Writer: Esther Noloc
Editors: Tabby Cat and Valerie Kaye
Pictures by SBS
“All great changes are preceded by chaos.” ~ Deepak Chopra.
This quotation seems like it was written for Dae Gil: his life is “chaos”--from the very day he came into this world until now when he is grown up, is more mature, is well-trained, and gained a lot of money. And now, in the blink of an eye, his existence is turned upside down again. A series of secrets from his past confuses him. Dealing with uninvited changes in our lives is often difficult and painful; he will need some time to digest the truth.
In Jwa, the cunning noble who created this chaos, tells Dae Gil what he never asked to know: his mother is alive and is a royal consort. His brother is the prince who is fighting with him against corruption. His father, Baek Man Geum--the reason he embarked on this journey of vengeance, violence, and pain--is not his real father. In fact, his father is none other than the king of the nation. “You must be crazy,” Dae Gil says with angry voice and eyes.
Dae Gil can’t control his feelings, and draws his sword, pointing it directly at the enemy in front of him. We can't blame him for that.
After this shocking news, In Jwa also informs him that his real name is Yeongsoo. He was pronounced dead after his premature birth, but, in fact, his mother threw him out of the palace. Dae Gil will need a lot of strength to cope with this news for sure.
However, In Jwa and Dae Gil are not the only ones to talk about the past. Not far from Cutter’s establishment, Prince Yeoning sadly asks Dam Seo what happened to make her this way. She makes her position very clear: they are enemies and cannot have any other relationship now. She needs to follow her path (ridding the world of all evil people), and he is not included in that path, period. She is grateful to him for knowing about who killed her father, but as they part, he says he will arrest her the next time they meet.
Morning arrives, and Dae Gil‘s grandpa happily welcomes Seol Im back, especially as she comes with great news. Dae Gil, she says, did not kill Gol Sa and his name is cleared. Seol Im also gains a little hope to conquer Dae Gil because Grandpa tells her that the shaman’s words about her fate were false.
Meanwhile, in the palace, the king grumbles at his little tigers, because they both allowed Cutter to die. He offers them a choice of either punishment or fulfilling the king's command. They choose the latter option, of course, and are ordered to catch In Jwa and the traitors.
Outside the throne room, the brothers, standing side by side, begin facing the revelation of Dae Gil’s birth. Yeoning asks Dae Gil if knows he is his older brother to which Dae Gil replies that he knows everything. Yeoning, nevertheless, says he can't call him “hyungnim” [older brother] because they are in the palace and he is a prince. That was an immature reaction from him. If you notice Dae Gil’s face and eyes expressions, you can see he cares more about Yeoning as a person, not as a prince. The title is superfluous.
Now comes the mother’s turn to talk to the brothers. She becomes emotional because her oldest son’s name is cleared. A lot tears fall when Dae Gil calls her “Mother.” However, her words “I am sorry” and “Forgive me” are not enough yet. He remains confused, but he will come back when his pain is healed.
Afterwards, Yeoning asks Dae Gil why he didn‘t respond to the Suk Bin request for forgiveness. ”A mother I thought was dead is alive, and a brother that knew about it kept it from me,” were the perfect words with which Dae Gil answered him. Neither of them are ready yet to accept the truth, especially Dae Gil.
Later, In Jwa hears Kim Chae Gun has returned to the palace to talk with the king, and he knows it is because of his meeting with the rebel, Jeong. He sends Moo Myung to look into the police movements; Hong Mae to investigate Dae Gil's home; and Hwang Jin Ki to track Jeong’s activities. In Jwa recalls the meeting with Jeong and wonders if Jeong will stab him in the back or join him that night. If so, In Jwa says the world will be turned upside down by morning.
When Dae Gil returns home, two of the people he cares about the most are there, and he even manages a light smile in the midst of his turbulent day. They eat together as a family. Clearly, Grandpa wants Seol Im for a granddaughter. In the dark, Dae Gil hears a suspicious noise, but the voice makes him happy--his beloved master has come to see him too. The trio now becomes a quartet. Kim Chae Gun jokes about the relationship between Dae Gil and Seol Im, though Daegil insists, “It’s not like that!“ Hong Mae watches and listens to all.
That evening the king’s command to catch In Jwa goes into action. Dae Gil knows that he and the rebel, Jeong, will meet in a secret place. With his master’s and Yeoning’s help, they manage to arrest In Jwa and all of his people. Only Jeong escapes.
As the night’s work draws to a close, Dae Gil and Yeoning visit In Jwa in jail to see how he is taking it. He does not seem too worried, saying, “Even if the skies fall, there is always a way out.” Now Dae Gil’s vengeance is done, but he feels lonely and empty as Kim Chae Gun knew he would. Kim Chae Gun leaves him with a word of advise: don’t worry about his birth; nothing will change anyway.
The judgment day arrives. Yeoning reads the charges, but In Jwa defends himself against everything. The king arrives and is so mad that he chooses to skip the trial and punish In Jwa with death right away. Later, he shows his anger in front of the ministers and tells them that his orders will be fulfilled in two days. He is determined.
Across town, Yeon Hwa gives Dae Gil the money from her father’s gambling houses and apologizes for believing that he killed her father. Thus, Dae Gil gains another ally.
Following the court assembly, Yeoning meets one of the ministers, Kim Il Kyung, to ask why he chose to support In Jwa. In response, the minister tells him that he will never side with Prince Yeoning because his mother was only a water maid.
Lady Choi goes to talk with In Jwa, even though she is very sick. She still needs to experience the satisfaction of see him in jail. The results, however, are not what she expects because he tells her that he will use her sons to get out of prison.
Kim Il Kyung meets with the other Soron ministers that evening to persuade them to cut their ties with In Jwa. He suggests this not because he wants to receive all the things In Jwa offers him but because he wants to protect the Soron party. From jail, In Jwa instructs Hong Mae to offer bribes to the ministers and the merchants on his behalf, but all of them reject him. And in the end, even Hong Mae leaves him. In Jwa is starting to pay for his bad actions.
Meanwhile, Dae Gil’s new “family” eats together again after which he heads to the jail to ask In Jwa why he killed his dad.
In Jwa manipulates and confuses Dae Gil yet again, by telling him that Baek Man Geum lives and if Dae Gil will get him out of jail, he will say where Man Geum is.
Dae Gil loses no time in going to the tomb of his father to confirm if his body is there or not. Despite the protests of his grandfather, Dae Gil unearths the coffin. Just as he lifts the lid, the episode ends.
This episode impressed me quite a lot: some of the characters developed in a positive way, others in a way I didn‘t expect. I certainly didn't lose any motivation for continuing to watch the drama; I really love the way this drama is unfolding.
King Sukjong has become my favorite king among other historical dramas. He says things straight to the point and sometimes takes strong action by himself, things that you often don‘t expect a king to do. Also, I find it interesting how he finds ways to protects his sons indirectly and gives them life lessons without them even realizing it.
Dam Seo is an unfortunate soul so far. She can't love anyone because she is too consumed with vengeance. It leaves her cold, blocking her woman’s instinct and thoughts, which is a very sad situation.
In Jwa has finally shown a little weakness, but he still is a master of manipulation, and found a way to survive by using others.
Yeoning is jealous, but hasn’t come to terms with it yet. This will be the interesting conflict between brothers, who otherwise could be friends.
Dae Gil’s way of coping with his problems has improved. He remains mostly calm, trying to control his feelings and showing that he is a mature man now. I don't imagine him as a king, we know the history, so he won’t attain that position, but I think he will at least find a way to follow the most noble goal-- to help the people._________________________________