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Tale of Nokdu: Episodes 13-14

Secrets drive a wedge between our hero and the former gisaeng-in-training, making it increasingly difficult for them to continue their charade. Our hero has better luck finding out why his family was attacked but he’s unprepared when he finally hears the truth. Before he can fully comprehend his situation, Nokdu learns about a stunning betrayal that places everyone in the widows’ village in danger.

 
EPISODE 13: “I Will Leave Soon”

The lone survivor of the birthday celebration lives long enough to tell the king’s guard that they were attacked by women and that one of them was dressed in mourning clothes.

When the guard reports to King Gwanghae that Minister Heo is at the gisaeng house in Mudam Valley, the king remembers the widows’ village. Soon, the king and his men are headed to Mudam Valley on horseback.

Lady Cheon is alarmed when the king’s men arrive and quietly search the gisaeng house. When King Gwanghae enters the darkened widows’ village, he sees torches burning at the shrine.

While Yul-moo’s men point their swords at Minister Heo and the others, Yul-moo offers to be made the next king instead of the late Prince Yeongchang. Disguised as Lady Kim, Nokdu peeks into the shrine, turning around at the sound of a breaking twig.

Inside, Minister Heo asks the blood-spattered Yul-moo, “Do you think you have what it takes to be a king?” Outside, King Gwanghae slowly raises his eyes to Nokdu.

Ssook leads women dressed as mourners to the shrine while Nokdu loudly scolds, “This village for widows is protected by the king. Men are forbidden here.” When King Gwanghae tries to push past him, Nokdu doesn’t let him through.

Convinced that the shrine hides a secret, the king is surprised when Ssook opens the door to innocently inquire, “How may I help you?” Inside the shrine, King Gwanghae finds widows in prayer and when Ssook sees the blood on the floor, Nokdu sits on top of it to pray. The king’s guard reports that Minister Heo only visited the gisaeng house briefly and that they found nothing suspicious.

As the king and his party ride away, Lady Cheon thanks Nokdu for his help. He looks at the departing figures and asks, “By the way, who is he?”

In his home, Yul-moo pours some tea for Minister Heo while offering mock sympathy for Heo’s loss of influence. Heo doesn’t care now that Prince Yeongchang is dead but Yul-moo is only too happy to take his place.

When Heo asks why he wants to be king, Yul-moo gets a faraway look in his eyes, “I have always wished that our poor people would have enough to eat and live good lives.” Yul-moo laughs at his joke because all he really cares about is being an invincible king.

When Minister Heo stands, Yul-moo guesses that he’s on his way to see the king and wonders what he’ll say — that Heo was plotting against him or that the son who died twenty years ago is actually alive.

Nokdu’s brother, Hwang-tae, joins them as Yul-moo reveals that Heo’s assassination attempt unearthed a secret. We see that Yul-moo’s man, Park Dan-ho, was the one who pointed a sword at the missing assassin, Deul-re, in the bamboo grove. He was also the masked man who saved Yoon-jo and Hwang-tae from the Muweol Corps’ second attack.

What Yul-moo learned about Nokdu’s family confirmed the stories that he heard as a boy from his father. Hwang-tae introduces himself to Heo as Yoon-jo’s son and announces his support for Yul-moo, “He is the only man who will bring back everything that I have lost.”

As Aeng-du sleeps, Dong-joo remembers the nighttime visit from Yul-moo. When she reminded him that he wasn’t allowed in the village, Yul-moo declared, “I can go wherever I please and kill whomever I want.” Testing Dong-joo’s feelings, Yul-moo asked for permission to kill Nokdu but she insisted that she had used him, nothing more.

Dong-joo’s thoughts are interrupted when she hears Nokdu outside and she pretends to be asleep. When Nokdu is in bed, he’s troubled by that same visit because he overheard Dong-joo tell Yul-moo about her plan to leave the village. Nokdu also heard Dong-joo’s claim that she used him but when Yul-moo proposed, “Leave this place and come to me,” she sent him away.

Dong-joo and Nokdu turn around at the same time, giving her the chance to bring up his promise to tell her why he came to the widows’ village. After Nokdu refuses, their inevitable bickering wakes up Aeng-du, who sits up and scolds, “My goodness, that is enough!”

Over breakfast, Aeng-du lectures Nokdu and Dong-joo for acting like kids. As Dong-joo leaves to work in the kitchen, Nokdu pleads, “Do not go…Do you even know what kind of guy he is?” Dong-joo heatedly reminds Nokdu that even though they live together, she knows nothing about him.

Having finished her breakfast, Aeng-du complains again about her roommates’ bickering and announces that she’s off to see Yul-moo. Nokdu is beyond frustrated when they leave but the girls find the kitchen empty. Aeng-du is disappointed because Yul-moo promised to make flower pancakes, so Dong-joo offers to make them herself.

At the palace, Minister Heo informs an ally that the gisaeng house is no longer safe so he’s decided to relocate the Muweol. When his fellow minister suggests accepting Yul-moo’s plan, Minister Heo hisses, “He can never be the next king.”

Ssook’s team, including Nokdu, sits before Lady Cheon as she explains that the Corps is being relocated to the headquarters in Hanyang. The widows are concerned about Minister Heo’s weakening status so Lady Cheon explains that with Yul-moo’s rise, Heo’s power will soon be restored. Lady Cheon must travel to Hanyang to meet with Yul-moo and chooses Nokdu to accompany her so that the others can help with the move.

After Nokdu updates him on the latest developments, Master Hwang announces that it’s time to find his father and go back into hiding. Nokdu decides to stay disguised as Lady Kim to gather more information about the conspiracy against the king and vows, “I am going to put an end to this…Then we will no longer have to hide. My father, brother, and…” Nokdu trails off as he thinks of Dong-joo but Master Hwang misunderstands and promises Nokdu that he and Aeng-du will stay by his side.

As he approaches the kitchen, Nokdu thinks of the bloodied Yul-moo that he witnessed the night before. Prepared to face him, Nokdu opens the kitchen doors, surprised when Dong-joo and Aeng-du jump out to escape exploding flower pancakes.

After Nokdu figures out that Dong-joo added water to hot oil, Aeng-du asks him to make the pancakes. When Nokdu protests that he’s too busy, Aeng-du whines that Yul-moo would make them and pancakes are soon sizzling. Aeng-du reminds Nokdu and Dong-joo (who’s busy picking her pancakes off the walls) about her promised picnic and she only has to mention Yul-moo to get her way.

Minister Heo visits Yoon-jo, who’s feeling like a prisoner. Minister Heo insists that he’s protecting Yoon-jo but the man needs to find his sons. Rather than tell him that Hwang-tae is safe, Minister Heo promises that his men will find him if he’s still alive.

When Minister Heo mentions the king’s son, Yoon-jo promises, “We will go where you tell us to go.” Minister Heo is suddenly thoughtful, “You told me he grew up to be a smart and righteous man. Maybe he could be my alternative.”

Taking advantage of their distance from the village, Nokdu is dressed as a man for the picnic. When he catches Dong-joo staring at him, Nokdu teases, “Look how handsome I look…” Dong-joo ignores Nokdu’s offered hand to cross over some water, insisting that he’s not handsome at all.

Nokdu, Dong-joo and Aeng-du have been in a rowboat in the middle of the river for an hour without catching a single fish. Nokdu and Dong-joo bicker about the picnic until Aeng-du shoves flower pancakes into their mouths, complaining, “Goodness. You two will end up getting attached to one another at this rate.”

When Aeng-du asks why they keep fighting, Dong-joo complains that Nokdu has lots of secrets. Looking guilty, Nokdu confesses that he doesn’t want to lie to her, “I cannot tell you why I came here. Not now.”

Needing to poop, Aeng-du is returned to shore and she sends Dong-joo to find her a soft leaf. Dong-joo looks over at Nokdu in the boat and gasps when he falls back into the water. Dong-joo wades into the river, yelling out, “Hey,” and just as she’s about to dive underwater, Nokdu surfaces with a fish. His proud smile disappears when he sees the distressed look on Dong-joo’s face.

EPISODE 14: “Secrets About Nokdu’s Birth”

While Aeng-du feasts on the freshly cooked fish, Dong-joo warms herself by the fire. Aeng-du wonders, “Why did you not tell her that you lived on an island,” and Nokdu admits, “She never asked.”

For the walk back to the village, Nokdu changes back into his Lady Kim outfit. When Dong-joo coughs, Nokdu sits her down to place dry foot coverings on her feet. Dong-joo stares at Nokdu and then confesses, “When I thought that you fell into the water earlier, I could not call you because I did not know your name.”

Nokdu promises to tell her after her chicks grow up and Dong-joo snaps, “Forget it.” Nokdu insists that the chicks need Dong-joo to stay by their side and pleads, “Promise me that you will do so,” but she decides to just keep calling him “jerk”.

Yul-moo finally makes an appearance at the gisaeng house where Lady Cheon shows him Minister Heo’s order to move the Muweol Corps. Lady Cheon promises to help secure Minister Heo’s support for Yul-moo when she travels to Hanyang with the newest member of the Corps.

Trembling like a leaf, Yeon-geun appears before King Gwanghae who demands to know everything about the village.

Outside of Lady Cheon’s office, Yul-moo runs into Nokdu after hearing that he was accepted into the Muweol Corps. Nokdu learned something about Yul-moo as well, “I heard you are preparing to commit treason.” Yul-moo moves closer to hiss, “I am sparing your life even though you ought to be dead because Dong-joo asked me to…I am starting to want to break my promise…”

Dong-joo packs up her things in her secret cave and at the sight of the men’s clothes that she wore when she met Nokdu, she congratulates herself for refusing to stay by her chicks’ side. Tears fall from Dong-joo’s eyes when she admits, “But I want to,” and when she drops her head on the table, she sobs, “I want to stay by his side. I am sorry, Mom.”

Dong-joo gets home while Nokdu is checking to see if her things are still there. He admits that he’s worried that she’ll leave without a word but Dong-joo sees Nokdu’s bundle and points out that he’s the one who’s leaving. Dong-joo sends Nokdu away but he soon returns, “I will not ask you to like me. You can use me if you want. I am fine with that. So…Please do not disappear on me. I am begging you.”

The next day, Nokdu is disguised as a gisaeng in a veiled hat when he and Lady Cheon reach Minister Heo’s house. At the gisaeng house, Dong-joo leaves a letter in Lady Cheon’s office and then informs Yul-moo that she’s leaving.

Yul-moo wants to travel to Hanyang together but Dong-joo insists on going alone. To confirm her safe arrival, Yul-moo asks Dong-joo to meet him at the swing later that night.

Before she leaves, Dong-joo begs, “Promise me that you will never harm him.” Yul-moo angrily reminds Dong-joo that she denied having any feelings for Nokdu but her eyes fill with tears as she vows to leave without a word to insure that he hates her.

Tears stream from Dong-joo’s eyes as she shares her hope to spare Nokdu unspeakable grief when she dies, “I know very well how it feels to lose someone you love so dearly…I will not let that happen.” Yul-moo wipes away Dong-joo’s tears as he realizes, “You are not warning me. You are confessing your feelings for him.” When Dong-joo asks for the money that she’s earned, Yul-moo coldly informs her that she’ll have to wait until she’s in Hanyang and warns, “Do not be late.”

After questioning Yeon-geun, King Gwanghae orders his guard to bring in the woman who runs the gisaeng house and the widows who are the closest to her. If that doesn’t work, the king wants him to bring in witnesses.

Ssook, Jung-sook and Yeon-boon are the last members of the Muweol Corps to leave the village and as they head for Hanyang, they pause for one last look. When Jung-sook confesses regret at leaving her friends behind, Ssook reminds her that they’re leaving so that those friends will be safe.

Deep in the woods, the leader of an army of thugs shows the men a bag of money as Yul-moo walks away.

During her meeting with Minister Heo, Lady Cheon mentions that Yul-moo promised to take care of powerless people. Minister Heo pulls out the vest that belonged to the missing assassin, whose body was discovered near the village.

Minister Heo just learned who was responsible for the widow’s murder and Lady Cheon realizes that he’s talking about Yul-moo. Heo describes Yul-moo as a man capable of killing anyone in order to get what he wants.

Nokdu is outside when Lady Cheon exits but it’s Minister Heo that he follows. As Nokdu disappears through a gate, Yoon-jo exits his room in time to see a woman walking away.

Nokdu overhears Minister Heo caution his guards who are dressed in black, “Grand Prince Neungyang is…very much prepared, so you must be careful.” Minister Heo’s man, Chil-seong, asks, “Should we find him and kill him,” but he’s told, “He had to hide and live on an island because of his father. Bring him back alive.” When Nokdu realizes that they’re talking about Hwang-tae, he knocks out one of Minister Heo’s men and changes into his clothes.

Over tea with Hwang-tae, Yul-moo expresses hope that they’ll become friends. After Hwang-tae accepts the idea, Yul-moo asks for his help in finding the king’s son. Outside, Minister Heo’s team arrives and finds Yul-moo’s swordsman, Park Dan-ho, waiting for them.

As Minister Heo’s men prepare to fight Park Dan-ho, Nokdu slips away from his spot on the roof. Inside, Yul-moo confesses that he’s thinking about killing the king’s son but he wants to hear Hwang-tae’s opinion. Their meeting is interrupted by a noise coming from outside.

Hwang-tae is alone when Nokdu finds him and pulls him into a hug, relieved. When Nokdu tries to get Hwang-tae to leave with him, his brother informs him that he’s not a prisoner. Hwang-tae explains how Yul-moo’s man saved him when he and Yoon-jo were attacked a second time by the Muweol. Thanks to Yul-moo, Hwang-tae finally learned the truth about why their family was forced to live in hiding and it’s all because of Nokdu.

When Hwang-tae hears the fighting outside he urges Nokdu to leave but he demands to hear the truth. Hwang-tae changes Nokdu’s life forever when he tells him, “This is all because you are the son of His Majesty.” Shocked, Nokdu backs away as a tear falls from his eye.

Outside, Park Dan-ho is about to kill the last of the attackers when Yul-moo stops him, “We need someone to go back and tell Lord Heo not to waste his energy.”

Nokdu tries to dismiss Hwang-tae’s claim, insisting, “I am my father’s son.” Hwang-tae thinks back to his mother’s final words for Nokdu and announces that he intends to recover everything that he’s lost.

When Nokdu asks what he’s supposed to do, Hwang-tae advises, “Run away by yourself…Hide and live like you do not exist. If you do not do that, you will surely die.” Hwang-tae pushes Nokdu out the door and when he appeals to his brother, Hwang-tae insists, “Do not call me that anymore.”

After shutting the doors on Nokdu, Hwang-tae’s face is wet with tears and when Yul-moo returns, he claims, “The alcohol got me feeling a little sentimental.” Yul-moo doesn’t look convinced but he has an appointment to get to.

Nokdu slowly walks away from Yul-moo’s house and Hwang-tae and pulls his mask over his face.

When Lady Cheon arrives at his house, Yul-moo is disappointed that Lady Kim isn’t with her. Lady Cheon asks if he killed her missing assassin and she’s distressed when Yul-moo casually admits, “I killed her in order to keep a secret…Is there something wrong with that?”

Lady Cheon is suddenly worried that Yul-moo will abandon the Muweol Corps and the widows’ village. While pledging not to abandon the Corps, Yul-moo confesses, “And as for the village for widows, I have already abandoned it.” It’s at that moment that the hired army reaches the widows’ village.

Lady Cheon promises that if Yul-moo gives her time, she’ll make sure that the king never finds any witnesses. Yul-moo has a different solution in mind and Lady Cheon contains her horror long enough to breathe, “I understand now.” As Yul-moo leaves to meet Dong-joo, he orders Lady Cheon to tell Park Dan-ho to find Lady Kim.

Minister Heo is alone in his office when his door opens. Nokdu points his sword at Minister Heo’s neck as he asks, “My father, my brother, and me. Why did you try to kill us? Who on earth am I?” Just as Minister Heo realizes that he’s in the presence of King Gwanghae’s son, Lady Cheon sounds the alarm, “The village for widows is in danger!”

At the widows’ village, the hired army uses their torches to set everything on fire and when the widows run outside, they’re killed. Soon-nyeo, Bok-nyeo and Mal-nyeon run from their rooms, shocked by the sight that greets them.

A horse carrying Nokdu races to the village as Yul-moo waits for Dong-joo by the swing in Hanyang. When she fails to arrive, Yul-moo mounts his horse and heads for the village.

Master Hwang and Aeng-du are at the market where the girl searches for a particular food vendor. When Master Hwang warns her about tigers, Aeng-du holds up a bag of money and announces that they can afford to stay overnight. As Aeng-du continues her search, Master Hwang wonders, “Why did he tell her to eat something that does not exist?” Hmmm.

Inside the widows’ village, the massacre continues as the men are reminded, “Kill all of them.” After leaving her cave for the last time, Dong-joo sees that the village is in flames and runs.

Soon-nyeo fights valiantly but gets knocked down by two men who are suddenly stopped by Dong-joo’s arrows. When Soon-nyeo answers a cry for help, a huge man grabs Dong-joo by the throat and lifts her into the air.

As Yul-moo searches the burning village, he sees that Dong-joo is in danger and bellows, “Stop it immediately!” Unable to breathe, Dong-joo’s eyes widen as her thoughts turn to her final meeting with Aeng-du. She left money for Nokdu and asked the girl for his name.

As her assailant raises his ax, Dong-joo croaks, “Nokdu,” and then goes limp. A sword is raised and blood sprays across Dong-joo’s face as she falls into Nokdu’s arms.

 
COMMENTS

Nokdu finally gets to hold Dong-joo in his arms but he doesn’t even know if the girl that he loves is dead or alive. Against the backdrop of a fiery inferno/massacre, Nokdu’s tragic night just drags on and on. Nokdu is positively gutted after his meeting with the man who he believed was his brother, feeling utterly alone after Hwang-tae tells him the truth about his paternity and sends him away…for good. Nokdu then confronts Minister Heo to confirm that he’s indeed King Gwanghae’s son only to learn that Yul-moo has ordered the destruction of the widows’ village.

Bent on securing the throne, Yul-moo has dropped his facade as the warmhearted chef. Yul-moo’s smiles are now cruel and chilling and there’s no question that he’ll kill whoever gets in his way. Yul-moo’s only weakness is Dong-joo but how will that change now that he’s knows without a doubt that she loves Nokdu and not him? And how will Dong-joo react when she learns that her childhood friend is behind the attack on the widows’ village, his attempt to tie up loose ends on his way to the throne?

Yul-moo has also been busy securing support for his campaign to be king. Knowing Minister Heo’s secrets, Yul-moo is confident that he’ll soon have his backing and he’s succeeded in winning over Hwang-tae (?!) who’s poised to assume the life of a highly placed nobleman.

There’s no doubt that Minister Heo is a snake after he withheld the fact that he saw Hwang-tae alive and well from his worried father, but I’m not sure what to think of Hwang-tae. Does he subscribe to the “Keep your friends close and your enemies closer” line of thinking or has a lifetime of hiding from the king made it a no brainer to align himself with Yul-moo? Either way, Nokdu faces a continued life of exile but this time, without a brother or a father by his side. Knowing Nokdu, he’s going to fight for his “family” but there’s one troubling detail that has me wondering how this story will unfold — we’ve already been told that Yul-moo becomes the next Joseon king, King Injo.

For a romantic comedy, which Tale of Nokdu executed brilliantly in the first few episodes, there’s been tragedy galore. Yul-moo is so unnervingly ruthless and already has considerable blood on his hands so he’s no improvement over King Gwanghae, who attempted to smother his own son. Lady Cheon, the Muweol Corps, Minister Heo and Yoon-jo are going to have to decide where they stand as the conspiracy against King Gwanghae comes to light. There are more losses ahead but first we have to learn who was lost in the widows’ village massacre. Thankfully, Aeng-du and Master Hwang were spared because I really don’t want to see another child murdered. Prince Yeongchang was quite enough, thank you.

In spite of the traumas, there were some beautiful moments. Dong-joo’s feelings for Nokdu have hit “cough” territory because she can no longer hide how she feels, from herself or anyone else. She confessed her true feelings for Nokdu in her cave and braved the river to save him when she thought he fell into the water. But their secrets keep them at odds with each other and prevent them from getting closer. Nokdu can’t risk endangering Dong-joo with news about a conspiracy that involves Yul-moo. And Dong-joo won’t risk allowing Nokdu’s feelings to deepen when she’s determined to kill King Gwanghae, knowing that it will cost her her life. When will these two start working together to discover the truth about their pasts so that they can consider their futures?

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Ugh I hate it when things go too dark. I watched this show because it is funny. But now I am worried for everyone. Didn't expect things to go wrong so soon. I have the exact same concerns as you about everything. I didn't care that much about the politics but now it's at the forefront instead of the background. Can't wait for things to get clearer in the next episode.

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All that I wanted to say has been already said by you. I was waiting for this recap all day fully wanting to rant but now I really don't want to say anything more until I've seen the next episode. Can't wait.

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I thought the premise of this show was supposed to be

Jang Dong-yoon plays an aristocratic young man who’s forced to take up his disguise in order to hide away in a widows’ village. He’s in hiding from grave danger–an unwanted arranged marriage.

But seeing as how Yul-moo is a new character not in the original webtoon, Tale of Nokdu must be deviating completely from Mung Bean Chronicles.

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Why is it called Mung Bean Chronicles? I'm curious what that means.

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Nokdu (녹두) is the Korean word for mung bean. Jeon (전) can be translated as chronicles or tale.

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Ah, thank you. The titles of kdramas tend to confuse me. I always wonder why it is called that. I especially love it when I discover any hidden meaning in the titles.

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And depending on how you write it, it could also mean mung bean hot cakes (or pancakes, depending on your reference).

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I really hope there is something more behind Hwangtae decision to stick with Yulmoo, because leaving your father and brother behind for fancy clothes and dubious friendship is real asshole move, be more clever boy. Yulmoo is dark as it gets after widows village massacre, shame we will not see him dying slowly and painfully. This show went into really dark places not what I anticipated and really wanted, but I'm already hooked on the characters :/

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Agree, a massacre of the widows village is indeed NOT what I signed up for when I started this drama. I do have to say we were warned plenty from episode 1 with flashes of attempted infanticide and the massacre of Dongju’s clan, etc.

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But that was like typical prologue to birth secret storyline, massacres of widows and children in present timeline doesn't fit with pastel, cutesy stuff we were fed, big betrayal ;)

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Yes, but when the cute pastel village is hiding an all widow assassination force, and hosts the meetings of the Ministers planning a rebellion, we *should* have known there was lots of dark stuff ahead. Still, I already miss the village.

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I got the feeling it would have to go dark at some time because of Dong Joo's backstory and her goal of killing the king.

It think it's just too much darkness too soon. Just the hour before, we've got the reveal of Yul-moo being evil - not only that, he even killed a kid. Then we've got Hwang-Tae seemingly turning on Nokdu (ouch!). And now the widows village is gone. It was a haven for women whose in-laws try to have them killed. Now they're getting massacred here by a bunch of dudes all because one dude thinks he should be all powerful.

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I feel like Hwangtae is really staying with Yulmoo to save Nokdu and his father, not out of personal ambition. He had the chance to give up Nokdu when he showed up in his room but let him escape and then cried after.

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or, they could be pretending that Nokdu is the king's son to protect Hwangtae who is the real king's son. That way Nokdu is the one in danger and not Hwangtae. I just can't wait until tomorrow and hope there are no baseball conflicts that make us wait an extra day. This is a really compelling drama with all the twists and turns.

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...or maybe something in between. He doesn't want to betray his "younger brother" but he doesn't want to live in a hut on the run anymore when he could be an aristocrat living in comfort. Of course, that naively assumes that he and his father won't be executed as soon as the king finds them. I suppose that's where his allegiance to Yul-mu comes in.

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I dont like hwang tae is king's son, the queen is vey beautiful, the king is intelligent, conflict between father and son...

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What I found compelling in this episode was the monologue by dongju about giving up her feelings for nokdu. She knows what its like to keep living without your loved ones. That tearful confession showed a lot of depth for the character. You can always trust KSH to deliver when the scene demands and make you feel for a character.

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I like the idea of Yulmo being a villain but I don't like the execution. He made a 180° turn without any clues. The difference between "I made a meal for a little ogre" to "I killed the little prince", it's pretty abrupt. It's like the brother. They never showed that he wanted another life...
Dong Joo didn't have a lot to do except the little game "I stay" or "I leave"... I want Nokdu to tell her all the truth because it reminds me Ruler - Master of the Mask and not in a good way.

The BTS were so funny! Jang Dong Yoon loosing his dress was the best!

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They haven't showed any detail about any of the side characters till now. I'll disagree about it being sudden since he has always been mysterious. When his bodyguard showed up it was already a sign. We've conveniently ignored all the signs till now even his compulsive obsession with dongju. The writer has dropped all the right cues which have gone ignored because everyone was focused on the comedy. Some very sharp fans already suspected something was not right about him.

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There were a lot of signs showing he was important but important doesn't mean villain.

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I reiterate his obsessive behaviors and his bodguard suddenly turning up in front of hwang tae. If you also go back to scene where deul le was stopped mid tracks you'll see the biggest give away. We haven't being paying attention but it was always there.

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I rewatched this scene a bunch of times and am not sure what clue you are referring to. His boots?

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Nope, I don't agree, the show never really gave us hint he was going evil, him being around DongJoo could be explained by them being engaged as kids, and him trying to protect his childhood friend and fiancee. There were big hints that he is not mere cook but that was it.

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I knew he wasn't what he seemed. He was definitely powerful. He was Dong Joo's fiance but didn't get purged with Dong Joo's family. And what kind of chef has a bodyguard? Must be some pancake recipe!

Definitely did not expect him to be a prince. And even if he was, I would have expected him to be on Team Nokdu because he hated what the king did to Dong Joo's family and didn't think it was right that the king tried to have a baby killed.

But he's been on Team Yul-moo this whole time.

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I think Yul-moo's father, he know the baby, it's not simple...

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Maybe his acting is lacking which disables him from delivering the wickedness behind his smooth talk. I find him very wooden (cannot emote) and lacking depth in his expressions. He is the weakest link in this drama!

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He is not bad actor. If anything I think he stole the show from JDY in the last scene of epi 6. His expressions are far from being wooden.

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His last facial expression just shows him as a villain, but I cannot see any character development to become that way. Just my opinion. I don’t see any depth in his acting.

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They haven't written any depth into his character yet. He has good range for an actor. The way he went from sweet to crazy is not easy. Most actors would need years to transition that smoothly. KTO has a great future ahead of him especially in sageuk.

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I love this show! It has the perfect balance when it cuts from comedy to tragedy and back and forth. So many drama tries to do that, but fails majorly.
Also the quality of this drama is really top notch in editing, acting and the bgms.

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Yes, the OSTs and bgms are really beautiful.
I'm waiting for the song that played in the ending scene to be released soon.

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I actually enjoy the tragedy side of things. Took me a long time to understand the conflict and remember who's who, but now I do and I'm all for it.

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I enjoy the tragedy too especially since they don't give us only that part. They keep it both light and dark.

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They've done an especially good job with the OSTs. Each one is perfect.

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The drama quality is great!! Everything fits perfectly!!

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I'm more impressed by this drama every episode. Everything about it appeals to me.

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I wish the reveal were more of a shocker. Let us believe Hyung was the king's son, then reveal it was Nok-du, but their mother's dying resentment gave it away.

Does Yul-moo want to be king in order to marry Dong-joo? Dong-joo wants revenge against King Gwanghae for killing her family, but she was engaged to the king's nephew. I know he is a villain, but I love Yul-moo's guard Park Dan-ho who is so mysterious. I must have missed when Yul-moo killed Deul-re. I've been waiting for her to show up to expose Nok-du as a man.

Last week's preemption did this drama good. Episode 7's (14's) cliffhanger felt like an even-numbered episode. Thanks for the recap, @TeriYaki!

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Still, in the mother's dying resentment @panshel she is confusing in exactly which boy she is talking to as she calls out the name of Nokdu's brother as she is talking, rather than Nokdu. So even though it's "all because of you..." we don't truly know "who" that is.

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My interpretation of the scene is: She first thought she was speaking to Hwang Tae and was mournfully trying to tell him his real heritage. Nokdu called out for his brother. When she realized that she was not speaking to Hwang Tae and that it was Nokdu by her side, her words turned spiteful.

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To me, it was clear the first part was addressed to "my son" Hwang-tae when she said, "Your real name is Jung Yi-..." which was said lovingly and regretfully because his father was an official before their yangban family was forced to go on the run.

Then the second part was addressed to Nok-du when she said, "It is all your fault my son... my family... (suffered)" full of resentment. She wouldn't have gone from loving her son Hwang-tae to hating him.

Furthermore, when Nok-du said he felt sorry for her, he looked apologetic, so I assumed he knew his mother resented him.

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There's no coming back from murdering a child and a village full of people is there? Goodbye Yul-moo.

I'm not sure if Hwang-tae's actions are the usual noble idiocy or if he really resents Nokdu for "being responsible" for what they have been through. Either way, I hope he comes to his senses before Prince Crazypants kills him too.

Lastly, speaking as a completely objective third party observer with absolutely no personal interest in the matter, can Nokdu wear the black uniform complete with the headband all the time?

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Hehe..and even though Dong Joo keeps denying it, Nokdu does look handsome and dashing whenever he dresses as a man. I agree that the black uniform looks really good on him.

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Hey, some of us would like to get a more complete look at NokDu in his gisaeng outfit. Perhaps being charming to a table full of plotters ...

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True. He didn't spend enough time in his gisaeng outfit. I'd want it when I need a laugh though rather than material for my Noona romance fanfic.

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That's why I really don't care about Yul mu and how he cares about Dong Joo. Dude if she was not interested in you before she's definitely going to hate you now.

I hope Nokdu's brother doesn't actually hate him otherwise it will be just too sad.

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I’ll bet that is a bit of noble idiocy.

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Or maybe he is conflicted. Wants to hate Nokdu but actually cares.

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I think his plan is to protect his brother and father by getting close to the enemy.

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I don't mind him keeping his enemy close. It's just that I've noticed in dramas that if someone has a revengenda, it hardly ever works out to keep loved ones out of the loop in order to protect them. It's even worse here because their dad knows enough about the old players to help and Nokdu has found out information that could also help.

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True but I'm mostly talking about the intention of the character. He wants to protect his family (maybe) and this is the only way he thought he would be able to.

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Not that I would put it past Yul-moo to be a child murderer, but we have not seen Prince Yeongchang's dead body, so it could just have been a bloody robe.

Nor have we seen Deul-re's dead body, so it also could have been just a vest.

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I thought Deul Re’s face (and corpse) were shown when Minister Heo’s man reported that they thought she was tortured?

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You're right, Deul-re was the dead body Minister Heo's man, Chil-seong, found in Episode 11. Thanks for the correction, @Frenzy!

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That still leaves the murder of the widows though. Unless him giving the thugs money and said thugs burning the village are not related incidents.

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Ah, the scene between the two brothers hit me right in the feels. Nokdu's gentle, puppy-like plea: "Hyung..." oh man... I can't deal with that.
He... gave an order to massacre a village full of innocent widows. Okay. Where's my axe?

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Is it possible that Hwang Tae could still be the real son of the king? Though I thought Minister Heo made it clear when he talked about finding Yoon Jo’s firstborn (Hwang Tae) and referring to the other son (Nokdu) as the son of the King.

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Mostly because there are so many twists and turns and surprises inside this drama, I also am not completely convinced that Nokdu is the prince. It's possible that in order to protect the king's son, it's been set up to make Nokdu appear to be the youngest and therefore the prince, when he is actually the older of the two boys. That would work if they are close in age and grew up together from babies, but not if one was a toddler and old enough to remember. None of the people currently claiming that Nokdu is the king's son watched him grow up (except the brother and he may have been too young to remember specifics ---- OR have been taught to claim that Nokdu is the prince if an emergency like this arises). So what are they relying on as proof that it is Nokdu? The father is really the only one who can give a real answer.

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I guess we’ll just have to brace ourselves for upcoming twists and reveals, won’t we? Somehow it makes me more excited that not everything is the way they’re leading us to believe.

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Jang Dong-yoon, a 1992er, looks younger than Song Geon-hee, a 1997er. I totally believe Hwang-tae as the hyung.

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The queen is vey beautiful, nokdu too

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Also Kang Tae-Oh, a 94-liner, is somehow look older. Jang Dong-Yoon is such a baby face beauty.

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*sigh* I hate to agree (IDK why, don't get mad), but yes. JDY is a baby face beauty.

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Ah and in the very latest episode on 10/29, the question of exactly who is the King's son is answered for certain.

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Serves Yul-moo right for ordering that raid on the widows' village. He gets to see the girl he loves in that ordeal; but then again, it's so sad that it's Dong Joo! Show really left us in a cliffhanger, didn't it? Can't wait for next week!

Aeng Du was the light spot in this episode. Her mediating the bickering between Dong Joo and Nok Du was so entertaining. Not to mention that line "now that I'm finished with breakfast, I have to think about lunch". HAHAHA!

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Others might think Aeng-Doo's quite annoying but I adore her. She's become the only joy in the story when everyone else turns angsty and bloody and depressing.

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I agree; I just love her!

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Can someone clear up the bit where Aeng Du goes looking for food in town hat doesn't exist? It was Yul Moo who sent her on that wild goose chase to get her out of the village, right? Like he did with Dong Joo and telling her to meet at the swings. Did I miss something or has that not been revealed yet?

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I have the same question. It wasn't clearly state but interpreting from the context, it's likely to be Yul-Moo. Nok-Du and Dong-Ju were having their own missions and neither of them know about the village destruction plan. So, (from the deepest place of my heart), I really hope it was him.

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Well, at least I can say with certainty and 100% conviction- I won’t be getting Second Lead Syndrome for this drama. 🤪

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When Yul-Moo said he already discarded the widow village, my heart sinked. I screamed HOW COULD [email protected].

But did he spare Aeng-Doo??? Was it him who send Aeng-Doo on a quest to find the non-exist food in the city? Is that Dong-Ju's money she left for Nok-Du or Yul-Moo separately gave it to her?

Now the only choice Nok-Du has left is to join force with minister Heo, right? Considering how dishonest minister Heo is, I honestly hate the idea. But I do hope that the MuWol and The widows will be on his side. And together they will fight for the world to be a better place for women.

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*my heart sank 😞

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From what we were shown, Dong-ju gave Aeng-do the money so maybe dong-ju sent her? Or Aeng-do left on her own? It was unclear

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It was clear from the assassins in ep. 1 that there would be some killing in this drama, but the murder of the little prince and the bloodbath in the widow village are more than I signed up for. How many more murders are we going to have to watch? The king? Dad? Hyung? Lady Cheon? Min. Heo? Are we really going to stick with history and watch Yul-mu take the throne? Not sure I want to hang around for that outcome.

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I was thinking the same. When they added the info that Yul-mu is acutally going to be King Injo, I was wondering if in the end he will be the one sitting on the throne.

Nokdu does not have any aspiration of ruling the country, but I assume that sooner or later the king will find out that his son is still alive and since he does not have an heir...the son might come in handy?

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Am I the only one who like the plot twist?? It makes the story much more interesting. And I'm really impressed with KTO. He was great as the sweet and caring chef, and he stole the spotlight being a villain. I was having second lead syndrome from the start, but now the chance is all gone haha

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Love the plot twist!!

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Jang Dong Yoon continues to impress with his different looks.
I need a better view of his gisaeng disguise.

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Yul Moo - there's no redeeming him now. I can't like his scenes with Aeng Du; she needs to stay far away from him. I hope Dong Joo learns the truth about him soon. I was getting worried for her when they were alone together and he realized he has no chance after her confession.

It was a little satisfying to see his panic from his miscalculation. He's been all arrogant and confident in his power since his evil reveal.

Wondering how or if the drama will bring out any humor from now on or will it be serious sageuk time.

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I like how this drama is becoming fast paced and unpredictable! Although the sudden change of Yul-moo was surprising, I am eager to see his plans and motives fleshed out.

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He went full on JOKER!!

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Another great episode!! Everything about this drama is good!! Dongjoo and Aengdu were so funny this episode!! Just jump out of the door!!

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Yul-moo did really surprise me. I did not see it coming...thought he was just the 2nd lead that will not get the girl, but nope...he is the evil mastermind.

I am really curious to understand the reason why the king wanted his first born son dead. What is the meaning of his birthday, that got the king in such a state of crazy?

The last scene was so well done. Wow!

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Joseon people were very superstitious. A birth on a certain day of the month was probably a bad omen for the king.

Gwanghae was deposed and exiled so the writer created this omen, his own son to foretell the king's fate.
If he kill his son then maybe he'll be safe if he doesn't then his life and position will be threatened.

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I'm speculating without watching the show so I might be way off.

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I'm wondering exactly the same thing - especially when it seems so deliberate but no one else seems to know why! Feels like it doesn't really make sense to try to kill his own son when he's so worried about others trying to steal his throne, his son would have been his rightful heir so I'm really curious abt this plot point

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do we know why the king wanted to kill his real son (nokdu)? lol that part still confuses me

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When do we learn why the king wanted to kill his newborn son ?

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Came back here after the end of the drama to say this - that ending scene makes me swoon a bit, even now!

And that scene of Dong-joo screaming for Nokdu in the water when she sees him fall out of the boat, but realising she doesn't know his actual name...... that just got to me.

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this is super late, but i'm only just watching the show now and agreed that the way they framed her realization that she doesn't know his real name beautifully. made all the more powerful by her uttering his name in the last scene. i'm loving literally everything about this drama.

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