100 Days My Prince: Episode 5
If you can’t beat ’em, join ’em. Despite Yul’s instincts telling him he’s not cut out for peasant life, he decides to make the best of a bad situation. It’s nice to see him making an effort, though the results are varied and not always positive. Still, seeing the grumpy amnesiac crown prince trying to fit in, and even… wait for it… smiling, is pretty endearing, and goes a long way towards Hong-shim’s willingness to cut him a little slack.
EPISODE 5 RECAP
After Yul passes out in Hong-shim’s arms, the village doctor looks him over. He says that Yul’s arrow wound is infected, but that Yul actually collapsed because of low nourishment — in other words, he fainted from hunger.
Dad explains that Yul is an extremely picky eater while Hong-shim mutters that he ate a whole bowl of soup at that restaurant. The doctor prescribes an expensive herbal medicine with deer antler, but Hong-shim complains that Yul is a goblin that eats up all their money, and refuses it.
She tells Dad that the only way Yul will be getting deer antler herbal medicine is if he catches his own deer, which don’t even live on their mountain. Dad argues that until he recovers, Yul won’t be able to work to pay off his debt to the loan shark.
So Hong-shim goes to the forest to forage for herbs, and even snags a wild chicken with her slingshot. She makes healthy soup for Yul and gently tends to him all night.
In the morning, Dad smiles to himself to see that Yul and Hong-shim slept in the same room, even if it’s because Yul was sick. He tells himself to give them some time alone, and softly calls out that he’s going to the mountain.
His voice stirs Yul, and when he sees that Hong-shim is sleeping on the floor next to him, he watches her sleep for a while. He reaches out to brush her hair off her face, running his finger down a scratch on her cheek, then plays it casual when his touch wakes Hong-shim.
He asks why she slept here after suggesting they use separate rooms, and Hong-shim snaps that she nursed him all night long after he collapsed while carrying water to the soldiers, then again at home.
Yul tells her that on the mountain, he suffered a terrible headache and felt like he couldn’t breathe. He wonders if something happened to him there, and says he’s been thinking about the story he’s been told about himself and her. He asks Hong-shim what kind of man he was (before he lost his memory), and she says that he was a good man, and a nice person.
All Dad said when Hong-shim asked is that Won-deuk is good at being handsome (HAHAHA, but also true), so she tells Yul that he’s a hard worker. Narrowing his eyes, he says that he can’t picture himself that way.
Unable to think of anything else, Hong-shim coincidentally remembers that she left water boiling. She runs outside, wondering how she’s supposed to know who Yul is when he doesn’t even know himself, and how things have escalated so fast.
Yul startles Hong-shim while she’s stoking the cooking fires, and tells her that he heard her dad saying he’s going to the mountain. He admits to feeling better this morning, and Hong-shim as grumbles that he’d better after she searched the whole mountain for food to feed him, Yul cracks the tiniest smile.
He asks if that’s how she scratched her cheek, looking almost concerned. He watches her make breakfast, and his eyes go wide with alarm when Hong-shim adds earthworms to the soup, realizing that she probably fed him worm soup last night, too.
He starts gagging, but Hong-shim forbids him to vomit. She tells him the story of a monk who drank water he found in a cave, only to discover later that he’d drunk it from a skull. But he realized that the water that tastes disgusting today is the same water that was delicious yesterday, because it’s all about your perception.
Yul asks incredulously if she’s trying to school him. He asks why she’s not eating the soup, and she shudders and declares that worm soup isn’t her style. She grabs his hand and chirps that she’s glad to see him feeling good enough to yell, because he’s hers until his debt is paid off.
While on the mountain, Dad runs into Guard Kwon, who asks Dad if he’s seen a strange man on the mountain. Swearing that he hasn’t seen anyone, Dad asks who they’re looking for. Before Guard Kwon answers, he’s called away urgently by one of his men, who have found some clothing in the stream that looks like it belonged to the crown prince.
Hong-shim tasks Yul with chopping wood, hoping that his body will remember what his mind can’t. But he’s abysmal at it, and he also fails hilariously at rolling straw and harvesting herbs. Hee, at least he has the grace to look ashamed when he breaks Hong-shim’s sickle.
As they trudge home, he says that there must be something he’s good at, they just have to discover it. He whines that Hong-shim’s annoyed silence makes him uncomfortable, and she snaps that everything about him makes her uncomfortable, especially his fancy way of speaking.
Soon after finding the waterlogged clothing, a body is found on the riverbank. Guard Kwon recognizes the clothing as the crown prince’s, but Minister Kim insists on identifying the body himself. He slowly turns over the body, then orders the guards to show their respect to the crown prince.
On the way home, Yul asks (nicely!) for a bowl of steamed pears, but at Hong-shim’s glare he amends meekly that water will be fine. They find Town Official Park and Ma-chil, the loan shark, waiting in their yard, both wanting payment (for the broken water jug and the loan interest, respectively). The men argue over who’s owed payment first, and when they nearly come to blows, Yul gets between them and the flowerbeds to protect his precious babies from being trampled.
Fed up, Hong-shim yells at all of them to knock it off. She leads them to the magistrate and reminds him of a villager who wasn’t punished for stealing because she was insane, and she shoots Yul a pitying look as she tells the magistrate that Yul is the same way (HA, his face).
When Ma-chil argues, Hong-shim reminds him that he said he would sell her if the debt isn’t paid, because Yul seems not right in the head. Yul protests that he’s perfectly fine, so Hong-shim offers to prove it with witnesses.
Gu-dol tells the magistrate that Yul can’t remember a steamy night in the watermill, then the restaurant owner testifies that Yul tried to pay for a meal with a wink. Their neighbor Yang-choon tells how he shoved her hand in a barrel of dung, and even Kkeut-nyeo calls Yul no-good.
The magistrate is forced to concede that Yul seems not-quite-right, so the document he signed isn’t legally binding. He orders Yul to return everything he bought with the borrowed money, but Yul flat-out refuses to admit to having an unstable mind, and doesn’t want to have his debt erased for that reason.
Understandably, Hong-shim is incredulous and angry, but Yul is angry, too, and accuses her of turning her mentally healthy husband into a fool for money. She argues that he’s not normal, but he reminds her that she said he’s someone who does everything well, and that he’s just having difficulty with his memory.
He asks why she married him knowing he was poor, when she could have become Master Park’s concubine and been rich. He sneers that she must have preferred a young, handsome husband to an old man, and Hong-shim slaps him across the face. She storms off, and Yul goes home, unable to stop hearing the villagers accusing him of being stupid and no good.
Hong-shim visits her father’s grave and asks why her father didn’t keep his promise to find her a wonderful man like himself. She sobs that she wouldn’t have had to marry a man like Won-deuk/Yul if her father were still alive.
The following day, a message arrives for King Neungseon. Minister Jung reports his reaction to Queen Park, and they assume that the message contained bad news about Yul. She smirks that this is good news for them and instructs Minister Jung to increase his influence.
Crown Princess So-hye doesn’t react when she hears the contents of the message. She remembers young Yul’s vehement denial when he was told he would be marrying her, and she says to herself, “If we had not met as husband and wife, things would not have ended like this. I hope you are in a better place now.”
Je-yoon has also heard about the crown prince’s death, and he thinks that something doesn’t feel right. He’d learned of the fletcher’s death from falling off a cliff from the man’s widow, so he reports it to his boss, along with his suspicion that someone must know Je-yoon is investigating the palace physician’s murder.
His boss tells Je-yoon that the physician’s killer turned himself in. Skeptical, Je-yoon questions the man, who claims he’s been using those particular arrows for two years. When asked to show his archery skills, the man easily shoots a bird out of the sky, but Je-yoon tells his boss that he isn’t the killer. However, he says to lock the man up anyway, because, “… today is the 15th of the month.”
He leaves to go to Hong-shim’s bridge, and he finds her looking hopefully at every man that passes. Je-yoon sighs that her brother is mean for not keeping his promise, peering closely at her face and saying that he’s missed seeing her. Hong-shim asks with an eyeroll if women usually fall for this, but Je-yoon insists he’s never hit on a woman before.
He says he has a confession to make, and when Hong-shim tells him not to do it, he points to a flower lantern floating on the river. It’s supposed to grant a wish if it makes it to the sea, and Je-yoon says that he put it there with a prayer that she will see her brother again.
The lantern snags on some grass, so Je-yoon struggles to take off his shoes so he can wade into the water. Hong-shim just huffs and goes in herself, picking up the lantern and accusing Je-yoon of lying when she reads Please help me meet that lady from Songjo village again written on it.
Je-yoon joins her in the stream to prove that Hong-shim’s wish is written on the other side of the lantern. He says he wrote her wish first, and only wrote his since there was plenty of room left. His earnestness makes Hong-shim smile, and she asks why he’s so nice to her.
Je-yoon admits that he has face blindness, so people always look blurry to him, but that her face is different, with clear eyes and rosy lips. Shy, he says that it feels like destiny, but Hong-shim nervously says they should hurry up and float the lantern. Je-yoon finds a deep spot to release the lantern, but he trips and falls onto someone else’s lantern in the process.
Some men splash over to fight, angry that he ruined their master’s wish. Je-yoon tells them that he holds a high position despite his clothing, then knocks them into the water, grabs Hong-shim’s hand, and takes off with her.
She breaks free of him and runs off, leaving Je-yoon to squish back to the bridge alone, wondering if he’ll have to wait another month to see her. He spots a letter on the bridge’s handrail, from Hong-shim:
Thank you for the lantern. It has been such a long time since I received a touching gift from someone. Even if my wish does not come true, I am happy enough. I have been going to that bridge for ten years to meet my brother whom I parted with. I was hopeful for the first few years, but I suffered as the years passed by. On the 15th of every month I was forced to admit that he was not alive anymore. Please stop going to the bridge to see me, for I will never go there again.
Worried about Hong-shim, Yul goes to Kkeut-nyeo, who snaps that she’d run away, too, if she had a husband like him. At his dismayed expression, she tells him that Hong-shim goes to Hanyang every month at this time (though she thinks it’s to help a cousin who runs a book store), and that Hong-shim will be back today.
Gu-dol bounces over, happy to see Yul, but Yul grumps that Gu-dol isn’t his friend because he called him dumb in public. Gu-dol just shoves some pancake in Yul’s mouth while he’s still talking and says he was trying to help. Yul chews, then starts eyeballing the rest of the pancakes Gu-dol is carrying.
Turns out, they’re Yul’s favorite meat pancakes, ha. He and Gu-dol visit Town Official Park to offer to work at the party — Gu-dol for money, and Yul for some more meat pancakes. Yul doesn’t look at all pleased when he learns that the party is to celebrate the birthday of Master Park, who tried to make Hong-shim his concubine.
He spots her cleaning in another part of Master Park’s house, and this time he really does smile when he sees her. Hong-shim is also smiling, because a pair of children remind her of when she was young, and she’d been punished for playing with their father’s sword. She’d complained to her brother Seok-ha that she hates girly things like needlework, so he’d shown her a “huge needle” he’d made for her — her very own sword.
Hong-shim snaps out of her reverie and sees Yul smiling at her, but her own expression sours. He continues with his work, a little confused, but he cheers up a bit when he sees a meat pancake that someone dropped.
Hong-shim catches him picking it up off the ground and he quickly insists he wasn’t going to eat it. Yul yells at her for disappearing for days without a word, and starts to say he was worried, but he stops and instead says he was uncomfortable.
Gu-dol runs over to tell Hong-shim that he brought Yul here to work because he was whining about meat pancakes, and Yul indignantly squeaks, “When did I??” Hong-shim grabs the meat pancake from the ground, slaps it into Yul’s hand, and tells him to eat it and leave.
Still at the party, Yul frowns over at Master Park holding court as the birthday boy. When a server is tripped and spills a bowl of expensive soup, the magistrate loses his temper and orders her beaten. Hong-shim pleads for him to show mercy on such a happy occasion, calling it a simple mistake. Master Park leers openly at Hong-shim as he tells her to come pour him a drink, and he’ll forgive the server.
He even offers to forget her impertinence if she allows him to touch her, otherwise she’ll also be beaten. She reluctantly relents and heads to his table, but a hand grabs her wrist — it’s Yul, who growls, “Don’t take another step without my permission.”
He turns to Master Park and tells him that highborn men shouldn’t taunt a married woman. He starts to leave with Hong-shim, but Master Park calls out that he heard Yul is a good-for-nothing. Yul throws his insults right back, calling a poem that Master Park wrote “something an eight-year-old would write.”
Master Park just about explodes over the insult from a man he assumes is illiterate. Yul quotes the poem perfectly, mocking its simplicity, so Master Park invites him to recite a better poem, but adds that if Yul’s poem isn’t better than his, then both he and Hong-shim will die.
Even the magistrate thinks that’s a bit too far. But without hesitation, Yul recites, “The toilet rat scares easily, and the learned rat is suspicious. It steals grain from the safety of the magistrate’s storage. What they want is to satisfy their greed and eat well, but when the earth splits and the sky falls, they will be in danger.”
Seeing the poem for the criticism that it is, Master Park accuses Yul of repeating a poem he heard somewhere. Yul grins that he did exactly what he was told — recite a poem. Luckily, he and Hong-shim are saved from punishment by a messenger, who runs in to report that a body has been found, and that it’s believed to be the crown prince.
Yul sneaks out of the party with Hong-shim during the ensuing mayhem. As soon as they’re safe, Hong-shim asks Yul where he heard that poem, but of course he doesn’t know. He asks if she really planned to serve Master Park, the man who tried to make her his concubine.
He’s even upset that she’s wearing makeup, and Hong-shim admits that she was hoping to impress Master Park so that she’d get paid well. She’s surprised that Yul seems jealous, and he admits that if this uncomfortable feeling is jealousy, then he’s probably jealous.
Stepping closer and placing a hand on Hong-shim’s neck, Yul says, “Do not enter that man’s gate again, and unless it is for me, don’t wear lipstick, either.” Removing his hand, he continues, “I had no memory of you, which was frustrating, but I know one thing. I am not a fool. I know poems.”
Just as Hong-shim is about to start swooning, Yul suddenly exclaims in dismay, “I never got a meat pancake!” LOL.
The king makes his way to the recovered body, which has been brought to the palace. He slowly approaches, denying that it’s the crown prince in a fearful voice. He insists on seeing its face despite the advanced decomposition, and when the sheet is moved aside, he collapses to the floor.
Even as Yul sulks over losing out on the meat pancakes, when Hong-shim offers to work for Master Park and earn some, he says it’s not worth the price. He even eats Hong-shim’s earthworm soup, and when she looks upset that he declares it awful, he adds that bitter things are good for you and digs in with a pained, but endearingly earnest, smile.
Later, as Hong-shim is working with the village ladies, Yang-choon comments that Yul was pretty romantic when he defended Hong-shim. The ladies wonder if he really can read, so Hong-shim takes some books home. He proves that he can read just fine, which sends Hong-shim leaping across the table to tackle-hug him. Looking horrified, he says that her grin is making him very uncomfortable, hee.
With the king deep in mourning, Minister Kim relays his orders to the other ministers. He declares Yul’s murder an act of treason, and orders a special investigation bureau formed to catch the culprit/s, with Minister Kim appointed to lead it.
The orders continue that the burial ceremony should be minimal, as the king is concerned about public unrest. Minister Jung’s lackeys are happy that they’ll be able to install the new crown prince quickly, but they decide that Minister Kim can’t be allowed to head the special investigation bureau, lest he find them and the queen responsible and get rid of them.
But Minister Jung says that without Yul providing a family connection to the king, Minister Kim is like a tiger without teeth. He predicts that Minister Kim’s followers will desert him, and that Minister Kim will use trickery to get back at them, so he says they need to lure the king to their side with his only remaining heir, Prince Seowon.
Speaking of the prince, his mother, Queen Park, can’t hide her delight when she tells him that he’s to be the next king. He’s more worried about Crown Princess So-hye, but the queen tells him to keep his voice down lest someone hear how he feels about her, and he gets himself and his mother both killed.
Je-yoon releases the man who confessed to killing the palace physician, telling his boss that when the man shot the arrow he’d claimed to have been using for years, he’d held it wrong. His boss asks why Je-yoon didn’t torture the man to find out who made him confess, but Je-yoon just chuckles that it’s faster to just follow him to his master.
He follows the man, who weaves through streets and alleys until Je-yoon loses him. He asks a nearby lady if she’s seen a man in black, but she doesn’t answer until he turns away. She calls out that she believes him that he can’t recognize faces, and he recognizes her voice as Ae-wol, the gisaeng. She tells him to be careful at court now that the crown prince is dead, which is the first Je-yoon has heard of this.
Meanwhile, Minister Kim summons Moo-yeon again, and he holds a sword to Moo-yeon’s neck as he snarls that he made a costly mistake by killing Yul’s guard instead of the prince. He orders Moo-yeon back to the mountain, and if the prince is still alive, to bring back his head.
Je-yoon finds Guard Kwon, who says he’s been working in secret to find the prince. He gives Je-yoon a letter from the prince, which Yul passed to him when he left for the rain ritual and told him to give to Je-yoon on the 15th of the month, which led Guard Kwon to the conclusion that Yul knew he might not make it back. Je-yoon opens the letter, which contains only the hanja symbol for “elbow.”
The fact that Yul can read gives Hong-shim a money-making idea, but he’s not so keen on having to transcribe the pile of books she brings to him, especially since they all seem to be trashy romance novels. But he relents, and copies down the words as Hong-shim reads them out loud.
She gets to a particularly steamy passage and tells Yul to read that part himself, but he insists she keep reading if she wants him to keep writing. When she gets to the part about the woman’s breasts, she starts speed-reading while Yul stops writing altogether.
He complains that it makes no sense since the characters just met that day, but Hong-shim argues that it’s love at first sight. Yul asks if she fell in love with him at first sight, wanting to know what she liked about him, though he already knows she likes his thighs. HA!
Hong-shim splutters that he fell for her first and begged her for a date, which she only granted as a favor. Yul says she doesn’t seem like his type, so Hong-shim frames her face and says that if he looks closely, he’ll fall for her immediately.
Yul takes her up on the offer, scooting close and pulling her face to within inches of his, and he breathes, “From up close, you look… like nothing.” He backs up again, looking infuriatingly smug at Hong-shim’s indignant reaction.
In the morning, the bookseller is thrilled that they got so many books copied. Yul objects when he hands their pay to Hong-shim, snapping that he did all the work, but the bookseller just says they’re a perfect couple. Hong-shim offers to do any more copying work he needs, but Yul insists on more pay next time, surprising Hong-shim with his bargaining ability.
As they leave, she tells Yul that she’s proud of him, and he visibly softens. He wants to buy himself some leather boots with the money, which Hong-shim nixes, though she does agree to buy a bowl of gukbap (rice soup) for them to share. Yul calls her cheap, but she sneers that they’d be eating meat pancakes if not for his debt.
She suddenly spots Ma-chil, the loan shark, and pulls Yul into an alley to hide. She whispers that Ma-chil looks nice, but that he’s actually very cruel. But Yul doesn’t seem to be listening, more focused on Hong-shim’s nearness and the way she’s squeezing his hands tightly.
Hong-shim notices him staring, and he says that he feels very uncomfortable. She lets go of him and stammers that it’s just because it’s cramped in the alley, but Yul says that’s not what’s causing his discomfort. He tells Hong-shim, “I think my memory has returned,” never taking his eyes off her face.
I’m beginning to understand that when Yul says he feels uncomfortable, what he really means is, “I don’t understand what’s happening or how to respond to it.” He uses that word whenever he’s confused, or embarrassed, or flustered, and doesn’t know what to do. It’s kind of endearing, because he’s very open with his emotions (more on that later), but it’s like he doesn’t really know how to express anything in a way other than, “This feels icky and I’m not sure why.” Also, I don’t think he literally means that he’s regained his memory — remember when he got all up close and personal with Hong-shim and pointed out that he must not have had feelings for her since his heart wasn’t pounding? I think that he’s starting to respond to Hong-shim’s nearness physically, so what he’s saying is that his body is starting to “remember” her.
I think I gave the wrong impression last week when I said that I understood why Yul acts the way he does, and that I thought Hong-shim was too harsh with him, so I’ll try to explain. I don’t in any way think that his actions are okay and hers are wrong! What I mean is that, knowing what we know of Yul and his background, I can see why he acts high-and-mighty and has little concept of the value of money. He knows that things cost money but to him, 30 yang (the amount he borrowed from the loan shark) isn’t much while to Hong-shim, it’s a fortune. I’m not making excuses for Yul’s borrowing money and refusing to work to pay it back, just saying that I can see why, under the circumstances, he didn’t understand why taking money from a loan shark was a bad thing to do.
And I do think that Hong-shim has every right to be upset, of course she does. She’s right to expect Yul to work off his own debt, and to be angry when he balks. What bugged me about the way she was treating him was that he’s obviously got a bad head injury and has no clue who he is or where he came from, yet she was giving him no consideration for the fact that he’s basically a child who’s experiencing these things for the first time. I wanted Hong-shim to explain to Yul why borrowing money from strangers is bad and why that’s such an astronomical sum of money, but she just went straight to yelling and threats without attempting to help him understand why she was so upset. So, it’s not that I think her feelings about the situation are wrong, I just wanted to see her sit him down once and explain things before resorting to anger.
However, having said all that, it definitely wasn’t okay for Yul to refuse to have his debt erased out of stubborn pride. But it’s also his pride that’s goading him into changing, now that he’s aware of how little the villagers think of him. He’s still fighting that enormous ego that tells him that physical work is beneath him, but he’s softening up enough to work willingly and make an effort to fit in, even if it still feels wrong to him. I particularly love the way Yul is starting to get all mushy about Hong-shim, even when she was still making her disapproval of him loud and clear — but I suspect that’s a big reason why Yul is falling for her. As children, it was Hong-shim’s spirit and insistence that he act right that made him fall for her in the first place, so it makes sense that, even with his memory loss, it’s those same things he’s attracted to now.
I particularly liked when Yul told Hong-shim not to allow Master Park’s inappropriate attentions… not because she belongs to him, but because he was actually worried about her. I think it said a lot when he admitted that he might be feeling jealous, and his admonition to Hong-shim not to wear makeup again carried the caveat, “Unless it’s for me.” It’s an interesting side effect to Yul’s enormous pride, that he’s open about whatever he’s feeling, almost like it would be beneath him to deny his emotions. I’m so used to haughty drama heroes hiding their feelings out of pride, but for Yul, it seems to work the other way around — he’s too proud not to be honest. So when he’s wrong, he admits it, and when he’s emotional, he says so. It’s infuriating, but it also makes Yul pretty reliable when it comes to figuring out what he’s thinking or feeling… all you have to do is ask him.