Pre-Recap Thoughts: So I finally got a taste of our Joseon F4 in Joseon time, and I found it…interesting.
Packed with more revelations–mystery finally solved, attempted murder thwarted twice, and our Joseon F4’s readjustment to their time–this episode brings the story to a nice close. Yes, despite my slight dissatisfaction with the last scene of the series, but I’ll save that for the “Final Thoughts” post. Without further ado, I present you with our last recap….
Recap: The episode opens with Yi Gak sitting meditation-style on the floor of a barn with livestock no less. Heh…What a juxtaposition between his royal quarters and this one. His body radiates with odd, shiny waves. When he realizes where he is and that he’s getting some odd stares from the peasants, he walks out to the street…just as the Joseon police call for him to stop! As he starts running to evade the police, he runs into Chi San, who’s barefoot and wearing his modern clothes. Uh-oh…I hope our little boy hasn’t been running from the police since he transported back to the Joseon era.
They split up in order to evade the guards, and Yi Gak comes across Chi San on the ground, bleeding from the mouth. As Yi Gak rushes to his faithful servant fearing the worst, Chi San licks the ketchup from his lips. LOL. Realizing that Chi San is not really bleeding, Yi Gak stops cradling Chi San. Heh. The camera shot of the ketchup packet clutched tightly in Chi San’s hand is hilarious!
As the two men walk the streets, this time undeterred by the police, Chi San complains that he’s starving to death and that all he’s had is the plastic wrap from the burger to keep him company. Yi Gak suggests hurrying to the palace, but Chi San reminds him that they’ll be carted promptly to jail if they show up dressed in their modern clothes.
At that exact moment, Yi Gak spots Man Bo and Yong Sul enjoying a sumptuous chicken and rushes to join them. While Man Bo and Yong Sul greet Yi Gak, Chi San makes a beeline for the chicken and tears into it. Poor Chi San…he must have been starving. Once reunited, the four quickly apprise each other of their situations.
Yi Gak asks how they were able to buy food, and the two resourceful servants explain their sale of a pack of gum for the chicken. Yi Gak proclaims that he’s thirsty and takes a big swig of a beer can…only to get NOTHING! Poor Yi Gak. It seems as though he never gets food. LOL. Yong Sul reports that they don’t have any more beer and then mutters under his breath that Yi Gak should have packed his own. LOL. Yong Sul’s burp is hilariously timed and adds insult to Yi Gak’s injury.
Before Yi Gak has any time to lament the lack of a can of beer for himself, though, Man Bo presents Yi Gak’s royal clothes, ones that he had thought to pack in his backpack for his prince.
Meanwhile, Bu Yong’s father, Hong Man Pil, learns from his son that Prince Yi Gak has just returned to the palace…and in perfect health.
He turns to the mysterious man in his house and demands to know how this can be. Dramatically, Joseon Tae Moo lifts up his head and calmly walks out of the room with a long sword and kills the two assassins under his service for lying to him; they had told him that Prince Yi Gak had been dealt with last night.
While the villainous Joseon Tae Moo makes plans to remedy the failed assassination attempt, the F4 reconvene in Yi Gak’s room and fill each other in on what they’ve discover: although they’ve spent months in Seoul, only one day has passed in Joseon time since they disappeared. Man Bo makes a comment about how his younger sister was disgusted and pushed him away when he tried to hug her after having not seen her for months. Yi Gak wonders if they dreamt the time travel, and the three minions deny such a thing. As they express their disbelief, they use modern expressions that cause Yi Gak to outwardly rebuke them–“When in Joseon, act like Joseon”–but inwardly smile at their modernisms. *Happy sigh* I really love their relationship!
Yi Gak quickly turns the topic to more serious matters and charges his faithful three to proceed with the investigation regarding the princess’ death, first by arresting Bu Yong’s family members.
The mother rushes in and asks her husband why their family is being suspected of murder when they are deep in mourning over the loss of their daughter. The husband simply replies that either he will die or the prince will…just as the royal guards barge into his room and arrest them.
Once the Hong family are gathered before him in their “captive” state (heh…the characteristic white clothes and disheveled hair made me chuckle), Yi Gak asks about Bu Yong’s whereabouts. The answer? She’s cloistered in her bedroom with a contagious disease and can’t be seen. How convenient. Yi Gak then proceeds to tell his audience what really happened.
Several days ago, Bu Yong peers at the prince from behind a wall while Yi Gak takes a walk. Content at having gotten a glimpse of him, she turns to leave, trips, and spills the paper case of white powder on the floor.
As she unceremoniously tries to pick up the powder from her fallen state, Yi Gak walks up from behind her and begins to tease her. He tells her not to move and then offers his hand to lift her from the ground. Aw…
After learning that she’s come to the palace to deliver a case of powder for his wife, he asks if she’s solved his riddle yet and teases her when she confesses that she doesn’t have an answer for him yet. (Jules: “like a boy pulling pig tails *sighs*”) He reminds her that if she doesn’t give him an answer by tomorrow, he’ll win their little game. It’s so telling how his face completely lights up when he’s around her.
Bu Yong meets her sister and delivers the powder that their brother purchased from China as well as a letter from their father. As the princess reads the letter, Bu Yong reaches for the powder to get a closer look at this rare and valuable powder from China…only to have her sister coldly and quickly tell her to not touch the powder.
Noticeably shaken, the princess calls for glue so that she can reseal the incriminating letter and give it back to Bu Yong to return to their father as he requested.
She is so shaken that she doesn’t even acknowledge the embroidered handkerchief that Bu Yong presents to her for Yi Gak.
After her odd meeting with her sister, Bu Yong returns home to find her father in conversation with a stranger. Sensing something in the air, Bu Yong asks her mother about their mysterious house guest and learns that he is none other than Prince Yi Gak’s half-brother, an older brother who was kicked out of the palace at the age of three when his mother was removed from her position. When she tries to ask more questions, her mother quickly stops her and tells her that her father’s business is none of their concern.
Later that evening as she sits embroidering, she reflects back on the various events of the day: powder that doesn’t smell fragrant as a make-up powder should, the mysterious stranger, and the letter her father requested she bring back from her sister. At that reminder, Bu Yong remembers that she forgot to deliver the letter back to her father and reads the sealed letter for herself.
Discovering the murderous scheme afoot, Bu Yong changes quickly into her outdoor clothes and runs to the palace. Meanwhile, Joseon’s Tae Moo learns that Bu Yong has learned of their plans and left the house for the palace. He orders his guards to stop her and kill her if necessary. Her brother flinches at that harsh command but is too afraid to do anything.
At the palace, Yi Gak and his wife prepare to share an evening snack of dried persimmons. The princess’ task from her father? Receive the tray from the servant, distract her husband, and sprinkle the white powdery poison on the dried persimmons which will be nicely camouflaged by the sugary powder already on the persimmons. The princess does so by presenting her husband with another embroidered handkerchief, the one that Bu Yong delivered to her that very day.
Just as he’s about to eat one of the persimmons, Bu Yong arrives and seeks an audience with the royal couple. Even though her sister reminds her that it’s against the law for her to visit them so late at night, Yi Gak makes an exception and asks why she’s come. Seeing the white powder already sprinkled on the persimmons, Bu Yong quickly tells him that she’s solved the riddle, a reply that causes Yi Gak to laugh heartedly at her randomness. She gives him the answer to his riddle: Bu Yong, her own name but also another name for a lotus that must live to die and die to live; this is the concept behind rebirth.
Impressed by her wisdom, Yi Gak concedes defeats and grants Bu Yong her reward, one that she insists be given tonight. And what exactly does she ask for?
Those poisonous persimmons. At his surprise, Bu Yong tells him that there’s nothing more dear and valuable to her than those persimmons right now. Aw…it’s so heart-wrenching to know just what she’s willing to sacrifice for him.
While Yi Gak and her sister look on, Bu Yong begins to eat her fill of those persimmons…one after another…in order to ensure that Yi Gak does not get the opportunity to eat them himself. Her shaking and clenched hands as she knowingly eats the poison underscores the import of her sacrifice.
Unable to see her sister eat her way to her own death, Hwa Yong turns her face away, tormented but unwilling to speak up to stop this madness because she knows that to do so will bring certain death upon her and her family.
After Bu Yong eats the majority of the persimmons, Yi Gak suggests that she return home since the hour is late. Mustering all of her remaining strength and courage, Bu Yong sincerely wishes her prince be at peace and dips into a deep bow. Knowing that this will be the very last time she will ever see him before her death, Bu Yong slowly walks backwards–as protocol dictates–out of the room. Once out of sight, Bu Yong staggers, finally showing the ill effects of the poison that she kept hidden from Yi Gak while in his presence.
Watching Yi Gak sleep, the princess silently leaves to meet her sister, who asked the servants to tell the Crown Princess, if she asked after Bu Yong, that Bu Yong will be waiting at Bu Yong Pond.
As Bu Yong makes her way to the pond, she weeps, sick and trembling from the poison, as she reminisces on her few moments with Yi Gak.
When Hwa Yong arrives at the pond, Bu Yong urgently asks her for one request; her dying wish is that her sister would protect the Crown Prince and suggests a plan that will save both her sister and their family: change clothes with her so that she will die as the “Crown Princess” and the poisoned death will never be discovered. Once her sister is no longer in the palace, their father will no longer scheme to depose the prince from power. In this way, everyone will be safe…except Bu Yong, of course. Sensing that she has very little time left, Bu Yong urges her sister to quickly change clothes with her.
Seeing her sister’s imminent death before her, Hwa Yong agrees to the plan…
…while Joseon Tae Moo arrives at the pond and kills Hwa Yong’s court ladies without a second thought.
In her last moments of life, Bu Yong writes a letter and carefully tucks it inside a hiding place despite her weakened state and coughs of blood.
As she stands before the pond, trying desperately to gather enough courage to kill herself for her prince and her family, the only thing that calms her enough and gives her motivation to take that decisive jump into the pond is Yi Gak. Voicing his name “Your Highness” for one last time, she falls into the pond and to her death.
As Yi Gak finishes relating the tale, the image of Bu Yong floating in the pond is superimposed with the image of Park Ha when she fell into the lake after protecting him from Tae Moo’s car.
He demands confirmation from the Hongs that Bu Yong is indeed alive. The father vehemently denies that Bu Yong has died instead of the Crown Princess while the mother claims that Bu Yong has locked herself in her room because of her illness. No longer gullible to their ploys, Yi Gak orders that the Hongs’ house be searched from top to bottom for Bu Yong. And to ensure that it’s done properly, Yi Gak personally accompanies the guards in the search. *Heavy sigh* It’s so heartbreaking…Despite knowing the truth, Yi Gak seems to harbor a small hope that Bu Yong is indeed still alive and not dead as he suspects.
And as suspected, Yong Sul finds “Bu Yong” huddled in a storage room. Just as Yi Gak reaches out to unmask Hwa Yong, however, his half-brother and his men attack.
A small skirmish ensues, and Joseon Tae Moo is able to shoot what should have been a fatal arrow at Yi Gak’s chest. Thankfully, Yi Gak is unharmed and Joseon Tae Moo and his men are apprehended.
With the fight now over, Yi Gak quickly returns to Hwa Yong and removes her veil.
As she begs for her life and his forgiveness, he spits out that it’s not his forgiveness that she should be asking but rather Bu Yong’s.
When his faithful minions ask how he survived the arrow, Yi Gak pulls out the dented pendant, the very pendant that Park Ha had given him as a wedding gift with the specification that he never remove it from his chest. Aw…I know it’s a bit heavy-handed of the show, but I love that Park Ha AND Bu Yong both save Yi Gak’s life in the Joseon era.
Once back at the palace, Yi Gak delivers his judgment on the traitors.
To the half-brother that he had thought of with fondness, death! To Bu Yong’s father and brother, death! Hong Man Pil had plotted to kill Yi Gak because he feared possible retribution from Yi Gak once Yi Gak became king for taking part in having Yi Gak’s mother killed. *Heavy sigh* How sad that Hong Man Pil didn’t realize that Yi Gak would have been lenient to his father-in-law out of consideration for his wife. As for Bu Yong’s mother and sister, in view of Bu Yong’s wishes, Yi Gak sentences them to life on an island, never to step off of said island.
With the beheadings and exiles executed, Yi Gak walks slowly through his palace, lost in his memories of Park Ha.
As he enters the building by Bu Yong Pond, he notices that the butterfly on the partition paneling shimmers and, upon closer inspection, discovers the letter Bu Yong hid inside the partition.
In the letter, Bu Yong writes that if he’s reading this letter, she’s glad for it means that he is well and alive. She continues that there is one advantage to death and that is that she can freely confess her feelings for him. She writes that she loved him and that she has always loved him. Reciting part of his riddle, she writes that whether dead or alive, she will love him for centuries to come.
Walking by the pond, Yi Gak cries silently, thinking of her sacrifice. Then struck by an epiphany, he rushes to write a letter to Park Ha, telling her that he’s arrived safely.
He leaves it in the hiding place he showed Park Ha in a previous episode, hoping that she will think to look for it in her time.
And just as he hoped, Park Ha makes her way to the secret hiding place and discovers his letter, a letter now yellowed from age.
As Park Ha numbly goes about her daily life, Yi Gak’s voice is heard reading his letter to her, expressing his longing to see her, touch her, and simply be with her. In the middle of his voiceover, Tae Yong, now miraculous awake from his coma, visits Park Ha’s juice shop. As he gazes at her while she absentmindedly fixes his apple juice, Yi Gak voices how he regrets not having told her more that he loves her, that he misses her so much that he feels as though he’s going crazy…this voiceover makes it sound as though Tae Yong is Yi Gak voicing those words.
Meanwhile, our faithful minions have set up an omurice restaurant in Joseon, complete with homemade ketchup! When Man Bo comments on the saltiness of the previous batch’s ketchup, emphasizing that the most important part of the omurice is the ketchup, Chi San tunes him out by listening to his music. Aw…what’s Chi San going to do when the battery dies? LOL. Into this little fracas between Chi San and Man Bo enters Yong Sul, who reminds Chi San that they have a delivery to make.
To whom? To none other than their beloved Prince Yi Gak, who paces the room waiting for their delivery. Heh…At his complaint that they are late, they retort that it would make things easier for them if the prince were to come to their restaurant to eat. Quickly changing into their colorful tracksuits, the F4 dig into their omurice, the minions eating on the floor while Yi Gak eats at his little table. Aw…the boys packed their tracksuits.
When Yi Gak starts to tear up in remembrance of Park Ha, Man Bo offers him a Park Ha candy as dessert. Slowly savoring the candy as though eating the candy brings him a bit closer to Park Ha, Yi Gak quickly shoots Yong Sul a vicious glare when Yong Sul thoughtlessly chews it. LOL. Oh, poor Yong Sul. He got glared at for not chewing, and now, he gets glared at for chewing the candy. LOL. Not only does he get glared at by Yi Gak, but his two buddies beat him with spoons and fists for his thoughtless action–chewing the park ha candy. LOL
Back in present day Seoul, Park Ha finds a postcard, one drawn by Tae Yong, wedged between her store’s door asking her to meet him at the North Seoul Tower at 5PM.
He magically appears next to her and asks why she’s kept him waiting so long, referring to his first invitation back in New York. She replies that she’s been right here all the time; where was he? Then as Tae Yong offers her his hand…
Korean drama magic happens, and he transforms into Yi Gak before her eyes..
Yi Gak expresses his love for her despite the 300 years, and Bu Yong’s voice is also heard confirming her everlasting love for him.
Post-Recap Thoughts: Yes, I finally got to recap this episode. I’ll keep the post-recap thoughts short since this post will be quickly followed by a “Final Thoughts” post on the series. However, I did have a few comments to make about this episode.
The humor and attention to detail (Chi San’s ketchup, dented pendant, the Joseon F4’s tracksuits, etc.) lightened what could have been an otherwise heavy episode. The series continues to take a different spin on the little things that made the series all the more special. I mean, how many of you were surprised by the omurice restaurant our little minions set up? Then to incorporate the modern concept of deliveries by making deliveries to Yi Gak at the palace? Priceless!
As for the ending itself, I’ll discuss in the “Final Thoughts and Review” post.
All in all, I found this last episode enjoyable. My only disappointment was that the writer did not offer a unique ending but instead opted to go for the cliched ending. *Disappointed Sigh* I was really curious how the writer was going to resolve this quandary of Yi Gak and Park Ha. At least the ending is a happy one, right?
Thanks for your patience! I hope you enjoyed this long-awaited recap!