Scholar Who Walks the Night: Episode 12
Stupid, stupid humans. Why listen to the vampire who’s spent the last century searching for the right way to kill your common enemy? Why bother following the instructions in the super-secret diary that multiple generations of men have died to find? It’s so much more fun to hatch a half-baked plan and risk everyone’s lives on a whim, isn’t it? Sometimes, I really really wish that Sung-yeol would just take his sweetheart and go live in the mountains and let Joseon deal with its own problems. Okay, that would probably be a really boring drama, but there would certainly be less stupidity, and from where I sit, that’s a decent exchange.
SONG OF THE DAY
Groovy Brown – “이별을 줄게” (I’ll Give You Goodbye) [ Download ]
EPISODE 12 RECAP
Yang-sun runs into the woods after Sung-yeol, just in time to see him holding Prince Yoon up in the air with one hand, his vamp eyes glowing red-hot. How she doesn’t find the bout of superhuman strength alarming is beyond me, but Sung-yeol tosses Yoon aside and manages to cover his eyes before she notices anything’s off.
She picks up the box that Yoon dropped in the fight, and is surprised to recognize it as hers. She doesn’t get a chance to ask about it though, because vampire hunter Baek In-ho circles back around and shoots off an arrow at Sung-yeol.
He catches it with one hand in mid-air, then sends it flying back at the tree right next to Baek’s head. That buys them enough time to run away, and Sung-yeol leads Yang-sun away by the hand.
He’s mad at her for wandering out there by herself, and she asks cautiously why he was fighting with Yoon. He tells her that he was hoping he and Yoon could fight Gwi together, but word has spread that Yoon is now loyal to Gwi. He asked Yoon to find him at the gibang as a show of faith, but he never showed.
Yang-sun says that if Yoon did bow down to Gwi, she’ll never forgive him… but she doesn’t believe he’d really do that. She tells him about seeing Yoon at the gibang the other night—he was looking for someone, but she was still mad at him and avoided contact.
She adds that the box that Dad left behind is one half of a set, and Yoon told her once that it belongs to his long-lost friend who disappeared. Sung-yeol takes all this in and tells her not to go outside since they still don’t know Yoon’s purpose for coming here.
Hunter Baek asks Yoon why he didn’t rescue his long-lost friend Seo Jin from the vampire, and Yoon is confused: “Aren’t you mistaken? Jin is a man.” Hunter Baek fiiiinally tells him the truth—that he doesn’t know the reason why, but Scholar Seo raised his daughter as a boy. Yoon thinks, “Yang-sun, were you Jin?”
Hak-young searches the area but comes up empty, and Yoon tells them that Sung-yeol is the vampire who’s been helping them. Hunter Baek argues vehemently that they can’t trust a vampire—Sung-yeol killed Scholar Seo and must be using his child to find Prince Jeonghyeon’s diary, and he’s no different from Gwi.
But Hak-young counters that he thinks Sung-yeol is different (yay, Hak-young)—he’s helped Yoon too many times to ignore. Yoon contemplates whose side he should be taking.
Yang-sun sits in her room staring at the box that Yoon said would belong to his childhood friend. She wonders, “But the friend would be a man. Is that why he was confused? Wait, but I lived as a man. Then… is the friend a woman?” In true Yang-sun form, she gives up trying to make sense of it.
Yoon finds Hye-ryung in the street and apologizes for their last encounter at the temple, and she says she didn’t know about Eumlan Seosaeng and his crimes. Suddenly an arrow comes flying toward them from an assassin on a rooftop, and Yoon swings Hye-ryung out of the way.
This time she sees a second arrow coming straight for Yoon and jumps in its way to save him, taking the arrow in her back. Yoon’s guards arrive on the scene, but the assassin slips away. Oh, the assassin takes off his mask, and it’s Hye-ryung’s man, which means she orchestrated this whole thing just to gain Yoon’s trust? That’s elaborate.
Yoon sits by Hye-ryung’s bedside at the doctor’s house, while she has a fitful dream in which she cries to her father to save her just this once. Sadly that part seems real, since she probably did cry in desperation when he offered her up to Gwi.
When she wakes up, he thanks her for saving his life and stops her from leaving because he can’t abide anyone else getting hurt because of him. She says that she has to go home because she’s due to be married soon, and he backs his hand away with apologies.
She says that it’s a loveless marriage anyway, arranged by her father who’s selling her so that he can rise in status. She sighs that it’s all too common a fate, but she plans to make the most of it and help make this country a better place by supporting its king.
When Yoon prods, she admits that she’s due to marry the prince, acting as if she doesn’t know the prince is sitting right in front of her. But her plan must’ve worked, because Yoon goes straight to Gwi and agrees to his order to marry Hye-ryung.
Gwi enjoys asking if he ought to just go ahead and take her for himself on their wedding night, but Yoon says through gritted teeth that there’ll be a celebration, and Gwi is invited to attend. The prime minister is suspicious, as always, but Gwi is practically licking his chops at the mention of a party.
Hunter Baek greets the king, who tells him that the new palace has been built to be the hunting grounds for Gwi. Meanwhile, the prime minister brings the man who sold Yang-sun’s slave papers before Gwi, and shares his theory that Sung-yeol is now in possession of the diary and working in secret with Yoon to take him down.
Gwi slits the man’s throat and focuses on the only thing he really cares about—that he now knows that Sung-yeol frequents the gibang. (I love that the prime minister’s whole point is that Yoon does too, but Gwi can’t be bothered to care about anyone but Sung-yeol.)
The king asks Yoon’s mother to stay at the palace until the wedding to teach the new princess, and then the prime minister arrives to introduce his daughter to them. Hye-ryung bows before the king and looks up, and she and Mom exchange shocked expressions when they recognize each other, while Yoon gauges Hye-ryung’s reaction.
She acts properly shocked to see Yoon and Mom there, and Yoon is convinced that she is nothing like her father. He tells the king so, but the king warns that he needs to be on his guard and remember his mission.
Sung-yeol confers with Su-hyang that night about Yang-sun’s connection to Yoon as a child, and Hunter Baek’s misunderstanding that he was the vampire who turned Scholar Seo. Su-hyang says that they should clear up the misunderstanding, but realizes that what he’s worried about is Yang-sun finding out that he’s a vampire.
Ho-jin catches Yang-sun trying to eavesdrop outside the room, nervous and curious about Sung-yeol and Su-hyang’s relationship, and what they could be talking about this late at night. Ho-jin has some fun teasing her, and says suggestively that Sung-yeol and Su-hyang can’t live without each other, and what else would a man and a woman be doing this late at night locked in a room—talking?
Yang-sun freezes up, and Ho-jin has to tell her repeatedly that he’s kidding. He says that Su-hyang is loyal to Sung-yeol ever since he saved her life, but they’re not in the kind of relationship she’s imagining.
She brightens at that, and then moves on to the other thing she’s curious about—Sung-yeol’s impressive strength and speed. She describes how he caught an arrow in mid-air, and asks if all people who know martial arts can do those things. Seriously? Ho-jin’s answer cracks me up: “Yeah… everyone learns that stuff in the third year.”
She says that sometimes Sung-yeol’s eyes change too, and she admits to wondering sometimes if he could maybe be her Night Scholar for real. Ho-jin laughs awkwardly: “You r-read too many n-novels!”
Yang-sun thinks she’s being stealthy as she sneaks a peek at Sung-yeol reading in the library, but he smirks when he spots her, and sneaks up on her from behind. He keeps inching closer to her until she trips and he has to catch her (really, is she incapable of taking one step without falling?).
He asks if she’s spying on him, and she stammers that there are so many things she doesn’t know about him. He prompts her to ask, so she begins with his family and the woman he loved. He says that his family died, and that the woman he loved died too, because of him.
She says he must’ve been in a lot of pain. He admits that he thought he would be until the day he died, “But now I know that a person’s heart is something that changes with time.” Yang-sun counters that that won’t be the case for her: “My heart will never change.” He smiles back at her, and in the wings, Su-hyang watches them tearfully.
Gwi calls Hye-ryung to his lair and reminds her that his objective in taking her in ten years ago was to lure Sung-yeol. She makes excuses for not being able to find him, and Gwi pointedly asks if she knows about the gibang that Sung-yeol frequents. She lies that she didn’t know, and he lets it go for now.
Su-hyang drinks alone that night, asking Sung-yeol in her thoughts what she means to him while shedding tears. Someone comes to visit her at the gibang, and she wipes her tears away before opening the door.
Omo, it’s Gwi, dressed as a nobleman (so prettyyyyyyyy). She’s so shocked that she falls backward, and he steps inside to catch her fall. He clocks her reaction and asks if she knows him, and she quickly covers up by saying that he’s so beautiful it knocked her over. Lol, nice save.
Gwi isn’t quite convinced, but he’s more interested in asking her about Sung-yeol, and shows her a sketch of his face. She says that he’s a wealthy man who comes here from time to time, but that she didn’t even know his name until just now.
Gwi demands that Sung-yeol be brought to him this instant, but Su-hyang says she has no idea how to contact him. She promises to send word through the prime minister the next time Sung-yeol shows himself, and Gwi seems content with that. Phew.
Ho-jin runs in to tell Sung-yeol about Gwi’s visit, and Sung-yeol decides that there’s no more time to waste—he has to find out once and for all which side Yoon is on. He just walks right up to Yoon and his entourage in the street, ignoring the row of swords aimed at him, and greets Yoon respectfully as the prince.
Yoon wonders at the change in attitude since the last time, when Sung-yeol had him by the throat. Sung-yeol finally explains that he was once a faithful friend to a prince, and was supposed to serve his country and die. He didn’t choose to become a vampire, but at the time it was the only way to continue fighting against Gwi.
Yoon asks what happened to Scholar Seo and Jin, so Sung-yeol takes him and Hak-young to the Seo family house. He admits to killing Scholar Seo, but only after Gwi had already turned him into a vampire and he was about to feed on his own child. Sung-yeol confirms that he saved Jin’s life, and asks if Yoon still distrusts him and thinks he’s the same as Gwi.
He takes out his own hawthorn dagger and offers it up to Yoon to stab him right then and there. At that, Yoon finally opens up and shares the king’s plan to turn his wedding party at the new palace into Gwi’s hunting grounds.
Alarmed, Sung-yeol tells them that it’s suicide to attempt something like that before they’ve figured out how to kill Gwi, and Hak-young agrees, but the problem is that the king is dead set on the plan. Sung-yeol asks if he can meet the king.
The next morning, Sung-yeol is staring at the palace robes in front of him, remembering his days as a scholar and Prince Jeonghyeon’s friend. Su-hyang asks why he’s bothering with all this when he could easily sneak into the palace with his powers, but Sung-yeol says that’s a vampire’s method, and he needs to meet the king as a person, as one of his citizens.
So Sung-yeol gets an audience with the king, who has heard from Yoon about what he is. Sung-yeol hands over the diary and tells him about the three ingredients for Gwi-Be-Gone: the king’s will, a guardian vampire (so Sung-yeol), and a woman descended from the matrilineal tree recorded in the diary.
The king asks what role that woman will have in the plan, and Sung-yeol admits to not knowing. Come on guys, bloodline, vampire? Ring any dinner bells? He asks for the king’s help in finding her, and begs him to delay his plan to attack Gwi at the wedding party.
The king says he understands… but then rips the super-secret page out of the diary and burns it. What the? Do you even know how many episodes it took us to get that?! He says it’s just a piece of paper, and that both Sadong and Jeonghyeon died looking for it, and he can’t have Yoon dying the same tragic death.
He says that it’s the people who suffer the longer they wait, and he’s going to fight Gwi his own way. Argh. It’s your funeral! Sung-yeol argues that he’s going to lose too much, but the king doesn’t care and asks Sung-yeol to join them in the fight if he’s really one of his people. Despite his reservations, he agrees to do as the king asks.
Once he’s let in on the plan, Yoon asks after Yang-sun, and Sung-yeol tells him that she has no memory of her childhood as Jin. Yoon asks outright if Sung-yeol loves her, and if she loves him, but Sung-yeol doesn’t really answer, not that he needs to.
He says that once Yang-sun regains her memories, that’ll all change because he’s the vampire who killed her father. But it’s Yoon who argues that he did so to save her life, and he asks Sung-yeol not to end his own life after killing Gwi. Yoon asks him to live, and to make Yang-sun happy. Aw.
Su-hyang pleads with Sung-yeol not to join the king, but he’s already decided to go, and apologizes for not being able to do more for her. He’s talking like he knows he’s about to die, and she begs to go with him then: “I may not have your heart, but let me die by your side!”
He tells her no, and asks that if something goes wrong, for her to take care of Yang-sun. Ouch. I mean, I don’t like her, but way to kick her while she’s down. She walks away with tears streaming down her face.
Sung-yeol finds Yang-sun mending the binding of some old books, and she asks if he’s read all of the volumes in his library, musing that it would take a hundred years to do so. She plans to read everything he’s read, and he smiles as he asks if that means she plans to stay here as long as that takes.
He calls her by name, but hesitates, unable to finish his sentence. Instead he reaches out to caress her face and leans in for a kiss, shedding a lone tear as he kisses her softly.
He heads out at the crack of dawn and lingers in front of Yang-sun’s door, and Ho-jin says that Su-hyang couldn’t bear to watch him go. Sung-yeol tells him that if he doesn’t return by sunrise the next day, he should tell Yang-sun everything and make sure to help her go wherever she wants.
Ho-jin whimpers as he struggles to hold back his tears, and Sung-yeol puts a hand on his shoulder as he thanks him for everything he’s done. Oh noes, too many goodbyes for this to go well.
The royal wedding commences, and Yoon and Hye-ryung are wed. After the ceremony, the king calls Hunter Baek in and shows him the page from Prince Jeonghyeon’s diary that he half-burned, and says that he’s just received word that his scholars have got a lead on this matrilineal tree.
The king asks Baek whether they should proceed with tonight’s plan or hold off, and Baek decides that it’s a rare opportunity to draw Gwi out, and doesn’t think they should waste it. The king agrees to go ahead as planned. So. Much. Folly.
The wedding celebration begins that night, and Sung-yeol stands on the rooftop above the proceedings, dagger at the ready. Su-hyang has ignored his orders to stay behind, and is part of the entertainment for the night.
It isn’t long before Gwi crashes the party and sends all the guests running, and he stands there asking pointedly for the new princess to pour him a drink. Yoon stops her from coming forward, and Su-hyang offers to pour the drink instead.
Everyone waits on pins and needles as the drink is poured and he raises it to his lips, because that’s supposed to be the signal for the attack to start. Gwi seems to sense this and drops the cup before taking a drink, and the king orders them to fire.
Marksmen appear along the rooftops and begin shooting at Gwi, and Hunter Baek takes the lead. They do manage to slow Gwi down with bullets, but mostly they just make him eager for a bloodbath.
The royal family makes a quick escape, but the prime minister shows up with his own army of men to capture them. The king’s men are outnumbered, but thankfully Sung-yeol swoops in to fight them all off and buys the king time to escape.
Once he’s fought all the prime minister’s men, Sung-yeol runs to the palace where Gwi has covered the courtyard in dead bodies, and is currently taking a bite out of Hunter Baek. Gwi asks what took him so long, and they charge at each other.
Gwi asks why Sung-yeol is doing this knowing he’ll die, but Sung-yeol is smart enough to weaken Gwi just long enough to carry Hunter Baek out and escape with his life.
Yoon gets the king to safety, but the king knows that they’re not in the clear—someone will have to pay for the assassination attempt. He tells Yoon that he’ll take sole responsibility and give up his life, and apologizes for leaving Yoon alone.
Yoon asks how he’s supposed to fight Gwi on his own when there’s no other way, but the king says that he’s found the descendant of the matrilineal tree recorded in the diary: It’s Seo Jin (aka Yang-sun, natch).
Yoon asks how that young girl could possibly kill Gwi, but the king guesses that it’s in her blood—Yoon will have to sacrifice her, and if he’s right, Gwi will die when he drinks her blood.
Yang-sun finds Ho-jin crying outside in the morning, and he tells her that Sung-yeol has gone far away and won’t ever be coming back. She asks for an explanation, but he just keeps crying.
Sung-yeol manages to get Hunter Baek into the woods, but he doesn’t look like he’ll be alive much longer. Baek keeps trying to tell him something, and finally gets out the words that the secret to killing Gwi is Seo Jin.
It’s a totally obvious development, not to mention delivered to our leading characters with so little inventiveness that they had to be told outright in so many words (this writer, I swear), but at least this gets us to an interesting place of angst for Sung-yeol, who is now caught between his life’s sole mission and the woman he loves. I’m frankly annoyed that Sung-yeol didn’t get to figure it out for himself, because seriously, how hard is it to wonder about all of the circumstances surrounding Yang-sun’s identity as Jin and her father’s insistence on raising her as a boy, even as a child? He was clearly hiding her from the world (though he obviously didn’t do that great a job if the king found out in like, a DAY of library research).
Clunky exposition aside, there’s now an interesting case for Sung-yeol and Yoon to split up again, if Yoon might be willing to sacrifice Yang-sun’s life for the greater good while Sung-yeol fights to protect her. In the beginning they might’ve been the reverse, but I can’t see Sung-yeol just letting her die, no matter what the cause. I want to see more fight in him when it’s her life on the line—he might be willing to die at a moment’s notice to take down Gwi, but I hope he’d never consider sacrificing Yang-sun to do it. I’m more concerned that she’ll throw herself on the sacrificial altar once she finds out the truth, because I really don’t want another ride on the I’ll-die-no-I’ll-die merry-go-round. What’s it take to get our leads to want to live?
Yoon’s request for Sung-yeol to stay alive and make Yang-sun happy was so cute, but I always feel like the only reason Sung-yeol is indulging his feelings is because he knows he won’t be here long. It’s definitely forward progress for him to admit that his heart could change when he expected to love only one woman until the day he died, but he’s still so one-sided in everything—saying goodbye without telling her it’s goodbye, planning for her future without him, and making decisions for her without revealing anything about himself.
As cute as her crush is, I would really like for Yang-sun to know enough of what’s going on to make her own informed decisions for her life (gasp, imagine that). Because gee, at some point, wouldn’t it be more meaningful if she chose to love Sung-yeol despite finding out his true nature? Maybe it’s because the royals were pissing me off so much today, but I’d like to skip a lot of this plan-before-the-plan nonsense and fast-forward to the part where Sung-yeol is finally loved for being himself, vampire and all, and begins to value his life a little. I fully trust Yang-sun to love him, fangs and all, so can’t we give her the benefit of the doubt and INFORM her, just a little? And by inform her, I do mean hit her over the head with truth so obvious she can’t ignore it, because ohmygod, she’s cute, but boy is she dim. Come on, I want to root for my heroine and be proud of her, for yunno, doing things. Is that too much to ask?
- Scholar Who Walks the Night: Episode 11
- Scholar Who Walks the Night: Episode 10
- Scholar Who Walks the Night: Episode 9
- Dramabeans Podcast #29
- Scholar Who Walks the Night: Episode 8
- 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