just to other concubines but the queen as well. Like how she sat next to the king when the queen sat on the floor. Shes probably spoiled rotten since childhood πŸ˜…

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The other palace maid was really smart to pretend she was sent by the Queen Dowager and then take that letter straight back to the Queen. Too often servants are shown as loyal but not very bright in sageuks. I was impressed. πŸ˜‚

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Yeah ikr! she should be promoted to So Woon's lady in waiting! 😊

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You've mentioned pretty much everything I've been thinking of after watching this episode. It's interesting that both enemies in the court (Minister Shin and Queen Dowager) doesn't seem to be aware of each other.
Gosh, I admire So Woon. She's such a strong person and triggers giggles from me at the right times. "So-woon simple believes that she's getting back the man she married." Yeah, that sounds just about right. And Ha Seon saying "Please don't smile like that". Translation: "Please don't make me fall for you." Ow my heart. You're not gonna escape so easily, man.

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My heart goes for Yi Heon! That scene where Lee Kyu cries for Yi Heon after he found out that his king has stabbed his own ear.. huhuhu

World is so unfair, why do u give a loyal servant to the evil Queen Dowager while a not so loyal one to our true noble So Woon. How sad and betrayed she must have felt when finding out that her supposed-to-bound-for-life waiting lady has been receiving bribe to put some curses on her! Gahhh

Speaking of loyal servant.. if Dramagods decided to kill Eunuch Jo character in this series ever.. I don't think I could take it. I would be bawling so much!

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It's funny how self-aware Ha Seon is - although he acts on his principles and promises, when his wish to see the Queen's smile was granted, his melancholy air and secret request for her not to be that beautiful...oof. Although he looks like her husband, he knows that he isn't which adds a delicious layer of philosophy to the Confucian ideals being thrown around - if a man looks like and presents himself as your husband, are you being an unfaithful wife? As many others have said, she believes she's getting her original husband back. But Ha Seon himself is so pure, he can't meet Court Lady Choi's eyes when she dresses him! He won't be willing to take advantage of So Woon, which gives the air between them a sweet, yearning vibe. I wonder if she can feel the difference from the wounded, resentful craving on Yi Heon's part?

Minister Lee crying his eyes out when he realised the damage Yi Heon had done to himself in his withdrawal and guilt... *sniff* He is so painfully loyal to the ideals of his King, the father and protector of the nation and people....to see him do himself such an awful injury must have been horrendous. I cringed, thinking about how deep he must have stabbed that stick, until he could hear the mournful pleas of his brother no longer. How guilt burdened must he be if that pain and potential loss of hearing is better than hearing Yuri's reminders of his actions? shudder

I don't know how to insert an emoji (feel free to teach/link me!) but I have a slanted mouth and uncertain eyes over the fact that Yi Heon and Dal Rae are so close. As @weaselking astutely pointed out, there's a lot of space and room for healing there. But this is also a K-drama, plus Ha Seon hid Dal Rae so that Minister Lee/the government couldn't use her as leverage against him.... I have my fingers crossed for all the healing on that side because Dal Rae has clearly gone through more than enough....

So as not to end on a bum note....Eunuch Jo <3

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I’m hoping for a budding bromance between Haseon the clown and Royal Secretary Lee in the next few episodes. When you shared a secret, the secret bound to make you closer right?

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LOL I'm in love with their acting and chemistry. It's not always so serious. It's more light hearted than I expected. It's a relief from all the heavy politics and backstabbing in the palace.

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I don’t want to get my hopes up but I really do anticipate the hijinks that will ensue if they tried to keep the secret from Eunuch Jo.

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@lollypip, Thanks for the recap ! Yay for Lee Se-young, ( Hail Queen Buja! πŸ‘‘) and Jang Young-Nam as Dowager. Really pretty scenes on the bridge and the pavilion smile scene.😍 Ha Sun’s being spooked by Minister Lee, lol πŸ˜‚

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Jang Young-nam is giving a wonderful performance as Queen Dowager. What a role reversal from her recent portrayal as Det. Yoo Jin-gook's best pal Officer Tak So Jung in HUNDRED MILLION STARS FROM THE SKY.

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As much as i love everything about this recap i gotta disagree on one thing.... Is no one really bothered about how Sowoon would feel when she finds out that the man she thought was her long-lost husband (as in the one she married years ago long gone, in yiheon) turns out to be someone else after all?

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I think we're willingly ignoring that but know it's coming.

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maybe I'm just trying to find reasons not to watch this until that is solved lol

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I watched this episode twice, savouring it slowly like some kind of delicious meat pancake.

I don’t know much about filming techniques, but I have noticed the cameras here use a variety of angles. For instance, scenes overlooking the courtyard are done from ground level, as if we are peeking into the palace.
The cameras move a lot too, sometimes sweeping from the floor to the throne, or following a running character as if through a tunnel (This is my uneducated comment just to say this drama looks pretty, and typical palace scenes seem fresh and edgy.)

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Also thanks for the recap @lollypip!

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I love the way it's filmed too. It's part of why I'm enjoying it so much. It's hard to wait for the next episode.

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I also did that. I watched several of my favourite scenes again and again. Like the queen smiling scene and the last ending scene. And i would also like to say thank you for the recaps @lollypip. After waiting for the drama and watching it, the next thing i wait for is the dramabeans recap. Its fun reading the recap and sharing ideas with other fans. πŸ’•β€οΈ

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Thanks! It helps that this show is SO FUN to recap... not to mention fun to screencap ~winkyface~

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Could've fool me. You sound like a pro :).

I need to rewatch eps 3 and 4. There is so much to talk about but I'm currently muddle-headed. I'm watching too many shows at once.

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@kiara please help me out with a couple of things:
1. Where does Prince Jin-pyung fall in the royal family tree that he has a claim to the throne. Is he Yi Heon's elder brother? I don't think I can remember any kind of fraternal reference made between themselves; and
2. I guess I am slow. I am reading comments about a meeting between Yi Heon and Dal-rae. It is being assumed that since both are being looked after by Monk Jung Saeng that they will somehow be thrown together and perhaps provide a way to begin healing for both?
After the discovery of Yi Heon's self inflicted wound he should not be left alone.

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I’m also curious with #1. Or does Queen Dowager has the authority to install anyone that she favored in the throne?

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The queen dowager (being the eldest and highest rank in the royal family) does have the authority to consent or install the next king if the current king dies or deposed.

I don't think she can just install anyone that she favors. He has to have a royal standing to claim the throne.

Currently Yi Heon doesn't have an heir and Jin-pyung is the only other royal prince in the drama so he is next in line.

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That cleared up my curiosity. Thanks @kiara

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@marcusnyc20 boong-soo

We are at eps 4 and they haven't given us much when it comes to background stories to most of our characters so I'm just guessing here.

1. I think Prince Jin-pying is completely fictional but he is royalty and could have a claim to the throne.
It would make sense if he is Yi Heon's nephew. Son of one of his brothers which explain why he is looks older than the king but not on the king's seat.
(In history, Gwanghae's older brother and his younger brother Yul (the legitimate heir) were both eliminated. His nephew (son of his younger half brother Jeongwon became the king (Injo) after the coup that deposed him).

2. We are just assuming that Yi Heon and Dal-rae would meet since they are both under the care of Mong Jung Saeng.
Since he looks exactly like his brother she would probably not afraid of him and would care for him.

I agree that Yi Heon shouldn't be left alone.

It seems like there was a conspiracy that involves Yi Heon, Cheif Secretary Yi, former doctor Monk Jung Saeng and that dead Lord Gil Sam Bong.
I think it had to do with the late king's sickness that led to his death.
Were they responsible for his death? Maybe Lord Gil Bong took it to his grave. Monk Jung Saeng escaped with Yi Heon's help and CHief secretary Yi pretended that he didn't know anything about it.

(History: The famous Doctor Heo Jun who wrote the Dongui Bogam https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dongui_Bogam was serving during Gwanghae and his father's reign.
If our fictional monk is inspired by Heo than there is hope for Yi Heon.

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I may be wrong, but the name should be Seonhwa-dang, not Hwa-dang.

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Very late to the party (finally just been able to catch up) but I just wanted to say that with this, I am understanding better why it is important for kids to learn how to be "street-smart" rather than be only "book-smart". I always have that discussion with my hubby on the direction we want to take for the education of our kids. I grew up in a family were being "book-smart" was valued, so I really did not get it, when he insisted that the kids should be exposed to other things other than school, and that I should not focus on grades, but rather on rapport, social skills, emotional intelligence, really. This is an example of why. The clown is smart! This guy never went to school, but he is able to adapt to situations so very well. And he picks up on things so fast, responds to situations so cleverly! I get it now.

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To be honest I felt this episode fell flat in comparison to the first three. It had its own mini arc which kind of felt like a filler acr - it served the purpose of bringing Ha Seon & the Queen closer, got rid of the serving lady giving some unknown tea to the Queen, but honestly did we have to go through this kind of plot to get there? In a way this was Ha Seon living palace life without any development of the main story.

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