The King’s Affection: Episodes 7-8 Open Thread
It’s a tense week for our characters, as the palace has some not-so-friendly visitors. I’d be scared for our prince, as she’s left to deal with the chaos, but she’s proven time and time again that she can handle herself. And, as she’s starting to realize, she has plenty of people who have her back.
EPISODES 7-8 WEECAP
I get so excited to tune in to this show, just to rejoin our characters and see how their relationships develop. I’m obviously smitten with our main couple, as well as the parties around them that make it all the more interesting. This time around, we’re given the usual dose of light cuteness, which perfectly balances out with the much darker side of things.
Jumping back in, Ji-woon is nearly punished for supposedly hiding his identity and background from the royal family. But Dam-yi comes in, like a total boss, with the evidence to clear his name. She gets him released, and he immediately retrieves his friends and makes sure that they’re safe and sound.
To Dam-yi’s surprise, Ji-woon wishes to remain at the palace as her tutor. He’s come to admire her (in more ways than one), and it’s sweet watching him follow her around like a puppy. At one point, he’s so bouncy and hyper that he trips and falls right into her arms. Reversals — gotta love ‘em. (Also, prayers for Ro-woon’s poor back.)
I have to admit, I also think So-eun and her little crush on Ji-woon is cute. But the best thing that comes out of their interactions is definitely Dam-yi’s jealousy. The jealousy hijinks are fun now, but I already know that they’re gonna hurt me later.
Speaking of which, things take a more serious turn when the Ming envoys arrive. Among the envoys are the minister that Ji-woon is on good terms with and the chief eunuch (cameo by Park Ki-woong). The chief eunuch is originally from Joseon, but he’s exceptionally rude and explosive towards the Joseon royals.
During the welcoming banquet, the chief eunuch feels offended by someone and nearly executes them right there. Dam-yi orders him to stop, and when it seems like he won’t, Ji-woon then steps in and de-escalates the situation. Later, Dam-yi tells Ji-woon not to involve himself like that again, concerned for his well-being.
Apparently, the chief eunuch isn’t done wreaking havoc. He notices Court Lady Kim making eye contact with Dam-yi and assumes she’s speaking in code. Enraged, the chief eunuch grabs Court Lady Kim and cuts off her hair. (For context, back then, cutting one’s hair was thought of as a punishment worse than death.)
With that, Dam-yi has had enough. She punches him to the ground and continues to pulverize him.
The chief eunuch, of course, has to retaliate, so he has his burly bodyguard attack Dam-yi’s bodyguard Ga-on. Dam-yi is nearly slashed by the bodyguard’s sword, but Ga-on covers her and takes the blow without hesitation. As Ga-on passes out and falls into a dream, we get a little more insight into who he might be.
Ga-on dreams of the real Prince Hwi’s former tutor, just as he was about to be executed. And in the crowd, crying, we see a young Ga-on. Now that I didn’t see coming. I should’ve known that the tutor’s death would come back into the story somehow.
I’m assuming that the tutor was Ga-on’s father and that Ga-on’s motivation for being in the palace is staying close to his father’s last link — Hwi/Dam-yi. It’s still unclear if he’s actually seeking revenge against Dam-yi, but if he is, he’s clearly wavering.
Meanwhile, Dam-yi is reprimanded by her father, who’d trusted her with welcoming the envoys. Dam-yi is deeply hurt by his disappointment, as she’d known he was sick and she’d wanted to step in and make him proud.
At this point, I just want someone to hug poor Dam-yi. Thankfully, Ji-woon is there to do just that and to reassure her that she’s doing her best (which Hyun witnesses from afar). Together, they team up with Hyun to take the chief eunuch down.
Along the way, Ji-woon gets caught up in two separate fights, getting injured on both occasions. Dam-yi, like clockwork, is always there to save him. I love this, as well their quiet moments afterwards, as she tends to his wounds. You can tell he feels incapable, when he so badly wants to protect her, but she’s just thankful he’s by her side.
Our badass team eventually gets the upper hand, with Ga-on getting a rematch with the chief eunuch’s bodyguard and Hyun uncovering a scandal the chief eunuch was involved in, which is sure to get him in trouble with the emperor. They also uncover something else — the chief eunuch’s tragic backstory.
The chief eunuch had been sold and shipped to China as a child, essentially abandoned by his own parents and home country. He’d been sold along with a young girl, who’d later become the emperor’s concubine. The chief eunuch and the girl were in love, but they had to keep it a secret within the palace.
This, Dam-yi tells the chief eunuch, is something she sadly relates to, on a very deep level. She now understands why he carries so much hatred in his heart, and she apologizes to him as the prince of Joseon. For the first time since he’s arrived, the chief eunuch actually softens.
The Ming envoys peacefully retreat, and a calm washes over the palace and our characters. More importantly, our couple has come out of this with a stronger bond. Much stronger than they expected.
After some celebratory drinks, Dam-yi wanders into her and Ji-woon’s former love nest and is stunned to find it completely restored and covered with fresh flowers. (This totally reminds me of the movie The Notebook, when the hero restored the old house they cherished. So, so heartwarming.)
Dam-yi finds Ji-woon there, drunk as a skunk, and lies that she just happened to stumble upon this place. As she admires the work he’s done, he can’t help but stare at her. He tries to shake it off, like he always does, but this time, the pull is too strong. Like a reflex, he leans in and kisses her on the cheek, surprising them both.
I was expecting him to go for a real kiss, but the fact that he had the urge to give her an innocent peck on the cheek is actually quite precious. Everything about this relationship is so innocent, which makes me all the more fearful for what lies ahead. Dam-yi is trying to hold her feelings back, as they’re a danger to both of them, but Ji-woon is making it really freaking hard. For her and for me.
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