Would you rather live in a fantasy that is bound to disappear one day or a reality that is painful to go through each day?
Life inside the palace is not as beautiful as it seems to be from the outside. Even for someone sitting on the highest position like Ta-hwan, he’s still powerless and bound to the rules of the court, something that makes him feel stuffed living inside the big palace he calls home. In fact, he can end up like Yoo, who rose to the king’s seat but dethroned and subjected to the life of a lowly slave in the foreign country. It is even worse for those working under the powerful figures inside the court: one mistake can cost hundreds of lives in one blow. That’s why Dok-man tries his best to prevent any kind of war from happening but the Empress Dowager and Tanashiri are two people that can’t be stopped easily. Seung-nyang is now dragged into the two women’s war inside the palace and I am anticipating to see what will Seung-nyang do: will she follow Tanashiri’s order and believe that killing off Lady Park will be her stepping stone towards her escape from the cruel palace, or she has something else inside her mind?
Episode 11 begins with Seung-nyang receiving the order from Tanashiri to harm the pregnant Lady Park. She asked whether the powder given to her was poison but Tanashiri said it was from a certain tree that could harm the unborn child. Tanashiri promised that she would let Seung-nyang go out of the palace if she could complete the mission successfully but if she couldn’t, her dead body would be carried out of the palace. Seung-nyang thought that the Empress was as ruthless just like her brother, Dangkise. Yeon-hwa happened to see Seung-nyang walking out from the Empress’ quarters and she’s left wondering whether Seung-nyang had received some kind of order from Tanashiri.
Ta-hwan had another midnight walk around the palace while thinking about the possibility of the male Seung-nyang being a woman and he found it impossible. However, he was excited when he imagined how pretty Seung-nyang would be if the man was actually a woman, dressed in fine garments and dancing gracefully, complete with her cute blinks and hearty laugh. His wonderful imagination was interrupted when Golta urged him to go back to his quarters since the wind was getting colder. He told his men not to follow him around and Golta hit the guard in frustration. Ohh…the guards are handsome!
Seung-nyang was on her way back to her room but she couldn’t stop thinking about sacrificing the fellow Goryeo people for her own life. She remembered her dream about Yoo and thought that she felt stuffed thinking about the matter. Ta-hwan was still playing hide-and-seek with his men when he saw Seung-nyang wandering alone under the falling snow and approached her. She was deep in her thoughts and expressed how she missed Yoo without realizing that Ta-hwan was standing beside her, reaching his hand towards her. He asked about the person she’s missing and made a blind guess that it’s a man, but Golta approached them before he could ask further. She took the opportunity to leave and Ta-hwan was upset that they had not received any news about Seung-nyang from Goryeo yet.
Ta-hwan was distraught when he met the Empress Dowager (she’s wearing new clothes!) but didn’t say anything to her. Lady Park arrived shortly for her morning greetings with Seung-nyang in tow and Ta-hwan was about to leave the women alone; however, Empress Dowager suggested that he accompanied Lady Park for a stroll outside, saying that it’s good for a pregnant woman and the baby would be happy to her the daddy’s voice. His focus was still on Seung-nyang and he agreed to do so.
Off they went around the palace for a short walk as Lady Park expressed her gratitude towards Ta-hwan for spending his precious time with her. He stole a long glance at Seung-nyang before focusing on Lady Park, but suddenly Lady Park felt nauseous because of her morning sickness. He was concerned and patted her back at the same time Seung-nyang wanted to do so. Their fingers touched and their eyes met but Seung-nyang quickly withdrew her hands. OMG I can’t stop squeeing over here!!
Ta-hwan continued to pat Lady Park’s back as Seung-nyang saw Tanashiri looking at them from afar. Tanashiri wanted her court lady to personally confirm that Seung-nyang would use the powder and she wanted to see Lady Park eating the poder in front of her. She walked away as fast as possible and she silently blame Ta-hwan for everything that she would do later. Lady Park was invited to meet her afterwards and she remarked (in a sharp tone) that she dreamed of a fish jumping into her arms, but she didn’t end up being pregnant; instead, Lady Park was. Tanashiri put on a happy face, saying that she’s the person the child would call ‘Mother’ later and told Lady Park to take care of their child. She wanted to spend some time once a day for the sake of the child and offered to let Seung-nyang to prepare the snack in case Lady Park would suspect her. Tanashiri believed that Seung-nyang would follow her order while actually, she had told Lady Park about it. Seung-nyang didn’t think it would help them if they tell Empress Dowager. Lady Park thanked her but Seung-nyang remarked that she was the one who saved her before this by not reporting her assassination attempt.
Seung-nyang was preparing the snack together with Hong-dan when she realized that she’s being watched by Court Lady Seo, Tanashiri’s court lady. She put the powder into the dough but after the court lady left, she made another dough without the powder. The snack looks super delicious! Tanashiri believed that she had done her job well and had the snack with Lady Park. She confidently took a bite since the powder won’t have any effect on a person who’s not pregnant while Lady Park picked the snack without the powder as instructed by Seung-nyang earlier.
The border group was still planning their attack on the Turks and a few of the Yuan soldiers including Ja-chom went to spy on the Turk’s base camp. Yoo didn’t tell the Yuan officers about his secret of planting Eunuch Bang and Jeombakyi inside their enemy’s camp and Moo-song was worried about those two. Well, they’re enjoying their time with the Turks, eating as they discussed about their plan. Bi-soo went to meet them and they asked to see Batoru. They were surprised that the real Batoru was a woman but Eunuch Bang didn’t take a long time to convince Bi-soo into believing them, since he knew the real reason behind the noises for Yuan camp: it wasn’t meant for the soldiers but for the Yuan’s horses. The tactic was something that Bi-soo was trying to hide but she’s shocked that someone managed to see through her plan. Yes, that someone was our bright Yoo!
Yoo and the Yuan officers were discussing about their attacks on the Turks later and he discussed with Moo-song about letting their spies know about the exact time of the attack. The Yuan was planning to use the Goryeo people as a fake attack before attacking the Turks later using their secret plan. Byung-soo saw Yoo and Moo-song talking secretly and thought that they were planning something behind the Yuan’s back. He told the Yuan officers about it and anticipated to see his guess was right. Later that night, the Turks came again to bother them with the noise and the Yuan people started to question about Moo-song when he’s nowhere to be found. But then, he appeared and they were disappointed that their guess was wrong (of course, the blame went to Byung-soo. Haha!). Yoo used the torches to send the message about the attack to Eunuch Bang, who was there among the Turks.
It’s bath time for our Baby Emperor but he could only think about Seung-nyang. He began to suspect that the Nyang inside the palace was the same person, but she might had resented him because of Yoo. He was upset that there was still no news from Goryeo and ordered for Seung-nyang to serve the tea, aiming to find out the truth from her. He kept staring at her all the time while reminiscing about the time he spnet together with Seung-nyang. He ordered her to lift her face up and when she looked straight into his eyes, Ta-hwan was stunned. He definitely felt something, just like what he experienced back when Seung-nyang saved him and Seung-nyang was worried that he might recognize her. Love his reaction when he clutched his heart afterwards!
Seung-nyang was summoned to meet Tanashiri and Yeon-hwa was giving her the jealous stare all the time. Tanashiri was happy that she did her job without being caught and assured her that she would stick to her promise once the result of their plan came out. Seung-nyang got to know that the powder from the tree that was handed to her could only work with another herbal infusion but Tanashiri didn’t give further order to her. Dangkise saw Seung-nyang walking out from his sister’s room and he was surprised to learn that Seung-nyang was the maid entrusted with the mission to harm Lady Park. He didn’t think that Seung-nyang would help the Yuan and decided to take the matter into his own hands.
He went to Yeon-hwa, who was more than willing to sacrifice her own life for a better position in the palace. He handed the powder to her and she managed to put it into the ingredients for the dumpling soup for Lady Park. Dangkise watched her until she went to Lady Park but Dok-man saw him sneaking around the harem. Lady Park didn’t feel like eating the soup but ended up eating it, much to Yeon-hwa’s delight. Lady Park started to pee a lot and Dok-man found it strange, plus with Dangkise hanging around the harem earlier, he didn’t feel that it was a mere coincidence. He told Seung-nyang to take care of Lady Park but she realized that Lady Park might have consumed the tree powder.
The Yuan officers were praying for their success during their attack on that night as Yoo looked at them, determined not to let the Silk Road fall into their hands. Eunuch Bang told Bi-soo about the time that Yoo would attack them and she decided to believe him since he’s waging his own life. Jeombakyi and Eunuch Bang were nervous that there was no sign of the soldiers coming but at last, Yoo came with his Goryeo troop. Bi-soo started to believe Eunuch Bang and he also told her about Baek Ahn coming later to attack them. Baek Ahn and his people were waiting for Bi-soo to leave for him to disguise himself as Batoru by wearing the mask and intruding the Turks’ base camp.
Empress Dowager went to meet Tanashiri and Lady Park during their snack time, thinking that Tanashiri was making Lady Park tired with their daily meetings. Tanashiri said that she was just spending some time so that the child would get used to her voice. Empress Dowager smiled, thinking that the pompous Empress had finally toned down her arrogance. Suddenly, Lady Park felt nauseous again and Tanashiri ordered for herbal infusion to be sent to her. Dok-man watched the preparation of the infusion closely. Dangkise assured his sister that once Lady Park took the infusion, they would spread the rumour that Lady Park only pretended to be pregnant and it could cause her own life and the people around her, including Empress Dowager. Yeon-hwa smiled when Lady Park drank the infusion and Seung-nyang saw that smile, raising her suspicion towards her.
Ta-hwan was alone eating his dried persimmons while thinking about everything that ‘Nyang’ had said to him, thinking that she really hated to stay beside her. He complained about the persimmons and wished that Nyang was the same Seung-nyang. Golta came over bearing the breaking news: the Nyang he knew was indeed the same Seung-nyang from before and that man decided to somehow become a woman to protect Yoo. Ta-hwan was clearly disappointed upon hearing the truth and vowed not to care about Seung-nyang anymore since she ignored him first, but soon after, he went to find her. She was cleaning the cups when he found her, tears brimming in his eyes as he called her name with a mixed voice of sadness and anger…
Episode 12. Ta-hwan was about to call out on Seung-nyang for her lies but he recalled the moment where she was missing someone and thought that she was thinking about Yoo. He was upset that she still chose to ignore him and left without saying a word, deciding to ignore her too. Seung-nyang, however, could sense that he recognized her from his eyes. Ta-hwan spent his time with archery but he found it a rather dull activity despite his perfect scores (he could hit the bull’s eye now! With the baby arrows!). He refused to pay Lady Park a visit since it reminded him of Seung-nyang but went there afterwards.
Seung-nyang was also there since she’s part of the serving maids and Ta-hwan was flustered all the time. He kept stealing glances and she knew it, but pretended not to notice him. Lady Park helped to wipe his mouth and Ta-hwan stared intently at Seung-nyang, anticipating her reaction to the gesture. Seung-nyang displayed no emotion whatsoever and continued to serve tea to him. She was thisclose to him and the fact that he kept staring at her….gahhh! My screen is burning with their chemistry! Ta-hwan choked on his tea and then ordered all the maids to leave them alone while he kept thinking about his weird feelings around Seung-nyang. Baby Emperor, you’re falling in love!
The maids were cleaning and then had their meager meal happily when Ta-hwan passed by. He tried ignoring his gnawing conscience at Seung-nyang having the humble rice but soon gave in, thinking that the maids weren’t even eating properly and blaming it all on the poor Golta. He ordered lavish meals for the maids and they all dug in happily, but Seung-nyang didn’t join the group. It was so funny seeing Ta-hwan all excited (and so full of himself ), walking towards the place (“I’m not going there because I miss her!” HA!) only to find Seung-nyang absent and he was so upset, blaming it all on the innocent Golta. I feel sorry for this eunuch…
Seung-nyang was summoned to have a private meal with Ta-hwan but she didn’t touch any of the food. She tried to leave but Ta-hwan grabbed her wrist and kept her there with him. But then, he left her alone to finish the food. Poor Baby Emperor was still affected with his hand touching hers and thought that his racing heart for her was because of the fear he had for her, more than his fear towards Yeon-chul. Someone give this baby a big hug please! Seung-nyang, on the other hand, confirmed that Ta-hwan had found out her real identity.
We travel back to the Yuan border, where the Yuan soldiers led by Baek Ahn, Taltal, and Byung-soo were waiting for the Turks troop to travel further from their camp. Unknown to them, the Turks were forewarned about this and turned around secretly as Baek Ahn carried out his ‘intelligent’ plan disguising as Batoru and infiltrating the Turks’ camp with a small troop (love Byung-soo’s reaction to his plan intially! Kekeke). However, the Yuan’s horses were disturbed with the noise and Taltal realized that the noise was meant for their horses, not to bother the soldiers. It’s too late for them as the leaving Turks troop returned to the camp but Baek Ahn refused to retreat. Bi-soo found that Baek Ahn as someone that was too precious to be killed because of his experience and ordered for him to be captured instead of killed. The Yuan troop were forced to surrender when they were overpowered by the Turks and Yoo’s plan was progressing smoothly.
Lady Park was still spending her time with Tanashiri and she pretended to be sick just to trick Tanashiri per Seung-nyang’s instruction. Tanashiri was satisfied, thinking that her plan was going on smoothly and proceeded to order Seung-nyang to spread the rumour about the pregnancy: Lady Park was faking it to win Ta-hwan’s favour. Seung-nyang agreed to do so, but Tanashiri was sharp to notice that Lady Park kept picking the snack with the same decoration. Seung-nyang managed to avoid her suspicion and Dangkise, having heard what Seung-nyang said in front of his sister, started to believe that she’s indeed on their side. But then, they also had Yeon-hwa as their back-up spy. At the same time, Seung-nyang kept thinking about the confirmation that Tanashiri planned to do on Lady Park’s pregnancy.
Seung-nyang had to spread the rumour since Court Lady Seo was everywhere to keep an eye on her. Smartypants Seung-nyang didn’t use her own mouth to do so; instead, she used Lady Park’s undergarments, which had been stained with blood. The maids started to gossip about it, saying that it’s impossible for pregnant women to have their period but it’s not case for Lady Park…and the rumour about her fake pregnancy spread, reaching the Empress Dowager’s ears. Tanashiri didn’t waste any more time to request a confirmation on Lady Park’s real condition and Empress Dowager knew that she was the source of the rumour. They agreed to confirm it: if it’s false, Empress Dowager would find the source of the news, and if it’s true, Tanashiri vowed to deal with everyone involved in the matter.
Yeon-hwa’s meeting with Dangkise confirmed that she was in the secret plan together with Seung-nyang, and she didn’t try to hide it when Seung-nyang went to confront her about it. She even warned Seung-nyang not to claim her victory later as her own as she won’t let her to do so. Lady Park started to have fever and Tanashiri was overjoyed with the news, ordering the confirmation to be done as soon as possible. Ta-hwan and Empress Dowager were also there with Tanashiri to witness the confirmation but Lady Park fainted on her way there. They were surprised to hear the news and Tanashiri could not wait to prove Lady Park’s lies, but Ta-hwan didn’t want to allow her to do so. He would prevent it with all his might and Tanashiri turned towards her father to deal with the issues.
The doctor went to check on Lady Park’s condition and found out that he couldn’t feel the baby’s pulse, confirming that she had a miscarriage. Empress Dowager was shocked over the revelation and wanted it to be kept as a secret for the time being. Ta-hwan assured her that he would never give an order to deal with the issues but Yeon-chul already got to know about the miscarriage from the doctor himself. He chose to deal with the Empress Dowager too instead of getting rid of Lady Park alone.
Yoo reported to Tapjahae about Baek Ahn and the gang captured by their enemies and Tapjahae wanted to use the Goryeo men to fought the Turks in order to save their general while he himself run away from there. Yoo wouldn’t allow his people to be used as pawns since he had another plan in his head. At the Turks’ base camp, Bi-soo tried to find out more about Yoo from Eunuch Bang and her assistant remarked that they might had won the war since most of the Yuan soldiers were already caught and the Yuan’s camp was almost empty. The Turks organized a feast to celebrate and Bi-soo offered to take Baek Ahn on their side if he swear allegiance to their general, but the loyal Baek Ahn won’t budge. He would rather die and Taltal remarked that they might had been abandoned by Tapjahae.
Yoo was preparing for their final fight with Seung-nyang in mind and all the Goryeo troop approached the Turks’ camp secretly. Eunuch Bang and Jeombakyi heard the signals and replied but the two of them were caught by Bi-soo’s assistant. Soon, Yoo’s soldiers attacked the camp and Baek Ahn heard all the noise but he didn’t really think that the timid Tapjahae would try to save them. Yoo finally caught Bi-soo and she dared him to kill her.
Yeon-chul tried to make Ta-hwan sign the order to conduct examination on Lady Park’s baby and the latter tried to resist him; however, Ta-hwan had no other choice but to follow his order. Sometimes I wish our Baby Emperor would throw that bulky seal towards the old man and kill him in an instant..problem solved! Anyhow, they suddenly received the news that the Empress Dowager had decided to protest the examination. Yeon-chul wanted him to give the order and Empress Dowager urged him to reconsider, sending Ta-hwan into a corner. He had enough of these two screaming to his face and shouted at them, telling them to stop before walking away from the scene.
Ta-hwan wanted to be left alone and Seung-nyang, on her way back from attending to Lady Park, decided to follow him to request for Lady Park’s examination again. He expressed how he wanted to die and wished that he was dead when he was back in Daechung Island. He turned around to see the person he missed the most: Seung-nyang and wondered dejectedly if her seeing him in this state would satisfy her, after all the things he had done to betray her..yeah, he just admitted that he recognized her!
This week is such a feast for the eyes, especially with our Hwannie and Yangie’s endless interactions! It’s kind of ironic that Tanashiri is too busy fighting off Empress Dowager and she fails to see Ta-hwan’s blossoming feelings towards Seung-nyang. If only she knows that the mere maid is going to be her biggest rival in the future..hmmm. Oh, back to my point: Hwannie and Yangie! I really enjoy seeing them together inside the stuffy palace and they serve as a comic relief amidst the conflicts brewing among the royalties. Ta-hwan might be helpless when dealing with Yeon-chul, but his efforts to impress Seung-nyang are his baby steps towards becoming a new person: stronger and dependable. He still has a long way to go, and we have another 38 episodes ahead, so his development might come off as a little slow, because he’s basically a newborn who has yet to experience the real taste of life. He has so many things in front of him and I am sure the love he has towards Seung-nyang will be his biggest courage to fight of Yeon-chul in order to protect her later.
Seung-nyang is in a difficult position as she’s trying to get used to life inside the palace while slowly being dragged into the conflicts between the two top women, but I’m glad she’s still feisty albeit it’s been toned down to suit the life of a palace maid. She’s one smart, talented girl and it’s a waste to see her serving tea and cleaning while she can do better than that. I think we’re heading towards the next arc since Lady Park’s pregnancy issue seems to have come to an end, and I can’t wait to see Seung-nyang in action. I’m looking forward to her next opponent. Who will it be…Dangkise? Yeon-chul? Or…Ta-hwan himself?
I have to confess that Hwannie and Yangie’s interaction is so squee-worthy. With Ta-hwan’s stare than can melt everything and Seung-nyang’s response, my heart is beating faster when they come out on my screen, complete with ‘ohhhh’, ‘aaaaahhhh’, and other squealing sounds. I can’t imagine if they are to hug each other..I think my heart is going to burst during that moment. Darn, I’m giggling even from imagining it!
The border war seems to be ending as well and while the fights, be it at the border or in the palace, might be long and boring at times, I personally like this week’s episodes since we get to see the results of their long planning session. It’s satisfying to see what Yoo has worked for so far diligently shows a good results and he’s probably returning to the capital next week. I like him with his mane of glory and his magnificent forehead, but I don’t really like the dark settings of the border that makes him look rather dull. Please keep your mane down like that when you come back, our dear king! Maybe I should sing a song for him…
“I’m coming home, I’m coming home, tell the world I’m coming home…”
(Home is where the heart belongs to, so is Seung-nyang his home? :D)
Bonus: Taltal’s face to brighten up your day (and the remaining of the dull week until Monday)
I read on Soompi that some of them are wondering about what Yeon-chul fed his children for them to grow up into such a bunch of spiteful people. Yeah, I think their food was mixed with some kind of bad potions to make them villains by nature! Jokes aside, sometimes I just pity them, especially Tanashiri and Dangkise: both of them don’t know the right way to show their affection and end up acting like what villains should be: ruthless and cunning. I like them but they are probably beyond repair. If there’s someone they should blame for what will happen to them in the future, their father, the ‘mighty’ Yeon-chul has a big share in that one.
Looking forward to next week’s episodes (excuse me while I replay all Hwannie and Yangie’s scenes!!!) for more conflicts, more interactions, and probably..more lies. Ah, I think I’m addicted to this show right now…Gasp!
*Thanks for all the comments! I’m getting better but forgive those jumbled up words in the recaps above…my head was spinning but I had to write it down just to share my excitement!*