Empress Ki: Eps 3-4

Encounters: there are the happy, the sad, and the awful ones.

I have watched the first two episodes of Empress Ki again and I can’t help but being amazed with Seung-nyang. It might be because of Ha Ji-won, but her cool personality makes her a lot more likable. If I’m a man, I’d totally want her to become one of my friends, just like what Wang Yoo does. She’s indeed a precious person and I totally can see how her underlings back in her street gang days come to respect her.


Onto episode 3, the episode starts with showing Yoo on his way to Yuan’s campsite while Wang Go was conspiring with Princess Kyunghwa. Baek Ahn and Taltal were acting suspiciously, retreating their troop from the camp while Seung-nyang later dealt with Ta-hwan (who was dressed in Yuan soldier armour) in a not-so-nice way. He tried to tell her that he’s the Crown Prince but she won’t believe him and retorted:

“If you’re the Crown Prince, then I’m the Jade Emperor, rascal!”

The campsite felt a little too empty and soon, a bunch of men attacked the camp. Seung-nyang went to save the prince but found Kkwe-bo, Ta-hwan’s eunuch wearing the Crown Prince attire. The attackers thought he was the real prince and killed him, while Ta-hwan managed to hid himself in a box inside Seung-nyang’s tent. Baek Ahn thought that his plan to kill Ta-hwan was successful but found it otherwise; instead, he hid the fact that Ta-hwan was still alive, afraid of the news reaching Yeon-chul. Seung-nyang found Ta-hwan first but chose to ignore him, thinking that he’s just a cowardly soldier who hid during a battle. Baek Ahn saw Ta-hwan and tried to kill him secretly but Yoo’s arrival spared Ta-hwan’s life.


Yoo was threatened by Baek Ahn since Goryeo couldn’t protect the Crown Prince on his land, but Commander Ki told him that the prince was still alive. Seung-nyang dragged Ta-hwan out of the box and Byung-soo, seizing the opportunity to earn Yoo’ grace, took Ta-hwan to Yoo. The misunderstanding was quickly resolved and Ta-hwan was escorted to the city of Gaegyeong, where Wang Go was already waiting there together with the Goryeo officials. Wang Go turned out to be in the plan to assassinate Ta-hwan together with Baek Ahn per Yeon-chul’s order and they were devastated that the plan failed. Yoo decided it’s wise to protect Ta-hwan with his own way and prohibited the Yuan officials including Baek Ahn from meeting the prince. He then met Ta-hwan and expressed his anger on saving a Yuan prince while he himself couldn’t protect his own people. Yoo warned Ta-hwan not to die in Goryeo and save his death for his Yuan.


Yoo got to know about a certain low-ranking officer called Seung-nyang who actually saved Ta-hwan and summoned Seung-nyang, who was afraid that Yoo would punish her for being rude last time. However, Yoo was more excited to meet Seung-nyang again and hugged her. Byung-soo, who didn’t get the reward he wanted, received the order to kill Ta-hwan from Wang Go. Seung-nyang was entrusted the responsibility to protect Ta-hwan per Yoo’s special request.

Back in Yuan, Yeon-chul went to see the young Emperor, who was lying in his bed, being seriously ill. The Empress Dowager made fun of his caring attitude towards the sickly Emperor while he banished the future Emperor. Yeon-chul received the news about the failure and warned the Emperor to let Ta-hwan die first before following his brother’s steps. Baek Ahn and Taltal were tortured by Dangkise for their failure and Yeon-chul planned another attempt to get rid of Ta-hwan.


In Daechung-do, the place where he was sent for exile, Ta-hwan had a nightmare where he saw his father killed by Yeon-chul. He woke up to see Seung-nyang guarding him and made her do the chores as his little revenge. She didn’t budge and continued to stick beside him. He bragged that the King of Goryeo would kneel in front of him one day when he became the Emperor as his little revenge for what Yoo did to him before this, but Seung-nyang reminded him that Yoo was the one who saved him and the king won’t kneel in front of him. Later, Byung-soo took the opportunity to carry out his mission while Seung-nyang was taking her bath. She dropped the rings that belonged to her parents and Commander Ki picked it up. She realized that there was someone inside Ta-hwan’s room and fought with the masked man, curious to see who it was.

Episode 4 picks up from the duel between Seung-nyang and Byung-soo but the latter managed to escape; however, Seung-nyang managed to slice his arm. Commander Ki wasn’t happy to hear that they couldn’t find any man with said injury on the island while Byung-soo was right in front of him. He decided to confront Seung-nyang about the rings but Seung-nyang chose to serve under him as a subordinate instead of living as her father’s daughter, admitting that she’s disguising herself as a man, and causing problems to her remaining family members. Ta-hwan, on the other hand, wanted Seung-nyang to teach him sword fighting.and managed to force her into doing it. She started to train him (more like competitions) and it’s clear that our Baby Prince couldn’t beat Seung-nyang, be it sword fighting or archery. Seung-nyang even hurt his head in the process but he said that he hurt himself, protecting her from Commander Ki and Tutor Jang’s scolding.


Yoo received the report about the attack in Daechung-do and Wang Go kept urging him to submit to Yuan in order to protect the Goryeo people, but Yoo knew that he’s doing it for his own benefit. He warned Wang Go to remember his root as a Goryeo born and not to betray his own land. Ta-hwan whined about losing to Seung-nyang and over his bath time (while Seung-nyang reluctantly massaged his foot) pleaded her into bringing him out for a horse ride, confident that he could beat her. Off they went horse riding along the shore and the ride tuned into a wrestling session on the beach. Ta-hwan admitted that he could never beat her but he wanted to live. He expressed how he missed his late father and vowed to stay alive in order to avenge his death while Seung-nyang kept thinking about her own father, Commander Ki. He promised that he won’t forget Seung-nyang if he became the Emperor, but Seung-nyang wanted him to stop bringing in tribute women and men to Yuan from Goryeo.

Yoo went to Daechung-do and he’s surprised that Seung-nyang brought Ta-hwan out while the threats were everywhere. He found the two of them on the shore and Ta-hwan saved Seung-nyang from being lectured. Seung-nyang had to choose between the two men to ride with, but in the end, she chose Ta-hwan because she didn’t want to make Yoo uncomfortable (Yoo was clearly jealous of their closeness). Later, Seung-nyang had a drink with Yoo and he wanted her to stay with him for the night, but Ta-hwan crashed their little drink time. Yoo couldn’t hide his glare and it became worse when Ta-hwan wondered if Seung-nyang would agree to follow him to Yuan but Seung-nyang didn’t say anything.


Yeon-chul planned another attack, this time sending Dangkise and Tapjahae together with Baek Ahn and Taltal to Goryeo. Yoo witnessed how chummy Seung-nyang was with Ta-hwan that sent his blood boiling and another round of glaring at them. Later, Seung-nyang came to meet him and wondered if he’s mad because of her closeness with Ta-hwan and acted all cute in front of him, to the point of teasing him with her smile and poking his chest (LOL). Yoo screamed and woke up from his dream while Eunuch Bang and Moo-sung, having witnessed him talking in his sleep, were worried that he’s falling for a man that was Seung-nyang. He threw them out of his room while wondering if they really thought he was falling for Seung-nyang.

Ta-hwan was afraid that Yoo would bring Seung-nyang back to the capital with him but he didn’t; instead, Yoo reminded Seung-nyang that the prince was still a Yuan and she had to be careful of him. Commander Ki started to suspect Byung-soo working as Yuan’s spy but Byung-soo managed to cook up excuse for his injury. Commander Ki told Officer Park to watch him closely but that night, Byung-soo disappeared. All of a sudden, a troop of Yuan soldiers dressed in Goryeo armour attacked the place. Seung-nyang finally met Dangkise, the one who killed her mother. Commander Ki told her to escape and protect Ta-hwan, his last wish as her father. Seung-nyang blinked away tears and called him “father”, probably for the first and the last time.


Seung-nyang and Ta-hwan ran through the forest the whole night and reached the shore before finding an abandoned small boat. They tried to push it into the water but Baek Ahn and Taltal managed to find them. Seung-nyang protected Ta-hwan from Baek Ahn’s arrow and the general told Ta-hwan to sacrifice himself for his country by dying.Β  instead of killing Ta-hwan right away. Baby Prince took the courage and told Baek Ahn that he wanted to live and he won’t die easily. He wanted him to hang in there for a little until he could ascend the throne. Baek Ahn then realized that the prince was no longer a baby and used his own sword to kill the other soldiers there to help Ta-hwan escape. Seung-nyang and Ta-hwan returned to the land and witnessed her father being dragged away by the soldiers per Wang Go’s order. Wang Go planned to use him against Goryeo, making the attack as the King’s order. Seung-nyang secretly wished that her father would look at her for the last time, but he couldn’t hear her, not at all..

I might be too excited for episode 3, but the pace comes along nicely. As more characters are being introduced, the plot will move without any restriction and I am anticipating the future episodes to get to know more about the characters.

The three leads are playing with my heart. One minute I’m spazzing about Yoo and Seung-nyang and then, I can’t help but to adore the interactions between Ta-hwan and Seung-nyang. Yoo is someone whom Seung-nyang respect while Ta-hwan is the one she has to protect. I really like the scene where it highlights on how the two men are on different scale: Yoo are trying to protect his people while Ta-hwan is still struggling to save himself, something that he himself is not sure whether he can do it alone. But in reality, both of them are actually in the most dangerous position where they can be eliminated at any time by the people who are vying for their positions.

One might like Ta-hwan’s adorable, baby-like persona and Yoo’s brave, frank self, but I find myself also drawn towards Baek Ahn. He’s one interesting character. While he’s involved in the assassination attempt, he seems to be reluctant in carrying out the plan. My assumption is that he’s trying to get Yeon-chul’s favour before getting rid of the old man himself seems he really respect the late king. Please be a good character, General Baek!


Episode 4 doesn’t really have that much development in the plot and instead focuses on the relationship between the characters while showing how the characters grow bit by bit. I like what I’m seeing: Yoo is brewing in jealousy that he can’t even explain and Ta-hwan mustering his courage to show that he’s not a coward. True, the drama is about Empress Ki but it’s good to have two male characters who are trying to win her heart to have their moments to shine although so far, we are getting to know more of Ta-hwan personally. Still , it’s nice to get to be inside Yoo’s head, even if it’s a dream….hehehe

As for Seung-nyang…girl, you’re too precious. No wonder two men are vying for your attention (and afterwards, love), you’re that awesome. She might seem to be cruel when she refuses to live as her father’s daughter, but in the turbulent era like that where women can be dragged away at any time, she chooses to stay beside her father and work together with him instead of being a source of constant worry and trouble for him. To me, it seems that she doesn’t resent him for her mother’s death or anything, but she wants to do something for him, something that living as a woman can never do during that time. It’s not easy to give up on her womanhood, but what choice does she have?

General Baek Ahn, you’re officially in my good book! I get a little teary-eyed during Ta-hwan’s speech in front of him and being a loyal royal family supporter, he’s doing the right thing to support Ta-hwan. I can’t wait to see how Ta-hwan and him team up and get rid of those possessive family members of Yeon-chul. Oh, and while they’re at that, can’t they just sweep Wang Go and Co. away together with all the baddies? I’m not saying to do it now, I’m willing to wait over here in order to witness the downfall of those arrogant fellows one day.


Some scenes feel like a premonition of the future, just like the ‘choosing your riding partner’ scene and Ta-hwan’s promise not to forget Seung-nyang’s deeds when he becomes the Emperor. Be still, my heart….it’s still early!!


32 thoughts on “Empress Ki: Eps 3-4

  1. This is not constructive, but I just want to say that I LOVE YOU!!! Sometimes it’s hard to be a fan of less hyped drama (no subs, less action on forums, less news, etc.), but it’s it those case that we learn to appreciate true life savior like you *smooch* ❀

    1. Awwww thanks! ❀ I'm not that good in Korean but I understand the agony of waiting for the subs, so I hope this can make the wait more bearable. It's also thanks to the drama itself, which is so fantastic and addictive like a crack drama should be πŸ˜‰

  2. OMG, this is too awesome! I was looking for someone to do the recaps, since there is no English subtitles for the episode yect, and I was dying of waiting! I loved how you have defined in a few words the personalities of the three protagonists, that is very insightful. Thank you β™₯

  3. Thank you SO much for giving us a glimpse into what was being said during these important moments!!! I can not understand Korean, but can only read body language and try to piece together what is going on from the context of the situation and the actor’s (amazing!) abilities to express and emote during scenes. Sadly, it is VERY, VERY difficult to understand what is going on in dramas that have a lot of political intrigue and manipulations (read: Empress Ki! Ha!) So, your explanations of what is being said and INFERRED is ESPECIALLY appreciated!

    Thank you so much for your posts and your hard efforts!

    1. You’re welcome! My Korean isn’t that good either, so sometimes I can only get the gist of their conversation through bits and pieces of words that I can understand. It’s hard to watch a historical drama without subs! I thought I should share what I could understand, at least.

      You’re welcome, and thanks for reading this brief recap πŸ™‚

  4. Does anyone know where one can watch these two episode w/eng subs?
    Viki and DramaFever don’t have them.. ):

    Thanks for the recap btw!

    1. Personally I find that dramaload.com has the fastest loading speed and least time of ads compared to other websites.. though there’s this chinese website maplestage that has the best quality that I could find (but Chinese sub)

      sigh- I kinda wish viki would get the license b/c I miss the timed comments while I’m watching.

  5. Thank you for this recap. When I watch ep 4, I’m going to skip all the beach and fight training scenes.

    I have a big gripe with this drama: I hate that the main female character is dressed and acting as a boy when she’s so clearly not one. Plus, it’s kind of forcing things too much. I would’ve liked her to have been the Goryeo noblewoman that she was, who was sent to the Yuan court to serve and who had to work her way up through the court. She could’ve still met this king Chunghe.

    And this is another big gripe: a man who kidnapped, raped and murdered women for a hobby really should not be rehabilitated as some sort of hero. It’s disrespectful to the women who suffered his psychopathy. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Chunghye_of_Goryeo.

    As fiction, this drama’s good, I guess. Again, I would’ve preferred a female lead who lived entirely as a woman and worked the system that way.

    1. I guess it’s a trend to make the women cross dress as men in dramas..Queen Seondeok did it too..

      The King’s character was supposed to be Chunghye but afterwards they decided it’s better to create a fictional character, hence it was changed to Wang Yoo, a fictional king in the drama.

    2. I can understand your big gripe about the cross-dressing, but personally, it isn’t that bad (I actually like that there’s a cross-dressing element to this drama). I’ve seen a lot of cross-dressing in dramas out there and it’s always obvious when the lead is cross-dressing. HJW looks pretty close in appearance that she can manage, but her reactions to ‘close proximity’ obviously gives it away. But that’s probably to add humor to this drama so I’m not complaining.
      Anywho, the script was probably highlighting HJW’s acting strength because she is amazing in action scenes. :3 And, you get your wish, the cross-dressing does end so we both get what we prefer.

  6. Thank you so much for the recaps and reviews of empress ki…i really LOVE it! I read it many times, hahaha…im addicted to korean drama specially about jiwonnie, i am a Big fan of her…please keep do the recaps…fighting!

  7. Im excited to read your recaps more about empress ki…the actors are so good, specially the three main characters they are amazing!

  8. thank you thank you thank you. have been scouring the internet for days looking for recaps for this series. thank you thank you thank you. the series is awesome, but my connection does not get me the subtitled videos. at least the recaps with pictures help to keep me updated.

  9. I just caught ep 4 a few hours ago and while I still like it, I just can’t help to think that some things are just too… easy. I could have been moved my General Bayan’s action, but I felt like he just changed decision like… right there during Ta Hwan’s 1 min speech. I appreciate the fast pacing, but I wish we had more time to lead to certain character’s action…

    That being said, I’m starting to warm up to the Huizong-Seung Nyang’s ship… WY-SN are my OTP (yeah that opening really had effect on me LOL) but I love the budding friendship that I see between her and Ta Hwan. I can see and understand why he’s fond of her: after all, she was his only friend while he was scared and alone in a foreign and hostile land. I hope thay.d develop an equally compelling back-story between her and Wang Yoo, because when we’ll get back to the opening scene later in the drama, I want to feel gutted by their separation (I’m sadistic, I know xD)

    1. From my point of view, he was torn in between obeying Yeon-chul or saving the heir to his late emperor from the beginning but he sees Ta-hwan as a spineless and useless crybaby who can do anything, so his decision to kill the prince is for the greater good. I think he wants to win Yeon-chul’s favour and later protect the royal family with all his might when he has more power, annihilating Yeon-chul in the process. So when the crybaby is finally standing up against him instead of cowering in fear, he starts to develop some faith in Ta-hwan. It’ just my opinion since I think Baek Ahn is very loyal and patriotic. Hehehe

      Yesss we need more WY-SN screen time! I’ve cried my eyes out during that opening scene, so they better make the pairing believable until we reach to that point. If not, I’ll just swim in my tears while watching that scene. But then, looks like we’re moving towards that since my heart flutters each time they are together. I don’t know if it’s just me, but I can feel the tension building up between WY and SN, in a good (and ship-worthy) way πŸ˜‰

      I like TH-SN pairing too, but they look more comfortable and compatible as companions. Maybe it will change later. However, let our WY-SN ship sail too~

  10. Okay, now I regret after I read all your empress ki recap because I’m officially fall in love with this drama. And what make me hate is that it’s still very early episode. Damn I have to wait in a very long time to finish this.
    Sorry for my bad English.

  11. thank you for the recap. it is really a great gift for me, Who loves this drama but cannot understand Korean. keep up great work 😍

  12. Love it β™₯ I enjoyed reading your reviews as it is kinda interesting to see what others thought of this drama. By the way, do you remember which episode is it that the Yuan Emperor told the Goryeo Emperor to changed the name Goryeo to Yuan?

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