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Tale of Nokdu: Episodes 17-18

Our hero and heroine enter into a fragile truce, enabling them to befriend a good-natured administrator, unaware that he’s the man that they’re both desperate to meet. As Nokdu continues to gather evidence about the impending revolt, he does his best to keep an eye on Dong-joo, two very dangerous pursuits. When he finally gets the chance to meet the man that he’s been told is his father, he gets not one, but two surprises.

 
EPISODE 17: “Yul-moo Misleading Widows”

King Gwanghae carries a lantern into a dark kitchen where Nokdu and Dong-joo are hiding. A quick-thinking Dong-joo unties Nokdu’s tunic to make it appear as if he’s just interrupted two lovers.

The king’s guard notices Nokdu’s black clothing but a flashback shows that Nokdu stole an identical tunic as he ran through the marketplace after seeing that his was damaged. When King Gwanghae recognizes the pair, he sends his guards away and Nokdu guesses that he must be a high ranking policeman. King Gwanghae uses the misunderstanding to his advantage when he explains that he’s on the lookout for someone.

When the king wonders what more the pair has in mind, Nokdu and Dong-joo jump apart. King Gwanghae asks Dong-joo for Nokdu’s name but she coyly claims that she followed him from the marketplace in the hopes that they could get to know each other better. Ahem.

As the guards search for Nokdu, he walks away with Dong-joo and the king. King Gwanghae is surprised that someone as fragile as Yeon-geun’s cousin would take the military exam but he encourages Nokdu just the same. When Dong-joo clears her throat, the king catches on that his companions want to be alone but before he leaves, he tells the pair, “You two look good.”

With Nokdu out of danger, Dong-joo is about to leave as well until he pulls out her IOU, “I finally caught the person who took my money, so why should I let you go? As Nokdu pushes Dong-joo in the direction of his place, the king questions Yoon-jo.

The king remembers that Yoon-jo’s son wasn’t named Nokdu but Yoon-jo explains that his family had to change their names. The king asks to meet Yoon-jo’s son but Yoon-jo confesses that he has no idea where he is.

When they reach Yeon-geun’s house, Nokdu ignores Dong-joo’s request for a room of her own. Announcing that he can’t trust her, Nokdu carries Dong-joo’s bundle into his room and she follows him.

Later, as they both lie in their beds, Dong-joo catches Nokdu staring at her. When Dong-joo asks about his wound, Nokdu hotly confronts her about leaving while he was still unconscious. Dong-joo manages to hide her feelings and answers, “That had nothing to do with me.”

Nokdu takes her by the shoulders to demand, “How can you say that,” but when Dong-joo is silent, he decides, “Fine. Do not worry about my well-being and pay me back.” Dong-joo doesn’t want Nokdu worrying about her either but he assures her that any feelings he had are long gone. When Dong-joo snaps, “I never had any to begin with,” Nokdu flops down to sleep.

In the morning, Yeon-geun knocks on Nokdu’s door to announce breakfast but when he opens it, he jumps back in shock. Master Hwang and Aeng-du run over and see Nokdu and Dong-joo sleeping in each other’s arms.

At breakfast, Dong-joo has to endure Yeon-geun’s hostile glare while Master Hwang smiles at Nokdu. Nokdu explains that she moves around a lot during the night and Dong-joo chimes in that they were nowhere near each other when they fell asleep. Nokdu tells their housemates that the only reason that Dong-joo is back is because she owes him money.

When Nokdu and Dong-joo insist that they have no feelings for each other, Master Hwang just smiles while Yeon-geun scoffs, “Hah!” Aeng-du points out, “Since she is back, you will not be crying during the nighttime,” and an embarrassed Nokdu claims this injuries were responsible for his tears.

Dong-joo asks Aeng-du if she’s enjoying the food in Hanyang but the girl sighs that she misses Yul-moo’s dishes. Dong-joo tries to change the subject by asking Yeon-geun why he’s in Hanyang but when he blurts out that he was worried about Nokdu, they back away uncomfortably. Dong-joo announces that it’s time to go to work and Nokdu joins her, without eating a bite of Yeon-geun’s breakfast.

When Nokdu watches Minister Heo’s house, he learns that it’s being watched by royal guards and Yul-moo’s man, Park Dan-ho.

After hearing that Hwang-tae hasn’t been sleeping well, Yul-moo brings him a remedy. When Hwang-tae mentions his uselessness, Yul-moo assures him that he’ll be of great help in the near future, regaining the life that he lost.

Outside of the palace, Dong-joo approaches the palace servant that she befriended and learns that no one can mention her name after the swing incident. The servant suggests that she should give up any hope of working in the palace but when Dong-joo presses a gift into her hand, she mentions that there is a way…

Ssook is reunited with Jung-sook and Yeon-boon at the Muweol Headquarters in Hanyang. After Yeon-boon reports that the surviving widows were taken to a safe place, she asks Ssook if she got a look at the man who killed Lady Cheon. Ssook didn’t recognize him but vows to find him and kill him but Yul-moo interrupts, “Do you still not get it?”

A somber Yul-moo informs the widows that Minister Heo was behind Lady Cheon’s murder. He explains that after Lady Min’s (Nokdu’s assassin) body was found in Heo’s house, the king wanted to question Lady Cheon. After Minister Heo had her killed, the king confined Heo to his house. Yul-moo proposes that Ssook should take over the Muweol Corps to get revenge against Minister Heo, while helping him to create a new world.

Armed with the support of the Muweol Corps, Yul-moo meets with Minister Heo’s faction to announce that it’s time for their revolt, without Heo. One of the ministers asks for a declaration from Yul-moo to insure that the prince doesn’t abandon their agenda and he seemingly agrees.

Nokdu watches as Yul-moo leaves the meeting but before he can follow him, Dong-joo arrives on the scene. Dong-joo enters an illegal gambling den and asks for Lord Park as we hear the palace servant’s explanation that he introduces prospective servants to his sister, for a fee.

Even though she was warned that it’s some sort of scam, Dong-joo sits across from Lord Park and plops down a bag of money, asking to work in the palace. Lord Park informs Dong-joo that it’s not nearly enough and suggests paying him back with three months of wages.

Dong-joo inspects Lord Park’s promissory note and finds that the real contract amount, hidden by a piece of paper, would take thirty years to repay. Before Dong-joo can get away, Lord Park grabs her hand to force her signature.

Lord Park is pushed into the ink by Nokdu, who argues that until she repays his debt, Dong-joo belongs to him. Lord Park orders his men to kill them but Nokdu (looking beat up) and Dong-joo manage to get away.

When Nokdu turns around, Dong-joo gasps that he’s bleeding. Dong-joo wipes the blood from his nose but she’s talking about his side. Nokdu smiles when a worried Dong-joo drags him to a clinic.

At the palace, King Gwanghae thinks back to Yoon-jo’s answer that he was the only one who survived that day. As the king sighs heavily, the queen joins her husband, concerned by what she’s heard about Minister Heo. The king doesn’t appreciate her meddling but the queen is worried that the disloyalty of his old friend has caused him distress.

The queen remembers how kind the king was when she first came to the palace, before she lost their child. When King Gwanghae sharply reminds her that she’s not to mention that day, she points out that he never even comforted her. The king snaps, “That is the kind of husband I am. So it would be much better if you stop worrying about me.” After the queen leaves in tears, King Gwanghae looks miserable.

After examining Nokdu, the doctor points to some clean bandages and tells Dong-joo to take care of her husband. As they wait for the doctor to return, Dong-joo wraps Nokdu’s torso with a clean bandage, leaning in very closely every time it goes around his back. 


Nokdu never takes his eyes off of Dong-joo’s face but she’s careful not to look at him. When Dong-joo finally asks, “What,” Nokdu wants to know, “You said that you did not care if I was hurt or not. Then, why are you worried about me?”

Dong-joo felt obligated to help Nokdu because he was hurt protecting her but Nokdu agrues that her face says otherwise. Dong-joo tells him to think whatever he wants and returns to wrapping the bandage around his body, her face just inches from his as she works.

EPISODE 18: “Trap for Yul-moo”

As they walk home from the clinic, Nokdu wonders why the criminals in the gambling den haven’t been arrested. Dong-joo explains that the police make so much noise that the criminals have plenty of time to escape out the back door.

When Dong-joo asks if he’s hungry, Nokdu pulls out a small money bag that he picked up in the gambling den, unaware that her large sack is filled with coins. Nokdu tries to get her to repay her debt and as they argue, an old woman seems to recognize Dong-joo. The pair stops fighting when the king surprises them, “Are you already having a lovers’ quarrel?”

The old man asks his wife why she keeps turning around and she insists that she saw Eun-seo, the lady that they once served. He remembers burying her family’s bodies but his wife reminds him, “…we did not find a body for the lady.”

The king joins Nokdu and Dong-joo for their meal and when he asks if it was rude to tag along, Dong-joo bluntly answers, “It was not nice.” King Gwanghae senses the couple’s tension and laughs amusedly when Dong-joo and Nokdu call each other “lame”.

When asked if he’s on another stakeout, the king explains that he’s not on duty, just having trouble sleeping. The king tells Dong-joo that he was headed for the swing where he first met a sad Nokdu. In an attempt to change the subject, Nokdu suggests a way to combat the king’s insomnia.

At the same time, Minister Heo informs Yoon-jo of a way to protect Nokdu from the king β€” have Nokdu replace his father on the throne.

Nokdu pushes Dong-joo up a steep path as the king complains, “I thought he was going to relieve my insomnia.” Nokdu good-naturedly does the same for the king as Heo makes a case for overthrowing King Gwanghae. When he calls the king a lunatic with a sword, Yoon-jo reminds Heo that he’s the one who made him that way.

Heo asks Yoon-jo to hand Nokdu over to him but Yoon-jo refuses, “I have no desire to make Nokdu do such a heinous deed. And you have no right to dethrone the King.” Yoon-jo turns away from Minister Heo, signaling that he’s done talking.

Together, Nokdu, Dong-joo and King Gwanghae enjoy a breathtaking view of Hanyang. Nokdu assures the king that he’ll sleep now that he’s exercised and advises him to stay busy throughout his day.

King Gwanghae guesses that other people can’t sleep because of the king’s incompetence. Seeing the look of surprise on Nokdu’s face, the king queries, “Do people not talk about the king behind his back?”

Nokdu asks, “Have you ever seen His Majesty,” but the king reminds him that he’s just an administrative officer. When King Gwanghae notes Nokdu’s interest in the king, both he and Dong-joo deny it and she laughs that she thought he was talking to her.

On the walk down the mountain, Dong-joo tactfully asks the king if he sleeps alone. Dong-joo gazes at Nokdu fondly as she explains how she solved her insomnia, “It helps to have someone who cares and worries about you.”

Dong-joo suggests that the king should allow his family to help him just as Nokdu interrupts, worried that she’s been badmouthing him. The king smiles as Dong-joo and Nokdu walk away bickering.

When they get home, Nokdu has to leave again but he asks Dong-joo, “You can have secrets or push me away. I do not mind. But do not do anything dangerous. Just promise me that.” All Dong-joo says is for Nokdu not to worry.

In the garden, Hwang-tae recalls Yul-moo’s promise to find and protect his father, Lord Jung Yoon-jo. At Yul-moo’s urging, Hwang-tae affixed his thumbprint to a public record below his real name, Jung Yi-hyung. A rock falls at his feet with a note attached and Hwang-tae hides it in his sleeve after reading it. Park Dan-ho reports the incident to Yul-moo who tells himself, “Soon, I will be able to meet the King’s son.”

Dong-joo visits her chicks and confesses, “After I met him, I realized how much I missed him.” Master Hwang joins her to muse, “Life never goes the way you want it to.” After he explains that Nokdu “stole” a room for her, Dong-joo goes inside in time to see an upset Yeon-geun vacating his room.

Dong-joo insists that she’ll sleep anywhere but Aeng-du astutely observes, “He (Nokdu) just wants to keep you nearby. Your rooms are connected by a window.” Master Hwang scolds his daughter, “They are trying so hard to act like they do not like each other.” When Master Hwang reminds Nokdu that he has an exam the following day, he leaves to avoid Dong-joo’s questions.

Later that night, Nokdu smiles when he sees Dong-joo’s silhouette in the window of the wall that separates them. They fall asleep turned towards each other as King Gwanghae stands outside of the queen’s chambers, thinking of Dong-joo’s advice, “‘To have someone by your side who cares and worries about you.'” Instead of alerting the queen to his presence, the king walks away.

Yeon-geun, Master Hwang and Aeng-du are waiting when Nokdu exits the exam. Confident that Nokdu is on his way to becoming a general, Master Hwang pulls him into a hug. Before leaving, Nokdu exchanges a knowing look with Master Hwang.

While shopping in the market with Yul-moo, Hwang-tae asks to visit a bookstore. Instead, he goes to the illegal gambling house and asks for Lord Park with Park Dan-ho and Yul-moo right behind him.

Yul-moo sits down where he can see Hwang-tae but before Park Dan-ho can unsheathe his sword, a policeman in disguise shouts, “Arrest them!” In the confusion, Hwang-tae’s companion runs him out the back door and Yul-moo disappears.

Thrown to the ground in the middle of a bamboo grove, a sack is pulled off of Yul-moo’s head and he sees Nokdu looking down at him.

In a flashback, we see that Nokdu advised the local police to infiltrate the illegal gambling house in disguise, like their superior (because he thinks the king is their boss). Nokdu used the raid to kidnap Yul-moo.

With his hand around Yul-moo’s throat, Nokdu demands to know why he involved Hwang-tae. Yul-moo makes it sound as if they met by coincidence and he merely offered him a place to stay.

Nokdu stops Yul-moo’s lies with a punch to the jaw and asks, “What do you know about me?” Nokdu grabs Yul-moo’s throat again and squeezes when Yul-moo claims that he’s not interested in him. Yul-moo manages to push Nokdu’s hand away and pulls out a knife. Nodku disarms him and punches Yul-moo’s face before sending him flying with a kick. Nokdu pulls out his sword as Yul-moo yells that he’ll pay for what he’s done.

Nokdu applies that reasoning to the innocent women that Yul-moo killed, “If you have committed a crime, you must pay for it regardless of who you are.” Before Nokdu can strike, Park Dan-ho lands in their midst. Nokdu picks up the knife and plunges it into Yul-moo’s shoulder while blocking Park Dan-ho’s attack with his sword.

After steering Hwang-tae to safety, Master Hwang greets his friend with a smile. Angry, Hwang-tae turns to leave but Master Hwang questions him. After explaining that he’s not being held against his will, Hwang-tae begs to be left alone and leaves.

Nokdu’s side wound starts to bleed as he fights Park Dan-ho. When Park Dan-ho glances over at the unconscious Yul-moo, Nokdu attacks. Park Dan-ho manages to knock Nokdu’s sword away and promises, “Let us finish this next time.” Nokdu watches helplessly as Park Dan-ho carries away Yul-moo.

Once he’s back home, Nokdu hears about Hwang-tae from Master Hwang. Master Hwang worries that the police are on their way since Nokdu attacked a member of the royal family and suggests running away. Nokdu doesn’t believe that Yul-moo will report him since he’s plotting treason. What they can’t decide is if Hwang-tae is unaware of Yul-moo’s plot or in denial.

After returning to Yul-moo’s house, Hwang-tae apologizes for allowing Nokdu to use him. Yul-moo isn’t angry because he found the king’s son, the man that he’s been looking for so that he can kill him. When Yul-moo reminds Hwang-tae that he expects his help when the time comes, he agrees, “Of course. I have already promised that to you,” but his fists are tightly clenched.

When the exam results are posted, Yeon-soo’s name (Nokdu’s latest alias) is first. Dong-joo is stunned when she learns that Nokdu is going to the palace but when he invites her to his ceremony as his family member, she tells him, “Forget it.” Alone in her room, Dong-joo sits in front of a small chest.

On the day of his ceremony, Nokdu kneels as he waits for the king. Yul-moo has been summoned by the king and is told that he just left for the awards ceremony. A drum announces King Gwanghae’s arrival and he smiles when he sees Nokdu, who looks as if he can hardly breathe.

Nokdu stands when the name Yeon-soo is called and he kneels in front of the king just as Yul-moo joins the festivities. Outside the gates, Dong-joo thinks of Nokdu’s invitation, “…you can pretend to be my family and come see me.”

Yul-moo smirks as the king reads, “First place of military service exam. Yeon Soo.” When Nokdu looks up, he sees Yul-moo and then the face of the king and recalls Hwang-tae’s words, “This is all because you are the son of His Majesty.”

 
COMMENTS

The pace of the story slowed a bit this hour, giving some relationships time to deepen as others fracture. Nokdu uses Dong-joo’s IOU to keep her under his roof and under his protection but he has to be careful not to disrespect her boundaries or she’ll run. Dong-joo can’t be tamed and Nokdu recognizes that, but that doesn’t mean that he doesn’t want her to be safe and happy.

It’s that constant fear that Dong-joo will leave for good that gives Nokdu the strength to control his feelings whenever he’s with her. Nokdu’s resolve was certainly tested when Dong-joo bandaged his wounds, their faces (and lips!) just inches apart from each other. I had to laugh at the way that Nokdu’s bare torso was worked into the episode and that Dong-joo had her hands on his body, yet again. Tale of Nokdu looks to be having some fun with the fans in spite of the serious nature of the current storyline.

Nokdu’s relationship with the king has become a respite for both men β€” if only they knew the truth and could confide in one another. For starters, they have lots to share about their experiences while in disguise. That similarity alone is awfully endearing, along with the way that they are both drawn to the swing when they need to think. It was obvious how proud King Gwanghae was when he saw Nokdu at the ceremony and how much he was looking forward to revealing his identity.

Unfortunately, the reveal was marred by Yul-moo’s presence with that smirk that promises devastation for both the king and Nokdu. Yul-moo’s admission to Hwang-tae that he plans to kill Nokdu puts another nail in the coffin of his relationship with Dong-joo as well as Hwang-tae’s with everyone that he’s ever cared about. I don’t know what Hwang-tae’s game plan is, and frankly I don’t care because I don’t like the character at all. I’m pretty sure that Hwang-tae’s machinations will put him in mortal danger and that Nokdu and Yoon-jo will pay the price for his folly. All to Yul-moo’s benefit. Ugh.

Getting back to the king and Nokdu, I’m curious what was significant about Nokdu’s birthdate. Was there a prophecy that Nokdu would bring about the end of King Gwanghae’s reign, because I do believe that’s what could happen. Not because Nokdu would agree to take his father’s place on the throne, but because King Gwanghae might be willing to abdicate to save his son’s life. That might help him to atone for trying to kill his son and depriving the queen of their baby, plus ease the pain that he hasn’t been able to live with. Please let there be a way for Nokdu to survive Yul-moo’s revolt because I’m starting to feel very uneasy about where things are headed.

It’s only a matter of time before Dong-joo discovers the real identity of the lonely man who’s quickly becoming a fixture in her and Nokdu’s life. She’s sure to be confused when her personal experiences with the king are at odds with what she’s believed about him all of these years. I’m confused too, but it’s clear that King Gwanghae has been manipulated by advisors who have their own agendas, ready to toss him aside when someone better is old enough to reign. Yul-moo has woven a web of lies to entrap the king and anyone else who might get in his way, like Nokdu and Minister Heo. It’s possible that what Dong-joo thinks that she knows about the king has all been fabricated by Yul-moo, who’s been working to take the throne for himself for years. Let’s hope that there’s a way for our trio of night owls to enjoy late night meals and strolls for years to come.

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I don't get Hwang Tae, it doesn't seems like he have a plan beside trusting a stranger that sends more red flags than recent PRC anniversary, and sitting on his hands doing nothing, I can't believe he even didn't want to talk to Master Hwang, who btw still is awesome. I won't comment on King because his character is unpredictable and I think the reason for wanting to kill his son was pretty nonsensical. But I appreciate that we have another light episode with romantic shenanigans, they are the best.

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I'm still holding out some hope that Hwang Tae has some master plan to double cross Yul-moo and that he isn't this dude who changed his affections for his brother so easily.

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I'm hoping for the same. They seemed to truly cherish each other based on the island scenes. I don't want to be disappointed in him.

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We can hope, but frankly it's a slim chance at this point.

(Though that still doesn't rule out a last-minute change of heart)

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Nokdu said Dongjoo moves around at night. But, didn't both of them ended up on Dongjoo's bed? 😏 (Okay.. even if I'm mistaken, I like to pretend that they did something else that night 😝)

On a serious note, I still have some reservation about King Gwanghae. Maybe because he was introduced as someone everyone afraid of? Now, we get to know a lot of his softer side, I feel like I want to like him but a part of me says not yet. Ugh! What I'm babling about? It's 4am here and I can't think coherently πŸ™ƒ.

Thank you, @teriyaki for the recap! πŸ’•

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The king --

We were introduced to him as someone expecting to be the target of assassins -- and being targeted by Dong-joo.

We saw the brutal roundup of everyone nearby, followed by executions. Yet the king called off the executions and freed everyone when Nokdu reasoned with him.

We see Minister Heo, supposedly his best friend, plotting behind his back -- even thinking to strangle him while he's a guest in Heo's house. And the king knew that.

We see that he's unable to comfort the queen, because they didn't lose their baby, he ordered the baby's death (for some reason about succession??? or a prophecy?).

We see he wants to get rid of the young prince, but he is human enough to wonder if the boy cried while being taken from his mother.

Min. Heo describes him as not caring about the people and wielding a sword against everyone, but Min. Heo put him in this position where everyone is his enemy.

When he is able to separate himself from his role as king, he's kind, funny, generous, unpretentious, perceptive, and generally a good companion. I wonder, though, how his relationship with Nokdu and Dong-ju will change when they encounter him as king. I wonder, too, whether Dong-ju's determination to assassinate him will change when she learns that the king is not only her acquaintance but also Nokdu's father. Will she give up, but hate herself? Will she push Nokdu away because of that connection?

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Prediction of future dialogue:

Nokdu to king: I am your son.

King to Nokdu: I was afraid of that.

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Why does this feel like the generation-flipped version of the infamous "I am your father" from Star Wars?

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Interesting points. While it makes it easier to not hate the King much and I do want to sympathize with the King but I can't until I get some more answers.

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"Will she push Nokdu away because of that connection?"
Hopefully not, because she has already been pushing him away for the last few episodes. I want to see them in love and work together to get out of this political mess.

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They should ride away in the sunset together!! Happy ending please!!

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Thanks to you, now I've better understanding of the king!

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This is such an astute comment, and a big part of why I like the writing for this drama so much - no one is quite what you expect them to be, except Nokdu's dad. The king is paranoid and murderous, but also human enough to have emotions and form connections with people when he isn't behind the guise of being a king - I haven't seen a villain like this since The Princess' Man, and I mean that as a compliment.

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I think the only reason why Dong Joo is holding back is coz she firmly believes that their relationship would end in her death, not Nokdu. In the first episode itself, we were shown that her only motive to live was to kill the King. And she had accepted that in doing so, she would be killed instantly. That its her final destination. She didnt have any other life goals. Just revenge.

And then Nokdu arrives and all her plans appears to fly out of the window while she is trying so hard to hold on to it. She is just being a noble idiot by trying to save a heartbreak for Nokdu. For she thinks its better leave him thinking she doesnt love him back rather than leave him with bittersweet memories. Or that she would have to give up her revenge which she has been looking forward almost all her life.

And I dont think she knows the extend of evilness in Yul Moo. I am sure if she even have a small hunch of what he is capable or have done, she would be running miles from him or putting a knife through his heart.

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I also believe that she intends to die for her revenge. She knows how it feels to be loved and that that people who love you all die and the crushing loneliness.

I also wonder how much she knows about Yul Moo. She must know he's royalty, right? I wonder if she knows he's anti-Gwanghae too or else it would be weird to knowingly hang out with the relative of the dude you're trying to kill...

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Yul Moo is a master manipulator. So I think he must have kept too much information from her. I do think she knows who he is and his royal identity since she knows him since childhood, but i guess she doesnt know that while he is pretending to help her to dispose the king, he is really trying to kill two birds with one stone and get himself on to the throne.

He thinks he loves her and but we have seen is that its conditional, and I truly believe that when time comes he would literally throw her to the wolves! And may be she knows that deep down but using him nevertheless to get to her revenge.

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I agree. Having lost her family she feels as if she has nothing else to lose by going forward with the assassination attempt. But meeting Nokdu and eventually falling for him is slowly starting to break her resolve.
Nokdu's presence has been a source of strength for her and is helping her slowly heal.

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Looks like her internal conflict will come to the forefront next episode, based on the preview. They showed both the massacre and smiling NokDu while she was sobbing her eyes out. I think she wants to stay beside him but cannot let go of the thought of revenge / "betraying" her family by giving up.

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I really want her to give on the suicide mission she believes she needs to accomplish. If this was a modern drama I'd say she needs immediate psychiatric treatment. I relish her moments with Nokdu so much but at the same time it makes sense why she keeps pushing him away even though it saddens me. I'm glad we got back some of their bickering in this episode.

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Also, her current plan is likely to end in not only her death, but there's also a risk that anyone too close to her would face interrogation and torture (and possible death).

Her gisaeng friends are safely out of the way but she still doesn't want to expose Nokdu to that (very real, given how everyone in the vicinity was arrested after the episode 1 stone-throwing) risk. Pushing him away and not informing him of her plans probably seems the best way to keep him innocent and not a party to treason, for now.

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It’s way too late to distance her self from NokDu or anyone else who treated her like family. If she even tries to assassinate the King, the retribution will not be careful; it will by design be terrible and broad.

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I think it's only just starting to dawn on her that the consequences are likely to hit Nokdu too, now he's got a job in the palace.

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Ugh, Yul Mu trying to mislead the women, his smirks, using Nokdu's brother. Despite knowing all that is going to create problems for our hero and knowing YM is still going to be around, it was still extremely satisfying to see Nokdu punch him.
And it was so funny to see Dong Joo and Nokdu pretend to not care about each other but Master Hwang and Aeng Du seeing right through them. But poor Yeon-geun.
Despite my confusion about the King it was still nice to see his interactions with Nokdu and Dong Joo. I still don't like the King from what we have seen of him before. Now that Nokdu knows that the person he thought was just an official is actually the King it will be interesting to see what will happen.

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Now that it is pretty much confirmed that Nokdu is the son of the King, i can see why they choose to go that way. It’s rife with conflicts, the way Dong Joo and Nokdu’s purposes misalign and could create some serious angst in the near future.

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And Dong Joo has removed Nokdu's clothes how many times in this show now...? Undressed him (and herself!) completely in the palequin when they were trapped, probably helped strip him when he was unconscious, untied his sash to hide HER FACE in his chest at the start of this episode, and now literally WRAP herself (okay the bandages) around his torso? I'm unhappy about her attitude, ungrateful wretch.

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Lol! And how many times are we going to see Nokdu shirtless? (Not complaining though)

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Haha. I love this comment!

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OMG haha

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Nokdu should stay shirtless from now on. lol.

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well, Jang Dong-yoon worked hard to get the right look for this role, it'd be a shame not to she it off :P

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oops that should be 'show it off'!

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Bold and beautiful Donjoo likes to see Nokdu shirtless!!

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This comment, I love you πŸ˜‚πŸ˜‚πŸ˜‚πŸ˜‚πŸ˜‚πŸ˜‚πŸ˜‚πŸ˜‚

But you have to love that her "lie" to the king (about her rendezvous with Nokdu) wasn't so far from the truth πŸ˜‚. We love a girl who goes after the one she wants!

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I'm curious DJ is officialy dead but Yul Moo knows that she's not? Did he save her? I really want to know more about her.

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She said Lady Chun was the one who saved her from the hole, we don't see more about how exactly she was found (I assume it's the same way they found Ssook), but clearly Yul-moo knows both identities.

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Ha! Nokdu keeps getting exposed to Dong Joo again and again by Aeng du, Master Hwang and even the King for crying and moping around.
These 2 lovebirds are never going to stop bickering, are they? Hope to see them finally declaring their love for each other in the next episode.
It was satisfying to see Yul moo getting punched and stabbed by Nokdu, but was he really planning to kill him? And I wonder why Dan-ho spared Nokdu when he could have killed him seeing that he already was too injured to fight well. Was it because he had to get Yul moo out of there or is there another reason? Or maybe he recognised Nokdu's great fighting skills and realised that he can't be easily defeated.

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I wondered the same thing, @samroy about why Dan-ho did not go ahead and finish off Nokdu. Nokdu clearly was hurting and had dropped his sword. This would have been the best time to try to end it for Nokdu. Dan-ho had his weapon and was not injured. But, I suppose he might have felt it might take too much time away from the time he had to save Yulmoo

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Oddly I think it might be a sign of respect for Nokdu's skill with a sword. In that he wants to meet him on a level playing field. Also, probably some conceit to be able to prove he is the best.

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Seeing that he is Yul moo's swordsman I wouldn't be surprised if he is in fact conceited, taking after his master.

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The sweetness in this episode was everything. It was needed after the darkness in the previous episodes.

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Kiss scenes are needed!!

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Kiss scenes are always needed. Hugs too.

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(can they please throw in some bedtime snuggles while they're at it?)

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Yes!!

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I am curious about Yul Moo's plan. Why is he keeping Hwang Tae now that he's found Nokdu? Why does he want to kill Nokdu and not the King? What is the meaning of his smirk? πŸ€”

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Dong joo like nokdu, yul moo want to kill nokdu.

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I was a bit curious about that, too...why he is keeping Hwang Tae alive, since I don't believe he intends to keep him alive for too long. But am wondering what his purpose will be. Maybe it is just the evil in Yulmoo that he hopes for the "brothers" to play any part in the death of each other. Yulmoo has lots of reasons to want to kill Nokdu, starting with the fact that the woman he loves is in love with Nokdu and ending with the fact that by birthright (first and only son of a queen and king) he is basically the crown prince. So getting rid of Nokdu eliminates the competition in all directions.

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Oh, I am wondering more of why he needs the King's long lost son to overthrown the King. If he leaves it alone, nobody knows about it, including Nokdu. I get that he wants him dead for DJ, but at this point he should know that DJ doesn't have a feeling for him, even with Nokdu death. Killing Nokdu will only make DJ hates him.

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I don't think he wants Nokdu to overthrow the king, I think he wants to expose Nokdu's identity to the king first and have the king kill him (for real this time), which would remove a competing candidate for the throne. And then get rid of the king himself and take the throne.

Evil, but strategic.

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Exactly. That’s what YM’s comment about the King killing his son twice means. And then YM wants use the fact that the King killed his son β€œtwice” as justification for dethroning him.

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Bingo. The King's had a lot of people killed over the years, this would just be the straw that broke the camel's back.

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Oooh... thanks. Wow. That was a round about way to oust a king.

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All I want is for Nokdu, Dongjoo, and the poor Queen who just want to meet her child to live their life as an ordinary citizen after the whole Yulmoo revolt. I don't think the King will survive that but let's see-

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I would support this outcome!

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Why every episode is soooo good!! Cute!! Cute!!

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I have been on a slump the last few weeks barely watching anything but this week I started to pick up where I left off. First I caught up with Nokdu, unfortunately I was quite disappointed with the sudden change of tone in the show. I signed up for fusion sageuk, youth romance, a romcom with crossdressing and cohabitation hijinks. While I got all that as long as it lasted it didn't last nearly long enough. What made this show was Nokdu as Lady Kim, his rapport with the widow's villagers, his bickering with Dong Joo. But all of a sudden that just ended. The unnecessary and irritating addition to the original story in the shape of a 3rd wheel jarringly went full on heartless evil in the blink of an eye, destroyed widow's village and the story went to the boring scheming about who will take the throne and how. If I wanted to watch that story, I would have picked another show....

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And I’m happy that the drama has interesting political intrigue that keeps it from being a sappy, silly romcom, my least favorite of all genres of drama.

Instead, we get a drama with interesting twists, dramatic cliffhangers, intriguing questions of identity and loyalties, plus a charming, beautiful hero, and a feisty, independent heroine, both of whom have an appealing vulnerability despite their outward determination.

This is definitely one of my favorite shows this year. But I will be seriously annoyed if our hero doesn’t get a happy ending. The history of the characters - knowing King Gwanghae is deposed and Yul-moo becomes the next king - makes the question of what happens to Nokdu a bit stressful.

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I'm glad to find the political intrigue is appreciated, and I think it's really well done here - the focus remains on the characters, not the plot, said characters are actually multifaceted (even Minister Heo, who set it all off by ordering Nokdu's family's assassination), and it adds a background of high-stakes danger for everyone involved.

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I would be okay with all that if the show was promoted that way from the beginning and I started watching because of that.

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@moonbean That's exactly what I though. I mean I am already watching My country and I knew what it was going in. So I thought good that I have Tale of Nokdu to watch as something fun and not serious but then the twist happened. I still like the show but I wished the show would atleast ease us into it but instead they dropped a bomb.

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QUESTION: Why is Nokdu so shocked and distraught to see Yulmoo at the ceremony at the end of the episode? I can't believe that it is because he expected him to be dead because Danho would have likely found a way to save him. So why id Nokdu so upset? I can understand the part about seeing the King easily. But why so upset to see Yulmoo?

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maybe because Yulmoo know that he is not a noble? and he being a woman in widow village? that reason alone could take his position right away and he will get punishment too.

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yeah, quite apart from the birth secret and attempted murder of him as a baby, cross-dressing was an offence back in the day.

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And a Prince way out ranks a guard. And with that rank comes authority, power, immunity.

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Are you talking about at the preview or the ending? I thought he was shocked at seeing the King who he thought was his friend.

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I'm talking about the end of the episode before any preview. First NokDu looks at Yulmoo with a shocked expression and then he looks at the king with even more shock. Yipee tomorrow is another episode.

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Also, according to the previews, Nok-du gets to meet his mother in the upcoming episode. What an emotional whammy that will be.

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I think he didn't expecting Yulmu is actually has higher status than he think.

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I didn't notice it earlier but they you're right. I'm not sure of the reason. Maybe he just didn't expect to see him there.

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I thought it was shock from both potential outing by Yul-moo and absolute shock at the discovery that his friend the "Chief Administrative Officer" is actually the king (his biological father).

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I thought because he knows Nokdu's secrets. I might be wrong but doesnt Nokdu know that Yulmu knows he is the king's son? Or that he could be?

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I think you are right, @Beverly. I believe that YulMoo has spoken to Nokdu's "brother" about knowing that Nokdu is the king's son. Also when they were fighting out in the woods, I believe Yul-moo acknowledged that he wasn't really surprised that it turned out to be Nokdu

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yeah, I thought that was a pretty clear reference to his knowing Nokdu's real identity.

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I love all the moments between Nokdu and Dong Joo this episode, as well as their scenes with the king. The bit where they were climbing the hill together was so cute, it makes me wish for a happy ending for the king as well in spite of his past misdeeds.

The more I watch this drama, the more I also love Nokdu as a character. That boy is so tender-hearted yet gutsy and persistent. No wonder Dong Joo is finding it hard not to be swayed by him.

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late but I agree so much with this comment!

And especially about Nokdu. He's just such a giant, sweet puppy with Dong-joo, and what charms me most is that he's actually a decent person all the way through and that's how he approaches his relationship with her too - they squabble, sure, but he's not shy about admitting his feelings for her and wanting her to reciprocate (but also being willing to take a step back and not be pushy because he knows her boundaries) and that just makes him 100 times more endearing to me. He's no tsundere, if anything that's Dong-joo.

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I have to say I was extremely satisfied with this episode. Since the last few episodes were full of death and destruction it was nice to see the romance take center stage again. The budding relationship between the King, Nokdu and Dongju is making things much more complicated than I was expecting. I have to say I'm disappointed by Hwang-tae betraying the person he grew up with and I hope they find a way to redeem him. The only character whose ending we can sure of at this point is Yul-mu since he is meant to be King. I hope that end does not come at the cost of our leads and their sweet romance. Dongju will hopefully give up on her suicide mission and find a way to be happy with Nokdu. At this point I just want everyone to be happy and alive.

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While I don't like that Hwang-tae is so ready to betray his brother that he trusts a complete stranger to use him, I can see why it's an interesting narrative decision. Without it, he'd have been just the stock supportive/sad hyung, but this way he's a genuine source of conflict for Nokdu and a major reason why he has to hold back against Yul-moo if he doesn't want his brother hurt.

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Also, I think Hwang-tae still has some internal conflict over this choice of his, even if it's being overridden by anger and feelings of being cheated out if his rightful life at the moment.

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All these lovey dovey scenes got me like AAAAHHH! So good!

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Saaaameeee here lol

My face during any OTP scenes is basically a giant happy grin, they're so adorable together.

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