100 Days My Prince: Episode 12
Oof, I’ve been dreading this… it was inevitable that the crown prince would have to leave his love behind and return to the palace, but that doesn’t make it any easier to watch. Their separation is made so much more painful by the fact that it makes complete logical sense, because one of them is married and the other a fugitive – nobody is playing the Noble Idiot here. There’s got to be a way for them to overcome this and be together, but it’s still a mystery as to how this can all end happily ever after.
EPISODE 12 RECAP
Hong-shim disappears after Yul proposes to her, and Yul is surrounded by Minister Kim and his men. Minister Kim orders his men to show respect, then kneels himself, saying, “You must come to the palace, my crown prince.”
In shock, Yul breathes that the crown prince died, but Minister Kim says he’s known him for years, and that he’s even his father-in-law. He informs Yul that his wife, the crown princess, is waiting at the palace, and that she’s pregnant with his child. Yul briefly remembers the night So-hye asked him to sleep with her, but not the part where he rejected her.
Meanwhile, Hong-shim is carried away unconscious and loaded into a palanquin, but luckily Je-yoon sees it happen and follows. Two more masked men go to the cottage, but there’s nobody there, so they leave. Dad and Town Official Park are hiding outside the wall, and they run as soon as the men leave.
In the morning, the palace prepares for the installation of Prince Seowon as the new crown prince. Seowon kneels before his father, but suddenly Minister Kim strides into the courtyard, interrupting the ceremony. He calls to the king to stop Prince Seowon’s installation, announcing that the real crown prince is alive.
Yul enters, and the king and all the ministers react as if they’re seeing a ghost. Yul raises his eyes to his father, but the king can barely speak.
Hong-shim wakes in a strange cottage, and the last thing she remembers is Yul proposing to her. She stumbles outside to find Moo-yeon waiting for her, and he apologizes for spiriting her away. He says they’re near Mokgye Port, and that he’s looking for a ship, but he stops her when she tries to go back for Dad and Yul.
Je-yoon watches from a hiding place as Hong-shim explains that Yul is her husband, and that he said he would go with them. But Moo-yeon says that they can’t take him, and that she has to forget about him. He drops the bomb… that Yul is the missing crown prince, and the son-in-law of the man who killed their father.
Refusing to believe it, Hong-shim says she’ll go ask him herself. But Moo-yeon tells her that he’s already been taken to the palace, where he’ll be reunited with the crown princess. He tells Hong-shim again to forget Yul and their marriage, and Hong-shim bursts into tears.
The ministers who oppose Minister Kim accuse him of bringing a man who just looks like the crown prince to trick them all. The king asks Yul if he’s really the crown prince, and Yul apologizes for worrying him, calling him “Father.”
King Neungseon orders Prince Seowon’s installation canceled, and the prince is the one who tells Queen Park that Yul has returned. She’s horrified, but Crown Princess So-hye reacts with anger and insists on checking for herself. The moment she sees him she knows it’s true, and she doubles over in pain, clutching her pregnant belly.
Neither she nor Yul say anything to each other, and Minister Kim explains that the crown princess is probably just stunned. He advises Yul to change into his princely robes, and he says nothing to So-hye as he passes her.
In private, Minister Kim tells So-hye not to worry, because Yul has lost his memory. She’s scared it’s an act, but her father swears it’s why he stayed away so long. He tells So-hye that Yul probably believes her baby is his, so this is her chance to win his heart. She asks what happens if he remembers, and Minister Kim says they’ll surround him with their people to prevent that.
Minister Kim had previously told Yul that Queen Park was behind his attempted assassination. He’d said that he tried to hold a trial, but the king stopped it, so they needed to stop Seowon’s installation to prevent Queen Park from gaining too much influence.
Now he tells So-hye that he likes Yul the way he is now, because he was a problem when he was smart about court politics. He believes he can make this Yul into a puppet king that he can control, and he tells So-hye that after her child is made crown prince, then they can get rid of Yul.
Minister Kim had worked hard to convince Yul of his version of the truth before they got to the palace. He’d told him that they need to keep Hong-shim and her dad a secret or they won’t be safe, and to hide the fact that he’s lost his memory for the sake of the crown princess and her child.
Gu-dol is alarmed to find the cottage empty, but their luggage was left behind, tipping off Kkeut-nyeo that something is wrong. She wants to tell the magistrate, but Master Park stops them and tells them that Won-deuk committed treason while in the army. He forbids anyone to speak of Won-deuk, Hong-shim, or her dad ever again.
Neighbor lady Yang-choon tells Dad about the claim that Won-deuk was a traitor. He panics at the thought that Hong-shim might have been arrested with Yul, and although Je-yoon had warned him to stay in hiding, he’s scared that the kids may be beheaded and runs out to look for them.
He runs into Je-yoon and begs him to save Hong-shim and Yul. Je-yoon tells him that Hong-shim is with her brother, and to stop Dad from going to Hanyang after Yul, he reveals that Yul’s actually the crown prince. Outside the room, Yang-choon overhears this bit of information and gasps.
King Neungseon mourns that even though his son is alive, he’s still lost to him, since Minister Kim has his claws sunk deep into Yul. Minister Jung reminds the king that Minister Kim committed a crime punishable by death by claiming that the body brought back to the palace was Yul’s. He accuses Minister Kim in front of the other ministers, but Minister Kim’s friends argue that the body was so damaged, even Yul’s own Eunuch couldn’t identify him.
But Minister Kim accepts the blame, so the king tells him to resign his title. But Yul enters and says it’s not Minister Kim’s fault, asking the king to rescind the order and reminding the ministers that Minister Kim is the only one who tried to find him.
Minister Jung asks why Yul didn’t return to the palace on his own. Yul admits that he was wounded and lost his memories of who he was, but he says that he doesn’t want his father-in-law, or anyone else, to be punished for what happened during the past hundred days.
Later, while alone with Minister Kim, Yul is brought herbal medicine as he’s told that it will be a giveaway that he hasn’t regained his memory if he can’t remember the court ministers. Minister Kim urges him to drink the medicine and get better, then introduces him to his new eunuchs and court ladies, since his previous ones were all killed in the attack.
Hong-shim is too despondent to eat, and she even objects to Moo-yeon’s use of her old name, Yi-seo, saying that it feels wrong after so many years. She confesses that she keeps wishing she and Yul were really just Hong-shim and Won-deuk, but Moo-yeon tells her that it’s an ill-fated relationship, and that Yul is beyond her reach.
She goes outside for some fresh air and finds the shoes Yul bought her. In a fit of anger, she throws them into the woods, but then she remembers him kneeling before her and putting them on her feet. She turns back and frantically looks for them, and when she finds them, she recalls Yul’s promise never to leave her, and she hugs the shoes as she sobs sorrowfully.
Yul visits So-hye as he’s told, and her lady urges him to read to the baby to let it hear its father’s voice. She hands him a copy of “Elementary Learning,” but he asks for a different book. So-hye suggests that he return to his chambers, and he explains that everything feels foreign after he’s been away for so long.
She admits that they’ve never gotten along, and that she resented him for not being affectionate. But she says it was worse when he was gone and their enemies planned to depose her and her baby. She asks him to at least love his child, and Yul, believing that the baby is his, promises not to break the heart of his child’s mother again.
Je-yoon seems to be grieving as much as Hong-shim on her behalf, knowing that she’ll never forget Yul as Moo-yeon told her to do. Ae-wol feels bad for Yul, being forced to live with a wife he doesn’t love, but Je-yoon says they’ll become closer after their child is born. Ae-wol thinks Yul will just summon Hong-shim to the palace, but Je-yoon says cryptically that he can’t.
Master Park runs over in a panic, having just now heard about Yul being identified and returned to the palace. Je-yoon says that he knows, but Master Park is terrified that Yul will execute them for how they treated him.
The king cringes in fear when Minister Kim enters his rooms unannounced, but he makes a decent effort to pretend outrage that someone tries to assassinate Minister Kim. Minister Kim tells him not to worry, since nobody will try it again now that the crown prince has returned. But he adds warningly that if someone does attempt to kill the future king’s father-in-law, he won’t overlook it again.
The king decides to drink his worries away, and does so with the queen as his eunuch suggests. The queen, of course, is mostly concerned about her own son, and how Minister Kim will treat him if he thinks Seowon wants the crown prince’s position. King Neungseon says that he feels bad, but Yul is his firstborn, and he’s glad he’s alive.
Minister Kim sends one of his men to find Moo-yeon, instructing him to bring Moo-yeon back alive because there’s something he needs to check. Meanwhile, Hyuk reports to Moo-yeon that Seowon’s installation was canceled, which can only mean that Minister Kim and Yul returned to the palace.
He says that he found a ship for Moo-yeon and Hong-shim in four days, and delivers some medicine for Moo-yeon’s arrow wound, knowing he’s in severe pain. Hyuk tells Moo-yeon that it was Beom, their third friend, who shot him, on Crown Princess So-hye’s orders.
Hong-shim finds Moo-yeon doctoring his injury, and she hesitantly asks what he’s been doing while they were apart, and how he knew Yul was the crown prince. Moo-yeon says that he’s been running errands for officials, some of them shameful, so he just wants to leave and forget his past. Hong-shim agrees, also having things she’d like to forget.
Yul worries his eunuchs by refusing to eat, complaining that there are too many dishes here when the people eat so humbly. He hears Hong-shim’s voice chirp about meat pancakes, and he looks up to see her sitting in front of him, smiling and expressing her jealousy that he can eat his favorite food all he wants. She urges him to eat and stay strong, then he closes his eyes and she’s gone, and Yul is alone again.
He’s equally reluctant to participate in his classes, and he sees Hong-shim again, marveling that she asked someone so learned to copy erotic novels. But she grins that the erotic novels were more fun to read, before Yul closes his eyes to banish her image. He announces that he’s disbanding the class.
Soo-ji is thrilled at that, not being the quickest of scholars, but Yul gives him a baleful glare that shuts him up. He runs into Seowon, who asks if Yul resents him for trying to take his place. Yul tells him it’s not his fault, but Seowon says that he resents Yul because everything he wants belongs to him (such as the crown princess?).
Yul just says he doesn’t own them because he wants them, and that he can’t have what he wants, either. Seowon notes that Yul seems different, and Yul speculates that his hundred days outside the palace changed him.
Master Park and Je-yoon travel to Hanyang to beg forgiveness from Minister Kim for treating the crown prince badly when he lived in Songjoo village. Minister Kim asks Je-yoon why he didn’t recognize Yul when he knew him previously, and if the letter Je-yoon said was from Yul was a lie.
Je-yoon has to confess that he can’t recognize faces, and that he hid it for fear of not getting promotions. He says that if he’d known Yul was the prince he wouldn’t have shot at him, and that he would have alerted Minister Kim. Master Park wails that they’re telling the absolute truth, and Minister Kim says that he’ll explain to the king.
Later, Je-yoon tries to get in to see Yul, but he’s blocked by Yul’s new eunuchs. He announces himself loudly through the door, and Yul lets him in, then orders the eunuch to leave. Je-yoon apologizes on his knees for not recognizing Yul and for treating him badly, but Yul only wants to know what happened to Hong-shim.
He asks if Hong-shim left with her brother, but Je-yoon tells him to forget her and focus on the crown princess. He warns Yul that if people find out what happened in Songjoo village, the villagers will be in danger, including Hong-shim and her dad.
Yul says that Je-yoon could still tell them, reminding Je-yoon that he once said they were friends. But Je-yoon says regretfully, “Now, we cannot be friends… you are the crown prince.”
Hong-shim can’t stop thinking about Yul’s proposal and his promises not to leave her. She’s startled to find Je-yoon beside her, and he explains that he knows where she is because he saw her “abduction” by her brother. Saying that he only cares about the present, he presents Hong-shim with some food, but it’s what’s in the third compartment that’s the real gift — paperwork for her new identity.
The new name he chose for her, Hwa-bong, means “pretty flower.” He jokes that he could make that meaning with several names, making her smile, and she asks him for a favor.
Dad can’t be coaxed to eat, blaming himself for this whole mess and wailing that he only made her marry a stranger to save her from becoming a concubine. He thinks that Hong-shim left him behind because she resents him, and all Yang-choon can do is comfort him. Je-yoon walks in on her hugging Dad’s face, and she dies of embarrassment.
When Yul and So-hye finally give their respects to the king and queen, the king is understanding that they didn’t do this right away. But the queen sneers that it was disrespectful to wait so long, then she grins an evil grin and points out that they were never on good terms. Yul says that their time apart has fostered new love and affection between them, though there’s no emotion in his voice.
The ministers are concerned about the representatives from the Ming Empire who are on their way to the palace to celebrate Prince Seowon’s installation. When they arrive, the royal family will look foolish now that Yul is back. One minister wants to send word that the installation was canceled, but Minister Jung says it will be worse if they don’t tell the truth about Yul’s return.
Queen Park pipes up that the people will be curious to see if Yul can handle his duties as crown prince. Someone suggests that Yul host the welcome banquet for the visitors, which should prove he’s fit to rule.
Later, Yul is warned that the queen is planning to make him look bad in front of the Ming envoys. Minister Kim tells Yul that he can’t keep holing up in his chambers or his enemies will come after him even harder, so he needs to prove his abilities at the banquet. He brings Yul some books of poetry, telling him that it’s traditional for the Ming envoys to test the crown prince by reciting poems back and forth, so Yul picks up each book and recites poems from each on the fly, proving that his knowledge is intact.
Soo-ji brings his sister a talisman guaranteed to make her baby a boy even if it’s a girl, but she informs him that she had a dream that it’s a son. She asks if Soo-ji has heard from Moo-yeon or Hyuk, but Soo-ji hasn’t, and he grumbles that their father never cared for him like he cared for Moo-yeon.
He mentions that Minister Kim is searching for Moo-yeon, wanting to confirm something with him. So-hye keeps her expression under control, but under the table, she twists her hands together nervously.
Moo-yeon has a nightmare about the times he failed to kill Yul, and he wakes to find Hong-shim watching over him. She asks again if he should see a doctor, but he asks for cherries instead, remembering how she’d go into the woods when she was young and bring him back cherries so he wouldn’t tell on her.
Je-yoon takes Dad to the cottage where Je-yoon and Hong-shim are hiding out. He tells Hong-shim that he’ll leave if she wants, because he’s ashamed of himself and what he did, but she cries that she didn’t leave him behind on purpose. They both cry for Yul, missing him terribly and blaming themselves. They agree to leave and put everything behind them.
Yul keeps seeing Hong-shim and hearing her talk to him, and she even gives him advice. He tries to ignore her, but he finally tells her that he’s not Won-deuk and there’s no point in her showing up like this, because he already has a wife and a baby on the way. Hong-shim’s image wistfully says that she knows, she just came to say her last goodbye, then she fades away.
For the first time, tears fill Yul’s eyes. He stands and leaves his chambers, ordering his eunuch to get his plain clothes ready. He accidentally calls the eunuch, “Eunuch Yang,” and is told that his faithful friend didn’t make it back from the rain ritual. He demands his clothes again and rides out of the palace, with Guard Kwon’s help when the guard at the gate tries to refuse.
Yul rides at full gallop, remembering how he told Hong-shim that he wanted to live as Won-deuk and never regain his memories so that he could stay by her side. He makes it to the old cottage, and although Hong-shim is there picking up their belongings, she hides from him.
Dangit Hong-shim, he’s here because he loves you… stop hiding! He’s the crown prince, and he’ll find you eventually if he wants to! Okay, yes, Hong-shim has very valid and scary reasons for not letting Yul see her, but my heart just wants the sweet little love-kittens back in their basket together, all warm and happy.
Mainly I’m just thrilled that Yul finally woke up from his slump and decided to go for what he wants, for the first time in his life. He always rejected the fact that he was crown prince and married to So-hye, but he also never did anything to change his life. Now he’s found something worth fighting for, worth going after his own freedom, and I really, really hopes he gets it.
I was disappointed at first when Yul didn’t protest at all to being told he’s the crown prince and taken back to the palace, especially since Hong-shim disappeared right before he was found. Yes, his personality is very reserved, but he didn’t say anything about wanting to know where she was or make sure she’s okay for a long time. But after seeing the whole episode, I think he was just terrified… terrified of being caught without his memories, terrified of putting Hong-shim and Dad in danger, and terrified of making a slip-up and making things a thousand times worse. It was finally facing the permanent loss of Hong-shim that made him decide that being with her is worth it, so I hope that Hong-shim doesn’t play the martyr for too long.
My primary issue with this show, as much as I love the characters, is the editing, and how major pieces of information are withheld so that it looks like logical events never even happened. I wanted to see Yul get upset at being forced to leave the woman he’d proposed to just moments before! If ever there was a time for Yul to get upset and lose it, that was the time, especially after he nearly did during the magic show, when she was only gone a few seconds. I hope that, just once before the show ends, we get to see Yul in a towering rage over being kept from Hong-shim, because how great would it be to see him just absolutely lose it on his enemies who keep trying to control him?
I really don’t see a way for all this to end with Yul and Hong-shim together that doesn’t involve Yul abdicating, and I just can’t figure out a way to make that happen that doesn’t throw the kingdom into an uproar. Hong-shim would never consent to be a concubine, and even if she did, allowing So-hye’s non-royal baby to become the successor and allowing Minister Kim to have that much power would be a disaster. I have a feeling that Eunuch Yang will be the key once he recovers, and that everything will hinge on Je-yoon letting go of his feelings for Hong-shim and helping her and Yul be together, but I can’t imagine how that will happen. I like that the ending is unpredictable, but it also makes me very nervous not to know that Yul and Hong-shim will be able to be together and just live their lives in peace.