The King: Eternal Monarch: Episode 11
Our leads continue their investigations in their respective worlds as the chaos intensifies. The stakes are raising, as is the body count, thanks to our resident schemer. This hour, our heroine finds herself in more danger than she’d bargained for, but luckily, she’s no damsel in distress.
Luna is pursued on her motorcycle – like any self-respecting badass – by the cop who’s been working her case. At an intersection, the Truck of Doom makes an appearance and plows into the detective’s car. Luna pauses to look behind her but then keeps going. And wham! We get a Sedan of Doom that rams into her bike. These destructive vehicles are working overtime.
Rim’s men take her to a warehouse where Rim tries to convince her they’re on the same side. He rips off her blindfold, making me wonder why they bothered with it in the first place. He goes on about how awful her life has been, and now she even needs an organ transplant. Luna correctly deduces that he’s a douche – even she doesn’t poke at people’s wounds.
She has no desire to be on his side. Rim tosses down Tae-eul’s ID and a family photo, commenting that her other self has a much better life. Luna remembers Seo-ryung mistaking her for someone else. Rim offers her Tae-eul’s life, and Luna cries as she stares at the family photo, hurt and angered to know Tae-eul got everything.
The nation mourns Prince Bu-yeong, and the news states that Gon will be leading the investigation into his death personally. At his funeral, Seo-ryung glances at Gon’s haggard face and smiles, alarming her assistant (and anyone with decency). When she’s alone, she admits to herself it’s kind of nice seeing Gon in despair. Well, that’s unsettling.
Her good mood is shattered when she sees the photos her ex sent her, confirming that it truly was Rim leading the attack that day. Seo-ryung wonders how Rim’s sudden appearance is connected with the strange newspapers she received.
In the republic, Jang Yeon-ji calls Rim’s lackey and divulges where the burner phone is. He promises to get her out. I’m thinking that doesn’t mean alive. Sure enough, the prison cameras all malfunction as he narrates that corpses are removed immediately.
We get some more … less than subtle PPL as Tae-eul watches Jangmi make an arrest from a cosmetics store across the street. Meanwhile, in the kingdom, Ok-nam lies recovering from her collapse. She thinks back to a recent conversation between her and Prince Bu-yeong where he’d laughed good-naturedly at her vitriol towards Seo-ryung. In the present, Ok-nam cries in grief.
The doctor reports on Ok-nam’s condition, and when he’s alone, Gon lets himself break down and cry it all out. In the republic, Tae-eul holds her lion keychain and thinks of Gon’s confession and kiss. She narrates that she could tell he was from another time. “Perhaps, that was the day I made up my mind about a lot of things.” Tae-eul wonders if she’s getting dumped and vows to let Gon have it when she sees him next.
Tae-eul meets Shin-jae at a café (not Na-ri’s) and gets a call that Yeon-ji committed suicide. Conveniently, there was a power outage, so there’s no security footage. Tae-eul and Shin-jae decide to focus on searching for Jung-hye who she explains is the alternate of Gon’s mother and is likely on Rim’s side.
They’re disappointed to find that the fees for Ji-hoon’s spot at the cinerarium have always been paid in cash, and they have no guardian on file. At least Shin-jae saw Jung-hye bring flowers to Ji-hoon that day, so he knows what she looks like. Apparently, no one thought to fill Shin-jae in on Rim, though, since he asks Tae-eul who he is. That seems like an important detail to leave out.
Yo-yo kid is still slinging that yo-yo in front of the bookshop. Luna hands over a key and gifts the car and everything inside to the kid in exchange for taking care of Luna (the cat). Before leaving, Luna asks why the yo-yo string is red to which the kid replies they strung it themselves.
Prince Bu-yeong’s son packs up his dad’s belongings while bitterly complaining to Gon that his father was used by the Royal Court. We flash back to a phone conversation during which Prince Bu-yeong refused to let his son visit him in Corea.
Currently, the son assumes he’s next in line and plans to move to Corea to take over his father’s position. Gon stops him. He isn’t allowed back here and won’t be part of the line of succession. Se-jin is next in line for the throne. The son is irate and aggressive, so Gon orders his guards to watch him and ensure he leaves after the memorial.
A man reports that Prince Bu-yeong’s autopsy determined strangulation as cause of death. He gives Gon the ring that was placed on Prince Bu-yeong’s finger. Gon knows Rim is the culprit and did it to provoke him. He tosses the ring in anger, and it hangs in midair. Time has paused again.
Right as Gon tells Ho-pil he’ll be out of reach for a while, Secretary Mo runs up to show him articles that have popped up about his mysterious disappearances. Gon immediately suspects Seo-ryung, and his suspicions are confirmed when they’re told she’s taking a sick day.
In the republic, Shin-jae catches Rim’s lackey tailing him. When the lackey slashes him on the arm with a broken bottle, Shin-jae tosses him his wallet and claims this is now a robbery with bodily injury. Anything Shin-jae does will now be excusable.
During their fight, the man pulls a knife, but he knows he isn’t allowed to kill Shin-jae. Shin-jae asks who ordered that, but the lackey won’t say. Instead, he pulls out a phone and promises it will never ring if Shin-jae arrests him. Shin-jae wonders who’s paying the phone bill. The lackey laughs and asserts that Shin-jae can’t catch him.
A car speeds through the alley, and Shin-jae has to leap aside to avoid being hit. The lackey gets into the same car that’s been tailing Shin-jae, and they drive off. Shin-jae sees the phone the lackey left lying in the road.
Tae-eul and Jangmi are startled when a bloodied and injured Shin-jae walks into the station. Jangmi vows to destroy whoever did this while Tae-eul chides Shin-jae for not going straight to the hospital. But he was more concerned with getting the burner phone in evidence so they can dust for prints.
As they walk out of the hospital, Shin-jae asks Tae-eul to keep this a secret, but she reminds him Jangmi already knows, so it’s too late. Shin-jae surmises Rim sent the phone to him, and Tae-eul suggests setting up a meeting when he calls.
Shin-jae wonders what they’re headed toward with all this. Tae-eul doesn’t have the answers but thinks it’ll become clearer if they keep going forward. She tells him it’s a lesson from Alice in Wonderland.
In the kingdom, Secretary Mo informs Gon they can’t get ahold of Seo-ryung as Gon peruses Prince Bu-yeon’gs security logs. He comments that Seo-ryung is giving him a taste of his own medicine, and he plans to wait and see what her goal is.
Going through the security logs, Gon discovers Prince Bu-yeong went to Eosu Bookshop. He jumps up with the epiphany that Prince Bu-yeong expected him to check the logs and takes his guards with him to question Lee Sang-do and Kim Ki-hwan.
Lee Sang-do is terrified but doesn’t seem to know anything. Kim Ki-hwan is as contemptuous as ever and goads Gon to kill him. Lee Sang-do begs to go back to his world – this isn’t the amazing place he was told it was. Gon reminds him he’s already dead there. He and Ki-hwan need to stay here and pay for causing chaos.
Ki-hwan doesn’t believe Gon can truly behead him like he threatened; it was outlawed years ago. Gon reminds him his word is law and gives the edict that he’s to be beheaded to his guards. He looks mighty serious this time.
A news report states that Kim Ki-hwan has been arrested and will be beheaded according to a special order given by Gon. The execution is to take place at midnight. It’s allowed by a special law that hasn’t been put into effect in over 60 years. So he’s actually going to pull a Queen of Hearts? How dramatic.
In the republic, Tae-eul reminisces about her conversation with Gon that day in the fields. He’d called “proposing” to her the best thing he’d done since coming to her world and said he was still waiting on her answer. But Tae-eul scoffs that he can’t call that a proposal when he commanded rather than asked her to be his queen.
Gon stops and asks seriously if she’ll be his queen. She doesn’t respond right away, and he pulls her close to ask her again. “If I say no, is today the last time we’ll see each other?” He guesses that’s a no, and Tae-eul confirms it’s a no for today.
Tae-eul wants to live in the moment and thinks it’s best for them not to plan their future. Gon remarks that this is typically when couples would pledge their undying love not their intent to live in the now. Tae-eul just hopes that today can be long. She grabs his hand, and his joke that they should be doing more than holding hands if they’re living in the now starts them play arguing.
In the present, Tae-eul smiles, but she does a double-take when Seo-ryung’s alternate walks past her. Tae-eul runs after her and stops her to check her ID. The woman is understandably suspicious when she clocks the blood on Tae-eul’s clothes (from Shin-jae).
Tae-eul flashes her police badge, and the woman immediately hands over her ID. Her attitude is much more pleasant than Seo-ryung’s. The woman’s name is Gu Eun-ah and after confirming her date of birth, Tae-eul sends her on her way. She follows her for a bit as Eun-ah shops, but Tae-eul leaves when her dad calls.
Luna preps for her role as Tae-eul and watches Tae-eul and her dad in the supermarket. Wait, is she already in the republic? In a hotel room, Luna takes off her wig and begins cutting her hair.
After working out in her dad’s studio, Tae-eul grabs her head. She drops to the ground and faints before she can make a phone call. Meanwhile, a more expensively dressed Eun-ah – looking much more like Seo-ryung – visits Na-ri’s café. Yeong walks in and is stunned when he sees her. It seems like Eun-ah might recognize him.
In the kingdom, Gon notes that the number of seconds each time pause lasts has been successively increasing. He does some math-y stuff and determines that, by the 62nd time pause, it will last an entire day. Gon concludes that there will come a day where both worlds will “stop.” That doesn’t sound good.
Gon is enraged to discover that Kyung-moo is alive and the owner of Eosu Bookshop. He leads a raid of the bookshop and gives his guards a kill order. Shots interrupt Kyung-moo’s meal, and he’s hit before he can escape. Others inside – Rim’s men, I’m assuming – attempt to flee but are gunned down by the snipers outside.
While Kyung-moo lies bleeding on the floor, Rim instructs Kyung-moo’s alternate in the republic to take care of the bookshop from now on. Kyung-moo is no longer useful.
Gon walks into the bookshop which is now littered with bodies. He has Ho-pil check Kyung-moo’s body for an old bullet wound in his shoulder (from the coup 25 years ago), but there’s nothing there. Wait, now I’m confused as to which one is Kyung-moo and which is the alternate.
Meanwhile, Tae-eul wakes up bound and gagged in a warehouse. She counts eight men and notices yo-yo kid staring through a slot in the door. Oh, so did they take her to the kingdom?
In the bookshop, Gon ruminates on all the swapping Rim is instigating and thinks of Tae-eul and Luna. He orders all his guards to be on standby and prepares to go to Tae-eul, seeming to have a bad feeling.
Tae-eul comes to again, and this time, yo-yo kid is taking the tape off her mouth and cryptically says, “I warn people of danger and defeat the enemy.” Okay then. When Tae-eul comments that the kid is in this world too, yo-yo kid clarifies that they’re the only one.
Yo-yo kid cuts Tae-eul’s ropes and gives her a knife. “I’m trying to restore balance.” Tae-eul asks who the kid is (finally, someone does), but the kid doesn’t get a chance to answer before they hear footsteps outside. Tae-eul shields yo-yo kid and tells them to run as she fights her way out.
She escapes in a car using a key she took off one of the men she felled. As she drives, she sees a sign for “Busan Palace” and realizes she’s in Corea. Her comment that yo-yo kid was “in this world too” suggested she already knew that, but okay.
Now in the kingdom, Rim’s lackey reports that everyone inside the bookshop was shot, surprising Rim. He thought Gon was the benevolent type. One of his men comes up to report they lost Tae-eul. Before he can finish, Rim whips a sword out of his umbrella – does it function as an umbrella, too? – and kills him on the spot.
Rim orders his men to catch Tae-eul dead or alive. He knows Gon will come for her, and he plans to use her in an exchange. Ah, so that’s how he intends to get the magic flute half.
A pursuer catches up to Tae-eul just as she runs out of gas. She shoots out the car’s tire and takes off running. Tae-eul makes it into the city and collapses, staring at the blood on her hands. She spots a payphone and a flyer advertising a number where you can wish the king a happy new year.
She calls and leaves a message for Gon, crying as she shakily explains that she’s in Corea being pursued, and she’s headed to the palace. Oh no, it’s another Truck of Doom! Thankfully, Tae-eul jumps out of the booth right before the Truck of Doom smashes into it. When the driver comes up to her, Tae-eul knocks him out and dazedly walks into the empty street.
Suddenly, she hears footfalls en masse. Tae-eul raises her gun and waits as dozens of men rush toward her. Everyone stops as police sirens sound and helicopters fly overhead. Tae-eul stands frozen as police, a SWAT team and Gon’s guards arrive. When she sees Gon riding toward her, Tae-eul begins to cry in relief.
Gon yells to protect Tae-eul, the future queen. The guards on horseback bowl through Rim’s men, knocking them down like bowling pins. Gon and the guards hop down from their horses and battle on the ground.
Gon slashes through the men, making his way to Tae-eul. She stumbles toward him as Gon and his guards slo-mo walk in formation (’cause he slay). Gon runs the rest of the way into her waiting arms.
The intensity dialed up quite a bit this hour. Now that Rim is out in the open, things are moving quicker. When it comes to the main plot, we’ve predominantly seen Gon dealing with Rim and the fallout. But Tae-eul got some time in the spotlight and is now undeniably involved in the thick of it. I liked that she wasn’t portrayed as some superhero who laughs in the face of fear but as a real, terrified person who kept her wits and fought to survive. She may be a cop but that doesn’t mean she’s impervious to fear; I imagine she’s used to being the pursuer, not the pursued. I wasn’t entirely clear on how she got to the kingdom, though. When she first collapsed, I thought they were giving her the same fatal illness Luna has. It wasn’t until she woke in Corea that I guessed she’d been drugged or something. And what made Gon suspect that Rim was going after Tae-eul at that specific time? I feel like I missed whatever clued him in on the fact that Tae-eul was in danger at that moment.
Everything was pretty dire this episode, making me miss Eun-seob and Yeong’s mood-lightening antics. Yeong was on screen for a total of a few seconds, and Eun-seob was missing entirely. I’m assuming Eun-seob is okay since they haven’t shown him since the hospital, but it would’ve been nice to get even a brief update. Then again, I guess they were a little busy this episode with all the violence and destruction.
Three vehicles of doom in one episode – that’s got to be a record. I don’t think it was supposed to be funny, but I couldn’t help laughing when the Sedan of Doom struck Luna’s motorcycle. It almost felt satirical with how quickly it happened after the Truck of Doom did its job. On the topic of Luna, I’m a little confused. She’ll still be terminally ill once she swaps lives with Tae-eul, so what does Rim plan to do with her? It seems like a lot of extra work to swap them rather than just using Tae-eul and leaving Luna out of it. Even if Rim helps her get medical care, it’s unlikely she’ll be of much use to him while she’s seriously ill.
Yo-yo kid is still as nameless and mysterious as ever. I originally thought yo-yo kid was a boy, but since the kid playing the character is a girl, who knows? So I’ll stick with the moniker “yo-yo kid” and the neutral pronoun “they” until we’re told otherwise. All we know so far is that the kid doesn’t have an alternate, can travel without a flute and works to keep the balance. It seems like yo-yo kid is neutral and represents fate, especially with that scene that made a big deal of the red string on the yo-yo. It brought to mind the red thread of fate which traditionally refers to fated romantic partners, but maybe they’re just using the imagery here to invoke fate in general. Either way, yo-yo kid clearly has a big role to play.
Finally, I have to mention the PPL in this drama which I somehow haven’t talked about yet. I’ve rarely seen such constantly blatant PPL, but I kind of appreciate the honesty of it. I mean, we never even learned who Jangmi arrested while Tae-eul got a moisturizing spritz; it was that irrelevant. It’s like they decided it’s not worth the effort of trying to disguise it and instead just perfunctorily plop the PPL in. I can’t tell if it’s an intentional plan or laziness, but I’m amused either way.
- Premiere Watch: The King: Eternal Monarch
- Lee Min-ho and Jung Eun-chae get close in stills from The King: Eternal Monarch
- Lee Min-ho is a commanding presence in The King: Eternal Monarch
- Woo Do-hwan signs on for The King: Eternal Ruler with Kim Go-eun, Lee Min-ho
- 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