“Can you handle it?”
After watching the preview for episode 29, the above question comes to my mind and it can be directed to us the viewers and also the characters. Truth can be hard to be swallowed and Yoo looks very happy to be able to see Seung-nyang again without realizing that she now belongs to the Emperor. Can he handle the surprise waiting for him? As for Seung-nyang, her fight with Tanashiri can go either way, between a success or a failure. I’m all for seeing her giving a virtual slap on the Empress but can Seung-nyang handle the disappointment of a failure hitting her again? Ta-hwan is mustering his courage to face Yeon-chul and he’s preparing himself in secrecy. He’s getting better at keeping himself composed in front of the old man, but handling the final battle between him, the green Emperor and the experienced old man won’t be easy. Not to forget the bratty Empress Tanashiri, whom I’m sure will not be able to accept the fact that she’s losing her grip on her own position soon.
And the final question to us, the viewers…can we handle the wait for the next episode for another one week?
Well…I think it’s better to get one episode rather than no episode at all…
Seung-nyang took her time: drinking the tonic, licking her fingers, and chewing the date before smirking at Tanashiri. Soon after, she showed signs of being poisoned: choking and falling to the ground, to everyone’s surprise. Eunuch Park took charge and confirmed that she had ingested the poison. Empress Dowager arrived to witness the whole thing happening and as Seung-nyang was brought to the infirmary, she concluded that someone might be planning to scare the concubines using the poison. Tanashiri was confident enough to suggest that she herself would catch the culprit and Empress Dowager put Tutor Jang in the investigation team, together with Yeon-hwa.
Seeing Seung-nyang being carried away by Eunuch Park, Taltal and Baek Ahn knew that Seung-nyang herself took the poison this time. Tanashiri was still in the dark about the culprit who dared to poison the concubines and she cared more about her pride after being accused by Empress Dowager. Huh, that useless pride of yours! Court Lady Seo suspected that it might be one of the concubines, but Tanashiri didn’t really care since she’s planning of using the current situation to kick out all the concubines. Yeah, you wish.
The news about Seung-nyang came out as a surprise to Ta-hwan since it happened so quickly and he’s ready to visit her, but Golta advised him to wait for more information. Dok-man came being the report from Empress Dowager as the Dowager herself pondered over her conversation that she had with Seung-nyang before. Seung-nyang admitted that she was the one who poisoned Lady Oh (Seol-hwa) and the next person that she would poison was herself. The Dowager was taken aback with her decision to take the poison herself and asked the reason why she was so keen into making the Empress as the criminal: maybe a mere concubine like her was vying for the Empress’ position?
Seung-nyang explained that she was there when Lady Park was killed and she could remember everything that happened on that day: the sight of the ladies being massacred, the cries of help from the victims; all of them were still stuck on her mind. The Dowager told her to stop describing the awful situation and that’s the reason why Seung-nyang didn’t think that those people (who were less than beasts) shouldn’t be allowed to stay inside the palace. Empress Dowager then asked what was her plan to deal with Tanashiri…and in the present, she was thinking that Seung-nyang’s plan would push Tanashiri away and she herself would regain control of the Inner Court. Hmmm…I don’t really like the look in her eyes…
Seung-nyang was brought to the infirmary and the investigator managed to retrieve the traces of date from her mouth for investigation purpose. Baek Ahn hoped that she would regain consciousness soon as someone like her won’t simply falter from eating some poison. Ta-hwan arrived and everyone was sent out of the room, leaving him alone with the unconscious Seung-nyang. It seems that Ta-hwan already knew that Seung-nyang poisoned herself for the sake of carrying out her plan, but he felt guilty since he was unable to see her true intention before. Awww dear, don’t cry! She’s not dying!
The investigator confirmed that the poison was absent in the tonic and proceeded to check the date. The outcome proved that the source of the poison was the date. The infirmary where the tonic was prepared became the target and Tanashiri took charge of the investigation. She ordered for the whole Inner Palace to be searched, including the concubines’ quarters.
We go back to Yoyang, where Bi-soo was about to stab Yoo, but he stopped her just in time, asking what was the reason for her to kill him. She just said that he shouldn’t came there in the first place and told him to forget the friendly deal that they made at the border. Yoo decided that they had to leave the place secretly together with Bi-soo as the hostage. Bi-soo reminded him that a person that had been marked by Heuksoo would never survive. Anyway, the next morning, they were already gone when Heuksoo arrived at the courtesan’s house. Yoo and Co. went to Yoyang Fort since they would be safe there even without Baek Ahn’s presence. Bi-soo urged Yoo to kill her at that instant but he’s just keeping her alive for the time being before deciding on when to kill her.
Somebody was waiting at the entrance to Heuksoo’s headquarters for Jeokho and it was no other than Eunuch Bang in disguise. Hahaha! He’s truly the Master of Disguise! He used a middle man (in this case a woman. HA) to buy Jeokho from Heuksoo and intended to bring him to Yoo. However, he warned him not to bring up any baby talk in front of Yoo since the man wasn’t aware of Seung-nyang’s pregnancy in the first place. Ahhhh noooooo! Jeokho agreed to do so and only told Yoo that she’s healthy. Yoo was more than glad to hear that she’s safe (you don’t even have a clue about what’s happening!!) and decided to use Bi-soo to lure in Heuksoo.
Tanashiri was enjoying her time conducting the search around the Inner Palace (and destroying the concubines’ belongings intentionally) and shook her head disapprovingly to Seol-hwa, who was lying on her bed when she came into her quarters. She’s glad to hear that Lady Ki’s quarters was empty, a sign that she’s still unwell and placed in the infirmary, and went to check on the maids’ rooms. Booooo~ Seung-nyang was at the Emperor’s quarters!!!
Although she’s still unconscious, Ta-hwan was holding Seung-nyang’s hands while waiting for her to open her eyes. She finally woke up and didn’t thought that she would be there. It seems like she’s still on her guard, telling Ta-hwan to summon Eunuch Park since she needed to go back to her quarters.
Ta-hwan: I won’t disappoint you in the future. I’ll risk everything for your sake. After all, if you die, I won’t be able to live either. I don’t care if I don’t have any place in your heart. I won’t resent you even when you want to use me for your revenge. That’s why…please stay beside me. I’m content with only that.
And he hugged her, as if consoling her. I swear I can see Seung-nyang softening at his words (and stare) no matter how she tried to hide it, because who won’t??
Since the royal infirmary was the place where the tonic was prepared, the physicians were brought in for questioning (and of course, torture!). Byung-soo kept poking at them, asking who gave them the poisoned date: the concubines? Or…Empress Dowager? Luckily, the physicians didn’t say anything but they had to go through another torture. Yeon-hwa was dealing with the maids, trying to force any confession out of their mouths but still failed to get anything. Eunuch Park and Hong-dan reported the happenings to Seung-nyang and she told them to alert Baek Ahn so that he could make a mover together with the governors. Seung-nyang explained to Ta-hwan that she’s fanning the flame to get bigger, and the crime would be heavier for the Empress to bear after all the fuss she’s made over the matter.
Eunuch Park was out to spy on Byung-soo and the wretched human being was at the library to secretly meet with Yeon-hwa. He was giddy to see her (LOL) and asked about the progress of the investigation. Both of them sighed that nothing had came out and Byung-soo knew that she’s not planning to live slaving under people inside the palace forever, hence he wanted to share his idea with her. He wanted to whisper the idea but being so close to her, he accidentally praised her lips. LOL! Yeon-hwa slapped him hard (she must be thinking that he’s a pervert now! HAHAHA!) and warned him not to seek her out again, forcing him to speak his idea out loud: what about making a culprit by using the witnesses? She seemed to be weighing on the suggestion while Eunuch Park was satisfied that he heard it all. I would so enjoy it if Eunuch Park later framed these two for having an illicit relationship. That would be hilarious!
The governors entered the palace the next morning, urging Dangkise to call Yeon-chul. The old man appeared and they complained about the investigation, which was deemed too much since the concubines were treated just like suspects. Yeon-chul told them that it’s possible that one of the concubines could be the criminal and it could cause the governors’ lives too, so they should keep calm and stay out of the matter that was under the Empress’ jurisdiction. How about having your own daughter conducting the crime? Can you punish yourself, old man? Taltal told Baek Ahn that they had successfully dragged the matter out of the Inner Court with the involvement of the governors, but suddenly, their guards reported that the Empress was on her way to the Dowager’s quarters together with the court lady investigators.
Seung-nyang was on her way out (probably after her morning greetings) when Tanashiri arrived at the Dowager’s quarters. Tanashiri wanted to conduct the search there. “It’s all for the Empress Dowager’s sake, and it’s the best way to avoid any suspicion,” she said. The Dowager couldn’t say anything against her and she was even ‘advised’ to leave her quarters for a while. There’s nothing that could be found there and Tanashiri was about to leave, but Seung-nyang suggested that they should search through the Empress’ quarters too. She gave back the words from Tanashiri to the Dowager earlier, “It’s all for the Empress’ sake, and it’s the best way to avoid any suspicion.” HA, look at the Dowager and Dok-man’s smirk! Empress Dowager agreed and appointed Lady Ki to supervise the process over there.
Tanashiri was confident that nothing would turn up from her quarters and ordered for thorough search to be conducted. Yeon-hwa took out a box of jewelery that was sent by Heuksoo and Seung-nyang wanted to see the content. She asked about the rare necklace and Tanashiri tried to wrestle the box out of her hands. Well..it ended rather badly as the box fell onto the table, revealing the dates hidden under the jewelery compartment. Uh-oh! Seung-nyang put on her best accusing face and Tanashiri started to be nervous but still insisted that they’re normal dates. Seung-nyang challenged her to eat the date but Tanashiri herself was scared. Court Lady Seo ate it to prove that she’s wrong, but soon she started choking because of the poison. Well, the box was sent by Seung-nyang under Heuksoo’s name through Taltal and Tanashiri totally didn’t suspect anything back then. Seung-nyang ordered for the dates to be investigated and walked out in triumphantly without caring about Tanashiri’s pleas.
Yeon-chul was so happy and treated the governors for wine to relieve their anger but they were clearly dissatisfied. Byung-soo arrived to meet Yeon-chul alone, but the overconfident old man insisted that he gave the report in front of everyone. They were surprised to learn that Tanashiri was the real culprit behind the poisoning episodes and all of them looked at Yeon-chul for an explanation. HA. The old man was so thick-skinned and ordered for Heuksoo to be captured since the box was allegedly from him. Baek Ahn sent Taltal back to Yoyang by himself to deal with Heuksoo and advised him to be careful since their opponents weren’t easy to be defeated.
Back at Yoyang, Yoo sat face-to-face again with Bi-soo and confirmed that she was the one who bought all the ginseng back in Goryeo. However, she was also the one who saved him in the mountains with her fire arrow. Bi-soo regretted her decision to save him back then and her joining hands with Heuksoo was simply because she needed help, even if that man was related to their common enemy Yeon-chul. Yoo got to know that Taltal was back while Taltal heard about Seung-nyang being engaged to Yoo from his guards. Taltal told them to keep the matter a secret for the time being and greeted Yoo, saying that Seung-nyang was doing well in the capital. He told Yoo about his mission to catch Heuksoo and Yoo gladly offered his help.
Heuksoo went to the fort to accept the invitation from Baek Ahn while it’s actually Taltal’s trap. He reminded Taltal that Yeon-chul was behind him but he’s taken by surprise when Taltal told him that Yeon-chul was the one who ordered him to be captured. Meanwhile, Yoo’s group attacked Heuksoo’s headquarters to find the proof of the counterfeit business and Eunuch Bang found a ledger recording the details of transactions made by Heuksoo, but the record was written using Roman numbers. They didn’t have any clue on how to read it but they might be able to do so with the help of Heuksoo’s men. The matter was concluded and Yoo smiled at the thought of finally meeting Seung-nyang. Uhhhh you don’t even know what’s really happening, dear…
Seung-nyang saw Tanashiri being escorted to the throne hall and through her flashback, she put the poison on her fingers and licked them right after eating the date so that the poison was stuck to the date. Hmmm…then, what about Seol-hwa? Did she consume the poison beforehand too? Curiouser and curiouser! Seung-nyang is really risking her life over this matter! Tanashiri was brought to face all the officials and the governors in front of Ta-hwan and Empress Dowager. The governors thought that the crime was unforgivable and suggested that she’s to be deposed from her status as an Empress. Yeon-chul was not amused that his daughter fell into such a childish ploy. Dangkise was afraid that she would be deposed, something that was already happening! The officials and the governors were pleading for the Emperor to consider the matter, but Yeon-chul arrived, to Tanashiri’s relief.
Ta-hwan was not that happy, though.
The old man was still confident that his dearest daughter wasn’t involved in the matter and refused to abide by the court law although the governors kept emphasizing it. He kept questioning about what would happen if the real culprit turned out to be other person after the Empress had been deposed? Hurrrr he’s so thick-skinned! Empress Dowager proceeded to ask his idea on how to deal with the matter, and Yeon-chul suggested that Tanashiri was to be sent to the Cold Palace (a place where all the consorts and concubines who fell out of the Emperor’s favour were banished). He gave the authority to the Dowager to choose between deposing or banishing Tanashiri to the Cold Palace, but Empress Dowager was smarter: she would hold the Empress’ seal for the time being and the choice on where to sent his own daughter was his. Good move!
Yoo didn’t waste any time to know more about Seung-nyang and asked Taltal about it. He thought that it’s impossible for her to return to the palace again as a court lady, but Taltal told him the truth: Seung-nyang was now an Imperial concubine of the fifth rank. Yoo refused to believe it at first, accusing Taltal of selling her to the Emperor, but Taltal emphasized that it was her own decision to go there, and Seung-nyang was the one who begged them to send her to the selection. Yoo and the rest of the gang couldn’t believe it at all, and Yoo was trying his best to contain his anger and sadness at the same time. Oh, my….sobs
Tanashiri was escorted to the Cold Palace and Seung-nyang greeted her. She thought that Seung-nyang was teasing her and raised her hand to slap her but Seung-nyang stopped Tanashiri from doing so.
Seung-nyang: There’s a place where people are resting that is colder and lonelier than the Cold Palace. The people you killed: Lady Park and the maids, they’re now resting under the stones, deep in the mountains.
Tanashiri realized that the whole thing was Seung-nyang’s plan, but Seung-nyang glared at her without any fear.
At the same time, Yoo was riding the horse as he’s thinking about the ridiculous truth that he heard about Seung-nyang. In his flashback, we got to hear the rest of Taltal’s words.
Taltal: She’s going to get her revenge on Yeon-chul. Is that enough for an answer? She’s no longer your underling, or the woman you loved. If you happen to cause any trouble for her, I won’t forgive you.
And Yoo kept questioning why she had to take that decision, the question that only Seung-nyang had the answer for him…
Honestly, I can’t wait to see Yeon-chul’s departure and these two stepping up their games. Awww yeah!
Both Empress Dowager and Baek Ahn are two separate forces that should be reckoned from now on. Yeon-chul might be the strongest and the most capable villain so far, with his children as the supporting little minions to his evil work but it’s getting redundant. Maybe it’s just me but with all the power centered around him and he gets to control ALL things around, it’s kind of frustrating to see the evil winning all the time. They might have faced some setbacks, for instance when Seung-nyang outsmarted both Tanashiri and Yeon-chul’s plans, but just like this time around, the success is short-lived, plus the villains get to choose their punishments. Of course, Yeon-chul is abiding the law but still, he gets to pick the choice that will harm neither himself nor his children. Okay, maybe I’m just tired of seeing the evil trampling over the good. Ah!
Why do I think that Empress Dowager and Baek Ahn will be interesting rivals to the good side, aka Seung-nyang and Ta-hwan? First, once Yeon-chul is kicked out of his position, the control of the court will split into two: Empress Dowager controlling the officials and ministers while Baek Ahn will possibly gain control of the army. The power will be shared among these two, and it will be interesting to see how they will try to get the upper hand above each other. Secondly, I can see that both of them with have interrelated conflicts with Ta-hwan and Seung-nyang: Baek Ahn is supporting Seung-nyang but at the same time (if we’re to go according to the history), he’s going to challenge Ta-hwan’s power in the court, while Empress Dowager is behind Ta-hwan but she will find Seung-nyang as her potential rival in the Inner Court. I am excited just from thinking about the potential awesomeness of the parallel rivalries, so I hope the writers won’t keep it away any longer! This needs to happen soon!
Enough talking about the villains, let’s switch the topic to Seung-nyang. Girl, you’re too brave. We all know that the poison she’s using won’t really kill her but still, that’s one dangerous move! I’m still curious about how Seung-nyang persuaded Seol-hwa into agreeing to be poisoned…or she just fed her without her knowing about it. It’s not easy and she’s willing to take the risk on her own life, plus with all the planning, there’s nothing but revenge planted on her brain right now. She’s being quite lenient with Tanashiri but I think she knows that the Empress’ biggest fear is to have her pride shattered, especially in front of others, and Seung-nyang did a good job of humiliating her. Maybe some of us are anticipating to see Tanashiri getting her payback in the form of tortures, whipping, death by dismemberment, iron branding, beheading, or poisoning, but that will have to wait until Yeon-chul’s fallout.
Seung-nyang’s plan was rather effective in a sense that it helped to deal with the issue of counterfeits and also her effort of knocking some sense into Ta-hwan. It’s an ideal world in a drama, but it’s still nice to see her action helps Yoo with his business, although both of them don’t realize it. Maybe it’s a soul mate thing? Meanwhile, Ta-hwan gets to see how much her revenge means to Seung-nyang, enough for her to risk her own life. More on this later. Alas, her effort shows good outcome, with Tanashiri being banished to the Cold Palace; however, I’m quite nervous when Seung-nyang blatantly told Tanashiri about her link to Lady Park. I’m not going to let my guard down until Tanashiri is sent out of the palace because she can make her comeback at any time if she’s still inside the palace. She can’t simply ask daddy dearest to help her since he doesn’t have a clue about Lady Park and her entourage’s massacre, but a lot of people can carry out her dirty job against Seung-nyang…such as Dangkise. Oh, now I’m dreading the future episodes!
Yoo is on his way to conclude the counterfeit issue and I am happy to see him back into the big picture again! It might not be very long until he has to leave for a faraway land (aka Goryeo) again, but I’ll take whatever the drama gives me. The truth is not pretty at all and to think that he’s the last person to know about Seung-nyang’s current status is just heartbreaking. No wonder he’s questioning her reasons and he finds it hard to accept the fact that she now belongs to someone else *sobs* But then, I’m glad the truth is out and he’s not left in the dark anymore. That would make him even more pitiful! Somehow it’s better for Yoo to get to know about it earlier, way before he himself meet Seung-nyang. At least he can prepare himself and his heart, although that would be a painful reunion.
But judging from what I saw on the preview for episode 30, both of them are holding on quite well. Seung-nyang’s way of addressing Yoo feels awkward, but that’s what their relationship is now: an Imperial Concubine and a deposed King. Their voices speak for their inner sorrow and longing, but I’m proud to see them being in front of each other (and Ta-hwan) with dignity. As expected from the strong couple, right?
Ah, Ta-hwan…he needs a hug but he’s the one who gave a hug in this episode. Seung-nyang is his everything and he will die without her. It’s not something that can be admitted easily but he has the courage to let her know that he’s depending on her. Seung-nyang is totally affected by his words although she’s trying to conceal it, but she can’t help herself from being touched by his confession!! Open your heart to him, dear! But then, things are heading towards the dangerous territory for Ta-hwan, so I hope he will able to stand for himself and with the help of people around him, our Ta-hwan will be able to give the old man a heart attack! I was so pissed off to hear Yeon-chul yelling at Ta-hwan in the preview, as if the poor Emperor is deaf. Mind you, he can’t speak, it’s not that he can’t hear you! Urgh!
I have to admit that I really, really dig this scene in the preview. Awwww~
One thing that caught me by surprise is Taltal’s protective side towards Seung-nyang. It’s kind of surprising to see how much he looks up to her, considering how he used to treat he before. His conversation with Yoo reminds me of the conversation (or argument) between Ta-hwan and Yoo back then, where Yoo proved that he knew Seung-nyang better than Ta-hwan. Right now, the situation has changed: Yoo can’t seem to reason with Seung-nyang’s actions while Taltal is able to read her mind and predict her moves. Even if he’s not going to love Seung-nyang, I can see why he’s going to be her closest aide in the future. I do like to see them together but probably not as a man loving his Lady. Seung-nyang has enough love troubles to be dealt with and I think I ship their brains instead of their hearts. Hehehe.
Looking forward to episode 30 next week~!