The Crowned Clown: Episode 7
When the worst happens, our clown finds himself facing the consequences of his actions while acting as king. He knew what he was risking, but that doesn’t make it any easier for him to accept the repercussions. Meanwhile the true king is running rampant, and it looks like there’s nothing that can stop him from destroying everything that our sweet clown has come to care about.
EPISODE 7 RECAP
Both Yi Heon and Ha Sun hear Dal-lae call out in the marketplace, and they turn towards her at the same time. Luckily, some banner-bearers obstruct Yi Heon’s line of sight, so they don’t see each other. Whew. Dal-lae keeps following Yi Heon, thinking that he’s Ha Sun. She loses him in the crowd, and he somehow manages to stumble his way to the palace entrance.
We backtrack a bit to the moment that he woke up in the monk’s hut and found himself tied up (for his own safety, but he was infuriated). Dal-lae has seen him from outside and thought he was her brother, so she’d broken into the hut and freed him with a knife he told her where to find.
She’d hugged him, but he’d pushed her away and asked for water. When she’d returned, she’d found him gone, so she’d followed him, taking along the ornate knife he’d left behind.
Dal-lae hides when she sees Gap-soo and the monk looking for her. When Jung Saeng leaves to ask at the gibang, Dal-lae shows herself, and he’s so angry/relieved to see her that at first, Gap-soo doesn’t even notice she’s talking again. She tells Gap-soo that Ha Sun is here, and that Jung Saeng had been keeping him locked up.
As they continue walking through the festival, So-woon notices Ha Sun staring at some men eating at a restaurant, so they stop for food. She’s nonplussed at the humble stew, and she pokes through it asking about the meat. Ha Sun is embarrassed to have just offered his queen pork heart and intestines, but So-woon bravely eats, shocking him and herself when she actually likes it.
She asks if he’s eaten this before, and after a moment of panic, Ha Sun says that he’s slipped out of the palace in disguise before and had it. He even acts like he’s only pretending to like it, pulling icky faces now when he was just eating with gusto, ha.
Smiling at him fondly, So-woon says that she feels like an ordinary woman out with her husband. Ha Sun plays along, asking her which house she’d want to live in. She picks the smallest one on the street, saying that in a small home, they’d be that much closer to each other, and since it’s at the end of the street, they’d have the longest walk home together.
Touched and pleased, Ha Sun enjoys walking with his beautiful lady as it grows dark and the festival continues. She tells him that she used to love visiting the market when she was younger, especially the different scents. Ha Sun asks worriedly if he smells sweaty after their long day, but So-woon tells him that he smells warm to her.
She stops at a stall selling compasses and decides to buy one for Ha Sun. He protests that he hasn’t done anything to deserve a gift from her, but she says that he’s been considerate and made her happy, plus he keeps getting lost in the “house.”
She chooses a lovely red compass with a lotus design carved into the wooden cover. She starts to pay what the vendor asks, but Ha Sun’s roots kick in and he haggles the price down without even thinking about it. So-woon mentions it later, and he blusters that he’s seen others do it and didn’t really expect it to work, ha.
He promises to keep the compass with him at all times, though he protests that he doesn’t really get lost that much. So-woon tells him that even if he has to take the long way around, he can use the compass to find his way back to her.
Moo-young and Ae-young run over, Moo-young gasping that he’s relieved to have finally found them, and Ha Sun mutters sarcastically, “Yeah, such a relief.” Ha Sun and So-woon both look disappointed, but they know it’s time to go back to the palace.
In the gibang, Minister Lee writes a letter to Lord Gil’s followers regarding the chance to realize Lord Gil’s dying wish. Jung Saeng finds him and tells him that Yi Heon has disappeared. Minister Lee is surprised that Jung Saeng knows the identity of the man he’s been caring for, but Jung Saeng says he’s known for a while.
Putting aside his letter, Minister Lee prepares to see the king, telling Jung Saeng to take Woon-shim and Ho-geol and run if he’s not back by morning. Jung Saeng begs him not to go, scared of what Yi Heon will do, but Minister Lee argues that if he doesn’t go, Yi Heon will kill Ha Sun.
When Ha Sun sneaks back into the palace, he finds Eunuch Jo expressionless. He belatedly realizes what’s happening when he sees Yi Heon, back in his royal robes and reading the official journal of everything that’s happened in the palace while he was gone.
Ha Sun freezes up, then drops to his hands and knees when Yi Heon snarls that he’s forgotten his manners. Yi Heon kicks him viciously while Eunuch Jo begs him to stop. Moo-young barges in when he hears the noises, and he’s stunned to see two copies of the king in the same room.
Yi Heon turns crazy eyes on Moo-young and asks if this clown has become his king, then he grabs Moo-young’s sword and prepares to strike. Ha Sun clutches Yi Heon’s leg and screams that Moo-young didn’t know, but Yi Heon still threatens to kill Moo-young to teach him who the real king is.
Ha Sun throws himself in front of Moo-young, taking the blame for deceiving the guard. When he sees this, Moo-young offers up his life for not recognizing that Ha Sun was an impostor. Instead, Yi Heon drops the sword and orders Moo-young to arrest Minister Lee.
After he leaves, Yi Heon wants to know if So-woon’s vacation was Ha Sun’s idea. Ha Sun stammers that he was following the royal physician’s advice, but Yi Heon is furious that So-woon didn’t report to him as soon as she returned. He bellows to have the queen brought immediately, and Ha Sun starts to panic.
Ha Sun is nowhere to be seen when So-woon enters the king’s chambers. Yi Heon asks how she feels, and she’s a bit surprised since she thinks she just spent most of the day with him, but she says that she feels well again.
Ha Sun listens from his hiding place as So-woon mentions their day in the marketplace, adding that spending time with him was better than medicine and rest. Yi Heon asks what he did to make her so happy, and So-woon says that it was just walking and talking comfortably with him, and that she feels better than she ever has since she came to live at the palace.
She looks up and sees Yi Heon’s expression — he’s trying to hide his fury, but she can tell something is wrong. He says through gritted teeth that he’s tired and dismisses her.
She stops on her way out, and Eunuch Jo asks if something is wrong. She says it’s nothing, but she asks him to tell her if anything happens to the king. So-woon leaves, and Eunuch Jo is shocked to see Minister Lee being escorted in at sword-point.
While they’re alone, Yi Heon points the sword at Ha Sun again as he notes that the queen’s changed a lot while he was gone. Ha Sun says it’s not what he thinks, and Yi Heon demands, “What do you think I mean? What did you two do?!” Ha Sun swears that nothing happened, but Yi Heon doesn’t believe him.
He accuses Ha Sun of planning to meet with the queen outside the palace, and when Ha Sun insists that’s not what happened, Yi Heon threatens to call So-woon back and ask her. Ha Sun stays silent, and Yi Heon laughs crazily and says that he should kill Ha Sun’s family and anyone that knows of him for this crime.
Minister Lee walks in and sees Ha Sun with the king’s sword to his throat. He welcomes Yi Heon back, only to find that sword aimed at his neck. Yi Heon accuses him of having him tied up like a criminal, but Minister Lee stays calm and replies that he took desperate measures to prevent Yi Heon from hurting himself.
Yi Heon looks taken aback for a moment, then he remembers the rice payment law and asks if that was also for his safety. Minister Lee reminds him that he always wanted to reinstate that law, but Yi Heon laughs and asks why he would do it while a fraud was on the throne if that’s true.
He challenges Minister Lee to explain why his actions don’t amount to treason, but Minister Lee says to kill him now if he’s lost trust in him. Yi Heon points his sword at Minister Lee’s heart, and Minister Lee simply stands still with tears in his eyes. Yi Heon decides that Minister Lee would never betray him, but there’s an edge of desperation in his voice as if he’s trying to convince himself.
He blames Ha Sun for everything, and he gives Minister Lee the sword and orders him to kill Ha Sun to prove his loyalty. Minister Lee argues that Ha Sun is just a puppet, and that without him, Yi Heon will never catch the people who are still trying to kill him.
He says they need Ha Sun alive until they have definite proof, but Yi Heon finds it strange that Minister Lee is defending Ha Sun. He tells Minister Lee again to kill Ha Sun, and this time Minister Lee swings at him, slashing his arm, but Ha Sun throws himself out of the path of the sword. Yi Heon orders Minister Lee to stop, and he tells Moo-young to take Ha Sun to the woods and leave him for the tigers.
With a devilish grin, Yi Heon tells Minister Lee to bring Minister Shin to him. Minister Shin refuses the summons, sending a letter instead that says he’s sick and will come to the palace when he feels better. Yi Heon recognizes it as a challenge, but he tells Minister Lee not to summon him again.
Suddenly exhausted, Yi Heon requests Court Lady Kim, and while she’s dressing him for bed she notices the self-inflicted wound in his ear. She starts to ask about it, but Yi Heon grabs her hand and snarls at her, so she resumes her duties silently. He asks when is his next scheduled date to spend the night with the queen, and when Court Lady Kim says it’s next month, he tells her to make it tomorrow.
Worried about Ha Sun being left in the woods to die, Eunuch Jo accidentally refers to him as “His Majesty.” Minister Lee reminds him that the real king has returned, and warns Eunuch Jo not to make such a slip in front of Yi Heon.
Moo-young takes Ha Sun to the edge of a deep pit in the woods. Ha Sun apologizes for deceiving him, explaining that Yi Heon gave him a royal command not to reveal his true identity. Moo-young says angrily that he’s also following a royal command, and he tosses Ha Sun into the pit.
When Moo-young returns to the palace, Minister Lee asks about Ha Sun. Moo-young is so angry that he snaps at Minister Lee to call him by his title and not his name, but Minister Lee says he understands how he feels. He also tells Moo-young that Ha Sun was acting under royal orders, but Moo-young scoffs that he wonders if the king agrees.
He turns to walk away, but Minister Lee calls after him that Eunuch Jo says Ha Sun saved his life. Moo-young says that it’s more like he almost died because of Ha Sun, but Minister Lee retorts that they both know what kind of person Ha Sun is. He tells Moo-young to think about whether Ha Sun deserves to die, and he asks where Ha Sun is.
Moo-young accuses him of traitorous thoughts, but he says it’s too late anyway because Ha Sun is dead. Minister Lee thinks about Yi Heon and how he’s been slowly descending into madness and fear, versus how Ha Sun was so earnest and principled during his time as king.
Ha Sun wakes in the pit in the middle of the night, tied up and injured, but he still has the compass that So-woon gave to him. Scared and alone, he gives in and sobs his heart out.
Jung Saeng tells Woon-shim that Dal-lae disappeared, and he assumes that Gap-soo still hasn’t found her since they haven’t shown up at the gibang. Ho-geol joins them, and Jung Saeng tells them that they have to flee if Minister Lee doesn’t return by morning. Woon-shim asks if it’s about the Daedang Group, and says that she’ll wait for Minister Lee if it is.
After trying unsuccessfully to climb out of the pit, Ha Sun nearly gives up. But he remembers Minister Lee giving him the scar and telling him that he’s the king now, and it gives him renewed energy. He tries again and makes it to the edge of the pit, but an animal (a wolf?) lunges at him and he falls again.
In the morning, Minister Shin learns from an informant that the king asked for the royal journal and kept asking about things he already knew, and that later, Minister Lee was dragged into the king’s quarters. Yi-geom tells his father that he should go to the palace, but Minister Shin says he should wait as long as possible before seeing the king.
Ha Sun is still alive, but he’s weak and hurt. He’s still clutching his compass, and he thinks of So-woon as he murmurs, “Your Highness, I seem to have lost my way again.” He staggers to his feet and tries to climb again, but he’s not strong enough, and he passes out.
Minister Lee tells Yi Heon that he believes it’s the queen dowager and Prince Jin-pyung who have been trying to kill him. Yi Heon goes to see the queen dowager, who serves him tea that he stares at with suspicion instead of drinking. He snorts derisively when she says that all these visits lately make her happy for the future of the family.
He growls at her to behave more cautiously if she wants to continue living in the palace, because if she keeps throwing knives at him, he’ll banish her to the royal villa. The queen dowager asks if he’s threatening his mother, but he laughs that his mother died years ago. He roars and swipes his table away, looming over her as he says that he’s not afraid to be disloyal and unfilial.
As he storms out, Prince Jin-pyung gently chastises him for speaking to the queen dowager that way. Yi Heon just sneers that he knows why Prince Jin-pyung is in the queen dowager’s chambers every day, and he warns him that he can lose his head for being a traitor just like his father and brother did.
After Yi Heon is gone, Prince Jin-pyung tells the queen dowager that he thinks the king must have heard something (about their scheming). She believes that he’s been pretending to be focused on state matters lately to make them lower their guards, and since he’s in such a bad mood, she decides to pray for him – but her words sound more like a threat.
Minister Lee is concerned that threatening the queen dowager and Prince Jin-pyung will have bad results, but Yi Heon says breezily that he’ll just dethrone the one and behead the other. He asks about Minister Shin, and when Minister Lee says that he’ll just keep refusing his summons, Yi Heon goes to Minister Shin’s home himself to ask why he’s ignoring him.
Minister Shin admits that he lied about being sick because he was ashamed to face his king. He asks if Yi Heon truly wants him back at court and Yi Heon says he does, so Minister Shin promises to immediately reappoint the governors and magistrates that were recently found guilty of embezzlement.
Minister Lee advises Yi Heon to let the court discuss this, but Yi Heon defiantly tells Minister Shin to do as he wishes. Minister Shin asks if he can also order the rice payment law suspended, and Yi Heon says that he can do whatever his job allows. When Minister Lee protests, Yi Heon yells at him to shut up, and says that he’ll be punished if he ever says he can’t do something again.
But Minister Lee tries again when they get back to the palace, saying that Yi Heon can’t go against the collective decision of the court or it could be used as ammunition against him by his enemies. Yi Heon says that Minister Shin will take care of those people for him, so Minister Lee asks him not to allow Minister Shin to reappoint the guilty magistrates or the people will lose faith in him.
Yi Heon admits that everything the court decided was correct and appropriate — but the fact that Ha Sun made it happen means that he can’t allow it. Minister Lee says sadly that if that’s Yi Heon’s decision, then he asks permission to resign. Yi Heon refuses, but Minister Lee turns to walk out, and Yi Heon yells that he’ll be back.
As Minister Lee feared, Moo-young arrests Woon-shim and Ho-geol for disobeying a royal command. Ho-geol, who only knows Ha Sun, protests that the king wouldn’t do this, and Woon-shim asks if Minister Lee knows that they’re arresting innocents. Minister Lee goes to see them in prison when he hears the news, and he promises to get them out as soon as possible.
Minister Lee goes to Yi Heon again and gets on his knees, and Yi Heon orders him triumphantly never to turn his back on him again or he’ll kill everyone Minister Lee cherishes. Yi Heon throws a letter in front of Minister Lee and tells him to follow the orders in it, and as he walks away, a tear rolls down Minister Lee’s face.
Before Yi Heon visits So-woon, he tells Moo-young to bring him Ha Sun’s head as evidence that he’s dead.
So-woon greets Yi Heon in her quarters with food and tea, and when he sees her, his expression changes from anger to wariness. She asks him if something happened today, but he asks in return why she’s no longer his “frozen queen.” He wonders if he should be happy or sad about that, and she says that she hasn’t been a good wife in the past, but wants to change that.
She says it would make her happy if he accepted her heart, but Yi Heon shakes with fury at her words. He grabs her and throws her onto her back, looming over her as he tells her to forget any happiness he’s given her. He snarls that he’ll make sure she knows who she belongs to, and he starts to untie her clothing.
So-woon stops his hand and their eyes lock, and they both freeze.
Moo-young goes to the woods to do as he was ordered, but when he arrives at the pit where he threw Ha Sun, it appears empty. He leans down to get a better look, and a hand grabs his arm — it’s Ha Sun, who looks desperate and willing to do anything to survive.
Seeing Yi Heon back in the palace is as terrifying as I expected, and the terrible thing is, I can’t even blame him for being furious. He left of his own accord and made Ha Sun take his place, but he never expected to come back and find Ha Sun being a great king and husband. He thought Ha Sun would die and he’d make a grand reappearance, impressing all of his enemies, but instead he was imprisoned (for his own good, but still) while a clown ran his country better than he ever did and even had an emotional affair with his wife. Any man would be angry, but the problem is that Yi Heon is nowhere near mentally stable, so his way of dealing with his anger is extremely dangerous to those around him.
That said, I’m glad he’s back, because as much as I love Ha Sun and think he’s a much better king, the story is so much more dynamic with Yi Heon on the throne, being unpredictable and making horrible choices. I kind of want to see Ha Sun end up on the throne at the end, but I want to see him really fight for it. Or if that’s not possible, I want Ha Sun’s example to make Yi Heon wise up and try to make himself better, and actually be a king who works for his people, and not just let someone else get rid of anyone who opposes him. Both of them need to be in the palace for either of these scenarios to work out, and while I can’t see Yi Heon allowing Ha Sun anywhere near him at this point, I just want to watch them go head-to-head because whenever that happens, I’m riveted.
My heart really ached for Minister Lee in this episode, because he must feel so lost and alone and helpless right now. Everything he’s done has been out of loyalty to Yi Heon and a desire to make him into a great leader — even working with Ha Sun to re-enact the rice law was to make Yi Heon look like a great king who cares for his people. But Yi Heon refuses to see it and accuses him of disloyalty and treason, and it’s no surprise that Minister Lee is now probably realizing that out of the two, Ha Sun would make a better king. Yi Heon only cares about protecting himself and is willing to commit unfair and horrible acts out of selfishness, while Ha Sun has risked his life more than once for others.
I’ve mentioned that I’ve been a fan of Yeo Jin-gu for years, almost as long as I’ve been watching dramas, and I’ve seen nearly everything he’s been in since his mid-teens. But this drama is the first time I’ve seen him be this horrific — Yi Heon gives me chills, and not the good kind. and somehow Yeo Jin-gu manages to perform across from himself so well that I can really believe that there are two of him (and I should mention that the CGI involved in making that happen is impeccable!). I continue to be amazed at Yeo Jin-gu’s ability to portray two very different characters, and I’m never once confused by which one I’m looking at, even though they’ve both mostly been seen wearing royal robes. There’s something about this eyes when he’s Yi Heon that just gives me the serious creeps, something unstable and almost inhuman. Then he’s Ha Sun and he’s just pure sweetness and earnestness and love, and I have to remind myself that I’m looking at the same person. There are some people who are just born to do something, and this is what Yeo Jin-gu was born to do, and I genuinely feel that we as drama fans are lucky to be able to see such a gift at work.
- 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