As our daydream continues, we find Wang So standing in the courtyard, in front of the raised platform, as he nears the end of the rain ceremony. He mounts the stairs with trepidation, fearing that he will be unsuccessful, resulting in more scorn and ridicule. Miraculously it begins to rain and those gathered are overcome with joy… all save a few. Queen Witch is furious and storms from the courtyard headed, not doubt, to give Prince Yo a piece of her miserable mind for failing to take Wang So’s seat. Hae So is delighted until a frightening vision of the future covers the currently angelic Wang So’s face. It is a vision of blood and a cold cruel King of Korea’s past. Although that has not come to be, Hae So is beside herself with fear and disbelief as she wonders if Wang So will become Gwangjong, a king who kills his brothers and loyal courtiers.
Elsewhere in the palace, the 3rd Prince Yo is brooding. He feels he’s been cheated out of his moment of glory and it’s all Wang So’s fault. His mother storms into the room like a tornado and slaps him hard across the face. How could he have missed such a chance? Why was he not ruthless? Why did he not tear out Wang So’s throat rather than allowing him to take this chance from them? She also accuses Hae So and the influence of the royal jjimjabong. It seems that place is always getting in the way.
Wang So meets with King Taejo and the crown prince. The king encourages Wang So and expresses his thanks for what Wang So has done. The king marvels that Wang So has hidden his face for so long and tells him that he need not hide any longer. Wang So apologizes and then calls the king “father”. It is a huge moment for Wang So as he is unsure how it will be received. To Wang So’s relief, the king offers a small smile at the title and then asks Wang So to help the Crown Prince protect the nation and Wang So accepts this commission from the King. The look on Wang So’s face says everything as suddenly the acceptance he has craved for so long is finally arriving by the wagonload.
Outside, under an eave, Hae So and Wang Wook shelter from the sudden rain. Wang Wook is not exactly sure what is wrong with Hae Soo, as she is quite nervous and unusually quiet. Hae So cannot put into words what exactly is going on in her head. As if to answer her unspoken questions, Wang Wook tells her that “nothing will change because of the ceremony.” This statement does nothing to disperse her fears. The 8th prince tells her that because of the rain the king will celebrate and grant favors. Wang Wook plans on asking the king to free Hae Soo from her service at the royal jjimjabong. He is sure it will be granted as a court lady has not been allowed to leave in quite a long time. Hae Soo has heard nothing that the 8th prince has said as she is still concerned for the future. She suddenly blurts out that she must find Wang So and she runs out into the rain leaving the bewildered 8th prince behind her.
Hae Soo has run to the astronomer’s tower looking for Mr. Sunshine. Certainly, he has some answers. She finds him and blurts out her questions. Who will be the next king? Mr. Sunshine, in a matter of fact tone, replies “The Crown Prince, if nothing happens to him.” “And after that?” she quickly asks. Mr. Sunshine levels a knowing gaze at Hae So and says “Gwangjong…as you said.” She tries to explain that she just blurted the first thing that came to her head. He switches gears and begins to tell her about the accident he had as a child. When he was 4 or 5 years old he had drowned. Or at least that is what they thought. But he lived and others began to notice unusual things about him. He was wise beyond his years and he also had strange visions of flying machines and great buildings reaching far into the sky with hundreds and hundreds of people inside. The more he talks the more she is convinced that he is from the future. He then turns to her and asks if she too has the gift of foresight since her accident. She remains silent and then he bluntly says, “What is the questions you wish to ask me?” Her mind screams to know if Wang So really is Gwangjong and if he really will kill everyone. But she simply asks, “What should I do?” Girl!! You need a Delorean!! “Do nothing,” he instructs her. It is already troublesome that she has touched the prince’s face. But she wants to know if she has already changed the future. He calmly replies that he doesn’t know. “When humans are aware of heaven’s will it is called fate. We cannot escape.” His words leave her silent and confused.
Wang Wook watches the rain alone in silence. Yeon Hwa approaches her brother. She breaks the silence and tells Wang Wook that Wang So will now receive the trust of the king because of his part in the rain ceremony and Wang Wook agrees. She then, almost dejectedly, says that Wang Wook should have been master of the ritual. Wang Wook continues to stare out into the rain as he gently reminds his sister that Wang So was the one chosen for the ritual and not him. He warns her not to be greedy for such things but something about his demeanor feels deflated. Yeon Hwa weakly defends her words by saying that the events have given them another person to be wary of in the palace. Wang Wook, ever the kind brother, defends So and says it was time that he received some recognition from the king, as he has been treated poorly for such a long time. Apparently, Yeon Hwa overheard Hae Soo warning her brother about Wang So. Wang Wook acknowledges the fact that Hae Soo was the one who helped Wang So removes his mask. Yeon Hwa is convinced that something bad will happen because Wang So’s mask has been removed. Wang Wook wonders aloud to himself what position there is in the palace for him to fill. Yeon Hwa’s face is a mixture of impatience and anger as Wang Wook continues to stare blankly out into the rain.
Hae Soo wanders in the rain as the weight of the future weighs heavily on her mind. Suddenly she is pulled out of the rain and into someone’s arms. As she looks up, her eyes meet the eyes of the 4th Prince. She pushes herself out of his embrace with a short startled scream and then remembers who he is. She apologizes for her actions and explains that he had only startled her. “It didn’t mean anything” she insists. With a sweet smile on his face, he apologizes to her. (Does anyone else remember what he told her about his apologies??) He turns towards the falling rain and smiles. He tells her about his meeting with the king. How he was able to call him “father” for the first time in his life and how his father, in turn, had looked into his eyes and face him properly for the first time in 15 years. His father had encouraged him to be confident and with that one simple phrase, all of his pain had vanished. “No one calls me scary or a monster anymore.” His father had even said that he would be a good support to the Crown Prince. For us, the best thing is that he likes himself. And the person for all of this change in his life is Hae Soo. She thinks to herself “how can he be the person who kills everyone?” She then reassures herself that she shouldn’t get involved but then relents, believing that she could help him and change his dark future. She quickly tells him not to kill anyone no matter how angry he becomes. She assures him that in the future he will have no reason to be hurt. “Everyone will like you and treat you as a precious person.” He smiles at her sudden lecture and then turns once again to the pouring rain to gather a handful. He happily drinks the rain in his hand as she silently vows not to let anyone get hurt.
The next day the princes gather for tea as the King, Grand General, and Mr. Sunshine watch them assemble. The King has been asked to find a good match for the Grand Generals daughter Soon Deok and he is benevolent enough to offer one of his sons as a match. The Grand General carefully bristles at each of his suggestions until the King finally offers the 10th prince as a suitable match. The Grand General, much like many fathers, is wrapped around his daughter’s finger and he finally jumps at the chance to give his daughter her crush. Everyone agrees and the match is set. The 10th prince will marry Soon Deok.
At the pavilion where the princes are having tea, the 10th prince secretly tells Hae Soo to meet him later on as he has a gift to give her. She agrees and then continues with her duties. The King approaches the pavilion and everyone stands. The King immediately addresses Wang So, telling him that he wants to honor him for the great good he has done for the kingdom. The King says he wants to offer him land but Wang So tells his father that there is something he wants more than land. “Please grant me Court Lady Hae Soo.” The king quickly agrees but Hae Soo and Wang Wook are shocked by the request. However, neither says a word as doing so could anger the king and appear as extreme ungratefulness. The King then announces that one of the princes will marry. For a moment everyone holds their breath until he reveals that the 10th prince will be the lucky recipient of a bride. Everyone is excited. Everyone, except the 10th prince. He falls to his knees and asks his father to withdraw his words. He’d rather die that marry that Park girl. The King takes the 10th princes refusal as disobedience instead of a young man, poorly matched and not mature enough for marriage. The Crown Prince steps in and speaks for his brother. Surely he is tired and doesn’t know what he is saying. The Crown Prince urges his brother to accept the marriage, as he knows all too well the price for displeasing the king. The 10th prince isn’t completely stupid, realizing the danger he put himself in and haltingly accepts the marriage arrangement offered to him. Everyone assembled breathes a sigh of relief.
Later that day the 9th prince takes the 10th prince out for a walk to get his mind off of his impending nuptials. He offers advice about women that is less than helpful, to his younger brother. He confesses that sometimes he gets his wives names confused. Besides, after the first night, all women are the same. The 10th prince sneers and tells his brother that he doesn’t want to live the way the 9th prince does. They make their way down the path toward a group of men. A fight seems just the thing to distract the brooding prince until the 9th prince manages to spy the two fighters. One is his brother the 14th prince the other is the 10th princes intended, Soon Deok. She is in the middle of the ring surrounded by some of the Grand Generals fighting men. The 9th prince tries to shield the 10th prince from seeing his bride-to-be whipping the snot out of the 14th prince but to no avail. The 10th prince pushes past the 9th prince and makes his way to the edge of the ring. His eyes widen to see Soon Deok wrestling with his brother. The fight vacillates back and forth until Soon Deok is ultimately the winner. The 10th prince dejectedly turns from the ringside as she is triumphantly lifted onto the shoulders of her men while all of them shout “Great Soldier” over and over again.
Elsewhere on the palace grounds, Hae Soo meets up with Wang Wook. Before he can get two words out she presents him with a pillow. It is a gift that Myung Hee would have given him. She wished for him to sleep well and without worry. He also has a gift for her. A book. She is initially disappointed with the gift of a book until she is shown its purpose. It is a flipbook that animates their earlier walk in the snow. She is completely delighted by it and even more impressed to know that the prince made it himself. She smiles and he struggles to find a way to say what he needs to say to her. He cannot ask for her release from service because there will be a royal marriage and that is taking the place of any other celebratory wish granting. She bravely smiles although she is disappointed and does her best to look on the bright side. She has been promoted and she is also sure there will be another chance to ask for her release later on. Wang Wook is not so sure that another chance will come. He turns his attention back to the book and we are shown the animated book over the actual scene of their walk in the snow and it feels bittersweet. He asks her to walk in the snow with him again and she promises to wait for that day. He hugs her and confesses that he loves her. There are no other words exchanged between them, as they remain content and quiet in each other’s arms.
Later Hae Soo receives instruction from Lady Oh on the King’s likes and dislikes. Lady Oh warns Hae Soo to be cautious with Wang So. Hae Soo asks if she can change a person’s life and Lady Oh tells her a personal story. She had loved a man and believed she could change his ambitions but in the end, she realized that people do not change for others.
Later, Hae Soo is working on Wang So scar as she gives him instruction on how to do it himself. He thinks that she is trying to brush him off a bit but she insists that it would be a good thing for him to know how to do. She even provides him with a makeup recipe. He wonders what has made her so different. She used to argue and fight back but now she is quiet. Lady Oh enters to inform Wang So that the others have gathered for tea and Hae Soo apologizes for being immature and quickly leaves the room. Wang So quickly follows after her.
In the forest, Princess Woo Hee practices a sword dance. She tries again and again but keeps messing up. Eventually, she hears a strange instrument and follows the sound. She finds the 13th prince playing an odd shaped wind instrument for several children. They turn to look and see a woman holding swords. Initially, the children are frightened but she assures them she is only practicing a dance and means them no harm. The 13th prince gives the children sweets and they all happily run away, leaving the prince and the princess alone in the woods. He reaffirms that he has seen her before and that she must be from the fallen kingdom of Baekje. She is the one who destroyed his drawings and he tells her she should pay for them. If she won’t pay then she should at least show him her dance. She says that she doesn’t dance for strange men. He introduces himself and she does not believe him. He turns to get her proof of his identity but when he looks back she is gone only leaving a tassel decoration as evidence that she was ever there.
Hae Soo is instructing court ladies to their positions when she is grabbed by a beautiful woman wearing traditional wedding attire. It is Soon Deok. She has come to find Hae Soo. The 10th prince has locked himself in his room and refuses to come out and she is afraid that he will hurt himself. Soon Deok is convinced that only Hae Soo will be able to coax him out of his room in time for the wedding ceremony. When they arrive at the 10th prince’s room, his brothers are about to open his door with a hatchet. Soon Deok stops them and Hae Soo approaches the door. She knocks but receives no reply. She says that she won’t ever talk to him again if he doesn’t let her in. Almost immediately the door opens and Hae Soo enters. She finds a drunk and despondent 10th prince sitting on the floor. Hae Soo chastises him for getting drunk, as that will do nothing to change his current situation. He says she doesn’t understand but she clearly does. He likes her but he must marry another. He is incredulous. “You knew??” Then he offers her an example of his immaturity by asking her to be his second wife. He tries to justify his request with the behavior of others and promises to be good to only her. She quickly declines. She won’t share with other women. He calls her a liar, knowing that even if he had asked her first that she would not have married him. He confesses that he’s stupid and that is probably the reason she doesn’t like him. She assures him that she likes him just as he is. He asks if she every liked him and she tells him “I like you still.” She bids him be happy and leaves the prince alone. Outside the room, everyone waits patiently. Hae Soo emerges and then the 10th prince shortly behind her. He will marry. Soon Deok smiles with glee and everyone rushes away to the ceremony.
Outside after the ceremony the princes’ bestow wedding gifts on the new couple as Soon Deok’s father looks on. He shows his fatherly jealousy as his daughter smiles broadly at her new husband. He believes that if she smiles any wider that her face will break in half. He almost begins to cry and turns away from the happy scene knowing that his darling daughter, the light of his life and reason for being, is no longer only his. Wang So has offered a tree as a wedding gift and the bride says that when its branches are broad she will invite everyone to rest beneath it. The 14th prince thinks it would be a good place to wrestle and the bride asks if he wants to lose to her again. Everyone laughs. As Hae Soo watches this happy scene she sees the laughing face of Wang So. Without warning his face changes before her eyes and she sees yet another vision. Wang So is laughing a contemptuous laugh as he strikes the 10th prince with his sword, his young bride already lying dead on the ground beside him. Suddenly, she is jerked back to the present and the happy gathering before her. Hae Soo is horrified by the vision and she runs away as fast as her feet can carry her. Wang Wook sees her hasty departure and follows her only to find her on the ground trembling in fear. She grabs Wang Wook and implores him to stay away from Wang So. If he doesn’t everyone will die. Her demeanor and her trembling words confuse Wang Wook. She begs to leave, not wanting to stay in the palace any longer. He gathers her in his arms and promises to take her away.
In the bridal chamber, things are not going so well. The 10th prince is being a brat and is giving Soon Deok the “my way or the highway” speech. He is expecting a fight but she agrees that she will follow his will in order to have a happy marriage. He’s annoyed that he didn’t get the fight he was looking for and takes to his bed making clear that there’s only room for him. She follows and smiles happily just to watch him sleep. She dutifully curls up on the floor next to the bed to sleep. He sits up in bed and wraps his arms around his knees, burying his chin in his chest, miserable.
In the throne room, the King is meeting with the 3rd and 4th princes. The King reassigns Prince Yo to inspect the storehouses throughout the kingdom and Prince Yo is none too happy about it. To add insult to injury, Prince Wang So has been given all of Prince Yo’s duties with the military. Prince Yo is livid but hides his displeasure behind a clenched smile and an agreement to do as the King has asked. Prince Yo later encounters Mr. Sunshine and blames him for his current circumstance. If only Mr. Sunshine had given the rain ceremony seat to him instead of the 4th prince, none of this would be happening to him. Mr. Sunshine counters that Prince Yo has always been greedy for things that do no belong to him and that he should try to find his own place in this world. Prince Yo fixes Mr. Sunshine with a hardened stare and says, “Just you wait to see where I end up.” There is so much quiet venom in his voice that we are sure it is not only a threat but a promise that things will not go well for Mr. Sunshine should Prince Yo finally get his way.
Queen Witch has called a family dinner with the 3rd, 4th and 13th Princes in attendance. Everything starts out nice but we know that Queen Witch and Prince Yo certainly have something up their silken sleeves. Queen Witch serves Wang So a piece of meat and we cringe as Wang So takes a careful bite. Not poisoned….thank goodness!! The conversation turns dark as the Queen suggest that Wang So should help them kill the Crown Prince since he now has much closer contact with him. Wang So knew it was all too good to be true. He counters that if he were to do such a thing that it would be only to place himself on the throne. He promises, that once there, he would do no harm to his brothers. Queen Witch gets in a bit of a tizzy and Wang So feigns confusion. After all, why is everyone getting so upset over a simple joke? His expression changes from jovial to stern as he fixes his mother with a deadly serious stare. Wang So leaves with a warning. “Don’t ever invite me to come here again.” As he leaves it is now Queen Witch who is left to wonder what it is he has on his mind.
Once outside, we see that Wang So has had the emotional wind knocked out of him. He chastises himself. How could he have believed that they would welcome him with open arms without any pretense? What a fool he’s been. He wanders the garden looking for some solace and comes upon Hae Soo’s quarters. He hesitates and then turns away from the building. Inside Hae Soo is in the middle of what appears to be a full-on panic attack. She can scarcely breathe and all she can think about is the damage she may have done by merely existing in this world. Her thoughts drive her out into the gardens to get some fresh air. Just as she is catching her breath Wang So approaches her and softly speaks her name. She turns to run away from him but he is too close and he easily catches her in a back hug. She asks him to let her go but he desperately needs to be near a friend. He asks if she will stay for just a little while, he only wants to rest. She pushes away from him and tells him that she is afraid of him. He is visibly hurt by her rejection but does his best to put on a brave face. “You said you weren’t afraid of me.” She begins to explain that she thought that she could change things but that now she sees that she was wrong. “In the end, you will ruin everything. Go! You are better off far away.” But none of her explanations make sense to Wang So. He has no idea what she’s been experiencing and no idea that she carries foreknowledge of the future, specifically his future. He can only see it as a rejection and the possibility that someone has gotten to her and convinced her of what everyone else has always said about him. “Not you too!” It’s like a knife to his already wounded heart. He shifts his tone and pleads with her not to push him away, don’t tell him to leave, don’t call him the awful things that other have…unlucky, an animal. “You are my person.” She quietly protests that she is not “his person”. He shifts again and this time, he reminds her that she really doesn’t have a say in the situation. “You can’t leave me, you can’t die without my permission. You belong to me.” He instantly sees that this approach isn’t working either and in his desperation, he kisses her. For an instant, she breaks away from the kiss but he is a starving man and she is a box of donuts. He pulls her to him once again as though his very life depended on it and kisses her deeply.
I love this episode because we finally get to see the happy Wang So. He’s spent a lifetime being abused and bullied by those that are supposed to love him. The rain ceremony feels as if God himself had enough of his treatment and decided to do something about it. That is echoed throughout this episode with all the talk of being “Chosen by Heaven”. We also know that it can’t last long and so, along with Wang So we soak up as much of his adulation as we can, like the refreshing downpour the heavens provided just in time. Rain also washes away dirt and makes things cleaner, clearer. Unfortunately for Hae Soo it has revealed an even darker side of Wang So or at least that is what she believes. We don’t want to believe what she sees and for a time neither does she but she is none the less terrified by it. She can’t shake it out of her head and her knowledge of history is not enough to be able to help her do that. She doesn’t know the why’s and wherefore’s, she only knows the end result. I’m sure you would agree that history without context can look pretty brutal. Kind of reminds me of that commercial……. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MmiwbRXIWvs. But I digress.
I’m enjoying the pseudo-mother/daughter relationship that is going on with Hae Soo and Court Lady Oh. I’m looking forward to seeing how they manage to help one another navigate the palace politics. It is difficult to see how children in this kingdom are bandied about for their parent’s purposes. Especially when they are ill-prepared to deal with the consequences of decisions made for them. My heart hurts for the immature 10th prince who is still more interested in toys than girls. I also feel bad for Soon Deok. She is more of a man than her chosen husband. Blinded by appearance, she doesn’t realize that she has not only married a little boy but she’s married someone who does not love her. Her dedication to her choice is admirable but sadly it rarely works out well. Maybe our script writers will give us a “learned to love each other” story with a happy ending. I’m not holding my breath.
The final scene is heartbreaking. Wang So is drawn to Hae Soo because she treats him better than anyone has before but her sudden change of heart leaves him confused and with the overwhelming feeling that he’s back at square one. I feel like I need to defend Wang So’s character. He’s hurt and confused. Have any of you been in a relationship that was changing or ending and you wondered what you could do to change the relationship back to the way it was before? What could you do to flip the switch back on and make the person who changed, wake up and realize what they are walking away from? In the last scene, we see Wang So change his tactics several times in a desperate bid to figure out what made that switch flip in Hae Soo, taking her from friend to someone who fears him. Lee Joon Gi does an excellent job with this scene and shows us clearly the struggle for understanding that Wang So is going through. He isn’t trying to force himself on her and I don’t think it is exclusively about sexual attraction. He’s trying to wake her up. What would you rather someone try on you…a slap or a kiss? Although neither is a great choice, I’d probably choose a kiss. I’m just saying, a kiss like this one is very different depending on who is doing the kissing and the current state of mind that made them think that would be ok. And you’d probably give a friend a bit more understanding for doing such a thing than you would a complete stranger, who clearly deserves a swift kick, regardless of their sex.
I am hopeful that in the next episode he drops to his knees and begs her forgiveness. I hope he explains himself and I hope she tries to help him understand her better as well. Communication is key in any relationship. I don’t know that we will get that in royal palace Goryeo but a girl can dream.