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.
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.
- Premiere Watch: Neighborhood Lawyer Jo Deul-ho 2, The Crowned Clown, What’s Wrong Mr. Poong-sang
- The clown gets a lesson on how to be a king
- Three teasers for The Man Who Became King
- Lee Kyu-han joins The Man Who Became King
- Yeo Jin-gu, Lee Se-young become the king and queen of Joseon
- First script read for The Man Who Became King
- The Man Who Became King confirms main pairing Yeo Jin-gu, Lee Se-young
- Lee Se-young courted to be Yeo Jin-gu’s queen in Gwanghae remake