This is it: the moment we’ve been waiting for!
D-day is getting nearer and I can feel it! I know that most of us are wishing that the baddies would be defeated as soon as possible since the earlier episodes but they’ve lasted until now. Although I’m ready for new rivals to take over, I have to admit that it will be somewhat different without Yeon-chul’s evil cackle, Tanashiri’s haughty smirk, and Dangkise’s puppy eyes (yeah, I’m still crushing hard on this twisted villain). But then, it’s about time for their departure from the story and sending them away does not mean that our good guys (and girls) get to have it easily; there are sacrifices to be made in order to achieve their target. Be patient, my Baby Emperor…it will end soon!
Wait, how can I forget that Ta-hwan is no longer a Baby Emperor?! He’s a father of two sons now! I now declare him a Manly Emperor…
Rewinding back to Maha’s birthday celebration, we got to see Ta-hwan defending his decision to name the Crown Prince later after the two princes had grown up as he would choose his successor through a proper selection. Seung-nyang and Empress Dowager were glad to hear this and Ta-hwan reminded Dangkise that Yeon-chul put his younger brother on the throne before him, proving that his argument of the eldest son being the successor was invalid. Yeon-chul was late to the party (he even praised Ayu’s good looks although he didn’t look that sincere) and reminded Ta-hwan that someone took over Maha’s place as the star of the celebration. But then, Tanashiri’s happy face upon seeing her father vanished when she heard about the nun from Court Lady Seo.
She ordered the soldiers to search through the palace for the nun as Seung-nyang met the same nun, who told her that Maha wasn’t Tanashiri’s real son. Their conversation was cut short (right at the point when the nun was about to tell Seung-nyang about the birthmark) when Hong-dan alerted them about the ongoing search. Eunuch Park knew that it’s impossible for them to reveal the truth right now and suggested that they asked for Eunuch Bang’s help since the nun’s monastery was close to the garrison town. Seung-nyang knew that it would be a matter of time until the soldiers went to track down the nun at the monastery, so the nun assured her that she would hide at a nearby place. Seung-nyang went out of the library as soon as Tanashiri arrived at the doorstep and managed to send them off without raising any suspicion (I just love Seung-nyang’s judging face when she asked Tanashiri if she’s hiding something from her. Muahahaha!). The nun was safe for now and Yeon-hwa wondered if the nun had already escaped. Just like what Seung-nyang predicted, Tanashiri decided to send the soldiers to the monastery while Eunuch Bang sneaked the nun out of the palace.
Eunuch Bang brought the nun to the garrison town and had a talk with her regarding what he heard from Eunuch Park earlier. He realized that the story about how the nun found the baby was the same as what Jeokho told him about Seung-nyang’s baby: Seung-nyang went to the river only to find the baby missing and the guard was dead with a prayer bead on him. He even knew that the baby’s name was Byul and Yoo had the same birthmark as Byul. OMG OMG OMG OMG!! Even the nun was surprised when Eunuch Bang guessed the birthmark correctly. He was shell-shocked while I’m shaking over here. He told Jeombakyi and Moo-song about the shocking truth and the latter realized that the truth might cause both Wang Yoo and Seung-nyang their lives. Eunuch Bang looked determined to do anything for Yoo’s sake, but when they went back to the room, the nun had already left. The three of them saw the soldiers on their way to the monastery, bearing swords and ropes, possibly to kill the nun…and when they walked further, they were greeted with the sight of the dead nun hanging down from a tree. Drat, they’re seconds too late!
Seung-nyang only knew about the nun went missing and she was not pleased to hear about it. She chanced upon Maha, who happened to be playing nearby and fell right in front of her. She picked her up and looked so happy with the boy (OMG it was so cute, especially when she hugged him! That’s Byul!!). However, she soon recalled the nun’s words about the birthmark and tried to take off Maha’s shoes, but Tanashiri’s presence prevented her from doing so. The Empress was full of suspicion regarding Seung-nyang’s intention of approaching her son but Seung-nyang assured her that the Crown Prince position would go to Maha. Tanashiri didn’t expect her to give in easily; still, she would remember her words clearly. They’re only empty words since Seung-nyang was sure that the war would break out way before the coronation of the Crown Prince.
The soldiers under Yoo were already skilled enough for a war, thus Baek Ahn revealed the plan to Yoo while Taltal was given the honour to present the plan to Ta-hwan. They intended to send a public appeal to Yeon-chul through Ta-hwan. It was their way to alert Yeon-chul about Baek Ahn’s plan to dispatch his troop, warning the old man regarding the matter. Yoo was worried about Seung-nyang’s safety but Baek Ahn and the rest of the people involved were wagering their lives this time. Ta-hwan wanted to send Seung-nyang away before the revolt started, aware that his own fate was still unknown, but being the tough girl and a good supporter she was, Seung-nyang expressed her wish.
Seung-nyang: I’m not leaving this place. I’ll stay beside Your Imperial Majesty and witness Yeon-chul’s downfall myself.
Ta-hwan: The outcome of this uprising…no one knows for sure.
Seung-nyang: How can I think of saving myself when we’re going into a fight without a definite outcome? We’ll fight, and for sure, we’ll win.
Taltal smiled after hearing her words but Seung-nyang was no doubt worried about the war that’s about to come.
Yoo was summoned by Yeon-chul for a drink and the old man talked about a dream he had: he was saved by Yoo from the people who wanted to kill him but Yoo pushed him down a pit of fire. Tapjahae and Dangkise could only look at their father with sad eyes, knowing that it was just a nightmare, but Yoo’s willingness to die at that moment assured the old man that he won’t die in Yoo’s hand. Dangkise sent Yoo out, telling him not to worry over his father’s words since Yeon-chul was extremely anxious these days. He’s sure that his old man would soon regain his spirit soon when Yoo reminded him to take care of the nation’s most important man. HA…if only you knew what Yoo was really thinking, Dangkise, you won’t act like a caring brother like that!
Yeom Byung-soo and Jo-cham were actually sent to a rock mine, where both of them enjoyed lording over the slaves there. Jeokho was also there, joining the slaves from Goryeo. Well, Byung-soo…it’s not a wise decision to spare him, you know. Byung-soo was secretly gathering wealth from the place and trying to find Yeon-chul’s secret fund possibly located in the area, but unknown to him, Bi-soo (I’m glad to see her!) using her connection as a representative of Eagle Group in order to monitor his activities through Jeokho. She sent a message to Yoo and her assistant suspected her of liking Yoo, but she warned him not to mention it since their relationship was purely based on their common goal. Ahhh…but you’re smiling when you’re writing to him, girl!
Ta-hwan made his first step towards the grand uprising plan by writing to the governors, pleading for their help to reveal Yeon-chul’s dirty secrets and causing the old man’s downfall at the same time. The governors answered Ta-hwan’s message by meeting him to hear his order. The Emperor wanted them to raise their respective armies’ forces, but the governors knew it well that Yeon-chul would be able to defeat them once he heard about their movement. Hence, Ta-hwan informed them that he would make the old man order the force himself. Woohoo! Meanwhile, Baek Ahn mustered his men to march towards the capital secretly and the public appeal arrived at the palace. Seung-nyang had also informed the Empress Dowager about the planned uprising.
Ta-hwan and Yeon-chul had the appeal reading session together but Ta-hwan now read the appeals himself since he could understand the letters. It’s funny how they took turns holding each other’s hands: Ta-hwan to stop the Chancellor from taking the appeal and Yeon-chul to stop the Emperor from stamping his Imperial seal, but Baek Ahn’s appeal mentioning the Blood Letter and his wish to get rid of the traitor Yeon-chul got the desired response from the old man: he called the whole court to present the appeal to them and proved that Baek Ahn’s accusations were wrong since he had the fake Blood Letter from the Late Emperor. He urged Ta-hwan to read the content and was that a smirk I saw across Ta-hwan’s face?! He obeyed the old man’s words but the governors weren’t that surprised to hear that the letter pointed Yeon-chul as ‘someone Ta-hwan should trust’. HA, what a joke.
The good guys and girls all smiled, because Ta-hwan had shown the authentic Blood Letter to the governors beforehand! Muahahahahaha~ He also told them about his late father signing the letter with a butterfly sign instead of using his Imperial sign. As a result from the accusation, Dangkise suggested that they arrest Baek Ahn and the governors also offered for their troops to march to Yeoyang to provide support to the Emperor’s side. The overconfident Yeon-chul urged Ta-hwan to make his decision and the Emperor gave his permission for them to bring traitor Baek Ahn’s head to him.
It’s all going according to their plan, but Tanashiri was quick to seize the chance dangling in front of her eyes. Geez, what an opportunist she was! She suggested that Lady Ki was to be sentenced to death since her adopted father was now a traitor and urged for the Emperor to punish the woman. Empress Dowager thought that it was not easy to deal with since Lady Ki was also a prince’s mother and suggested her to be sent to the Cold Palace for the time being just like what they planned. Tanashiri would take anything as long as it meant suffering for Lady Ki and Ta-hwan had to order Seung-nyang to be sent there although he’s so reluctant to do so. Awwwwww…he was anxious but Seung-nyang looked at him, smiling reassuringly that this was the right thing to be done.
Seung-nyang was getting ready to leave for the Cold Palace (all the customary undressing and stuff) when Ta-hwan dropped by. He was there not to send her off, but to apologize. She assured that it was a good thing for their plan to run smoothly and reminded him that they’re also fighting mentally. If they started to waver even for a short while, Yeon-chul would be the winner. Yep, dear…it’s all for the greater good! Tanashiri was smiling triumphantly to see Seung-nyang heading towards the Cold Palace (deja vu, anyone?) but Seung-nyang smiled back, knowing that the Empress’ smile would turn into a frown soon. Tanashiri vowed to return the pain she received back to Seung-nyang before her death. You wish…Seung-nyang wondered if she could call over the concubines and Eunuch Park said that it was possible to do so.
The governors were informed about their movement planning by Dangkise but they had no intention of following it. Dangkise went to meet Yeon-chul before his departure and the old man reminded his son to save Baek Ahn’s life to be killed personally by him. He also revealed his plan after the matter was concluded: he would tell Dangkise about the secret fund’s location. Well, the old man intended to make Dangkise the next Chancellor and Dangkise was so touched when the heartless old man admitted that he’d always believed him after all this while. Awwwww~ Dangkise entrusted his father in Tapjahae’s care and leave through the garrison town where Yoo was stationed as Yoo sent Moo-song to alert the soldiers about the upcoming war. Even Bi-soo had arrived to offer her support for the fight but she seemed to be hiding from Yoo the fact that she underwent several series of torture before becoming part of the Eagle Group again.
Seung-nyang was in the Cold Palace, trying to withstand the cold without any food or heat. Ta-hwan made a surprise visit on that night and he wanted to spend his night there since he couldn’t stand being alone in his quarters, worrying about her all the time. Ahhhh I squealed when he took Seung-nyang’s hands and remarked how cold they were before putting his coat on her. He hugged Seung-nyang and told her to hang in there for a little longer. Gaaahhhh I just love the support and understanding they had for each other!
Dangkise had camped while waiting for the governors’ troops but he’s getting nervous that they were nowhere to be seen. A soldier he sent to the Yeoyang reported that there’s no sight of Baek Ahn’s soldiers in the town and when they went to Baek Ahn’s place, Dangkise could only found an empty office with a letter from the governor. He realized that Baek Ahn had marched towards the capital and sent a messenger to inform Yeon-chul about the matter. Meanwhile, the governors were all gathered at another place and praised Baek Ahn’s plan, which allowed them to move their troops without any suspicion and with Dangkise leading away all the available soldiers from the capital, Yeon-chul had the garrison as his only protection…but we’re aware that Yoo was on the good side, right? Baek Ahn credited the brilliant planning to his nephew Taltal and they discussed about the next plan: since it would take three days for Dangkise’s troop to reach the capital, the men from the garrison would have sufficient time to catch Yeon-chul. The governors would guard the gates to the capital, with Baek Ahn given the authority to take the main gates.
The messenger reached the capital through the garrison and he was killed to make the emergency message a secret. Yeon-chul was already in the celebratory mood and although with minimum number of soldiers around him and the thought of Baek Ahn reaching the capital didn’t seem plausible at all to him. You can never predict the future, old man! Tapjahae received a fake message, saying that Dangkise had won the fight and he’s now heading back with Baek Ahn detained successfully. Yeon-chul was too eager to inform Ta-hwan about this, but Won-jin later received the news that it wasn’t Dangkise, but Baek Ahn who had reached the capital. Big crisis ahead! Yoo had also made his preparation with his army and it’s now up to them for the uprising to be a success.
Yeon-chul went to tell Ta-hwan about the happy news he heard earlier and the old man invited Ta-hwan for a drink. Ta-hwan had no reason to refuse and accepted the invitation as we know that he’s celebrating for a different reason! Tanashiri went to the concubines’ quarters only to find the rooms empty, although she’s planning to have some tea with the concubines. They all went to the Cold Palace, joining Empress Dowager to hear Seung-nyang’s briefing about the current status of the palace. She informed them that with Yeon-chul’s men dominating the palace, they would possibly die once the war begun and they’re the only people available to protect the Emperor besides the eunuchs and the maids.
Seung-nyang took a deep breath before saying, “Inside this place, a different war will start soon.”
The episode begins with a familiar scene, in which Ta-hwan was standing in front of the his eunuchs and bodyguards. He took his Imperial sword and vowed to go into the fight, ready to die. His bodyguards were ready to die for him, but Ta-hwan gave them his Imperial order: no one was to die except Yeon-chul, and all of them had to come out of this fight alive. sobs My feels~! Meanwhile, Seung-nyang explained about the things that the Inner Court staff could do, that was turning the Inner Palace into a fort. She divided the task to be done: Tutor Jang supervising the eunuchs moving the weapons into the palace, Lady Oh leading the maids to prepare the things needed to block the entrance to the palace, and Dok-man arranging the staff to get ready with water supplies should the soldiers tried to burn down the palace. Empress Dowager realized that they won’t last long against the soldiers with only the trained eunuchs as their protectors, but they had no other choice but to defend themselves before Baek Ahn reached the palace.
Ta-hwan was nowhere to be seen because he’s having a drink with Yeon-chul in his quarters. The old man wondered if the Emperor was still thinking of getting absolute power in his regency, in which Ta-hwan openly admitted that he wished to have the sole decision to issue a decree and stamp the Imperial seal. Yeon-chul thought that it was impossible, since another person would take his place should he went down,for example Baek Ahn, and Ta-hwan would never be able to do so. Ta-hwan didn’t say anything in return, but the Emperor was sure enjoying the clueless villain who had no idea about what was going on behind him. Yeah, me too.
Yoo was leading his troop towards the garrison’s fort when he ran into a messenger, who was trying to go to Yeon-chul to convey the message from Won-jin about Baek Ahn’s sudden appearance at the capital. The messenger was killed on the spot to prevent Yeon-chul from finding out about their plan since it would mean danger for the people inside the palace. Baek Ahn’s troop had already attacked the garrison from the outside and Won-jin was defending the fort with his men. Baek Ahn was on the verge of losing the battle and he ordered for his men to retreat. But then, Yoo arrived with his men and attacked Won-jin from the inside. Yeay! The battle continued and Yoo’s side managed to open the gate for Baek Ahn’s troop to enter. Won-jin was killed by both Baek Ahn and Yoo before Baek Ahn headed straight to the palace.
Meanwhile, Tapjahae conveyed the message he got to his father regarding the governors turning against him. They didn’t get any news from the garrison yet, but Yeon-chul ordered Tapjahae to get rid of the Emperor, Empress Dowager, Lady Ki, and the Imperial concubines. The old man went to the throne hall, drinking in the taste of
defeat victory that would soon come his way. Tapjahae went straight to Ta-hwan’s quarters but it’s empty. Wait, did you really think that someone who had been planning this attack would sleep in his chamber at this moment ?Pfft. He got to know that the Emperor went to the Inner Palace and thought that it would make his job easier since he could kill all of them in one place. Yeah, right. Tanashiri’s court ladies woke the sleeping Empress to inform her about her father’s order but she remained calm, knowing that her daddy dearest would take care of everything.
The Inner Palace was abuzz with the preparation and the concubines were ready to face their enemies together with the Emperor. Tapjahae had reached there and tried to break into the palace but the gates were blocked, so the soldiers climbed the walls. The eunuchs, together with Seung-nyang and Ta-hwan, shot the arrows to kill the soldiers but more of them were coming in, hence the trained eunuchs took over to fight with them. Empress Dowager was praying in her quarters with Ayu in her arms while Tanashiri put Maha to sleep, assuring her son that he would become the Emperor soon.
The soldiers had outnumbered the eunuchs and managed to open the gate for more soldiers to enter the palace compound. The eunuchs were on the verge of losing but Ta-hwan refused to flee by himself. He wished to die in the fight and Tapjahae was ready to charge at him. But then, Ta-hwan resorted to bargain with the soldiers: if they put down their swords, they would be spared but if they refused to do so, it would mean death for their families and relatives. All of them followed the Emperor’s order, knowing that they would lose with Baek Ahn already entering the palace ground. Yesssss! Yeon-chul, who was prattling by himself about being an Emperor received the news about the garrison being defeated and he was suggested to flee. Tapjahae refused to admit defeat and Baek Ahn took the honour to end his life. Ahhh…the first kill from the bad side. Baek Ahn apologized for being late and Ta-hwan issued him the order to capture the traitor, Yeon-chul. Man, this is getting better!
Yeon-chul managed to go out of the palace but all the gates were surrounded by the troops under the governors. The old man looked defeated and told his men that he had no other choice but to go back to his house and sleep. He made his entrance to his house and he’s greeted by Yoo’s underlings, who lined up in front of the house. Yeon-chul was glad to see Yoo’s men there but soon, they slayed his men one by one. Realization dawned on him that Yoo had stabbed him on his back but for now, he’s invited to have a drink with Yoo. He still had the guts to chide Yoo for his thoughtlessness, giving up the power for Goryeo, but Yoo made a sharp remark that Goryeo was his everything. He looked so grim there! Yeon-chul tried to bargain for Yoo’s help and Yoo wanted to know his plan if he was to help the old man: he wanted to kill Ta-hwan and tear off Lady Ki’s limbs. Well, there you go. Yoo told the old man to have his drink since it might be his last one in this life. I guess you get the answer now, Yeon-chul.
Tanashiri was still sitting calmly in her chamber, sipping tea and ordered for Yeon-hwa to find out the latest news. She wished to kill Seung-nyang with her hands if the woman was still alive. Hear, hear, the said lady was strutting down the hallway toward the Empress’ chamber with the maids in tow and barged into the room. Tanashiri didn’t expect to see her unharmed and Hong-dan got her chance to slap Yeon-hwa for cutting in her ladyship’s words. Muahahaha! The Empress was shocked to hear that her daddy would be meeting the Grim Reaper soon and Seung-nyang ordered for them to be dragged away. LOL even Eunuch Park got his chance for a petty revenge by dragging both Court Lady Seo and Yeon-hwa with his own hands!
The Empress was brought to meet Empress Dowager, who told her that the Emperor had ordered for her to be deposed. Tanashiri complained that she felt wronged (REALLY?!) but the Dowager had heard enough of her chatter and slapped her (Was that day a ‘Bitchslapping Day’?) to silence her. She was to be sent to the Cold Palace but Tanashiri took a last look at Seung-nyang, warning her that their was won’t come to an end as long as she’s alive. Seung-nyang put her best menacing face and said that the words Tanashiri said sounded like her asking for her life to be ended. Seung-nyang promised to help her with that one and Empress Dowager silently stared at Seung-nyang, admitting that the woman was amazing but scary. Ohhh I think she had realized that Seung-nyang could be dangerous!
On the next day, Baek Ahn and Taltal went to Yeon-chul’s house to take away the traitor and conveyed the Emperor’s invitation for Yoo to enter the palace, but Yoo wanted to organize a party for his troop first. Yeon-chul was brought to the palace in a cage and the commoners threw rocks at him while jeering at the traitor. They sang praises for Baek Ahn and the the Emperor because of their success capturing the old man. Baek Ahn showed the old man how the commoners had suffered under his years of autocratic ruling, but Yeon-chul replied with a reminder for Baek Ahn: he used to receive praises from the commoners back then, just like what was happening to Baek Ahn right now and at one point, he was more respected compared with the Emperor. He told Baek Ahn that the commoners would point their fingers towards him one day, because that’s what life was like. Hmmmm…a foreboding statement?
Dangkis had reached one of the capital gates, which was guarded by the governors. He was still thinking of going into the capital since his family was waiting for him although he knew that his father had been captured. Yeon-chul was brought to the palace and he saw Tapjahae’s dead body was tied to one of the pillars there. He was relieved to hear that his son died in the hands of a respected figure like Baek Ahn and not a random soldier. He asked for Tapjahae to be buried but Taltal coldly replied that the Emperor had ordered for his beheading first. I know they’re villains, but my heart broke when Yeon-chul didn’t take his eyes off his son’s dead body as he walked by the place (ㅠㅠ) Baek Ahn sighed that Yeon-chul was once his hero and all, but he’s sure that he won’t go down foolishly like the old man. Oh, if only you could predict the future, uncle…
Yeon-chul was treated like what a traitor should be: locked in the prison, but he’s granted the honour to accept the Emperor’s visit. He’s as haughty as ever, sitting comfortably behind the bars. The old man kept rambling that Ta-hwan won’t be able to wield his ultimate power as an Emperor as long as there were the officials, plus another Yeon-chul would take his place in the future. The war won’t come to an end according to him, but Ta-hwan wanted to use him as the example so that no one would dare to challenge him. Gaaahhh, that unfazed, fearless face and evil cackle of our Emperor were priceless!
He took his leave but Yeon-chul wanted to have a word with Seung-nyang. He ha never thought that the Emperor would be able to defeat him because of a mere concubine, but Seung-nyang acknowledged him as the person who motivated Ta-hwan to change. Why? Because the Baby Emperor’s fear and hatred towards the old man were the things that changed him into a Manly Emperor. Plus, Yeon-chul’s power would disappear soon anyway even if she wasn’t there. Yeon-chul demanded to know what she meant by those words, and she revealed that Maha wasn’t Tanashiri’s real son. The old man refused to believe it but Seung-nyang told him to find the truth himself. Without Maha, she would be the last one standing. Yezza! Seung-nyang left him alone as the old man laughed bitterly behind the bars. He had lost this time, and it’s real!
Yoo organized a feast for his men to celebrate the victory but Bi-soo brought a news to him: Dangkise had retreated and ran away to an unknown place. Yoo predicted that he would be heading towards the place where Yeon-chul’s secret fund was but he chose to wait although he’s aware that Dangkise was planning to use the fund to raise a new army. Bi-soo’s suggestion was for them to send a message to Jeokho over there through her underling Suri. Jo-cham didn’t expect to see Dangkise at the rock mine with injured soldiers and brought him to meet Byung-soo. Dangkise told them about Yeon-chul being captured but he’s keen on finding the fund. Byung-soo thought that they should use the slaves instead of the soldiers since finding the treasure-like fund was a dangerous mission inside the cave. Dangkise offered the slaves the opportunity to be freed and a reward of 10,000 nyang should they managed to find the hidden gold. Byung-soo was disappointed to hear that Dangkise intended to use it for an army to take over the capital.
Wang Yoo entered the palace on the next morning and Baek Ahn praised his contribution to their success. Ta-hwan promised that he won’t forget his deeds but the Emperor grew uneasy after realizing that Seung-nyang and Yoo were exchanging glances. Seung-nyang’s eyes seemed to be expressing gratitude while Yoo was more than satisfied to see her safe. Yeon-chul was brought out of the prison and at the same time, Tanashiri woke up from a bad dream about her father. She demanded to know about her father and Hong-dan informed her that the mighty Chancellor would be sentenced to death on that day. Tanashiri started to cry while calling her father before passing out.
Yeon-chul was brought to the throne hall with the presence of the officials and the governors. Ta-hwan was sitting on the throne, listing out the old man’s crimes of killing his late father and trying to harm him. Thus, he ordered death sentence for Yeon-chul. The old man asked for the last chance to speak and told the court about his prophecy: Yuan Dynasty would be destroyed in Lady Ki’s hands. If she was to fill in the empty seat of Empress left by Tanashiri, Ta-hwan would become a puppet Emperor again. He also warned Empress Dowager that Lady Ki would have no problem of getting rid of her if the lady was capable of bringing down a powerful man like him. He reminded the court not to appoint Lady Ki’s son as the Crown Prince, because how it was possible for a descendant of Goryeo to become the nation’s emperor? Their ancestors Genghis Khan would be jeering at them. Yeon-chul won’t stop talking although Ta-hwan ordered him to shut his mouth up and warned Baek Ahn to bear the consequences of helping a Goryeo woman, who would bring demise to the nation.
Ta-hwan had heard enough of his prattling and ordered for the execution to be carried out at once and Yeon-chul was happy to close his eyes rather than witnessing the nation’s downfall under a Goryeo woman. Baek Ahn offered himself to perform the execution and assured the old man that he won’t make his death bloody. Baek Ahn put the rope around Yeon-chul’s neck and strangled him to death whiel the whole court witnessed the death of a tyrant. Yeon-chul pointed his finger towards Seung-nyang as if cursing her before his death but she displayed no fear. Instead, Seung-nyang now had a new resolution.
Seung-nyang: Yeon-chul, you’ve shown me a great plan today. Just like what you’ve predicted, I’ll make my son the Emperor and I’ll become the Empress of this nation. I’ll surround myself with the Goryeo people and I’ll rule the country myself.
With that, Yeon-chul dropped down lifeless with his last tear escaping his widely opened eyes. Ta-hwan witnessed the death with tearful eyes and Empress Dowager glanced towards the determined Seung-nyang while Baek Ahn shed tears to see the man he once respected was now a lifeless traitor.
And that, my dearest friends, was the end for Chancellor Yeon-chul.
Amazing. Yeon-chul made a remarkable final bow that would stay in everyone’s memory for some time. The prophecy..oh yes, the prophecy…it was just amazing. We already know what happened in the history but I believe Yeon-chul was predicting what would happen based on what he had seen and also his experience. I can’t get over the chills I felt when he told the court about his prediction and it won’t be that long until the officials started to believe his words although he was branded as the traitor. They had witnessed Seung-nyang’s ability and they should be able to tell that she’s capable of achieving greater things if she’s given the chance to do so.
The old man was brilliant to plant the seed of doubt in both Empress Dowager and Baek Ahn’s hearts, because these two would be yielding their respective power once Yeon-chul’s reign ended. Those with power have more anxieties and they tend to be cautious of people around them, thus marking the beginning of their attempt to control Seung-nyang. My take is that Seung-nyang will try to convince the Dowager about Maha’s identity, but it won’t be an easy task since Empress Dowager had realized Seung-nyang’s potential of being her rival. It’s possible for the Dowager to keep Maha on her side just to maintain her influence inside the harem although she had doubts regarding the prince’s identity. Seung-nyang might be mistaken as trying to put her own son Ayu on the throne if she does it without proper planning.
Baek Ahn, on the other hand, will come to a realization that it’s highly possible for Seung-nyang to become an Empress as long as the seat is empty and Ta-hwan himself insists on doing so. Hence, with the influence he holds among the officials and governors, he will suggest for a new Empress to be selected from the Mongolian tribes instead of appointing a Goryeo woman as an empress. The officials would be on his side regarding this matter and it will be the first step for him to gain more power, giving the chance for the entrance of the new Empress. I also think that Empress Dowager will align herself with the new Empress to limit Seung-nyang’s power in the Inner Court and restore the balance in the harem. It is also possible that Maha will be pushed by the new Empress to become the Crown Prince.
Yeon-chul’s words made me think about the coronation scene in Ep 1. I initially thought that the leads’ reactions were purely because of the love triangle but after hearing the old man’s prediction, it made more sense. The determination in SN’s eyes was not simply because of her revenge but for her success of becoming the Empress. Ta-hwan’s doubtful expression could be either because of him being doubtful of Seung-nyang’s real feelings, or him wondering about her intention of becoming an Empress, or both. As for Wang Yoo, I have a feeling that Seung-nyang will ally herself with him towards her goal and he will be embroiled in a plan that is dangerous enough to kill him, but Seung-nyang will save him. As for Seung-nyang’s tears…she could be crying because of her finally letting go of her affection for Yoo, or she had made a terrible mistake of abandoning him for her ambition. This is purely my prediction and it can go either way, but I’m sure the writers will be able to handle it well!
I saw several news articles discussing about Dark Seung-nyang regarding the scene of her expressing her new ambition. It’s so hard to hear her innermost thoughts and the monologue proved that she still had the old Seung-nyang deep in her heart. I want to believe that it’s her love for Goryeo which drove her into shaping her future, because she wants to prove that a Goryeo descendant will be able to rise to the highest position attainable by a woman at that time. Even if she turns into an ambitious woman, I hope she will retain her old self: the righteous Seung-nyang who will take care of the kind people but deal with those who dare to mess with her in her own way. She can be dark, but please don’t make her a ruthless Empress!
As for the original ruthless Empress, Tanashiri will meet her demise soon and I’m still wondering whether Seung-nyang will tell her that she knew it all along about Maha’s identity or not. In the preview, Ta-hwan had promised to send the poison to her but anything can happen, such as Dangkise suddenly attacking the capital before her death. But then, I hope Tanashiri will die first and when Dangkise reaches the capital, he’s greeted with the bodies of his family in their house. I want him to experience the agony of losing his family, just like what Seung-nyang told him before: him crying over the dead bodies of Yeon-chul, Tapjahae, and Tanashiri. I’m not sure if the drama will be daring to show the gruesome way of displaying the dead bodies of the traitors, but I’m sure they won’t show the details if they’re to do so. It’s still a prime time drama, so showing the decapitated heads perched on poles would be too much and highly impossible…
One thing that I can be sure of is that Empress Ki is heading towards the darker, grittier territory. There’s no turning back for the characters and for me too, although I do miss the lighter tone of the earlier episodes. Still, I’m enjoying the drama as it is and hopefully the storyline will continue to be gripping. Jeon Guk-hwan aka Yeon-chul, thanks for being a great villain and you’ll be in my memory for the longest time. Cha Do-jin aka Tapjahae, you had countable lines but you left a deep impression on me. They’re evil, they’re annoying, and they’re almost indestructible, but the drama would be boring without the villains. Thank you for existing and you’ll be missed by folks over here!
*Wait, I just realized something: I missed the moment of Seung-nyang and Taltal’s nodding at each other!! Maybe I was affected by Tapjahae’s death??
Preview for episode 38 has been posted here.