Splendid Politics (Hwajung) : Episode 6

Hearts are broken, lives are sacrificed, and misunderstandings abound between the characters. Some things are unavoidable, especially when everyone prefers lies over truths, with the conviction that lying will protect what is dearest to them. Be it Gwanghae or Queen Inmok, both of them are trying to provide protection to their possessions but in the end, they will have to lose something in return of the so-called protection.

[Episode 6]

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The explosion was heard throughout the capital, and everyone – from Queen Inmok to Joo-won – wondered what was the cause of it. Gwanghae saw the fire and decided to go to the jetty himself, as Joo-won realized that the ship Jungmyung was supposed to take was engulfed in the fire. Gwanghae reached the jetty and he wailed at the thought of Jungmyung, who had perished in the fire. Queen Inmok had the worst news delivered to her: her children were dead. Yeongchang had died at his place of exile, suffocating in his room which was overheated. The dowager clutched tightly the jade plate Jungmyung gave to Yeongchang until her palm bled, releasing her frustration and anger over the unfortunate events happening to them. She could only scream Gwanghae’s name out loud.

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The Greater Northerners’ trio wasn’t that pleased over the recent events since they had to do some cleanup afterwards. Minister Yoo and Yi-cheom argued on who made it worse, but Yi-cheom believed that he was the one who made it possible for Gwanghae to sit on the throne, because he was the one who killed the previous king. Jungmyung’s death was masked as an accident just like Yeongchang’s case, and Lady Kim suggested that Gwanghae get rid of the dowager next. She wasn’t afraid of the consequences for killing them because she was only doing things to protect the throne, but Gwanghae reminded her about one thing: what about the person who brought the prophecy to their attention? That person might be bigger of a threat to the throne, and Lady Kim was made a puppet by that person.

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Minister Kang went to release Deok-hyung from the prison and the dowager requested to meet the ex-Prime Minister as soon as he was free. Queen Inmok told Deok-hyung about her encounter with the fortune teller and that Jungmyung was the one referred to in the prophecy. He was taken aback and the dowager vowed to avenge the death of her children by bringing Gwanghae down.Deok-hyung recalled his own fate, that he was supposed to live in the world filled with lies and bloodbaths, and realized that it was happening at that moment. But then, as much as the tragedies were caused by human’s greed, it would be another human who would put an end to it.

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Joo-won kept blaming himself since he failed to protect both Jungmyung and Yeongchang, while Jungmyung had ran out of energy to paddle the small boat. The boat soon went towards the rough sea and sailed into a storm; however, Jungmyung found herself waking up in a big ship, with her ankles shackled. She was nauseous since it was her first time at the sea and a girl in Kimono approached her. Jungmyung learned that she was on a Japanese pirate ship and it was Japan bound, where they would be sold as slaves at a sulfur mine in Nagasaki.

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The slaves were divided according to their gender and it was probably lucky for Jungmyung since she was dressed as a boy, but not for the other girl. Jungmyung was brought to a slave market but she’s brave enough to fight a man who forced her to go into the cage. She insisted that she was a boy thanks to what the girl taught her, but she eventually got sold off as a slave to a mine owner, Maruno. Even the slave traders thought that Maruno was ruthless since he also sent the young slaves to the sulfur mine.

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Jungmyung was locked in an attic and realized that there were other kids aside from herself. A friendly boy approached her, happy to find out that she was also from Joseon. The boy, known as Gu-bok, told her more about Maruno (a Joseon slave turned mine owner) and their line of work (digging out sulfur and the dangers of their job), but he didn’t sugarcoat the fact that Jungmyung could die if she ever try to escape. Jungmyung couldn’t sleep at all that night as she couldn’t stop thinking about her family and also Joo-won.

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Young Master Joo-won consoled his heart with alcohol, different from his usual upright self. Deok-hyung asked for Chief Hong’s help to lend him a few trusted guards and met the drunk Joo-won on his way out. Joo-won apologized to Deok-hyung for having to witness his drunk self, expressing how disappointed he was with himself since he failed to protect Jungmyung. Deok-hyung consoled the crying boy, saying that it was the adult’s fault and he shouldn’t think that he couldn’t do anything. He encouraged Joo-won and In-woo, telling them not to lose hope and anticipate the future; the different world they would see.

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Deok-hyung confirmed (with the help of the royal physician Dr Jang) that the beetlesused for the poison came through Lady Kim’s adopted mother. Gwanghae had ordered for further investigation to be conducted by his eunuch regarding the lamb case, and it was confirmed that the lamb was from the Royal Stable. He realized that the person behind the case was undeniably a man with influence inside the court, and it won’t end there. Enter another player in the game of Joseon thrones…

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..and it was Minister Kang. Eeep! He had a lower minister under him who carried out his order, and he treated Gwanghae like his very own special puppet. So…everything happening recently was orchestrated by him because of Gwanghae’s plan to produce his own gunpowder, and Minister Kang wasn’t going to let the king, whom he considered as a puppet, to acquire such a powerful weapon to himself. He didn’t think that it would be a problem for him to put a barrier between Gwanghae and his dream gunpowder but for now, his priority was to get rid of Deok-hyung. As for the lonely king, Gwanghae reminisced the words from Deok-hyung when the Prime Minister pleaded for him to be aware of the lies, and Gwanghae stared at the throne he worked so hard to protect before leaving the dark room.

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Jungmyung started her first day working at the sulfur mine and she got to witness how harsh the condition was there. The leader of the younger pack, Ja-kyung, warned her not to whine like what she did when she first joined them, but Gu-bok assured her that the leader was still nice albeit being a bit on the scary side. Jungmyung soon felt that the sun was too bright and she couldn’t bring herself to stand up. Gu-bok approach her and tried to make her stand up to avoid being beaten by the supervisor, but he was the one ended up being beaten. Ja-kyung went to his rescue, but he’s not happy to see Jungmyung troubling others and offered his ‘help’ to end her life if she didn’t feel like living anymore.

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Maruno received a visit from a man from Joseon, who seemed to be on familiar terms with him since the man knew Maruno’s real name (Jo Gap-soo). He wanted Maruno to sell all the sulfur he got from his mine because he wanted to sell it in Joseon. Maruno learned about Gwanghae’s effort to make his own gunpowder and the king’s ruthless way of keeping his position by killing the legitimate issues of the late king. If only you knew that the princess was in your sulfur mine…

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Minister Kang’s man had sent a package to Yi-cheom, making it as if Deok-hyung was the one who sent it. Yi-cheom was surprised to find out that the package contained the beetles he used to poison Seonjo, and he quickly alerted Lady Kim about it. Deok-hyung, on the other hand, asked for Won-ik to help him since he wanted to meet the late king’s physician, Heo Joon.

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The slaves were given a short time to have their lunch and Jungmyung didn’t think that she would be able to eat the potato, so she gave it to Gu-bok. She took an interest in Ja-kyung’s dagger and he told her that he would use it to kill someone he hated the most before committing suicide, on the day he decided that he had had enough of the life there since they won’t be able to leave the place alive. He suggested that Jungmyung forget her life back in Joseon no matter how noble she was, because she would soon see the reality in front of her. But then, Jungmyung vowed that she won’t forget her true identity, and she would get out of the place alive. They resumed their work, with Jungmyung trying to work in order to stay alive, but she noticed the big bubbles appearing from the bottom of the lake…

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Gwanghae decided to have a trip outside the palace but he wasn’t heading towards Namhan Fort on that day; instead, he decided to visit Deok-hyung’s house and entered his friend’s humble abode. It was empty, save for basic furniture and books, with the records of the Royal Infirmary and Seonjo’s autopsy report on the table. Of course, Gwanghae saw them and read through the report…

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As for Jungmyung, she saw the lake water bubbling like it was being boiled and showed it to Ja-kyung. The boy realized that something was about to happen and told Jungmyung to run away, just as the huge mountain behind them erupted…

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[END of Episode 6]

 Gaaahhh, the signs Jungmyung kept getting throughout the years turned out to be true because Yeongchang did die in a fire, technically speaking. It was the same for her, because she’s supposedly perished in the explosion. Maybe because the prophecy stated about owning the fire, hence her life revolves around it?

I wrote this a bit too late since I was sick, so I’ll save my thoughts on Gwanghae for the upcoming episodes!

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5 thoughts on “Splendid Politics (Hwajung) : Episode 6

  1. Thank you so much for recapping. I find sometimes as I watch a drama I concentrate so much on the translation that I miss nuances in the acting–or I am drawn to the acting that I miss the subtitles. And for a show that is scheduled to be so many episodes, a LOT is happening, fast.

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