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The King: Eternal Monarch: Episode 12

It feels like we’re in the calm before the storm as we check in with some of our side characters this hour. Our leads get to spend some time together outside of life-threatening situations and enjoy each other’s company while they can. More and more people are getting involved in the happenings between worlds, and it’s clear it won’t be long before everything comes to a head.

 
EPISODE 12

In the hospital, a man suddenly drops his food tray, and Eun-seob helps retrieve his burner phone that fell amidst the mess. Elsewhere, Jung-hye struggles while a man tries to stem the bleeding from where she cut her wrists. As she’s injected with a sedative, she sarcastically says into the CCTV that Rim will truly become a deity at this rate, killing some and forcing others to live.

We see that the woman who injected Jung-hye is the mom of the boy who had the worst birthday ever. It turns out she’s the new “manager,” whatever that means.

At the café, Na-ri shares with Yeong that she just experienced déjà vu which she defines as getting a glimpse of yourself in another world. She saw herself with someone in a hospital gown who looked just like Yeong. “A hospital gown?” Yeong asks with concern.

In the kingdom, Eun-seob cries, “Na-ri!” and throws his arms around Seung-ah who rationalizes he must be delirious from fever. But she’s curious why people keep calling her Na-ri. Eun-seob makes up an unconvincing excuse, and she tells him to just ask for her number instead.

Eun-seob realizes she’s the person “with pretty eyes” Yeong mentioned. He’s getting a little better with his Yeong impression and suavely tells her not to go around giving out her number to other guys. Seung-ah breaks into a smile after he leaves. Around the corner, Eun-seob’s suaveness disappears as he whimpers about missing Na-ri.

Na-ri, meanwhile, is wondering what’s up with Eun-seob lately when Eun-ah walks in the café. Yeong walks in behind her and stares in shock before resuming his Eun-seob act. When Eun-ah leaves, Yeong follows her in Na-ri’s fancy car.

In the kingdom, Gon gets the NSA to find Tae-eul using CCTV. As he waits anxiously, Eun-seob calls to tell him that Detective Kang has been calling – something about chasing Luna. Detective Kang sends footage of Tae-eul on the run that helps Gon narrow the search. In the republic, Yeong tails Eun-ah and calls Shin-jae for backup since he couldn’t reach Tae-eul.

Meanwhile, in the kingdom, one of the guards reports to Ok-nam that Park Sook-jin has been visiting a bookshop that was discovered to be a hideout for Rim’s people. She hands Ok-nam a picture Sook-jin tried to burn; it’s of Shin-jae and his mom. “Sook-jin” was hired under a false identity while the real Sook-jin is living under the name Min Sun-young.

Ok-nam marches into the cafeteria and smacks “Sook-jin” (who just laced a bowl of soup with something) across the face. After Ok-nam accuses her, the woman throws up blood and drops to the ground. Whoa, did she just poison herself? Ha, Ok-nam actually rolls her eyes and dismissively gestures as everyone screams. She warns everyone to keep their mouths shut and orders the guard to keep the woman alive for questioning.

Yeong continues his car chase and cuts Eun-ah off. She stomps out of the car, and her hostile attitude resembles Seo-yeong more than Eun-ah. Clearly, Yeong thinks so too and calls her Prime Minister Gu, but she insists he’s mistaken. Before Yeong can react, a car does a drive-by, and he’s shot in the shoulder. Him too?! “Eun-ah” escapes in the commotion.

Shin-jae arrives and assures the crowd it’s a drill. Thankfully, Yeong is in the habit of wearing a bulletproof vest and wasn’t severely hurt. At the hotel, Shin-jae wonders what kind of country Corea is to have shootouts. Yeong promises to explain things once Gon returns.

When Shin-jae refers to Gon disrespectfully, Yeong pitches a bottle at him. Shin-jae claims Gon isn’t his king, but Yeong reminds him he used to be. Shin-jae changes the subject, asking when Yeong became Gon’s guard. He thinks he’s messing with him when Yeong says he was four.

Shin-jae is taken aback by Yeong’s heartfelt story of seeing Gon for the first time and wanting him to be happy. “Are you two dating?” Yeong admits there are rumors about that, but he equates it to Shin-jae and Tae-eul’s dedication to justice and the law. For him, Gon is both.

Shin-jae asks why Gon was crying that day, and Yeong explains he was mourning his father who died at the hands of his own brother. Shin-jae listens thoughtfully as Yeong says Gon witnessed everything and has been falling asleep to thoughts of death every night.

As Gon rides into battle to extract Tae-eul, Yeong narrates that the palace is both his home and his battlefield. He muses that Gon is entering a different battlefield of late, one that Yeong plans to follow him into.

Gon and Tae-eul hug each other fiercely, and Tae-eul says over and over through her tears that she missed him. Tae-eul tells him there’s still two bullets left in the gun. Without hesitation, Gon takes the gun, fires twice and throws it into the street…for someone else to pick up, I guess.

Tae-eul faints, and Gon slo-mo carries her through the smoky streets. He returns to the palace and lays her on his bed. Ok-nam runs in with the doctor and almost has a heart attack when she sees Gon covered in blood, until he assures her it isn’t his.

Ok-nam kicks him out while Tae-eul is treated, so Gon sits outside, waiting through the night for news. Finally, the doctor informs him her wounds have been treated, and she’s dehydrated but okay. When she wakes, Gon is seated by her bedside.

He tells her to sleep, but she wants to stay awake now that they’re together again. Tae-eul recalls drinking water before she passed out and jokes that she gets the importance of having someone test your food now. She whispers that she thought that moment in the bamboo forest was going to be their last together.

Gon says heavy-heartedly that much happened, so he couldn’t return to her. “That’s a relief,” Tae-eul says, “I thought that door had closed.” He promises that even if it were to close, he’d open every door until he found her again.

Tae-eul asks after Eun-seob. When she hears he’s in the hospital, she decides to visit him first thing once she’s better. She misses him. Tae-eul offers that Yeong is doing well and calls Gon a liar for saying he likes her better than Yeong. Ha. Tae-eul soon falls back asleep. Gon kisses her forehead and remains by her side.

The Cabinet meets to discuss Gon’s bold, unexpected move of not only personally leading the charge against Rim’s followers but announcing Tae-eul as the future queen amidst the chaos. Seo-ryung is noticeably absent, still supposedly taking sick leave. The Cabinet thinks it has more to do with her approval rating falling, but they’re mostly concerned with finding out everything they can about Tae-eul.

In the republic, Luna – looking strangely healthy – retrieves Tae-eul’s phone from a locker and begins examining its contents, particularly focusing on the photos. Jangmi is disappointed when Tae-eul doesn’t respond to his text, but Moon-shik informs him she’s on leave which is news to Shin-jae. He calls and texts, but she won’t answer.

Tae-eul, meanwhile, goes to the kitchen to find Gon causing a stir by washing rice in his navy uniform. Pfft. She peeks into the room and ducks back out while Gon yells after her that he’s doing this for her to see.

Tae-eul stands outside the door, awkwardly glancing at the gathered palace maids before steeling herself and going inside. Ok-nam watches the gossiping palace workers with concern. Inside, Tae-eul chides Gon for being so dramatic and reminds him she gets testy before eating.

She brings up the possibility of him mixing her up with her alternate. What would he do then? Gon details her idiosyncrasies, like how she puts her hair up when she means business and how she likes her beer. He describes her as “someone who becomes a warrior when courage is needed.”

Tae-eul gives a slight smile as she eats and pipes up that she wants to see Eun-seob when she’s finished. She ignores his dramatics at the fact that she doesn’t appreciate his romantic gestures enough and asks where her clothes from the previous day are.

Gon takes her to see her new wardrobe that he based on what she typically wears. She jokingly asks what if she wants to wear a dress? Two racks of dresses are wheeled in, to her astonishment.

An outfit in the corner catches her eye – it’s the one Gon was wearing that time he disappeared. Tae-eul hesitantly asks Gon about it, and he claims it’s reserved for the “glorious” occasions. “For example, when I’m holding flowers in my hand.”

When he asks what flowers she likes, Tae-eul grows serious and responds she doesn’t like flowers. Gon clocks her odd reaction but doesn’t say anything. Once she leaves to get changed, he stares at the outfit.

Tae-eul finds a necklace from Gon in her coat pocket. She tries it on, but puts it back in its box. When Gon asks about it, Tae-eul explains that the necklace is so pretty she doesn’t want to wear it while she’s covered in wounds. She’s impressed he knew which outfit she’d pick. “I know everything,” he responds as we watch the palace workers pulling out a box from each coat.

At the hospital, a guard announces Gon’s imminent arrival to Eun-seob who does a “security check” which just consists of him haphazardly flipping things over and looking underneath desks. Ha. The music swells as Eun-seob hears Tae-eul’s voice and jumps in her arms screaming, “Noona!”

Tae-eul commends his bravery, so he launches into his heroic tale. He stops when he notices Tae-eul’s bruises and bandages, but she brushes over it. Eun-seob spots the cake Gon specially bought for him. Gon won’t personally cut him a slice, although he claims he could buy him the bakery. Tae-eul advises him to ask Gon to open his car door next time.

Eun-seob immediately thinks of how much the twins would love the delicious cake. Tae-eul assures him they’re doing well, but Eun-bi did figure out Yeong isn’t him. Eun-seob tries to play it cool when Tae-eul brings up Na-ri, claiming he hasn’t thought about her one bit.

But his face brightens when Tae-eul shares that Na-ri hasn’t been getting along well with Yeong, and he almost giggles when she says Na-ri thinks Yeong is less handsome. Not that he’s surprised, of course. Pfft. Eun-seob then has fun playing up his injury to get Gon to do stuff for him.

Gon and Tae-eul visit the warehouse where she was held. Tae-eul assumes Rim brought her there, even though she doesn’t understand why. Gon wonders if she saw Rim holding an umbrella, but she explains she didn’t see him personally.

Gon tells Tae-eul that Rim is hiding something in his umbrella and has likely deduced that Gon is hiding the other half in his riding crop. Tae-eul puts together that he wanted to use her to make a trade, and whoever loses the item won’t have access to the door.

Tae-eul surmises that Gon is at a disadvantage since he’s carrying that item around frequently as he travels to meet her. Gon quips that she should be nicer to him, but when he sees how upset she is, he promises not to lose his item. He suggests they go pray if she’s still worried, and she smiles in agreement.

Gon takes Tae-eul to the church where his parents got married and relates the story of his father falling in love at first sight with his mother as she gave a seminar. His mom was a scientist, Gon proudly explains. Since she was Catholic, his father studied Catholicism for months before they got married. Three years after he was born, his mom died; she’d always been sickly. It’s the first time Gon has talked about it.

Tae-eul again tells him he grew up well. “We’ve skipped a lot of things,” she rightly observes. Her mom used to run the Taekwondo studio with her dad and was an instructor, but she died of cancer when Tae-eul was five. She still wears her mom’s black belt. Gon returns her compliment, saying she grew up well.

They’re interrupted by the priest who notices their intertwined hands. After ensuring the priest’s discretion, Gon asks him to take a picture of him and Tae-eul in front of the church. The priest counts down, and time pauses before he reaches “one.”

Gon stares at Tae-eul’s frozen, smiling face and begins to cry as Ok-nam narrates a Kim Sowol poem:

What is your reason for doing that?
You were sitting alone by the stream
The green grass was sprouting
And the water was splashing from the spring breeze.
You promised that even if you go, you won’t be gone forever.
That is what you promised.
I sit by the stream each day and think about something endlessly.
When you promised that even if you go, you won’t be gone forever,
Were you asking me not to forget you?

Gon pulls himself together and smiles for the photo.

Back at the palace, Tae-eul tries to kick Gon out after she’s checked by the doctor so she can sleep. Gon reminds her this is his bedroom, which leads her to question where he’s been sleeping of late. “Here,” Gon informs her. It’s a big bed.

Shocked, Tae-eul slaps him on the shoulder, finally understanding the odd looks people have been giving her. Thunder booms, and Gon grabs his shoulder in pain. Tae-eul thinks he’s messing around but is horrified when she looks at his shoulder and sees the mark.

We watch as all the swappers experience the same pain with similar markings but on different parts of their bodies. Ooh, so it’s not just the flute holders. Gon theorizes that it’s the result of passing through the between place (of thunder and lightning).

Strangely, Tae-eul feels completely fine. She pulls her shirt down off her shoulder to have Gon check for markings, making Gon clutch his pearls at the impropriety. Tae-eul doesn’t have time for his scandalized reaction and gets him to check her shoulder. Since she doesn’t have the marking, Gon presumes the “rules” are breaking down.

Tae-eul points out the similarity to the common curse of wishing someone will get struck by lightning. Gon brings up beheading again, so Tae-eul jokingly exposes her neck. Gon kisses it instead, and then kisses her on the lips.

On a street in the republic, Shin-jae bumps into Rim (literally) during a storm. He stares after Rim as he walks away but doesn’t see the burning mark on his face. At home, Rim finds a cigarette butt on the floor and checks the security footage. His lip twitches in anger as he watches Luna blatantly steal cash and wave at the camera.

Rim and Jung-hye sit for an awkward and silent dinner. Abruptly, Jung-hye grabs a vase and breaks it over his head. Whoa. She makes a break for his umbrella, but he pulls her back by the hair and tosses her to the floor. He raises the umbrella until the metal tip is poised above her eye. Jung-hye desperately screams for him to kill her, but Rim has other plans. Having the face of his nephew’s mother makes her perfect bait.

The pregnant swapper and frenemy of Seo-ryung joins her uninvited for a meal. They trade barbs, as usual. Seo-ryung calls her irrelevant, and pregnant lady calls her the not-queen. That brings Seo-ryung up short. Pregnant lady is astonished she doesn’t know that Gon announced some woman as the future queen.

Seo-ryung forcefully borrows her phone to check the news and then gets up. She tells pregnant lady to “make sure you give birth in Corea” and leaves. Huh.

At the palace, Ho-pil reports that Lee Sang-do is complaining of a burning pain when it rains. Before Gon can react, Secretary Mo informs him that Seo-ryung has entered the palace. He deals with Seo-ryung first, asking why she “tied him down” by releasing news of his disappearances.

Seo-ryung acerbically asks if he’d have gone to offer a marriage proposal had he not been “tied down.” Gon unequivocally states that all the news is true. “She’s the woman I love.” While Seo-ryung takes a beat to respond, a crash of thunder sounds, causing her gasp in pain. Gon sees the burning mark on her neck.

Meanwhile, Ok-nam has tea with Tae-eul. She hopes Tae-eul understands her harsh treatment of her was only because she wanted to protect Gon. She’s going to ask Tae-eul something, but she doesn’t want her to ask further questions or tell anyone. She trusts her as a government official.

Ok-nam gives her full name, as well as her parents’ and sibling’s. She shares her birth year and hometown, explaining that she left at age 17 and hasn’t heard news of it since. “What happened with that war? The war that broke out in June of 1950?” Whaaat? Tae-eul stares at her in stunned silence.

 
COMMENTS

What a reveal! I thought she might know more than she was letting on, but I didn’t expect she crossed over so long ago. If that’s the case, she crossed long before Rim got ahold of the flute. How did she even cross from Tae-eul’s side when the flute was whole and unbroken, I thought, on Corea’s side? Ok-nam may know more about the history of all this than anyone and could well be instrumental (heh) in this fight.

The drama has felt more focused and plot-driven in recent episodes, which gives me hope for getting a decent ending. I feel like, particularly in the earlier episodes, the drama was just doing too much and pulling itself in too many directions. Having less going on but a stronger sense of focus would have made things feel more balanced and developed. I still find it strange that characters like Shin-jae have gotten more character development than our leads. It’s two weeks from the finale, and we’re just hearing about Gon and Tae-eul’s moms. Tae-eul even addressed how much they’ve skipped over the getting-to-know-each-other stuff. It’s better late than never, so I’m glad we see them sharing their pasts and opening up to each other. Especially now that Gon has declared Tae-eul the future queen. That didn’t sit well with me. She just rejected his proposal not long ago, and now he’s telling the whole country she’ll marry him. Does Tae-eul even know he said that? I doubt she has a way of getting outside news at the palace.

Last episode ended on such an intense note that the change in tone this hour was a bit jarring. I am happy we got our weekly dose of Eun-seob and Yeong, although I was hoping we’d get to see Yeong with the twins some more. With all the threads we still have to untangle and only four episodes to do it, I doubt we’ll be focusing on the side fun as much going forward. I’m guessing this episode was a light break before we get into the final stretch where I’m expecting it’ll go more serious again.

The information is doled out bit by bit in this drama, and there’s a lot to cover in the final two weeks. One possibly important detail we got this hour is that everyone who’s passed through the between place experiences that burning pain and the corresponding mark. Everyone but Tae-eul and Shin-jae, it seems. Oh, and maybe Ok-nam, too. Gon’s speculation that the rules of the realm are breaking down seems too simplistic. From what we know, it’s more like certain people are exempt from the rules rather than that the rules are breaking down for everyone. There’s got to be something differentiating those who experience symptoms and those who don’t.

I’d like to know what Seo-ryung’s role in Rim’s grand plan is. There’s no way she’d swap with Eun-ah since she’s not the type to ever give up the position of power she clawed her way to achieve. Yet Rim took her to the republic. I’m guessing she’s allying with him somehow, using her position to assist with…something. I still don’t know what Rim ultimately wants besides youth, power and Gon’s misery. Maybe that is all he wants, and I’m giving him too much credit for being deeper. Just one of many questions – let’s hope we have enough time left to get them all answered.

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In front of the mirror, fingers moving down his black silk shirt, unbuttoning to reveal a tantalising glimpse of flesh before pulling his shirt aside to expose more...😋
As I watched, I heard the collective sighs and squeals of women around the world. 🤤😯
THANK YOU, KES! 🙏🙏🙏

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Beats a gratuitous shower scene any day! Less is more...😉
Only complaint: Scene was sadly all too brief - blink & you might have missed it. Whatever happened to slo-mo camera panning when you need it?!

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A shower scene would be nice.

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What scene are you referring to?

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JY checking out his bruised shoulder after being shot. It was all too brief so you might have missed it.

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I post it on my wall lol.

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So LG is Catholic? Dude has got some sins to confess the next time he goes to church! 🙂

On another note, LMH & KGE are definitely in love in this drama. 😍 Even a blind man can tell. MinEun 💪

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Unless the priest took more than just their photo 😉😉😉

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What is intriguing is for LG to ask for the priest to keep a secret. It could have been more than taking a pic.

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JY & SJ are so cool together. They have real chemistry - begrudging, mutual respect.
Loved JY’s small smile acknowledging his bromance with LG is the subject of scandalous rumors in KoC!
Also both JY and ES shot? Guess it helps explain their injuries when both return to their respective worlds...

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I’m also onboard with their competitive bromance, which pretty sure has started. Hopefully it grows stronger as we get closer to the final battle, Gon needs all the help he can get.

Yeah, and curiously, it's on the same part: Eun-seob from the back and Yeong from the front. Makes you think about the parallel, doesn't it?

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The moment their scene came up, I was like " I want this bromance to happen"

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@silverdrafts I think that they work so well together.

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A bromance we didnt know we needed yet here we are, I love the little tid bits we get with them

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I love the little cake dance that Eun-seob does at the hospital, something Yeong would never do. He looks like a little puppet. He is so silly and Yeong is so serious.

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The bromance I've been looking forward to since the first fistfight between Yeong and Shin-jae. 🥰 While Yeong is evidently the better fighter, Shin-jae can go toe-to-toe with him. It's the same here, they're hurling stuff and barbs to each other, no biggie, they both can take it. I'd like to think that it's the first time Yeong had someone to talk to like this, including talking about his life and true motivations. Seems Shin-jae has also found kindered spirit.

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@bluecouchpotato I want Shin-jae and Yeong to stand side-by-side in the epic final battle showdown with Evil murderous (yet handsome) Uncle. Drama gods, please hear my request!

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The visual in this show on both sides is drool worthy and they are not just there for decoration. They are all pulling their own weight and some are doing more than what they are given.

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(yet handsome) Uncle

😄😄😄
Me every time: "Such a nasty uncle ... but, dayum, that jawline!"

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While watching the scene when he explains why he's keeping Jeong-Hye alive I kept on thinking: He's so handsome!

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@sirena With Shin-jae onboard, Gon has now "Four Tigers" to fight against Rim.

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I think those people whose doppelganger has been killed by someone who crossed are having the lightning side effect. That would fit Taeul, Court Lady Noh and Shinjae. If that's right, then PM Koo's doppelhanger might have been killed already (though I also don't want to believe that) . And I hate Seo-ryung now more than ever. It's obvious that she already knows what Rim is doing yet she's not doing anything, even if it involves someone she knows. But really, all that for the throne? I was hoping she was smarter than that.

And wow, a new revelation. That's why Court Lady Noh has always looked like she knows something...because she actually does. So the flute has really been used before..

That scene when time stopped was heartbreaking. It must have been hard for Gon now that he's already figured it out. Waiting for more than an hour for the world to unfreeze is torture. One can only imagine how difficult it would be in the future.

On a lighter note, I love seeing the Unbreakable Swords again. Eun Seop acting cool and Yeong being sharp as always. And I'm loving that low-key Yeong-Shinjae bromance hehe

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Ditto! I think that the one Tae-eul met was PM Goo rather than Eu-ah... After that scene, we we brought to the scene where Goo bought and changed her clothes....

PS: i'm so curious with the poet Kim Sowol.. Why Court Lady Noh is so fixated with that book? even the moment she flipped the back page of the book when she found in Gon's coat...

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I'm curious too. I guess that she loved those poems when she was still in RoK. If I remember correctly, that book couldn't be found in the Kingdom...

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Based on Lady Noh's birthday and the Korean war, she would have been a teenager when she left Korea. She would be familiar with Kim Sowol's work since it was already being published.

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These were one of the hints that seem vague at first viewing but now becomes clear after the reveal. Why do you think is her reason for asking TE to not ask her questions or tell anyone about it? With all that is happening they should be working together and sharing information, not keeping secrets!

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It's about time we get some kind of clarity.

Lady Noh has always put Lee Gon's well being and safety first.
She is just being protective as always. It's a big step for her to start trusting someone she barely knew.
I think she is giving Tae-eul a chance because she can tell that Lee Gon loves her.

She is kind of an "illegal immigrant" lol. Who would believe that she is actually from another world?

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@kiara
I understand Lady Noh’s predicament at the same time it leaves me frustrated because there could be so much information from her that would help LG at this point. He is already going back and forth anyway and constantly in danger. This is the same gripe I feel for Prince Buyeong. He knows more than what he lets on. And maybe he knows about Lady Noh too. Aargh we have one reveal and so many questions! Lol

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We don't know yet how much shes shared with Gon. They always had these cryptic conversations like they have a secret between them, repeated several times. So maybe shes told him something?

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My theory is Court Lady Noh and poet Kim Sowol were lovers in the Republic of Korea.

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That would be something but she was 2 years old when Kim Sowol died.
She was borned in 1932 and the poet died in 1934.

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That was also my theory! I thought they might have been lost lovers *sob*. Then @kiara and @imperialtitus enlightened me on the dates and my hopes for an epic 1930s romance were dashed.

I still think it's significant that both Lady Noh and Kim Sowol came from what is now North Korea, and that she reads the poems with such feeling. Maybe she's his daughter? Maybe she did lose a lover? Maybe she read the poems when she was a teenager and it's what clued her into the fact that Tae-Eul is from the Republic too?

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Maybe Court Lady Noh can time travel like Gon traveled back in time to give Tae-eul the flowers or City Hunter traveled from the future to save Young Gon.

So Court Lady Noh traveled back in time, met teenage Kim Sowol, and they fell in love?

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What's the reason for killing Eun Ha though? That needs some answering.

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It also doesn't make sense to me. I wanted to believe (at ep.11) that PM was just curious so she visited RoK, and they were just hiding Eun-ah. I thought we'll get the answers on ep.12..but well, maybe some other time hehe

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Just a convenient plot point so that LG finds out that PM Gu has crossed to the other side. Only those whose doppelgangers were killed unnaturally suffer from those marks when there's thunder/lightning. This was visible to LG during his meeting with PM Gu.

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Remember what Nari has said a few episodes back that only one could live.... two people with similar in everything can't live side by side (as for them: they have similar faces, finger prints, and also surname).

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Yeong didn't have to kill Eun Sop though. And they've met.

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There is absolutely no need to. I don't care what the deities think. They are the perfect balance.

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I'm not trusting Na-ri's science fiction knowledge that she learned at radio club lol.

As for PM's doppelganger, I have a feeling that she may have been the murdered flatmate with a facial mask several episodes ago... nobody ever showed us her face. Or I may be completely off and poor PM's doppelganger died off screen, forgotten and irrelevant.

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She sounds like a shaman or a fortune teller.

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I can assure PM's doppelganger is not the one murdered by flatmate. As it's Taeul's case, she should have seen her real face through photos. And if the victim that is dead shows up like that, she must have had different reaction. She is just shock seeing "Eun-ha" after learning that her doppelganger in Corea is the PM.

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Remember Rim always makes people kill their doppelgangers. PM Koo definitely murdered hers, probably in exchange for Rim's offer of lots and lots of power (or maybe because she just hates Gon, don't know why)

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She'd kill for power and having someone else with her face is not a good thing for a public figure.

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Ah, yes! I originally thought there's no use to killing her because PM Koo has no intention of replacing Eun-ha, and Eun-ha doesn't seem to have a reason to want to be the PM in a diff world (she looks like she's living a comfortable life herself). But yes, PM Koo might have seen her as a threat and eliminated her. That attitude is consistent with what she's been doing with the other politicians

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Does he? He kills doppelgangers to replace them with those he forged allegiance with, those he can use:

- the rich douchey guy he killed in Korea and replaced him with one of his people, I guess as a thank you
- the stable guy from Korea he brought to Corea as a lookout for him
- the girl in prison who's supposed to be exchanged with one of the lady guards in the Kingdom which then became useless so they just killed her
- the bookstore guy. He was killed because he no longer served a purpose but prior to that he was also a lookout
- Shin Jae's real mom in Corea when she was found out, but before that she was of use

So, as far as I'm concerned there are reasons for the killings. They were not killed just because. Eun Ha getting killed doesn't make sense. In exchange of power? How?

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It can actually be as simple as taking Eun-Ha's identity so PM Koo is free to skulk around ROK and try to eliminate Gon the next time he crosses over. Apparently, she already has a ready gang of goons.

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Woow that totally makes so much sense!!! Those whom doppelgangers have been killed have the scar because balance is lost, the other you who's supposed to be on the other side is gone and now the scale is tilted. How are you supposed to fix that tough? Time travel to prevent the deaths?

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Yes, and the killing must've been with the knowledge of the other world, taking advantage of the crossing. That would make the scar a punishment of sorts.

And yes, fixing that is the problem now. I guess they really have to make the flute whole again

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Lee Gon's grandfather King Haejong probably saved Lady Noh's life from the war by taking her to Corea.
She doesn't seems to have any resentment and she has been serving the royals for 3 generations now.

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I am going to smack my head on the nearest available hard surface if Lady Noh's big reveal turns out to be a red herring, and she read about the war from somewhere and she's just curious about her family's doppelgangers. My head hurts anyway... 😓

#zerobraincells

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Ikr?
One of these theories have to stick. I'm tired of running into walls lol.

"Oh my head"
"Oh my heart"

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If so, maybe Prince Buyeong was her first love, when they were both teenagers, but he had to marry someone else. Her grief at his funeral, and reading the poems of Kim Sowol with all the longing and loneliness they convey, are not just signs of mourning a longtime friend, I believe.

#still writing Lady Noh fanfic

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We are not going to give up. Are we Toki?
We are going to resort to fan fic to rez the dead and give our favorite court lady her own love story.

This would have been easier if this was a traditional sageuk. Lady Noh would be the king's woman as a court lady and I'm not talking about Lee Gon or his dad but King Haejong.
That would eliminate Prince Buyeong since he can't touch any of the king's court ladies.

I'd be ok with it if she is actually longing for her original home and the family that she left behind.

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Maybe it *is* King Haejong. The concept of "three generations" of waiting comes to mind. Once Gon's child is born, the spell is broken and she reunites with her true love.

#zerobraincells

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BINGO

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Lady Noh is 88, Prince Buyeong was 79, so perhaps not necessarily teenage love.

#zerobraincells

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They are so in sync, I wanted more for them other than Lee Gon's surrogate parents.

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Noona romance, c'mon!

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@wishfultoki, I've just left you a shocking wild theory to you. I hope no one kills me (so does @kiara, @bluecouchpotato and @iamastonished)

Think about that Head Lady of Chamiwon in Moon Lovers: Scarlet Heart Ryeo ... Court Lady Oh Soo-yeon was Taejo's first love, but since she had a humble background, she is not allowed to be queen, o she become a Court Lady instead.

What if Oknam under same circumstance?

She may have been bring over to Corea by Emperor Haejong, and she had a son later with him, and that son has become ... Lee Rim.

Her love with Lee Gon must have been even stronger, but she can't make herself go against her legitimate son, so she decide to keep quiet, and don't aid everyone.

Sorry to make you disappointed again, @wishfultoki.

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Not at all. Bring on the royal family makjang!

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Emperor Haejong is a big possibility for me too.

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One thing is for sure that royal family has too many secrets that we are not privy to!

Granny NOh, Doctor Uncle, LR, LG, SJ and of course, the granddaughter of Doctor Uncle that we haven't met. Doctor Uncle's son who might be an LR supporter?

Half the mystery will be solved if their family dynamics become clear. Haha!

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@imperialtitus Eh? 😂 Bring on the biggest royal family scandal since the rise of the Joseon dynasty!

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What's another brain-banging theory to completely obliterate all our grey matter? 😂😂😂

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I think that's a stretch. I think Court lady Noh is a shaman who transported herself to Corea to escape the war. She came to court to oversee the spiritual protection of Lee Gon at the request of Emperor Haejong. The Emperor knows what kind of son he has in Lee Rim and wants Court Lady Noh to protect his grandson Lee Gon. Court lady Noh has grieved her whole life for her first love that went to war and did not return. Who ever Lee Rim's mother was I don't think she was a sweet as Court Lady Noh. But I could be wrong but I cant wait to hear her story.

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You know what, @kiara, you are just 100% spot on that prediction. But I feel disappointed nonetheless: We are not watching a K-drama written by you, but a K-drama written by Kim Eun-seok, shouldn't it be more than that?

More when the recap is on ...

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@imperialtitus
I'm still trying to digest this episode.
I understand your disappointment but how else could we logically explain her present in Corea?
I think it was unnecessary. Does it make a big impact where she is originally from?

I want to understand how this time travelling works and I'm still not getting it.

Yes, lets talk more on the next recap.

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Ooh that's an interesting theory. This one might be more likely than mine.
I was thinking the scars appear on people who crossed over knowingly to gain something..you know payment of sorts for their choice to cross over? Marked by the gods,if you will.
All the Rim followers have it as they all crossed over for selfish need/greed and probably did a load of murdering to boot. Gon initially crossed over to know the truth and kept going back for love and to find ammunition against his enemy. Although his reasons are noble, he is violating the time-space continuum for his needs.
SJ was brought in by Rim as a kid and he didn't know anything about the two worlds. TE also was brought over twice now- once by LG and then by Rim, but both times she was just along for the ride. she wasn't looking to get anything out of it.
My theory is wobbly when it come to Lady Oh since we don't know why or how she made the switch but knowing her nature,it may have been for a noble,selfless cause,🤔 She doesn't strike me as someone selfish who'd flee her family at the face of war without any good reason.

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I was thinking of the same line as your theory before I read the "killed doppelgänger" theory here too. That maybe the scars were for people who voluntarily went to the other world since that distinguished Tae-eul, Shinjae and even Yeong and Eun-sub who were more like "brought" to the other world, without them exactly knowing of it. Can't tell for Lady Noh, though.

But come to think of it, the killed doppelgängers theory makes sense too. Can't wait to fully understand the rules of these parallel universe hopefully in the next episodes.

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Ah, that makes sense. "Their motivation was corrupt" as they say in The Good Place :p

I initially thought it's for those who killed their doppelgangers (since almost all of them killed their own) but I tried to accommodate Lee Gon (apart from the reason that he's a flute owner) and the bookstore man, while still including the idea of it being a punishment. Hence the idea of one whose doppelganger has been killed by someone who knew of the two worlds and took advantage of the crossing. Haha. But I guess yours is more straightforward and thus more probable

@ashes2ashes

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Found a pretty interesting tidbit by @mei123db about THE flute and Lady Oh being scar proof further down the comment rabbit hole . It would tie in with our theory of intent being the tipping factor on 'scar or not'. But it doesn't explain the different locations that the scar chooses to appear. @blessingwind has a theory about the scar showing up at the place the people have been stabbed at but that doesn't explain the scar placement on Gon and Rim

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Gon on his back to his shoulder - because his kid doppelganger was pushed to death?

Rim on his neck & part of his face - because his doppelganger was strangled?

Need to rewatch the first two ep to confirm though.

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Yeah. My theory aligns with yours basing on what Tae Eul said about "cursing BAD people". Doesn't necessarily mean that one's doppelganger is dead that's why someone has a scar. It's because at one point in time their intentions weren't pure. Only the good guys in the series don't have the lightning burns. So far it's just Lee Gon. But we know he has wickedness in him too as noted by his uncle. Luna didn't have the scar which may mean she isn't exactly evil.

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It has been mentioned that the flute "reveals itself every 20 years," though the details thereof were never described. Perhaps Lady Noh was one of those who crossed over to escape the war?

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OkNam’s revelation – that was something eh? Meanwhile, been working on her timeline and this is what I have so far based on her revelation & some history —

1932 – OKNAM BORN

1945 – WW2; NR & SK split

1948 – amid growing Cold War tension between US & Russia, 2 separate gov’t were established in Pyongyang & Seoul. Kim Il-Sung, leader of NK, (was a former guerrilla who fought under Chinese and Russian command). Syngman Rhee, a Princeton University-educated staunch anti-communist, became the first leader of SK.

1949- OKNAM LEFT HOMETOWN (17 yo)

1950 – In an attempt to unify the Korean peninsula under his communist regime, NK leader Kim Il-Sung invaded SK June 1950 with Soviet aid. This brought SK and the US, backed by UN, to fight against the newly founded People’s Republic of China and North Korea. THIS MUST BE THE WAR THAT OKNAM WAS REFERRING TO

1953 – An armistice agreement ended hostilities in the Korean War. Technically speaking, we know that two Koreas are still at war. THIS IS THE LAST TIME OKNAM HEARD NEWS ABOUT IF WE USE THE 67 YEARS SHE MENTIONED TO TE (from 2020)

Working backwards from 1994

1954 – Flute’s 20 Year cycle ??

1974 – Flute’s 20 Year cycle ??

1994 – King LH w/ Flute; Regicide happened

Going back to episode 1, she said “This is part of a plan” when kid JY approached kid LG during the mourning ritual – is that connected to her secret story?

Aaahh 4 more epis. That means just 2 weeks to go. Truly wish KES will neatly wrap up all the loose ends of TKEM. But definitely, I will miss this show.

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1945 - Corea - Establishment of Parliament

1950 - Korean War - This may be a "scheduled cycle" wherein the Manpasikjeok reveals itself, automatically opening a portal between the two worlds, which is how Lady Noh may have crossed over.

I'm thinking that the flute Gon heard in 1994 was an out-of-cycle summons as its owner was murdered. Hence it took 25-26 years to "reset" The next "schedule" is 2020.

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That's an interesting idea... but remember OkNam said that the last time she heard about her former place was in 1953 or 67 years from the present. So am thinking that she crossed over in 1954 - which is aligned with the 20-year cycle of the flute.

There is a reason why LR decided to commit the regicide on that night in 1994. There is a reason why the former King was in the Treasury House or Cheonjongo. I think it was the scheduled cycle of the flute. It was LR's chance to get his hands on the flute that was not revealed to him before.

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I don't think Oknam crossed in 1953, at least not the second half of the year, @mychoiyoung4lmh: the last question she asks Tae-eul means that she didn't stay in Korea when the Two Koreas signed the Armistice in July 1953.

I have a even more wild theory (take note, @wishfultoki): if Oknam is being taken to Corea by King/Emperor Haejong, what if they had a relationship the public didn't allow, and she later bore a son, who is no one but Lee Rim?

She probably knows Lee Rim is not a good guy, and she loves Lee Gon even more, and she is in fact the one who is the most unwillingly see both Lee fight each other, and that is why she want Tae-eul keep the secret: maybe she want Tae-eul take care of the business for her.

Just a very, very wild theory ... Just saying ...

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Why are you tagging me in a post about a wild theory @imperialtitus? Your theory sounds perfectly plausible to me. 😂

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Sorry, I actually tagged you twice, @wishfultoki ...

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Yes, it doesn’t sounds like Lady Noh knew the outcome of the Korean War so she must have left before the war was over.

The possibility of a relationship with Emporer Haejong makes sense.
It would be shocking if she gave birth to Rim. She has never been shown to have any kind of motherly thoughts or feelings towards him.

I like unapologetic wild theories. Keep it coming!

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I guess Kim Eun-seok has finally fired her mediocre ghostwriter and having the story handled by herself. Ep.12 looks a lot different, and taste a lot different, although it's pretty late for that now.

According to what we know, Rim is currently holding monopoly for the World Crossing business, and he mostly "kindly" asking the crossers to kill the one they are about to replace, so I am not naïve to believe Eun-ha is alived, @jushi, and it is totally making sense, @uzistar. By the way, Gon is not swapping people between the world intentionally, he need them to deal with Rim, and not mean to hurt; so he doesn't need to kill.

Committing suicide in 1934 when Court Lady Noh was only 2, Kim Sowol is already an established poet (even though he died, in the Japanese colonial era) even when she left the war-ravaged Korea. Since both are from the North side of the country (Today's North Korea), and Kim Sowol's poems always talk about leaving, having sad tone. I think it is Noh's way to think about her hometown, @lemoncello & @uzistar.

My theory about the 3 exceptions (Shin-jae, Tae-eul, and Court Lady Noh) is because Yo-yo Kid allows them. Tae-eul said on that fateful bed, "There's a saying: people stuck by lightning [as punishment]." When Yo-yo Kid saved Tae-eul last episode (I also believe it was the time he reveal himself), he said, "There are too many enemies for me to handle." So they may have been allowed by God (i.e. Yo-yo Kid, who is keeping the balance by swinging the Yo-yo with red string), whether they were willingly or not, to cross over (or in Noh's situation, having God him/herself taking her over?).

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😭🤣🤣🤣🤣you come off as condescending so much. I wonder what you do in reality. I don't like critics so explains why

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I study theatre in University of Ottawa, mainly directing and some playwright. My current daytime job is a news writer and reporter in a Cantonese-speaking TV company in Toronto, and because I don't like the political leaning of my company, I have a video podcast (also Cantonese) concerning international news, airing in a Hongkong web-radio.

I am not god, for sure, so feel free to criticize me. It is ok you voice out your opinion, even thinking The King is a masterpiece, but I am pretty sure I will argue with you.

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Studied, not study, sorry for my spelling.
Both Ottawa and Toronto are in Canada, in case you don't know, @kamjong (I guess all beanies are from all over the world, so kindly just an explanation, no mean to offend).

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Great idea as to why some feel the pain of lightening and others do not. I had been pondering that all week!

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I’m so happy with this episode because it felt like this was the calm before the storm. I know that from episode 13 a lot of things change and we will start getting to our unanswered questions. And as for Yeong and Shin Jae I’m so ready for this bromance to sail❤️❤️❤️❤️ And Lady Noh’s big reveal was something I didn’t see Coming but then they already gave us subtle clues with the poetry book and all but we didn’t just read meanings to it. 4 more episodes to go. A lot of loose ends need to be tied up properly.

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Thank you for the recap @quirkycase!

Noh's reveal is shocking to me because it just nullified all the theories about how the portal opened. All the theories before was related to the flute being broke in half which caused a disturbance and the portal opened.

Noh’s reveal however….highlighted that theres a bigger power pulling the strings, the portal opened way before the flute waa broke in two. It also explained why Noh kept the flute half and ID fro a while before giving it to Gon. She knows stuff. Huhu

I wonder when was the PM swapped. Was it always PM or always the doppelganger? 🤔 The theory about the scar is, only those whose doppelgangers are killed have them. Taeul and Eunsop doesn't have scars because their doppelgangers are still alive.

There were other reveals in ep 12, like Shinjae’s mum is actually using another identity…I wonder how they are going to resolve this with only 4 more episodes. Hmmmm

ps: yay! I'm quite early this time. Heheheh 😄

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Also...I noticed that Gon doesn't have any recollection of visiting Taeul and giving her flowers. It really does look like he will time travel. What I'm confused is when time stops, doesn't it mean that time is stagnant rather than moving forward. I don't understand how he can time travel if time stops. He says time stops for X amount of seconds which is equivalent to X amount of days. Doesn't that mean Gon will get older while other people frozen in time, maintain their youth/age? Hmmm 🤔

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the main idea , in my assessment , is time/eternity : a state to which time has no application; timelessness hence eternity. Lee Geon has become someone where time essentially has no application to him. Hence that is the title The King Eternal Monarch. So we are essentially watching his and the others encounters with time and eternity. But I really don’t think time applies to him or Uncle

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Wow, good call on thinking Gon didn't remember giving Taeul the flowers. I learn more by reading the comments.

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I'm sure Shin Jae is in the royal succession line. If not why would evil uncle bother carrying a child early on into his world hopping trip. It also explain why the kingdom mum would need to hide her identity.

I thought Shin Jae might be evil uncle child but that does not add up since the original Shin Jae could not possibly the child of the ROK uncle since he was born invalid? I can't remember if the topic of Shin Jae's father ever be brought up.

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SJ’s korean father is in jail and SJ often sends him money. Spoken about in some episode when SJ gets his mom out of jail and has dinner with her.

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Ah one of the many detail must've missed from this show.

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Don’t worry there are too many details that it is possible. I think I have seen a few too many scenes and episodes a few too many times, so...

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I think uncle just wants a mole in the palace. He used his real mum as a mole in exchange for Shinjae's safety. It would be so scandalous if Gon's dad had a concubine and another son...the same age as Gon to boot. Hahahaha 🤣

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SJ could be related to Doctor Uncle.

Or to LR! The fact that LR doesn’t want him dead...

I wondered why did LR not want JTE dead but him not wanting SJ dead would make sense if Evil uncle is related to SJ. SJ has too much of a back story to not be related to evil uncle or the throne :D

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Damnit... there goes my theory. i kinda want Shin Jae fight off with evil uncle ala Darth Vader - Luke Skywalker style 🤪

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Haha!

At present we have three fighters: SJ, JY and of course, LG!

JTE won’t get the final actual fight, am sure.

So yup... anything is possible. Think the impossible, with fate anything is possible :D

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There's a fourth, @noone, That's Lady Noh. Crossing before 1953, I don't think she is on Rim's side.

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@imperialtitus you know what I mean!

Lady noh won’t go into a physical swords battle field just as I suspect JTE won’t go to the final one either.

But I could be wrong, who knows :D

I am imagining Granny Noh with a sword... ohhh!!

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@yoona we keep running into dead ends with all our theories. I don't think Shin-jae is Lee Ho's illegitimate son (not with the short-lived romantic story of Gon's parents we learned this episode), but he could be related to the royal family another way? I also want a Vaderesque meeting with Lee Rim.

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There is that ongoing theory that Evil LR fathered SJ. If this proves to be true, it still does not put SJ in the succession roll since LR himself was taken out of the line, being an illegitimate child of a concubine.

But I agree with you SJ has a bigger role in the royal household to get that much exposure in the Corea story telling

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I am also wondering if LG is the real heir, as in bloodline wise!

But we will see :D

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I have no doubt that Lee Gon is the rightful heir to the throne, witnessed by the whole country as the son of the king and his queen.

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I thought about that too but an illegitimate child of a traitor doesn’t put him on the succession line and the 3 generations treason punishment may apply to him too.
His life is a mess so either way he’s not going to be on Rims side.

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Ah nooooo he can't be Rim's son then!! Poor Shin-jae.

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@wishfultoki
It would so cruel if he end up being Rim's illegitimate child.
They've given him a lot of screen time so there must be some kind of big reveal for him at some point.

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The amount of Yeong/Eun-seob this week was heartbreaking. Buuuut, that reveal of Head Court Lady Noh at the end caught me off guard. I did not see that coming and I'm pleasantly surprised that this Show did that.

Slowly starting to get behind the romance or maybe the interactions have increased and beyond the Im-the-king-I-will-behead-you-if-you-know-not-of-my-existence. w

I've got no theories of my own so can't wait to read some. I just hope the drama will be tie this up well in 4 eps.

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The frozen Tae eul scene was the best scene for me in this episode. That he looked at her with wistful longing and sadness and pain was sad. That the moment was filled with a kind of foreboding was troubling. There was a dream-like fragility about the scene, like they don't have much time left together, and when he took that one step forward to lean in close and put his arm around her and she unfroze and time flowed again and the camera clicked - it was just a lovely, haunting moment, so achingly, beautifully poignant.

The neck kiss. Uh, I was quite scandalised by it, to be honest. But it was too fast to be effective. Like if he had lingered a beat longer, it could have been so much better. I did like the close up on his jawline, though. It moved. I presume his lips were moving in sync, assuming there is a direct line from his mouth to his jaw. I mean, I couldn't see his mouth. They were just showing me his moving jawline. No idea why they didn't want to show me his mouth. There is something so sensual about a moving jawline, especially a jawline as strong and as chiselled as LMH's...and, no, @trinpie, I know you are going to say that your jawline moves, too, when you chew, but this is not the same thing. For one thing, no teeth are involved...or were they? Hm. I did like the slow slide of his lips to hers...now, that was hot. Though I wonder what happened after that. I guess we'll never know.

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It would have been lovely if the drama let them spend the night together, but my guess is that they were interrupted by PM Koo's visit and Lady Noh's request to have tea with her. The storm was still raging when both had their meetings

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Nothing happened. He expounded on mathematical theories, and gave her a set of problems to solve. She fell asleep halfway from exhaustion.

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So the fans have a theory: they visited the church, asked the Priest to keep a secret and then they come back home and sleep together (In the biblical sense) :D

Given that they realize that they have limited time they might just want to be physically intimate... would make sense, no?

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See, this is the thing that confounds me each time. That a bed scene is dangled before us like a carrot. Are we so delicate that our dainty minds can't abide an actual Bedding with a capital B? In Scarlet Heart, I didn't even know that they had bedded each other in the biblical sense, until she showed up with a big belly after a time skip, and I went, Holy macaroni, they really did it! So I am going to say that yes, they did it...though she is still recovering, but that shirt she's wearing is a hint, it's his shirt, isn't it? I mean, heck, it'd be more sizzling if it were, it had buttons and it looked like a man's shirt, and that neck kiss and that mouth kiss and the camera running off to peek outside the window kind of suggests that they went all the way...offscreen.

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Haha! I think it has to do with sensibilities and this is a prime time production. I was also wondering if they didn’t show the faces of the dead bodies for the same reason.

We didn’t see the face of the dead body in the trunk of the car or of the girl as she was wearing a mask!

Then everything they kiss I think of corona and how in the world are they ensuring the safety of cast and crew! Paranoia at work.

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All the good stuff happens off screen in this drama lol.

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Nope, she is sleeping in my room, she is the future Queen of the nation, but I still haven't heard her say yes to his proposal.  However, when lightning strikes and she says to him look at my neck "Do I have flaming scar?" He is startled by her lack of modesty, it is pretty clear that this is new territory for him.  He is a gentleman though, after the third kiss he stops and gives her a few seconds to think this over. No objections? Well then, it is time for true loves kiss, some quality time and some privacy. Here is the beauty shot, framed in a perfect square.  (Ahem, as in chess board square).  Its a wrap ❤ Chemistry? Yes I think so......

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“Holy macaroni!” and I LMAO.

Also the dangling carrot thing.

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I’m all honesty I really wanted them to have a very romantic scene( let’s get down with it and be intimate with each other)

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@noone I love how you clarified sleeping together in the biblical sense! I thought to myself, if we were watching a Western drama, that clarification wouldn't have been necessary! 😂

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Would it unthinkable in a Korean TV drama to imply that 2 consenting adults would spend the night? I think they did the deed based on what was shown.

Am not Korean & all TV dramas I see or hear about are inclined to be chaste on this front. So am honestly wondering.

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I think it has more to do with a star's image. Some might want to maintain their chaste nature while in this one I think it is a mix between: star's image (someone said that the ML is an A lister) and public television broadcast. Also, the story is a bit chaste (everything is hinted but not in your face)... as I said earlier... we dont see the faces of any of the dead bodies barring Korean brother of LR doppelgänger.

FYI-- am not a Korean either (so take the above with a pinch of salt) but have read a bit about their media culture :)

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Chungmuro is a different playground.
Both Lee Min-ho and Kim Go-eun have done not very chaste scenes in films.

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TV has many restrictions compared to movies because TV is for public viewing for a wide range of age groups.

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Trust me, this is consummated love.

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I agree. It is implied.

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Why didn't you tell us that you cameo as the king's pillow? It's no wonder you had the best view and we got kicked out with the camera man.

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I am a movie buff/kdrama fan. This is not my first rodeo. I hope I was not indelicate because it was very sensitively done.

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Which begs the question: Did they, or did they not go all the way? This reminds me of that frustrating scene in Scarlet Heart which panned to the lovers staring at each other in a dim room and a flame flickering on a candle wick and then ...nothing. I remember screaming I was that mad. This time around, I didn't even blink. I've wised up to their little games now.

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