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The Crowned Clown: Episode 8

With the king more out of control than ever, something has to stop him from terrorizing the entire country. An answer comes from a surprising source, but the solution means committing to a course of action that could save the country or destroy it. The only question is, will they have the courage to do what must be done?

 
EPISODE 8 RECAP

Yi Heon orders Moo-young to bring him Ha Sun’s head as proof that he’s dead, but when Moo-young gets to the pit where he left Ha Sun, it appears empty. He leans over the edge to looks closer, and Ha Sun’s hand grabs him.

Moo-young unsheathes his sword, but instead of lopping off Ha Sun’s head, Moo-young stabs it into the ground and uses it to help pull Ha Sun out of the pit. He lets go of both Ha Sun and the sword, and Ha Sun grabs the sword and levels it at Moo-young. He asks why Moo-young returned, but Moo-young just says to kill him.

Ha Sun throws the sword into the pit, saying that he can’t kill Moo-young just to save his own life. Moo-young tells him that he’s been ordered to bring his head to the king, and he grabs Ha Sun by the collar. He tells him to leave, but Ha Sun says, “My destination is already set. I will return to the palace. What I cherish most is there, and I can’t leave it behind.”

In the palace, Minister Lee is still reeling from Yi Heon’s threat to kill everyone he cares about if he tries to leave again. He opens the written orders that Yi Heon gave him, and reads that he wishes So-woon deposed, then made to drink poison.

But first, he apparently intends to violate her, as he’s currently ripping her clothes off in her bedchamber. She tries to stop him but he pins her hands down, and when he leans down to kiss her, she turns her face away. He starts to hold her still, but before he forces her to kiss him, he collapses in pain.

Holding his head in his hands, he stumbles from So-woon’s chambers and back to his own. He screams to be left alone, so Minister Lee dismisses Eunuch Jo and Court Lady Kim and puts the king to bed. After Yi Heon is asleep, Minister Lee says to the otherwise empty room that it’s been a long time since he dedicated his life to his king, and that he’s always tried to be loyal and dutiful.

He says that he had one last chance, but he let it slip away, so now he’s prepared to deal with the consequences. He takes the order to depose and poison the queen, and burns it over a candle.

Minister Lee leaves and tells Eunuch Jo that the king passed out, but he doesn’t allow Eunuch Jo to call the royal physician for fear it will get out that Yi Heon is addicted to drugs, and the queen dowager will use it to her advantage. He asks for Moo-young, but Eunuch Jo says that he’s away fulfilling a secret order from the king.

Leaving Eunuch Jo with instructions not to let anyone see Yi Heon until he returns, Minister Lee goes to write an official royal command that the queen dowager is to have no visitors, and stamps it with the king’s seal. Next he writes a note for Jung Saeng to meet him at the rear entrance to the palace after dark and has it delivered to the gibang.

Ha Sun follows Moo-young back to the palace and hides while he goes to see the king. Moo-young asks how Minister Lee intends to deal with the backlash when Yi Heon wakes and finds out he used his authority to confine the queen dowager. Minister Lee says that he plans to have Yi Heon taken outside the palace and treated for his addiction.

But with Yi Heon’s birthday only two days away, Moo-young says that people will know he’s gone. Eunuch Jo says they need to bring back Ha Sun, but Minister Lee tells him that Ha Sun is dead. Moo-young surprises them both, announcing that Ha Sun is actually alive, and Minister Lee demands to see him.

Sweet Eunuch Jo cries to see Ha Sun safe and alive. When he joins Minister Lee in the king’s chambers, Ha Sun only stares at him angrily, then asks why he summoned him. Minister Lee asks in turn why Ha Sun came back knowing he’d be killed, so Ha Sun says that when Yi Heon ordered Minister Lee to kill him, he saw Minister Lee hesitate.

He says that Minister Lee can’t know how it feels to be abandoned by someone you trust, or how he felt in that pit, surrounded by darkness. He says that he didn’t want to die that way, and Minister Lee admits that he also wished for Ha Sun to survive.

Minister Lee tells Ha Sun that he knows he can’t trust him after he left him to die, but that he’ll beg him to stay or let him go, whatever Ha Sun wants. He waits for Ha Sun’s decision, and they both look down at the unconscious king. Ha Sun whispers, “I want to have power. I want power to protect the people I cherish more than my life. I want to be the real king.”

Minister Lee warns Ha Sun that the throne doesn’t grant power to be wielded at will, and that he’ll have to take lives, shed blood, and give up everything to keep the throne, even his own heart. But Ha Sun says he can do it, looking scared but determined, so Minister Lee tells him, “Engrave this moment on your heart. Whatever danger may befall us, I will not leave you. I will protect you.”

A short while later, Minister Lee and Moo-young meet Jung Saeng at the palace’s back entrance. They have a cart with them, and inside is the still-unconscious Yi Heon. Minister Lee asks Jung Saeng to take care of him for a few days and says he’ll visit soon.

Eunuch Jo bandages the wound on Ha Sun’s arm that he got when Minister Lee was ordered to kill him. Minister Lee returns and tells Ha Sun that while he was gone, the king and Minister Shin decided to forgive the officials that Ha Sun found guilty of embezzlement. Unfortunately, it’s impossible to reverse the king’s orders, and the officials will be reinstated tomorrow.

Minister Shin and all of the officials who are being promoted tomorrow celebrate together. The officials thank Minister Shin for his generosity, and he basks in their adoration. One official presents him with a telescope, but the real gift is the letter in the bottom of the box, and whatever it says pleases Minister Shin.

Unfortunately, the man doesn’t know when to stop talking, and he carelessly mentions that Yi-geom is being given a promotion because he’s Minister Shin’s son. Yi-geom looks uncomfortable, and Minister Shin’s expression darkens.

In the morning, Eunuch Jo brings Ha Sun a simple breakfast, and Ha Sun asks how things were in the palace while he was gone. Eunuch Jo reluctantly tells him that Yi Heon was supposed to spend the night with So-woon, but he got sick and ran out.

So-woon is still upset, unable to figure out why the sweet, caring man she’s fallen in love with was so angry and violent last night, telling her to forget the happiness and joy that he never gave her. She goes outside for some fresh air, and Ha Sun comes and takes her where they can speak privately.

As soon as they’re alone, Ha Sun whirls and hugs So-woon, whispering that he missed her. At first she stands stiffly in his arms, but then her hands come up and she hugs him back. Eventually he backs up to look at her as he tells her, “All night my thoughts were filled with you. You’re the reason I got through it.”

Relieved, So-woon’s eyes fill with tears. She notices the cuts and bruises on Ha Sun’s hands, so he fibs that he was training with Moo-young. So-woon says that he seems like a different person than last night, and that she’s glad of it.

Ha Sun simply says that he was scared he’d never see her smile again. So-woon tells him that she’ll never forget how he came to her today, so Ha Sun promises to visit her so often that she gets sick of him. They stand there for a long time, smiling and lost in each other.

Meanwhile, Minister Lee has Woon-shim and Ho-geol freed, and he apologizes to Woon-shim for making them suffer. He says that their arrest was a mistake, and Ho-geol whines that he might have ended up apologizing for this “mistake” to their decapitated heads, ha. Minister Lee just gives him a baleful look, and Ho-geol is all I’m just saying, it was scary in there.

Prince Jin-pyung is turned away from the queen dowager’s chambers, and he accuses Minister Shin of being behind the king’s orders to confine the queen dowager. Minister Shin grumbles that he only just found out, and he tells Prince Jin-pyung to talk to the king if he’s so concerned.

In court, Ha Sun fumes when he sees Yi-geom among the group of officials to be re-appointed. On Ha Sun’s order, Minister Lee calls the smirking Yi-geom forward. Ha Sun approaches him, and he says that he’s decided that someone with Yi-geom’s talents shouldn’t be wasted. He cancels Yi-geom’s previous appointment, and orders him to a faraway island to act as village head.

Yi-geom realizes that he’s being demoted, and Ha Sun says breezily that there’s a new hot springs in that area. He likes hot springs, so he wants Yi-geom to investigate the one on the island and figure out how to make one near the palace. LOL.

Ha Sun continues with each of Minister Shin’s chosen officials, loudly announcing their crimes of embezzlement, bribery, and even affairs with married women then ordering them sent to prison. Minister Lee watches gleefully like it’s Christmas and his birthday all rolled into one, ha.

Minister Shin protests that the officials were supposed to be appointed, not arrested. Ha Sun says that he he trusted Minister Shin’s loyalty but was disappointed. He points out the one man left, the man who gave Minister Shin the telescope, and who was made a village head without having passed the qualification exams.

Minister Lee says that this is proof that Minister Shin appointed these men unlawfully, but due to his position’s exemption from charges, Minister Shin cannot face punishment. But for committing such a serious crime, Ha Sun dismisses Minister Shin from his position of Left State Councilor.

Aiming a glare at Minister Lee, Minister Shin asks Ha Sun if this is truly his will, and Ha Sun says that it is. He stands, and the official on the floor finally looks up at his face and recognizes him — oh crap, he was the head of the village who refused to pay the clown troupe after their performance at his party.

As the ministers leave the court, Minister Lee gives his sarcastic regards Minister Shin. Minister Shin says to tell the king that he deserves to be stripped of his noble status, but that he’ll remember the king’s generosity in leaving him his position as great lord.

Unfortunately Yi-geom isn’t as mature as his father. He flings his new appointment at Minister Lee’s feet and accuses him of humiliating his innocent family. Minister Lee picks up the scroll and growls that Yi-geom tried to murder him, so he can’t claim to be innocent. Yi-geom denies it, but Minister Lee tells Yi-geom that he’ll report him if he refuses his new position.

When he returns to Ha Sun, Minister Lee asks if he’s satisfied his grudges, but Ha Sun says he’s just getting started punishing Yi-geom. He says that he misses his sister and wants to see her, so Minister Lee asks for some time to think of a way without revealing Ha Sun’s secret.

Minister Lee says that tomorrow is the king’s birthday and that there will be celebrations and a feast. Ha Sun admits that it feels strange to have a birthday celebration when he doesn’t even know when he was born.

He wants to cancel, but Minister Lee says that the court officials have been planning for months. Ha Sun suggests that they cancel the feast and distribute the food to the people. Minister Lee looks impressed and agrees to arrange it.

According to his new position, Ho-geol walks through the marketplace gathering vendors’ prices to calculate the tax. He avoids their attempts to distract him, and while the vendors scurry away to get the product Ho-geol knows they hid, Gap-soo wanders by with Dal-lae and mistakes Ho-geol for the taffy vendor.

He shows Ho-geol the knife that Dal-lae took from the hut where Yi Heon was tied up. Ho-geol idly wonders what the knife is worth and finds himself on the receiving end of Dal-lae’s death glare, ha. He notices the ornate dragon painted on the knife’s sheath, and tells Gap-soo that only the king is allowed to use a dragon as decoration.

He asks where they got the knife, and while Gap-soo is trying to think of what to say, Dal-lae snatches the knife and runs. Gap-soo follows her, leaving Ho-geol staring after them.

Prince Jin-pyung finds Minister Lee to ask why the king had the queen dowager confined. Minister Lee says he doesn’t know, but he tells Prince Jin-pyung not to worry about the queen dowager, because the order will be canceled tomorrow for the king’s birthday.

When Prince Jin-pyung finally gets to talk to the queen dowager, she wonders why she was confined at all when the order was lifted so easily. Prince Jin-pyung thinks it was a show of strength, so the queen dowager decides to give the king what he wants and pretend to be afraid of him.

The village head complains to Minister Shin about what happened in court earlier, mentioning that he even gave Minister Shin the deed to his land in exchange for a promotion. He demands his deed back, but Yi-geom has him beaten — until he says he knows something important about the king.

He tells Minister Shin that he hired some clowns, and that one of them looked exactly like the king. At first Minister Shin is skeptical, but then he thinks about how the king seems like such a different person lately.

Minister Lee talks to what’s left of Lord Gil’s people again, and he gives them the Daedang manuscript, which Lord Gil wrote. Woon-shim and Ho-geol tell the people that Minister Lee isn’t a traitor as they believe, but that he actually risked his life to get this book and keep it safe. Ho-geol says that the rice payment law is only the first step in creating their better world.

Minister Lee tells the people that they can still hate him if they want, but that he’ll sacrifice himself for that better world. He asks them to live and learn together with him again, and the people decide to give him one last chance.

On the king’s birthday, the queen dowager is greeted by Prince Jin-pyung and many court officials who apologize to her for the way she’s suffered at the hands of a disrespectful king. She says the socially correct thing, that she as a parent is responsible for her child’s behavior. But she adds that on behalf of the country, she won’t ignore the trouble the king is causing, and calls for their support.

Court Lady Kim wishes Ha Sun happy birthday as she dresses him for the day, and he has to force himself not to cringe away from her. She notices that the wound in his ear, that she just saw yesterday, is suddenly gone, but she doesn’t say anything.

Yi Heon wakes up in a cave, with Moo-young still by his side. Moo-young explains that when he collapsed again, they brought him here to hide his illness. Yi Heon asks if Moo-young brought Ha Sun’s head, but Moo-young says he couldn’t complete the order and that he should die for disobedience.

Yi Heon tells him to die, then, and grabs Moo-young’s sword to kill him himself. He’s almost too weak to lift the sword, and he drops it when Minister Lee’s gentle voice calls out to him. Minister Lee takes the sword and tells Yi Heon that it’s his birthday, and asks him not to taint such a happy day with blood.

Delighted, Yi Heon tells Minister Lee to imprison Moo-young and bring his birthday meal. Does he even know where he is?? Instead, Minister Lee sends Moo-young to the palace alone and says he’ll bring Yi Heon back later.

Because Ha Sun canceled the birthday feast, So-woon brings him a meal she made herself. As he eats, the consorts arrive to bring his birthday gifts. Hwa-dang gives him a golden tortoise to represent long life, and So-woon surreptitiously tucks her own gift away — awww, it must be the same thing.

Ha Sun says a live tortoise could have been eaten, but a gold one is useless. He brightens and decides to sell it and use the money to replenish the ration rice, and So-woon and the other consorts struggle not to laugh. One consort asks So-woon about her birthday gift, but So-woon lies that she didn’t get him anything.

Ha Sun says that the commoners don’t exchange gifts, and that they should do the same. But he notices So-woon’s downcast expression, so he says pointedly, directly to So-woon, that he’s going to the library this afternoon to spend time with his true friends.

Minister Lee feeds Yi Heon a simple meal of rice and seaweed soup. Yi Heon says bleakly that it’s a day of birth, but also of death, as his mother died after giving birth to him. He say that the late king never even got him a nanny because he resented Yi Heon for his mother’s death, or let him call him “father.”

He suddenly perks up and asks excitedly if Minister Lee made So-woon drink poison, then figures he can just poison her when he gets home. His hands are shaking too badly to feed himself, so Minister Lee helps him, and he listens patiently while Yi Heon rants that he’ll kill everyone who opposes him.

They visit a nearby beach that Yi Heon used to love as a child, to a drink to celebrate his birthday, and Yi Heon wonders what’s on the other side of the water. He remembers the books that Minister Lee used to bring back from envoy trips to Ming, and decides to one day travel to other nations himself to bring back foreign weapons.

He vows that his nation will be the most powerful, and Minister Lee says that the powerful nation Yi Heon wants is exactly what he himself wants. Yi Heon promises to create that nation, but Minister Lee only looks at him sadly.

Minister Lee gives Yi Heon the drink he promised, though he almost changes his mind when Yi Heon says it would have been nice if Minister Lee had been his father. Yi Heon downs the drink, and he and Minister Lee look out over the ocean. Yi Heon says it’s time to return to the palace, but suddenly he drops his cup and clutches his stomach.

He collapses to the sand, vomiting blood. He looks up at Minister Lee and laughs crazily, saying, “That clown is not dead. I was afraid that this would happen. That’s why I wanted to make you kneel, to make you stay. Why are you turning your back on me? Why are you giving up on me?!

As he looks down at his king, Minister Lee says softly, “I’m not giving up on you. I chose our nation, its people, and the new world over you.”

Yi Heon growls that when he returns to the palace, he’ll kill the clown, the queen, Moo-young, and even Minister Lee, but first he’ll make them all regret this betrayal. But he spits up more blood, growing weaker, and Minister Lee tells him kindly that it will hurt less if he stops speaking.

Yi Heon asks if Yul, his brother, suffered like this. Minister Lee was the one who carried out Yi Heon’s order to kill Yul, and he sobs that he thought in Minister Lee’s obedience he’d finally found someone truly loyal. Minister Lee explains that when he said he’d die for Yi Heon, he was truthful, but Yi Heon calls him a liar since Minister Lee still lives and he’s the one dying.

He pleads that he wants to live, but Minister Lee says that this is the only way to create the powerful nation Yi Heon dreams of. Yi Heon asks how it’s possible without him, and Minister Lee promises to make it happen.

Yi Heon’s body convulses with spasms, and he collapses to the sand. He gasps, “I’m scared. I’m so scared. In the afterlife, who I am will not matter.” Minister Lee says he’ll stay by Yi Heon’s side until it’s over, and seconds later, Yi Heon stops breathing.

Crying, Minister Lee stands, then offers one final, formal bow to his king.

 
COMMENTS

I’m speechless. I was NOT expecting this. I had a feeling we would most likely end up with Ha Sun on the throne in the end, but not this way, with Yi Heon dying so early in the story. And I certainly would never have guessed that it would be at Minister Lee’s hand, although thinking about it, I’m glad it happened this way. Yi Heon was in so much pain on that last day that, even knowing what a monster he was and how much destruction he would cause if he went back to the palace, I cried buckets to see him shaking and struggling just to feed himself. I don’t think that he could have been redeemed, or blameless for what he’d done, but seeing him so weak and pathetic really hit home that he was a victim whose weaknesses were exploited by his power hungry enemies.

Coming from Minister Lee, Yi Heon’s death was an act of mercy in so many ways, and the gentleness with which he helped and spoke to Yi Heon on his final morning just broke my heart — you could tell that he cared for this boy that nobody loved, regardless of what he became. He even took Yi Heon to his favorite place to die, likely wanting his last moments on Earth to be in a place that made him happy once. Minister Lee released Yi Heon from his physical and emotional pain, he saved So-woon from a life with a man who would terrorize her constantly or kill her for the tiniest imagined slight, but most importantly, he gave the country the king that would work for the betterment of his people. What he did wasn’t done lightly, and he did it with the utmost respect and with the intent of bringing about a better world.

I also didn’t expect for Ha Sun to ask for this, because he’s always been so humble and self-effacing that at first it seemed out of character for him to blatantly ask Minister Lee to make him king. But then I thought, he just saw Yi Heon at his worst, and he was realizing that Yi Heon would never be anything more than a tyrant who terrorized his people, even those closest to him. Of course Ha Sun knew that Yi Heon was beyond redemption and that he would be a better king. He’s a good person, and he doesn’t want power for power’s sake — he has an opportunity to use power to protect and help those who can’t protect themselves. I just hope that he doesn’t get carried away with his personal vengeance, because that’s where I can see this plan going sideways, but luckily he has Minister Lee to keep him focused.

I’d really hoped that Yi Heon could find redemption, but after seeing how his return to the palace only made him more paranoid and more vicious, I had to admit that he was beyond saving. Nothing would ever fill that hole inside himself that craved power and control and absolute obedience, and he was more than willing to kill over and over again to get it. Even in his last moments, his final thoughts weren’t regret or remorse for how he’d hurt others — they were worry that in the afterlife, he would be the same as everyone else, and no longer have power. There’s nothing in this world that can redeem someone like that.

So, now Ha Sun is king, for good. I’m very curious to see what he does now, when there’s no end and no out for him if things go badly. The queen dowager is up in arms and has a strong following, and it looks as though at least two people are going to figure out that he’s not who he claims to be — both Court Lady Kim and Minister Shin have reason to suspect that the man on the throne may not be the true king. Ha Sun and Minister Lee will have to do some fancy talking just to keep Ha Sun alive, much less on the throne and trying to change the country for the better. It makes me feel sympathy and understanding for Yi Heon, even though he let his fear and paranoia destroy him, and I wonder why anyone would ever want to be king.

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I have exhausted myself and nearly drained myself of eloquence and comprehension trying to find the right explanation of my thoughts about all that happened in this hour, and even after writing this, I’m still not sure I’m sure of anything. Except for the fact that I’m still bitter and sad and a bit mad.

The problem being of course, that in just eight episodes I got so attached to the potential of the King’s character I’m still reacting emotionally to the end of this episode almost a week later. Whatever happened to desensitizing yourself, Sic? Hmm? HMMM? *tsks at self*

I guess we could sit here all day discussing the ramifications of such an episode, the true intent of this drama, and whether its whole will be as good as its parts, but all that really matters is creeving heck Jingoo, that was phenomenal and anything this drama does from here on out will be hard pressed to live up to the sheer heart wrenching acting, directing and cinematographic brilliance of that last scene, whether I think they should’ve killed the king or not.

Oh well.
The King is Dead, Long Live the Clown.

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i WISH DELETED comments actually disappeared instead of displaying my incompetency at making a word hyperlink to the entire recap section but oh well.
THIS*, even after writing *this*: http://www.dramabeans.com/members/sicarius/activity/709687/
💀💀💀💀💀💀

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I'm glad you (eventually) posted that link because it has my incoherent thoughts on this as well.

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Ideally it would've been a well formatted comment with the link right there for people to click on but no, it's hiding down here.
Click on it please people, for more discussion! lol

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That's the thing. I'm pretty mad at the writer (I wrote a whole spiel below), but I also have been thinking about this episode all week. So I guess writer-nim is doing their job well..? There is no cure for whatever this is.

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No cure at all hahaha. In just 8 episodes, most of which he wasn't in, Yi Heon made it onto my favourite Kdrama characters list, and Jingoo into my favourite actor list.

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I think that's what hurts most--not that the king is dead, but that we no longer get to see Jin Gu play that character. I would have killed to see him either act a redemption arc or go full on villain mode. I mean, I would have killed metaphorically. Not like Minister Lee kills for reals.

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If you've read my wall post, you know I'd kill for it too. Totally metaphorically as well of course. Totally.

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We have a group of all female writers and director.

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Soooo~?
Aren't lot's of Kdrama writers female?

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Yes but not with a female PD at the helm.

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I was quite surprised by the ending on this ep since the movie was very different (lookalikes have a showdown in front of a full audience)

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My hopes of a happy ending for Jin Goo and Jin Goo have been dashed and now I have no idea where I want this to go. Please let it be interesting and not a repeat of ruin. Thank you for your hard work @lollypip.

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How am I supposed to argue that Jingoo is better than Jingoo after this?? 😭😭😭

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I think we can all agree that's the greatest tragedy of all.

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I was hoping for Jin-goo and Jin-goo to make it till the end.
Instead, I'm having to mourn Jin-goo's death for Jin-goo.

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I'm going to have "jin-goo jin-goo jin-goo jin-goo" stuck in my head thanks to you two. ¯\_(ツ)_/¯

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LOL! Just cause am curious: Has there been a case before of an actor who has stolen his own show? Cause the King deliberately has stolen this show from Clown.

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Probably Seo Kang Joon vs. Seo Kang Joon in Are You Human Too. :D

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Yesterday a friend reminded me about Ji Sung in Kill Me Heal Me, YooNa was a hell of a scene-stealer indeed!

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Yesterday while I was talking to a friend, suddenly remembered Ji Sung's multiple characters from Kill Me Heal Me, YooNa was a hell of a scene-stealer indeed!

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I can’t stress enough how well Jingoo acts, in everything. However a good director really does him justice. The scene of Yi Heon’s death was perfect from dialogue to acting to cinematography to background music.

*I’ll sleep-write the rest of my comment*

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Turns out that Yi Heon and Ha Sun are both Haksan's puppets. He is wielding the real power from behind the throne.
He killed Yul and Yi Heon so there is Ha Sun who can't do much without him.
The only heir left to the throne is Prince Jin-pyung with an angry Queen Dowager behind him.

Part of me died with Yi Heon. The other half of me will be eating popcorn and watching from the side line.

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Gosh if that last line aint me. *sighs*

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Right? I have not been able to get this drama out of my head all week. Half of me suffering, half of me thrilled to the core.

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Ditto. I'm still so pissed to be honest... And just in general can't let it go pfffffft dfadhfkhjfldjnf.

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That’s no fun. We should be watching from the front line. Be careful of the blood splatters though.

*Put on the 3D glass and munch some popcorns*

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Well, I'll move to the front line if we have more than popcorn. Maybe a few rice cakes, mochi, melona (I don't care if it's freezing cold) and some yaksik minus the poison lol.

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That's a really interesting observation! We see the other minister trying to control LH and the court for the his own ends and he is definitely portrayed as the villian. But is Haksan so different from him? I have never thought of that. Certainly HS will have to emancipate himself from both of them to come to his own.

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I am of two minds about the shocking developments this hour.

I loved the boldness of killing off a main character, of the death and its implications for the rest of the story. I loved how consistent it was for Minister Lee, who has been shades of grey and an "ends justify the means" character from the beginning. I loved the absolute artistry in the execution. I loved Jin Gu's performance. It was, I'd argue, his best-acted sequence of all time.

The plot point itself I don't hate. I don't hate the overall story idea of a clown who becomes a king.

What I don't like, and doesn't work for me, is the disconnect of this current plot trajectory with the story we were promised at the beginning of this drama. This show is based on a movie, and of course it needed to expand on that. But instead of spinning out a story using the original as a jumping point, or reimagining the movie in a new way, they essentially remade the original movie almost exactly, then started a completely new story some episodes in using the same characters. That makes it feel like a bait and switch, and makes this not the seamless drama I'd imagined it would be.

I've seen so many historical dramas centered on generic court intrigue. That's essentially what this has become, now. What was special about this was the dual role of clown and king, and the interplay between these two foils. That's how the first two episodes set this drama up. Now that one half of that equation is gone with half the show left, I have no idea what to expect of the drama, and I don't know if I trust the writer to take us to the end in a way that will be engaging and satisfactory.

I am going to keep watching hoping for the best because the production value is so high. This all just makes me a bit wary.

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Yes. This.
The way the first episode was shot and written made me think I'd be getting equal King and equal Clown.
The title of the show and the following episodes made me think otherwise.
But the most engaging thing, other than for me Jingoo as the King, is the King and the Clown's dual role, the interactions of that and the juxtaposition of that. Instead the King was basically sidelined, and then cut.
I doubt I will be satisfied by the ending; I can't explain it at the moment, I just don't think I will be, but I will keep watching.

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If Ha Sun's character had been as engaging as King Cray, I'd be way less wary. But man, what a jolt it was to have Cray back this week. The episodes without him weren't as interesting.

I'm wondering more and more if Ha Sun, under the pressure of leadership, becomes more and more like Cray until he actually becomes him (or nearly does). We've seen that spark of rage from him on a couple of occasions. If that's where we're going, giddy up, cause I'll take that ride.

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Oh for sure. I think I've said it like five times already; the King was SO MUCH more enthralling. Whenever he was on screen it was just magnetic.

Yeahp, lots of people have thought the same, myself included.

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On the side note, now I can watch the movie without being wary of spoiler hahaha been wanting to see the original but scared I might not into the series anymore once I watch it, but now I guess its the time 😆😆

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Yes, I wanted equal clown and king at least until then end when we should have had an epic showdown. The show had more energy with the king and his brand of crazy. I don't want court intrigue, I wanted Cray Cray versus Clown!

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Hi @ultramafic. Maybe some folks missed this in the last Open Thread #589 (2-1-2019). Here is @fanwho fan's translation of a recent interview with Kim Sang-kyun. It concerns his role in TCC:
http://www.dramabeans.com/2019/02/open-thread-589/#comment-3400690
Here is part of the interview where he talked about his concerns of making a remake of MASQUERADE:

Q: What do you think about real king Lee Heon's death?
Kim: Actually when I first got the offer from director Kim Hee-won, I was pessimistic. Because remake of a movie which had over 10,000k audiences could be easily compared and badly criticized. I asked the director Kim why we were even doing this. And she said "We kill off Lee Heon", hinting the drastic plot to be unfold, and I decided to join right away. I was attracted because it would be re-created as a new project even though it was a remake. I am sure it will set a good example for remake projects.

Q: How did you feel after filming the ending of ep.8 which became talk of town?
Kim: I told the director Kim about this. When Lee Heon and I had conversation with birthday meal table in front in the cave before the ending, I felt incredible sadness much worse than I expected. Should I say I felt a shudder went over my body because of the relationship with Lee Heon I developed all that time? When I was to film the ending with such feeling, it brought home to me what the expression "heart bursts with grief" means. Subject's indescribable sorrow on the situation he had to kill his love-and-hate lord for the new world he was dreaming overwhelmed and felt devastated while filming.

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This episode left me so emotionally confused and sad. I was truly hoping for Yi Heon to recover his old self and prove his father wrong. His insecurity and guilt ate him up to the point of no return and it's so tragic to see someone who had so much potential end up in such a state.

Yi Kyu vowed to protect Yi Heon and even killed his brother Yul to secure Yi Heon's power to the throne. This time, Yi Kyu swore to protect Haseon and killed Yi Heon to secure Haseon's place. Yi Kyu has been mocked by Shin Chisoo for not tainting his hands with dirty work, when it turns out Yi Kyu actually killed Yul for Yi Heon and eventually committed the biggest treason of all by killing Yi Heon.

But at the same time, I could also understand why Yi Kyu did what he had to do. Yi Heon wielded so much power in his hands but his mentality was already far too broken to have proper control of such power.

With that said, bravo to the way the final scene had been directed. Even the ending credit with only the sound of waves, made me feel the heaviness and emptiness of Yi Heon's passing. Yeo Jin Goo's acting was so powerful that I could really truly see the sad little boy within the despicable tyrant King. Kudos as well to Kim Sang Kyung's acting. The conflict of having to kill the King he once truly believed in. Ugh. I could still honestly feel the impact of that scene until now.

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Ikr? Yi Heon had much to prove, that he was deserving of the throne because he was the most capable and being a son of a concubine has nothing to do with it.

It breaks my heart when he called Yi Kyu "Haksan" and that he should have been his father (*ugly cry*).

Do you think Haksan will let Ha Sun go after he full filled Lord Gil's Tax reform? It has to happen or killing Yi Heon will be pointless and it'll turn me into a bitter melon.

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Ugh, yes when he said how nice it would've been if he had been his father and Haksan was taken aback but he continued pouring the wine anyways. I JUST-- 😭😭😭

Yi Heon's place caused him to be so vulnerable and helpless. Everything was just toxic and it ultimately ruined him and I'm so heartbroken because he had the potential to be so much more. Everyone in the palace doubted him and he wanted to prove himself so badly and to see the very person he trusted suddenly turn his back on him.

Haksan is an end justifies the means kind of person, and I fear for Haseon. Mostly because he promised Haseon the same thing he promised Yi Heon and look where that vow ended up. I know, it's because Yi Heon had gone truly astray and would end up ruining whatever hope he had for that reform, but still, I wish he didn't give up on Yi Heon so soon.

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More like "The road to hell is paved with good intentions" when it comes to Yi Kyu.

We were right not to trust him from the beginning even though he seems to be smart and squeaky clean.

I said before that Yi Kyu is the worst comrade and ally ever. Yi Heon was no longer useful to him so he has to go. Same thing goes with Minister Yoo. He did nothing to save his comrade and the queen's father.

Haksan is the most dangerous politician in this show. The way he manipulates the king and his court as a mere chief secretary is pretty amazing.
He has no wealth, no army, no packing, no royal blood but he is the king without a crown.
Yi Heon gets the blame when he made a bad call. He killed Yul but it's Yi Heon's reputation that is ruined.

Yes, the tax reform that he is trying to pass is a good thing but is he doing it for himself or for the people?

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Yeah he is not so loyal as he claimes to be. But i think imprisoning woo shim and then ordering the queen to be poisoned was the last straw for haksan. 😅

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I believe both. I think he truly believes that he's doing it for the nation. But at the same time, we know that he's also desperately trying to prove himself to the Daedong group after he abandoned them to save himself.

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Haksan is a better villain than Minister Shin. Shin is too one dimensional for my liking.

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@kiara LOL same. I'm honestly far more interested about Court Lady Kim's motives and where her allegiance truly lies even if she's only working under Shin Chi Soo.

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*darts furtively into the room*
I am about to watch ep 9 but decided to stop by to say: I never trusted Secretary Lee.

I am now worried what will happen to the Clown if he goes against Lee. His talk of creating a “better world” and willingness to compromise his morals reminds me a lot of Song Sabu in REBEL: THIEF WHO STOLE the people. In that drama we knew Song was a bad guy - a scholar who wanted to control the king and establish stricter Confucianism. Here Lee seems like a good guy, but deep down he’s really not that different. He just took it a step further than we could have ever imagined. He’s scary.

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@wishfultoki

Haksan is exactly from those kind of scholars who would over throw a monarch if he doesn't agree with them. They'll claimed that their ideas is for the good of the nation to justify murdering those who stand in their way.
Sambong did it with Goryeo. Song with Yeonsangun and now Haksan with Yi Heon but he took it a step further by killing the king himself.
Haksan is definitely scary.

Yi Heon was doom from the beginning and the drugs was used so he doesn't have a way out and to justify killing him.

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Talking about the poisening, I find the directing choice is very on point. Juxtaposing the scene where the person that poisoned Yul is revealed with the scene where that very same poisoner find another victim is very apt. It also answered multiple questions like who poisoned Yul? Why Yi heon has a lot of faith on Minister Lee? Is that drink poisonless? Is that a poisonous drink? I guess I should stop now.

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I feel like we've all raved about Yeo Jin-goo's performance in this but, aside from the extraordinary and gut wrenching performance on the beach, he also gave me so much joy during that scene where he was throwing scrolls around.

I have no idea how he managed to bring us both these characters at such intense, emotional moments in the same episode during a live shoot. It makes the whole thing even more amazing.

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Oh bless. Yes that was hilarious. If I love the King for his moodiness and darkness, I love the Clown for well... being a clown.

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Someone said they could imagine Yeo Jin-goo having so much fun in that scene that he kept insisting they re-film it.

"What do you mean it was perfect? Let's do it again. More scrolls! Bring me scrolls!"

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Ah, the joys of a group live-watch.

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I love group watching this show. It's a shame I won't have time this week.

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HAHAHAHAHAHA What little I know about Jingoo, this seems entirely possible

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I watched the paper throwing scene in SKY Castle the day after I watched the scroll throwing. Both were thrilling.

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Thinking that the queen didnt giver her gifr to Hasun not because hers is the same as the tortoise but she probably thinks her gift isnt worthy because isnt as expensive.

That aside, Im so sad for Yi Heonnnnnnn 😭😭 😭 ugh my heart.

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@karin,

I, too, thought that the Queen put away her birthday gift because it wasn't as swanky as the golden tortoise. I bet it's a handkerchief she embroidered for him herself, or some other small but meaningful token.

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Yes, something that she created or embellished. Something that he would love and cherish.

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-Excuse me while I collect my head because my brain just exploded! I was not expecting this at all. At first I wondered if this is another red herring. But I don't see that happening here since ML is obviously familiar with poisoning someone. I'm actually a little disappointed in Minister Lee because in my opinion he did give up on Yi Heon. In his dying moments YH showed that he really was a scared little boy, and to be killed by the person he felt would have made a better father, felt like the ultimate betrayal. No, I didn't want YH to remain on the throne, but I also wanted him to live somewhere far away and hopefully recover some of his sanity. I felt it was too soon to give up on him. I understand the reasoning and that he could never be a capable ruler but seeing him on his knees, scared and abandoned, wanting to live, was just too much for me. I'm still reeling a week later. It can take years for someone to change and YH wasn't even given days. Everyone around him either hated, used, abused, drugged, or abandoned him (except So-woon). Like I said, remove him from the throne but give him a chance to change. That being said, I am very curious to see where the show is going next. And I will miss YH or rather YJG's amazing performance as YH.
-Again hats off to YJG for that riveting performance as a dying YH.
-This episode had it all, romance, comedy, murder and Minister Lee's face when HS threw that scroll was just priceless. And the gold tortoise scene was hilarious. I don't know how anyone in that room didn't bust a gut laughing cause I know I was. Oh, and I love Ho-geol.
-It's only halfway and you know our enemies are down and not out. --And what will happen when So-woon learns the entire truth? That is a conversation I'm dying to see.

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*sobs* come cry with me. I agree with all of this. So so so much.

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This. I was shocked to read in the recap that it was mercy that some minister Lee to kill LH, to me, this was a deeply immoral betrayal at least on a personal evel. I understand that he did not see any other way to save the country, maybe it was the best thing to do from a political point of view. But as a person he has betrayed someone who loved and trusted him possibly more than anybody in the world (for what it's worth), and he had also betrayed himself who had promised to always be on LH's doese and to be with him. I think this is something that even he himself will never forgive himself for, though he will justify it, deep down it will haunt him forever.

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Even i feel betrayed by minister less poisoning the king, but I don't think yi heon had any love for minister lee. Even he wasnt a loyal friend to minister lee. He threated to keep him and would kill his loved ones if he didn't agree to it. That also isnt loyalty and certainly isn't love. Yi heon only loved himself. He did say that he wished if minister lee was his father. But
i am not sure if he actually meant it. Even if he truly meant it at that moment, yi heon has such mood swings he would have killed lee for the slightest of mistakes. Just like he planned to kill his queen, when it was him in the first palace who decides to switch places with another man.

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Well, in Yi Heon's defense, Yi Kyu betrayed him while he was gone.

When he came back he saw that things are not what he thought it would be when he left the palace. Yi Kyu changed all of his royal commands.
Even if it was for the best Yi Kyu did betray Yi Heon first.
Not only that but the clown and his wife are having an emotional love affair and I think that was the last draw.

I don't think falling for the queen was part of his job description.
Ha Sun has got to know that what he is doing is treason and the queen could be executed but I guess he can't help it.

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Of course but i don't see Yi Heon as someone who can keep being loyal either. He and haksan are quite similar that way. He did trust haksan and haksan trusted him. Even haksan did not betray him his neck was alway on the line imho. Yi heon thought of haksan as a loyal person to him because he was pleased haksan did the dirty work of killing yul for him. Before mentioning that haksan is a father to him in the beach, he never really showed that he looked up to him as a father. But he did trusted him with life he thought haksan would never betray him but i am not sure if he was planning to return the favor, i think trust and loyalty and love are different things though they goes along with each other. But i am also upset at haksan (i love the name haksan than Minister lee haha) giving up on him so early. Sometimes it is hard to understand what goes in his mind. He is quite unpredictable.

And yes about ha sun that is why he is not as pure or noble. He didn't really resist the chances he got to be with the queen whom he knows another persons wife. He has come to love playing the king.

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Fair enough @shaani!

I never thought I'd enjoy having a love/hate relationships with our main characters. None of them are perfect.
They are unpredictable with shades of gray.

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By saying "even if", you are basically acknowlegding his love but at the same time declaring it worthless. I think it cannot be disputed at all that he loved both minister Lee and his queen and that they were both in the most vulnerable place in his heart. However that doesn't mean that he is not unhinged and insensible, prone to bursts of anger and cruelty. You can say that his love was useless to those he loved, but not that he did not love. This is very important to me.

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I said I was all out of words but I guess not, so do excuse me whilst I wax poetical/metaphysical/philosophical in a ramble for a moment.

It just bothers me.
To say he's irredeemable.
To me, killing him, whether it is an act of mercy, a means to an end, bad writing, or a plot device- doesn't matter which one it is to be honest, either way it's like giving up on his soul.
I know Minister Lee said “I’m not giving up on you. I chose our nation, its people, and the new world over you.”- but I disagree. You are giving up on him! On him as a person! Maybe not who he represents, the King, the ideal, the nation, but Yi Heon as a person? Yes you are...
I know he's just a fictional character, and in a setting, historical and philosophical, where who he is as a person, a human, maybe doesn't matter, but even the fact that he made me forget he WAS a fictional character in such a short time is saying something...
The afterlife is barely discussed in this show. Mentioned but not really discussed, so whether death is just personal extinction or something else in this world we don't know.
But I can't seem to shake the idea of killing the King as giving up on him, and that irks me. It's not like he'd given up on his life. Why should anyone else?
Wow... I'm so attached. Someone help me.

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I see this as being more about Minister Lee. This is a guy that says he was always loyal, never gave up on him until now and has supported him until he finally got to the point where he was irredeemable.

But... that's not true. If he was loyal, if he was on his side, if he did have his back he would never have stood by while this kid slid into a spiral of addiction and insanity. That's how little he cared about him as a person and as a king. That's the tragedy of it. And it's a tragedy that's about to happen to the Clown because Lee cannot be trusted. He's an ideologue who only cares about his cause. And that's just as bad as the other ministers who only care about themselves.

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"If he was loyal, if he was on his side, if he did have his back he would never have stood by while this kid slid into a spiral of addiction and insanity"- !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Exactly. I tend to just melt into a jumbled mess of keyboard smashing about this so lemme first try to reFRAIN from doing that. Again.
For me it's about both (can't stop thinking about how "an act of mercy" makes the King akin to putting an animal out of its misery >.<), but you're absolutely correct about Minister Lee. As soon as the Clown becomes not suited for the Minster's plans, the Clown's neck will be in danger as well.

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The most painful of all is what he did is exactly betraying the King, while he is the only one that he really trust and consider as loyal to him.

It is betrayal and backstabbing enveloped in the nation above all case.

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I don't think any human being should be so quick to show "mercy" to those who are lost and suffering by ending their lives. Like honestly what hubris!

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Not arguing with you about ending his life, but I don't think it was quick. He'd been sliding into a bad place for a long time. I'd really like to know if they had any idea how to heal someone with an addiction like that.

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@mugyuljoie back.in the day I think there was no other way to quit than cold turkey, which is painful and dangerous but not impossible. Aside from that however I don't think that his problems were mostly from the drugs, the drugs were more a result of his other problems, that he would find the idea of escaping and relaxing with the help of drugs so appealing. We see him hallucinating and having headaches, but the biggest problems of his which led to minister Lee killing him, the aggressiveness, cruelty and paranoia, I don't think those were drug induced. That he was afraid to be assassinated, or felt intense, ugly jealousy when he saw that the Queen basically fell in love with another man were understandable to a certain degree with our without drugs, so he was mostly killed because of his psychological problems stemming from real trauma.

Also I'm sure you oranybody wouldn't really condone killing a person because we think that their drug addiction will probably not get better, or because we don't think their depression and anxiety disorder wouldn't be healed, right?

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THIS. Viewers were made to believe that Yi Kyu is a very honorable character, but at the end of the day, even if it's for the better nation that he's hoping for, killing the King he vowed to protect still makes him a hypocrite and it's a red flag that he gave the exact same promise towards Haseon.

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I don't know if putting the nation's wellbeing first is as bad as using power to hoard money, but I agree that minister Lee is not who he presents himself as, I think he might even not be who he himself thinks he is. He swears loyalty and allegiance to his king(s) but in truth his loyalty lies only with the reform of the country, everybody else can just be helpful or hindering to this cause but never his priority.

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In the words of every k-drama ever, Minister Lee threw Yi Heon away. And killing the real king is only possible because Ha Seon survived and returned. What would they have done if the clown had died?

The show did much to portray the young King as a monster—and he was terrifying, for sure. Whatever wisdom he once had is only described through the words of the Minister and young queen. We never see it ourselves. I was frustrated and confused by there not being any real effort to treat his addiction. Being healed would have been a tortuous, long process; instead Yi Heon was left alone to hallucinate and hurt himself. Now we know the point—he was disposable.

I love this show and have made peace with the shift away from Yi Heon. At this point, it feels like the show will explore the positive and toxic effects of personal and social power. The Left state Councilor exemplifies men seeking personal power and Ha Seon—for the moment—wants to use power for the great good with a soupçon of revenge for his sister’s rape.

I’m most wary of Minister Lee because Haksun is zealot. He’s highly principled in terms of using social power to uplift his countrymen but he has blood on his hands. Maybe all that wet work is just a fact of effective government.

A redemption arc for the king would have been uplifting spectacle. I’m girding myself for Ha Seon’s decent into the cesspool of court politics. I absolutely relate to the passionate reactions of fans. I’m surprised the show elicits the visceral reactions I normally experience with live music like a heartbreaking aria or watching 7th-graders earnestly playing their instruments. My nose does its crazy pre-crying tingle, my mouth waters, and my throat tightens.

“I’m not crying! You’re crying!”

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@tsutsuloo I like how you put it: he was disposable. What will happen to Ha Sun when his thinking and Minister Lee's thinking no longer agree? How many more people will become "disposable" before ML gets what he wants? And what's the deal with this Lord Gil? What did ML do that made Lord Gil's people hate and distrust him?

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I'm deeply curious about Minister Lee's backstory with Lord Gil (and his cherished Woon Shim). I actually think Haksun's a badass and it will be fascinating to see how the show explores the cost of pursuing political agendas—even ones that seem noble.

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I kept thinking during the first 8 episodes that someone somewhere in the country must be an amazing herbalist who could help him heal from his addiction. It pained me to see him locked up alone to keep him safe/hidden.

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Exactly @ndlessjoie mugyuljoie. In episode 3 Haksan pleaded with Monk (a medical doctor) to treat Yi Heon. After all Yi Heon had bravely (I am assuming) intervened in a dicey situation and saved the Monk's life.

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Yes, Yes, YES! He gave up on him as a person and that was disloyal. Minister Lee treats people like they are nothing. He threw HS away, now he threw YH away permanently. He appears to be loyal to no one but himself.

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Buddhism was widely practiced by the Joseon people even though it was deeply rooted in Confucianism ideals.
Yi Heon was talking about the afterlife based on Buddhism beliefs. He is not going to be a king after he dies nor he will be reincarnated as one.

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It's a wonder how easily they can pop out the freaking KING himself out of his private chambers. At will. In most of the other Sageuks you see a hord of Chief Court lady, deputy ladies, junior ladies, Chief Eunuch and deputy eunuch. Ah, and also guards.
This should've been the easiest tip-off to their enemies that something sneaky is going on, that the king's entourage is dispatched. Even in Moon-Sun, how the Queen figured out about the secret was noticing that the king's maids are replaced by his childhood ones.
.
And sending Yi-geom off to a remote place is ABSOLUTELY the worst. Now he can have his merry-disgusting-way with the poor citizens there? 😵Heol. That man must be kept and punished within vicinity!

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Re Yi Geom - exactly. I fear for the women on that island! Or nearby areas. It was brainless and senseless - not quite in keeping with the show wants us to believe about Ha Seon.

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Re: Shin Yi-gyeom's all-expenses paid trip to Fantasy Island, I totally agree. I'm hoping it's a barren rock and he's actually the replacement lighthouse keeper.

What was Ha-sun thinking indeed?! "Keep your friends close, and your enemies closer."

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Having the king died......wasn't what I wish at all, altho he is def so crazy and lethal..and despite it is kinda convenient solution as per Min.Lee's idea..

Still, tho..*sigh*

Now, aside from royal and court machinations, I'm curious about Queen's reaction once she finds out that the man before her isn't the one she married, even if it is the one she loves, moreover to know that the original king has died and replaced by HS. She is still the queen of the nation, and one that has to hold up the morals and confucianism etc etc.... Even if she agrees that HS is the better king and the more befitting for the nation, can she overlook the fact that she unknowingly 'cheat' on her husband? ...

Dunno anymore, just want happy ending for all. Def not the king now, not a real happy ending. Sobs.

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Yes I am curious about her reaction when she found out. She seems to have strict high morals based on Confucianism ideals of her time.
I think she was so cold towards her husband because he wasn't a filial king.

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@kiara,

I agree. The Queen has struck me as righteous. No matter how badly Yi Heon treated her, he was still her husband, and she recalls the good old days before he went over to the dark side. I can only envision her feeling betrayed by the revelation that Ha Sun is a fake. This isn't going to end well.

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I'm also surprise that Minister Lee killed Yo Heon himself! The last ending though, my heart can't take it T__T

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It was a pretty bold move to kill the King for the writter. And I liked it.

I liked the King, he was a very interesting character and supra charismatic. But there were 3 ways for him : he becomes a great King, he heals and decides to leave the palace or he remains as a monster. The first two are pretty nice and it would be a nice ending for a character who seemed to suffer a lot but in the same time it's kind of a "Care Bears" happy end. I think this death by Minister Lee is more like his character, tragic. I'm curious to see the impact it will have on Ha Sun.

For the rest of the episode, I just love the Eunuch. I found the scene where he doesn't know if Ha Sun is alive or not pretty funny. I like this kind of duality between serious and funny scene. And it was so touching to hear him calling Ha Sun "Majesty".

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Fourth option: He tries to get better, and struggles the whole movie through, and then dies at the end anyway, preferably to save someone's life, so tragic, but at least then they gave him an effing character arc...

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That would also be very cliche though...

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Eunuch Jo is love.

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I'm waiting you. I'll miss Yeo Jin Goo's superb performance as the mad king but I love this development. It's unexpected, smack dab in the middle of the story - hits you in the face. Brilliant writing. *Applauds the writer*

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With*

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So far I didn’t feel as much for Yi Heon as fellow beanies. He’s interesting; I’m just not as emotionally invested in him for some reason. But when he said he’s scared, and him being a king in this life wouldn’t matter in the afterlife, I cried a bucket. His violence and madness were his attempt to fend off those who wish to crush him. And because he’s not loved or wanted, power is the only thing he has (at least on the surface) to make him amount to something. Now he’s losing that too, he became totally helpless, and that broke my heart. 😭

Wish you everlasting peace, Yi Heon.

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I think yi heon said he's scared not because he'll be equal to others in the afterlife, but because even though he is a king it won't matter in the afterlife and still be punished for what he did. So it seems at the very last moment he kind of felt that he has done some serious crimes and he was affraid now that he is dying what will happen to him afterwards in the afterlife.

Anyway i did not expect him to die so early. Maybe close to the end of the drama, then yes. I understand the need of killing him off. I just which if they kept him alive for few more episodes at least.
I am worried about the path the drama has decided to take on. If you see the ratings, they got really high and became 2 digit rating when yi heon returned. So im worried if the drama would loose its steam as theres 8 more episodes to go.

The next half of the drama probably will be on how ha sun has to face the schemings of the dowager queen and shin chi so. Unless the king retured by some miracle.

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And yeo jin goos performance as the dying king was marvalous. Though they are two different scenes and situations, in hwayi movie how he cried for his murdered mother also gave me the same kind of chills and last tuesday it was just the same. Minister lee is such a grey character. I hope he won't turn his back on ha sun if he found prince jin pyong a better king some day 😑😑

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Personally I thought that it was more the fact that he had suffered so much to become king and then so much after he became king, and now he dies, a very young man, and none of all that had mattered a bit.

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I mostly said it based on the buddhist teachings. The daebi was seen worshipping in a buddhist temple. Though they mostly study and believe confuses, buddhism was/is very much part of their culture. According to buddhism you have to face the consequences of both good and bad deeds you do. Also known as karma. Im not surprised if he was worried in his last moments about karma and how he is going to suffer in the afterlife, specially for what he did to his innocent half brother Yul.

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which is why he was scared to die.

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I just said what I thought about why he said that line, you are of course free to see it as you wish. Personally I see no repentance but only bitter sadness and a longing for things he could never have in his dying moments.

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He asked if Yul suffered the same way. So i thought he was repenting while going through the same pain an innocent child went through because of what he ordered. But it is nice to have different opinions on things. ❤️ Your opinion can be valid as well. I saw lot of buddhist symbols. Yi heon was treated in a temple by a monk. So just had this thought as immediately he uttered those words. Thats all. 😊

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I actually quite like how expediently they killed off the king. It’ll be sad to not see Yeo Jin-Goo play his dual roles anymore. And I totally get why people would feel like they were sold one thing with this drama, and given another.

That being said, the court politics so far have been incredibly cliche, and my least favourite part of the show. So while I liked the unexpected (but totally necessary) death of the king, I have to admit I’m a little worried all we’ll have left now is so/so court intrigue. If they can keep me guessing with things like this though...I’m ready for more.

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God, I love the scoring and sound design of this series. Having already had my heart destroyed by the beach scene, Show squeezes my ticker by giving us only the sound of crashing waves under the closing credits. The saddest waves ever.

Do they give awards for Best Use of A Drone During Heartbreaking Scene? The production is so frigging great.

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Nothing like a cup of wine listening to the ocean's waves crashing on the beach. Or a cup of tea. Do you want a hot cup of tea?

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When the weather is cool, a thermos of hot tea by the beach is a dream. This time of year, my childhood beaches of southern Maine have an extended shelf of ice—the waves are thunderous as they crash against hard surfaces of ice and rock.

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The overhead shot was one of the most beautiful I've seen.

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Wait, what’s with this “unexpected twist”? Did the drama deviates from the original again?

PS: This question comes from a viewer that don’t watch the original.

I’ll be content if either one of Jin Goo’s characters made it to the end of the road. With that tto-rai king around, I doubt both of them can make it to the end safely.

When I give that a second thought, will there be a remote chance for happy ending? They did a heinous high treason. Unless they win in the impending political upheaval, there might be a chance.

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The King gets in a coma for like 75% of the movie and only returns at the end to switch back places with the clown.

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In the movie, the king does seem like getting a free pass to change his life for the better. I hope he rewarded the clown handsomely.

I guess the drama is beyond the point of no return. Drama-nim, please bring in the anguish and the agony. Don’t forget the happy ending too.

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More movie spoiler:
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The King rewards the Clown with a death order but the Clown manages to escape with the help of the King's personal guard.

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And I believe at the end of the movie the Clown is on board a vessel and as it is pulling away and he is on his way to safety he sees the movies' version of Secretary Lee on shore making a bow to him. (I think I am right.)

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That isn’t the kind of reward that I hope for but I’m glad the clown got his happily ever after in that movie.

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THE CROWNED CLOWN Season1: Ep 1-8
THE CROWNED CLOWN Season2: Ep9-16

After a week long of grieving and reading hundreds of comments and reviews.. i’m still having a hard time convincing myself that we won’t be enjoying Jingoo’s splendid performance as YiHeon wreaking havoc any more. It took us all by surprise and i think it’s part of the writer’s agenda to let us feel this much pain when YiHoen goes, it didn’t wait for us to get tired of him. Pretending that there are actually 2 ‘seasons’ in this unique drama, somewhat eases the pain of yearning for our fallen king.. last week was an excellent way of ending Season 1, tragic as it may be. And tonight, we shall witness a great avenue unfolds as SEASON 2 begins!

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This show will probably have a sad ending? :( With how pious the Queen is, even with her being in love with Jin Goo (the clown), we're in for some serious angst when she realizes he's not Jin Goo (the King). Also Minister Lee will probably die. After all the people he killed, there is no way he'll be allowed to live by the dramagods. It's the rules of the dramaverse.

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It's possible for Ha Sun and the queen to leave the palace and live as commoners. The throne is not his to claim and she finds the palace life suffocating anyway.
When they were out in the market she pointed out that she likes that small house at the end of the street.

I hope that Haksan will let them go after his dream is full filled. That is, if she doesn't change her mind after she found out the truth.

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Our sort-of fictional king here seems like a meld of Gwanghae and crazy Prince Sado. The Sado half gets killed off and the Gwanghae half gets deposed and exiled, hopefully living happily ever after with the then-ex queen.

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Yes I agree! Yi Heon was basically crazy like Prince Sado. Daddy issues included and was sacrificed so that the sympathetic and compassionate YI SAN can rule instead.

The Gwanghae half seems to fit Ha Sun and since they can't deposed a fake king, there is a possibility for him to return to his common life with the queen who doesn't care much about her position.

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I never expected the king to be killed off so soon.
I'm going to miss the crazy king. he was just beginning to grow on me.

YJG is a very talented actor. he keeps blowing my mind with his smile and acting.

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If I were the Queen, I would be scared to death having a husband like that, that is kind in the afternoon, evil in the evening, and sweet again the next morning. I don't think she can really imagine that there are two "versions" of her husband (and who could?).

The scene on the beach was so intense, I felt sad for both the King and Minister Lee. Great acting and great music themes.

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If I were the Queen, I would be scared to death having a husband like that, that is kind in the afternoon, evil in the evening, and sweet again the next morning.

True that. In real life, this would warrant an intervention of some kind. At the very least, "What the hell is going on?"

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When yi heon ordered minister lee to poison the queen i lost most of the sympathy i had for him. Its all his fault that he decided to switch places with the clown. Yi heon is jealous and narcissistic only care about him and his feelings. I did feel when he was shivering like a puppy in the snow and seeing how pathetically he died. But still he brought this all on himself..

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But still he is an interesting character the only thing i am worried is if the drama would loose its charm without the dual roles of jin goo.

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Ah i keep remembering other stuff to write on the drama just after posting a comment. Ha sun maybe innocent but he also have a stubborn attitude and kind of brave as well, a trait which he kept showing through out the drama. Like how he asked if the king is dead so boldly while kimg is resting literally next to them.. His determination to stay alive in the pit also shows a character hard to crack. He adopted to the palace life quite easily as well. So i guess he has another side we have not seen completely yet.

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Love the bad boy king but he's a psycho that needed to go. His answer to everything was "kill it". Not that Minister Lee isn't morally compromised himself. I do love a good sageuk and this has been a good one. My only complaint, I'm not a fan of Lee Se young as the queen. She looks way older than the king and I just don't see any chemistry from her. Still it's not a big deal. She really isn't given that much to do but look serene. lol

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Yes. She was better as a zombie.

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She is pretty, prim and proper, but I think she lacks the regal aura as a queen.

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I agree about the aura but she is not given much to do as a queen. She exists for the romance and nothing more.
I love her but this role is not doing her any favors.

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After reading all the comments above I feel better about myself for being kind of disappointed about vicious king Jin Goo's death. Though it's true that the episode lefts us not knowing where are we heading to with the story, I don't complaint, cause that was a splendid execution (also very happy that the PD is a woman). I have great expectations about the future episodes and character's development, got the feeling that we have not seen everything about our clown and the royal secretary. Also want the queen to find out the true soon (come on girl your are smart, don't let me down), having grow up watching latin telenovelas, I truly despise how the villians always find out every important secret before our protagonists.

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About the loyauty of Minister Lee. I think he's kind of uncompromising type. He gives his whole person for what he is thinking is good. First, it was for the ideologicat dead guy (still bad with names) and after for the King. He killed the little brother for him, he followed the order to kill the Queen's father, who was his friend too, he send his clown puppet to be the bait in the hunting. He did all of that even if he disagreed with for the King.
But the selfdestruction of the King was destroying Korean people too. The King didn't show the will to heal, to work to become better. So Minister Lee chose the country over the King and like always he didn't half-acted. He killed himsellf the King and stayed with him.
He's one of the most intersting character.

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From a storytelling standpoint, I have nothing to say. And I almost NEVER have nothing to say. This drama is a masterpiece thus far.

I am sad that we won't be getting any more of the King. That's the only negative here. But I could not love this show more thus far.

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Thanks for your recap and comments, @lollypip.

Chief Royal Secretary Lee the idealist scares the heck out of me. Left State Minister Shin is bad enough, but Lee is a utopian fanatic. The revelation that he was little Prince Yul's executioner is depressing.

It occurs to me that we may yet see Yi Heon gracing our screens via flashbacks. One can always hope. ;-)

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I had that same thought about flashbacks.

Or Yi Heon can come back and haunt all our major characters, how about that?

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@bbstl,

If Prince Yul could haunt his big brother, there's no reason why Yi Heon's shade couldn't do the same to someone else. But in order to experience nocturnal visitations, the recipient of apparitions has to have a conscience capable of feeling guilt, so that rules out Chief Royal Secretary Lee. (Although I'll grant that he expressed remorse over the fate of Lord Gil and his followers.) That leaves Ha Sun, Eunuch Jo, and maybe Doc Jung Saeng, who is still a cipher to me.

I'd hasten to add that knowledge of Yi Heon's demise is necessary for nightmares to occur. Except for the Queen, who has her own reasons for nightmares.

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Thats a wonderful idea. Specially when ha sun is with the queen. He sees yi heon sneering at him from a distance 😅😅

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It is so nice to see you @pakalanapikake. Unfortunately it is under these circumstances. I hope you will be staying with us.
You know when you can feel in your gut that something is not right. That is how I feel about the death of Yi Heon. Does the ends justify regicide by Secretary Lee? I don't think so.
Yi Heon's condition begs the question. How was he allowed to get in such bad shape. There is a lot to the back story we don't know.
@radily had this comment in Saturday's WWW:

when you got a character like Lee Kyu who will kill unabashedly and still feel righteous, I think all of us will feel terrified for the idealistic Ha Sun. (Ironically speaking though it was Dal Rae that set the real King on his path to death)

When Dal-rae released Yi Heon I think she inadvertantly started the clock ticking that ended with his death on the beach.
I think we will be seeing flashbacks when before Yi Heon had become unhinged. ( I am expecting someone interesting to cameo as Lord Gil),
I want to know more about the Monk also. There must of been treatments for addiction back then. Even if it was going cold turkey which is basically what Yi heon was going through there should have been something in eastern medicine for a person like him.

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I wonder why anyone would ever want to be king

Uh, all those consorts?

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Minister Lee tells him kindly that it will hurt less if he stops speaking.

Maybe hurt Minister Lee less too.

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I was shocked when they showed minister lee killed Yul. In the first episode i did think that guy who was with yul looked like minister lee from behind. But i dismissed the thought almost immediately because i never thought he will harm a child even to prove his loyalty to the king. Guess i was wrong and he ended up killing yi heon as well. Omg.

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I thought the king's hunting dog Shin killed Yul. I guess no one will never know that he did it because the king took it to his grave.

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I want to see flashbacks with the king before all this because I'd love to see the person the queen and Minister Lee knew

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I would also like to see some of the back story.
Which presents an interesting challenge to Yeo Jin-goo. He would in effect be playing 3 roles. Insane King, clown King, and sane/good Prince/King.
O/T. He can refer to Yang Se-jong wonderful portrayal of 4 roles in DUEL.

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I'm late to this but after thinking about it all week, I'm on the fence about ep 8.

I'm not saying Yi Heon was irredeemable but living in a time period with no understanding of mental health, he was never going to get the help he needed. It's sad he had to die, but he was a threat and too dangerous to have so much power. So I guess what I'm saying is I like the decision because imo it made sense.

HOWEVER, I'm pretty much devastated that we don't get to see Yeo Jin Goo playing him anymore because he was fantastic, esp in ep 7 :(

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I just needed to say I love this show, I haven't been so attentive to a drama for a long time (like paying attention to each dialog instead of doing sth else when it gets draggy *cough* Alhambra *cough*. Whenever Yeo Jin-gu is on screen whether as the king or the clown, I loved it. Please don't disappoint! I was hoping Yi Heon actually experiences life as Ha Sun with his sister for awhile and get some healing but oh wells.

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And idk thinking what if they had chosen another actress to be her sister.. and maybe a stronger actress as the Queen although I really do like Lee Se-young, but I feel like she doesn't have that aura or her eyes not as expressive? (Couldn't help comparing to park min young in seven days queen) But then again the main focus here is the king and the clown.

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Yeo jin goo should try more antogonist/ antagonist hero kind of roles lol. Im quite sure he can play yeonsangun in a historical drama and make us feel sympathetic towards the most tyrant king in Josen. 😅

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