The King: Eternal Monarch: Episode 13
Between her investigations and dealing with the fallout from her alternate borrowing her identity while she’s been away, our heroine is kept pretty busy this week. Meanwhile, our hero continues piecing the puzzle together and makes a startling revelation that may help determine his next moves.
Ok-nam shares her story of living through the start of the Korean War during which she’d lost her family. A man approached her and offered to take her to a world without war. That man was King Haejong, Gon’s grandfather.
Tae-eul explains that the country is now divided into North Korea and South Korea. Although it’s saddening, Ok-nam is glad to finally learn what happened. It was all a part of her destiny, like how Tae-eul’s destiny brought her to Corea.
In the study, Seo-ryung digests the confirmation of Gon and Tae-eul’s relationship. Is he planning to hide his future queen’s criminal record? Upset she can’t have the place beside him, Seo-ryung ominously asks, “Will I be able to see you better from the opposing side?”
Gon stands and warns her to stop before she goes too far, but Seo-ryung is past caring. She started from the bottom (now she’s here), whereas Gon was born with a golden spoon and has the luxury of acting according to love. “What will my heart beat for now, Your Majesty? I don’t think it’ll be for honesty and loyalty.”
Lightening and thunder strikes, causing them both to wince in pain. Gon sees the burning mark running up her neck, but he doesn’t confront her when she makes a quick exit. He does order a check on Kim Ki-hwan’s autopsy results.
Tae-eul ruminates on Ok-nam’s assertion that Tae-eul has been “guiding” Gon to his fate and her request that Tae-eul take care of him. In the hallway, she and Seo-ryung come face to face. They each feign politeness, and Tae-eul calls her Gu Eun-ah, referencing their meeting in the republic. Seo-ryung laughs and corrects her that they met outside KU Building.
Seo-ryung brings up Gon’s proposal, but Tae-eul blows past it. What did she do after buying shoes that day, Tae-eul wants to know? Seo-ryung’s polite mask drops, and she tells Tae-eul to move. Tae-eul accuses her of feeling guilty, making Seo-ryung taunt her that of course she didn’t just buy shoes that day … when they met at KU Building, of course.
Thunder booms and Tae-eul sees the mark on her neck as Seo-ryung walks away. Tae-eul immediately runs in to tell Gon. When she informs him that she saw Seo-ryung in the republic recently, Gon realizes Seo-ryung is on Rim’s team now. Tae-eul worries Seo-ryung will act rashly if she feels cornered, but Gon wants to push her to make a move.
At the NFS, Gon sees photos of the scarring on Kim Ki-hwan’s body, which is clearly from a burn mark like his. This is the third body the NFS officer has seen with those markings. Oddly, the deceased all committed parricide. Gon reasons to himself that they must’ve killed family members who caught them as impersonators.
At the hospital, a man sneaks into Eun-seob’s room and begins injecting something into his IV bag. But Eun-seob is ready for him and already disconnected the IV line. He pulls out his gun and trains it on the man, calmly telling him to let go of his knife. Look at you, being all badass!
We flash back to when he did his “security check” and actually found bugging devices. Ha! He had planted false info and waited. Now, the intruder tries to bolt, but Gon and his guards are positioned outside the door to take him into custody.
Eun-seob is mighty proud of himself and wonders how Corea will function without him (as he daintily tosses the gun with distaste). When Eun-seob asks when he and Tae-eul are leaving, Gon sadly responds probably the following morning. Thunder cracks and Eun-seob grabs Gon’s waist in fear but experiences no burning mark or pain. Gon postulates only those who’ve killed their counterparts are afflicted.
Seo-ryung is distracted thinking of the mark and tells her assistant to schedule her a doctor’s appointment. He concernedly asks what she did on her break, but Seo-ryung has a rare moment of kindness and won’t tell him since he’d be in danger. In a flashback, Seo-ryung meets Rim at Eosu Bookshop and confronts him about the newspapers.
She’s startled that he’s indeed the supposedly dead Rim, but she’s not cowed by him. Rim explains the situation to her and laughs delightedly when Seo-ryung asks if he’s planning to replace her with Eun-ah if she doesn’t go along with his plans. He’s never had someone guess correctly right off the bat. Seo-ryung challenges him to prove his abilities by taking her to the republic.
Tae-eul, meanwhile, goes for an outing with Jangmi’s alternate who’s an ace trainee of the Royal Guard. Aw, he also goes by Jangmi! They head to check out an area she thinks she was in when she was kidnapped.
Gon frets over Tae-eul when Secretary Mo informs him of her trip, but he focuses on more pressing matters. Like his marriage. Gon tells Secretary Mo to postpone the announcement, shocking her when he says Tae-eul hasn’t agreed yet. Gon changes the topic to Seo-ryung and orders that her ex be given an ultimatum: his ex-wife or his company.
Ok-nam enters and brings Gon up to speed on the palace spy Park Sook-jin and how she poisoned herself. (Okay, there had to be another way to test for poison rather than feeding it to those poor chickens.) Ok-nam gives Gon the partially burned picture of Shin-jae, and Gon realizes Shin-jae’s parents were Rim’s target.
Gon goes to visit the now-conscious spy who requested to speak with him. Rim gave her a photo of Shin-jae with Gon, Sook-jin explains, along with the poison. She decided to poison herself rather than Gon. Dead, she’d pay for her sins; alive, she’d confess to Gon. She kneels and pleads for him to protect Shin-jae.
Elsewhere, pregnant swapper repeatedly recites information about her family members while lying in a private hospital room. We cut to her alternate in the republic, terrified and alone in an unfamiliar, cramped apartment.
In the republic, Luna struggles to fit into Tae-eul’s life and figure out how to interact with her dad. She asks him if she’s a good daughter, and he jokingly replies she is … on payday. He rushes out the door, leaving a hot, home-cooked meal for “Tae-eul.” Luna wanders around the house listlessly.
Jung-hye stakes out Shin-jae’s old house where she used to be a housekeeper when Ji-hoon was little. She sees Shin-jae’s mom walking down the street and goes up to say hi. It takes Hwa-yeon a minute to recognize her, but once she does, she greets her enthusiastically.
Hwa-yeon explains sheepishly that she’s now a housekeeper in this neighborhood. Jung-hye grabs her hand and invites her for a meal. Yeong watches from around the corner as Jung-hye pulls a surprised Hwa-yeon toward her car.
They obviously haven’t seen each other in a long time since Jung-hye didn’t know about the business failing or Shin-jae’s recovery. Hwa-yeon proudly exclaims Shin-jae is a cop and shows her a picture. Jung-hye recognizes him from that day by Ji-hoon’s grave.
Jung-hye avoids answering when Hwa-yeon asks after Ji-hoon. Before leaving, Jung-hye pulls out a wad of cash and gives it to an astonished Hwa-yeon in gratitude for how well she always treated her. She leaves in a hurry with Hwa-yeon yelling after her and doesn’t stop until she gets in the elevator. Yeong gets in behind her.
In the kingdom, Gon waits anxiously for Tae-eul’s return. She and Jangmi come sprinting in after Ho-pil berates Jangmi over the phone for being so slow. Tae-eul tells Gon that she and Jangmi are close to discovering “Rim’s bamboo forest.” Maybe his guards can stake it out.
Gon explains that time is pausing for an hour now, and Tae-eul understands that means Rim could easily pick off any guards that were posted by his gate. Tae-eul hugs Gon, musing that he must be alone whenever time pauses like that. Gon responds that she’s sometimes beside him during those times.
He speculates that the time pause stems from the flute being broken. Fixing it may restore order and keep things from breaking down. Gon surprises her by suggesting he stop Rim from ever taking the flute, which would keep it whole.
Gon thinks it’s possible to travel through time due to the unique properties of the between place. It’d explain her ID from another time falling into his hands. Tae-eul guesses that he’s worried the door will permanently close once the flute is whole and encourages him not to worry in advance.
Later, they go to the between place where Tae-eul scatters more seeds (and Eun-seob plays with floating coins) before they all head back to the republic.
Tae-eul’s dad catches three unrepentant teens smoking. They’re somewhat chastened when he kicks the cigarette right out of one of their mouths, though. He deduces that they’ll either become gangsters or cops and gives them a flier for his studio.
Tae-eul backs up his claim that the studio has trained a lot of cops and gives her dad a running hug. He must’ve noticed she wasn’t home this time … except that she was, her dad claims. Tae-eul goes home and looks around her room with trepidation.
Meanwhile, Yeong and Shin-jae share a meal and drinks. Shin-jae admits that he thinks his name used to be Kang Hyun-min, but he asks Yeong to investigate it. Yeong offers to look into his family too, and Shin-jae agrees.
Out of the blue, Yeong asks why Shin-jae hasn’t confessed his feelings to Tae-eul yet. Shin-jae grumbles that this is why he gets shot. But Yeong presses that Tae-eul and Gon can’t be together – they’re from different worlds. Shin-jae claims people can be farther apart than that in the same world, although he confesses that he does like her.
Outside, Shin-jae runs into Luna crouched beside a stray cat. He asks what she’s been up to on her days off. When he notices her wan complexion, he worriedly asks if she’s sick. Luna stares at him silently and abruptly kisses him. After a few seconds, Shin-jae pushes her away, shaken. That was weird.
While she takes a phone call from her dad, Shin-jae walks away. Still reeling, he runs into Tae-eul who’s traced her phone to this area. Shin-jae realizes he just met her alternate and tries to pull himself together.
He tells Tae-eul that Luna applied for leave with her ID, so she should go to the station first and walks off. Tae-eul calls Luna who warns her that she’ll kill her when they meet. She isn’t planning on messing with Tae-eul’s people; she’s only after her.
Gon catches up with Yeong and shares that he’s handling the Seo-ryung issue. We see that KU sent that advisor guy who’s been working with Seo-ryung as their representative. He and Gon are familiar with each other, and he encourages Gon to make use of him for any dirty work since that’s his forte.
He passes along a USB from Seo-ryung’s ex, which contains treasonous evidence that they obtained from Seo-ryung’s private residence. He advises Gon to up his security since Seo-ryung recorded some of her conversations with him at the palace.
News stations report on the leaked recorded conversation between Seo-ryung and her ex where she asked him to dig into the traitors. Her mother faints when she hears it. Seo-ryung panics as she watches the news with the banner “Chairman Choi of KU saves his company by exposing his ex-wife.”
The deputy prime minister and his underlings barge in, and he informs her he’s been appointed acting prime minister. They’re silent when she asks who gave the order, but she complies. The advisor stands by impassively, and Seo-ryung laughs when he shows just where his loyalty lies. She demands to know who went through her private residence, but he just tells her to clean up her own mess. Only her assistant loyally follows her out.
In the republic, Gon asks Yeong if the twins discovered he wasn’t Eun-seob. Yeong smiles as he bluffs that of course they didn’t. At the café, Eun-bi informs Na-ri that Yeong is not her brother. Heh. Na-ri agrees, stating how strange he’s been lately. Suddenly, Eun-bi’s face brightens as she yells out, “Oppa!” and runs into Eun-seob’s arms.
Na-ri chides her after just saying he wasn’t Eun-seob. “This one is.” Ha. Na-ri is even more baffled when she finds that he does give off Eun-seob vibes again. He jokes that she must’ve really missed him and gives her a big hug, to Na-ri’s confusion. Eun-bi covers her little brother’s eyes. “There are kids watching!”
Tae-eul reports her phone as stolen but finds out Luna discontinued her cell service under her name. Luna, meanwhile, is writhing in pain in the back of a van.
The following morning, Gon presents Eun-seob with a super expensive sports car as a thank you. At home, Tae-eul heads out for work and is shocked to find Gon in her kitchen joining her father for a meal. Her father notes her particular glow of late and wonders if she got a boyfriend. She stuns both men by casually introducing Gon as her boyfriend.
Gon quickly rallies and formally introduces himself. They sit for a meal, and Gon carelessly mentions that the kimchi tastes like what he’s served in the palace. Tae-eul’s dad asks who Gon really is, but Tae-eul covers by quipping that he’s obviously an impressive person.
Outside, Tae-eul is unhappy to hear that Gon plans to return to Corea immediately, making Gon waver and decide to stay for the day. Tae-eul gives him a plain pair of clothes she bought for him so he doesn’t stand out as much. He pulls out the jacket … and it looks like the one his “savior” was wearing 25 years ago.
Tae-eul and Shin-jae go to Eun-ah’s place, but it doesn’t look like anyone’s been home in days. Jangmi calls and informs Tae-eul that Eun-ah has been reported as missing. Shin-jae simultaneously receives the results of the fingerprint analysis of the burner phone.
They discover that Rim’s lackey has a record; he robbed Yangsun Care Center 19 years ago. Tae-eul thinks the center is the link, and they might find Eun-ah (or her body) there. That same stern employee guards the center, but she has a strange reaction to Shin-jae, like she recognizes him. Shin-jae swipes her master key card, and they go through the rooms to her horror.
At the hotel, Yeong asks Gon to drink with him – seemingly bracing for a serious talk – and goes out to buy soju. While he waits, Gon thinks of Sook-jin and tries calling Shin-jae, but he doesn’t get through. He puts on the all-black outfit Tae-eul bought him, looking the spitting image of his savior.
Tae-eul surprises him by showing up at his hotel room … except she and Shin-jae are still searching the care center. Uh-oh. Something catches Shin-jae’s eye in one of the rooms while Tae-eul searches the basement morgue where she finds Eun-ah’s body. In the kingdom, Rim stares at a massive poster of Gon, looking uncertain.
Back in Gon’s hotel room, Luna starts talking about how she looked up how to grow those lilies she’s been hoping will sprout. She tells him the meaning of the flower: hopeless love. Gon is staring at her intensely and hasn’t said a word.
Now, he muses that he never thought he’d be fooled. She looks anxious in a way that doesn’t match Tae-eul – she must be Luna. He swipes Tae-eul’s stolen ID from Luna’s coat pocket and catches sight of himself in the mirror. Everything clicks, and he hears gunshots in his head.
At the same moment across universes, he and Rim both realize who the mysterious savior was all those years ago. A tear falls as Gon puts the pieces together, and he suddenly stumbles. We focus on the beer can as he clutches his heart and his vision goes blurry. Gon struggles to breathe and passes out as we flash back to him gazing down at his child self that fateful night.
Gon knew that Luna was in the republic, so you’d think he’d be a little more cautious. They need to come up with code words or something for identity checks. Thankfully, while Luna may have many skills, acting doesn’t appear to be one of them. Only when she met with Gon did she seem somewhat like Tae-eul. The rest of the time, anyone could’ve seen that “Tae-eul” was behaving like a completely different person. So how in the world did Tae-eul’s father miss it? Luna looked like she was going to drop at any second and acted nothing like Tae-eul, yet he didn’t even notice anything was wrong. You’d think he’d pick up on something. And why’d Luna have to mess with Shin-jae?! That was not cool. The kiss was so abrupt and just strange. What a way to greet someone you just met.
Once again, the final reveal fell a bit flat since it was merely confirming what many suspected from the start. Gon being his own savior was the obvious choice, although I had hoped we’d get a twist, and it’d be someone unexpected. Now that Gon knows he time traveled to save himself, it’s a matter of figuring out how to use the gate to find a particular point in time. But since it already happened, I guess he knows he’ll succeed (and won’t die from whatever Luna poisoned him with).
The only other important, new information we got his hour is that Eun-ah is indeed dead, Seo-ryung is definitively Team Rim, and the markings do seem to only appear on travelers with dead alternates. Otherwise, not that much happened in the grand scheme of things. That’s a bit concerning seeing as we only have three episodes left. I feel like the final episodes will have to progress at lightspeed to resolve everything.
Although I do wish we’d spent more time on the larger plot this episode, it was nice to get some more Yeong and Eun-seob moments. Stepping into each other’s shoes is doing them both some good. Eun-seob got to be badass and outsmart a bad guy, and Yeong has started paying more attention to people around him not named Gon. Despite not getting along at first, he’s obviously worried about Shin-jae and trying to look out for him. And he’s clearly fond of Eun-seob. I’m sad we didn’t get to see Yeong interact with the twins more, but Eun-seob’s reunion with his beloved siblings was sweet. I’m still really curious why the twins live with Eun-seob and not their parents, but it’s looking less likely that we’ll get an answer. That’s the issue with introducing an unwieldy number of characters: there’s no way to flesh out everyone and delve into all the backstories or personal matters that are teased. I guess I’ll just have to accept that this drama is not about Eun-seob and Yeong and take what I can get.
- Premiere Watch: The King: Eternal Monarch
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- Woo Do-hwan signs on for The King: Eternal Ruler with Kim Go-eun, Lee Min-ho
- Kim Go-eun makes drama comeback in The King: Eternal Ruler with Lee Min-ho
- Lee Min-ho reunites with star writer Kim Eun-sook for sci-fi romance