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The King: Eternal Monarch: Episode 9

It’s time for our monarch to start making his move now that he’s becoming aware of the depth of his traitorous uncle’s scheming. But our leads still don’t have the full picture, making it difficult for our hero to pin down where his dear uncle might be. Both sides are closing in on each other, so it’s only a matter of time before there’s a confrontation.

 
EPISODE 9

Tae-eul and Gon go to Jung-hye’s address on file, but it’s an empty field. Gon is now sure she’s on Rim’s team. But he’s still happy he got to take a little trip with Tae-eul, and she wonders how he got so cheesy. He jokes about treason, which upsets Tae-eul given his past.

He apologizes, but she’s just upset that she doesn’t know how to comfort him. He guesses she’s been worried about him seeing Jung-hye, but he thinks of Jung-hye and his mother as entirely different people.

Tae-eul broaches the subject of traveling between worlds. How does he and Rim do it? (Took her long enough to ask.) He vows to answer any question she has but that one. She accepts his refusal and starts asking about his dating history instead.

Later, Eun-seob meets Gon at the bakery. Gon wants him to become the “real” Unbreakable Sword from now on. Eun-seob is not keen on the idea, but he agrees when Gon calls him out on stealing Yeong’s expensive coat.

In the kingdom, Seo-ryung’s mom packs out her fridge with side dishes. Seo-ryung asks her again about the newspaper, but her mom insists she didn’t send it. Her mom brings up Lee Rim. Did he have a secret child?

She explains about the umbrella man looking like Rim, but Seo-ryung cautions her against spreading rumors that the traitor had a kid. It could hurt her political career. Her unconcerned act drops when she’s alone, and she pulls the strange newspaper out of her purse, looking frightened.

We’ve clearly backtracked since we now see Shin-jae breaking into Gon’s hotel room. He flashes back to being in the kingdom. His mom had told him to wait for her and left him on the street, promising she’d be back. That’s when he saw little Gon on the news.

In the present, he asks Gon if he’s truly Lee Gon. After Gon declares himself Shin-jae’s king, he asks what else Shin-jae remembers. He can help him find whatever it is Shin-jae is looking for. Shin-jae isn’t ready to face it and tells Gon to get lost. He leaves with the warning that he’ll arrest Yeong for illegal firearm possession if he sees him again.

Once he leaves, Gon and Yeong discuss why Rim would want to bring a kid over. Gon reasons Rim must’ve needed Shin-jae’s parents from one of the worlds. Yeong plans to investigate things on this end while Gon is back in the kingdom.

Shin-jae stands outside waiting for Tae-eul, looking like a sad puppy. He tells her about meeting an Eun-seob who wasn’t Eun-seob, and she asks how much he knows. Shin-jae throws her question back at her and accuses her of just believing whatever “that jerk” tells her.

Tae-eul unhesitatingly admits she believes Gon. She promises to explain things, but Shin-jae storms off. He visits his old house and thinks back to that day in Corea. Rim had approached a crying Shin-jae with the promise of helping him find his mom. Next, we see him waking from his coma. In the present, Shin-jae, Tae-eul, and Gon each have their own little brooding sessions.

The team has a celebration for Eun-seob’s successful end to his military service, but Tae-eul is distracted. Shin-jae didn’t show and isn’t answering her texts. Time pauses, but of course, only Gon notices in his hotel room.

As for Rim, his right-hand man brings him up to speed: a cop visited the care center, the roommate murdered someone, and the restaurant owner is missing. Meanwhile, Gon and Tae-eul contemplate the mysteries surrounding Rim’s people swapping.

In the kingdom, Seo-ryung finds her advisor waiting in her office. At least, I’m assuming that’s what he is since we have zero information on him. Seriously, who is this dude? The two of them discuss affairs, and he mentions that Chairman Choi wants to meet with her. She agrees to see him that night.

Gon recalls reciting the message engraved on the Four Tiger Sword as a child. He faltered, and Rim walked up and recited the rest. Presently, the burner phone in Gon’s possession rings. In a flashback, Rim asks if Gon understands the meaning of the words. Little Gon replies it’s about the duty of a ruler. Rim asks if he’ll fulfill those duties, making Gon go quiet.

Present Gon recites into the phone, “A sage is moved to defeat the evil of the mountains and streams. Wield it with deep thoughts and make things right.” Rim listens on the other end as Gon bites out that he remembers him. He tells Rim to hide better because now he knows Rim is in the republic. They each dramatically dispose of their phones – Rim tosses his in fire, and Gon breaks his in half – and glare.

Seo-ryung visits Chairman Choi, her ex-husband, in prison. She thanks him for the incriminating photos of Assemblyman Park. Ah, so that’s where they came from. He’d like a special pardon as his reward, but she shuts that down.

He comments on her “clinging” to Gon and accuses her of wiretapping the palace. She threatens in turn that she still has her wiretapping files on his shady deals. He wonders if she’s really shooting for becoming queen now. Seo-ryung asks what’s so wrong with being greedy.

She’s achieved all of her goals thus far, and now she wants to be a queen without term limits. He marvels at her level of ambition, but she claims she’s always been upfront about her greed and ambition. Before she leaves, she passes along the envelope that contained the newspaper and asks him to find out who participated in the treason 25 years ago. It’d look bad for her to dig into this a year before her term expires.

Tae-eul orders some food for PPL Gon, and they have a date by the river. She pastes on a smile and tells him to keep up his strength so he can come back safely from his trip. He looks to her in surprise. Tae-eul knows he has meetings on Fridays he can’t miss. She tries to hide how upset she is, but Gon still looks guilty.

She gives Gon the Lee Sang-do case file, thinking it can only be solved in his world. He recognizes the man as one of the workers in the palace stables. Gon shares that he’s leaving Yeong here to deal with Rim and bringing Eun-seob back with him instead. Oh, this should be fun.

Tae-eul is anxious about Gon leaving, but he needs to guard their worlds. Rim should be caught in his world, but worst-case scenario, Yeong will kill him here. Tae-eul is shaken, and Gon apologizes for bringing trouble here. She hugs him, confessing with tears in her eyes that she’s not okay like she’s pretending to be. He promises to come back soon.

Back at the hotel, Yeong stalks toward a cowering Eun-seob with hair clippers. Ha! Yeong watches in confusion and frustration as Eun-seob psyches himself up and begins to cut off his precious hair.

In the kingdom, Ok-nam sends guards to meet Gon in the bamboo forest. He brings the restaurant owner with him with orders that he be locked up in secret. In the locker room, Eun-seob puts on his bulletproof vest per Yeong’s earlier instructions. He laments that it’s like going right back into military service.

A guard hears him talking to himself in satoori but doesn’t comment on it. He approaches to ask when “Yeong” wants to receive his report on everything that happened in his absence. Eun-seob is thrown by the guard’s North Korean accent but after checking his notes, realizes he must be Seok Ho-pil.

Gon enters and commands Ho-pil to have people guard the forest and arrest anyone who tries to enter. Be especially cautious of any men in their 70s. He also asks for CCTV footage of all events he attended in the last year.

Ho-pil is confused as to why he’s not giving these tasks to Yeong, but Gon bluffs that Yeong has more important matters to attend to. Eun-seob, who isn’t nearly as adept at impersonation as his alternate, keeps his responses to grunts and nodding while standing as stiff as humanly possible.

Gon visits Ok-nam who’s giving him the cold shoulder. He wonders why she’s not asking anything, but she says she already knows where he’s been. Isn’t he chasing his destiny?

Gon goes to the stables and makes Lee Sang-do’s alternate so nervous with all his glaring that he hurts himself as he works. Gon orders him to be placed under house arrest where he’s forbidden from contacting anyone.

In the republic, Tae-eul is shocked to hear that Shin-jae is taking a few weeks off. She calls and stops by his house, but he’s out drinking away his troubles. The same guy who tried to pay him off makes another go of it; he assumed that’s why Shin-jae came to his club. But Shin-jae is only there because it’s the only place he can hide from Tae-eul.

He asks to use the room for a few days since he doesn’t have anywhere to go. Looking at his pitiful form, the man yells he should go somewhere nice on vacation. He’d rather Shin-jae just ask him for money.

In the kingdom, Eun-seob makes fun of Gon for not being able to get into Yeong’s computer after bragging he could easily crack the passcode. Eun-seob jumps to attention looking unnaturally stiff and all sorts of awkward when Secretary Mo announces Seo-ryung has arrived. They’ll be up all night working on the year-end report.

Tae-eul stops by Na-ri’s café in case Shin-jae dropped by, but no luck. Na-ri looks over at the table where Yeong is sitting stoically and asks Tae-eul what’s up with Eun-seob. Tae-eul pretends like he’s being totally normal, but Na-ri thinks he’s less handsome lately. Yeong cuts his eyes over at that while Tae-eul remarks on her odd taste.

Tae-eul tells Yeong they should meet at the hotel from now on to save Eun-seob and Na-ri’s relationship. Yeong slides over a gold bull figurine for Tae-eul to exchange for cash. She agrees but has a request in return. She wants to use the hotel room, too.

Yeong needs a means of transportation and takes the driving test to get Eun-seob his license. In a flashback, Eun-seob admitted he failed the driving test, making Yeong question how he’s going to handle being his replacement in Corea. Eun-seob is just as worried about leaving his siblings in Yeong’s care, but Gon told him this is how he could protect them.

In the kingdom, Eun-seob fights to stay awake on his feet all night as Gon and Seo-ryung comb through mountains of documents and discuss riveting issues like the national budget. Seo-ryung suddenly asks about Tae-eul. Did she leave? When Gon says she returned to her life, Seo-ryung thinks of Luna and says she hopes she enjoyed her time here.

Eun-seob almost blows his cover during their meal when he whips out a packet of kimchi he brought from the republic. Gon casually flips the package so Seo-ryung doesn’t see the label. Eun-seob asks why Seo-ryung isn’t eating to which she replies she’ll gain weight if she eats all her meals. (Well, at least she’ll be thin when she passes out from malnutrition during an Assembly meeting…)

She follows that up with, “Aren’t you getting married, Your Highness?” Gon sarcastically asks if she’s going to marry him. “Can’t I?” Seo-ryung asks. Nope. Gon informs her he’s already proposed to someone else. That shuts her up. Eun-seob marvels at the passive aggressiveness in the room.

In the republic, Shin-jae visits the psychiatrist, but she refuses to give him sleep aids without a consultation. Meanwhile, Eun-seob is having fun playing with Gon’s Iron Man-esque skincare helmet thing. Gon promises Eun-seob a helmet of his very own if he unlocks Yeong’s computer, which he’s sure Eun-seob can’t do. Cue Eun-seob unlocking it on his first try.

Gon then watches CCTV footage of Tae-eul moseying around the kingdom. Over in the republic, Tae-eul is feeling nostalgic and notes regretfully that she and Gon don’t have any pictures together. We flash back to a conversation between her and Gon where they’d discussed the between place.

He hadn’t reached the edge yet and reminded her that spending even a day there would equate to possibly months outside. “Then if you’re in there, you won’t grow old,” Tae-eul muses. But neither of them connects the dots, and they go back to being couple-y.

Gon asks her to come with him and live in his world, but that request puts her in a difficult position. What about her family, friends and her job? Gon kisses her, and she jokes that he’s trying to shut her up. But he argues it’s what you do when you have too much to say, so Tae-eul kisses him this time.

As Gon continues watching the footage in the present, he sees Tae-eul pass by the bookshop with yo-yo boy outside. Gon is startled when the boy looks straight into the camera. It begins storming, and Gon grabs his shoulder in pain. He replays the footage and notes the date with disbelief: May 27, 2022. Oooh. Gon realizes Tae-eul is wearing a different outfit compared to the rest of the footage.

Elsewhere, Rim is brewing away when his right-hand man reports that Shin-jae went to Jung-hye’s son’s grave. He also discovered that Tae-eul is the cop who arrested the roommate and is looking for her burner phone.

Rim calls Shin-jae his mistake, but when his lackey suggests killing Shin-jae and Tae-eul, Rim gets violent. He orders him to do nothing but get rid of the roommate. He’s going to use the gate; Gon must be onto things by now.

Gon had Ho-pil look into the bookshop yo-yo boy who was hanging out in the footage, but there’s no record of it. Meanwhile, Prince Bu-yeong shows up at that very bookshop. He acts like he just happened upon it, and he casually asks Kyung-moo if they’ve met. Kyung-moo plays it off but looks suspicious once the prince leaves.

Gon and Prince Bu-yeong meet by the sea, and Gon asks if he believes in fate. Prince Bu-yeong laughs that it’s a challenging concept for mathematicians and scientists. “But if there is a place you want to reach even if your life may be at risk, that is fate. The steps you take by risking your life are what’s fate.”

Prince Bu-yeong encourages Gon not to fight it and just go towards the destination he wants to reach. He particularly hopes there’s a woman at the end of Gon’s road since he really should get married. If he can work out the solution to his problem, Gon promises there’s a woman he’ll bring to meet him. They watch the first sunrise of the new year together.

That night, time pauses again, indicating to Gon that Rim is back in Corea. Rim walks along a crowded street and hears excited screaming for the king. Gon rides through the crowd, scanning for Rim. They pass right by each other and stop.

In a flashback, Gon realizes the piece he’s been missing as Tae-eul’s words about not aging play in his head. He jumps up in shock as Rim appears in security footage looking like he walked out of Gon’s decades’ old memories.

Presently, Gon rides toward Rim who slowly turns, and they face each other for the first time in 25 years. Gon surmises that this fountain of youth is what Rim is after. He growl-screams Lee Rim’s name, as you do in these situations.

 
COMMENTS

Dramatics certainly do run in the royal family. Rim and Gon are both such drama queens. I couldn’t help but laugh when they both destroyed their phones after their conversations and glared. And the overdramatic score doesn’t help. The show loves its dramatics, but the issue is, the reveals don’t pack enough punch because we get there long before the characters do. Take that last scene, for example. It’s obviously supposed to be this big moment, but we’ve known from the first 10 minutes of the drama that Rim doesn’t age and where he’s been. We’ve just been waiting for Gon to catch up.

We’re starting to get into the timeline jumping now. I wonder if it’s something that can be controlled or if it’s random. Can they use the magic flute to travel through time intentionally? So far, no one has actually used the flute; they just hold it. I’m assuming there’s some way to be a little more proactive with it, although maybe not while it’s broken. Speaking of the magic flute, I’m confused as to why Gon won’t tell Tae-eul about it. This seems like a big piece of the puzzle to keep from her, especially since they’ve agreed to work together to solve this mess. And what’s the big deal about her knowing of the magic flute, anyway? She knows the rest of the story. I can’t believe she’s only just asking, though, like it was an afterthought. You get whisked away to another world and don’t ask how you got there? Tae-eul is a cop, so I’d expect her to be a bit more thorough than that but okay.

It looks like Seo-yeong’s goal truly is just to be queen, which is disappointing. The first female prime minister and her sole ambition is to marry a dude? Ugh. Such a waste of a potentially interesting character. I guess she feels she’s reached the pinnacle of politics and wants to ride out her days as queen. I mean, it’s a solid retirement plan, but I wish we knew more about what she’s done while in office. Is she in it just for power or did she have things she wanted to achieve with that power? Guess that’s delving too deep.

Oh, Eun-seob. He has a childlike transparency that makes it practically impossible for him to put on a mask or pretend to be someone else without his true self coming through. I knew he’d struggle to emulate Yeong’s stoicism, and his over-exaggeration did not disappoint. Hopefully, we’ll get to see Yeong in action as the twins’ guardian next episode. Him playing caretaker to young children should be highly entertaining, and I feel like it might be good for him since he’d have to let his guard down. Plus, it’s always fun to watch little kids tear down a tough-guy exterior and reveal the marshmallow underneath.

 
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At this point Swoon Do Hwan is the best part of this drama 😍

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Too bad this is the only part I enjoy this very drama.

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ikr! Jo Eun-Seob pretending to be Jo Yeong is so hilarious to watch 😂

Initially I thought Woo Do-Hwan was wasted in this show but he’s the one who is keeping it entertaining for me

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I'm so happy they've given him something entertaining to do.

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WDH² 💕

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Yay for WDH!!!

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He is already ready to swoon the public with a lead role probably in his next drama?? I would love if it's based on twin story!!! Hehehehe!!

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Well him stealing the show was a given. I mean I did predict it before the drama even started! 😆 but I'm glad others are also seeing Hwannie's perfection. 😍

http://www.dramabeans.com/2020/04/lee-min-ho-and-jung-eun-chae-get-close-in-stills-from-the-king-eternal-monarch/#comment-3636317

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@bunnybean Thank you for sharing this article

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@sirena you're welcome!!

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Because he can act an LMH can't. If WDH was playing the lead instead, this drama would be way better.

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Eh? Woo Do-Hwan has been the best part for me since Episode 1 😊

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We all reciprocate your feelings!! 😍😍

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Eun-Seob-ah and his butter knife is my kind of unbreakable sword.

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They should have put PPL for butter as well for Do Hwan!! What say? @kiara

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I don't know why Gon didn't use that burner phone to trap evil uncle or at least hear his plans/instruction for evil minion. Instead he reveals himself...then they both dramatically hulk-gripped their phones. Tsk2

Show is not told linearly. I somewhat hoped by ep 9 they will stop the whole flashback in the beginning of the ep. I didn't know why Gon and Taeul are at the field place.

Ahhh...this drama. I want to know what will happen next, the process of getting that information is tediously slow. Plus I don't feel that evil uncle is a very scary villain. He's not immortal. He just slowed his aging. Shoot him in the head or slash his throat or kamikaze stab him in the heart and he's dead. It's not like Rim is Voldermort with super dark magic and spells like avada kedavra that can kill someone from a distance.

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I guess, @katakwasabi, because Rim already knows Gon has procession of the phone, and Gon probably knows it, since the owner of that phone is missing.

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I completely zoned off the first 15 minutes because I was waiting to get back to the cliffhanger where we finished Ep. 8. I didn't know why we were in this field either.

And then when we got to the cliffhanger, Shin-jae refused to hear anything, and decided to drink his vacation away. I was so disappointed. I dozed off for the rest of the episode, until Lee Gon's low growl at the end woke me up. It sounded so guttural and wild.

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It would be probably first time when Shin Jae would be hiding himself from Taeul. I like their friendship and I didn't like the way he behaved..

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Same, she has been there for him for most of his life but I think he needed time to absorb all that craziness.
Glad he came back.

They are both messing up Rim's chess game.

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He also probably needed to get over the fact that the person he's most jealous of is the only who can really help him.

At least he got his head straightened quickly enough and it didn't drag beyond this episode.

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And that person is already slipping from his hand!!! My heart is really breaking for him. Poor Shin Jae!! I would really like if he come back stronger as ever!!

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Shinjae's past is confusing. He wasn't exchanged when he was a baby. He looked like he was in his early teens, he was old enough to remember stuff...so how and why is his memory so fragmanted? Did Rim torture him? Did they brainwash him? Was he put into a mindconditioning maching like Bucky/Winter Soldier in Captain America?

I need details. The lack of details is making me feel detached from Shinjae's sad background.

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Maybe when he walked through the pink field of nothingness it freaked him out so much that his mind shattered. Although dramas don't usually need a reason to insert amnesia into a storyline.

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Shin-jae is the same age as Gon, so he's probably 8 years old when Rim took him away. I recall his mother saying he was quite ill when he was 8. Or maybe it's just the bells in my head.

What is actually confusing is that at age 8, Gon is deemed fit to rule a country, but Shin-jae can't even remember squat. My guess is that Shin-jae has repressed his own memories to fit into the "role" he's now supposed to play.

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Maybe Uncle bashed him on the head before putting him in the hospital bed? So he thought he had amnesia when he woke up, and has been confused all his life. He seemed to know he wasn't the real Shin-jae but couldn't explain it and thought he was crazy.

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For the phone thing, Gon couldn't call Uncle rim as it has only incoming service I believe?
And both Gon and Taeul went to that field to search about Gon's mother in ROK.

Agree with the villian part. But I'm still intrigued because something is still missing, the not aging part and the YO Yo boy? And there is also a glimpse of future, let's see how that part is unveiled.

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Rim's number is restricted, meaning the minion or Gon can't call him. Still, I think Gon could have made better use of the phone beyond venting his frustration on it.

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Yes2. He could have hear Rim talk first. Or fake it like he found this phone somewhere and randomly picked it up. Then they can arrange to meet up to give the phone back. Gon corners Rim or Rim's lackey during the phone exchange. So many things can be done with the phone but he decides to vent out his pent up feelings. He doesn't even know if it's Rim on the other end. It could have been uncle's lackey calling on behalf 🙃.

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I was annoyed too at the time it took to get back to the cliffhanger, and it's resolution was disappointing - although true to Shinjae's character, dude needs time to process.
Anyway, I think this is a stylistic choice. Episodes circling back - even if it doesn't work out as interesting as we'd like- might be a way of suggesting that the whole drama is about circling back time. The same way we get all those reflections of characters in mirrrors, tables, etc

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Oooo. I like this idea of circling back time.

The circling is fine but the editing is still confusing. They keep adding more dialogue to the same scene or sometimes the same scene seems to be dramatic as an ending and then reshot or something so it sounds different when played in the next episode. Prime example being the confrontation between SJ and LG in the hotel.

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It is confusing. It seems like this is one of those dramas where the ideas are a lot cooler than the execution

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Yup totally. A lot can be done with these ideas and very less seems convincing.

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This episode we got to know the king better. He loves a certain brand of bread with or without jam and he loves facial mask therapy.

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This morning, I toasted bread and had a monologue with myself, debating whether it tasted better with or without jam. And then I remembered I was out of jam, and only had butter. After that, I had another monologue with myself about whether it tasted better with or without butter. By the time I finished talking, the toast was cold. So I ate it without butter. Then I took a sip of my coffee, and hell, that started me smiling down at my coffee and telling myself softly how good it tasted. By the time I finished talking to my coffee, it was cold. And an hour had passed. I was exhausted.

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Laughed so hard at this comment. It's so true though. The product placement is very overt and ham-handed. I don't know how the cast does them with a straight face. These awkward adverts detract from the story and just end up making the characters look ridiculous. Pity, because I really like the main leads. Insofar wanted this show to be amazing. I hope it picks up.

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But did it taste just like the palace coffee?

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@yyishere I think You missed Eun Sup, as he is the most skilled at applying jam and butter??

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@yyishere Thank you for this comment! 😆

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Your comments are so grounding! Oddly I am also drinking coffee now with toast and butter.......

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The King: Eternal PPL has so many PPLs going on BUT Eun-seob playing with the Iron Man skincare helmet thing was the best PPL this episode.

Any PPL with WDH is great. Give us more WDH.

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Came for the drama but stayed for the PPL 🤣

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Give us more @leetennant.

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I can’t stand the PPL in this drama, the multi-purpose lip balm, chicken, face mask, bubble tea, kimchi.. It’s soo out of place

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Is that Storm Trooper mask gonna appear in every episode? Who’s gonna wear it next? Court Lady Noh?

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I wonder if the writer’s head doesn’t spin with all the mixed up timeline. I know mine does.

Anyway I think it’s kind of unfair Eun Sob had to cut his hair while Yeong still maintains his gelled up look instead of letting his hair go all big like ES.

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Maybe they had a hard time changing his hair all the time....so they stuck with one hairstyle to avoid a hairstyle mishap and more complaints from viewers. Huahuahua 🤭

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That is a total probable reason! Maybe the stylists also got fedup with all the time jumps and refused to do multiple hairstyles lest they have a mishap.

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It's actually funny that Eun-seob gets a slicked hair style *after* he's discharged. I'm guessing there's going to be a hilarious scene where even Gon can't tell then apart.🤭

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That would be fun! Now that you mention it, he really shouldn’t have had that hair in service right.

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This show can be good there are things holding it back but I feel like it needs a lot of tweaks to make it work, like the whole 10 episodes should have happened by episode 6 because right now it lacks momentum, anticipation, the chemistry is almost non existent because they insist on telling us they are in love instead of showing us, Shin Jae is still the best written character, for some reason Lee Min Ho feels like he's checked out, he was the stronger character in the first 4 episodes and as much as it pains me to say maybe they shouldn't have casted Kim Go Eun to avoid goblin comparisms, Woo To Hwan is flocking his acting chops and showing his versatility and I love the prime minister actress but she brings so little to the story, I look forward to Min Ho's next project, as a fan I want him to do something different slice of life like hospital playlist or melo like mask or innocent man, I believe if he's pushed out of his comfort zone he can and will deliver, fighting opal, this is where I check out from watching till next project and I hope the ratings pick up after the amazing but highly conflicting (i have no idea what i feel for that finale) world of the married has ended.

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No thanks to something like Hospital playlist. I don't like hospital dramas or slowburners. He would probably take up a gangster movie or something suitable and exciting but hell effin no for such boring project for LMH are you kidding. His fans would freak out if he chose a project like Hospital playlist

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I cant consider someone like you a fan because if you were you wouldnt want to see your bias do the same thing over and over again, you will want him to try new things and grow as anctpr and supportthe him no matter what, the best dramas are the most unexpected one and a gangster is just Gangnam blues again. I also don't like calling a drama boring because you don't like it, i have never and would never call the king boring no matter how it uninterests me, that's just my taste, you could have ended your statement with you don't like hospital dramas or slice of life but this feels like a personal attack on another drama the way you singled it out. It's just the internet I know but your approach here should also be fair, nonjudgmental and critical but just. Dont put down what others love to lift yours or justify hate. Thank you.

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Apologize. I have nothing against Hospital playlist is just that I don't generally like Hospital based dramas.

I used to work in a hospital myself and find that area boring so I stay away from any drama set in a hospital it freaks me out and it's a personal thing. I am sure alot of people would like but would prefer LMH doing something more action-esque and another Gangster movie would be welcomed

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I love KGE, but I keep imagining Park So-dam when I watch The King just to make my mind not watching Eun-tak

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Things I want to do after watching this episode:

1. Don cool shades, link my hands behind my back, and stare into a yellow field.

2. Toast bread and spread jam.

3. Smile evilly to myself while talking into my phone.

4. Count to 1000 while turning my body slow mo to look behind. Upon reaching 1000, turn facing forward, and repeat.

For me, the best part of this episode, hands down, was that scorcher of a scene when @leetennant burst onto the screen, draping herself so outrageously across Lee Gon's BACK! In black and white! Twice! Justin Timberlake's Sexy Back started playing in my head. Way to go, LT.

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LT looked amazing in her cameo. I even got her autograph! 🤩

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She's so sly. Pretending she doesn't care about LMH. She sprawled across his shoulder blades so boldly I blushed.

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All love is unrequited, but especially LMH's. He can beg and plead and wear my name on his back all he likes - I'm just not that into him.

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You've got his back, LT. Like seriously, how did you even get to this point?

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He's the kind of man who wants what he can't have?

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I think he is just reserving it for you. From now on his piggy back skills are only for you.

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@leetennant That question mark at the end of your post shows you are in a state of confusion and denial. Embrace it, Elle. Embrace your namja. Famy would kill to be in your position.

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I feel sorry for poor famy and the Minoz sisters but we just don't have the same taste in men. I'm not responsible for LMH's feelings for me. They're his own.

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Famy would kill to be in your position.

This LT jacket that Lee Min Ho wore for our tsundere sister-cousin will forever scar me! I am wiling to expose our family secrets for this and so the whole world can see how much our amazing, fun, loving community, called Minoz sisterhood, has grown in a short amount of time.

you are in a state of confusion and denial.

OH HO!!!!! The stage 1 indeed of loving Lee Min Ho!

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Hohh i am so sorry but i think if Angels exist i am sure they will probably look like LEE MIN HO and CR7 but mind me if may i ask? Why does he came from 15th century?

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Oh. I forgot LT's cameo was in ep 9. The images of LT in black and white broke omma @13infamyss heart. Poor omma 💔.

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Keep rubbing salt in my wound, why dont you, uri ttal........🙄🙄🙄🙄

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Open wound...rubs salt 💔

*laughs evilly*

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*snickers*

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You don’t really want me to make another Lee Min Ho family tree with all the makjang stories attached to it, do you???

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I'm cross-referencing Famy's genealogical masterpiece, for anyone who'd like to meet the Woo family with all its makjang connections: http://www.dramabeans.com/members/13infamyss/activity/1057007/

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@wishfultoki Errrr, thanks for linking my humble family tree for everyone to see?

My family's dirty secrets exposed all because Lee Min Ho wouldn't wear a jacket with my name on it......

I guess I can use this chance now to find more beanies I am related to through my marriage with my husband Woo and our undying love and devotion for Lee Min Ho.

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The world deserved to know@13infamyss. You might even become a best-selling author.

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I missed bread with jam, really.

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Did you temporarily fall asleep?

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Not quite, @ndlessjoie, I watched right away when the show appears on Netflix, which is 10:30am my time, so I probably fully awake. I am not as excited as when the show first aired, though.

I probably will change that habit next week though, as A Couple's World ended its run. I watch that in the evening.

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Haha true Quirkycase the episode was totally dramatic! But I enjoyed it so much while watching it! I got goosebumps for many of the scenes and I couldn't get it out of my head for a long time. Our Lee Gon has gone fully dark now- sweet and easy going no more. That phone conversation, the order to say Yes, Pyeha, declaring Lee Rim as the traitor on the street- oh wow! And yet he transforms into the same cheesy lines delivering guy in front of Tae-eul. But he didn't stick to his suicide order! Lee Min-ho was so good in this episode!

Jo Eun-seop's attempts to be Jo-young were as hilarious as the last two episodes!

I agree about the romance, but their scenes together are so cute...they are really so comfortable with each other.

They were doing well on their own, but Fate is making things slightly easier for them? How is that 2022 video possible? The date is also Jung Tae-eul's birthday btw.

The thought of anything happening to Tae-eul and Shin-jae is unimaginable. I think I'm finally rooting for all these characters! Now just get the scooby gang working together! PM Koo is also beginning to work on the same thing in her own way!

Congratulations everyone who got their theories about Fate, and Lee Rim's aging right.

After that fate conversation, Prince Buyeong is going to be killed off isn't he? Also, the conversation of the Prime Minister with her mother about Lee Rim not being an heir- another sign that Shin-jae may very well be his heir.

I was hoping for a longer phone conversation with Lee Rim and for some scenes of Eun-seop meeting Seung-ah. I think meeting the doppelgangers will make each of them realize how much they like the counterpart from their own world and it hopefully won't be a messy love quadrilateral. Waiting for Tae-eul and Shin-Jae's honest conversation!

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Prime Minister should know better than cut her mom off whenever she speaks... moms know best.

I was confused about her ex-husband though. First of all, she was married? Did I miss that before or was it just mentioned this epiosde? (By the way, good luck marrying a Joseon king if you're a divorcee plus commoner). Also, how is the guy able to get damning pictures while in prison?

I was also hoping to see Eun-seob meet Seung-ah haha. Hopefully we will.

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I think we just learned all these juicy tidbits. And yes, I was wondering how she'd ever expect to marry a king with that background, unless she plans to blackmail her way in?

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We first hear her backstory in the previous episode when the pregnant lady is listening to the 2G phone audio.

Yeah I'm also thoroughly confused about the Prime Minister's ex-husband and people around her.

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Strangely, I felt there was more spark between Prime Minister and her ex-husband than any of her interactions with Gon.

(Of course, never mind why he is in prison in the first place. Did she hide him away to avoid tarnishing her "image"?)

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Definitely with you on the chemistry front @wishfultoki. The PM and the shady ex were more believable in that one scene than all other couples in the drama so far! I kinda liked how honest they were about who they are as people and what they were looking to get outta each other(couple goals,anyone? 😜) it also provided some context to their relationship.He seems to be one of the scummy ,corrupt, adulterous noble class that seem to pepper the upper echoleons of KoC. And she seems to have used her beauty to get in good with him and his chabeol world for access & then true to form blackmail and backstab him when the time was right for her. Like @quirkycase points out it's frustrating that we aren't shown any of her actions as a PM and a person to see if there's anything beyond these to round off her character. There are throwaway lines where she seems to have some ideals and seem aware of her role as the people's chosen leader but we don't actually know if those are her real thoughts or if she's just mouthing them for the optics of the situation.

I kinda did give her props for the sheer will and blind determination that seems to have fuelled her forward though. Her positioning in the back bench in drab black to gradual movement to the middle in a more flamboyant color to final positioning in front of the crowd with only the king standing before her is the kinda story telling that keeps me coming back to this show .it's a shame that these instances are far and few in between. le sigh

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I think it was mentioned earlier that she climbed the rank because she was married to a chaebol family, the CEO of KU company/industry.
They owned those high rise buildings where Lee Gon landed his helicopter to pick up Tae-eul in Seoul.
She is probably the one who put him in jail and became a heroine for turning in her own husband.

I won't be surprised if her ex is working with Rim. She mentioned something about a tunnel project and it's probably where Rim and his people hiding out in Corea.

I like how open she is about her ambitions. "Greed is the most sincere emotions."
I can do without those back stabbing ladies in the palace.
If you want something, go for it but you reap what you sow.

It's 2019/2020 and it seems like the king is free to marry anyone he wishes.

Hopefully we'd see Eun-seob and Seung-ha in the next episode. Can't wait to see his reaction.

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I feel like ES-SH and NR-JY are a better match. I don't like the actress playing Na ri/Seong Hwa's acting (she's mostly bland and monotonous) but she did manage to portray some difference in both characters.

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The ex husband has LR connections. Also, is obviously corrupt. His company still functions though he is in jail.

(PM’s conversation with the ex are revealing. But I did read the character description at some point as I don’t like her and often gloss over her scenes)

Cc @edgarpordwed

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Oh, I avoid character descriptions because they are usually full of spoilers. I don't know if the writer meant us to read them this time though. It would have made things clearer.

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It seems a trend now that Friday's episode runs into past and creates more confusion while Saturday's episode brings more clarity but again the preview and cliffhanger kind of keep us anxious. Phew!! Anyways, I'm happy with the way story is taking place, romance is also making little progress and Gon is also becoming more responsible and clearer. Just when I thought it's only about two universes, the future thing bummed in my head, and we are back to zero.
And prime minister is really not utilizing her full potential and running behind the unachievable dream. Even though Gon is making it so clear? Is love hopeless or she is?

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She doesn’t love him! She only wants the position of power forever :D

PM’s tenure is limited.

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Date on the video is TE's birthday, good catch!

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I was thinking, the computer is Jo’s right. So either he took a video when he traveled through time or some 3rd time traveler inserted it in for it to be found.

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I still think that there is something more between Prince Buyeong and Lady Noh.
The way she narrated the poem was touching. It felt like her own forbidden love story.
They've brought needed gravitas to this show and I think Prince Buyeong is capable of out smarting both his nephews but he seems to be loyal to his king.

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I think granny noh and doctor uncle were in love :D

Jokes apart...
doctor uncle definitely appeared to be smart and a strategist. I expected him to die in episode 8, however ... the rest of the thought will be shared in the comments section of episode 10 :D

Granny noh knows something. She recognizes the poetry book. Did she love doctor uncle’s look alike from Korea? Was Some other Royal in history also in love with someone in Korea... thus she knows?

Where is LG’s mom? How did she die? Too many secrets kept from the audience but in a clumsy way :D

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Why do you'll feel that they were in love? It feels like an unnecessary storyline in this drama. But yeah its interesting. There is definitely more to Prince Buyeong. There is so much left to show and only 6 episodes to go! Would love to read more of your theories in the next recap.

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They share something which to me seems more than just concern for the King :)

I do not know the court hierarchy but she is almost the female head of the royal court while doctor uncle is the male head and the king a child.

I don’t think they would add another storyline but by the very incomplete conversations between LG and Noh ( reference young Maximus running and LG speaking to Noh) + when LG comes while she is sewing some talisman (??) into some cloth (assuming it is King’s). Then her look on seeing the poetry book and her very act of reading it in this episode (I think it is in episode 9).

I do worry about:
Writer not showing me a proper battle of wits.
King being on his own. He does not delegate and he so obviously needs help for this show, which is not a one-man show.
Everything not being wrapped neatly.

I was happy with Alice but now I think too many references are creeping in and that can be harmful for a good story.

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Also do you notice that there is an innocence to the King’s character. He is upfront and (I think) people will be upfront with him.
His interactions with PM are blunt and not covert. I don’t understand them all but there is no dangerous edge to his words, just disinterest.

He was only harsh with the traitors+LR.

But even then he is playing by the rule book. Or rather he is fighting as though it is not a question of life and death. Also, he still is not realizing the extent of LR’s power or plan.

That scares me and makes me feel bad for him. It reminds me of king+nice but weak rulers who stayed on the throne with difficulty.

And in that case will there be a true battle of wits? We see some brawn in episode 10 but I want more than brawn :D

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Completing the sentence—

I don’t think they would add another storyline but by the very Existence of incomplete conversations between LG and Noh ( reference young Maximus running and LG speaking to Noh) + when LG comes while she is sewing some talisman (??) into some cloth (assuming it is King’s) ) a storyline already exists :)

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Even that sentence didn’t make sense! Sorry.
I think I need to not think about the king and sleep. Will edit and send via dm tomorrow :)

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Great observations! Thanks! I agree about the King's personality.

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Ok, so I created an account just to share my thoughts on this thread. Thanks, Quirkycase for the recap and all the beanies who share their comments on here as well. First of all, LMH, I am glad we get to see a different side of him. Up to this episode we have seen him play the same character with no change. The last 15 minutes of this episode, we got to see a darker side of the King and LMH acting skills. He exuded power, confidence, courage, all the characteristics that a king should exhibit. Honestly, it was a total turn on for me! Wow! This was the reason why I became a LMH fan to begin with. I am hoping we will get see more different sides of him in upcoming episodes.
His relationship with PM, why is he so cold too her? I understand she has other intentions, but even when we get the flashback of her being inaugurated to becoming PM, the King still his very cold with is feelings towards her. Did something happen between them in the past? Is there more to her than what we know? Yet, he is so lovey dovey to Tae-eul. Since I am on the topic of Tae-eul, I will put in my two cents on their relationship. I even went back to rewatch the beginning episodes to get a sense of their relationship. At the end of episode 2, the King tells her he wants to return because she didn't share ice with him and he felt like a 3rd wheel. With no thought or feelings whatsover, she was quick to say GOODBYE , SEE YA. Now we already have her saying I LOVE YOU and getting all teary eyed with him by the river. At this rate they will probably be having a child together in the next episode. I'm sorry but as a viewer I'm not buying it. I am not feeling an emotional connection with them as I do with other dramas. Example, in DOTS which is one of may faves, you could feel the chemistry or sexual tension bouncing off the screen and that's what this show is missing. However, I am willing to accept the story for what it is and go along with it.
As a mystery or drama, I am very intrigued by the plot and storyline and can't wait to see how the writer will wrap everything together.
Of course I can't leave out WDH! I confess, I have gone back to old episodes just to rewatch his scenes. Hopefully, we will get to see more of him.
Lastly, is YoYo boy and young Shin-jae the same person?

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Welcome to the party, @fantasy101!

But sorry, I am not a Lee Min-ho fan, and to be honest, I believe the relationship between Gon and Tae-eul’s is not persuasive partly a fault of Lee Min-ho. His facial expression is almost like the same (except he is facing Rim, as you’ve correctly mentioned, in the end of this episode), which I believe if I can be a bit more handsome, I can surely take his place. Kim Go-eun is a solid actress, and she is playing well every time she shows up on the screen (a good example: the end of Ep.10, that almost put me in tears, ALMOST). Playing a couple need both actor/actress give their best effort, one side playing well only make things awkward (My comment is just right under you discussing a lot of those reasons, and you can express what you think under mine as well).

Honestly may have been the reason Gon is so cold with PM. You remember in their first meet in this drama, Seo-yeong said to Gon about her willingness of learning to ride the horse? Gon’s answer is a question to her: “Can you be honest?” She’s probably be way too ambitious she’s a threat to everyone beside her, and the Emperor probably feel offended.

And, Yo-yo Boy probably is not Shin-je (he answer that in next episode, and we can discuss that then), but I would dare to guess that the Yo-yo Boy is some kind of God. I still keep an eye on him.

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Yo-yo boy definitely has a red thread in that yo-yo.

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Welcome!

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Regarding the PM, I'm sure the King knows all about her and her scheming ways which would lead him to be cool to her. The history we learned about her in this episode is pretty unsavory.

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Exactly.

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Only after reading quirkycase's review did I sort of comprehend that footage of yoyoboy in 2022. But was it really the same actor kid as young Shin jae?

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nope

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Credit to @mychoiyoung4lmh who pointed this out!!

@imperialtitus @fantasy101 @ndlessjoie
@mychoiyoung4lmh informs that
"BTW, for everyone’s info. the yo-yo kid is actually a girl!!!.
Meet KIM BO WIN!
http://asianwiki.com/Kim_Bo-Min_(2010)"

I was calling Fate a boy the whole time long too!!! LOL!

However in the Asianwiki 'The King' page, I can't find her name or photo. Can you?

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I stand corrected. Yo-yo Girl.

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Yes. @noone pointed out that she is a girl because she recognized her from Chocolate as the young female lead.

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HA! Now that you mentioned it I do remember her from Chocolate. Maybe she is a young Tae-eul and she saved Gon when he was a kid? Wasn't this the same kid who knocked over her badge into the sewer, so that kid went back to retrieve it.

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Thanks for @growingbeautifully as well @mychoiyoung4lmh for clarification!! And my apologies to Kim Bo-win!! This is important information, and I will surely change my language when I am referring to her.

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Is she meant to be a girl or a boy in this drama?

"Hi Bye Mama" had a boy playing a girl on purpose because he looked like Kim Tae-hee.

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Yes, @kiara that is precisely the kind of question that one can ask in this particular drama. In a world where we are looking at images (reversed and sometimes illogical) as if in a cracked or warped mirror, I was asking if perhaps the identity of Fate, which is not a person, but personified (as girl or boy) is deliberately ambiguous.

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You don’t feel the connection like in DOTS because this is not a romance story.

Hear me out before you shoot *hands up emoji”

The main plot of DOTS IS THE ROMANCE!
It’s a romance primarily and everything else is secondary to that. The entire story is about how the lovers can make things work.

In The King, we have a multi-world mystery that will take 2 halves to solve. The focus of the drama isn’t getting the lovers together (this is secondary & will be a treat if it happens). The priority is to figure out how the king will defeat his uncle.

The love story is clunky because it’s an accessory to the main event. It took me a while to realise this. But once I did, it makes total sense, even the description of the drama doesn’t explain it as a love story. (This confused me in the beginning because I was sure it would be a love story between two worlds)

This isn’t Goblin it DOTS or even HEIRS where the love story is primary.

Think of this more as a SIGNAL type drama and you’ll see that it makes more sense for the love story to not be front and centre.

Unfortunately we are all so used to Lee MinHo being deeply in love with everyone that we came expecting epic romance, which this isn’t. The love story is like the one in Tunnel, it’s nice to have it but if it wasn’t here, the story would remain the same at its core. No priorities would change.

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exactly!!!

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I understand your point, the drama would still work even if they chose to not have the romance in there. But, if you're gonna have the romance as a secondary, at least make it believable. Heck, even Eun-Seob and Na ri had better chemistry even when he was portrayed by Yeong . By the end episode 10, it was full of "romance".

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I hear you, it’s definitely clunky and jarring with the pacing issues of the drama as a whole.

It’s funny you should mention EunSob & Nari. We have largely been TOLD about their attraction. We have not been showed any of it.

By my recollection, it seems they have only shared one scene together and that was when JoYoung was walking around town.

Before that moment I didn’t even know they liked each other (and IN that moment I thought it was a one sided crush by EunSob)

I know right - the end of Ep 10 is definitely heavy on the romance.

What do you think about that scene? Do you think it made sense in terms of their development as a couple?

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Their romance is so fast pace that its not even believable. I'll have to save my comments on that scene til the next post. However, I am totally rooting for them as a couple.

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Then why make it a major plot device? I do agree with you that there is more to this story than the romance therefore wouldnt it be better told then if they downplayed love and fate? It would have been a faster paced and less confusing if they replaced those " romantic " scenes with more scenes unraveling the mysteries of both worlds.

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To be honest, the Ep.9 is by far the best of the whole drama (although the lowest in viewership: I guess you can't break the momentum that easily), and then Ep.10 ... Sigh, more on that later. Seems the director swab has been working. I found some scenes in this (as well the next) episode do touch me, which is already a great improvement.

The Woo Do-hwan double characters switch again is now probably the only reason I stay in this drama. I studied theatre, and I have a high tolerance on bad stories, and this can somehow worse than even a bad one. Comparing to Mr. Sunshine portraying a great love story even having no kiss, this one is having too many kisses for a love relationship. I call this a "Kiss Porn": their relationship has no development, just kiss for the sake of audience watching, like porn movies having no development of the pair on how they know each other or love each other, just go right into the action for the sake of arousing basic desire. Having switched one of the directors did work to improve the storytelling, but some of the magic can't be revived.

Think about one thing, I remembered Kim Eun-seok used 3 years to develop Guardian/Goblin, and I am pretty sure she took 10 years to write Mr. Sunshine* (That means she had the story come out right after City Hall). The King? She only announced the project 1.5 years ago, right after Mr. Sunshine was aired. I am not sure how long she develop the story beforehand, but I am pretty sure Kim Eun-seok simply have no time to fully develop this story: A friend of mine even joked that this drama may not be written by Kim herself, but some ghost writers wrote it with her name put on. So you know how immature this story has become.

*https://entertain.naver.com/read?oid=277&aid=0001978866
According to this Chinese blog (https://www.ptt.cc/bbs/KoreaDrama/M.1534211671.A.AF8.html) Descendants of the Sun and Goblin even used to temporarily named "Mr. Sunshine" at some point.

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Director swap, not director swab. Sorry for the misspelling.

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You are funny @imperialtitus (in a good way). That jab on LMH haha!

Anyway, the fact that they haven’t reshot the footage but arranged it differently makes me wonder what is the role of a director and an editor in dramas and particularly this drama!

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Sorry, @noone1, I didn't reply you sooner: I am being occupied whole two weeks ...

In a common occurrence, scriptwriter is always the most authoritative person in a TV drama, and director (or in Korean sense, Producer-director, or PD for short) is second-in-command, so to speak. However PDs do retain some powers, including, but not restricting, choosing secondary characters, dealing with style of the drama, and do a lot of administrative works. So you can see even While You Were Sleeping and Hotel del Luna is written by different scriptwriter, but you can see the same marks leave by the same director (Oh Choong-hwan, in this case).

On the other hand, the authority of Kim Eun-seok post Mr. Sunshine may have been more powerful then before. Before Mr. Sunshine, Kim basically uses only 2 directors: Shin Woo-chul (until A Gentleman's Dignity and Lee Eung-bok (Desdencants to Mr. Sunshine) with The Heir as a transition period. This time in The King, she uses 3 directors, only Baek Sang-hoon is comparative more famous (he is PD second to Lee Eung-bok in Desdencants) and Yoo Je-won (Hi Bye, Mama)
Jung Ji-hyun is not that famous. I guess they are not as famous as Shin Woo-chul and Lee Eung-bok, so is easier to control?

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No problem at all, after episode 12 I decided to stop wasting my time on this as I was really disappointed. I just wrote as a response to someone else, I saw potential but now there is nothing that can be done to redeem this drama. It is entertaining but only when goes with no expectations and needs to kill some time with eye candy. According to me, I can’t feel anything. The romance fell through and so did the suspense/investigation. The creators at no point try anything risky after going through such an elaborate setup. I am :(

I liked bits and pieces and references but now I Can’t help but agree that you were correct in ripping it apart.

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I liked while you were sleeping though have never finished the series. the first 7 episodes fun+interesting. Hotel Del Luna was IU fest and I loved it until the ML started becoming too right/everything he did had to be correct. I did like the end and I have a soft corner for the Hong sisters as my first Kdrama was Master’s sun which provided me with sunlight during some dark times. The end post episode 11 or was it 12 is a bit messed but who cares! I enjoyed the first 10+ hours.
I am also one of those who enjoyed Goblin in bits and pieces. The grim reaper and Goblin dynamics still cheer me up + I was ok with the love story too.
I am not much into names of directors but I just like good entertainment. I like trash as much as I like quality. I just don’t like when I am cheated and I often feel that for a lot of dramas which begin well but lose their way — that is why I like binge watching with FF button :D

If the director of while you were sleeping and the King are the same... then I am not surprised but the later has no punches in comparison to the former. And i really liked the first episode of while you were sleeping. I had to go back and check who the leads were and how could the ML let the FL die. My reaction— I am stumped.

Here they keep telling me that these two are star crossed lovers but I now don’t see the conflict or why it is a matter or life and death.

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I understand you, @noone, because a screenwriter as experienced as Kim Eun-seok even dare to write a drama so bad is unforgivable. Itaewon Class has a messy ending as well, but this is the screenwriter's first time, and he at least wrote 14.5 episodes of good, entertaining and thoughtful story (he just unable to control the rhythm of the last 1.5, and I forgive his inexperience causing this mess). If Kim Eun-seok knows the shortcoming of this story, and having an experienced director to help her arrange the storytelling to be more reasonable, it won't be a disaster like these.

This drama is dead, so go in peace.

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By the way, @noone, I agree everything you said, probably except Hotel del Luna (I actually love that a lot, I even explore IU as a singer and songwriter as well, and she is my inspiration to learn Korean myself), but hey, we agree to disagree.

But to understand your point, just a humble question: Is "ML" you said in the post Jang Man-wol?

(I finished all dramas you mentioned except Master's Sun, which is still in my to-watch list, sorry ...)

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My dear @imperialtitus

I will respond to both of these in details but in a bit. One thing I will say: I loved hotel del Luna, first 8 episodes that I saw at a go. Reading comments made me more critical but more on that in a bit. The Hong sisters made me go a bit more into death and Life and the abstract so am a fan ... and because of them I say that Koreans do fantasy well :D

>bias<

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By ML I meant the male lead or Ku Chang Song (did I spell that correctly?).

I felt they did something and made Male lead character too right about everything. It was subtle but there.

So here I will explain my habits rather than the nuances as I can remember the exact points. I saw the first 8 episodes at a stretch on a lazy Sunday and I LOVED them. Entertaining, humorous, fun and strong lead with loads of fantasy. Touch upon fate/gods/life and death. Everything I Like. I think it is after the ML gets the medicine to get the ability to not see ghosts that the dynamics of the series started changing. I can’t tell if it was because of love that they wanted to dilute and show Ku Chan Son as the person who would solve Man Wol’s problems or just that Ku Chan Song suddenly became the savior and Man Wol suddenly needed saving. But just my reading was that something changed...
I had planned to see it again but never got around to seeing more than first three episodes at a stretch again. I love the ML hiding behind our heroine or her enjoying food with insta photos... she was awesome. Everything a sassy heroine should be. Reminded me of Scarlett O Hara. Except that Scarlett remains in control of her own destiny— warts and all. Does that explain what I meant?

Oh and I did not read more theories then. Though around episode 12 I did get influenced by comments and at episode 13 I stopped. Post that I just saw the spoilers and last half an hour of the 16th episode. I did not want to cry and just seeing their group photos made me :(

Oh and other than Big I think I have seen all works of Hong Sisters. I have stopped recommended series as I have come to believe art appreciation is very much dependent upon the audience/recipient’s world view and state of mind. You know what I mean, no?

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I guess I know what you mean now, dear @noone, although I don’t see it that way. I mixed up ML with a character’s initial (which some commenters do), so I don’t understand what you mean initially, sorry.

First of all, I do agree one thing: art is very subjective, not 2 persons can see the same thing or get the same message. As a result, I can’t see what you saw, but I understand what you mean.

So, please let me get into my theory, shall we?

Obviously, the dynamic has been changed as most of Jang Man-wol’s back story has been revealed in Ep.8, at least according to Man-wol’s herself, then she gets stuck by her hatred and misunderstanding. What she needs is someone who understand her and get her through the obstacles.

That’s when Gu Chan-sung comes in.

I do understand why you think Chan-sung is Man-wol’s solution, even saviour, and think he is beginning to dominate the relationship; but I don’t see it that way. In some sense, he does come into the story functioning as this, and it’s true he claims he is clever and a little know-it-all, even judged Man-wol with his own bias (before he accepts the job in the end of Ep.2), but I think this is just part of his character, not his true function: he is even teased by Man-wol about that (“If I remember you, I would just remember you as ‘Harvard’.” In Ep.13). Hung Sisters write us into the story as one of the main characters, so you can’t just write a somebody into it (similarly, they also wrote themselves into the story, as Mago God), Chan-sung must be somewhat interesting, and someone we can related into, so he became a Harvard know-it-all, being teased by Man-wol as her manager, also by us as a character.
(1 of 3)

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Chan-sung’s main function in this story, I think, is a “witness”: he is kind of our eyes of seeing Man-wol’s world, so he is us. @dramallama said in her (sorry I don’t know if it’s a he or she, so I just pick the gender randomly) Ep.15 recap: “Though it’s a shame that the show didn’t explore more of Chan-sung’s person story, I think Chan-sung fulfilled his role as a guide through this story, almost like a Nick Carraway of Man-wol’s Great Gatsby story.” Until the very end of the story, he led us into Man-wol’s heart, and to understand her story. Man-wol is always the main character, not Chan-sung. This is why Hung Sisters intentionally making his character as plain as possible except several backgrounds that needed in the story narratives (a Harvard Graduate, his mom missing sometimes when he was born, etc.). His change in attitude towards Man-wol is also like us: first a lot of bias and misunderstanding (Ep.1-2), started to understand the job description (Ep.3-8), then fully engaged into understanding the person(s) and do the job (Ep.9-16). Don’t get me wrong, until the very end, Man-wol never changed a bit: she is still that bossy, flamboyant character, and she is still the main character (@Lollypip in Ep.16 Recap: “Another thing I appreciated about Hotel del Luna is that the characters never underwent a huge personality change, as so often happens in dramas. The characters tempered each other and brought out the best in each other as they grew closer, but they remained their fundamental selves.”)

What made you feel annoyed is the Part 3, when Chan-sung is starting to do the job and understand the people around him. For me, to say the least, they (not only Man-wol, but also the 3 oldest employees in the hotel, who also have their own grudges to solve) can’t get away this world and go happily and in peace to their afterlife is because they get stuck in their pass hatred, so they need someone to guide them through and lead the way for them. This is Chan-sung’s another function: as a guide for them to the peace, so they can go to the afterlife. This is why he looks like some kind of saviour. However, in fact he is not saving them, he just walks with them and let them discover the solution. In Ep.14 when Man-wol is holding the hair-pin-turn-dagger, what Chan-sung can do is to stand there and wait for her to make that decision: stab him, or just leave it. This is her own decision, and once she made that decision, she can quickly go the right way, to try to determine what really had happened 1,300 years ago. And once Man-wol solve her problem, she herself becomes that guide to guide the 3 employees through their issue, and get to the afterlife together. In this sense, Chan-sung is simply a catalyse, not a saviour. The saviour(s) is in fact Man-wol and the gang, themselves.
(To @noone, 2 0f 3)

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And being that catalyse, Chan-sung need to understand, even fall in love with her. This is what the love story means: to fully engage into the situation. In the end, Man-wol thanks Chan-sung for “looked into me, took care of me, and protected me.” This is the meaning of his love, and only she loves him back do that. So my argument is: the dynamic has never changed, just an evolution of Chan-sung’s function in the whole story: He is out eyes to Man-wol’s story, help us to understand her, even engage us into her self discovery, so that when we face our own death, we know what to do, which is the lesson the story want us to bring away.

This is why the story is so romantic, not because they have kisses (only twice in this drama, even one of them is not out of love—in Ep.4—but only the boss want to save her employee out from harm), but because it is the love of let go, as Mago ends the story with this conclusion: “Feeling sad and disappointed is only natural when witnessing disappearances. When a flower withers away, just like it dreams of a new blossom, you’ll live, meet, and love again. I hope that is the answer you two arrogant, foolish, self-pitying yet beautiful lovers, have chosen.”

Not sure if you agree with me, but this is what I saw.
(To @noone, 3 of 3)

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Dear @imperialtitus
I enjoyed reading your take on the Ml’s character. But I have a question: if he is similar to the viewer or the character in GG then he can’t really also be the one who leads the characters stuck in their hatred to their salvation. I mean I prefer (again it comes down to my preference and am not sure of aesthetics then) that the seer is a seer. The seer might be opinionated but is not a participant because once he or she is a participant then the character gets colour and changes the colour palette of the drama. You know what I mean?

I guess I should revisit Hotel Del Luna and maybe read the theories around it. Looking at it in its entirety might give me a new perspective in comparison to seeing it as chunks.

And there was a typo in my message. I meant that I can’t remember all the details from hotel del Luna :) I could only remember how I saw it.

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You actually did ask a very good question about writing the eyes of the audience into a drama, @noone.

If you want to make the audience to get into the story, you must consider a point of view for them, writing a “seer” into the story is one of those method, either it is a god (Ran by Akira Kurosawa) or just a dumb translator who tags along (Saving Private Ryan’s Corporal Timothy Upham, by Steven Spielberg). However, no matter you are a god or a translator, you are, as you said, a side character, to prevent the character “directly corrupt” the story’s nature.

Making a seer to be a participant, even one of the main characters, on the other hand, is a genius, yet risky move. It is risky, as you said rightly, “because once he or she is a participant then the character gets colour and changes the colour palette of the drama,” and it may make audience’s love and hatred more direct to the story and its characters, especially the colour of that “seer” him/herself. As a result, using yourself as an example, when you don’t like that table turned, or the Chan-sung’s character in Ep.8, you will drop the story entirely, because the writer can’t control audience’s reaction about the story. On the other hand, it is a genius move because you will be pushed more directly facing the characters—in this case, Jang Man-wol, and by participating into her journey, you are dragged along the ride, and you would have felt more deeply (because Chan-sung loves her, and you as an audience, have to love and care for her, just as Chan-sung did) toward the character’s situation, happiness and pain. It is the difference between you watch someone riding the rollercoaster and you ride the rollercoaster yourself (Certainly, in watching a drama, you can always drop it whenever you like, but you can’t jump off a rollercoaster).

But well, I guess the Hung Sisters are pretty confident that you will fall in love into Jang Man-wol. After all, she is played by IU. So I guess you can try imagine yourself to be the participant, and see if you like it or not. It will be fun, although I can't guarentee if you like it or not; but surely you will get more from the story.

(And oh, by the way, since English is not my first language, I probably would have more typo. So just ask if you don’t understand what I am saying)

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