The King Loves: Episodes 7-8
Our trio has managed to conceal their true identities despite finding themselves thrown together again and again. For now, they exist in a bubble of carefree innocence that can’t last, even if they want it to. Each one of them attracts danger like a magnet, and sooner or later, reality is sure to break their idyllic spell. But until it does, why not enjoy the present?
EPISODE 7 RECAP
Rin can’t believe his eyes as the mysterious archer, Moo-suk, shoots an arrow from Won’s direction, grazing the king. When Won stops his horse in front of his fearful father, he’s bewildered when his father accuses him of attempted murder.
Moo-suk escapes while Rin takes aim and sends a second arrow flying. Won looks up as the arrow sails his way and buries itself into his horse. Won is thrown to the ground and scrapes his hand before he manages to scramble to his feet and unsheathe his sword.
Won runs to his father and instructs him to stay on the ground as he turns to face their attacker, sword at the ready. The king notices Won’s bloody knuckles and looks over at his dead horse, his suspicions seemingly assuaged for the moment.
Rin finds the spot where Moo-suk shot at the king and looks down at the chaotic scene as the royal guards arrive. When Rin is spotted in the distance, a party of guards breaks off to go after him.
Meanwhile, the king studies Won closely as he continues to stand in front his father protectively.
Song In marches San through the forest with her own knife at her throat when she attempts to flip him. He smoothly avoids her maneuver and demands to know if she’s from Minister Eun’s household. San grabs for her knife, only to get thrown against a tree by a stronger Song In.
Song In complains that he couldn’t witness something (the shooting) because of her and raises the knife over his head. But when he sees someone approaching, he’s forced to leave San behind.
That someone approaching is Rin, and he’s surprised to run into San in the forest. When he demands to know why she’s there, she asks if he saw a man in black clothes with a bow, and Rin is suddenly very interested in what she saw. When a hunting call distracts them, San gets away, and Rin soon has several swords pointed at his throat.
The guards march Rin into the king’s tent where Princess Wonsung, Won, and the ministers have already assembled as Minister Eun kneels before the king. Minister Song informs them that Rin was discovered at the spot where the arrow was shot.
Princess Wonsung demands to know if Rin was really there. Rin’s father, Wang Young, sighs in worry when Rin admits that he was. Princess Wonsung asks if he shot the arrow, but Won denies the accusation on Rin’s behalf. When his mothers repeats that he was found at the scene, Won clarifies that Rin was there on his orders.
Just then, royal guards run into the tent to deliver the two arrows that were recovered from the scene. Wang Young examines them and is shocked to discover that they belong to the prince.
Rin’s older brother Jeon asks Rin if Won ordered him to hide in that spot. When Rin doesn’t respond, Jeon berates him, “How dare you refuse to answer in front of His Majesty?”
Thinking fast to save his friend, Won takes the arrows and asks Rin if he found the person who stole them. Without missing a beat, Rin admits that he discovered someone suspicious, but lost him.
With that, Won explains to the king that he asked Rin to investigate when he discovered that some of his arrows were missing. Won assumed they were taken by an admirer as a souvenir, unaware it was part of a plot to make the king suspicious of his own son.
The king considers Won’s bloody hand and then finally addresses Minister Eun, who has been on his knees the entire time. Minister Eun acknowledges that the atrocity that occurred on his land is a mistake worthy of death. The king wants to continue with the hunt but warns Minister Eun that he will lose his head and his family will hang if another arrow is sent his way.
The king gives Won one week to find out who tried to shoot him and stands to leave. Minister Song protests that Rin should be locked up, but the king asks why Rin would shoot at both him and the crown prince. The king asks Rin directly if he wants to make himself king and he answers, “No.” That’s a good enough answer for the king.
After the king leaves, Princess Wonsung approaches Rin and tells her son, “He is not your friend. A king has no friends. A king only has royal subjects and traitors before him.” Much to his mother’s chagrin, Won reminds her that he’s not a king yet.
The guards posted outside the cart-pullers’ tent hear a suspicious noise and rush in to investigate. They’re ambushed by the pair of thieves, who somehow escaped their restraints.
Rin scolds Won as they walk through the encampment, saying that he can’t believe how Won can be so smart and yet so reckless. Rin heatedly reminds Won that everyone is after him and the last thing he should do is take the side of the man accused of hurting the king. When Won asks if he shot that arrow, Rin exclaims, “See? You’re suspicious too!”
Won insists he’s not suspicious, but Rin can’t understand why, since his brother is the one after Won’s position. Rin demands, “How do you know it wasn’t me?” Won explains, “First of all, you can shoot better than that. That person shot twice and missed both times… if you really tried to kill us, would you shoot the arrows then stay there to get caught?”
When Won walks away, Rin admits that he shot his horse. Shocked, Won returns for an an explanation, but some royal guards arrive to inform Rin that his guards are missing.
Rin finds the missing guards tied up and stripped of their uniforms. Rin explains to the confused prince that the escaped men delivered his arrows to the person who shot at the king. Rin claims the men were his only lead, until he remembers someone else.
Speaking of, San steals a knife from a stranger and then approaches a tall man dressed in black, but he’s not the man with the snake tattoo. However, her actions attract the attention of the royal guards, who take her into custody. Minister Eun’s attendant, Goo-young, intercepts them and informs San that the minister is looking for her. The royal guards protest, but Minister Eun’s guards are right behind Goo-young as he leads San away.
Rin searches for San among Minister Eun’s servants, but Won thinks it would be faster to ask for help. Won approaches a servant to find a girl but admits that he doesn’t remember her name. Meanwhile, Rin just misses San when she walks behind them while Won offers a feeble description to the servant.
Bi-yeon delivers a parcel to a room where San meets with her father and Goo-young. It contains clothes and money, and Minister Eun explains to San that she’s to return to the Doota Mountains and not come back for some time.
San wants to stay a few more days because she found the man who killed her mother and scarred Bi-yeon. She exclaims that she recognized the tattoo on his wrist and adds that he was the one who shot the arrow at the king.
San’s father realizes that the man is connected to rebels who want to take over the country. San suggests that they inform the government officials, but Minister Eun explains that they are just traders, and it doesn’t matter to them who is after the throne.
Minister Eun isn’t concerned with revenge either, since they could lose more that they would hope to gain. In spite of San’s protests, Minister Eun instructs Goo-young to prepare for his daughter to leave at dawn.
Outside, Goo-young updates his master, “It looks like the second son wants to become crown prince. I heard their private army is growing in number. I am sure he needs your money desperately.” Goo-young asks if Bi-yeon will be allowed to marry Jeon, but Minister Eun thinks it too dangerous, because they could end up seeing right through Bi-yeon’s disguise. Minister Eun decides that Goo-young should accompany San and deliver extra supplies to Teacher Lee for the winter.
San refuses to indulge in a good cry, so Bi-yeon sits down to ask if Jeon is handsome and has a good temperament. San teases that she thought Bi-yeon had no interest in marriage, but the girl agrees to marry him if he’s horrid.
“If he is a good man, then you marry him,” Bi-yeon explains, adding that San would be able to stop living in the mountains then. But San confesses that someone prevented her from getting a good look at her suitor.
Won tries to remember San’s name while Rin is busy with a brush and ink. Won asks his bodyguards what Rin is up to, and Jang Eui explains that he’s drawing someone. Rin explains that it’s the girl that they know as he holds up his sketch. It’s a horrible likeness, but Won pretends to see a resemblance, and a straight-faced Rin carefully hands it to a speechless Jin Gwan so that he can use it in their search. Hahahaha!
Later, Rin catches Won laughing to himself, and he admits that thoughts of the girl make him laugh. Won suggests that she could live in a giant birdcage in his quarters to make him laugh every day, but Rin points out that some birds can’t live in a cage. Won proposes gifting her with trees and wildflowers instead and suddenly remembers her name: So-hwa.
The next morning, San’s party leaves for the mountains. As they pass through town, San insists that she needs to relieve herself, and Goo-young allows her to visit a nearby shop as long as she leaves her bag with him.
Of course, San runs straight out of the store and into a waiting Goo-young. San runs away in the other direction, and Goo-young and Minister Eun’s guards chase after her as she shrieks that they’re bandits.
San runs up to a carriage for help, and it happens to belong to Rin’s younger sister, Dan. San climbs in and lies that Goo-young plans to sell her, but he explains that San is a disobedient servant. Dan instructs Goo-young that his master can retrieve San from her household if he wants her so badly, and San throws a look of triumph at the helpless Goo-young as the carriage pulls away.
Dan is surprised to see San again, since she claimed to live in the mountains. San confesses that she needs to find someone first and admits that it’s one of the men she met at Dan’s house. Smiling, Dan tells San that she jumped into the right carriage.
Jin Gwan and Jang Eui are taken by surprise when Dan and San arrive. Dan asks if he’s in, and Jin Gwan struggles to decide how to answer her. She adds that her companion is there to see Han-chun and Soo-in (the aliases Won and Rin took on).
When they disappear upstairs, Dan explains that the crown prince fell off his horse while hunting, so she brewed some medicine. San is surprised at the prince’s lodgings, but Dan shares that he spends most of his nights away from the luxurious palace.
San wants to wait outside, but Dan insists that the prince isn’t scary. San explains that of course he wouldn’t intimidate someone like Dan, realizing then that Dan must have feelings for the prince, since she went through all the trouble of brewing medicine for him.
Won claims he’s “out” when his bodyguards announce Dan, but changes his mind when he hears that San is with her. He wants to be sure that he doesn’t look like a prince and asks Jin Gwan and Jang Eui for their opinions.
Unsure what to say, Jang Eui finally responds, “Not at all,” and Won accuses him of saying that he looks shabby. These two just can’t win.
EPISODE 8 RECAP
Won sits on the stairs and smiles as San examines the jugs of wine stored in his unofficial quarters. Dan goes unnoticed as she observes how Won gazes at the curious girl, until Rin appears. He offers to walk his sister back to her carriage and assures Dan that Won is fine before pulling her away.
San pours herself a ladleful of wine, but Won accuses her of stealing before she can drink it. He snatches the ladle away, and when San smacks his arm and shushes him, Won breezily adds the abuse to her list of offenses.
Won asks if San came to see him, but she confesses that she’s there for the other one, who he identifies as Soo-in. When Won claims that they know everything the other does, San shares that she heard that the king was almost hit by an arrow. Won whispers that only a few people know that fact and wonders how she found out.
San asks to be included in their search, but Rin interrupts and demands, “Do you know who the shooter is?” Rin volunteers that it was a man dressed in black with a straw hat and admits that he saw San follow him.
Won intervenes when Rin and San begin to argue over who saw what first, so Rin lowers his voice to ask for the man’s identity. San grabs the ladle from Won’s hand and gulps the contents before she confides, “That man is the man who killed my lady seven years ago.”
Rin pulls Won outside to warn him that he can’t trust that girl, only to be reminded that her name is So-hwa. Rin argues that no one at Minister Eun’s household knows her, but Won suspects that’s because she’s now a student of Teacher Lee’s.
Rin wants to know how long Won intends to hide his identity and keep San around, only for Won to reply, “Until it’s not fun anymore.” Won returns with a plate of food and finds San busy sketching Moo-suk’s tattoo. She explains that it’s a red snake that extends from the shooter’s wrist to his elbow.
When San makes a motion to grab a waiting plate of food with her bare hands, Rin effortlessly slides a pair of chopsticks into her palm. Rin inspects San’s sketch and promises that they will take over the search and dismisses her. San and Won both protest, but Rin claims the search is dangerous and adds that she’ll be a bother.
Won reminds Rin that he’s fought with San a few times and assures him that she won’t be bothersome. Won throws his arm across San’s shoulders and observes that she draws better than Rin does. Annoyed, San pokes at Won’s hand on her shoulder with her chopsticks, telling him to get off.
When they walk outside, Won confides to San, “If Soo-in ever shows you any of his drawings, you should just say that it looks great.” Ha. Won explains that Rin caught the cart-pullers who had contact with their shooter, but they escaped. San stops dead in her tracks and gives Rin a critical once-over and dismisses him with a condescending, “Goodness.” Their exchange is witnessed by an old man with a tattoo of a red snake. (Is that Moo-suk in disguise?)
The trio visits the workshop of the arrow makers, and Rin presents a medallion that proves that they are there on the crown prince’s order. Rin presents the arrows that were shot at the king and Won, and the master craftsman confirms that he engraved them. When Rin determines that Won received two fewer arrows than intended, one of the deliverymen gets nervous. Once prompted, he recounts the incident on the delivery route with the expectant couple (who were the cart pullers in disguise).
When the two deliverymen follow the trio out to the street, they confirm to Rin that the couple consisted of one thin person and one chubby one. Won orders the men kept in a safe place and to make sure no one finds them. When he walks away, San confusedly thinks his words were meant for her, until Jin Gwan and Jang Eui fly off the roof with an impressive display of flips.
Rin and Won greet some poor children with smiles and food and marvel at how much they’ve grown since their last visit. When one of the older boys asks for some work, everyone jumps up excitedly when Won has a task for them.
Won describes two men, one thin and one chubby, and a third with a snake tattoo on his right arm, just like San’s drawing. They are warned only to locate the men since they are dangerous.
In a cutaway scene, a group of men on horseback and led by one of Princess Wonsung’s men race through an open field where young children are playing. One of the children almost gets run over by the party, but is saved just in time by Moo-suk, who grabs the child and rolls him out of harm’s way.
The next day, the trio continues their investigation. San pauses at a food cart, and Won wonders how she can eat again. They sit down, and San decides that her companions must be from powerful families because of the way they order around the guards. She clucks that they are completely incompetent and only have power because of their fathers. Rin thinks that San has a point, so Won lets him pay for the food as payback.
As they walk together, Won argues that he’s the better of the two, but Rin disputes his claim. Won reminds Rin that he’s never won a race against him, which is why he never claimed the Soyong Sword. When San asks what that is, Rin explains to San that the sword doesn’t really exist.
Won counters that if Rin wishes to see the Soyong Sword, he has to win a race against him, but Rin reminds Won that he always gives himself a head start. When San offers to start a race, the men readily agree, only to be dismayed when she gives herself a head start.
Rin complains, but Won doesn’t hang around to listen and runs after San. They all look so carefree as they race to their destination.
Won and San practice drills together, and when they start to spar with their sticks, San runs behind Rin for cover as they all laugh and play. They end up on a bridge, and San walks on the rail and ignores Won’s offer of a steadying hand. When she stumbles, both men reach out, but it’s Won who braces her leg and grabs San’s hand.
San follows the men to their rooms, and Rin promises to notify her when they catch the shooter in an attempt to send her away. But San grabs a blanket and informs Rin that she’ll be right outside as she stretches out on on a low table.
Won can’t leave San like that, so he drags her inside. Rin notices a man dressed in black on the street, but looks away when Won calls him inside. When Rin looks back, he notices that the man walks feebly. Once Rin disappears inside, the man straightens up, and we see that it’s Moo-suk.
Moo-suk reports to Song In that the girl he seeks has been with Won and Rin all day. Later, Moo-suk adds that the girl bumped into him the day they acquired the prince’s arrows, but she didn’t see his face. Song In guesses that she saw his wrist and informs Moo-suk that some kids are on the lookout for a man with a snake tattoo.
Song In examines San’s knife as he informs Moo-suk that the girl followed him out to the hunting ground. Moo-suk promises to get rid of her before she causes any trouble. Song In tells him that the girl’s name is So-hwa, which is engraved on her very expensive knife. Song In wonders who could have given it to her.
Song In considers So-hwa’s friendly relationship with the prince and announces that it’s a good thing he let her live. He tells Moo-suk that they have much to do before the night is over.
At the palace, the eunuchs stop and bow as Jeon passes by with Song In. The king’s eunuch glances over at Eunuch Kim, who breaks away to follow the men.
Jeon addresses the king in his personal quarters about the investigation into the person who shot the arrow. The king assures him that Won is hard at work, but Jeon warns him to halt the investigation.
Jeon confides that the people linked to the incident are being killed. The king bellows that Jeon should have reported this to Won first. Jeon falls to his knees and confesses that the person responsible works for the prince.
The king laughs at the tale and then questions Song In. He confesses that he discovered that Rin and “that person” have been seen in each other’s company. The king clarifies that Song In is talking about the person who killed the witnesses connected to his attack, and Song In asks the king to halt the investigation until they learn more.
Out in the hallway, Eunuch Kim slips away with a look of alarm on his face. He enters the quarters of Princess Wonsung and reports to the other eunuch what he heard: Won ordered one of his men to kill the witnesses connected to the attempt on the king’s life.
Song In meets with a late night visitor in his bedchamber, Boo-young right next to him. He refers to Princess Wonsung as, “Our dear queen. The python that lives deep within the palace.” His visitor is the other eunuch, CHOI SE-YEON, dressed in regular clothes.
Song In assumes there is more to report since Eunuch Choi risked a visit to his secret room. Eunuch Choi adds that the queen’s medicinal brews have become stronger, and Song In suggests to Boo-young that she should diagnose her. Boo-young wonders if the queen will allow her close enough, but Song In is confident that they can force a meeting.
Inside Won’s rooms, the prince is amazed at how much San drinks. Rin voices his disapproval while the drunken San warns him not to criticize her—after all, she’s practically a beggar with nowhere to go and no money.
Won pours San another drink and after she downs it, she startles him when she announces that her late mistress died seven years ago because of her. Won’s smile disappears as San laments, “For seven years, I spent nights thinking: What if I didn’t insist on going off on another route? What if our bodyguards weren’t split into two groups?”
When San reaches for more wine, Won quietly announces that she’s had enough. San continues, “If one person had told me not to go… then no one would have died.” Won looks away guiltily as he remembers how he wanted to see Minister Eun’s guards in action and ignored all of Rin’s suggestions to get help.
San stands up unsteadily to lie down on two chairs, where she promptly falls asleep. Rin can’t rouse her and reminds Won that she did the same thing in the cave. A pensive Won admits that San is right, “If I hadn’t considered them an amusing spectacle… if they had been warned… then they wouldn’t have died.”
Rin piggybacks San to Won’s room, and they watch as she curls up on the bed. Won observes sadly that she always sleeps that way, while he sleeps stretched out in peace every night.
But then, Won notices that San is crying, and he sits on the bed as a tear trickles across her nose. He tenderly wipes it away while Rin looks at the two of them from the doorway.
Rin’s sister, Dan, is breaking my heart. She sincerely cares for Won and it pains her to see him so enamored with another girl. Both Dan and Rin have to endure so much to maintain a relationship with Won—the prince may be dismissive of Dan and her feelings, but with so many enemies out to get him, he needs all the friends that he can gather.
Even thought she doesn’t have Won’s heart, Dan serves as an interesting contrast to San. While San has spent the past seven years in the mountains, Dan is more familiar with royal life, and the prince in particular. So far, she’s come across as kind and generous, calm and serene. At this point, I would be happy if she ends up with Won, because that would mean that Rin could have a chance at a happy ending. Rin and Dan are on their way to becoming one of my favorite sets of siblings, so I want smiles and not tears for these two.
For me, the best part about this show is the friendship between Won and Rin. Im Shi-wan and Hong Jong-hyun have terrific chemistry. Even when Won is the center of attention, Hong Jong-hyun makes Rin impossible to ignore. I could watch these two bicker and tease each other all day long, because it never gets old. The addition of San only reinforces how well Won and Rin are together, and I don’t welcome the thought of a woman coming between the two friends.
One aspect that I’m having trouble with is believing that San is captivating enough to attract the attention of not one, but two handsome, wealthy, well-bred men. Yes, she’s a bit of a novelty since she doesn’t know the true identity of either one of them, but that will change once she learns who they really are. Won and Rin are so engaging that it makes it more difficult for me to ignore that San is lacking in that area. Is it her brokenness that both men find irresistible, because they consider themselves responsible? Or perhaps they find her candor refreshing. Either way, there’s something missing that makes it difficult for me to buy the romance.
Won in particular is taken in by San’s unaffected treatment of him. It’s the only relationship that he’s ever had that isn’t shaped by his title. San’s familiarity with Won gives him a window to what life could be like if he wasn’t a prince, and I imagine that’s why he voices a desire to keep San around in a birdcage—he doesn’t want to forget what it feels like to connect with another person who treats him like a normal human being, with no preconceived expectations.
But the reality is that Won is a prince and he needs to make peace with what that means so that he can serve the people of Goryeo as their king one day. While I hope that Won finds love along the way, what I want more for him is a friend that he can always count on.
- The King Loves: Episodes 1-2
- Premiere Watch: School 2017, The King Loves, Man Who Dies to Live, Reunited Worlds
- A house and friendship divided in The King Loves
- Tension in a garden of flowers for The King Loves
- Assassin-filled forests and masked dances in The King Loves
- Main writer behind The King Loves revealed to be Song Ji-nah
- The King Loves to play in azalea-filled forests
- Yoon-ah steals the hearts of two best friends in The King Loves
- Im Shi-wan as a young prince for MBC’s The King Loves