The King: Eternal Monarch: Episode 8
Hidden truths begin to surface, leading our long-suffering cop to question his reality. His partner’s secret investigations and associations collide with strange memories of his past and offer him an explanation he may not be ready to accept. But with our evil uncle closing in, there’s no time to lose.
As Tae-eul thinks about her missing ID, Rim receives a note about a guest at the palace as well as said ID. Kyung-moo recognizes that the ID is from the other world. Here, the woman’s name is Luna, and she’s famous in the criminal underworld for doing anything for money. Rim instructs him to bring her to him.
We focus on yo-yo boy again, still slinging that yo-yo. Tae-eul narrates that they should’ve noticed fate’s hand intervening to restore balance before this all went down.
Seo-ryung meets with Luna, thinking she’s Tae-eul. She finds her brazen, especially when Luna denies having met her. Luna gets up in her space and menacingly claims anyone who approaches her either stole from her or she stole from them. Seo-ryung grabs her arm, asking if she truly doesn’t know her. Does “that person” know she’s an ex-con?
Luna threatens to punch her if she touches her again or spouts nonsense. It dawns on Seo-ryung that this isn’t the same woman who was with Gon. Does she have a twin? Now Luna is curious about this mystery woman and tells Seo-ryung to let her know when she finds out who she is. As she walks away, Seo-ryung realizes she snatched the bracelet right off her wrist without her noticing.
In an ice cream shop, Luna advises a little boy nearby to tell his mom he wants to leave. She’s waiting for him to go so she can kill the man over there who betrayed her. Sure enough, the second the child leaves, she smashes a chair over the man’s head without a care for the other customers.
She dumps the bleeding man in an alley and shares that the good thing about having nothing is she has no weaknesses. He, on the other hand, has a wife and kid. He promises to pay the money back and begs her not to hurt his kid. Luna tells him to get her the money or his kid dies.
In the republic, Tae-eul visits the Yangsun Care Center to get info on Rim’s alternate, but their records only go back 10 years. The employee seems practiced in pleasantly rebuffing questions and won’t divulge anything without a warrant. A female patient listening to recorded news reports from Corea on a phone passes by Tae-eul.
The report is on Seo-ryung’s rise to prominence from her early career as a news anchor and her scandals, like how she married a chaebol and divorced him in the same year. It was then that she entered politics and became prime minister within seven years.
Oh, it’s the pregnant woman Rim convinced to replace her alternate. It looks like she’s prepping for her role. She tells her baby she’ll have an aunt now as she stares at Seo-ryung’s picture.
In the kingdom, Seo-ryung is mulling over the stark contrast between Tae-eul and Luna in her car when her mom calls. She had a weird dream and cautions Seo-ryung to drive carefully and not lose anything. Uh-oh. Seo-ryung asks about the strange newspaper she sent, but her mom didn’t send anything. Her mom hangs up when Rim comes back for his umbrella.
Outside the shady bookshop, yo-yo boy reads for a change. Luna approaches and he hands her a key he’s wearing around his neck. She tosses her hoodie at the boy, saying it’s getting cold. He wonders why she lives in a van. Shouldn’t she have money if she steals so much? Luna claims she does, but she also has enemies. It’s not a world he should concern himself with. She walks away.
In the republic, Shin-jae goes to forensics to pick up the report on the stabbing victim. The blood test shows she was drugged, making Shin-jae suspicious of the roommate. Oh, the forensics lady is Moon-shik’s wife. She questions if Shin-jae is the one calling her husband out late, and he nervously bluffs he is.
Tae-eul joins Shin-jae at the crime scene and concurs with his theory that the drugging makes the roommate the more likely suspect; the boyfriend wouldn’t have had time to feed her, drug her, stab her and get out. Shin-jae tasks Tae-eul with finding evidence and clearing the boyfriend.
He takes off and goes to a police station to pick up his mother. As he signs her out, the cop notes she’s a repeat offender. He warns Shin-jae they won’t be so lenient with her next time.
Meanwhile, Gon is showing Yeong around, taking him to one of his beloved neighborhood restaurants. The gang boss he beat up happens to come out right as they arrive and starts talking big. Gon nonchalantly cautions Yeong not to kill them.
“Yeong” starts chuckling, and Gon whips around to face Eun-seob who deceived him on Yeong’s orders. Gon sighs and goes from protectee to protector. Before Gon can even finish telling him to stay out of the way, Eun-seob takes off running. Ha.
Gon is confident Yeong will show and begins whipping the gangsters into shape. Eun-seob hides around the corner and is about to call Tae-eul when Yeong swipes the hat off his head. He jumps into the fray and efficiently takes all eight men down as Eun-seob watches in awe.
Moon-shik and Detective Shim happen by and see the fight during which of the men rips off Yeong’s mask. The cops are shocked that the “cool” guy is actually little ol’ Eun-seob. Yeong tries to hand the boss over without showing his face, but it’s too late.
Right as Gon goes to step in, Yeong busts out his Eun-seob impression, satoori and all. He pulls it off, but then Moon-shik notices Gon and asks who he is. Gon starts to introduce himself, but Yeong’s still in character and cuts him off. “Be quiet, dude, the elders are talking! Don’t butt in!” HA!
Gon stares at him aghast as Yeong excuses his ignorant friend from Busan who can’t even eat without his help. Oh my gosh, this is great. Yeong has to physically drag an angry Gon away while admonishing, “Your legs are long but useless!” Heh.
Yeong stands at attention in the hotel room as Gon reprimands him for his audacity. Yeong apologizes and barely dares to look up. In lieu of beheading, Gon punishes him by drawing a “mole” on his face and forbidding him from removing it.
Tae-eul calls Gon and is frustrated he didn’t tell her he moved to a hotel. She heads to meet him, and Gon gloats to himself that he knew she’d come to see him if he irritated her. He orders Yeong not to follow him.
It’s time for Gon’s slo-mo walk of the day. He approaches Tae-eul who randomly asks if he would’ve liked her had she not helped him. He would’ve. And if she had been really rude? She was, he reminds her. Tae-eul narrates that there aren’t coincidences when it comes to fate. Sometimes your choices determine fate, but others fate chooses for you.
She only stopped by to check on him before going on a stakeout. He lies that it’s been a perfectly peaceful day. When Gon starts getting cringey, she’s too hangry for it and makes a rule whereby he’s forbidden from being cringey when she’s hungry. Heh.
Tae-eul pauses and turns back to Gon. She narrates that she had “a sad premonition that this will be short-lived.” But she decided to love her fate. “I love you,” she confesses. Gon blinks in amazement. Tae-eul continues like nothing, asking if Yeong is inside.
Gon is still reeling and takes a second to respond. When he says Yeong went out, she reminds him Yeong isn’t supposed to go out during the day. Tae-eul orders him to find him and bring him back. Gon stops her as she leaves. “Me too,” he confesses.
Yeong is out exploring when a voice yells out, “Jo Eun-seob!” He panics but tries to stay cool. Na-ri pulls up beside him in her fancy car, and he recognizes her as Seung-ah’s alternate. Isn’t he supposed to be at the station? What’s with his clothes and hair?
Seung-ah scoffs that he’s lost his mind when he crooks his finger at her and stomps over to him. Unsure of the situation, Yeong makes a gamble and asks whether he has a crush on her or her on him. Na-ri hits him in response and concludes this is why he doesn’t have a girlfriend. She wipes off the “mole” Gon drew off a startled Yeong’s face and leaves after telling him to pick up some japchae she made.
Yeong finds Eun-seob and reports the situation with Na-ri. Eun-seob admits to having a crush on her and is giddy about her giving him japchae. Yeong shakes his head at Eun-seob’s lack of cool.
That evening, Jangmi joins Tae-eul on his first stakeout. He’s bothered by the victim’s death, and knowing it was his first crime scene, Tae-eul gives him the practical advice that work is work. It’s impossible to stay in this job if they let their cases get to them.
They spot the boyfriend who runs when they approach. Jangmi catches him but accidently knocks him out. He panics while Tae-eul pays no mind and texts her team.
Elsewhere, Shin-jae takes his mom out to eat. The atmosphere is strained as she apologizes and promises not to gamble anymore. She explains gambling takes her mind off things. Shin-jae was ill for so long, and then his dad ended up like that. She heard Shin-jae has been sending money to his dad’s prison account. Oh.
Shin-jae says that he was happy when he woke up from his coma in his mom’s arms. “That was when I first realized that a person could smell so good.” We flash back to him as a child looking at family photos in an album. He stares at a photo of himself smiling and practices in the mirror. Hmm…
His mom begins to cry as Shin-jae apologizes for not always being a good son and calling the cops on her. He asks her not to do this to herself anymore. Shin-jae holds back tears as she apologizes for everything and calls him her miracle child.
In the kingdom, Shin-jae’s mom’s alternate (the palace spy) goes to the bookshop and retrieves an envelope. Tears fall as she looks through the pictures of Shin-jae inside, and she sinks to the ground.
Back in the republic, the cops interview the boyfriend who claims he found his girlfriend already dead. Shin-jae reveals to his team that the method of killing matches that used in a script the roommate was reading, which could be the evidence they need. It proves unnecessary since the roommate calls Tae-eul to turn herself in.
Gon and Yeong return to the restaurant they didn’t get to eat at earlier, but when the owner spots Gon, he utters a shocked “Your Highness” before he can cover it. Outside, Gon instructs Yeong to catch the owner when he flees.
In the kingdom, Prince Bu-yeong pulls out what I believe is Rim’s old ring. Elsewhere, Seo-ryung’s mom suspects something and looks up a picture of the royal family. Her eyes widen when she recognizes Rim as umbrella guy.
The roommate confesses to the murder, her motive being simple: she didn’t like her. She doesn’t resist as Shin-jae cuffs and arrests her. Tae-eul walks the boyfriend out. He complains that his girlfriend didn’t wait to die until after he’d broken up with her. Tae-eul decks him for being a douche.
He does reveal that the roommate has a burner phone (like Lee Sang-do), so Tae-eul searches her apartment but only finds the charger. Meanwhile, Kyung-ran gives Shin-jae the report on Rim’s alternate that Tae-eul asked for, assuming it’s for a case they’re working on.
That night, the restaurant owner sneaks out and is caught by Yeong who takes him to an empty building. While questioning him, they find his burner phone. Gon surmises he works for Rim and asks where he is, but the man just laughs.
“You greatly resemble your father,” he says with a mocking smile and wonders if his end will be the same. Gon deduces he must’ve gotten to come here as a reward of sorts for standing with Rim during the coup. The man calls it balance, but Gon believes only a deity can restore balance. They’re merely murders.
When Gon commands Yeong to take the man back to Corea, the man flips out and begs to be killed instead. Gon notes the absence of contacts in the burner phone and reasons it must only be for answering calls. He orders the man to commit suicide.
In prison, a guard escorts the roommate to an empty building at night where Rim’s right-hand man is waiting. He’s disappointed she made a mess of things by killing a random person, but she argues the girl had to go since she heard her conversation on the burner phone.
She threatens to hand the phone over to the cops if he doesn’t get her out. He smugly asks if she actually thinks the prison is having a power outage. After his show of might, he encourages her to call when she remembers where she hid the phone. She drops to the floor in fear.
Gon presents Na-ri with a solid gold turtle, asking to rent her building for a while. Tae-eul shows up, and Gon congratulates her on catching the criminal. He admits he had Yeong tail her briefly. She reproaches him for sending someone else instead of doing it himself, but he confesses he’s not stealthy. He lights up whatever room he’s in. Pfft.
After Na-ri brings them their drinks, Gon conspiratorially whispers she seems to have a crush on Eun-seob. Tae-eul sighs that it’s the other way around and jokes that she can’t work with someone so slow-witted.
She returns the death certificate and shares her findings on Rim’s alternate, including the deaths of the brother and nephew. But the sister-in-law is alive. Gon muses that she must have his mother’s face. Tae-eul plans to visit her the following day, and Gon agrees to go with her.
Shin-jae visits the grave of the boy from the file (Gon’s alternate) and flashes back to seeing little Gon on the news performing the mourning ritual for the king. Oho! Shaken, he leaves just as Jung-hye stops by with flowers.
Jung-hye follows Shin-jae to the police station and wonders if he’s a friend of her late son Ji-hoon’s. She tells her driver/jailer to go ahead and report it. They won’t let her die anyway. She touches the cut marks on her wrist as her humorless laughs turn to sobs.
Eun-seob happy dances his way out of work in Yeong’s coat and finds Yeong’s phone in his pocket. Yeong’s background is the photo of him and Gon in military uniform, and Eun-seob swoons over his own handsomeness while tsking over having your boss as your background. Ha.
Shin-jae pops up behind him and demands he turn over the phone. Eun-seob tries to lie that it’s him in the photo, but Shin-jae is in no mood. Eun-seob folds in the face of his anger and divulges that Gon is staying under his name at a hotel. Shin-jae comments that Eun-seob can get him a key to the room, then.
In the kingdom, Seo-ryung receives another envelope from her mother’s address containing the exact same newspaper. Seo-ryung calls her mother who again denies sending her anything. Unsettled, she begins flipping through the strange paper and gasps to see a photo of herself in a crowd shot.
Back in the republic, Shin-jae sneaks into Gon’s hotel room while he’s not there. He finds the death certificate marked with Corea’s symbol. Shin-jae tries to steady himself as he’s flooded with memories and recalls Gon’s remark that the symbol is from another world.
Suddenly, Yeong throws a punch at him from behind. As they fight, they move into the living room where light from the window reveals Yeong’s face. Staring into his eyes, Shin-jae realizes this isn’t Eun-seob. Gon walks in and Yeong hands him the death certificate Shin-jae was holding.
Gon patiently explains that this is his royal court’s symbol. Shin-jae is on the verge of a breakdown, and he can’t accept Gon’s words. He asks who they are, but Gon insists he told him already; he’s a king. Shin-jae asks where this supposed kingdom is. Gon replies it’s in another world.
Shin-jae just keeps asking who he is. “Are you Lee Gon?” Gon thinks Tae-eul told him, but Shin-jae had no idea she knew. Now it’s Gon’s turn to be surprised. Shin-jae: “That crying child was really you? Are you really Lee Gon?”
Gon realizes they’ve underestimated how many people have crossed into this world. Heedless of the gun Yeong has pointed at him, Shin-jae grabs Gon’s jacket in desperation. Gon responds he knows one thing for certain: “You are the reason I must return to my world. It seems like I am your king.”
Shin-jae really did come from Corea! Or, at least, he spent some time there as a kid. But he doesn’t seem to know where he was at the time. Maybe he thinks it was something he dreamed up in his coma as a child? It’d be easy enough to dismiss or repress early childhood memories that don’t seem to fit his life. Shin-jae still remains the most compelling character for me, and I’m most interested to know his story. It makes me feel a bit better that Rim was having him followed to send pictures to his mother in the kingdom. Hopefully, that means he isn’t targeting him for anything now. Although, it looks like poor Shin-jae has been involved in this for most of his life. I wonder if he personally is of use to Rim or if sending him to another world was just a deal Rim made with Shin-jae’s mother.
Either way, Rim has created quite the network of swappers over these past 25 years. It’s so hard keeping track of all these side characters! I’m trying to keep everyone and their alternates straight, but I’m sure I’ve missed some along the way. It’s exhausting trying to memorize every new face that pops up in case they resurface without warning. I’m glad our good guys are finally catching on to what Rim’s been up to since I’m more than ready for some answers. Now that they’ve got someone who’s apparently been swapped on their team, maybe they can make some headway.
So Luna is intense. I was taken off guard when she brutally attacked that guy at the ice cream shop in full view of everyone. She mentioned that she has no home or anything that can be used as a weakness, so I wonder what happened to her family in this world. She came across big sisterly with yo-yo boy, but maybe she just likes kids. Luna did wait for that kid to leave the shop before doing anything violent. I guess she has a semblance of a moral code. She seems like a dangerous tool to have, and I feel like she could tip the scales depending on which side she aligns with.
Gon and Tae-eul’s relationship is moving at breakneck speed, isn’t it? They’re already at the I-love-you stage, apparently. *Sigh* I kept waiting for them to develop the romance a little more, give it room to breathe, but I’m officially giving up now. I guess I just have to take the show’s word for it that they’re in love and move on. I’m finding the side relationships a lot more interesting. This episode gave us some more Yeong and Eun-seob goodness. Watching Yeong horrify Gon with his spot-on Eun-seob impersonation was so much fun. It’s nice to see Yeong doing something other than standing stoically. This pair of alternates is the bromance I didn’t know I needed here. Thanks to Eun-seob, Yeong gets to lighten up a bit, and thanks to Yeong, Eun-seob gets to revel in his own good looks.
- Premiere Watch: The King: Eternal Monarch
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- Kim Go-eun makes drama comeback in The King: Eternal Ruler with Lee Min-ho
- Lee Min-ho reunites with star writer Kim Eun-sook for sci-fi romance