The King Loves: Episodes 13-14
It’s nice to finally bring one of our boys into San’s dilemma, because I was getting worried about her shouldering everything on her own and suffering in silence. She’s a tough cookie though, and she definitely isn’t the type to ask for help, but it’s nice to have people who want to help her anyway, especially if it’s Rin.
EPISODE 13 RECAP
Rin begs San not to accept her marriage proposal, then calls her by her true name. They relocate to somewhere private, and San asks how much he knows about her. He answers in a roundabout way, stating that he knows what needs to be known, but that isn’t a suitable answer for a frantic San.
Thus, Rin briefly recounts San’s current situation, and to San’s total astonishment, he even reveals that he knows about the development of Jeon’s plan to blackmail her. Rin asks San again if she’ll accept the proposal. She tells him that she should be grateful for the chance to marry into the royal family, but Rin vehemently tries to dissuade her, reminding her of Jeon’s cruelty.
She pretends to have forgotten all about the interrogation, but Rin can see through her brave act. He vows to find another way to protect her secret and her family, without marrying Jeon.
Instead of answering, San asks for a favor: She explains that as a student of Teacher Lee’s, she learned that she cannot make others suffer for her sake, thus all she wants is to learn how to dance at the festival in order to make a precious memory that will last for the rest of her life.
Afterwards, Rin storms into Song In’s teahouse and finds Jeon in the company of several gisaengs. Rin dismisses the gisaengs by angrily toppling over a table, ruining the mood.
Rin brings up the marriage proposal, and Jeon isn’t surprised that Rin already knows about the Bi-yeon-San-switch. Rin reminds Jeon of his declaration in the interrogation room, but Jeon contends that he heard that Won expressed something similar to the king, and now he wants to know if it’s Rin or Won that loves San.
Rin’s surprised that Jeon knows about the confession and roars at him for knowingly coveting and threatening the crown prince’s woman. Jeon breaks into hysterical laughter at Rin’s accusation, then suddenly erupts into a rage and slams Rin against the door.
Jeon growls at Rin for being “the mongrel crown prince’s” lackey, and claims that in doing so, Rin has betrayed his country and family. Rin’s eyes flash with fury at Jeon’s insult of Won, and he twists Jeon’s arm behind his back to get him to submit.
In detail, Rin lays out the incident from seven years ago, including Jeon’s role in the matter, then presses Jeon for the reason why he set such an elaborate, bloody stage just to marry San.
Song In enters then, which gives Jeon the opportunity to break free from Rin’s grasp. He remarks offhandedly that Won remains unaware of San’s situation, since there would be an uproar if he knew. Rin replies sharply that Won will know all soon enough, and will launch an investigation to expose their treason.
Song In points out the flaw in Rin’s logic, and explains Minister Eun’s deception to spare San from being sent as a tribute to Yuan. Therefore, should the truth be revealed, then San will be dispatched immediately, and since her father will now be a criminal who broke Goryeo law, San will be forced to marry someone of lowly status or be sold as a gisaeng.
With his trademark calmness, Song In states that Jeon is merely trying to save San from such a fate.
Rin heads to Won’s quarters in a daze, now unsure of what he should do. He stands in front of the door, and ultimately decides not to go inside. Instead, he thinks back to the rest of the conversation he had with Song In outside the teahouse.
Song In commented on how taken Won seemed with San, and noted that if Won knew of San’s deceit and remained silent, then there would be repercussions to pay. He confessed to Rin that in actuality, he had hoped Rin would tell Won the truth, which would lead Won to make a scene at court and further estrange father from son.
Rin accused Song In of manipulating Jeon, and so Song In replied that originally “they” wanted Rin to marry San, since he is much smarter than Jeon and would make a more dignified king.
Rin scoffed, clutched the dagger at his hilt, and threatened to kill Song In. But Song In alluded to a group acting behind him, meaning that others knew of San’s secret, so Rin killing him wouldn’t put an end to her troubles.
Song In had implored Rin to consider Goryeo instead of being blinded by his loyalty to Won, since dozens of precious daughters will be sent to Yuan every year, and if Won becomes king, then the practice will continue.
The next morning, Won accompanies his mother around the compound as she oversees preparations for the festival. He tries to excuse himself, so Princess Wonsung reveals that Won will need an ally from a powerful family, and thus should be married soon.
This is news to Won, but he shelves his surprise when he and his mother greet the king in his chambers. The king was clearly not expecting them so early and seems flustered that they arrived without prior notice, describing the visit as an “ambush.”
Princess Wonsung spies the extra set of used utensils on the breakfast table, then sees Boo-yong hiding in the corner. She assesses the king’s pet, but continues conversing with her husband, inviting him to her party that evening.
Boo-yong keeps her head lowered, and Princess Wonsung raises the girl’s chin by using one sharply jeweled fingernail, piercing her until she bleeds. The king isn’t interested in the party, so Princess Wonsung feigns understanding and adds meaningfully that she’ll assume he’s doing something else at night then.
Princess Wonsung continues eyeing Boo-yong, circling her as she asks the king to issue an order to commence the search for Won’s wife. The king becomes interested in the conversation and asks if Won would consent to a marriage.
Surprisingly, Rin and San’s imprisonment did not reach Princess Wonsung’s ears, so the king explains how Won chose some nameless woman over his cherished friend.
Despite her shock, Princess Wonsung claims to understand Won’s “crush” at the king’s provocation. She states that it doesn’t matter how many nameless women Won becomes enamored with, because only the crown princess will matter, since he will remain married to her all his life.
She looks straight into the king’s eyes as she speaks, full of meaning, and his face stills. But then he smiles when Princess Wonsung warns him that Boo-yong isn’t as innocent as she seems, since she stood her ground against Princess Wonsung’s intimidation. Therefore, the princess warns, the king should be wary of Boo-yong.
Princess Wonsung leaves in a sour mood, and Won follows shortly after. When they’re gone, the king observes with amusement that Princess Wonsung still has feelings for him even though he’s been so cruel to her for so many years. He sighs, then adds that it’s better if she doesn’t.
Later, Jeon arrives at Minister Eun’s to escort a veiled San to the party. He impishly asks if San is the real girl, which leads San to glare at him disdainfully.
Minister Eun quietly encourages San to give Jeon a chance since he might not be so bad, but then makes her promise that she will tell him if she feels she cannot go through with the marriage. She agrees, but her eyes conceal her intentions to endure regardless.
Jeon extends his hand to help San into the luxurious carriage he’s prepared for her. She hesitates, but right before she places her hand into his, Rin rides up on horseback and offers to escort her instead.
Jeon pushes back even when Rin explains that his orders come directly from Won. It falls on San to decline Jeon, and she lies that she has claustrophobia and can’t ride in carriages. She bids him farewell, then rides off with Rin on horseback. Bye Felicia!
Minister Eun and servant Goo-hyung recognize Rin and watch San leave with him approvingly.
The pair slowly make their way to the palace, and Rin expresses his regret for not bringing a carriage since the day is cold, which makes San smile. Rin comments on her smile, and San argues that it’s impossible to tell with her veil, but he says that he can.
He tells her that he was worried she would spend the evening crying beside Jeon, and she repeats his concern to herself while averting her gaze. She brightens up and suggests they race the rest of the way, but Rin thinks it’s too dangerous because her horse is a warhorse.
She smiles at his persnickety ways, then takes off in a head start. He grins to himself then chases after her. D’awwwww, these two!
Minister Eun informs Bi-yeon of the fish shop he’s acquired for her to live in far away, but Bi-yeon worries that San will be forced to marry Jeon and begs Minister Eun to save her.
Crying now, she describes the new daggers San keeps hidden under her clothing to protect herself from Jeon’s advances.
He asks if San has someone else in mind to marry, and though San has never told her directly, Bi-yeon tells Minister Eun that San often thinks of someone and smiles to herself these days.
A veiled Dan arrives at Princess Wonsung’s party, and is immediately recognized by a masked and besotted Jin Gwan from the butterfly stitchings on her veil. Dan asks after Rin, and Jin Gwan fumbles through his explanation, but Dan seems used to his incoherency and fills in the blanks, guessing that Won sent him to escort her.
Princess Wonsung and her servants observe the guests arriving and are able to recognize those from powerful families based on the stitching designs of their masks/veils.
They make note of Dan, arriving with Jin Gwan, and later Rin, arriving with San. San remains unidentified to them, since her veil is plain and without any embroidery.
San and Rin roam the grounds, and she compliments his attire. He tells her that his sister made his mask and added the butterfly design to it. Still unaware of his true identity, San is surprised that he has a sister.
San comments on how beautiful the decorations are, and is reminded that this is also Rin’s first time at the party. Before they can continue chatting, Won sneaks over and snatches San’s wrist, but is stopped by Rin immediately.
Won ushers San away after telling them that “the scariest person” is watching them. Rin looks toward Princess Wonsung and sees her eyeing them intently before following his two friends.
Won finds a private place for the trio and studies San’s new look happily, though he announces that she looked better before. She lunges forward to punch him, but he distracts her with a gift.
He tells her that her nondescript veil is drawing attention since she can’t be identified, and so he hands her a new one he’s prepared. She asks Rin for confirmation, as if thinking he’ll be honest with her, and he agrees.
San removes her veil to change, but Won moves it out of her reach so that he can admire her unconcealed face for a moment. She thinks he’s teasing her for looking ridiculous, but he says that she’s much more beautiful than he thought.
She dons the new veil with a green bird stitching, as Won also changes out her hairpin for total obscurity. San asks about the meaning of the bird design on the pin, but Won cheekily replies that she needn’t know.
Won holds out his hand for San to accept, and though she seems unsure, she eventually places her hand into his. And so, Won leads her away, leaving Rin alone to watch them leave.
EPISODE 14 RECAP
The sun sets and the the maypole dance commences. San and Won twirl to the music, holding a ribbon in their hands. Rin begins in the circular formation near Dan, but forgoes his position for Jin Gwan, then walks up to Jeon as he arrives.
The brothers do not exchange pleasantries; Rin merely stares at Jeon as if to makes his presence known, and to warn his brother to behave. After Jeon leaves in a snit, Rin looks across the room and watches San dance amongst the colorful strips of ribbon, catching her gaze between beats.
Won comes into view, his eyes only on San. In voiceover, he says:
“Now that I look back many years later, this was the day it all began. The friend I trusted more than myself began to deceive me, and between my love and me appeared a chasm neither could cross. He was the only friend I had and, she, my only love. Now I look back many years later: On this day, I knew nothing, and because I knew nothing, I smiled.”
After their dance, Won finds San and Rin conversing secretly alone. They’re alarmed when Won finds them, but he doesn’t react strangely to the scene.
When San tells them she is leaving soon, Won tries to entice her with some wine to get her to stay, and grabs her hand. That’s when she notices him wearing the bracelet she gave him, and she begs him to throw it away since it’s grubby.
She then advises the two boys to not spend too much time together since it’s weird, but also asks them not to fight with each other. Won realizes she’s bidding them farewell, and points out that the mountain isn’t very far, so they’ll visit her often.
San tells him not to visit, then nods at Rin wordlessly before leaving. Won finds San’s behavior strange and asks Rin if they were arguing about something.
He can’t answer Won, and so he excuses himself to tend to some “family business,” then walks off in the other direction.
Rin goes to Geumgajeong and finds the cart pullers trying to escape again. He takes one of them by force to investigate the incident from seven years ago. Sensing Rin’s peculiar behavior, Won learns of the situation from the remaining cart puller and sends some men to follow Rin.
Won explains to Jang Eui that since Rin wishes to hide something from him, he will pretend not to know until he finds out what it is.
Meanwhile, Princess Wonsung invites Dan for a private chat, asking how she enjoyed the festival. Dan praises the extravagance and wide array of activities, leading Princess Wonsung to smile. She cryptically tells Dan that Goryeo must continue to be peaceful and prosperous, then brings her to the interrogation area, where the guards are whipping a highborn woman for shaving her hair and pretending to be a monk in order to avoid going to Yuan as a tribute. Oof.
The woman’s father lays bloodied beside her, and Princess Wonsung explains that they disobeyed Goryeo law and threatened Goryeo’s peace with Yuan. She tells Dan that she will make an example out of them to discourage others from such dishonesty.
She orders all of the father’s wealth confiscated, and the daughter sent to Yuan as a maid, instead of a nobleman’s bride as she would have been. (She seems to be insinuating a similar fate for Dan.)
Rin takes the cart puller to his father Wang Young, where he gives his account of the incident seven years ago as an eyewitness, which incriminates Jeon of being in cahoots with Moo-suk.
Rin has brought along a second witness—one of Song In’s servants. The servant confesses that Jeon and Song In are planning a rebellion, and Wang Young’s face contorts in dismay. That was easy.
Wang Young is crushed by the news, but Rin is only interested in stopping the marriage to San. Wang Young argues that Jeon truly cares for San and waited seven years (until after the ban) to marry her. Rin argues that that isn’t true, but his father wants to hear Jeon’s side first before acting.
Rin shouts that Jeon will only spew lies, but his father just commands Rin to wait.
He rounds the corner in time to see Jin Gwan carrying an unconscious Dan home. Jeon interprets Princess Wonsung’s actions as a threat to force Wang Young to her side, but Wang Young proclaims that he will kneel before Princess Wonsung if it means Dan is spared from being a tribute.
Jeon argues that he’ll be playing into her hands, and he will be turning his back on the king. Jeon offers an alternative: accelerate the timetable for his marriage.
Jeon reasons that a royal wedding is a large celebration, and that will mean a daughter cannot be taken from a family during that time. Jeon puts on an act and tells his father how he cannot marry anyone but San, and it seems to convince Wang Young.
Wang Young goes back to Rin to tell him of a discussion he recently had with Minister Eun. In it, Minister Eun had asked if Rin had feelings for San. Wang Young poses this question to Rin now, and wonders if those feelings are now motivating his campaign against Jeon.
Rin doesn’t answer right away, and instead thinks back to the private conversation he had with San after the maypole dance. San thanked Rin for keeping her secret from Won, then guessed that Won wasn’t the type to restrain himself from making a fuss.
San got this faraway look in her eyes and wished Won would never find out about her marriage and her secret. Internally, Rin thought longingly, “Can you try to guess how I feel?”
She supposed that since she’ll wear a veil forever, Won will never know, and Rin replied softly that he knows the truth. At that moment, Won had interrupted them.
In the present, Wang Young grills Rin for an answer, and so he finally admits that he does. His father can’t believe Rin would fall for the same woman as his brother and hoped Rin would refute it, but inside, Rin is battling another war between betraying Won and being honest with himself.
He tears up thinking of Won, then steels himself and declares to his father that San is a woman that he cannot have feelings for. His father is relieved until Rin says that Jeon cannot marry San either, but when he starts to explain why, his father stops him and promises to take care of it himself.
Wang Young takes his leave as Rin clutches his chest, feeling devastated.
Based on Jang Eui’s report, Won realizes that Rin is trying to stop the marriage on his own, but doubts that he’ll be able to. The head eunuch reports Wang Young’s request for Jeon’s marriage to the king, and the monarch’s subsequent approval.
The head eunuch also reports Princess Wonsung’s rage-filled reaction to the news. Won then asks about Rin, who has been MIA for the last six days, and Jang Eui replies that Rin cannot be found.
Won grows agitated by Rin’s absence and asks rhetorically if Rin refuses to confide in him because he thinks he would hurt Jeon. Jang Eui also tells Won that San has also disappeared, and so Won presumes that San went back to the mountains.
Rin arrives right then, looking tired, and informs Won that today is the day of Jeon’s official marriage proposal to San.
We cut to San getting dressed, as Bi-yeon enters with hair ornaments for her to wear. Bi-yeon tearfully asks if San means to go through with the marriage, because once she accepts Jeon’s official proposal, there can be no turning back. San picks up the hairpin she received from Won and hides it away in her clothing, realizing that it’s time to forget her old life.
Bi-yeon hands San her veil and asks if she will accept a life of wearing one forever. San’s eyes water, but soon she puts on the veil and accepts her fate.
Jeon and Wang Young arrive at Minister Eun’s with the dowry, and the soon-to-be in-laws move to go inside, when a handful of royal guards enter to pave the way for Won’s grand entrance.
Won walks up toward the ministers as San watches him in disbelief. He purposefully avoids casting San a glance, and instead addresses Minister Eun, who greets Won by his official title. Thus, San finally learns the truth.
Won tells Wang Young that he felt something suspicious afoot in this proposal and decided to investigate. Then finally, he looks toward San, and walks toward her until he’s standing right in front of her.
She looks up to return his gaze, as the truth is revealed at last.
Whew, I was worried that Won was going to just march up to San and pull off her veil, since it definitely seemed like something he might do. I’m sure he has some clever plan in the works, but I’m really curious to see how Won does or does not circumvent the narrative that Rin, San, and even Song In have assigned to him. Which is, that he’ll cause an uproar and make a mess of San’s situation after he learns the truth.
To me it seemed like a rather weak reason for keeping Won out of the loop, since he’s shown himself to be more thoughtful than that, but on the other hand, he’s also displayed some rage issues and a stubborn streak, so I guess for Rin and San it makes sense to err on the side of caution, especially when the stakes are so high.
Won has become increasingly difficult to fully cheer for in these last few of episodes, so I was really happy to see him take a back seat in today’s episode. I loved seeing this world through Rin’s caring, considerate, and gentle eyes. He’s the clear frontrunner at this point in terms of the romance with San (they’re so perfect together! Squeee!), but my favorite thing is still Won and Rin’s friendship above all else. Unfortunately, that’s probably going to be the first thing that goes up in flames.
It’s a good conflict (these episodes were rife with great conflicts!), even though I wanted Rin to give Won some indication that something was wrong, and that he needed help solving San’s problem. For Rin, their friendship isn’t instinctively a two-way street; it’s a relationship of unwavering loyalty and service. I think Rin views his role as one that executes Won’s will, and does everything he must to find a solution—particularly if that problem can threaten Won or bring him harm in any way. Song In’s warning of Won’s complicity in San’s deceit clearly terrified Rin and kept him from going directly to Won. Rin likely thinks that a servant doesn’t bring problems to his king for him to solve, but a friend does. And that’s the difference. I’m hopeful though, because Rin did show up at the end.
But let’s be honest, this episode was all about Rin and San. Building their leg of the romance in such an organic, sweet, and quiet manner was a great move, and served as a powerful contrast to Won’s pushy way of love. San and Rin are two people who’ve lived their entire lives putting others before themselves, so it’s fitting that they’ve found their way to each other in this forbidden and subtle way.
My heart was so full watching them interact together—their attraction has always been slowly simmering along, but today, it finally came to a boil so effortlessly. It makes sense because someone as loyal as Rin would not cross the line consciously, so I absolutely loved how Rin first confessed to San as a way to protect her and Won together, then slowly realized that his lie became a truth that he can never express. I’m eager to know if the show can pull off a compelling reason for Won and San to be together at all, because after this episode, I’m firmly on the other ship.
- 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