This episode was a little sweet, a little sassy, and a little scaaaary. Okay, not so much scary, but things are not looking so good for Yeon Woo. In other news, every one of the royal children wants to marry a Heo. And that’s not all! Let me break it down for you:
Prince Hwon and Yeon Woo stare into each other’s eyes, while their unrequited admirers watch from the shadows. Bo Kyung is crying, and she, along with Yang Myung, bring our love rhombus together (at least in the same place) for the first time.
Hwon asks Yeon Woo about her name, which means misty rain. Hwon is named for the sun. Hwon asks why Yeon Woo has been avoiding him and if she dislikes him, and she answers quickly that she hasn’t, and doesn’t. Hwon jokingly says that that must mean she really likes him, which gets Yeon Woo all flustered. She explains that he already has his eye on Bo Kyung, why else would he have called for her? The prince tells her that that’s her fault. If she were honest about her identity, Bo Kyung wouldn’t have been mistaken for Yeon Woo.
Hwon tells Yeon Woo about the upcoming ban on marriages, and that he intends to marry her. The romance is heightened by the falling cherry blossoms, which we find are being fanned down from the roof by Hyung Sun. What planning! That Hwon is one smooth operator.
The next day Hwon is dreamily staring at his lettuce plant. Hyung Sun is pleased to tell the prince he knew Hwon would want it back, so he wisely saved it. Hwon asks if Hyung Sun knows what the lettuce represents, and Hyung Sun goes into a long speech about how although he’s waiting for his plant to grow, the wait will never compare to that of the people (I’m guessing he’s referring to waiting for food to grow so you can feed your family?). Hwon stares at Hyung Sun, shocked that he knew the answer. “How did you know that?” Hwon asks. Hyung Sun answers wearily, “This is the 14th time you’ve brought up the lettuce.” HA. (Personally, I’d love to have someone who’s job it was to listen to me tell the same stories over and over. Where can I find a Hyung Sun of my own?)
The ban on marriages is officially in place. Yang Myung sees a sign announcing the ban and has a worried look on his face.
At the end of their lesson, Hwon asks Yeom if Yeon Woo has been put on the potential bride call sheet yet. Yeom says that she hasn’t, and although it’s her duty to do so, Yeom asks that the prince not take her for his queen. Yeom seems genuinely convinced that Hwon and Yeon Woo cannot be together. Ever. Does Yeom have the gift of the second sight? Or is he just really overprotective?
Hwon is outraged. He argues that he can’t possibly agree to Yeom’s terms because… In his mind, Hwon says that he loves Yeon Woo, but out loud he says, “Because I’m in love!” and then storms out. Yeom and the eavesdropping servants outside all believe Hwon just confessed his love to Yeom. Hyung Sun runs in to do damage control and say to a stunned Yeom, “It’s not you he likes. It’s the woman who looks most like you…” With all the misunderstandings going on I wouldn’t be surprised if Yeom thinks that means Hwon is in love with Yeom’s mom.
Hyung Sun finds Hwon in his room, fuming. He tells Hwon that when making confessions of love, you actually have to say the name of the person; otherwise people will get the wrong idea. Hyung Sun wonders if Hwon really doesn’t know the reason Yeom wanted his sister taken out of The Bachelor: Joseon Edition. If Yeon Woo makes it to the final three, but doesn’t get chosen, she’ll be either banished from the palace or, if the king takes pity on her, made a concubine. That’s exactly what happened to Yang Myung’s mom.
Hwon realizes that the Queen Dowager is in charge of the wife-picking, and she will surely choose Bo Kyung. Hwon goes to his father and asks that the king go over the Queen Dowager’s head, but the king refuses. There are some things even a king cannot do. Hwon asks if they could make it a fair selection process, and, you know, maybe he could even pick his own wife. Later in his chambers, Hwon orders Hyung Sun to go recruit a scholar from Sungkyunkwan for a secret mission.
Yang Myung goes before the king and reminds him that he said Yang Myung could marry Yeon Woo once The Bachelor: Joseon Edition ended. The king replies that he said he would think about it – he never promised anything. Yang Myung is upset, and asks if Hwon has his eye on Yeon Woo too. If she’s not chosen, Yang Myung asks, could he marry her? The king angrily states that the final three ladies become the king’s women and cannot marry. Yang Myung (along with everyone in the kingdom) knows that Bo Kyung will be chosen, and that will leave Yeon Woo with a terrible fate. Yang Myung can’t bear to see that happen, but the king says that if Yang Myung tries any sneaky stuff he’ll consider it an act of treason. Yang Myung, forget about Yeon Woo. Let’s run away together. We can commit all kind of treason.
Yang Myung has a daydream of his childhood with Hwon. He asks for Hwon to stop smiling and laughing – essentially to stop being his sweet little brother – so that Yang Myung can freely hate him for easily having all that Yang Myung wants. Yang Myung continues, “If you can’t do that, could you at least calm the storm that’s blowing through my heart?”
Min Hwa tries to casually run into Yeom, but when he (unintentionally) ignores her, she jumps into his path. She gives him the bracelet she made for him and asks if he has a wife. When he says no she give a little squeal of delight. She asks if he has a girlfriend, and this time when he says no she screams with joy and jumps up and down. She tells him that it was her that knew the answer to his riddle. He smiles at her, and she completely loses her train of thought, dumbfounded by his beauty. She dreamily tells him, “You’re… pretty.” And then runs off, embarrassed.
Min Hwa runs into the king, but instead of running into his arms like she usually does, she stands a few feet away from him and greets him formally. She tells him she has a matter she’d like to discuss, and could he meet her in her chambers? The king laughs and goes along with it, probably thinking she’s just playing around.
The king is shocked to find out Min Hwa wants to marry Yeom. He tells her that it’s out of the question – a person with that much intellect needs to be working for the king, and the husband of the princess cannot work or be involved in politics. Min Hwa asks if that means she has to marry someone stupid and ugly, and begins to sob. The king tries to comfort her, but she’s got her eyes set firmly on Yeom, and she cannot be swayed. The king explains that marrying her would only be holding Yeom back, and he’s so special it would be a travesty for him to not meet his full potential. I think Yeom should follow the same path set out for his sister and become the princess’ side piece. That’s only fair, right? Alas, these are not times of gender equality.
Yeom walks home and finds Seol practicing her sword fighting in the courtyard. She’s stunned to see him and hides her makeshift sword behind her back, but Yeom simply comments that her skills are improving. He asks her who the girl who looks most like him would be (seriously, Yeom? I thought you were a top scholar). Seol answer that it’s Yeon Woo, his sister. Yeom is shocked (Again: Seriously?) and can’t figure out when Hwon and Yeon Woo would have even met each other.
Cut to Yeon Woo explaining that they met accidentally the day Yeom and the other scholars were being awarded. She says that she can see why Yeon would want her to back out of the marriage race, but she won’t. Yeom tells her that if the prince’s feelings for her are discovered she could end up being used as a pawn in a political power struggle. He asks her to pretend to be sick to get out of the bride pool. Yeon Woo refuses again, saying that she returns the prince’s feelings.
Prince Hwon has called on Sungkyunkwan’s top scholar to meet him in secret. Hwon speaks of how Sungkyunkwan students are supposed to guide the nation and always look out for the best interest of their people. He asks the scholar if he thinks it’s right for the choosing of the future queen to be a ploy for one family to gain power.
The scholar brings all the Sungkyunkwan students to the palace. They send the king petitions and sit in protest. We flashback to Hwon’s conversation with the king: Hwon believes that the choosing of his bride is an unjust way for one family to gain all the power. He wants to end this abuse of power, and he wants to start with choosing his own bride. The king basically tells Hwon, “Okay, now prove it.”
Now that the king has seen what Hwon has done, he’s actually impressed. But a decision is not made, and the protest goes on for days and days. The various ministers all gather in front of the king to find a solution. Arguments are made for both sides, but the king decides that the bride-choosing will be conducted fairly. He, along with three other officials, will choose the prince’s bride. In addition, the choosing will be moved off the Queen Dowager’s turf, so she’ll lose all control of the process.
The Queen Dowager is not pleased. She goes to her son and argues that she chose Bo Kyung not because of her family, but because she’s a good, virtuous girl. The king sassily responds that if she’s so great, she’ll pass through with no problems. The Queen Dowager reminds the king that it was her clan that protected his right to the throne, or does he not remember? The king remembers all too well – flashback to his half-brother getting his throat slit by Minister Yoon. The Queen Dowager is surprised the king knew of her shady dealings all this time, but the king has been keeping it a secret as a way of repaying her for her “help.” He tells her not to push it and ask for any more power.
Yeon Woo receives bride training from her mom. Her mother tells her to thump down on the ground after bowing, eat as loudly as she can, and say that she’s been studying the classics since age three, not doing needlepoint. Yeon Woo sees right through her mother and asks if she’s trying to get Yeon Woo disqualified in the first round. Yeon Woo tells her mother than she just wants to make her father proud, and mom should back off and let her do her own thing. Mama Heo sighs and gives her daughter a hug. We see a nice montage of all the potential brides marching around the palace, probably off to a rose ceremony.
Yang Myung over Yeon Woo’s wall for a late night visit. She’s surprised to see him, but she notices he’s dressed for traveli hops ng, and asks if he’s going somewhere. He says that he’s in the mood to travel again, but he wanted to get one last look at her first. He leans in closer, and closer… and calls her ugly. Ha. She asks if he’s going to come back, and he replies, “Why? Do you want to come with me?” He tells her that Bo Kyung will surely be chosen as the queen, and at best Yeon Woo will be a high ranking concubine. If they ran away together he would give up his princely title, his birthright, everything, and just protect her. Meanwhile, I’m so overcome with love for Yang Myung I’m about to black out.
Yeon Woo acts like he’s joking (at least I thin she’s acting, to help him save face), and tells him he’s gone too far. He smiles and sighs, and agrees that his joke has gone too far. He asks if she’ll regret the path she’s chosen, and she quickly tells him no. He tells her to put up a good fight against Bo Kyung, gives her one last loving flick on the forehead, and hops back over the wall.
Yang Myung runs into Woon, and the two walk together for a while. Yang Myung explains that he can’t battle his father anymore, and he’s leaving. But, he adds, the moon will follow him wherever he goes.
Ten days later, and we’re down to the final three would-be-brides. They sit before the king, and he asks them what he’s worth, money wise. The first girl answers 100,000, no, a million yang. She stumbles over her answer and tells the king she’s sorry, but she doesn’t really understand money. Bo Kyung is next, and answers that the king’s value cannot be quantified – he should ask her again when there is a way to measure the depth of the ocean or the height of the sky. The Queen Dowager looks smugly pleased with this answer. Next is Yeon Woo, and she answers… one yang.
Cut to the prince practicing his archery skills, missing the target every time, overcome with nerves. Hyung Sun comes running, completely out of breath, trying to tell the prince who his queen will be.
It’s Yeon Woo! Hoorah! Flashing back to her answer, she gives an explanation: To a rich person, one yang might seem insignificant, but to a poor person, that one yang means everything. The king and queen are pleased with their new daughter-in-law-to-be. The Queen Dowager looks like she just bit into a worm sandwich.
Princess Min Hwa is going on a hunger strike in protest of her not being able to marry Yeom. She sobs and begs her mother and her grandmother to change the king’s mind, to no avail.
Yeon Woo moves into the Silver Moon Pavilion, where she’ll live while she prepares for her life as queen. A servant hands her a handkerchief, telling Yeon Woo she’ll need it. Everyone leaves and Yeon Woo realizes how much she misses her mom. She starts to cry and realizes this was what the servant was referring to. There’s something different about this handkerchief though, and as Yeon Woo opens it up she sees there is a note written from Hwon. It says if she’s crying about missing her family she should go open her window. Yeon Woo goes to her window and looks out, and there’s Hwon, waiting for her with a smile.
Yeon Woo scolds the prince for sneaking in to see her, and closes the window. She’s disappointed when she opens it again and sees that he’s gone. Yeon Woo runs out of the pavilion, looking for the prince, and finds him waiting for her in a homemade theater set-up. Hwon assures her that he got permission from the king, and invites her to sit down and enjoy a puppet show. He tells her not to judge – it was put together hastily. Hyung Sun, the aide of all trades, proceeds to act out a show with puppets of Hwon and Yeon Woo. Awww.
Nok Young is called for a secret meeting with the Queen Dowager, who wants Nok Young to kill Yeon Woo so that Bo Kyung can be queen. Nok Young argues that it is her job to protect the royal family, and Yeon Woo is now a member of the royal family. The Queen Dowager counters that the shamans are in danger of losing their place in the palace, and without her support they would surely be done away with.
Nok Young heads back to her room and asks Ah Ri if she is really meant to kill Yeon Woo. Who should she protect, one girl or all the shamans? She’s transported to the same gravesite she saw before, and sees a red cloth marked with the characters “two,” “person,” and “work.” Then the three symbols combine to create the character for “shaman.” The cloth flies off into the sky.
Nok Young repeats the prophecy: Yeon Woo is fated to be close to the sun, but she will suffer for it. Is her only choice to kill her?
A few thoughts…
Okay. I liked the ending, but it seems like all we’re getting is prophesies and no actual action. I’m ready for someone to shoot a poison dagger at Yeon Woo, or hijack her sedan in a spooky forest. Stop predicting drama and murder and show me some action! Besides the lack of bloodshed (or because of it), this was another charming episode. I’m still shipping for Yang Myung, but I like the sweet relationship blooming between Yeon Woo and Hwon. And it looks like Hwon has quite a few romantic gestures up his sleeve. I look forward to seeing these two get all cutesy together… before being torn apart. Hey, it can’t be all cherry blossoms and puppet shows forever.
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