Scholar Who Walks the Night: Episode 8
It’s not the most smoothly executed show, but I like that the story gains some momentum today, with a major development in our conspiracy-to-uncover-the-conspiracy plot that actually ties everyone together rather nicely. By which I mean torturously, with many lives on the line. Do you think if I started a drinking game for whenever Yang-sun is in trouble and needs to be saved, we’d all be happier, or end up in the hospital?
SONG OF THE DAY
Yook Sung-jae – “또 사랑하고 만다” (I Fall in Love Again) for the Scholar Who Walks the Night OST [ Download ]
EPISODE 8 RECAP
After getting the brush-off from Sung-yeol yet again, Yang-sun asks to know his true feelings—was protecting himself the only reason he’s sending her away to Tamra? He pulls her close and leers at her with a little smirk, declaring that he won’t turn her away tonight if she really wants to find out.
She gasps, taken aback by his sudden change in behavior. He leans in to kiss her, and for the first time, she turns away from him.
He persists, turning her face to his before leaning closer, and this time she shoves him away, looking scared. It’s exactly what he wanted, and he asks with a sneer, “Did you expect more? Did you believe that I loved you?”
Yang-sun says with tears brimming in her eyes that he needn’t say such harsh things—she gets the message, loud and clear. She says it was a first for her, to feel so bad about not being more helpful, to feel so pathetic because she couldn’t do more. She holds out the pouches of medicine she brought for him.
He looks stricken to see her sincerity after treating her so badly, but steels himself and looks away, averting her eyes until she walks away. She tells herself repeatedly not to cry even while tears are spilling down her face, and eventually bursts into tears in the middle of the street.
Dad paces around the neighborhood nervously, anxious for Yang-sun to get home after seeing her with Sung-yeol. He flashes back to the night that Gwi killed Prince Sadong and his trusted advisor: Little Jin crawls out from his hiding place to cry over his father’s body, when suddenly his father’s eyes dart open and he lunges at his son baring fangs.
Jin bumps his head in the fall, and his father bites down on his shoulder. Yang-sun’s shoulder scar! So has she really been masquerading as a boy her whole life?
Someone flings him off of his child just in time… it’s Sung-yeol, who bares his own fangs and knocks him down to the ground with one blow. He asks for Prince Jeonghyeon’s diary, but the man is too far gone to give an answer. Sung-yeol reaches for his hawthorn dagger and stabs him in the chest, and (Yang-sun’s present-day) Dad witnesses all of it while clutching the diary to his chest.
Dad pitches a fit when Yang-sun finally comes home and confirms with her that Sung-yeol is the scholar she’s been helping all this time. He declares that the family is packing up and leaving right this instant. Mom doesn’t move a muscle, knowing they have nowhere to go in the middle of the night, while Yang-sun pleads forgiveness.
The one-armed merchant asks Sung-yeol to send him back (does he mean back to being Yoon’s prisoner?), while Yoon has his men search everywhere for One Arm, to no avail.
Hye-ryung tells Gwi that she’s made contact with Sung-yeol and he now knows that she’s the prime minister’s daughter. Gwi says that Sung-yeol won’t be able to shake the thought that she’s his beloved Myung-hee, no matter how much his head tells him otherwise.
Gwi caresses her face and says that he’s often shocked that she looks so much like Myung-hee, and knows that Sung-yeol would never forget the woman who gave up her life to save him.
Hye-ryung stops him before he gets too close to her neck and says through gritted teeth that she trusts he’ll keep his promise to her. She agrees to lure Sung-yeol, and Gwi promises that she will become the next princess.
One Arm goes back to Yoon on his own, and reports that he has no idea where Prince Jeonghyeon’s diary is. But he finally speaks up about his part in Sadong’s conspiracy, and names Noh Chang-sun, head of the royal office of special advisors, as the man who was behind the false charges that Sadong was a traitor.
He gives Yoon the document in Noh Chang-sun’s handwriting that proves it, and Yoon prepares to move forward. One Arm flashes back to the moment he begged Sung-yeol on his knees to be allowed to restore Sadong’s name before dying. Sung-yeol was moved by his tears and let him go, as long as he promised not to say anything about Sung-yeol’s identity.
Another cart of dead bodies is brought up from Gwi’s lair to be burned, only when uncovered, they turn out to be soldiers’ uniforms stuffed with straw. And in his library, Sung-yeol stands over the growing pile of dead bodies that he’s been collecting from the palace. As evidence of Gwi’s existence? It’s something like that, right, because if you say leftovers, I’m gonna lose my lunch.
In the morning, townspeople discover a cart full of dead bodies out in the open for anyone to see, all with puncture marks on their necks. People shout that it’s a vampire, and Yang-sun’s dad catches a glimpse of the bodies before officers arrive to take them away.
Yoon’s men move out with new flyers to distribute, and Sung-yeol sneaks into their safe house to find out what Eumlan Seosaeng will say to the people. In the new flyer, Yoon reveals his true identity as the prince and as Eumlan Seosaeng, and declares that he will fight Gwi head-on.
Sung-yeol’s people ask why he’s saved one last body—the king’s consort—instead of putting her out in the town with the others, and he shares his plan to wake her up as a vampire and release her into the streets.
He wants to time it with Yoon’s reveal, so that people will be forced to believe him. Once that’s done, Sung-yeol will reveal himself to Yoon so that he knows they’re on the same side. Gee, how many ways could this plan go awry?
The prime minister warns Gwi that people are starting to talk about all of the dead bodies, but Gwi doesn’t seem ruffled by it in the least, and says he’ll simply kill every last person who speaks of vampires, including the king and the prince.
Gwi shows the prime minister a sketch of Sung-yeol (aww, are you pining so hard that you’re drawing portraits of him now?) and says that if he can capture this man, Gwi will make him the next king.
The king looks over the dead bodies that were collected from the town and muses that whoever did this is as formidable as Gwi said—now people believe Eumlan Seosaeng’s words to be true. His advisor (the traitor, Noh Chang-sun) worries that the loss of lives will escalate unless Eumlan Seosaeng is found.
Yoon goes to visit his mother, who lives at a temple and refuses to step foot inside the palace. He says that he stayed away in the hopes that she’d return, but she plans to live out her remaining days here, and only asks him to promise not to make her mourn her son after mourning her husband.
She invites a friend to join them, and in walks Hye-ryung. Mom introduces her as a kind young woman who visits her regularly and listens to her, and dotes on her like a daughter. Yoon recognizes her from their run-in in the street, and thanks her for being a friend to his mother. Guess she really is angling to become his wife.
Yang-sun’s little sister Dam sees unni flipping through her Night Scholar novel wistfully, and apologizes that they’re going all the way to Tamra just because of her health. Yang-sun smiles and says she’s thinking of rewriting the book, all about the lustful night scholar’s secret private life.
She retells their story in a romantic light, which isn’t actually all that far from the truth, not that she knows it. He’s drunk on her scent from the moment they meet, taken with her and always finding ways to be around her, until one day he confesses and tells her that she’s pretty.
Dam is lost in the story and prods, “Pretty where? Pretty where, eyes, nose, lips?” Yang-sun deflates to remember his answer—that her heart was pretty—and gives up on the story, thinking the original idea better.
She forces back tears, while Dam insists that the story is good and asks for more. Yang-sun says it’s no fun: “It’s a dream that you forget as soon as you wake.”
Dad heads to the temple late that night with Prince Jeonghyeon’s diary and Jin’s half of Sadong’s brush case, and pays his respects to Jin’s parents. He lays the items out and asks what he’s supposed to do with them, not sure if he can handle the burden.
Sung-yeol reads over Eumlam Seosaeng’s flyer and gets ready to head out, when suddenly the candle that Yang-sun gave him starts to crack, giving him an ominous feeling. Lol, really, this is how we’re getting our portents now?
Yoon’s men are hiding in plain sight in the marketplace, ready with stacks of flyers and waiting for their cue. Sung-yeol’s team sets up shop nearby, with Ho-jin posing as a shoe vendor while sitting atop a coffin as a chair. He asks nervously if the vampire will suddenly rise under him, but Sung-yeol assures him that she’ll remain a corpse until he feeds her his blood.
Yang-sun realizes at the last second that she forgot to pack the shoes that Sung-yeol gave her, and begs to go back home to find them. Mom refuses, but Dad tells to lead the way and goes with her.
Yoon’s trusted friend Hak-young begs him one last time to let him be Eumlan Seosaeng in front of the people. Yoon admits that he’s afraid of death too, but like Prince Jeonghyeon and his father before him, he knows that no one else can take his place.
He asks Hak-young to make sure that One Arm is brought safely to him to be a witness, but as soon as he says the words, the men escorting One Arm are surrounded by men with swords.
A gust of wind blows through the palace, and Yoon can feel someone’s presence. Sung-yeol’s voice rings out from behind the throne, informing Yoon of his plan to raise the king’s consort from the dead as a vampire in front of the people, so that they’ll believe Yoon’s words.
Yoon approaches the throne slowly and asks if he’s the one who freed the scholars and exposed the dead bodies, and asks why he’s helping him. Sung-yeol says that he’s searching for Prince Jeonghyeon’s diary to kill Gwi too, and says that he’ll reveal himself in due time, once Yoon trusts that they’re on the same side.
Yoon says that he’d rather find out first and then decide whether or not to trust him, and inches closer and closer… He gets right in front of the throne, when suddenly the king is announced.
In the marketplace, royal guards surround the area and kill or capture all of Eumlan Seosaeng’s men before they have a chance to distribute their flyers. Drat, I knew their plan seemed too easy.
Yoon sees his bodyguard standing behind the king and realizes that he’s been betrayed. The king says that he has good news—he’s been able to capture Eumlan Seosaeng and all of his men. Yoon’s face goes white, and the king says, “And their leader is…”
In the woods, One Arm gets stabbed and looks badly injured, but manages to run away. Yang-sun finds her leather shoes at home and puts them on, and she promises to make money and buy Dad a pair. They turn to go rejoin their family, when One Arm stumbles after them calling for Dad, and collapses in their arms in a bloody heap.
Back at the palace, the king says, “Eumlan Seosaeng is… the bookseller Jo Yang-sun.” Omo. What. Both Yoon and Sung-yeol are shocked to hear Yang-sun’s name, while the king continues and says that Yoon will get all the credit for arresting Yang-sun. Augh, the king is knowingly selling Yang-sun down the river to protect Yoon. Auuuugh.
One Arm struggles to stay alive and reaches into his pocket to take out the evidence that Sadong was framed, and puts it in Yang-sun’s hand. He says that it has to be delivered to the prince, and tells Dad that he tried not to drag him into this, and that he’s sorry.
He coughs up more blood and says with his last breath that Sadong’s name must be cleared, and that the prince is Eumlan Seosaeng and will know what to do.
They don’t even have the chance to process that information before their house is flooded with guards, who find the letter in Yang-sun’s hand and arrest her as Eumlan Seosaeng. Craaaaap.
Dad is arrested too, and a search uncovers stacks and stacks of illegal books and flyers by Eumlan Seosaeng. Double crap.
Sung-yeol runs over looking for Yang-sun, and Dam recognizes him right away as the night scholar. He’s too late to save her from being arrested, and tells Su-hyang to hold the boat to Tamra so that he can rescue Yang-sun and her father and put them on the boat tonight.
Yoon is blocked from leaving his palace by royal guards, on the king’s orders. He asks for his friend Hak-young to be brought here then, but the guard tells him that Hak-young has been arrested as a conspirator too. This day just gets worse and worse…
Yang-sun and Dad get thrown in prison, and Yang-sun asks why she’s being called Eumlan Seosaeng, and what it has to do with the prince. Dad tells her to keep quiet about the prince being Eumlan Seosaeng no matter what, because they’ll die the second they utter the truth.
Sung-yeol wastes no time attacking the guards and busts the lock on Yang-sun’s cell with one strike of the hand. She’s startled to see him, but it’s Dad who shrieks in fear. Gack, Dad, keep it down! He’s here to save you!
Dad pleads with Sung-yeol to let them live, shouting over and over for someone to save them. Sung-yeol is surprised at the reaction and asks if Dad knows him, and Yang-sun says that her father was Sadong’s private bookseller ten years ago. Dad told her to stay away from Sung-yeol, but she doesn’t know why.
The king and his guards are approaching, and Dad is delirious with fear. Sung-yeol has no choice but to come back another time, and leaves them behind for now.
Sung-yeol alerts Mom and Dam about the arrest, and says that there’s a way to rescue them. He asks if they’ve ever seen Prince Jeonghyeon’s diary, and Mom says that she’s seen her husband with a secret book. She copies the characters written on the cover, confirming that it’s the diary he’s been searching for.
Mom begs him to take it and save her husband and child, and Sung-yeol agrees. But when they go through their belongings, they can’t find the book. Then things go from bad to worse when Ho-jin runs in and says that all of the prisoners who have been arrested just up and vanished. Uh-oh.
Sung-yeol finds Yang-sun’s cell empty when he returns, but then discovers her shoe in the courtyard. What is she, Cinderella the Inmate now?
He listens in as Gwi interrogates the king and demands to know where the prisoners have been taken. The king says that the other vampire has shown up, so he moved the prisoners to keep them from being rescued. He promises to have confessions in two days, and when Gwi isn’t convinced, the king puts Yoon’s life on the line as payment if he doesn’t come through.
Sung-yeol realizes that the king is doing this to protect Yoon, but that’s bad news for Yang-sun, because he’ll stop at nothing to make sure she takes the fall for being Eumlan Seosaeng.
Yang-sun and Dad are relocated to a scary torture shed in the middle of nowhere, and Yang-sun asks why he reacted that way with Sung-yeol. She says that Sung-yeol came to rescue them, but Dad gasps, “Save people? When he killed… He eats…”
He stops short of saying it, and then the guards return with Hak-young and a fellow conspirator in tow. Yang-sun recognizes Hak-young and looks up at him in surprise.
Their interrogation begins, led by the king’s traitorous advisor. Yang-sun says that she did copy and sell Eumlan Seosaeng’s books, but she knows nothing of the flyers, and Dad cries that they know nothing of the document that One Arm left behind either. They’re ordered to be beaten until they confess.
Sung-yeol runs through the entire city looking for Yang-sun, and takes whiffs of her scent from her clothing to try and find her. But the king really must’ve found a place where even a vampire can’t find them, because he can’t seem to get a lead anywhere.
He returns home, where Yang-sun’s Mom runs in to say that she remembers seeing her husband take the diary with him when he went to the temple the other night. Sung-yeol goes there and is surprised to see that the memorial rites were for Jin’s father, Sadong’s advisor. He remembers staking the man after he’d become a vampire ten years ago, and wonders how they’re all connected.
The torture interrogation continues, with Yang-sun insisting that she isn’t Eumlan Seosaeng and looking to her father for permission to defend herself. Finally Hak-young shouts that they shouldn’t be the ones facing charges: “It should be the king and the Norons who got drunk on power and sacrificed the people to a vampire! It should be the one who sacrificed my father to a vampire, my grandfather!”
Oh geez, the king’s traitorous advisor is your grandfather? Grandfather averts his gaze and continues with the torture, and orders them all stripped down and branded with hot irons.
Yang-sun’s eyes widen in alarm, and Dad cries for his child to be saved. Hak-young looks over at her and makes a decision, and shouts, “I am Eumlan Seosaeng!” *gasp*
But Grandfather steamrolls right over his confession and orders Yang-sun stripped down, until finally Dad screams, “A girl! My child is a girl! Please let her live!”
Yoon pleads Yang-sun’s innocence before the king, and confesses that he’s Eumlan Seosaeng. But the king already knows that, and tells him to shut his mouth or he’ll throw him in a well just like his father. Yeesh.
Yoon looks almost pleased to hear his grandfather admit the truth, and suggests that he’ll be offered up to Gwi just like his father was. The king says that he lost his son but has protected his grandson, and names the countless times he’s stopped Yoon from being caught as a traitor.
He realizes that the king has known the truth about his double life as Eumlan Seosaeng for a long time, and the king says he was giving him the chance to prove that he could fight Gwi. But he finds Yoon just as naïve as Sadong was.
News is delivered to the king that Yang-sun is a woman masquerading as a man, and Yoon’s eyes fill with tears as he overhears the report. The king declares that she’s broken the law, even if she isn’t Eumlan Seosaeng, and will be punished.
Yang-sun and her father are locked up again, and Sung-yeol tells his people that he’s not going to rescue her. Say what, now? Even Su-hyang is alarmed, and reminds him that the king will make his verdict in a day, and Sung-yeol says he knows: “I’m going to use Yang-sun’s life as collateral to make a deal with her father.”
Damn, that’s cold. I know that means he’s still going to save her in the end, but you can’t just leave her there to be tortured for another twenty-four hours! Also, what’s the point of saying all that when you technically still don’t know where they are, and couldn’t bust in to save them right now anyway? Kinda moot, no? I know that retrieving that goddamn diary is really important, but I don’t like how it’s coming before lives and Yang-sun’s well-being. Especially after that assy bridge conversation, where Sung-yeol decided he had to be extra jerky just to drive her away. We know; it’s for her own good; you’re noble; she’s innocent; you’re a beast that doesn’t deserve love; blah blah.
And honestly, that conflict is largely what makes the romance compelling to begin with, so it’s not that I dislike the core dynamic of the angsty romance. But I’d like to see Sung-yeol being a little more creative when it comes to Yang-sun, because it’s not like she’s demanding that he marry her. She hardly thinks she matters to him at all, so there are kinder ways to make sure she gets on that boat to Tamra without treating her like a gisaeng that he picked up for the night. Why is there no middle ground with you? Hot and cold heroes are a dime a dozen in dramaland, but Sung-yeol really takes the cake, on both ends of the spectrum. Is it any wonder that she doesn’t believe you’re real when you’re being nice to her?
Frankly, I’m mad at both Yoon and Sung-yeol right now, and found that Hak-young was the only hero of the day. Who needs emotionally closed-off vampires when a guy is giving up his life to take the fall and protect you (and his best friend) all in one swoop? Sadly it didn’t take, drat his evil grandfather. It’s no wonder he and Yoon are such good friends—they have equally messed up patrilineal baggage to bond over. And now that it’s pretty clear (though unconfirmed) that Yang-sun and Jin are probably the same person, she can be a part of their club too, since all three of their fathers were best friends who died for the same purpose. It’s a little too coincidental in her case that she ended up here by chance, whereas the two boys are purposely avenging their fathers’ deaths, but I like the idea of the three of them banding together as friends, since they already share the same ideology and hope for the nation. Plus, I just like the three of them.
So, if Yang-sun is Jin, it introduces a new complication in the romance (as if we really needed another), because Present-Day Dad thinks that Sung-yeol killed her biological father. We at least know he was already a vampire at the time, but I doubt that Sung-yeol will feel less guilty about it anyway. I find the past connection to be unnecessary (as I do most we-were-first-loves-don’t-you-know tropes), though I suppose in their case it’s fitting that he’s been saving her since childhood, since that’s become his new day job. I feel like the various story threads are finally starting to coalesce into something substantive, and yes, putting Yang-sun in danger always helps keep the tension high. But I really want to start seeing more from her as a heroine, to take more of an active role in shaping events rather than getting swept up by others’ actions without ever know what’s going on. Putting her front and center in the conspiracy puts her in a great position (er, storywise, not so much the torture) to learn the truth and do something about it, and it’s high time that she become an active participant, eyes wide open. I think the torture earns her that much.
- Scholar Who Walks the Night: Episode 7
- Scholar Who Walks the Night: Episode 6
- Scholar Who Walks the Night: Episode 5
- Scholar Who Walks the Night: Episode 4
- Scholar Who Walks the Night: Episode 3
- Scholar Who Walks the Night: Episode 2
- Scholar Who Walks the Night: Episode 1
- From the press conference for Scholar Who Walks the Night
- Lee Jun-ki the scholar walks nights, breaks hearts
- Character stills for Scholar Who Walks the Night