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The Crowned Clown: Episode 6

The longer our clown pretends to be king, the less it feels like an act. When he gets the chance to do something good for the people, he tries his hardest to make the right decision even in the face of powerful opposition. But he can’t forget that this is only temporary, no matter how much he’s starting to love being king, and all that that implies.

 
EPISODE 6 RECAP

When So-woon finds Ha Sun asleep in the library, she sits beside him and confesses that after all these years, she’s fallen in love with him. She leans down to kiss him, and his eyes fly open in shock. When she sees him staring at her, she jumps to her feet shyly, and after a long, tense pause, Ha Sun hiccups. LOL.

He tries to say he’s fine, but it comes out, “I’m ~hic~ okay, I’m o~hic~kay.” They go back to his chambers, where he hiccups miserably as Eunuch Jo gives him useless advice (“Grab your tongue and hold your breath! Lie on your back and hug your legs!”). So-woon looks like she’s about to bust out laughing, PFFT.

So-woon wants to call the royal physician, genuinely worried, but also looking a little pleased that her kiss caused this reaction in Ha Sun. He says it’s probably just the cold weather, and he sends her on to bed so he can relax. As soon as she’s gone, the hiccups stop.

On her way back to her rooms, So-woon finally cracks a smile. She drags her feet, telling Ae-young dreamily that the moon and stars seem brighter tonight (Ae-young: “But it’s cloudy tonight…” hee).

An assassin delivers the mathematician Ho-geol’s identification plate to Yi-geom and gets paid for his work. Yi-geom runs into his father and apologizes for getting rid of Ho-geol without permission. Minister Shin asks if the plate is proof that Ho-geol is dead, and when Yi-geom says it is, he’s slapped to the ground for paying the assassin without seeing a body.

The next day, Ha Sun paces outside, hearing So-woon’s voice in an endless loop, saying that she’s in love with him. He gets frustrated and calls himself a disgraceful ass, then has to backpedal when Eunuch Jo thinks he means him, ha.

He catches his reflection in the pond and asks Eunuch Jo if he and Yi Heon really look that much alike. Eunuch Jo says that they do, so much that he even gets confused occasionally. It saddens Ha Sun to realize that So-woon believes that he’s Yi Heon, and has no idea that he even exists.

He goes for a walk and ends up near the queen’s quarters, then flails in panic when So-woon comes their way. She looks happy to see them, then grows concerned that he looks unrested. Her beautiful, worried face gives him brain freeze, but he eventually stammers that the hiccups stopped after she left.

So-woon offers to make him ginger tea to fend off more hiccups, and because she remembers that he likes ginger. Ha Sun says he has to be somewhere, then nearly walks purposefully right into her wing before whipping around to go the opposite direction, HA.

Following his father’s advice, Yi-geom asks to see Ho-geol’s body. It’s definitely him, and Yi-geom grins with satisfaction.

Minister Shin goes over the preparations for tomorrow’s court assembly with his people. They say that there are no errors in the handover documents (errors would indicate embezzlement), so they plan to dismiss Lord Lee, the Minister of Taxation, and prevent him re-enacting the rice payment law. Their only concern is that Ho-geol will be able to find proof of the country magistrates’ embezzlement, but Minister Shin assures them that won’t happen.

While returning to his chambers that evening, Ha Sun sees So-woon being turned away by Court Lady Kim. She leaves behind the ginger tea she promised him, but Ha Sun tells Eunuch Jo sadly that he can’t eat ginger — he had it once as a child, and it made him very sick.

Eunuch Jo says, voice heavy with double meaning, that he should avoid things he’s not meant to have. Ha Sun understands, and he offers the tea to Eunuch Jo so that it doesn’t go to waste. Meanwhile, Ae-young chastises So-woon for waiting too long outside the king’s chambers and serves her nightly flower tea, and the suddenly ominous mood indicates that the tea may be more than it seems.

In the morning, the ministers arrive for court assembly, but Minister Lee has been conspicuously absent ever since he witnessed Ho-geol’s murder. Minister Shin’s people argue that the handover documents do not show proof of embezzlement and demand that Lord Lee be punished, but Lord Lee states that if it’s a crime to investigate possible corruption, then he’ll resign his post.

Thankfully, Minister Lee arrives in the nick of time, apologizing for being late, as he was gathering proof of embezzlement from the handover documents. Minister Shin jumps right in to demand that Ha Sun punish Minister Lee for slander and neglect of duty. Minister Lee says that first, Ha Sun should talk to the person who found the proof, and Moo-young enters the court with Ho-geol behind him… he’s not dead!

Again, Minister Shin bellows that Minister Lee should be punished for disrupting the court by bringing a slave into their presence. Minister Lee says that Ho-geol is a slave, but he works for the Ministry of Taxation, and has found proof of embezzlement. Ho-geol presents Ha Sun with written proof, which he still can’t read.

But Minister Lee shoots Ha Sun a tiny nod, so he announces that Lord Lee is correct. The Minister of Personnel argues that Lord Lee is still in the wrong for delaying the appointment of county magistrates with his investigation, and Minister Shin turns on him, accusing him of stirring up this issue to cover up the embezzlement.

Ha Sun agrees, and announces that everyone who participated in the embezzlement will be punished. Ho-geol interrupts to tell Ha Sun that he was almost assassinated last night. He managed to avoid the first thrown knife, and luckily Minister Lee was there with Moo-young, who fought off the assassins. With a little stabby incentive, one assassin confessed that Yi-geom ordered Ho-geol killed, and Minister Lee paid him ten times Yi-geom’s offer to fake Ho-geol’s death.

Ha Sun orders Yi-geom brought to him immediately. While they wait, Minister Lee is happy to tell Hs that the punishment for attempted murder is beheading. But Yi-geom is the son of a court minister and a Fourth Censor, so Minister Shin and the Office of Censors will just pardon him, but Minister Lee says there’s still a way to teach him a lesson.

Yi-geom is dragged in front of Ha Sun, and Ho-geol flashes a devilish grin at him (love this guy). Ha Sun says in an official voice that plotting to kill someone is a severe crime, but because his father is so valuable to the country and the victim wasn’t harmed, he’ll be forgiven.

But he continues that he will make an example of Yi-geom, so his father will flog him one hundred times. Oh, this is the best. Minister Shin gets on his knees beside his son and begs Ha Sun to punish his son according to the Great Ming Code instead (in other words, go ahead and behead him), but Minister Lee cheerfully chides Minister Shin for refusing the king’s generosity.

Yi-geom is made to stand barefoot on a stool like a naughty child so that his father can whip his legs with a cane. Minister Shin carries out the flogging, whipping Yi-geom hard enough to break the cane while Ha Sun makes himself watch every single moment. It’s not enough to make up for Dal-lae, but it’s a start.

When it’s all over, Ha Sun thanks Ho-geol for his hard work in calculating all those numbers in one night. He claps Ho-geol on the shoulder, then notices a weird smell… ewww, it’s from the time Ho-geol spent lying next to the real dead bodies in order to fool Yi-geom.

Impressed, Ha Sun frees Ho-geol from his slavery and grants him any position he wants. Ho-geol asks to be made a ninth-class accountant, a pretty low position, but one of Ha Sun’s advisers points out that it’s high enough that Ho-geol can help enact the rice payment law, but not so high that it seems like favoritism. Ho-geol is thrilled that Ha Sun truly intends to only collect taxes from people who grow rice on their properties (and not from the poor anymore) and swears to do the best job he can.

Later, Ha Sun sees So-woon standing on the wishing bridge. She thanks him for what he’s done, and he thanks her in turn for giving him the chance to do a good job as king.

Minister Shin whines to Ha Sun about how today’s events have deeply upset him, claiming that he would rather have lost his position and his life than see himself and his son humiliated because of a slave. Somehow keeping control of his temper, Ha Sun asks Minister Shin how he can overlook the suffering of the people.

He yells that the court Minister Shin says is so important is nothing compared to the life of “that lowly slave,” and that he will let nothing slide if it harms the people of his nation. He refuses to listen to any more of Minister Shin’s nonsense and angrily dismisses him.

When monk Jung Saeng heads into town, Gap-soo makes Dal-lae come to the woods with him to get firewood. While he’s gathering, she fakes a tummyache and sneaks off to the mysterious locked hut. She peeks through a crack in the door and sees someone inside — someone who’s tied up, and who looks exactly like Ha Sun.

In town, Minister Lee passes some young beggars and stops to give them a few coins. He directs them to Woon-shim’s gibang and says they’ll be fed if they use his name. But one of them suddenly stabs him in the stomach, snarling that they were told to give him the message, “Good luck in the afterlife.”

Ho-geol (now dressed according to his new station in life) finds Minister Lee and helps him to Woon-shim at the gibang. Minister Lee tells him not to call a physician, instead asking for Jung Saeng, and sends word to Ha Sun that he’s taking a day off. Jung Saeng patches him up, and Woon-shim stays awake all night keeping watch over him.

So-woon admits to Ae-young that she’s not sleeping well just before she has a dizzy spell and collapses. Ha Sun comes running to sit by her bedside, and when she wakes, apologetic, he tells her to just rest. He stays until after she falls asleep again, and later he asks the royal physician what’s wrong with her.

The physician gives him a vague answer, and he suggests that So-woon be sent away to rest. Ha Sun hesitates to make a decision without Minister Lee to consult, but Eunuch Jo says that Minister Lee would let her go, and that it’s a good opportunity for both her and him (to get some time apart).

The queen dowager is pleased when the royal physician tells her that So-woon is ill, and that if she remains this way, it’s unlikely she’ll be able to give the king an heir.

Prince Jin-pyung meets with a group of men all dressed in black who seem to be plotting something under the guise of protecting the borders against the recent Qing raids. Someone brings Prince Jin-pyung a pair of men who want to join their ranks.

They throw a knife to the ground in front of the two cowering men and tell them that whoever grabs it first will live. There’s a brief scuffle, then one man grabs the knife and stabs the other with it. Prince Jin-pyung chuckles that he did well, but that he wasn’t fast enough, then slices him in two with his sword.

Despite feeling no better, So-woon visits the queen dowager, who tells her not to worry about the palace but to focus on her health. So-woon promises to return soon to care for the king, and she drinks her tea while the queen dowager only pretends to drink hers.

Ha Sun looks torn as So-woon’s palanquin leaves the palace, but just before he turns away, he sees her walking all by herself. She stops to offers him a farewell bow, and Ha Sun struggles not to run to her.

She continues on, and just as she moves out of sight, he loses the battle and races to catch up to her, but it’s too late. Inside the palanquin, So-woon hopes for one last glimpse of Ha Sun, but she can’t see him. Oof, they’re killing me.

Minister Lee recovers enough to meet with Moo-young, who tells him that he sent his best men with the queen. He wants to find out who tried to kill Minister Lee, but Minister Lee thinks that anyone who truly wanted to kill him wouldn’t have sent a child. He believes that this was meant to create chaos in the court, which is why he’s keeping his attack a secret.

That night in the library, Ha Sun imagines So-woon there with him, but soon she fades away. She’s at a small cottage in the mountains, where she seems to be recovering well. But Ha Sun paces the palace, and everywhere he goes he’s reminded of her.

After three days, So-woon decides to return to the palace. Ae-young wants her to rest a few more days, but So-woon says that she just thinking about going back makes her feel more energetic.

Ha Sun asks Eunuch Jo if there’s been a response to a letter he sent to Dal-lae. Eunuch Jo stammers that the gibang where he sent the letter is also Minister Lee’s home, so he can’t deliver the letter without alerting him. Ha Sun decides to go himself, promising to return as soon as he hears how Dal-lae is doing.

He dresses in nobleman’s clothing and heads to the gibang, but he’s spotted on the way by Moo-young. Ha Sun fibs that he came out to watch his people enjoy the Double Ninth Festival, and he’s forced to leave the gibang when Moo-young offers to escort him.

So-woon is surprised by the noise as her palanquin moves through the festival on her way back to the palace. She and Ae-young reminisce about when they were younger and free to enjoy the festival, and Ae-young convinces So-woon to explore with her one more time while they have the chance.

Though Ha Sun’s plans were thwarted, he loosens up and enjoys the festive atmosphere. He sees some children writing their wishes on kites and suggests that he and Moo-young do the same, and Moo-young says his wish is to die while protecting his king, the same as his older brother did during the uprising. Ha Sun accepts his wish as a good and noble thing, but he says that instead of having Moo-young die for him, he would prefer that Moo-young live doing something he loves.

Ha Sun turns around, and his world seems to stop as he sees So-woon standing on the other end of the bridge. He thinks he’s seeing things again, but she’s really there, and now she sees him, too. She gives him the sweetest smile, and he can’t help himself any longer.

He goes to her, and she’s as surprised to see him as he is to see her. She tells him that she feels much better, and Ha Sun says that they can return to the palace together. But So-woon asks if they can return later, so that she can enjoy this rare freedom.

Monk Jung Saeng goes to the hut to bring food to Yi Heon, but he finds the lock broken and the king gone. A frantic Gap-soo finds him and tells him that Dal-lae is missing, too. Jung Saeng thinks he knows where they are and leads Gap-soo to town.

At the festival, Ha Sun takes So-woon to watch a clown troupe. The troupe does a skit about the queen’s jealousy of the king’s concubines, portraying the queen as a jealous, vicious harpy and blaming her for the nation’s turmoil.

Distracted by So-woon’s upset expression, Ha Sun doesn’t even notice when a pickpocket tries to swipe his coin purse and Moo-young shoves him away. So-woon sways and grabs Ha Sun’s arm for support, so he takes her hand and quickly leads her away, causing Moo-young and Ae-young to lose sight of them.

They run until So-woon is out of breath, and Ha Sun drops her hand. So-woon tells him that she’s fine, and that it feels like a happy dream to be here with him. Ha Sun says that if this is a dream then he can’t be blamed for what he does, and he takes her hand again.

Nearby, Yi Heon stumbles through the crowd as if he can’t see anything around him, with Dal-lae limping close behind on an injured foot. She thinks he’s Ha Sun, and she tries to call out to him, but she still hasn’t recovered her voice after her attack. She stumbles and falls, and after a few desperate tries, she finally croaks, “Orabeoni!!

Yi Heon turns around, but he’s not the only one who hears Dal-lae’s voice. Ha Sun is close, and he recognizes his sister’s cry and turns towards her. The two men lock eyes, and Yi Heon begins to shake with fury to see Ha Sun holding the hand of his queen.

 
COMMENTS

I just love this drama so much. Aside from being beautifully shot and masterfully acted, the unexpected humor just kills me dead. The scene at the top of the episode where Eunuch Jo is rolling around on the floor trying to help Ha Sun stop hiccuping, and So-woon is looking at Ha Sun like, “I swear, if I start laughing at him, you’re going down with me,” is one of the funniest things I’ve seen in ages. That said, this show also has a way of making me terrified, and the idea of Yi Heon seeing Ha Sun and So-woon together is just about the worst thing I can imagine at this point. Nothing good can come of this — even if Yi Heon were well and in his right mind, which he certainly is not, he’s still the true king. If he manages to make his way back to the palace, everything that Minister Lee and Ha Sun have been working for will be ruined, and they could pay with their lives.

I am not someone who enjoys seeing a person get hurt, but I have to say that when Ha Sun ordered Yi-geom whipped, I enjoyed every second of that scene. Yi-geom didn’t just brutalize Dal-lae — he’s done it so often, and to so many young girls, that he’s infamous for it in the gibangs, yet nobody can do anything because of his father’s high position. Yi-geom is a pure monster, and being beheaded for ordering Ho-geol assassinated wouldn’t have been enough punishment for his crimes, but the humiliation he suffered was pretty awesome. I almost hope that he keeps screwing up and getting caught, because not only would it embarrass and undermine his father whenever he makes a mistake, it would give Ha Sun many more opportunities to watch Yi-geom suffer a fraction of what he’s inflicted on all those poor girls.

You can really see the change in Ha Sun as he slowly begins to take his role of king more seriously. At first he was just trying to pass as Yi Heon and not get killed, but as time went on, he started to realize that he actually might be able to do some good while he’s sitting on the throne. In this episode, it felt like he finally took ownership of his role when he yelled at Minister Shin that he would protect his people — in that moment, he stopped being someone who just tries to get by, and became a man who is willing to step up and speak out for those who can’t speak for themselves. He may have started out trying to change the tax laws to make So-woon happy, but when a regular person (who probably reminded him of himself) risked his life to help him do the right thing, Ha Sun suddenly transformed into a king.

And he’s a better king than Yi Heon has ever been, for exactly this reason — Yi Heon used his power to protect himself, and just erased any threats out of existence. Ha Sun wants to use his temporary power to protect others, which is what a true king should do. He’s going to make so many changes by the time Yi Heon recovers enough to reclaim his throne that Yi Heon won’t recognize his own life, so I hope that once Yi Heon is healthy and sober again, he returns to being the good person we’re told he used to be. I don’t want this to come down to a situation in which only one of them can survive and be king, but at this point, I can’t imagine how this can end with everyone alive and well.

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Yi Heon is back and he obviously is still the same Yi Heon who left the palace weeks ago. I totally wasn't expecting he'd be back so soon. Anyway, I still expect Haseon to eventually return to the palace and take the place of the King, but as to how, I honestly have no idea. Ep 7 preview has left me shaking in fear for Haseon. I'm also still hoping for the King to come back to his old self.

I agree, simply killing Yi Kyum won't be enough, especially without being officially judged with all the dirty crimes he's done. The tiny taste of revenge was indeed satisfying and I look forward to more. I'm also glad Joo Hogeol is totally alive and well because he's a very likable character.

I wish the Queen would finally know the truth in the next 2 eps. I understand her not suspecting anything so far because what are the odds that your husband would find an absolute doppelganger to switch places with? For all she knows, Yi Heon is finally coming back to his senses. But still, I would like for her to find out who Haseon is really soon so that she can finally make up her mind without having to live in a lie.

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This show could *gasp* benefit from a birth secret or two. Like, have the current king turn out to be the *younger* twin.

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Inspired by THE MAN IN THE IRON MASK.

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I read the book a long time ago and don’t think it had a happy ending though... but I may be getting mixed up with the Di Caprio movie.

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I haven't read the book.

IIRC DiCaprio movie ended well. The good twin so to speak ended up on the throne in the end.

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There was a really good Man in the Iron Mast in 1977... it's hard to find now because when you search it's hidden behind the 1998 Di Caprio abomination. I was about to post that you can't find it now (I couldn't a few years ago), but I just searched and found it. Now off to watch....

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Yes please. How do we get a happy ending for both Jin Goo and Jin Goo though because that's what I want (and will create in my mind if I have to).

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I am fully on board for mentally retconning this mofo if EVERYONE doesn't get a happy ending.

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😂😂😂 As much as I want a happy ending for everyone, I also kind of want to witness how @lollypip will be "mentally retconning this mofo."

Since polyamory is not a feasible option in Dramaland, maybe Minister Lee will spot a So-woon look-alike in the gisaeng house in the upcoming episode?

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I am fully on board for mentally retconning this mofo

I love it. The ability to mentally retcon is an essential skill for K-drama fans.

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The stark contrast between Ha Sun and Yi Heon in that last scene gave me chills. Yi Heon absolutely terrifies me. He was so pathetic-looking just an episode or two ago, and now he suddenly once again looks like he could murder anyone standing in his way and not bat an eye. And I swear I'd be able to tell who was who at a glance, even from a still picture with both of them wearing the same thing, which is a huge credit to Yeo Jin Goo. Take all of the awards and just give them to Jin Goo, please.

I'm still enjoying this drama so much, it's been a while since a show has kept me enraptured like this - I don't even notice how long the episodes are. I'm scared for everyone involved though, and if Eunuch Jo gets hurt I'm throwing hands with whoever's in charge.

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"if Eunuch Jo gets hurt I'm throwing hands with whoever's in charge."

For real. His happiness when Haseon finally got over his hiccups is the most precious thing.

Yi Heon's return is also terrifying but at the same time I'm glad he's back because it's such a joy to see Jingoo play the two contrasting characters so well. The way Yi Heon's face showed momentary smile upon seeing Sowoon and suddenly switching to sadness and finally fury when he saw her with Haseon, was truly a sight to behold.

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Yeah me too i actually felt there is some slight physical difference between the two in the last scene, and from their mood also we can easily separate out the two. But its the same actor for crying out loud!!! Yeo jin goo is amazing. I thought he is amazing since i saw him in moon embraces the sun ❤️

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*shivers*
THIS SHOW IS EPIC! And if YJG doesn't win an award for this dual performance, then justice is dead in the world of kdrama. That ending scene of Yi Heon's rage was in itself worthy of an award. He plays the characters equally well; sometimes it feels like it's actually 2 different actors because he becomes so immersed in each character. This is YJG at his finest.

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So amazing how these two characters don't overlap in my eyes at all. Even with still cuts with Yi Heon and Haseon showing neutral faces, I can still tell who's who. O_O

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In this episode, I had pity on Lee Se Young and Yeo Jin Gu's ears. They were so red, the weather was really cold.

The scene with Minister Shin whipping his own son was pretty satisfying.

I didn't expect the King to come back so soon and become the ennemy of Ha Sun. The both fighting together for their country would have been more peaceful for my heart :p

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IKR. I noticed this as well in Ep 5 when Haseon could finally go back to work again after being ill and he's walking with Sowoon on the way. Their ears and noses were so red from the cold and you could tell how hard it was for them to talk. I wish they could at least make them wear winter costumes instead so the cast won't suffer too much from the cold when filming outdoor scenes.

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I do too especially for Lee Se-young. It's hard to wear extra clothing under the top part of her hanbok.

I hope the preview is misleading because what happened to Dal Rae was enough.

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But she could've worn various gorgeous outer-jackets..with fur collars! :-(

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Right and warm head gear too.

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Didn't they have simple scarf in Korea? :p

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I swear if they do TWO off screen rapes... >.>
*grumbles*

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Yes unnecessary.

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That get-sick-and-go-out scene reminded me of Moon Embracing the Sun! Thankfully it was soon followed by a sweet and incredibly rare(in sageuk terms) reunion.

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Faking Ho-Geol’s death was a fun plot twist. I was resigned that this quirky character appeared and died in episode 5- maybe as a sort of cameo appearance, but then he pops up at the palace! Let’s hope he has nine lives because he’s going to be in a lot of danger if Yi Heon returns to the palace. Not to mention he’ll be heartbroken when the kind king he knows suddenly changes. I wonder if Yi Heon will see the wisdom of the rice tax law and decide to go ahead with it... probably not.

Ha Sun has dangerously become attached to his royal act, not just because it comes with the Queen but because he sees he can really help lowly people like himself. When he roared at Minister Shin that he wouldn’t let anything hurt the people of “his” nation I realised that he has really taken on the role of king. *sigh* Secretary Lee couldn’t get stabbed at a worse moment. Both King and Clown are on their own right now.

I’ll be really sad if Ha Sun doesn’t see Dal Hae in ep. 7. After rewatching that final scene a few times *cough* I noticed that there is a man in the middle of the road quite possibly blocking her from Ha Sun’s view. And what happened to her foot? Why was it all bloody? I felt sick thinking her supposed orabeoni may have hurt her. Poor girl, she’s suffered so much already.

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Dallae was only wearing straw sandals and she was running after Yi Heon, her pair must've worn out really soon which got her foot injured.

The staff went the extra mile and took out Lee Kyu Han's name in the cast members at the naver page during Ep 5, and returned it back in Ep 6. 😅

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I didn't think Ho-geol would die so early because he would be instrumental in implementing the Daedong: Uniform Land Tax Law but it did look like he was dead and I began to doubt lol.

This DAEDONG GROUP is probably inspired by the Western faction who deposed Gwanghae.
I can't figure out who would end up on the throne in the end and credit to the writers for giving us more than just 2 possibilities.
1. Tyrannic Yi Heon- if he doesn't get well I'm afraid even his trusted adviser Lee Kyu will abandon him.
2. Clown Ha Sun - is it even possible for someone (lower than the common people) to become king?
3. Prince Jin-pyung - cold and calculated and next inline to the throne.
Ahh so complicated but I'm excited to see the outcome in the end and how they are going to justify it.

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Oh, and I randomly started shipping loyal guard Moo Young with palace maid Ae Young when they ended up standing together in the marketplace for like 3 seconds. 😂 I blame the Clown for telling Moo Young to get a life and be happy.

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Haha me too 😂😂

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In the special ep, Aeyoung's actress and Mooyoung's actor have been asking the writers to give them a loveline in the story hahaha. The two of them easily got close on set cos they are the same age.

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Lol, they ship their own characters. 😂
Maybe I should watch the special episode... I just didn’t want to find lots of spoilers.

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You've reached this part, there are definitely no more spoilers for you. I wasn't even spoiled when I watched it when it aired. :D

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Can we set up a support group/waiting room for this ship? I will bring snacks.

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Yes! Kimbap and soju.

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I love Ae - young. I wish I got her loyal shipper heart lol.

The king's guard's life span is unpredictable and she is technically one of the king's woman.

The palace rules is complication to any ships (where is Prince Yi Yeong from MOONLIGHT when we need him?) but I'll ship them anyway.

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Ha! This happened to me in Red Moon Blue Sun when Woo Kyung and Ji Heon were first in a scene together for more than 2 seconds - SHIPPING.

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This was also an intense episode. Had fun yi geom getting punished by his father. Actually it was a punishment for both of them idk what will happen now since the king seems to be returning. I didn't expect to come early. Sometimes i wish he just loose his memory and believe he is ha sun and just have fun with the clown group like forever while ha sun rules the country. 😅😅 But i feel like the kings return maybe temporary. He might get poisoned or something for real this time and fall seriously ill so ha sun has to come back. 😅Just wishful thinking cause I like ha sun more.

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I agree. It was total humiliation especially for high official like Prime Minister Shin.

I feel the same way @sharl. Yi Heon's return will not last. I hope Secretary Lee will lock him up for good this time.

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It has about 10 episodes more. Im not sure how this story is going to end! 😅 Its exciting not knowing

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Ho-geol's smirk of smug satisfaction during the whipping was also my face. 😏 Nuff said.

Never have the implications of one person's gaze been more terrifying. I love that the camera chose to focus on Yi Heon's face, then show us what he was looking at, then return to his face so we could gauge his reaction. I legit squealed out "oh sheeeeeet," and clutched my blanket in fear.

I'm worried about the turmoil this will stir up in our lovely queen - having grown so certain of her feelings for our Clown King, will she be let into the truth? I feel Yi Heon is going to try to punish her for the small snippets of joy she's been having over the last few episodes. Sigh. And we were making such progress. She was smiling more! And being sassy to the Queen Dowager! And kissing boys! Which, yes, is part of the issue, but give a poisoned woman a break! 😓

It reminds me of the romantic/possessive dilemma in Seven Day Queen, except, you know, she's actually married to the super dangerous maniac in this one.
I'm so excited and yet so scared for tonight. I will be watching without subs and then watching with subs again because I can't wait.
Minister Lee, you better hurry up back!

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Right now I'm really wondering what Minister Lee was thinking, implementing new laws and such while LH was locked up in that room. Did he really expect LH to let it slide when he comes back? It seems that they began something great at a terrible time when it's inevitable that it will be torn down again. So why bother? It's not like it'll have enough time to really take effect before being thrown down like a card house by LH.

Allow me to commend YJG on his acting again - when LH sees HS and the queen, he seems first relieved, then intrigued, then angry, then murderous. All this without a single word but only with minute changes of his mimic in a few seconds. I love him.

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I think Minister Lee thought the king was lost forever when he saw him in such a sad state.

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Yeo Jin-goo should received 2 awards for this drama. One for best lead and for best supporting together with the rest of the supporting cast.
He is deserving of a daesang award but this is just the beginning of the year and there are more dramas in the horizon. tVN is probably not going to hold their own award show so Baeksang is the other hope but it's very competitive and he is still young.

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And am I the only one whose mind was blown when I realized that YJG is playing both the male lead and the second male lead? No matter who you root for (I mean, nobody is rooting for LH probably), it's still him XD Never seen that before! It's also weirdly fair because nobody will prefer the one over the other purely because the actor is better looking lol

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I've legit seen slogans at theqoo in support of either party, but they also have a slogan for both sides to please not fight, because after all, they are both Yeo Jin Goo. XD

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*raises hand* *confession* I still want more crazy king... Don't judge me too harshly, I know how unhealthy he is for himself and the queen, and I don't actually want to watch more abusive druggie king in action, but I want more development to his character and after episode one we just had like NO scenes with him and I wish they were both leads because JUXTAPOSITION DAMMIT and I'm probably not gonna shut up about that for a while oh well... I'm sorry...

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Jin-goo's acting is also on a different level when he is Yi Heon.

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Why would I judge you for this? I also love the crazy king, or rather I would love to see his character develop. To be frank it's almost impossible seeing as he is a character from a kdrama, and while I often watch and like kdramas, the plots and characters are often very simplistic. There are good people, and bad people, and the good people get a happy ending. Sometimes, we see troubled characters, but they are often in the background or serve the purpose of sometimes harming the main characters, thus elevating the tention, and sometimes helping the main characters. But there is almost never a storyline that focuses on their developement. In the end they either meet a bad end because they kept to their evil ways, or meet a bad end because they repent and decide to die for the good cause. I'm starting to think that nothing different will happen to LH here, sadly.

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Oh the frakking irony now. I'm not gonna reply to this properly because otherwise all my thoughts will be scattered over about three different places on this site. I agree, and I had very similar thoughts just last night, but I'll tag you in my (long) post that I'm writing at the moment which will be like a reply to this haha.

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I had a couple questions:

What's the deal with Minister Lee's domestic situation?
My jaw dropped when Eunuch Jo explained that he couldn’t deliver Ha Seon’s letter to WS because the secretary had come home. “He lives there” he said. Until then, I’d just figured Minister Lee just hung out with the gisaeng a lot … Ho Geol wasn’t kidding when he said Minister Lee had no wealth; he just serves the government.

The minister's not nobility so I guess the Minister's domestic situation at the gibang isn't a big deal. Are he and Woon Shim domestic partners? It's a bit ambiguous but only Woon Shim nursed him after his stabbing.

Is Dal-lae an agent in her own story or a plot device?
Dal-lae's rape was devastating. It made me queasy that her anguish—and Ha Sun's resulting desire for revenge—is what initially kept him anchored in the palace. I hope she doesn't just exist to move the plot forward with her suffering.

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Yi Kyu doesn't seem to have a family or property and only has Woonshim whom he can trust. They seem to be in a platonic relationship though, with lots of romantic tension in between, hehe.

I agree so much about Dallae. I don't know where the writers will bring Dallae's story at this point, but I hope it's to a good place and not just use her as a mere plot device.

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I hope we'd get more info on this Daedong Group and the uprising that separated them.

It seems like that Minister Lee, Ho Geol, Woon-shim (the gisaeng), (former doctor) monk Jung Saeng and the dead Lord Gil Sam-bong etc used to belong to the same faction. Maybe they were a group of reformist that focus on nationalism which is probably why the writers called them the Daedong group. They probably came up with the idea to change the tax system but they got driven out by the opposition parties.

Minister Lee is probably a noble scholar to be able to be an adviser to the king. He was able to keep his hands clean and keep his noble status while the rest of the group were driven out and are still in hiding. That's why he was kneeling and asking for their forgiveness.
I think Woon-shim used to be a daughter of a noble man (Lord Gil Sam-bong maybe?). If so it makes sense that her father was executed and she was then sent to the gibang as a government slave.
I'm positive that Minister Lee and Woon-shim are in a relationship and he lives with her.

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The minister does seem comfortable tying (or untying) his belt in from of Woon Shim. Whether they’re romantic or plantonic, they seem like some sort of partnership.

But they still keep secrets from one another. She didn’t say where Ha Sun’s family went and he didn’t tell her about the clown being the kings doppelgänger. She’s never even laid eyes on the real king!

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Yes Woon Shim takes care of him like a wife would. He was getting dressed in the middle of the day and I didn't think he was there to take a nap lol.

It could be platonic too and I'm just over thinking again. Sorry I can't help it.

They are not a married couple but I think he gets her. That she is not going tot ell him because she knows what he is going to do.

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Forgot to add that the reason why I think Minister Lee is a noble scholar is because he is being called Haksan by the members of the Daedong group.

Scholars usually go by their pen name and Haksan is probably Minister Lee's pen name.

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Good point @kiara. That is like Jeong Dojeon being known by his pen name Sambong.
O/T update. I am through 29 of 50 episodes of JEONG DOJEON (2014). I am really enjoying it but I don't have the stamina to blast through a drama like our friend @pakalanapikake.
Kiara, your history lessons are rubbing of. I have invested so much time with General Yi Seong-gye that I just purchased "The Annals of King T'aejo: Founder of Korea's Chosŏn Dynasty" (2014) (Harvard University Press) (Choi Byong-hyon Translator). This is a translation of the official history of the reign of King T'aejo (Yi Seong-gye) founder of the Chosŏn dynasty.

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@marcusnyc20 bong-soo

Oh my gosh you read my mind. I was actually thinking about Jeong Dojeon, (Sambong). His pen name and how he was the brain behind the throne and the establishment of Joseon.

I don't blame you for not blasting through it. It's very heavy on politics with no romance to give the viewers (us female) a bit of a break lol. But it is so rich in history that I just ate it up.

I'm glad you bought the book :). I have it stored somewhere in my closet. I would say it's a more accurate translation from the original and not Hangul.
I was reading THE LAND OF SCHOLARS too but it's from a non Korean's point of view. It was still informative and non biased I'd say.

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As much as I'm enjoying this show, Dal-lae's rape is the classic case of a woman's plotline existing solely to service the male lead's. This is all about how her rape is such a terrible thing to happen to him. I've tried not to let it annoy me because I really an enjoying the show and it's not as if this is a new problem. Even the Queen - whom I love as a character - is becoming nothing more than a complication in the story of the two men.

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Annoys me too especially when we have 2 capable actresses that they don't have to compensate for in this genre.

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There isn't that much though that women could do in those days. If the queen had still had an influencial paternal family, she could have joined in politics and all that, but now that her father has been exiled, she can count herself lucky that she's still the queen. Da Rae might still serve an important purpose, although I'm afraid that she will die in the long turn to further help HS become more like a king, but what is there that a common girl, and a clown no less (the very lowest class that even a normal commoner would consider below him) could do to influence the politics of the country?

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Also think about how the queen dowager is influencing the plot! She's literally planning to overthrow the king. So we do have a powerful female character within the realm of possibility in such a setting.

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Yes, I'm so in love with this drama. I don't know how many times I say this but it is. The romance is killing me, the humor makes me laugh on the floor and I just want to flog those bad guys. Don't forget the OST that made the mood and squeeze my heart every time I see Ha Seun and Soo Woon.

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What an intense ending scene.
Now I don't understand the security situation around the royal family. For example, the Queen and Ae-young are able to just take off unescorted?
Ha Sun is also able to leave the palace without a guard? Perhaps Eunuch Jo sent Moo-young after Ha Sun and he caught up with him. Moo-young at this point should probably be in on the switch. (In the movie version iirc the King's personal bodyguard eventually found out on his own and made the decision to protect the clown king.)

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A Ha Sun Moo-young pairing would be great. I cried like a baby at the end when he protected Ha Sun.
I see it happening here too. They may have started off in the wrong foot but Ha Sun will win him and his loyalty over.

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I am trying not to cross pollinate but Moo-young brings to mind Moo-yeon in 100DMP. Moo-yeon was clean shaven. I am already mixing up Moo-young and Ho-geol because of the facial hair.
I am convinced that Eunuch Jo is going to end this drama standing on both feet just as Eunuch Park Gi-teuk did in GRAND PRINCE.

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Gi-taek was awesome ❤️
I think backpacking to China would be a good option for Eunuch Jo right now. 😂

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After the gaping hole MotA left in my heart, I don’t have the courage to start watching a new drama yet. I am not even a fan of sageuk dramas but I was drawn with The Crowned Clown primarily because of Yeo Jin Gu. But then reading the recaps, it seems the story is quite entertaining. So, I will keep on reading the recaps and will check if someday I will have the heart to watch it on screen. Thank you for this @lollypip!

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This show is fast becoming hen's teeth to me - a sageuk I actually enjoy.

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We've braved through some crappy sageuks before but this one is a keeper.
I hope this is a good sign for the upcoming sageuks. The par is high so I hope it'll motivate the rest to do better.

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*is nervous it won't remain a keeper* *please remain a keeper show*

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Crossing fingers and toes :).

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Saw the newest episodes! Can't wait to talk about them! omg.

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YES. Incredible acting and I am dying to discuss!!!

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Never though hairy legs poised for a whipping would be such a gratifying sight!
And I just get more reasons to respect Dowagers with every passing Saguek, they hold grudges and they have no time for tricks.

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Queen dowagers are always proactive and most of them wield the real power from behind the curtain.

I wish they'd give our queen something more to do beside day dreaming about romance.

She could be politically savvy and stand on her own since she was raised in a noble house. She has all the resources and privileged that a commoner girl doesn't have.
She is in a position to do more but she seems to be stuck in the past and is resentful of her husband because he is not the man he used to be or he is not the man she wants him to be.

Right now she has no packing beside Ha Sun. Her empty threat to the queen dowager was quite laughable because she has no power. Her father is gone and if the king goes down she will go down with him but she doesn't seems to care about her position anyway.

I don't have a problem with romance if it's not at the expense of her character.

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There is only one problem though - her father had fallen from grace and actually been exiled. Mostly court women (including the queen) are married to the king through their influencial relatives and the relationship of the king to them mirrors their relationship to their relatives. That means that if a king needs the support of an important minister, he cannot treat the minister's daughter/niece/sister too badly, if he decides to get rid of a minister for whatever reason, normally that person's niece/daughter/sister will also lose their standing completely in his harem. LH does whatever he wants and does not act according to protocol, or else he would have already changed the queen or at least shown openly that he no longer favours her. It's an extremely unlucky situation for her to act up.

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I understand what you are saying and that she has no packing which should be a motivation for her to find a way to protect herself. The problem is, she didn't care about her position to begin with and she'd rather be living outside of the suffocating palace.

When she mentioned to Ha Sun the memorial for the king's mother that led to the resurrection of the Daedong law I was pretty excited.
More of those would give her a queenly purpose as the mother of the nation beside just existing for romance.

Just because women were suppressed in those days doesn't mean they couldn't do anything. There is countless stories of women's influence from that era but that's for another drama I guess.

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