The King: Eternal Monarch: Episode 10
Traitorous uncle comes out of the shadows and sets things in motion, making some bold moves that serve as a big blow to our inter-world team. He’s gearing up for the big fight and his own personal war against our hero. With our good guys a step behind, will they be able to prevent further tragedy at the hands of the wannabe king?
In a therapy session, Shin-jae admits that when he awakened from his coma in that nice house, he had hoped Kang Hyun-min was just a dream. Now that he’s met someone from that world, he thinks it was a memory. His psychiatrist is slightly concerned but moves on. What about the good dream he’s been having?
We cut to a conversation between him and Tae-eul by a food stall they used to visit. Although Shin-jae doesn’t want to hear anything from her, Tae-eul presses that there’s another world with alternate versions of the people in this world. She’s been there.
Crimes that cross the boundaries between worlds have been committed, but she can’t prove it. She needs Shin-jae’s help. He calls her delusional and walks off.
In the kingdom, Gon sees the footage of Rim looking decades too young and realizes Rim is using the between place to maintain his youth. Gon notes that he only has five hours … for what, I’m not sure. Either way, Gon takes off to the gate.
On the other side, Tae-eul waits in the bamboo forest. Just as she turns to leave, Gon comes riding in on his white horse (literally). For some reason I don’t understand, Tae-eul starts bawling. Did I miss the part where he’s been gone for months? ‘Cause I’m pretty sure it’s been, maybe, a couple of weeks.
They run towards each other and hug. Gon didn’t expect to see her and only came briefly so he could call her since he missed her so much. They hold each other and cry.
In the kingdom, Secretary Mo pleads with Ok-nam to tell her where Gon is. Ok-nam’s assurances that Gon will be back before the Lunar New Year aren’t cutting it for her. In walks Gon, asking if he made it in time.
In the republic, Yeong and Tae-eul meet up for a meal, and he gives her the hotel key. He’s preparing to meet Eun-seob’s family. Tae-eul advises him not to upset Eun-bi since he can’t win against her.
At home, Yeong is horrified by the traditional clothes he’s forced to wear by Eun-seob’s mom. Eun-bi watches him suspiciously and tells her mom that he isn’t Eun-seob. Although he’s cooler, he’s also more of a jerk. Ha. Eun-woo comes running in wielding Yeong’s gun, and Yeong rushes to take it from him.
Eun-bi: “You see? Let’s call the police now. Our whole Jo family is at stake!” Ha! Their mom tries to convince her that he’s Eun-seob, but little Eun-bi’s still giving him the stink eye. They glare at each other, and she does the “I’m watching you” gesture. Yeong wonders at how a little seven-year-old is observant enough to be a royal guard.
Tae-eul’s team grumbles about having the night shift on New Year’s, but Jangmi finds the positive, as always. They’re surprised to see Shin-jae who’s ready to get back to work. He’s even ready to hear more about Tae-eul’s secret investigation.
In the kingdom, Gon gives a speech to usher in 2020. Eun-seob gets overly excited on the sidelines while Seo-ryung watches measuredly. In a flashback, she asks Ok-nam what Gon’s type is. Wow. Ok-nam comments on how busy she must be with only a year left in office. Heh.
Seo-ryung claims she’d only need half a year to win Gon over if Ok-nam were to give her some tips on how to “crush” Gon’s heart. Ok-nam takes issue with her violent imagery and calculated ways. Has Gon ever cried in front of her? She refuses to help Seo-ryung.
After the speech, Seo-ryung praises Gon and asks if he’ll be rooting for her like he said he’d root for everyone in his speech. He claims he always has. He just hopes she has a good sense of direction. Eun-seob shows Yeong’s phone to Gon; the detective on the Luna case is calling.
The police officers are stunned when Gon himself shows up with “Yeong.” Elsewhere, Luna feeds a cat whose name she borrowed. (“Luna” is on its collar.) The cop shows Gon Luna’s mugshot, explaining that she was released due to a terminal illness. Yikes.
Gon wants to meet Luna when they find her and orders the cop to report directly to him as the investigation progresses. He also has the cop look into the restaurant owner Kim Ki-hwan who is found to have participated in Rim’s treason and died of suicide. Gon realizes that the alternates of the swappers are being killed.
It begins to snow as Seo-ryung lights a lantern and releases it for the New Year. We’re almost caught up to the end of the previous episode as time pauses, alerting Gon that Rim has returned to Corea. Gon rides to the bamboo forest, but his guards report that no one has shown up.
Trying to figure out what he’s missing, Gon has the revelation that his and Rim’s gates are different. Gon orders the guards to Haeundae and instructs Seung-ah to post the event notice. A crowd gathers to see Gon in Haeundae, and now we’re back to his and Rim’s meeting.
We flash back to their phone call and hear Rim’s side of the conversation. He reveals his identity and asks how Gon has been. He’s been waiting for this since he missed his last opportunity. Gon promises he’ll find him. Rim muses that it’s the first time he’s heard Gon sound kingly and hopes he does find him. “You told the world that I died. So now, bring this dead man back to life.” He’s looking forward to the ensuing chaos.
In the present, Rim doesn’t move a muscle as Gon names him a traitor and commands his guards to capture him. That’s because he’s got men holding people hostage at knife point. Gon orders his guards to hold their fire. Someone on Rim’s side pulls a gun, and Eun-seob throws himself in front of Gon, taking a bullet near his shoulder.
While Gon cradles Eun-seob’s unconscious body, Rim calmly turns and walks away. His men slash the two hostages (non-fatally). Gon prioritizes the crowd’s safety and orders his guards to protect the people rather than chase after Rim. He also orders any CCTV footage of this event to be confiscated.
Seo-ryung’s assistant briefs her on the situation, including the fact that people are claiming to have seen Rim. It’s being pegged as a conspiracy, but Seo-ryung recalls her mother saying she saw someone who looked just like Rim. She wonders if Gon is an honest person.
Prince Bu-yeong is in a café when he overhears people talking about a shootout and Rim being alive. Guards approach him and notify him that his security level has been increased.
Thankfully, Eun-seob was wearing a bulletproof vest and avoided serious damage. He’ll still have to stay in the hospital for a couple of weeks, though. Eun-seob notices Gon looking serious and tries to lighten the mood.
Gon chides that he could’ve died, but Eun-seob replies he had to protect him like Yeong told him to do. Yeong promised to do the same for his siblings. Eun-seob thinks this makes him deserving of the Unbreakable Sword title. Gon agrees and thanks Eun-seob for protecting him.
Rim enters a dilapidated tunnel where a worried Kyung-moo is waiting. Rim isn’t concerned about being caught, but he does pause when Kyung-moo mentions Prince Bu-yeong dropped by the bookshop. Rim thinks encounters labeled “coincidences” are more like destiny, but he doesn’t believe in destiny’s power.
In the republic, Yeong stands on the street holding a piece of paper with an address on it. He hides from view when Shin-jae’s mom walks by, but his eyes widen when she mentions Shin-jae on the phone. She enters the house he’s been watching, and Yeong recognizes her face from the palace.
Tae-eul brings Shin-jae to Yeong’s hotel room, and neither of the boys is happy to see each other. They begrudgingly work together as Tae-eul explains that Lee Sang-do already crossed over and the roommate Jang Yeon-ji will soon. Kim Ki-hwan returned to Corea with Gon.
Shin-jae and Yeong start fighting about whether Ki-hwan should’ve been returned. When Yeong says he needs to face justice in his world and comments that their laws apply to Shin-jae too, Tae-eul is confused. They keep quiet for now, leaving Tae-eul in the dark.
In the kingdom, Ok-nam rushes to Gon when he arrives in the palace. After reassuring her both he and “Yeong” are fine, he explains about Rim being alive and not aging. Gon vows to win this fight.
He takes a call from Seo-ryung who outright asks if the conspiracy theories about Rim being spotted are true. Gon warns her against taking this in a different direction; this was an act of terrorism by Lee Rim’s followers. “Do not use the word ‘honesty’ as your weapon.” He asks her to focus on protecting the people.
Secretary Mo leads a press briefing – apparently, she’s the press secretary – and gives the official line that Lee Rim is dead, and the recent event was the work of his followers. She diverts questions about why they resurfaced now and emphasizes bringing them to justice.
In the republic, Tae-eul and Shin-jae visit Jang Yeon-ji in prison and ask about the phone. She denies having a burner phone but falters when Tae-eul produces what looks like her phone. (I’m assuming it’s Lee Sang-do’s.) Yeon-ji continues to nervously and unconvincingly deny Tae-eul’s theory.
Kyung-moo’s alternate arrives just as Tae-eul and Shin-jae are leaving. He drives away when he spots them, but Shin-jae recognizes the car as the one that’s been tailing him. With Moon-shik’s help, Shin-jae requests a check on the car.
In the kingdom, a group of men complain to Prince Bu-yeong that all the recent misfortunes are due to having a female prime minister. Ugh. They want him to denounce her publicly so they can use this chance to oust her, but the prince yells at them for daring to ask a royal family member to involve himself in politics.
Gon happens to show up and witness the gathering, but he believes Prince Bu-yeong that they came unannounced. Gon shares that Rim is back and young as ever, and he’ll be leaving the kingdom for a bit to chase after him. He orders Prince Bu-yeong to remain in the palace during his upcoming absence.
The prince tries to dissuade him from personally going after Rim, but Gon promises he’ll look after himself. He orders Prince Bu-yeong to do likewise.
In the republic, Shin-jae is notified that the vehicle is registered under a missing person’s name. He asks Tae-eul about her experience in Corea. She details what she saw and tells him she couldn’t find him there. “Because I was here,” Shin-jae states, but he doesn’t expound.
Shin-jae takes Tae-eul to Ji-hoon’s grave which she’s shocked he knows about. She’s even more shocked when he admits he knows who this child is. He shares he became a cop because “I hoped I’d be holding a gun in my hand when someone asked me to identify myself.”
With tears in his eyes, Shin-jae explains that he knows Gon’s name because he remembers it. The reason she couldn’t find him in the other world was that he’s here. He still isn’t sure who he is. Tears fall from Tae-eul’s eyes as she listens. Shin-jae isn’t sure he’s even supposed to be here and asks, “Will you welcome me?” Tae-eul grabs him in a hug, and they both cry.
Seo-ryung visits her ex again, and he’s amazed by her timing. Right after she asked him to find Rim’s followers, Rim himself appeared. She doesn’t confirm it but asks if his company can gain access to the blocked footage of the attack. He wonders if she wants to catch a traitor or become one. They negotiate terms, and Seo-ryung agrees to grant him early release so he can be out by Gyeongchip (3rd solar term that falls in early March).
Prince Bu-yeong comes home to find Rim, spattered with blood, sitting in his office. He’s stunned to see Rim both young and alive in front of him, but Rim points out that Prince Bu-yeong is the one who first realized he wasn’t dead. The prince calls for help, but Rim informs him he killed everyone on his way in.
Rim says he came to collect and holds up the ring. Prince Bu-yeong asserts it’s the king’s ring and doesn’t belong to them. Rim claims he would’ve been next in line for the throne if his mother had officially been queen, so it’s rightfully his. He puts on the ring.
When Prince Bu-yeong says they can’t covet the position, Rim flies at him and grabs him by the neck. How dare he lump them together? He vows to choke Gon like this and retrieve the Manpashikjeok. Once he has both pieces of the flute, “Who knows how many worlds’ doors I’ll be able to open?”
With a crazed look in his eye, Rim says he wants to make Gon suffer another loss. He squeezes harder, and Prince Bu-yeong goes limp and drops to the floor. Rim then places the royal ring on the now dead Prince Bu-yeong’s finger.
Rim goes to the bookshop where yo-yo boy sits outside reading in a thunderstorm. Rim asks why the boy isn’t startled by the mark on his face. “Because I have a lot of curiosity.” Seeing the blood on Rim’s face, he asks if he fought. Rim responds he’s in the midst of a fight.
Rim asks the kid what he’s reading. Yo-yo boy is reading King Arthur, and Rim comments that you don’t need noble blood to be king. Those with the capability should take the sword. What if a villain takes it? Rim replies that the sword decides what’s just.
Yo-yo kid remarks, “It seems that things in your world keep changing.” Rim looks at him oddly while the kid dismisses him so he can finish his book.
In the republic, Tae-eul goes to the hotel with a homecooked meal for Yeong. He hands her Gon’s phone and says he can’t look anything up. Tae-eul looks at the search history which spells out a message: “Want to see what I’ve been looking up? A king never leaves any traces. Are you working now or just doing day-to-day stuff? To me, every moment in your world was tumultuous because of Lieutenant Jung Tae-eul.”
After reading it, Tae-eul deletes the history and hands it back to Yeong. He thought she’d want to keep it, but she points out that they can’t leave evidence. Traces of people from the kingdom can’t be left in this world. Yeong comments that she’s the only person besides Gon who has the right to delete what he’s written. “Can you handle it?”
Yeong wonders if she’s prepared for what happens once Rim is caught. Gon is a king and needs a queen by his side. Will she leave everything behind to become queen, forever keeping the parallel universes a secret? Tae-eul doesn’t answer.
Secretary Mo comes to break the news of Prince Bu-yeong’s death to Gon. He travels for Prince Bu-yeong’s funeral, grieving and weary. Ok-nam collapses once they exit the plane.
Tae-eul waters her seeds that stubbornly refuse to sprout. She looks out the window and sees Gon standing by her fence. Tae-eul runs outside, and Gon walks toward her, stopping a few feet away. He asks how she’s been. She says he took a while to return.
Gon holds a bunch of flowers. It hit him that he’s never given her flowers, so he traveled from another world. Sensing something is off, Tae-eul takes a step forward but then retreats. He crosses the distance and places the flowers in her hand.
When he says he needs go back now, Tae-eul desperately grabs his hand. He says he realized there’s something he never said: “I love you. I’m deeply in love with you.” Gon kisses her, and tears roll down both their faces. When Tae-eul opens her eyes, Gon is gone.
Gon narrates, “There will come a moment when it seems I’ve disappeared. I don’t want you to worry too much when that happens. It just means I’m walking through the frozen moments in time.” Tae-eul sobs and sinks to the ground as she clutches the flowers Gon gave her.
Uh, so Gon can just disappear now? If Tae-eul weren’t holding the flowers, I’d think the whole meeting was in her head. It must have something to do with the between place. We still know very little about how it all works. From Gon’s epiphany that his and Rim’s gates are “different,” it seems that the gates and maybe even the between place aren’t static but appear differently to each traveler. Then, we have Rim’s comment to Prince Bu-yeong about opening “many worlds’ doors” if the magic flute is made whole. Logically, there should be more worlds than just the two we’ve seen, but this is the first mention of it that I recall.
And then we have yo-yo boy. This kid is so mysterious and seems at the center of it all. He’s always hanging outside of the bookshop and appears to know things. Even Rim looked a bit unsettled during their conversation. Why is yo-yo boy always hanging out there? The only time I recall seeing the kid away from the bookshop is when he – or his alternate – bumped into Tae-eul on his bike. Plus, there’s his ambiguous connection to Luna who we still haven’t seen much of, by the way. Although, now we know she’s terminally ill. I’m sure she’ll come into play, but I hope it’s sooner rather than later. I want to know what her deal is.
I was never sure what to make about Prince Bu-yeong and found him suspicious, but I’m glad he wasn’t on Rim’s side. It seems like his affection for Gon was sincere, and he was truly loyal. I’m not sure how Gon will react to his death. Will it make him more focused or more reckless when dealing with Rim? Things are getting more intense, and Rim definitely has the upper hand at the moment. But at least our good guys have finally put together a team and are all working together.
Once again, Shin-jae’s emotional journey steals the show. How do you even process the fact that your entire identity may be false, and you were brought to another world by a crazed royal? All things considered, he rebounded pretty quickly. Now that he’s not repressing or doubting himself, maybe he’ll get more memories back that can help the team. Also, can they bring Jangmi on board just ’cause? He can be in charge of morale and making sure everyone gets a good night’s rest enshrouded by their favorite floral scent.
Eun-seob certainly did his part this hour, taking a bullet for Gon and making Yeong proud. He may goof around, but we all know he’s reliable and selfless. Now he’s stuck in Corea, though, which is kind of worrying given that Rim is ramping things up. Eun-seob is brave, but Yeong is definitely more qualified to deal with threats. I’m sad we didn’t get more time with Yeong and the twins, especially since Eun-bi is so great. I figured the kids might notice something’s up, but I didn’t expect her to catch on so soon, and clearly neither did Yeong. That child is on it. No wonder Tae-eul advised him to stay on her good side. I wouldn’t want to anger Eun-bi.
Tae-eul’s character seems to be going the weepy way, which upsets me. She cried at least three different times this hour. I was so confused by that dramatic reunion scene toward the beginning of the episode. Gon basically went on a business trip, yet she was weeping like he’d been off at war for the past year. I even wondered if I’d missed something, and he’d been gone way longer than I thought. Because it is really difficult to keep track of the timeline in this drama. I don’t mind a story being told nonlinearly, but when you have as many moving parts as this drama has, it can add unnecessary confusion. On top of frequently jumping between worlds and having to keep straight what everyone and their alternates are doing, we get editing choices that add to the confusion. In this situation, I’d rather not do the whole doubling back to before the ending of the previous episode thing every time. Half of the time, I feel like Secretary Mo, trying to figure out the insanity happening around her.
- Premiere Watch: The King: Eternal Monarch
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- Kim Go-eun makes drama comeback in The King: Eternal Ruler with Lee Min-ho
- Lee Min-ho reunites with star writer Kim Eun-sook for sci-fi romance