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Secret Door: Episode 6

The murder plot thickens, and our very tiny team of good guys gets smart about the “secret” part of this secret investigation. If only we could also keep the net of baddies from closing in around them though, because at some point you have to ask how investigating the facts of past murders can compete with people plotting new murders at every turn. I suppose this is the eternal question that divides cops from criminals? In other news, the king has a royal meltdown, and Han Seok-kyu kind of terrifies me. But you already knew that.

 
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The One – “지우고 지우다” (I Erase and Erase) for the Secret Door OST [ Download ]

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EPISODE 6 RECAP

The prince’s advisor Chae Je-gong is surprised to see Sun up so early in the morning, and reports what he’s found out about the arrow that killed their forger last night: It comes from within the palace.

They keep an open mind about the fact that it could have been stolen to make it look like the assassin (Shadow) is among them inside the palace, and Sun asks after Heung-bok’s sketchbook, which would be the definitive link to his killer. But that particular piece of evidence is still missing.

Advisor Chae notices the pieces of parchment that Sun has been filling with the same characters all morning—hwabutado—the dying message that Heung-bok’s friend Jung-woon left in his own blood. Their only guess for now is that it refers to a knife, either by name or type.

We see that Sun has already dispatched his head court lady on a secret mission to find that out. Court Lady Choi commissions a blacksmith to look into a knife called hwabutado, offering him even more money as a reward. Sun is especially careful about keeping this knife investigation under wraps, because they still have no idea where all their information leaks are coming from.

Yeongjo stews in his chamber until Prime Minister Kim arrives, and asks him to say why he’s been summoned. Aiee, I hate it when you know you’re in trouble but you don’t know what for. Prime Minister Kim doesn’t dare to posit a guess and just flashes a big toothy grin.

That makes Yeongjo explode, and he hurls the marble game stones in his hand right at Prime Minister Kim’s head. He overturns the table in between them and towers over him, trembling with rage: “How far will you go?!”

Prime Minister Kim clutches his wounded face, while Yeongjo leans in close to prod acerbically, “Was it fun to make someone king? Why, is it too fun to just stop at one? Are you going to make another? Do you have someone in mind?” Prime Minister Kim denies it, of course, and Yeongjo finally gets to the heart of the matter—then why did he dare to lay a finger on his son?

Yeongjo demands the head of the person who attacked Sun, and makes sure to clasp Prime Minister Kim’s head in his hands as he adds nonchalantly that if he doesn’t deliver, it’ll be his neck on the chopping block. Gulp.

Shadow, the Westside gang boss, gives our corrupt policeman Officer Byun the order to find and kill Ji-dam. We’ve seen Officer Byun lead a group of Westside thugs before, but it’s clear that he takes orders from Shadow.

Ji-dam’s father takes her to the gibang and asks the head madam Woon-shim to turn Ji-dam into one of her gisaengs. Woon-shim is surprised and asks Dad if he’s really okay with that, and he snaps that he means a fake gisaeng, not a real one. You might’ve led with that, Dad. He thinks it’s best to hide her in plain sight, which I think is smart.

They gussy her up to look like a real gisaeng, and even Dad is convinced that she’s unrecognizable. Woon-shim sighs that Chun-hyang herself would cry to see such a pretty gisaeng, though once Dad leaves, her tone becomes stern as she asks Ji-dam what she’s up to.

Ji-dam playfully keeps her mouth shut and goes looking for her friend Chun-wol, Jung-woon’s girlfriend. But they find her room ransacked like there was a struggle, and we see that she’s been dragged away and locked up somewhere.

They search her room to see if there are any clues, and Ji-dam hits the jackpot: Heung-bok’s sketchbook, tucked away among her things. They wonder what she’s doing with such important evidence, and Ji-dam guesses that Jung-woon hid it here for safekeeping.

Sun has already tasked his eunuch with searching for possible leads on Shadow, based on the only clue they have so far—a scar near the left eye, thanks to Eastside boss Chul-joo. He has the suspicious candidates called in under the guise of testing new guns in target practice, and there in the front row is Sun’s lead guard Pil-jae, sporting a gash on his left temple. Yahtzee.

Sun approaches and asks Pil-jae with concern in his voice what happened to his face. Pil-jae lies that he got into a fight at a gibang last night, and Sun gets right in his face to ask where that gibang is. Pil-jae’s smile fades, but then Sun suddenly gets all wink-wink, nudge-nudgey, deciding that for a knife fight to break out, the gisaengs there must be really pretty. Ha.

He puts on a good show, acting like an old pal who wants the name of the place so he can go too, and Pil-jae laughs good-naturedly. But as soon as his back is turned, both men drop their pleasant grins.

Sun leads the guards in target practice, and Pil-jae is notably the only one who keeps repeatedly missing his mark. Is he rattled, or is he pretending to be bad? Sun takes stock and pointedly asks Pil-jae if he’s better with a bow and arrow then, and another guard tells the prince that Pil-jae is actually bad with both, and more of a fistfight kind of guy. Oh if that’s his longstanding persona, then he IS pretending to be bad.

Sun takes the opportunity to look at Pil-jae’s hands, and notices that he’s worn his fingerprints right off. Well that’s a sign of an assassin if I’ve ever seen one. Sun thinks that Pil-jae is suspicious, while Advisor Chae argues that Shadow is a top marksman, and Pil-jae is decidedly terrible with weapons.

A Soron official gets an anonymous letter that afternoon, which we see is from Shadow—it asks how Joseon has become a Noron world, and asks that he leave a mark on his door if he wants to make a deal for the secret document that contains the truth about what happened in the year of Yeongjo’s ascension.

The prince’s teacher Park Mun-su nearly chokes on his breath to hear the secret document mentioned, and the Soron official accuses him of keeping such a vital secret to himself if he’s known about it all this time. He fumes for all their fallen comrades in the rebellion of 1728, and rattles angrily as he vows to get his hands on that document to get his revenge in blood.

Park Mun-su tries to reason with him that this is a bigger matter than he could understand, but when he can’t get through, he goes straight to Prime Minister Kim instead. He plants the seed of doubt that the document in Prime Minister Kim’s possession is a fake, and leaves knowing that nobody wants the original found more than Prime Minister Kim. On his way out, he notes a few Eastside boys planted nearby as lookouts by Chul-joo.

Prime Minister Kim goes to his library to dig out the document, and when he reads it carefully, he sees that it’s a forgery after all. That night he goes to see Shadow on his turf and demands the real document. Shadow declares that he’ll hold onto it, because the Westside gang and the Norons are now partners.

He makes himself clear that the document is his leverage—they won’t be used like dogs, so the second that he and his men are treated as disposable, the document will land in Soron hands. Prime Minister Kim suddenly breaks into a laugh, a little bit impressed.

Ji-dam decides that what she knows can’t wait and goes off to make contact with the prince. Officer Byun and his lackeys happen to be looking for her in the street when she passes by them, and while the other guys do a double take because she’s pretty, Officer Byun thinks she looks familiar…

Ji-dam requests a meeting with Sun through Advisor Chae, and they arrive for a secret rendezvous. Sun looks shocked and alarmed to see Ji-dam dressed that way, and asks what on earth she’s doing. She says that she won’t give up on the secret investigation, no matter what he says. She re-quotes what he recited to her the other night: “You must serve your people as the heavens.

Ji-dam: “You said it was futile, but I like those words. And I wish for you to learn the path to become such a ruler… because I want to live as one of those people in that nation, for just one day.”

Aw, how could he not be moved by a girl who speaks to his ideals in such a hopeful way? He can’t argue with her this time, not that she’s one to listen anyway.

She tells him about the missing gisaeng and gives him Heung-bok’s sketchbook, and points out a curious page with names of Noron officials listed on it. Among them is Hong Bong-han, Sun’s father-in-law.

Ji-dam wonders if he meant to paint them, but Sun says that royal painters like Heung-bok can only paint the king and the prince—he was bound by duty when it came to such matters. Advisor Chae wonders if the inclusion of the prince’s father-in-law means that the palace leak is coming through Princess Hyegyeong and her staff. Sun doesn’t seem to buy it, but he doesn’t exactly defend his wife either.

He tells Ji-dam to stay safe, leaving his eunuch to see her back to the gibang, and hops the wall to sneak back out. In the process he manages to get the jump on the palace guard (that Hyegyeong sent) who’s been on his tail. Sun corners the man and glowers menacingly, “Who sent you?”

Sun goes to see Hyegyeong that evening with gifts in hand, which surprises her. She says she isn’t interested in pretty trinkets since they aren’t befitting a queen’s stature, and asks defensively what he means by this. Sun remains pleasant and casual as he says that he just wants her to find a hobby, because she looks so bored.

He sighs that he entreated her to find hobbies when they were young, and prods her to find one now. Suddenly his face darkens: “Until when are you planning to have me followed?” Oh snap.

Hyegyeong realizes she’s been caught, and confronts him truthfully that she wouldn’t have resorted to such measures if he hadn’t been sneaking a girl in from outside the palace. She’s visibly perturbed as she tells him that if he wants to take in a concubine, he can choose among the court ladies, not drag in a girl from who-knows-where, bringing shame to them both.

Sun tells her she has quite the imagination, and that he’s doing nothing of the sort—he pleads with her to believe him, and then adds through gritted teeth, “So stop doing such things as having me followed. This is the last time I’ll be asking.”

She struggles to contain her tears at his reproach, and as he walks out, he turns back to ask if she’d prefer rings instead. He says rather tenderly that she should let him know if there’s anything she sets her heart on, and he’ll bring it to her. She looks equal parts chastised and scathing mad, though perhaps her wounded pride is what stings the most.

Sun tells Advisor Chae to dismiss the guard who was tasked to follow him, and not to make further issue of the princess’s actions. Advisor Chae opens his mouth to argue, but sees that Sun is resolute on the matter.

Princess Hyegyeong caresses the ornaments that Sun left behind, but then snaps back to her senses and tells herself that they’re just meaningless baubles he threw her way without any thought. Her head court lady suggests that she let her feelings for Sun be known, but Hyegyeong shuts that idea down coldly.

She says with a tinge of sadness to her voice: “A queen does not beg for the king’s heart. She is the person who assists the king.”

Sun goes to see Teacher Park Mun-su late that night, with a request for the location of Heung-bok’s family. He wants to send medicine to the sick mother, but can’t use his own servants for the task since it’ll raise a fuss.

But Teacher Park is already on it, and has commissioned a local doctor to look after her quietly. Sun’s eyes well up in gratitude, and he asks if his teacher was doing what his lacking pupil couldn’t manage, thanking him sincerely.

Teacher Park asks if Sun plans on continuing the investigation, and worries for his safety. This time Sun does as he taught him and reveals nothing, even to his own teacher.

Yeongjo has Prime Minister Kim summoned once again, this time with a bowl of ginseng tonic at the ready. He says it’s the same thing that they prepared as an offering at the late king’s memorial, and urges Prime Minister Kim to drink up. He might as well have added a nice label reading “poison” with skull and crossbones on it.

Prime Minister Kim is no fool and refuses the tonic, so Yeongjo leans in to say that if he doesn’t want it, he should’ve done his job—what’s taking so damned long for him to bring the head of one measly assassin?

Prime Minister Kim chides him to be patient and says that he doesn’t intend to kill the assassin just yet, because if they do, their secret document could land in the hands of the Soron. And THAT terrifies Yeongjo visibly.

A little while later, accompanied only by his head eunuch, Yeongjo breaks into a fit of uncontrollable laughter. Omg, he seems stark raving mad.

Park Mun-su gets called in to see the king, and finds him with his head bowed over a water basin, still laughing as he furiously washes his ears. When he turns around though, he seems terrified and at the end of his rope.

He whispers to Park, calling him by his first name like an old friend: “Help me. Save me, Mun-su.” Park’s heart sinks when he hears mention of that secret document again, and says there’s nothing he can do to help him with that. But Yeongjo clasps his hands and pleads with his friend of thirty years to save him just once more.

Park calls him by his name as a prince, Yeoningun, and says that if this were the request of the Yeoningun of thirty years ago, he would honor it.

Flashback to thirty years ago, 1724, the year that Gyeongjong dies and Yeongjo ascends. Yeongjo is still prince-regent at the time, and the Sorons are in power. The royal tutors declare that from this day on, they won’t be holding royal lectures with the prince. They look down on him for being the son of the lowest of slaves, declaring him unfit to rule.

When Yeongjo arrives for his royal lecture that day, all of his tutors get up and walk out, and he’s stricken at the rejection, but unable to make a peep in protest. Park Mun-su is the only one whose conscience makes him turn back to look, and when he sees Yeongjo open a book by himself looking so lonely, he sits back down in his seat.

Yeongjo’s voice shakes as he thanks him for staying behind, “Not being left alone is in itself a great comfort.” Teacher Park says that everyone is calling Yeongjo a sinner, and he doesn’t deny it—he admits freely that he became crown prince on the backs of the Noron, who are outwardly against his brother King Gyeongjong.

When Teacher Park says that he could’ve refused the Norons, Yeongjo says he couldn’t have, then corrects himself that he didn’t want to: “Because I wanted to live.” He breaks down in tears, and confesses that his mother, Lady Choi, was responsible for Jang Heebin’s death.

(Lady Choi was one of Queen Inhyun’s lowest servants who became King Sukchong’s concubine, and she was the one who alerted him to Jang Heebin’s crimes, leading to her death sentence. Jang Heebin was King Gyeongjong’s mother, which makes his own mother Lady Choi an enemy of the present king.)

He cries that he wanted a seat of power because it was the only way he could survive, but now he thinks even that was wrong because all those who stood beside him have been killed in the purges.

He asks Teacher Park to remain in his lectures just like today, declaring shakily, “Even if my royal robes are to be ripped from me, even if I am to die by their hands, I want to do my duty as the crown prince. I want to live like a crown prince and meet my end like a crown prince. That is the only dream I am allowed.” He wipes away his tears.

Back in the present, Teacher Park says that Yeongjo should’ve told him the truth then and asked for his help, instead of becoming a Noron puppet. But Yeongjo just laughs in his face and screams that if he had done that, Park would’ve been executed as a traitor, and by his own Soron compatriots at that.

He adds that he would never have been able to sit on the throne either, though he swears that none of this was for the power itself. The discombobulating thing is that the stuff Yeongjo says is totally lucid and incisive—he just says it like a crazeballs madman on a power trip.

He asks Park to remember all of the dreams they had for the country that they still haven’t achieved, and how that document will bring all of their efforts to an end in bloodshed. Amazingly, Yeongjo is still brilliant while ranting, and draws on Park’s sympathy for the plight of the people: “I’m not asking you to be lenient on me. Just think of the people!”

Park is stunned as he witnesses the display, and admits freely that he knows he’s been duped by those same tears for thirty years, but is still swayed by them and finds himself wanting to be fooled. Yeongjo doesn’t break his stream of tears even at that, and cries on Park’s shoulder for him to save him just this once.

As soon as Park leaves, Yeongjo solemnly returns to sit on his throne, looking suddenly very calm for someone who was just a blubbering mess of tears.

One of the court ladies surreptitiously steals something from the prince’s chamber—a knife, it looks like—which goes unnoticed for now.

Sun’s eunuch sees Ji-dam back to the gibang, but then notices the shady Officer Byun heading inside soon after. Uh-oh.

At the palace, Sun looks through Heung-bok’s sketchbook and Advisor Chae notices that only the writing next to the drawing of Sun is in hanja. Sun looks carefully and notes that it isn’t hanja, but notation on the meaning of characters, and suddenly it dawns on him—hwabutado isn’t a knife. They hurry to the royal painting bureau, but agh, Shadow is watching them.

Officer Byun overturns the entire gibang looking for Ji-dam, and his men find her hiding in the back. Ji-dam pretends not to know what they’re talking about even when they compare her to her mugshot, and Woon-shim declares that she would never harbor a fugitive.

Officer Byun can’t really argue with that, so he lets the matter go… only he then calls Ji-dam back to say that if she’s really a gisaeng, she’ll have to serve him tonight. Ack! Gross! They’re totally stuck in the lie now, so despite the fact that he makes her skin crawl when he touches her face, Ji-dam agrees to do so, to Woon-shim’s horror.

They retire to a room, where Officer Byun has a drink and Ji-dam sits there shaking like a leaf. He reaches over to undress her, but then the doors fling open just in time, ohthankgod—it’s Woon-shim, here to declare the gibang closed for the night. Ji-dam looks up at her gratefully.

Byun comes out grumbling, demanding to know what the hell is going on… to find the prince standing outside in the courtyard. Phew. Officer Byun is immediately on his knees, and Sun puts on the cheery bored-prince-on-an-adventure act, chuckling that he’s going to have an attendance with every single one of the girls here tonight.

He dismisses Byun for the night, and then goes in search of Ji-dam. Her hand is still shaking, and he walks up to her carefully to ask if she’s okay. She puts on a brave face and says of course she is, lying through her teeth that she’s not shaken by something like this.

He looks at her with eyes full of regret and says tenderly, “I’m sorry.” But Ji-dam’s only answer is to ask about the investigation, her curiosity taking priority as always. He can’t help but smile at that.

She’s excited when he tells her that he’s figured out what hwabutado is, and invites her to come with him to the royal painting bureau, adding that the gibang is no longer safe for her.

Meanwhile, Shadow reports to Prime Minister Kim that the prince is close to finding out the truth. The prime minister tosses him the knife that was stolen from Sun’s bedchamber, and tells him to stick it in Ji-dam’s neck, intending to get rid of them both with one strike.

It doesn’t take long for Shadow’s men to strike—Sun and Ji-dam are surrounded by a group of assassins on their way out of the gibang. Sun is thankfully armed with a sword, and fights them off, trying to keep Ji-dam safe.

She in turn throws whatever she can get her hands on and even saves Sun when he loses his sword. He saves her right back when she’s about to be sliced, but the real relief comes when a different crew of swordsmen arrives to fight off the first crew, giving them a chance to flee.

They make a run for it and Sun wonders who the assassins were and more curiously, who the rescuers were, and we see that from a distance, the king’s head eunuch is watching them.

They reach the royal painting bureau where they search through drawings, and Sun explains that hwabutado, when translated, refers to the type of drawing that records a big royal event. He rifles through them one by one, looking for the one that Heung-bok left behind.

At the same time, Yeongjo gets the report on Sun’s activities from his eunuch, and learns that the answer is in a drawing.

Sun finds the drawing of the royal procession that Heung-bok completed just before his death. He says that the culprit is someone pictured in this drawing, and scans the page: “The culprit is…”

 
COMMENTS

Agh, of course you’d leave us hanging like that. I fully expect a twist anyway, since I know Sun can’t find out the truth so soon. I wouldn’t mind the war being a little more evenly matched at this point though, since right now it feels like four against a thousand, and the bad guys have knowledge AND evil on their side, while the good guys are always a step behind. The painting discovery is the type of thing that I hope we see more of—Sun using his brain, and specifically his knowledge of all things Heung-bok to crack the case. So far he’s been relying on the expertise of others, so it felt really satisfying when he figured out Jung-woon’s dying message on his own.

I’m enjoying the slow-and-steady development of Sun’s relationship with Ji-dam, built more on their similar idealism and hopefulness and their belief in a just cause, which is frankly far more interesting than fluttery feelings. They seem like partners who trust each other, and he clearly cares for her a great deal. It’s just nice that he isn’t simply struck with love at first sight or something—I can see how over time, he could love her. I was actually more moved by his relationship with Hyegyeong in this episode, because she seems to actually love him in secret but feels bound by duty over her feelings. She could be happy about his gift, jealous that he might be with another woman, or even just worried for him—but her pride refuses to let her show any of this to him, let alone her hidden feelings.

He’s surprisingly tender towards her at times and seems to feel bad for the restrictions of palace life that they experienced at such a young age, which makes me wonder if they could’ve been confidantes and friends and maybe even a functional married couple (okay, so probably not that). But she’s the very opposite of him in every way—she follows all the decorum no matter how stifling, and thinks of them only as future king and queen, not two people who are granted the luxury of love. How sad to be married to someone you can’t even openly love. I hope Hyegyeong continues to get more screen time, because her character might just rip my heart out, and I like that both relationships are deepening in different ways.

The episode’s highlight was far and away Yeongjo’s descent into possible madness… or was it all an act? The fact that I don’t know is really unnerving, but that’s Yeongjo’s appeal—he rides that thin line so carefully that just when you think he’s lost it, he seems totally in control of his faculties, and possibly even acting more unhinged just to emotionally manipulate people. What a trip. I loved Park Mun-su’s reaction shots during his rant, because I could feel my face mirroring his, with the growing horror just slowly seeping in moment by moment. As beloved and trusted teacher to both father and son, I can see now why Teacher Park is in such a bind—he is actually an upright man and maybe the only politician of the bunch with a heart for the people, but in being loyal to both Yeongjo and Sun, he can’t actually be of use to either.

It was especially enlightening to see Yeongjo when he was in Sun’s position as the crown prince. Truthfully, it’s not the same at all, since Sun is born into the crown as the sole heir and groomed for the throne, whereas Yeongjo went from illegitimacy to the regency as an adult. For him, power was always a precarious thing to be given and taken away by others, not a birthright like it is for Sun. And he was historically dogged by questions of legitimacy his whole life, and known for being obsessed with clearing his mother’s name and elevating her (lowly slave concubine) status even posthumously.

He’s so weak and vulnerable in that flashback, and seemingly earnest—what a stark contrast to the man thirty years later, who now knows to bring up tears in front of his old teacher to make him wonder if there’s a chance he really means it for the greater good. But underneath the bravado, he’s still terrified of one thing—losing his position—maybe because he never felt like it was his to begin with. It’s just such a fascinating character study of a king who ironically sat on the throne for the longest reign in Joseon’s history, but essentially spent all that time trying to justify why he belonged there.

 
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Getting exciting! Can't wait for the next episode :) Thanks for the recap

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I honestly believe that YeongJo could have been one of Joseon's greatest kings if not for that stupid document and his insecurity.

He's able to think alone, show nothing and manipulate people (or "read people"), all traits that are required of the ones at the very top for control, especially ones that are in the midsts of such a treachrous court. Being able to be alone is such an advantage because one gives others no way to betray him and also keeps others on their toes.

And I think that the Soron and Noron factions are like the Democrats and Republicans of today's USA.............Come on, can't you just do your job and work for the people instead of fighting each other and bringing things to a standstill all the time?

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+1 to everything you said

Also, Han SeokKyu's acting is a revelation

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ditto on the comparison between the factions and the dem. and rep. i dont want to talk too much about politics but i dont really believe in a two party system. people today tend to not think for themselves and instead let the party think for them hence the polarization which in turn solves nothing... its like a game to see which party wins only to find out you dont win with either...

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His insecurities kinda break my heart at times. I agree that those flashbacks of his youth was the back story of his current paranoia on his rights to the throne. I really believed it when he earnestly said to his minister that he wants to rule after the Maenge is destroyed. Only then he regains power to wipe out his crazy ministers and then concentrate on being king. Also to save his mother's name posthumously. What if Sado does reveal the Maenge? Will that risk his position as well? What in the world will Sado do once he finds out the truth?

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This drama is brilliant! Thank you for the recaps :)

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Am I the only person torn by wanting Ji-Dam to be in a little more danger before the Prince had to step in a rescue her and thinking that just having the "Police" officer rub her arm and reach for the tie on her top was too much? I want their to be genuine stakes involved in the drama but I was cringing "Ack, no" during that whole scene. It must be due to the actress' age in real life. It doesn't help that they made similar reference in "High School, Love On" with Kim Sae Ron. So real but sooo creepy!

I always got the vibe from the Princess that more than duty was on the line for her. However, as strong as she wants to keep her pride, sometimes you have to make a move. How much face will she eventually lose without producing an heir. Historically we know that she does eventually but there have been no references to it in this drama. So is she stepping away because her heart got involved after the first time but his didn't. Stronger woman than I to step away from that bath scene, if so. Or are we supposed to get the vibe like "The 3 Musketeers" that they have never consummated their union?

According to the promotional material, "Secret Door" is supposed to cover Sun from his early 20s to his death. I wonder how the drama is going to deal with the creation of his heir and whether it will bring Ji-Dam into the palace and a relationship with the Prince.

Knife to the throat?! Eww, ouch! How did the real Bingae die again?

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Just looked it up again. Sado's oldest son was 10 when his father "died". Bingae was allegedly beaten to death by Sado while helping get ready for a night out. Her body was discovered while he was gone and he didn't react when he heard the news upon his return.

Meanwhile, he got all of the boy making genes. His father had mostly princesses and he had 5 boys. I'm sure that didn't help their strained relationship.

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Oh my goodness that's terrible. NOW I am really curious to see how this drama ends. Will Bingae be killed off? By the psycho Sado or psycho Yeungjo? Ok my chest just got tight just thinking about Sado in the history books. Although to stay true to the history books is very interesting, an alternate historian's view is curious as well.

I am getting quite disconnected with the Bingae angle of the drama even though I love her. I am wondering what it would be like without her as Nancy Drew and the Hardy Boys of Sado. At the same time, I am getting Game of Thrones vibes. Look at how That ended.

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Yeah come to think of it, I too want the prince to save Bingae from a more dangerous situation than a ribbon-pull. But maybe it's not just a ribbon-pull. Its going to be rape. I muttered a**hole to the officer when he rubbed her shoulder and suggestied she service him knowing that she IS Bingae. Bingae being the brave stubborn girl will probably scratch the guy's eyes out before anything happens, or she will let it happen just so the investigation will continue. Either way, I am kinda glad that Lady Boss opened the doors and Lo! The Prince is outside.

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Plus, we don't know how long Ji-Dam sat there in dreadful anticipation while she poured him drink after drink and he loosens and then opens his robe before reaching for her. The Eunuch had time to track down the prince, change his clothes, and then hoof it back to the Ginsaeg house before the officer even reached for her. That would just pick away at your nerves and resolve. "Is he going to...when...after this drink...how can I...?"

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The Eunuch probably went off to the prince immediately when he sees the officers enter the gisaeng house.

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I like the Queen, she's a strong woman who clearly loves her husband but realizes that her husband doesn't care about her so instead she's just shutting everything in.
Now historically we know they had a child, will they make that happen or make Bingae the mother to the prince and the Queen take the child.

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I really like her character and at first really hated her because I thought she was despicable and always angry and just a flat, one-dimensional character. I assumed Hyegyeong the Queen would just be another antagonist to Sun in the courts but it turns out she's a lot deeper than that and I even found myself feeling sympathetic towards her because she honestly does love Sun, I just wish that they could have a real relationship but alas...

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same here, Hye Geong's character needs to be peeled back before we can see the deep conflicted emotions pooling beneath. If only Sun could see the crack in her armour... it'll be great if we can avoid the whole "other woman"" drama and get the ladies working together! As much as I doubt HG will ever accept/identify with Sun's values, I do think she makes a good partner in grounding Sun and his lofty ideals which is necessary as he treads the treacherous murky waters of politics.

Somehow, the ost for Sun & Jidam's scenes is preparing me for a heartbreak in the future (if romance/soulmates is the route we are heading)...

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Although I like that the Queen (or queen-to-be?) is not as naive as the Prince, I was quite confused with that gift giving scene. What was that all about?

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Idk what to say but this drama is really good. Great acting, great plot, great tense.
In this eps i felt bad for the king. He sure dealt with all crazy things for years.. i understand why he really want those maenge to be burn, so he'll be free and can do anything he want as a king (without those noron controlled him).
Now i wonder how this drama will end. I hope it's not the exact as how history ends. I don't want to see Ji dam die for real, nor the Crown Prince Sado. Hope there'll be twist, and since i'm sure the king is love his son (though he looks creepy sometimes), i hope rather than fight with his beloved son, he'll join and support him in the end, and ofcourse destroy the maenge then realize his dream to become a good king till the end of his life.

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I think the cleaning of the king's ears is sure way for the drama that the king is schizo... madness runs in the family...~~~

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This cracked me up! But I love the actor playing the madness so well..You really believe he is uber stressed out. Plus so lonely in the throne room. Who to trust really in that dangerous palace. Who is revealing to the King about sado's investigation developments?? WHOOOO?? (Me being mad. Like the king. Insert ear-cleaning scene).

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I love this actress , cute , ,very good acting skill smart character , love it .

my opinion , it is hard to find good acting , natural , cute look in K actresses but for K actors , there are so many good actors .

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Finally watched the 2 episodes in full! I must say, I am on my toes whenever the father-son scenes come up. They play nice to each other but both suspicious as hell. Both playing games although i do agree that the gentler side of the father is quite touching. He loves his son but will bite once the Maenge is found? I am quite confused about his nurturing side in one minute, and crazy ear-cleaning frenzy in another. Does he love his son and hate the politics that will ruin him? Does he want the son to step back so he wont be hurt? Does he want to handle the Maenge problem himself?

And Sado seems to be learning a thing or two from ze father by being all polite and charming to the officials.

I have to say too, that Sado is gorgeous in royal navy. My heart skipped a beat whenever the robes turn up. Love the development with Bingae. Although I wish she stayed as a Gisaeng longer. Just so that she learns the ropes to add to her geeniusss skills as an investigator undercover player. Haha

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I worry that it will be more conspicuous for her to suddenly disappear from the Gisaeng house. I think it would be better for her protection to have her stay there a few days more and then have a very obvious reason for her leaving, like a "sugar daddy" or whatever. I don't know how the Gisaeng thing works but, a courtesan could become one man's mistress for the right price and some houses had contracts when a girl was sold into the life that could then be purchased by someone. They could use "Boss" and have him become her "regular customer" keeping her from the clutches of the creepy officer while lessening his suspicion about her being the book lender. This would also help keep her safe from Shadow. And then he could purchase her contract or whatever and they make a big visual deal out of her leaving the Gisaeng house for his residence.

I can't wait for next week!

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Great story! I just felt that the whole build-up to her becoming a gisaeng was for nothing. Plus, Ji Dam looks so pretty! Memoirs of a Geisha ruined me.

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Can't wait for next week as well! The only most anticipated drama for me. Discovery of Romance sadly ended.

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Nancy Drew goes undercover at a unsavory roadhouse! Will her courageous boyfriend Nick and her father, respectable lawyer Carson Drew, arrive to save her in time?

Sorry, my sister has a collection of Nancy Drew novels dating back to the 50s. Kim Yoo-jung just gives off that same vibe of plucky innocence!

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Haha! I made the Nancy Drew reference as well! Sorry, but I was a fan of the books when I was a teenager. Read every book. She is like Nancy, while the Prince and his confidantes are Hardy Boys. Hee. I love the Ji Dam character really.She seems so innocent yet do not annoy me. I could even believe her geniuss CSI skills.

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Aww. I read Nancy Drew books back when I was young. Nice reference.

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Wow I love this drama, is so DAEBAK! I love the Kim yoojung and lee je hun relationship, is very different, is sweet and innocent. I think so they will be an awesome couple in the future ~~ ❤️❤️

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love this drama ,
thanks for recaps and comments .

I has been reading a lot of histories all over the world .
it seems like K Royals , nobles and fractions were the most corrupted , none of them really did care for their
people .

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