The King’s Affection: Episodes 11-12 Open Thread
We’ve reached a turning point in our story, the stakes and emotions at an all-time high. It gets harder for our prince to hold herself back, and she makes one decision that changes everything. Her life starts to crumble around her, but her royal tutor remains as her one constant, determined to keep the pieces together.
EPISODES 11-12 WEECAP
I didn’t think I’d enjoy this week’s episodes, knowing our ill-fated couple would be apart for the majority of the time. But boy, was I wrong — I absolutely loved what we got this week, and not just with the romance.
Our prince and her (now former) royal tutor do spend some time apart, her stuck in her prison of a palace and him starting a new clinic in the countryside. They miss each other terribly, while Hyun, bless his soul, plays messenger and lets both know that the other is doing okay.
I like that our couple actually tries to move on with their lives and that they really only allow themselves to feel their pain in small doses. Dam-yi spends time in their secret love nest, and Ji-woon imagines her by his side, telling her how much he wants to hold her and be with her.
As if heartache wasn’t enough, Dam-yi has other things to deal with. Before Ji-woon left the palace, Prince Changwoon caught him talking with So-eun and informed the royal court. The queen dowager found it unacceptable for a princess candidate to harbor feelings for someone else and demanded to have her taken out of the running.
However, Prince Changwoon doesn’t want the punishment to end there. He uses this situation as an excuse to punish So-eun’s maid, who’d gotten on his nerves before. He ends up killing the poor maid, for no good reason. Dam-yi’s held herself back when it came to her uncle, but this time, she doesn’t want to. She’s done with him.
Dam-yi gets the necessary evidence to sentence Prince Changwoon, his punishment being to kneel before the maid’s grave and beg for forgiveness. It’s either that or death, so he has no choice but to do so.
Everyone is appalled that Dam-yi messed with the class system and had a royal family member grovel for a lowly servant. But that’s just the beginning. Soon after, Prince Changwoon is found dead, having committed suicide from the shame. It’s Hyun’s older brother Prince Wonsan that finds the body, and he’s a little too happy about it.
To Hyun’s horror, his brother gathers the scholars to protest for Dam-yi’s dismissal from the palace. Ignoring Hyun’s pleas to stop, Prince Wonsan says that the royal title was theirs to begin with. Ugh, seriously? We have enough terrible people in the palace, and now we have to worry about you too?
The one good thing that comes out of this is how Dam-yi’s inner circle reacts. Eunuch Hong and Court Lady Kim, of course, support her. Ji-woon hears about what’s happened and makes his way back to Hanyang. And Hyun, scared for Dam-yi’s life, feels that it’s time to come clean.
Hyun gifts Dam-yi a beautiful pair of women’s shoes, revealing that he’s known her secret all this time. He urges her to run away, and she’s, of course, speechless. She sits in her room that night, until she gives in to temptation, lets down her hair and tries on the shoes. She has a quiet moment to herself, as a woman… when she hears someone at the door. Her father. He saw her.
Oh, he didn’t just see her. He knows. The king tells Dam-yi that he’s actually known her secret for years! (And I pause to exclaim WHAT. WHAAAAT.) It turns out that on the night her mother died, he overheard her mother calling her “my daughter.” I didn’t see this coming, but it totally makes sense, looking back on the king’s behavior around Dam-yi.
The scenes between Dam-yi and her father have always been tense, but this scene really takes the cake. Park Eun-bin and Lee Pil-mo are so good here, it’s spine-tingling. I can practically hear Dam-yi’s heart cracking as she asks her father if, given the chance to go back, he would make the same decision and abandon her. Near tears, he doesn’t answer and orders her to live her own life — she’s no longer the crown prince.
At this point, I’m like Where is Ji-woon?? I want him to come and hug her, and thankfully, our hero doesn’t disappoint. Ji-woon finds Dam-yi in their garden, more love in his eyes than ever, and tells her that he’s going to stay and protect her, no matter what she says. With that, he leans in and kisses her, and she kisses him back. (This time, I pause to make sounds only a dog could hear.)
Dam-yi is still hesitant to let herself be happy with Ji-woon, telling him to go on without her. But the next day, when Dam-yi officially leaves the palace, she catches Ji-woon following her like the loyal puppy he is. I love her little smile as she says to herself, “He never listens.”
Unbeknownst to Dam-yi, her grandfather and Inspector Jung plot to bring her back to the palace. The king, however, has already enlisted Hyun and Commander Yoon to guide her out safely. Dam-yi is taken to a secret location, where she’s given a gift box containing a lovely hanbok and a goodbye letter from her father.
Wearing her new hanbok, Dam-yi sneaks off onto the next boat out of Hanyang. Inspector Jung and his men almost get to her, but Ji-woon gets to her first and, true to his word, protects her. And he’s sweetly flustered seeing her in her disguise.
Dam-yi starts to tell Ji-woon that she has to confess something (OMG), but Inspector Jung finds them again. The couple run away, but one of the guards manages to strike Dam-yi’s arm with an arrow. Dam-yi grows weak, and Ji-woon carries her the rest of the way to safety.
Tucked away in the woods, Ji-woon sets Dam-yi down and fusses over her wound. But Dam-yi is adamant on finishing what she was trying to say earlier. To his confusion, she removes the top of her hanbok, revealing her cut arm… and her chest. She looks up at him, eyes full of fear, and says, “This is my secret.”
The reason why this romance makes me swoon so much is because Ji-woon fell in love with her 1) not knowing she is actually a woman and 2) not knowing she is his first love. It’s like, no matter what, he was bound to fall hard. But, like @missvictrix, I was getting anxious for him to know. And now that he does, it’s about to get real.
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