I miss his voice, her stare, his smile, and her laugh.
Two weeks without any new episodes of Empress Ki were like a torture. I never really thought about the effects that the drama had on me but I have realized that my routine changed since it aired. I would take short naps while waiting for the new episodes on early Tuesday and Wednesday mornings before recapping them. The rest of the week would be filled with rewatching the episodes, reading other people’s thoughts on Soompi forum, and talking with fellow fans. These two weeks felt empty and different without the usual offering of new episodes and while the award ceremony gave us a glimpse of our lovely cast, still, it felt different without new episodes! I really miss each and every of them and spent my weekend raiding Youtube for MVs. And finally…the wait is over!
I’ve lost count on the number of times I’ve replayed the video previews, read the written previews, and looked at the spoiler pics. Kyaaah! So excited!
Episode 19. We backtrack a little, showing how Seung-nyang was tortured and passed out before Dangkise telling her that he would take her life even if he failed to get her heart. Ouch. But then, Yoo arrived and punched him into unconsciousness. Yoo piggybacked her but soon, they were joined by Ta-hwan’s entourage. Ta-hwan ordered him to put Seung-nyang down and Yoo, even surrounded by the swords, refused to give in, saying that Seung-nyang was no longer a court lady, as per Yeon-chul’s order. He challenged Ta-hwan to defy that order and left the prison, with Ta-hwan sending fiery glare towards him. Yeah, his dragon fire has been awakened!
Ta-hwan headed towards the Chancellor’s office, aiming to talk about Seung-nyang being released from her position as a court lady. Yeon-chul wondered why he was so eager about a mere servant: maybe she received his grace? The old man warned the flustered Ta-hwan not to forget his daughter Tanashiri. He walked away as Ta-hwan could only cried silently in frustration. But then, the determination in his eyes said it all: he won’t let it go that easily.
Seung-nyang was still unconscious from the torture and Yoo personally attended to her. He looked at her with eyes full of worries but at the same time, managed to comfort her with his words.
Yoo: Don’t be afraid, Seung-nyang..From now on, I’ll protect you. No one can bother you anymore.
Meanwhile, Ta-hwan was mulling over his lacked self, who couldn’t find the blood letter and even made Seung-nyang suffer because of him. He sighed after knowing that Seung-nyang was still unconscious and walked away from the Brooding Bridge. Yoo was nursing her and held her hand, holding it close to his cheek….and then kissed her hand. Awwwwwwhhh!
Baek Ahn and Taltal were summoned to the throne hall, where Ta-hwan was waiting to tell them about Yoo joining forces with Yeon-chul. He entrusted them to find out more about it, and Baek Ahn wondered why he’s suddenly interested in that matter. Ta-hwan just said that he hated the sight of the two men: Yeon-chul and Yoo, enough for him to wish that he could kill them both. Taltal knew it better that Ta-hwan was doing it because of Seung-nyang and Baek Ahn told him to start watching Yoo closely. Darn, I’m so nervous about this…
Tanashiri was sitting in front of her mirror, drinking in the scent of the infertility perfume when Empress Dowager came over to her quarters. Empress Dowager wanted to talk about Dangkise trying to harm Ta-hwan, but Tanashiri didn’t think that was the case. She told Tanashiri to have a son and see what the men in her family would do to Ta-hwan because of the throne before taking her leave.
Seung-nyang already regained her consciousness and Officer Park gave her the medicine. He sighed that her father would be happy to see her being cherished by Yoo. She asked for his help to obtain the bow and the baby arrows for her since becoming the old Seung-nyang would be a great help for Yoo. Officer Park refused to do so at first since they didn’t have Yoo’s permission, and Seung-nyang said, “Then, do you expect me to make the food and do the laundry over here too?” LOL our lady is also tired of the chores! Officer Park laughed and agreed to find them, while Seung-nyang suddenly asked about the other men.
Yoo and his underlings were out in the market buying something and unknown to them,Taltal and his men were watching them. Taltal approached the man at the stall and found out about the thing Yoo bought earlier: frog poison. He bought another bottle of it and told Baek Ahn that the poison was used along with a type of red wine. They had yet to find out why Yoo bought it and at the same time, received the report that Yoo went to Yeon-chul’s house.
Yeon-chul was more interested in finding out the person who dared to go against it and knew that the person would wish for his death. Yoo asked whether it was okay to kill him in order to find that person, in which Dangkise and Tapjahae strongly against it, saying that he shouldn’t be trusted. Yoo brought out the wine (He looks like a promoter! Hehehe) and poured some of it into a glass, telling Dangkise to drink it for Yoo to show his idea. Dangkise didn’t feel anything at first, but soon he choked and passed out. Yoo assured them that the effect was temporary and Yeon-chul would be able to find his enemy using this method.
Taltal was waiting outside and this time, he’s as fast as Yoo. He concluded that the wine would be given to Yeon-chul and the old man would fake his death in order to find the person behind the rumour. Yoo was so confident that he would be successful, but he didn’t know that Taltal knew about it too!
Seung-nyang was picking up her bow again, trying out her archery skills that she didn’t get to practice all this while. She’s still good at it, but Yoo’s angry voice turned the excitement in the air into silence. He didn’t like it that she’s out there shooting arrows when she’s not fully recovered yet, but Seung-nyang didn’t want him to blame Officer Park for it. Yoo moved closer and cupped her face in his hands, sighing that she’s still burning with fever. The other men were trying to be oblivious (LOL at their expressions!) and Seung-nyang thought that it’s nothing, but Yoo told her not to pretend to be strong all the time; if it’s hard and painful, just say it instead of ignoring it like a fool.
Ta-hwan was losing his appetite and his complexion didn’t look any better. He asked Golta with a weak voice about Seung-nyang, but Golta haven’t heard anything so far. He still wanted to wait and refused to admit that she’s already part of Yoo’s underlings, not his court lady anymore. Ta-hwan was confident that he’s also inside Seung-nyang’s heart. Oh, Baby Emperor….at this rate, you’ll break your own heart…
Baek Ahn and Taltal went to meet him and Ta-hwan was eager to know about Yeon-chul’s join plan with Yoo. Dangkise, at the same time, was already fine and Yeon-chul was confident that he would succeed this time despite his son’s warning about Yoo. Ta-hwan wondered what would happen if the old man never woke up after drinking that wine and suggested that the wine was to be switched with a real poison. WOW. Baek Ahn was surprised to hear that suggestion (me too) and Taltal remarked that switching it won’t be an easy task, but Ta-hwan already made up his mind to kill Yeon-chul and put the blame on Yoo. He ordered them to make it happen at all cost as he vowed to bring Seung-nyang back to his side. Waahhh~!
Seung-nyang had her meal with Yoo but he’s too angry to utter any word and kept eating. She knew that he’s mad at her for defying his order, but she was helping Ta-hwan with Yoo in her mind. He nagged a bit, saying that she’s the first person to defy his every word. He remarked that it was like that from the beginning, but that might be the reason why she’s special to him. Awwwwwwww…is that a confession?? Yoo urged her to finish her food since they’re going somewhere later.
The Goryeo team was going outside of the palace and Ta-hwan saw them by chance. He witnessed how Seung-nyang was smiling brightly while he himself looked so unhappy. Ta-hwan could only look at her from afar…and those eyes…stop killing me with those sad eyes, Baby Emperor!
Their destination was the market because Yoo wanted to see the things from Goryeo that were popular in Yuan, such as the ginseng, paint brushes, and the fabric. Yoo and Seung-nyang discussed about the trade and the other four suggested that they went for a drink, but Yoo was worried that she might be tired and told them to enjoy themselves. Moo-song tried to excuse himself too, but Eunuch Bang urged him to join them since he could meet some girls and leave the two lovebirds by themselves. Hehehe!
Seung-nyang went to meet Court Lady No and Hong-dan, who was responsible for taking care of the lady since she left. She got to know that Yeon-hwa was promoted to a court lady at the Emperor’s quarters (that’s not a good news at all…) and Ta-hwan never end his day without getting drunk. Seung-nyang looked taken aback but Court Lady No began talking about the blood letter again. Hong-dan told Seung-nyang that the lady would look for her whenever she’s in her right mind and right at that moment, the lady wanted Seung-nyang to bring an eunuch to her if she wanted to know about the letter. Court Lady No confirmed that the eunuch was named Jeokho but that’s all. Argh, so frustrating!
The eunuch was at his house just like what the lady said, and I have no doubt that the Jeokho everyone was looking for was no other than Mak-seong, the Goryeo village’s chief. His hair and mustache were actually wigs and he overheard Byung-soo sneaking around. He attacked him and Byung-soo asked why he suddenly shaved his mustache. Only then the chief realized that he forgot to wear his fake wig but Byung-soo was there to inform him that he’s leaving for a few days. Byung-soo also suspected that the chief was hiding something…tsk, that rat-like guy..
Even in the cold weather, Ta-hwan still had his midnight walk and he saw Seung-nyang walking out of the harem. She truly didn’t expect to see him there, blocking her way and bringing her to an empty room. He angrily told her that he’s not drunk at all and questioned why was she making him a pitiful person. He tried to kiss her (twice!) but she resisted, warning him that she’s no longer a court lady whom he could treat as he pleased. Ta-hwan wanted to believe that he’s also in her heart, but to her it’s not about Yoo or anyone; it’s because of Ki Ja-oh.
Ta-hwan only thought that Commander Ki was only her cherished leader and Seung-nyang told him the truth: he’s her father. He’s truly surprised upon hearing about it…and Seung-nyang told him an even more painful fact.
Seung-nyang: When I was beside you all this while…did you know what was I thinking? I wanted to kill you.
She told him not to look for her again, but Ta-hwan gave her his knife, telling Seung-nyang to go ahead and kill him if that could make her forgive him. He even pointed the knife right at his heart but Seung-nyang told him that the Goryeo people inside the palace would die if she killed him. When asked what he should do to atone for his mistakes, Seung-nyang told Ta-hwan just to forget her…and left.
Ta-hwan slumped onto the floor, sobbing as he recalled the moment he lied for his own life and she looked at him as she remembered her father’s last moment. Seung-nyang closed the door…and darn, my heart breaks for these two as they kept crying (T_T)
Back to the wine/poison plan, Taltal got to know that Dangkise held the key to Yeon-chul’s safe, where the red wine was kept. He had an idea, which was to use the original key’s mould to open the safe and switch the wine with the poison. They managed to do so just before Yeon-chul arrived, ordering them to gather all the top officers and Yoo was also to be summoned for an emergency meeting with the Emperor.
Empress Dowager was not happy to hear about the meeting, but Tanashiri, having heard about it beforehand, wasn’t that surprised since she thought it was necessary to find the source of the rumours. She didn’t think that both Ta-hwan and the Empress Dowager should be nervous if they weren’t the one who instigated everything. Yeon-chul came over to Empress Dowager’s quarters, warning her not to step outside the quarters while the meeting was held and even blocked her door. The old man was still thinking that he’s doing everything for the sake of the nation, while Empress Dowager was only trying to protect the royal palace. She vowed not to forget that day as Tanashiri was feeling so good to see her being locked inside her own place.
The top military officials were present at the meeting and thinking that Yeon-chul might also suspect Yoo, Seung-nyang warned him to be careful before going to the meeting. The old man exchanged greeting with the officials and Taltal went to escort the Emperor. Ta-hwan was satisfied to hear that the only thing left in their plan was for Yeon-chul to drink the said poison and went to the meeting tent, where he saw Seung-nyang outside the tent. She ignored him and he could only look at her with his sad eyes.
Ta-hwan was on high alert as he joined the meeting, looking at Baek Ahn and Taltal while anticipating the outcome of their plan. He questioned why Yoo was also present in the all-Yuan meeting, but couldn’t say anything to Yeon-chul. The old man was wondering why Ta-hwan’s eyes looked different on that day and Ta-hwan said that he had a few drinks before reverting back to his usual timid way in front of the old man. If only you knew, Yeon-chul…
A special edict was read in front of the people attending the meeting regarding the rumour of the blood letter (just take a look at Ta-hwan’s killer stare behind Yeon-chul!). They had a drink, with Yeon-chul the only one who drank a different alcohol. It was tested by a maid beforehand but Taltal assured his uncle that the poison would take some time to show its effect. Everyone held their breath as Yeon-chul gulped down the wine with the poison. This is so nerve-wrecking!
Yeon-chul proceeded to perform a sword dance and he pointed the sword at everyone (wait, he’s not drunk..right?), even at Ta-hwan! The other two military officers joined him and Yeon-chul kept thinking about the person that spread the rumour, who might be among those two.
Meanwhile, the maid who tested Yeon-chul’s wine before coughed out blood and Seung-nyang realized that something was wrong. The old man was still busy thinking about the instigator when he fell down and coughed out blood.
Ta-hwan knew that his plan had succeeded while Yoo and Seung-nyang both knew that it was a real poison. Ta-hwan looked at Yoo, warning him that it’s his turn next.
Episode 20. Yeon-chul was brought to the Empress’ quarters and the Goryeo underlings were watching them. Jeombakyi thought that their plan had succeeded, but Yoo could be inflicted with Yeon-chul’s death. Instead of fleeing away (that would make him more suspicious), Yoo chose to stay close to Yeon-chul.
Ta-hwan went to Empress Dowager, who was more worried that the Emperor was at her quarters when he’s supposed to be at the meeting. She was surprised to learn about Yeon-chul’s sudden illness, and Ta-hwan assured her that the old man would drop dead this time. Empress Dowager told him to confirm it with his own eyes.
Off Ta-hwan went to his Empress’ quarters, where Yeon-chul’s children were trying to give him the medicine but to no avail; the old man kept spitting it out, refusing to take it in. Ta-hwan heard their cries from inside, telling his late father that the children of the man who killed him were now crying tears of blood. That smile? Cold and menacing, yet so satisfying! Dangkise ordered for Yoo to be arrested at once and Baek Ahn, on his way out, revealed Ta-hwan standing outside the door and he just stood there, looking at the unconscious Yeon-chul with no sympathy. Yep, that old man deserves it!
Yoo realized that the wine had been switched with a real poison and someone knew about their plan beforehand. Seung-nyang was worried about his safety but Yoo told her not to worry so much and he even managed to smile upon hearing the soldiers in front of his door. Baek Ahn arrived there to arrest him and Ta-hwan was there to announce Yoo’s crime, that was trying to kill Yeon-chul. Yoo ordered his underlings not to defy the order and he was dragged away, but not before promising Seung-nyang that he would come back!
Seung-nyang tried to follow after Yoo, but Ta-hwan stopped her, asking whether she wanted to be accused as an accomplice. She thought that he would be happy with Yeon-chul’s death, but he’s now putting the blame on an innocent person. Ta-hwan didn’t admit that he’s doing it for her sake and promised to show Seung-nyang Yoo’s true colours, and him being a true Emperor.
Dangkise went to meet Yoo, who’s detained in the prison, with the intention to kill him for playing with his father’s life. Yoo was brave to state that Dangkise should be chasing after the real killer instead of wasting his time there and Yeon-chul would also do the same thing if he’s in Dangkise’s place. Tanashiri managed to stop her brother and after hearing their conversation, decided that Yoo was the only person who could help them. She brought Yoo out to Yeon-chul, to Dangkise’s anger.
Yoo checked on Yeon-chul and told Tanashiri that they needed to deceive their enemy into thinking that Yeon-chul would die. He suggested that she became the middle person between him and her brothers and set up a meeting later. Ha, Tanashiri looked so happy for a moment to have a secret date with her crush!
Seung-nyang shared with Yoo her suspicion about the person who switched the poison and Yoo thought that the same person also killed Geopseol. That person, Baek Ahn, was also given the task to search for the blood letter and Yoo was thinking of using him too. He knew that Baek Ahn would be coveting for Yeon-chul’s position, which might went to Dangkise but he needed someone to fan up the fire…and Seung-nyang suggested him to pray at the temple early in the morning.
The real reason for him to go praying was to meet the Empress Dowager. Yoo displayed his intelligence, knowing that she’s just waiting for the right time and with Yeon-chul’s death, people would fight to be on her side. She realized that Yoo was the one who cause the rumour regarding the curse and Yoo admitted it with the Goryeo throne as his prime reason to get rid of Yeon-chul. He also knew about her fight with Tanashiri and it looked like things were going according to his plan as Empress Dowager was ready to work with him.
Seung-nyang used the knowledge from her days as the palace maid and court lady to tell Yoo about the two top military officials who were dancing with Yeon-chul during the meeting (well, that sounded weird, huh?): General Bang Jin and Joogukjeong. He told Seung-nyang to meet Tanashiri in his place as he’s going to escort Empress Dowager to meet the officials.
Empress Dowager offered the Chancellor post to General Bang, with a condition that he would do something for her. Tanashiri went to the meeting place (she’s bringing a mirror with her! hehehehe) but Seung-nyang was the one coming to her disappointment. She put two and two together: Seung-nyang’s man outside the palace was Yoo (oh no!) and thought that Seung-nyang must be harboring a one-sided love towards him (LOL!). Seung-nyang told her to inform Dangkise of preparing the soldiers since the two officials would be trying to wrestle the power with Yeon-chul’s absence. At the same time, Empress Dowager, at Yoo’s instruction, told General Bang to make his move since Dangkise would already move his men. She also offered the position to Joogukjeong with the same condition.
Tanashiri told her brothers about the information she got from Yoo but they were not going to trust him easily; however, they soon received the report about the two officials making a move, although they were supposed to be on Yeon-chul’s side. Dangkise thought that it’s time to bring their father home and behind them, Yeon-chul’s hand was moving slightly…
A palanquin was prepared to secretly bring the sick Yeon-chul back to his house but Empress Dowager stopped the procession, insisting on seeing Yeon-chul’s face. Dangkise refused to let her do so but she’s so happy, thinking that it’s Yeon-chul’s dead body inside the palanquin and she decided to alert General Bang about it.
The Goryeo team was already in the mood of celebration since it would be a matter of time before they could go back to their hometown. Eunuch Bang wondered what they would do once they go back to Goryeo, in which Officer Park suggested, like a father figure, for Seung-nyang to get married. Heee…Yoo’s face changed and Jeombakyi, in his dense style, thought that it was Moo-song who harboured feelings towards her. Yoo choked on his drink and Seung-nyang left in embarrassment, with Yoo soon following after her as the others chided Jeombakyi.
Yoo walked closely behind Seung-nyang and tried to see whether a hairpin suited her hair, but hid it when she turned around to face him.
Yoo: When we go back to Goryeo…can you stay on the same side as mine forever?
Seung-nyang: Right now, I’m on Your Majesty’s side.
Yoo: That’s not what I mean..
Seung-nyang: Even if Your Majesty decided to abandon me, I will live on Your Majesty’s side until the end.
Yoo: Take this (giving the hairpin to her). It’s a gift I bought when I went outside few days back.
Yoo: When we go back to Goryeo…would you like to be my Queen?
Yoo: If you agree, put it on your hair. Looks like you can’t give your answer right away…I will wait until tomorrow.
And he walked away while holding his heart, exhaling his nervous breath. Kekekeke~Ahhh, a proposal!! Seung-nyang held onto the hairpin and she was clearly excited…until something lingered on her mind.
She recalled the shared memories she had with Ta-hwan: how he tried to cheer her up and she took care of the lacking Emperor, plus his confession that she’s his mother bird. That brought tears to her eyes…and was Seung-nyang wavering for a moment there? OMG!!
Ta-hwan kept hearing Seung-nyang’s voice reading the poem for him while it’s actually Yeon-hwa. He sent her out and kept drinking to chase away his sorrow when Baek Ahn and Taltal came over to meet him. They informed him about Empress Dowager’s move and Baek Ahn insisted that Yeon-chul’s position should be given to him as his reward. Ta-hwan didn’t give it much thought since it’s Empress Dowager’s rights to do so. But when they left…why do I feel that the tears in his eyes said otherwise?
Seung-nyang was still thinking over her decision while holding the hairpin while Yoo was waiting in front of her room in the morning to know her answer. She went out and…much to his disappointment, she didn’t put the hairpin on. Awwww…and his two shippers Eunuch Bang and Moo-song were confused to see Yoo’s disappointed expression, plus Seung-nyang’s indifference towards him.
Yoo went to meet Empress Dowager, asking why she’s leaving out Baek Ahn from her plan. She didn’t have the chance to answer since Baek Ahn arrived there to meet her and Yoo excused himself. Baek Ahn wanted to have a seat on her side and even admitted that he was the one who killed Yeon-chul. She didn’t want to include him since the Chancellor position was not as easy as what he’s thinking. He walked out, with Taltal predicting that Empress Dowager would hold the power without Yeon-chul. They wondered why Yoo was suddenly close with the Dowager and Yoo appeared from behind, saying that he’s her people from the start. He even offered to persuade her into trusting Baek Ahn and Taltal with a way.
Seung-nyang sat in front of her mirror again, thinking about the answer she should gave to Yoo…and off she went out of the room to greet him. He was surprised (and then happy!) to see her wearing the hairpin, and his underlings continued to tease him after realizing that the hairpin was the reason of Yoo’s awkward behaviour around Seung-nyang on that day. Awww yeah!
Later, on that night, Yoo dropped by Seung-nyang’s room (because he wanted to see her, heh) to her surprise and he even gave a special service: combing her hair! Her late answer didn’t escape Yoo’s attention and he predicted that she didn’t really think that much of him (ahhh). He wanted to know how she started living in disguise as a man under Wang Go. She told him about the day where he released the tribute women from the prison. It came out as a surprise for him that Seung-nyang knew about it, and Yoo still felt terrible of causing so many people to die.
Seung-nyang assured him that it wasn’t a mistake and admitted that she’s still alive, the same girl he set free from the prison, fifteen years ago. She never blamed him, the Crown Prince back then…and give him a reassuring hug before wiping away his tears. He was the one who saved her life.
Yoo wiped her tears and kissed her forehead…before swooping her into a kiss (!!!) and a hug. Okay, let me calm myself over here!! Squee~!
And the next morning…Yoo woke up in Seung-nyang’s room, looking tenderly at her sleeping face. Kyaaaaaa~~~!!!
Meanwhile, Ta-hwan was having a morning tea with Tanashiri and Empress Dowager. Tanashiri assured him that Yeon-chul was getting better (he could even meet Ta-hwan if he insisted, she said) but Ta-hwan knew that the old man would be barely alive by that time. She took her leave and Ta-hwan asked about the supposed attack. It’s clear that both of them were thinking about the same thing but had different agenda: he wanted to show his real power as the Emperor and she wanted to show hers.
Tanashiri met Yoo outside and she reminded him to catch the enemies so that she could see them being tortured with her own eyes, for her father’s sake. Yoo was not afraid since his plans were moving smoothly but soon, he got to know that Yeon-chul had passed away. Dangkise was crying in front of Yeon-chul’s coffin and Baek Ahn arrived there shortly after hearing the shocking news.
Seung-nyang was walking around with Hong-dan when she saw Tanshiri’s closest attendant Court Lady Seo, carrying a special drink that was served only to Yeon-chul. She remembered learning how to prepare the drink when she was a maid and got to know that it had been several days since the kitchen was ordered to prepare it for the Empress’ quarters, something that Seung-nyang found rather out of norm. She also got to know from Dok-man that the drink could hinder any poison’s effect on someone’s body…and just imagine what it could do to someone like Yeon-chul, who had been drinking it probably since his younger days?
Seung-nyang quickly left and Dok-man started to suspect something about Yeon-chul. Dangkise was left alone with the coffin as he recalled his father’s words to prepare for the big fight…and the old man was still alive, hidden inside Tanashiri’s room. He planned it beforehand to see who would be the real person on his side, but Yeon-chul had not fully recovered yet. Hmmm…anyhow, it’s still early for him to die…
On her way out, Seung-nyang ran into Ta-hwan and she told him that Yeon-chul might be alive. It seemed impossible to him, but since no one had ever saw the corpse, she urged him to check Tanashiri’s quarters. Seung-nyang rode a horse, bringing along her bow and arrows tied with white ribbons. The ribbon was part of their secret communication with Baek Ahn’s side per Taltal’s suggestion since there were eyes around them inside the palace. The colour code: blue for Dangkise finding out about their plan, yellow if someone else got to know about their alliance, and white for the worst case scenario – who knew, Yeon-chul might woke up alive? It was a joke for them, but now it’s the reality!
Ta-hwan headed straight to Tanashiri’s room and Yeon-chul didn’t want the Emperor to find out about him being alive yet. Tanashiri managed to buy some time and by the time Ta-hwan entered her room, her father already went into hiding. It would be entertaining to see Yeon-chul tip-toeing around! Tanashiri was relieved but Ta-hwan saw the cup containing the special drink. In between his conversation with Tanashiri, he dipped his finger inside the cup and left hastily.
He recognized the scent of the special drink and concluded that Seung-nyang was telling him the truth: Yeon-chul was still alive! He ordered for the bodyguard eunuchs to be gathered…because he’s going to kill Yeon-chul. Yeah, Baby Emperor…yeah!
Dangkise was only aware of the movement from the military officials’ side while Yoo and Baek Ahn were already dividing their real targets once the battle started: Dangkise for Yoo, Tapjahae for Baek Ahn, and Byung-soo for Officer Park to kill. Seung-nyang arrived there and shot an arrow through the general’s head and everyone’s attention was directed towards her.
But soon, they saw the arrow and the white ribbon. Cue terrified stares from Taltal and Goryeo’s team as Yoo concluded the only worst case scenario that could happen: Yeon-chul was still alive.
Ta-hwan, Ta-hwan, Ta-hwan!!!! My amazing Baby Emperor! I blame him for the delay in writing my thoughts because each time I tried to watch the episodes again, I would get carried away..and ended up spazzing about him instead of writing. To me, he’s amazing. He’s been showing the desire to change himself from the crybaby who couldn’t do anything, to an Emperor who actually suggested to kill the mighty Yeon-chul! Now that’s my boy!
I know that people would say that his change, or rather, evolution, stems from Seung-nyang, but I think that she is just a catalyst for him: someone who helps him to shed his fear and come out of his timid shell. Yes, in these episodes, he’s still thinking about Seung-nyang whenever he’s planning something, but it’s just like what Wang Yoo did when he was at the border: planning strategies for the war while thinking about Seung-nyang. Ta-hwan had been holding grudges for several years towards Yeon-chul and he’s finally taking his leap to face the old man, because he wanted someone to return to his side, the one who can push him further and support him…and that someone is Seung-nyang.
Ta-hwan is not only lacking power but also support from the people around him. Baek Ahn is looking forward to a position instead of helping him (for the time being) and he has no one beside him, except for his loyal Golta and Co. Empress Dowager, although having stayed beside him since forever, is only interested in wielding her own power. I’m still unsure whether she’s just doubtful of Ta-hwan’s ability to lead the country by himself or she’s indeed thinking of taking the throne to herself, but she’s providing little to minimal support to him. All she did was telling him to wait for the opportunity to come..but until when? Surely, Yeon-chul would die at one point, but that doesn’t guarantee no one would try to exercise his power in the Chancellor position. People like Baek Ahn is a good example. He’s shown interest in getting the power and using it for his own benefit, and without a reliable ruler, he might as well become Yeon-chul 2.0.
Talking about Baek Ahn and Taltal, these brain-and-brawn duo aren’t on Ta-hwan’s position yet. They (or rather, Taltal) tend to gravitate towards the more powerful side to save themselves. Knowing that Yeon-chul could kill them in an instant, they supported him but when Ta-hwan showed his desire to rule on his own, they started to switch side. Now, thinking that Yeon-chul’s faction is probably losing their influence in the court with his death, they go and beg for Empress Dowager to include them in her list of her people. I’m seeing a pattern here and it won’t be long until they decide to stay on Ta-hwan’s side and later, I know why Taltal would support Seung-nyang during her later years as the Empress even if he’s against her appointment as the highest ranked woman in Yuan initially.
And…back to Ta-hwan. His targets are both Yeon-chul and Yoo, whom he also regarded as a rival. Is he turning into a ruthless Emperor who kill anyone going against his words? Nope, he’s not at that level yet (and I hope he won’t go there!). Somehow, his action reminds me of a little boy who would hit his friend if that friend took his toy. He only think about the toy, his hurt feelings, and his desire to take it back. He misses the part where that friend would get hurt, he himself would be scolded – the effects of his action. It’s not that he’s selfish; that boy, just like Ta-hwan, doesn’t really know how the world works yet. So, Ta-hwan is just focusing on making Yoo disappear from his sight without weighing the consequences: how Goryeo court would respond and how Yuan would act if Yoo ended up really dead. He’s an inexperienced Emperor for now…and that justifies his action to me. Same goes for the scene where he told Seung-nyang to kill him.
But, but, but….I love his evil stare! Well, I just notice how much I love Ji Chang-wook’s eyes and his voice when he’s speaking with his Emperor tone. Darn, can’t get enough of his evil streak when he’s scheming! Don’t mind me, I’m a sucker for wicked grin of an avenger 😉 Did I mention that I love revenge? So that’s why…Ta-hwan’s current image, with him focusing on revenge for his late father, is my favorite. Yeay! But then…I kinda miss his laugh too…
Let’s talk about Seung-nyang. It’s not everyday that we get to see into her mind and this week, we know a little bit about what she’s thinking. Her character is a mysterious one from the start, as what I have mentioned before, since we don’t really get to hear her thoughts. That’s why I love the episodes!
Seung-nyang has changed back into her old self: the Seung-nyang who wore a man’s clothes…but she’s not the same Seung-nyang anymore. Now, she’s not hiding the fact that she’s a woman and she can wander around freely, not bound to the rules for a maid. Her skills (archery, planning, horse riding) stay intact, but something has changed throughout her stay in Yuan. Unlike the disguised Seung-nyang, she’s free to be happy about falling in love and receiving the proposal from the man she loves. One thing that I like is how the Goryeo football team (Yoo and Co.) treats her like the good old days..well, except Yoo, who can be a little protective over his woman fighting and endangering herself. Hehehe. But he seems to realize that Seung-nyang is unstoppable when she sets her mind into doing something and she only act when she’s confident.
Seung-nyang finally had the chance to tell Ta-hwan the truth, and I was so relieved that she took the courage to do so. It wasn’t easy but I want to believe that she wished Ta-hwan would stop knocking on the door to her heart and set things straight. It’s not only because of his mistakes, but she wanted to prevent herself from making another mistake…that is to harbour some feelings towards him. It might seem delusional, but to me, it’s logical for her to develop some feelings towards him since she took care of him and saw him at his lowest point. Although for now, it’s possible that she sees Ta-hwan as someone who needs protection. Just like how she took care of her underlings during her street gang days, she might treat him as one. She told Ta-hwan to forget her, but it’s not easy for her to act like she doesn’t know him because of the time they spent together. Her feelings..it’s not love yet as she would feel guilty to love someone who caused her father’s death…but it is possible. Plus, with the truth known to both of them, it can be a clean ending and also a fresh start for them.
Upon receiving the proposal from Yoo, she’s shocked but soon grinned at the thought of getting married to Yoo, the man she loves. Seung-nyang crush towards Yoo started a long time ago, when she first had the geomungo lesson with him. She might have treated herself as the loyalest subject of him…but actually, she did wish that she could be more than that, especially when she went to Yuan. With her real identity known to the world, I think she realized that she could fall in love with a man and get married, different from the life she would have if she continued with her disguise. Yeah, our strong girl deserves to fall in love too! Being Yoo’s wife would be a dream come true for her and she’s happy for the proposal, but after that, she hesitated. I assume that her hesitation stems from her protective nature and the things that she would like to protect: Ta-hwan’s heart and hers. It’s either one or both, because why would she suddenly think of Ta-hwan at that moment? We don’t really know about her true feelings, but it’s safe to say that Ta-hwan does have a place in her heart.
Another moment of truth was between Seung-nyang and Yoo was so beautiful. Yoo looked so fragile in that scene and Seung-nyang offered a reassuring hug, telling him to let go of his guilt. She actually knew that Yoo was the one who opened the prison door for her and her mother to escape back then, but she never blamed him for her mother’s death. Yes, both Ta-hwan and Yoo became the indirect reasons for her parents’ deaths, but why Seung-nyang resented Ta-hwan while she didn’t even think that Yoo was responsible for it? It was because Ta-hwan didn’t just put the blame about his assassination attempt on Goryeo, but he also stated clearly that Commander Ki was the one who put the sword on his neck. He wanted to save himself at that time, plus using Commander Ki’s name as his ticket to be alive, was enough to tick Seung-nyang off, after all she had done for him. Meanwhile, the young Yoo was only thinking of releasing the tribute women and let them run away from the cruel fate of being sent to Yuan, but he didn’t know what would happen afterwards.
Wang Yoo…well, he’s less grumpy with Seung-nyang beside him 😉 Am I the only one who thought that Yoo was different in these two episodes? Was it Seung-nyang’s effect on him? Hehehe! Love love love his behaviour when he’s around her and somehow, he’s back to his old playful self. Him being nervous in front of her during the proposal was so cute! However, with his loved one sticking beside him, he’s got more worries since getting himself into a problem would mean problem for her as well, and Yoo seemed extra nervous in front of Dangkise when he was accused of poisoning Yeon-chul. Somehow, he seems more like a human being right now, and it’s good to have Seung-nyang with him. They can have fun and cry together, because experiencing things with your partner makes it more bearable…right? Them being on equal footing makes me even happier, since they can discuss about their plans together and instead of simply lending her ears, Seung-nyang can give her opinions freely. They are a powerful couple indeed!
I’m sure Dangkise and Yeon-chul is going to comb out the people who are actually going against them and from the preview, Yoo seems to be successful in tricking them again. But with his alliance made left and right, it’s just a matter of time before he’s caught red-handed…and I’m so worried for him! I do hope that the old man will die but it is too early for him to leave. The more, the merrier!
My only wish is to have two Seung-nyangs so that Yoo and Ta-hwan can get one each. Ha, I can’t choose yet!
57 thoughts on “Empress Ki: Eps 19-20”
Thank you for the recap!! It is so great to see happy SY and WY!! 🙂
Just finished episode 20 and there’s something bothering me for a couple of episodes now. How is Yom Byeong Soo still alive when he has the plague? Why is the evil gang still hanging out with him when there’s a high chance of him spreading it to them? Is the plague thing just a little phase?
I’m a little late but I just found the drama last week on Hulu. I had previously saved it but forgotten I had added to my favorites until I saw a tribute video to Ki and Ta Hwa on YouTube. By episode 8, I was already frustrated and overwhelmed-the LT isn’t done great. At times, I believe the writers wanted WY & SN, but this changed. I am a TH shipper. I am not a TH & SN shipper but if she’s his hearts’ desire, then I support him completely!
WY & SN:
I DID NOT feel any emotional connection towards this pair whatsoever. Wang Yu, I liked his character-at the beginning, as I continued to watch, I don’t know, he felt forced. I don’t dislike him but I didn’t mind if he disappeared either. Unlike the emperor, apparently he hadn’t any flaws. He was a MAN, a man that could fight, recite poems that melted many hearts, his masculinity, in which I believed is what caused SN to respond to him first and not Ta Hwan. Otherwise, I think the writers were trying TOO HARD at : “Look he’s a MAN, he can yield a sword, he’s perfect, Fall in love with him.” I hate characters likes these because I cannot explore the character depth. He was too established.
The only reason why I believe SN had trouble letting go of WY at first is because they never ended things properly, it was forced upon them, based on the current situations. They weren’t meant to be, In other words, they’d never had any closure. After the late 30 episodes, it was clear whom had her heart and whom would be keeping it forever (TH). I also believe the writers needed to add the wounded hero and satisfy WY fans-so again, their stares felt forced as well. He was her first love, we don’t forget our first love, the writers carefully and gradually hinted TH was SN’s IT-you can argue this but the rebroadcasting/NorthCape confirms the winning team.
TH & SN:
I felt as if I were on a journey with him as well. From from episode 2, watch him grow from a pampered boy to a grown man, episode 51. I think TH had a fair shot in the beginning but after he betrayed her, closed the deal for him. I think when she became a palace maid, she developed feelings for him, that is why she hesitated in 2 scenes. She couldn’t accept WY’s offer (at first) and couldn’t kill TH because she cared for him romantically. But her hatred was so intense, her need for vengeance, clouded any feelings she could be harboring for TH. Throughout, it’s clear SN FIGHTS to ward of the possible attraction to TH-this cannot be argued.
They also balance each other out. TH, his carefree nature, he teaches SN to loosen up-that it’s okay. He also teaches her not to be so uptight, its okay to break the rules at times-it’s okay to have fun and not be duty bound all the time. In episode 5, when he jumps on her horse and fall into the water, sums it up. OR when they’re disguised-he jumps on her again and gets all excited, the 3 paces rule. He’s teaching her things as well, not only SN. “Was that I smile I just saw?” TH to SN.
during the 3 pace rule…^
TH has trouble keeping his emotions in check, this is where I think SN is needed. She kept him grounded, offers therapeutic support, is more logical than he is. 43, he looses it tremendously and only she had the power to bring him back to reality. Once she became RC, I think she realized she misjudged him before getting the facts straight, I think she begins to understand him and why he is the way that he is. She becomes symptomatic towards him and respect between them grew which lead to love. It was a process for TH & SN.
TH VS WY:
What I love most about TH is his childish and innocent nature/behavior. out of all actors, I responded to his character most because he WAS the most realistic. His flaws are genuine, his insecurities, fears, Etc. are genuine-he’s very believable. From episode 2, he had my undivided attention, I haven’t smiled like that in a WHILE. His mischievous nature, I was loving it.
TH was a baby, an immature one, pathetic, needy, I could go on. WY was everything but the words described above. So in my opinion, SN had every reason to fall in love with WY first instead of our baby emperor. TH did behave a possessive towards her, sometimes treating her more like a servant than a love interest, (another reason why) SN shunned him out. She doesn’t respect him, so how could she fall for TH first? I think she believes she’s a current diversion for him, she doesn’t take him seriously because he hasn’t done anything to prove otherwise-until episode 3o-something, that is when she reciprocates because he’d finally proven himself. She isn’t some joke to him or an object to control.
The coronation scene surprised me because it does insinuate that she’s departing from the love of her life, I thought this too until I saw it for the second time. When I watched the ending, I was surprised that I believed she was forced to watch WY walk away because (to me) it’s clear that the scene means something entirely different. She ascends the stone steps, takes the hand of the proud Emperor, then realizes her past lover is watching from afar. A tear slips from her gaze because he’s secretly beseeching her to choose him-this was apparent to me-why else would he be standing there? SN cries and turns away because SHE’S chosen the Emperor TH, it’s the fate she chosen for herself. It hurts to see that man she once loved, still loves (not figuratively) hurt, and walk away rejected. This scene, in my opinion, is when SN makes her feelings most known; she loves TH and wants to create a future with him. It’s the fate she tried to escape but now cherishes. By this time, she’s the mother of the heir, they’re a husband, wife, and child now; they’re her family and a family she wants. WY is now the friend and her respected Sire.