The King: Eternal Monarch: Episode 7
Our hero brings someone else into the fold this hour, hoping to use everything at his disposal to thwart his uncle’s plot, whatever that may be. Our heroine isn’t thrilled with his decision since they have no idea what the consequences may be. The star-crossed lovers prepare for the possible danger that lies ahead and begin working together to put things right.
Ok-nam and Prince Bu-yeong stand at the place where they scattered “Rim’s” ashes 24 years ago. Now, Prince Bu-yeong wonders whose body they cremated. Ok-nam senses something off, and Prince Bu-yeong admits he told Gon the truth. He shocks her by revealing the body wasn’t Rim’s.
As Rim develops a photo of Tae-eul and Shin-jae in his lair, Gon reasons that Rim will come for the flute. He continues narrating that he’s a danger to Tae-eul while we see her and Shin-jae practicing at the shooting range. Tae-eul jealously stares at Shin-jae’s paper target full of holes clustered near the bullseye.
Shin-jae questions why she didn’t work at headquarters after graduating from the police academy. She could’ve been a senior inspector by now like her classmates. Tae-eul loftily claims she’s not jealous. Why is she trying so hard for a promotion, then? “Because my classmates are all senior inspectors.” Heh. A call from Moon-shik sends them off to a murder site.
In the kingdom, Gon shuffles around his schedule and even requests an early report from Seo-ryung who’s outraged by the short notice. She prepares for a National Assembly meeting and rejects the pantsuits wardrobe selected – why should she have to present as masculine to be successful? – and sends the assistants out. Alone, she bitterly wonders what’s so special about “that bitch.”
In the republic, Tae-eul and Shin-jae arrive at the crime scene where Jangmi is puking his guts out. A young woman was stabbed to death in her own apartment, and the lack of struggle indicates it was done by an acquaintance.
Back in the kingdom, Seung-ah reports to Ok-nam that the mole from Seo-ryung’s office is a woman who works in the wardrobe department. Seung-ah shows pictures from the woman’s social media account that prove she’s in contact with Seo-ryung’s assistant.
In the face of Ok-nam’s wrath, the woman drops to her knees and confesses through tears that she only said it looked like Gon had a girlfriend after she saw him cooking for Tae-eul. Ok-nam fires her and nods for security to escort the woman out. One of the security guards is the alternate of the roommate of the recent murder victim in the republic.
Said roommate is currently giving her testimony to Tae-eul at the station. She left when the victim’s boyfriend came over and found the body upon her return. They immediately send cops to the boyfriend’s address while Shin-jae checks the witnesses’s alibi. Rim’s right-hand man lurks nearby and watches him, clearly not worried about how obviously shady he looks.
We see an article about some HG Group in the process of being handed down to a successor, and we watch the current chairman leaving the office as his son (the successor) bows politely.
Tae-eul’s team, meanwhile, discusses the case and pries into Moon-shik’s business when Shin-jae mentions his “loneliness.” Apparently, Moon-shik’s wife had Shin-jae sign a contract promising he wouldn’t call Moon-shik out after 10 P.M. Moon-shik steers conversation back to the case.
Tae-eul and Shin-jae go on a stakeout. He asks her what happened to that money she won in the bet with her dad when he started lessons. She wanted to get double eyelid surgery at the time but ended up spending the money on snacks instead.
Shin-jae looks at her dubiously when she goes on about how lovely, gentle and intelligent she was back then. He quips that she sounds drunk. Right then, Detective Shim and Jangmi head over for the changing of the guards. They laugh about Jangmi’s strange gangster-esque fashion sense.
In the kingdom, Gon meets with the officials from China who thank him for Corea’s assistance with the stranded fishing boat. As a show of their gratitude, China declares Corean citizens can now visit without a visa. Gon muses with a far-off look that being able to visit anywhere as one wishes is a true gift.
Tae-eul is startled when she sees Na-ri sporting a new haircut that makes her look more like Seung-ah. Na-ri accuses Tae-eul of two-timing her café since she sees her around less lately. Tae-eul jokes that she’s better than her dad who doesn’t even notice when she’s out all night.
Na-ri assumes she was on a stakeout, but Tae-eul conspiratorially shares she was at a guy’s house. Tae-eul feels her out by asking how she would feel if, hypothetically, she met someone from another world who looked just like her. “I’d have to kill her, of course,” Na-ri says. It’s a rule that one of the doppelgangers must die.
Tae-eul thinks of her friends in both worlds. Why is that a rule? Na-ri reasons that having two where there should only be one will result in chaos and upset balance. It’s like why NASA hides the existence of aliens – one world is bound to destroy the other. Pfft.
Gon sneaks into the stables to fetch Maximus, but he runs into the vet and two workers. One of the workers watches him go with a look that screams he’s a baaad guy (duh). Gon gallops into the bamboo forest to find Yeong already waiting for him.
Yeong asks if he’s going to meet Luna, which confuses Gon. Yeong sighs that Tae-eul’s been deceiving him, and she’s actually the criminal Luna. He lists all her crimes, desperately trying to convince Gon she’s a fraud. All Gon hears is that Tae-eul does have an alternate.
Yeong senses Gon’s obstinance and gives him two choices: either kill him or take him with him. Yeong is shocked to get a text telling him to enjoy his time off. Gon already arranged for him to come with him this time. They’ll go on foot since Tae-eul’s yard can’t accommodate two horses.
Gon realizes the only way Yeong will believe him is to experience it himself. Yeong stands in amazement as the gate appears and steels himself when Gon tells him they’re headed to another world.
We cut to that HG Group chairman guy who goes to meet with Rim. He bows and calls him by his imperial title. The son calls him an idiot, ordering him not to bow while wearing his father’s face.
Suddenly, time pauses, giving Rim a heads up that Gon has used the gate. Elsewhere, Seo-ryung is terrified when she looks up and sees another woman with her face in the reflection on her monitor. Time unfreezes for Rim, and the whiny son of the chairman angrily whines about the succession process being too slow.
Rim assures him it’ll all go smoothly, impervious to the whiny dude’s anger. From around the corner, the whiny dude’s alternate appears, and Rim instructs the now chairman to let his real son inherit the company. With that, Rim’s right-hand man stabs the whiny dude. The timid alternate then takes the knife and finishes the job.
In the kingdom, Ok-nam finds the note Gon left her, letting her know he took Yeong with him and promising he’d be back by Friday. She looks at the unfinished portrait of Gon with unease and thinks of Prince Bu-yeong’s revelation that Rim is alive. She orders the portrait to be completed quickly since it looks like Gon is wearing a white robe stained with blood.
Tae-eul works late and stares wistfully at her old case report on Gon. She changes the name from “unknown” to “Lee Gon” but doesn’t save it. She goes home, and now we’ve caught up with the ending of the previous episode.
Gon is relieved to find she waited for him. Before he can finish saying he was scared she didn’t want him to come, Tae-eul runs and throws her arms around him. They head inside the Taekwondo studio; Gon already met her dad and got a key.
Inside, Tae-eul jumps in fright to see Yeong standing there. Except she thinks he’s Eun-seob at first and asks why he didn’t bring the twins. He remains silent as she laughs at his hair and outfit, but she stops short when she realizes it’s Yeong.
Back in the kingdom, Ok-nam spreads the story that Gon is locked in his study and Yeong took some time off. Still searching for the thief, she asks one of the guards to bring her a comprehensive list of everyone who was in the palace on November 11.
In the republic, Gon comments to Tae-eul that he’s never seen Yeong this cutely flustered. Tae-eul is not as relaxed, though, and chides him for bringing someone with an alternate here. Right as he confidently states Yeong won’t get caught, Eun-seob pops in.
The alternates stare at each other in shock. Yeong even starts to pull out his gun. Tae-eul throws Gon a “this is your fault, so fix it” look, but before he can finish introducing them, Eun-seob faints. Tae-eul freaks out and smacks him awake.
Yeong remains mute, but Eun-seob chatters non-stop once he’s awake. When Yeong finally speaks, Eun-seob whimpers in fear and clings to Tae-eul. She starts to explain, but Eun-seob interrupts her, still in a state of fear, to eek out that he never realized how handsome he is. Yeong: “You really didn’t know?” Ha!
Tae-eul and Gon turn to stare at him in disbelief as Yeong continues that people must’ve told him all the time. Eun-seob turns on Tae-eul to ask accusingly why she never told him. Pfft. Eun-seob brings himself back to the issue at hand and excitedly surmises that everything Gon said is true, then. Eun-seob seems to calm down and even starts talking to Yeong, but in the middle of their conversation, he drops again.
They go to Eun-seob’s place where Yeong performs a security check of the house. Yeong and Eun-seob start arguing, and Yeong’s eyes go wide when Eun-seob calls himself Gon’s Unbreakable Sword. Gon looks at Yeong guiltily while Yeong scoffs.
Eun-seob tells Gon his 63rd dream: to be a citizen of his kingdom in his next life. Gon forbids it and changes the topic to food. When Eun-seob calls him crazy for thinking about chicken now, Yeong pulls his gun. Eun-seob rushes to hide behind Tae-eul when she walks in as she yells that it’s illegal to have a gun here.
Tae-eul orders them to sit which Eun-seob does obediently and Yeong begrudgingly. She lays down the ground rules. Yeong will stay at Eun-seob’s and can go outside at night while Eun-seob can go out during the day. Yeong suggests eliminating one of them, and Eun-seob takes offense when they all look at him.
Tae-eul reminds them of the rules and tells Gon to follow her. Yeong is horrified by how casually she addresses him, but Gon comments he’s missed it. He takes Tae-eul’s hand, and they leave the alternates alone.
Yeong looks at the family photos and asks about Eun-seob’s parents. They’re still in Busan where Eun-seob is from. His twin siblings are visiting them for the holidays. Huh, that’s an odd living arrangement.
Eun-seob is surprised Yeong doesn’t have siblings, but it turns out his parents are divorced. Eun-seob: “Do you want a hug?” Ha! They start arguing again. Eun-seob makes fun of Yeong’s sageuk speech, and Yeong thinks he’s lazy for being happy to be discharged from the military in two days.
Meanwhile, Gon and Tae-eul go for chicken and beer. He’s upset to see Shin-jae saved as a contact in the cell phone she prepared for him. Tae-eul’s insistence that he’s extremely trustworthy doesn’t help.
Gon calls her on his new phone, claiming he wants to see what it’s like to chat on the phone with her, talk about their day and tell her he missed her. Tae-eul looks around and hangs up self-consciously, but she admits she wants that too.
She jokingly says she’ll taste the chicken first, but Gon stops her. He wants to lessen the gap between them. They eat while holding hands. Next, she takes him to the arcade where he embarrassed himself. Gon watches as she hits every target in one go while wearing sunglasses.
As Gon carries the prize she won him, Tae-eul claims she can win him an even bigger one in Hongdae. He recalls that Shin-jae compared his relationship with Tae-eul to that between Hongdae and Kondae and asks Tae-eul about the phrase. She explains that they’re two universities that aren’t very close. Gon smiles until she admits she likes both places.
Of course, she has no idea why he’s being petulant. He grabs her hand, but she wraps his arm around her shoulder instead since they never know how much time they’ll get together. Tae-eul turns serious and says she needs to ask him something.
Gon immediately assumes something happened. Did someone threaten her? Tae-eul realizes he must’ve come back because he knew something might happen. She asks if there’s a K Stadium in his world. When he confirms it, she lightly scoffs. “We’re screwed.”
Rim gets his right-hand man to make some payments early. He catches on that Rim must be about to world hop again, and Rim reassures him he won’t bring back his alternate anytime soon.
Back at Tae-eul’s, her and Gon listen to the recordings. He’s worried it’ll be dangerous if she keeps investigating, and Tae-eul admits she considered covering it up. But the two worlds shouldn’t be colliding like this. Now that she’s discovered it, as a police officer, she can’t look the other way.
Gon shows her Rim’s death certificate and explains the situation. Tae-eul intends to investigate and gives Gon a strict laundry list of orders. He agrees to follow her commands but requests in return that she never tell him not to come back or tell him to leave.
Gon knows he’ll have to go back and forth between worlds and wants her to stay strong, although he doesn’t feel good about asking this of her. She nods, but he’s unclear on which part she’s agreeing with, and she doesn’t clarify. Before he leaves for the night, Tae-eul asks if she truly doesn’t have an alternate. She guesses the truth from his tense silence.
Shin-jae and Moon-shik meet up for drinks. Moon-shik worries about him having to sleep in the night duty room since his wages were seized, but Shin-jae claims it’s comfortable and even smells nice. Moon-shik imagines it must after Jangmi spent days questioning everyone about Shin-jae’s favorite flower and finally settled on lavender. Oh my gosh, that is adorable. Shin-jae tells Moon-shik to let Jangmi know for next time that mugwort is his favorite.
Shin-jae notices a car parked outside – we hear a camera shutter – and watches it drive off. That night, he lies staring at the ceiling. In a flashback, little Shin-jae wakes up hooked to monitors and wearing an oxygen mask. His mother cries tears of relief when he wakes and yells for his father.
Tae-eul gets her friend Kyung-ran to look up Rim’s alternate’s information and is surprised to find out he suffered paralysis from polio. She notes with suspicion that his brother and nephew died “accidental” deaths and sadly realizes what happened to Gon’s alternate.
Gon brings Yeong to a fancy hotel where they’ll be staying; he brought gold this time. Yeong urges Gon to return to the palace. Their life isn’t here. But Gon has a different plan. He’ll leave on Thursday, but he wants Yeong to stay.
Rim might be in this world, and no one can stop him here. Time pauses. Gon begins to speculate that the time pauses may not just be a side effect but a “rule.” He writes a note for Yeong and sticks it in his pocket.
When time restarts, Gon explains that Rim is traveling back and forth like him. Time paused again, which means he used the gate. Yeong wants proof that time paused, so Gon tells him to check his pocket. Yeong holds the note in shock as Gon continues that he and Rim each have half of an object. If Rim obtains both halves, he alone will be able to use the gate. He commands Yeong to kill Rim when he finds him.
In the kingdom, the officer on the Luna case leaves a message for Yeong. The fingerprints he supplied are a match for Luna, but funnily enough, Luna has already been picked up for larceny and is currently in jail.
Seo-ryung’s assistant gives her the rundown on the Luna situation and its link to the palace. Guess there’s more than one mole. Seo-ryung is shocked when she sees the photo that looks just like Tae-eul. Her assistant says Luna will be released soon. Meanwhile, Tae-eul ruminates on Gon’s revelation that she does have an alternate.
An envelope from her mother’s house is delivered to Seo-ryung’s office. Inside is a newspaper with a headline about Donald Trump visiting North Korea. She takes it as “fake news” (heh) and tosses the paper aside. When a rough-looking Luna walks out of prison, Seo-ryung is waiting for her.
I spy with my little eye some overarching plot. We’ve taken a lot of time getting our characters into place and being fed tiny clues along the way, but now it feels like we’re moving toward the main event. Tae-eul and Gon are both aware of the whole Rim not being dead thing and his penchant for life swap shenanigans. The idea of balance was brought up a lot this hour. So long as the two worlds operate on their parallel tracks without interference, all is well. But when they intersect, chaos ensues, and balance needs to be restored. Then, we have Na-ri’s theory that one alternate needs to die to avert chaos. I’m assuming this all links to Rim’s ultimate plan since every time he brings two alternates in contact, he makes one kill the other. That must mean he’s not out to destroy the worlds or anything since it seems like he’s working to maintain some sort of balance. But what does he get out of all the swapping?
Next, we have Luna. She’s obviously important to the goings on, and now Seo-ryung has her in her sights. That combination spells trouble, although it all depends on what Seo-ryung hopes to achieve and how far she’ll go. I wish we had more on her motivations since right now I only know that she wants Gon as her arm candy. What’s her end goal? She’s ambitious, and I would like to know what those ambitions are. Just like with Rim, it’s hard to find an antagonist truly threatening or compelling when you don’t have a read on their motivations or goals. I wonder if Seo-ryung and Rim are going to team up. See, that’s where knowing their goals would come in handy. That newspaper from the other world that Seo-ryung received probably came from Rim. When she visited her mother’s shop that day, Rim’s umbrella was there, so he must be keeping tabs on her.
I can understand why Rim would want the prime minister on his side, but why is he after Shin-jae? He’s still having him followed. Maybe it has something to do with that memory of Shin-jae waking up from coma or whatever. Crazy thought, but could Shin-jae be from the other world? We haven’t seen Shin-jae’s double in the kingdom, and he immediately recognized Corea’s symbol. Also, his mom’s alternate is the shady palace worker who’s a spy for Rim in the kingdom. I’m probably off the mark, but there’s definitely something fishy there. And it seems like Shin-jae keeps a lot bottled up. At least he’s got Jangmi looking out for his wellbeing. I mean, he polled everyone about Shin-jae’s favorite flower just so he could make the room smell fresh. That is the cutest and most thoughtful thing ever.
Seo-ryung makes the third person (I think) who’s had a weird encounter with her alternate across worlds. I had almost forgotten about Tae-eul seeing Luna in her rearview mirror until Seo-ryung saw her alternate in place of her reflection. There was also the coffee incident where Yeong burned himself and Eun-seob felt it. Is that a sign of something or just a random occurrence that can happen to anyone? Although, if memory serves, it does always seem to happen around the time the gate is used.
I didn’t expect Gon to bring Yeong through the gate so soon, but I’m glad. I enjoyed seeing his and Eun-seob’s interactions. We haven’t spent much time developing either of them as characters, really. I assumed Eun-seob’s parents had died since he seems to be raising his siblings, but then he mentioned that his parents are in Busan. Why would he be single-handedly raising his younger siblings if they still have their parents? I’m interested in the backstory there. And we know next to nothing about Yeong’s personal life. Hopefully, we’ll get to spend a little more time getting to know our polar opposite alternates.
I wonder how using the gate will affect people like Tae-eul and Yeong who don’t possess the magic flute. So far, only Gon and Rim experience the time pauses which suggests they’re the result of a flute-gate combo. Does that mean that the slow aging only applies to Gon and Rim, too? And we still haven’t delved into the possibility of messing with timelines. I feel like we’ve barely scratched the surface with regards to what the flute and gate can do, and I hope we get answers.
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