100 Days My Prince: Episode 4
It would be an understatement to say that Hong-shim and Yul are having a tough time adjusting to married life. Yul can barely handle life in general, what with his instincts contradicting everything everyone tells him about himself, and Hong-shim is already fed up with his spoiled attitude. They’ll both have to do a lot of changing if they want this marriage to work.
EPISODE 4 RECAP
After a run-in with some highwaymen, Yul and Hong-shim find themselves wrapped up together in a straw mat. Yul accidentally gropes Hong-shim while trying to free his hand, so she says they’ll need to roll themselves out. But Yul grows very serious and tells her, “I don’t want to roll. I want to stay this way.”
Hong-shim accuses him of enjoying this, but Yul whispers, “Behind you… a rat.” He freaks out when he and the rat make eye contact, but Hong-shim sneers that a little rat is no big deal.
Yul breathes that they’ll squish the rat if they roll, and Hong-shim is all, Isn’t that better than it jumping on your face? Tired of his prissy refusals, Hong-shim rolls the both of them over with Yul screaming bloody murder.
It turns out that Hong-shim’s dad hired the “highwaymen” to stop Hong-shim and Yul from traveling to the upper village to speak to Won-deuk’s military commander about his pay (since Dad made up Won-deuk and his military service). He finds Hong-shim and Yul in the shed after unrolling themselves.
Hong-shim says that nobody was hurt, but Yul barks in a traumatized voice, “What do you mean nothing happened? I killed someone!” Awww, the rat did get squished. Dad says that this wouldn’t have happened if they’d stayed home, and Yul snaps that he doesn’t need the money and refuses to ever go to the upper village again.
King Neungseon is beside himself with worry over Yul’s disappearance, to the point that he can’t even eat when he’s served Yul’s favorite dish. Queen Park points out that she had them made special, but he just flings the table over, furious at her thoughtlessness.
He accuses her of secretly hoping Yul never returns. She pretends to be upset that, every time Yul gets hurt, there are rumors that she harmed Yul in order to make her own son, Prince Seowon, the crown prince. Prince Seowon backs up his mother, and the king admits that he overreacted.
Back in the village, Yul tells Hong-shim that he’s getting depressed thinking about being a poor man. She tells him to get some exercise, but he whines that he’s too tired. Annoyed, Hong-shim says that he seemed to sleep just fine, and when he argues that he hurt his arm, she raises a hand as if to hit him, and he reflexively snaps up his arm in defense. Hong-shim grins triumphantly, but Yul just moans, “It’s my other arm.”
Hong-shim tells him that they have to work to pay taxes and buy food, but Yul intones that he just won’t eat. She’s ready to hit him for real, but Dad stops her and offers to gather herbs while they both stay home and rest. Hong-shim angrily gives Yul some chores to do before stomping off.
She goes to see her friends, who tease that she’s just cranky after missing out on sleep last night, wink-wink. They ask if Yul is the take-charge type, but Hong-shim sighs that he’s not satisfying during the day or at night.
She tells them that Yul may be handsome, but he’s penniless, and Kkeut-nyeo says she thought Hong-shim had known him for a long time. She says she did, but it’s just getting more irritating the more she thinks about it. She smacks her hand down and pricks her finger on a straw basket, making her worry that it’s a bad omen.
Meanwhile, Yul lingers at the house, talking to the dog and eyeballing the pile of manure that Hong-shim ordered him to clean up. Town Official Park comes to see him, and he objects to Yul’s speaking like a noble when he’s clearly a peasant. Yul looks hopeful that he might actually be a noble, but he just gets accused of day-drinking, lol.
Town Official Park is here to pick up the loaned wedding clothing, but Yul doesn’t want to return the nice boots that came with his outfit. When Town Official Park presses the issue, Yul makes a run for it, quickly outpacing the older man and ending up in the village marketplace.
He checks out the stalls with nice clothes for sale, realizing that he’s strangely knowledgeable about fabrics and colors. He asks one vendor to bring out her finest bedding, but when he admits he has no money, she yells at him for wasting her time and throws salt to get rid of him.
Hong-shim is taken to where several noble boys are kicking and beating a peasant boy, Meok-goo, for being too scared to climb a tree and retrieve the young master’s kite. Hong-shim stops the boys and says she’ll get their kite down, then borrows the young master’s slingshot and knocks the kite loose with one stone.
Little Meok-goo thanks Hong-shim for saving him from the beating, and asks why she’s nice to him. She tells him that she once lived in the same neighborhood as a boy she called Dummy, and that Meok-goo’s smile reminds her of her old friend.
Somehow dressed in nicer clothing, Yul keeps walking and comes across a restaurant. Stomach growling, he goes in and orders some food. He notices a man getting a free meal by winking at the ajumma owner, and when she asks how he liked the food, Yul says the food was terrible, gives her the blandest wink ever, then turns to go.
She demands payment, and he says in shock that he just paid, winking again just to make sure. He keeps winking every time she says he has to pay, which is even funnier than it sounds because he’s so confident that a wink is the appropriate method of payment.
Hong-shim and Kkeut-nyeo find Yul fighting with the restaurant ajumma about his inability to pay for his meal. The ajumma tells Hong-shim that Yul tried to dine and dash, but Yul says that another man paid for his meal just by winking (HA, he demonstrates, and both Hong-shim and Kkeut-nyeo flinch).
Yul threatens to have the ajumma punished, but when she asks who he is, he reluctantly admits that he doesn’t know. Hong-shim pays the ajumma, explaining that Yul’s her husband, the ajumma gives him the stink-eye and Yul grumbles, “That gaze makes me uncomfortable.”
Je-yoon continues to agonize over Yul’s order to stop investigating the palace physician’s murder, wondering why he’s investigating it himself. Soo-ji visits and is disappointed to see Je-yoon busy, but Je-yoon relents when Soo-ji complains that he has no friends to drink with.
As she leads Yul home, Hong-shim asks if he’s really lost his memory, or if he’s just stupid. She suddenly notices his expensive clothing, which he says he got “from a hyung.” He points out the fine silk and delicate pattern, but when Hong-shim reaches to touch, he smacks her hand like she’s a naughty child.
His new clothes are the least of Yul’s surprises — Hong-shim is shocked to see her humble cottage being cleaned, flowers being planted, and a bright awning in the yard. Her simple belongings have been replaced with silk blankets and fancy screens, and she asks Yul where the money came from.
He tells her that a man saw him getting salt thrown at him in the marketplace and had told Yul that he’d pay for whatever he wanted. Hong-shim correctly guesses that the man had a mole on his left cheek, and she screams for everyone working on the house to leave. She storms off after vowing to deal with Yul later.
Hong-shim finds Yul’s “hyung” in the marketplace and accuses him of fooling a clueless man into taking out a loan. She tells him to take the money back. and he happily agrees, interest included of course. He names a sum that makes Hong-shim cough, and when she refuses to pay him such a ridiculous amount, he cheerfully threatens to sell her if he doesn’t get the money in fifteen days.
Gu-dol likes Yul’s fancy new digs, but Dad wails that the “hyung” is actually a loan shark. Gu-dol tells Yul to get on his knees and beg for forgiveness when Hong-shim gets home, and when Yul insists that a man doesn’t kneel before a woman, Gu-dol says dryly, “I think you must. If not, you might die.”
Je-yoon follows Soo-ji to a famous gibang, where he can’t help but notice all the beautiful gisaengs. They’re led to a private room, and on the way, Je-yoon notices a young gisaeng smiling nervously at him. She asks the madam if she can serve them, and when she’s informed that they asked for privacy, she says, “I’m not just anyone — I’m Ae-wol.”
When Hong-shim isn’t home by dark, Dad worries that the loan shark did something to her. Even Yul seems concerned as he regrets not putting up more lanterns. Gu-dol demonstrates to Yul how he should kneel, give Hong-shim the puppy-dog eyes, and beg for forgiveness, warning that he’s dead meat if he doesn’t do it.
Hong-shim returns and throws the loan shark’s contract at Yul, snapping that he borrowed enough money to buy a whole new house. Yul looks betrayed as he says that the loan shark didn’t tell him that — if he’d known, he’d have bought a new house, ha.
Hong-shim picks up a sickle and approaches Yul with murder in her eyes. Just before she reaches him, Gu-dol kicks Yul in the back of the knees, forcing him into a kneeling position, but she says it’s too late and raises the sickle. Dad screams at her not to do it, but she walks right past Yul and into the house to cut the sash on Yul’s wedding shirt, which would mean divorce.
Dad stops her, arguing that the magistrate will be furious if he finds out, but Hong-shim is scared that the loan shark will sell them as slaves. She runs back outside to point her sickle at Yul and growl that he’s done for, and he’s smart enough to look chastened.
She takes him inside to discuss his shopping spree, and when she glares, he slowly fixes his casual posture, ha. He says that at least the room is nice to look at now, and Hong-shim notices that he’s handsome, and not terrible to be around — when his mouth is closed. She forgets herself as she admires his fit body, making him curl up under her ogling.
Yul asks for food when his stomach growls, but Hong-shim croons that he should have bought food with all that money. She tries to kick him out of the room, but he declares that this is his room since he decorated it. Hong-shim tells him prettily that since this is his room, decorated with his debt, that he can live in it alone and pay off his debt alone.
She moves her bed into Dad’s room, and when he say that she should sleep with her husband, she retorts that she’s only planned to marry Yul only long enough to satisfy the authorities then kick him out. But now she decides to scrap that plan, and keep Yul around as a workman until his debt is paid off.
Soo-ji gets sloppy drunk at the gibang and tells Je-yoon that he knows something that’s top secret in the palace. Je-yoon swears not to tell, so Soo-ji reveals that the crown prince is missing, sobbing that he and his entire family are done for if something happens to Yul. Je-yoon reassures Soo-ji that he’ll be fine, having placed first in the state exam, but Soo-ji whispers that actually, he switched the answer sheets.
The gisaeng Ae-wol lets herself in, pretending that she got the wrong room. She asks about Je-yoon by name, then lets her hair down and asks if he recognizes her from three years ago. He eyes her suspiciously and brandishes his chopsticks, telling her to begone if she’s a ghost.
Suddenly he cracks a mischievous smile and apologizes for being bad at remembering faces. Ae-wol pouts that her face isn’t that forgettable, and she tells Je-yoon that she’s been waiting to repay his kindness. She says she’ll do anything he wants, so he asks her to charge tonight’s bill to Soo-ji (who passed out on the floor).
Later, as he’s carrying Soo-ji out, Je-yoon runs into Minister Jung, Queen Park’s co-conspirator. Minister Jung asks if Je-yoon is here with Soo-ji in an attempt to make a connection with Minister Kim, sneering that someone so low-class can only get ahead by becoming someone’s dog. He tells Je-yoon never to come to this gibang again, since it’s only for high-class people.
He looks smug that he just put Je-yoon in his place, but Je-yoon says jovially that Minister Jung should also stop coming here, because it’s smart to lay low in turbulent times. As he walks away, Je-yoon hears the minister laughing that he’s a mere concubine’s son, but he holds his head high.
Hong-shim hangs a sign outside the house and tells the neighbors that they will solve any problem for a small fee. Kkeut-nyeo asks why she wants to be paid now when she used to help people for free. Dad also thinks that this plan won’t work, since the village is so poor.
But Hong-shim says that people will pay for for someone to fix problems that are dirty, difficult, or dangerous, and she’s got a husband who has nothing better to do. Yul frowns that he didn’t agree to this, but Hong-shim reminds him that she didn’t agree to him taking out a loan, either.
Je-yoon takes the arrow that was used to murder the palace physician to a fletcher, who says that it’s not an arrow that many people make because it’s expensive and hard to control. Under Je-yoon’s threat to tell his wife that he saw the fletcher out after curfew, he suddenly recalls its maker.
Moo-yeon watches, then runs to get to the arrow’s maker before Je-yoon. The frightened fletcher stammers that he doesn’t keep records of his sales, but Moo-yeon says that even without records, the fletcher still knows who bought the bow and arrows. He steps closer, backing the fletcher off an embankment to his death.
Yul returns from a neighbor’s house saying that he was asked to find a ring the neighbor dropped in a barrel full of dung. Instead he’d shoved the neighbor ajumma’s hand in the dung and told her to find the ring herself. He sits and orders Hong-shim to bring him some baesuk (steamed pears), but when she asks what that is, even Yul can’t recall.
Another neighbor drops by with a problem, saying that Yul would just need to stand still, which is how Yul finds himself knee-deep in a muddy stream, waiting for leeches to attach to his legs. He asks what leeches are, and when the neighbor explains that they’re the blood-sucking creatures currently snacking on his blood, Yul splashes out of the water screaming.
Moo-yeon reports to Minister Kim that someone was asking about the arrows he uses. He says that he shot the prince (he doesn’t know that he actually shot Yul’s bodyguard, Dong-joo), so they can’t let the body be found or someone will connect the two murders.
Minister Kim tells him to pin the physician’s murder on someone else, and to get rid of all his old arrows, but to keep the bow because it will come in handy one day. Moo-yeon asks if he should go to the mountain (to look for the body), but Minister Kim says that he’ll go himself.
Hong-shim is surprised to see Yul back from his errand so soon, looking traumatized and with his legs covered in leech bites. He declares that he’s not going out again for all the money in the world, and Hong-shim says that she only wants him to earn back the money he borrowed. Yul concludes that they need to earn the money all at once rather than a few pennies at a time.
He hides when he hears Town Official Park bellowing his name, still trying to get the expensive boots back from him. Hong-shim says she’ll get the boots right now and snatches Yul from where he’s trying to climb over the wall.
When Minister Kim approaches King Neungseon for permission to search for Yul, he says that he initially thought the prince had survived due to his fighting skills, but he’s worried because there’s been no news. The king confides that the day before his disappearance, Yul told him that he was trying to solve a tragic issue.
He wonders if Yul knew about the planned ambush, unable to shake a bad feeling. He asks Minister Kim who he thinks is behind the attack, but Minister Kim just replies that the answer is on the mountain. He promises to find the prince and punish those responsible.
Yul (wearing straw shoes) tells Gu-dol and Kkeut-nyeo that he doesn’t want to go home because Hong-shim is evil. Gu-dol says that Yul and Hong-shim, as newlyweds, should be “crackling like sesame seeds,” but Yul misses the point and just gets hungry, ha.
Master Park and the town nobles walk by, and Yul watches as everyone bows to them. It sparks a memory of people bowing to him, and he tells Gu-dol that he doesn’t think he’s ever bowed to anyone. He says he needs to go home, but not to Hong-shim’s place, which isn’t the place for someone like him.
He goes back to the cottage where Hong-shim tells him to make straw shoes, and when he refuses, she says that everyone has to work to feed themselves. She asks why he won’t work, and he says, “Because I am not Won-deuk.”
Master Park and the other nobles greet Minister Kim near the village and invite him to tea, but he says he’s not here to eat and drink. Master Park asks what’s going on, so Minister Kim tells him that the guards are doing secret training and orders him to provide whatever they need.
Yul explains to Hong-shim that there’s no way he’s Won-deuk, listing several clues he’s noticed. First, when he woke after his injury, Dad asked him his name, and what’s more, the name Won-deuk doesn’t trigger an instinctive reaction. The second clue is that he knows he’s never bowed to anyone, indicating that he’s of noble birth.
To demonstrate the third clue, he steps closer to Hong-shim until she’s on her back on the platform with him looming over her. They both deny that their hearts are racing, and Yul says that if they’d spent a night at the watermill together, they wouldn’t feel this calm.
But Hong-shim has her own proof that he’s Won-deuk, pointing to the cherry tree he had planted in the yard. She says it’s her favorite, so he must have instinctively chosen it for that reason. She links their pinky fingers and says that he promised to do anything for her if they married. He asks why he’d make such a promise, and Hong-shim looks disappointed as she says, “Because you loved me.”
Remembering a real event in her life, she tells Yul that he proposed to her under falling cherry blossoms. She says that’s why she waited for him and even got flogged, and that the man she loved is good at keeping his promises.
She beds down in Dad’s room again that night, complaining that the savior she’d hoped for turned out to be an enemy. She says he’s even pretending not to be Won-deuk to get out of working, and she asks Dad to tell her more good things about him, which makes Dad nervous.
Yul stands under the cherry tree, wondering if he really made Hong-shim a promise. At the palace, Crown Princess So-hye thinks about her father’s warning that until he confirms the prince’s death, she can’t let anyone know she’s pregnant.
In the morning, all of Yul’s nice clothes are gone. Hong-shim asks him if it’s better to have three old outfits or ten new ones, and when he says the latter, she points to the humble but clean clothes he’s wearing and says that she got them for him.
She tells him to go with Gu-dol, who has a job lined up carrying water to the guards on the mountain. She pointedly sharpens her sickle and mentions that the neighbor still hasn’t found the ring she dropped in the dung bucket, and Yul literally runs towards the mountain, hee.
While carrying water, Gu-dol gets nervous when he sees the camp, sensing that something bad happened. Yul is too busy trying not to let the water jugs he’s carrying tip him over to pay much attention. They enter the camp, and something triggers a memory in Yul’s mind — an arrow lodging itself in a woman’s throat, and another arrow coming at him.
He clutches his head in pain as he remembers a horse being shot out from under him, and being forced to run for his life. Minister Kim looks in Yul’s direction, but all he sees is a peasant passed out on the ground.
Gu-dol runs to tell Hong-shim that Won-deuk caused trouble again. She goes home to complain that they’ll have to pay for the water jug he broke, and she accuses him of doing it on purpose to get out of working. She doesn’t believe Yul when he says that’s not what happened.
She vents her frustration with the crown prince for forcing her to marry someone so useless. Yul just says softly, “You said that I loved you. You said you waited for me.” Hong-shim says it doesn’t matter since he can’t remember anyway, and she turns to walk away.
But Yul stops her with a hand on her arm, saying, “It’s torture for me, too, because I don’t know who I am. Please help me remember how I loved you.” He collapses again, this time into Hong-shim’s arms.
I’m still confused about Hong-shim’s relationship with Won-deuk — it seems as though she thinks he really exists, but only because Dad has told her so much about him. I think she’s telling Yul stories about her childhood friend who said he’d marry her, but that she thinks he’s really this mysterious Won-deuk person, because Dad told her so. And I think that Yul asked her to help him remember their love, not because he’s feeling anything for her (yet), but because the memories he just recalled are horrible and traumatic. He’s probably hoping that the truth is that he’s a simple peasant and not someone that’s been forced to fight for his life.
I’ve been feeling this way since Episode 2, and I’m just going to admit it now — I absolutely adore this drama. Sure, it’s almost entirely made of tropes, and very similar versions of this story have been told before many times, but it’s all in the execution. The show knows when to pour on the drama and when to back off and lighten up, and I never feel the tonal transitions to be jarring or unbalanced (though the actual editing can be rough at times). The characters are endearing and quirky and lovable, the dialogue is quippy and hilarious, and best of all, the casting is absolutely spot-on. Nam Ji-hyun and Do Kyung-soo/D.O. are just living the characters of Hong-shim and Yul — but then I knew they would, because they’re both talented, seasoned actors who have a way of giving their characters a unique spin. But I’m delighted by most of the rest of the cast, too, particularly Kim Sun-ho as Je-yoon and Jung Hye-kyun as Hong-shim’s adoptive father. All of the characters feel like living, breathing people, which just makes an already extremely watchable show that much more entertaining.
Yul is already my favorite character despite (or maybe because of) his defensive wall of disdain and self-importance, because you know he’s still a decent person with solid morals and ethics underneath. He may be arrogant, haughty, and snooty as hell, but despite Hong-shim calling him dumb as a child and now, he’s the furthest thing from stupid. You can see him already learning to adapt after only one day of marraige, even if it’s just a survival instinct and not because of any romantic feelings (for now). He still resists suggestions to be humble, such as when Gu-dol told him to kneel to Hong-shim in apology for borrowing from a loan shark, but when Gu-dol kicked him to his knees, Yul was smart enough to stay there. Just like he learned as a boy to respect and admire Hong-shim/Yi-seo for her brains and spirit, I think he’ll soon start falling for her all over again for the same reasons. He’s just got sixteen years of fear-laden palace conditioning to overcome first, which makes him an adorably grumpy kitten out in the world, but it won’t be easy for him to break through it considering that he doesn’t know why he’s got such fancy taste and disregard for others in the first place, or see those things as a problem.
I mentioned this before, but it breaks my heart to see how stiff and disdainful Yul is, knowing why he’s that way. He didn’t always see peasants as beneath him and we know he can change his way of interacting with others (remember when he offered to let Yi-seo’s slave friend play the general next time?), so it’s painful to realize that he’s so horrible now out of fear and self-preservation. He’s spent most of his life in the palace, in constant danger, and he’s tried so hard to keep his moral compass pointing north while not letting his disobedience get him killed. It’s like there are all these layers of attitude and anger he’s built out of self-protection, and while I expect to see him peeling off those layers as he gets to know Hong-shim and the villagers, it’s going to take some time.
I still love Hong-shim too, though she wasn’t quite as likable in this episode — she was so angry and naggy that I don’t blame Yul for not wanting to do anything for her, even though he was wrong to take out the loan. I think that Hong-shim had every right to be resentful, and she absolutely should expect Yul to work to feed himself and pay back the loan, it just made her harder to connect with because she was so relentless about it. I get why they’re so wary of each other — Yul was forced to marry a stranger on faith that he was who she said she was, and she had to settle for the lesser of two evils — but I still wish they would both just give each other a break. Yul needs to stop looking down his nose at everything and everyone, and Hong-shim could stand to just relax for a day or two and get to know her new husband a little before putting him to hard labor when he’s clearly not used to it.