Deep Rooted Tree Episode 12

OK things are really starting to get exciting now. Will Chae Yoon and So Yi finally discover each other’s true identities? So Yi writes a cryptic message that only Dol Bok will understand. His project is going so well, but then the king discovers that So Yi, an important member of the team. has lied to him and disappeared. The search is on to find her. But Milbon get to her first …

So Yi is left stunned after seeing the notice and wonders if Dol Bok could still be alive. But Chae Yoon is oblivious to her existence and is just concentrating on trapping Milbon and getting his father’s will back.

The king proudly shows off his new characters. He enthuses about how the shapes reflect the shape of the vocal chords when making that sound. The characters look like adorable little yangban men in hats.This is the final piece to their puzzle and now they can write all the sounds in their language. Everyone is excited. But the poor king is not getting the enthusiastic response  he was hoping for from So Yi. Last time we saw the scholars questioning him and finding faults with the characters and now So Yi seems distant and uninterested!

He asks her if she doesn’t like the characters. The other ladies try to cover for her and ask him to write So Yi’s name since it uses the new character. And of course he enthusiastically does this. But this doesn’t help. Her mind is somewhere else. Finally, the king sends the others out and demands to know what’s going on. She doesn’t mention Dol Bok and instead makes an excuse to get permission to leave the palace that night – to go to Ka Ri On’s place to see the vocal chords and practise trying to speak. (Sounds gruesome) But he’s so pleased that she really wants to speak again and more than happy to let her go. But she must feel guilty for deceiving him.

Milbon are also wondering if this notice is really a message from Dol Bok. Or is it a trick? Some of the scholars they can’t trust – Lee Shin Chok for starters. And what if Dol Bok read the Milbon Scroll? They must proceed with caution. The head nobi is sent to tell the assassin that there are not to be any mistakes this time. They must get rid of Dol Bok after they get the scroll back. The assassin summons the men as they prepare for the night attack. For some reason Jeong Gi Joon also summons the old man Gok Se.

I got distracted here looking at the assassin’s hair. He seems to have more short hair in the first scene (with a small top knot) and then long hair in the second. Unless he has exceptionally thick hair, how can this be?  Did they use wigs back then? This hair issue affects other characters too though – Even the king seems to have short hair and strictly speaking shouldn’t it be long and worn up?

But Chae Yoon has guessed that Milbon will want to kill him and he has no intention of going to the meeting place tonight. He’s sitting in another of his signature poses with his hat covering his face and clasping his sword. We don’t need to see his face to know that it’s him! He acts sleepy. Almost bored! And has already sent his reply: He has changed the meeting time. And they are only to send ONE man to meet him next time. And since they are asking for an important document he wants money too – 300 nyang? (But I’m not sure how common Joseon money was at that time.) The assassin crumples up the letter in frustration. (I’m starting to feel a little sorry for the assassin!)  Guk Se is found working in a cave but we don’t see his face. Hmm. Who is he?

The other court ladies are horrified to learn that So Yi has lied to the king about why she wants to leave the palace that night. But she’s determined to see Dol Bok. They try to dissuade her. After all, a court lady should not be going out of the palace late at night to meet other men! It’s a crime punishable by death. But she can’t forget Dol Bok.


The king is with his doctor talking about his illness – diabetes. Mu Hyul is not the only one who struggles with the king’s difficult personality and the doctor gently tries to encourage the king to look after his health properly. I love the doctor’s hat. But the king only seems concerned about finishing his project. Despite his health problems he’s in a good mood and tells Mu Hyul later that he’s so pleased that So Yi wants to practise speaking. Oh dear

So Yi is in fact on her way to the designated meeting place all the while thinking back to all the good (and bad) times with Dol Bok. But she doesn’t know that Chae Yoon and Cho Tak, now dressed in black undercover wear, are busy putting up new notices with a new meeting time. So she waits and waits but of course nobody comes.

Lee Shin Chok and Hae Gang discuss the Milbon Scroll. Will Jeong Gi Joon really be able to present it to them next time? Minister Lee is not 100% behind Milbon and points out that this king is doing a good job and the country is doing well. But Hae Gang is concerned about relying on one man to lead the country. They can’t be sure about the good character of all future kings.


The 5 am drums beat  and the other court ladies wake to discover that So Yi still hasn’t returned. She’s on her way back to the palace and then sees the new notice. But she tells herself to forget about it – it can’t be from Dol Bok.  But can she really forget him?

Minister Lee bumps into Shim Jeong Soo. And to Shim Jeong Soo’s horror, Minister Lee mentions the Milbon meeting even though others could be listening. And he gives Shim Jeong Soo a message to pass on to the leader –  present the Milbon Scroll or else….

Late that evening So Yi sits with the king who is trying hard to teach her to speak. As it gets closer to the new meeting time, she tells herself that Dol Bok is dead. It’s after 11 pm – they are studying late aren’t they. Did they really stay up so late in those days just with candles? She can’t focus on the study and begins to cry. She asks to meet Ka Ri On again and he agrees. BUT AGAIN she rushes off to the new meeting place.

The king decides that he will go to see Ka Ri On too. Oh No. So when he arrives Ka Ri On and So Yi are not there. The king goes to her quarters at the palace but hears from the other ladies that she’s not there either. The ladies are in a predicament. And can’t lie for long. There’s shock on Mu Hyul’s face as they learn where she really is but the king realises that this day was bound to come. He tells Mu Hyul to bring both of them to him and he will explain everything.

Mu Hyul and his men arrive to look for So Yi at the meeting place. But he’s surprised to learn that there are assassins everywhere. Chae Yoon and Cho Tak are hiding too, dressed like ninjas  in black. They see an old man (Gok Se) waiting at the designated meeting place. Chae Yoon ties a letter to an arrow – he’s going to fire the message. The assassin in his mask is hiding nearby. But then So Yi arrives. She stands by the old man who totally ignores her – awkward. Bit odd when there is NOBODY else around! She recognises him as Gok Se, a nobi she knew as a child.

Her arrival confuses everyone. Suddenly Chae Yoon has a sword to his throat. The assassin throws one of his daggers and Mu Hyul gives the order to his men to arrest everyone. A fight breaks out and the assassin comes up against Mu Hyul who comfortably blocks his every move. It’s clear that Mu Hyul is too good for the assassin who chul sang suls away before they can catch him. Gok Se starts to run away and So Yi chases after him. She grabs his arm and writes down something in Chinese characters but of course he can’t read. So she tries to mouth to him her name when she was a child Dam. They hug when he realises who she is and the assassin watches with interest from the trees.

So Yi and Gok Se go to see Ka Ri On. She thinks he’s the only person she can trust (!) and she has questions to ask Gok Se, so she asks Ka Ri On to read aloud what she writes to Gok Se. Is he the one who put up the notice. No. Gok Se explains that years ago someone came looking for him and told him that Dol Bok father’s will was switched with something of theirs. Now So Yi believes that Dol Bok is alive. She’s keen to see Dol Bok and she says she knows how to get hold of him. Jeong Gi Joon looks interested now!

So Yi writes a cryptic message on a new notice so that only Dol bok will understand where the meeting place is. But after she puts up the notice the assassin grabs her and kidnaps her. She gets carried away in a palanquin, bound and blind-folded. But the whole time she’s trying to figure out where she is by counting the steps and noticing what’s around her. She’s feisty.

Meanwhile, everyone is trying to work out what her message means and where this meeting place is. The king wants to find So Yi and bring her back. The Milbon want to find and kill Chae Yoon. Chae Yoon wants to find whoever wrote this message. But no one can work it out. There is obvious commotion in the palace and the ministers are miffed that they are not in on it and they all gang up on Jeong In Ji demanding to know what’s going on.

The assassin interrogates So Yi and threatens her with death if she refuses to tell him where the meeting place with Dol Bok is. But she’s not afraid to die and even challenges him to torture her to get the information! Meanwhile, the king is trying desperately to work out the meaning of her message but he’s getting more and more frustrated.

Jeong Gi Joon decides on a softly softly approach to get the information out of So Yi and he calls for Gok Se. Gok Se is taken to her and tells her that it was the king that had her family and the other nobis killed. And it was Milbon who helped them. He’s trying to win her over to Milbon’s side and his words seem to work and she agrees to tell them where the meeting place is. But is she really going to tell them?

As she walks blind-folded, So Yi goes over the maps of the area in her mind and works out where she is. She knows that if she makes a mistake with her calculations she will die. Then, suddenly, she breaks away from her captors and starts running. She catches everyone by surprise especially since she’s running towards a cliff and doesn’t stop!

Wow.  Impressive leap off the cliff and into the water far below! That was brave. Still blind-folded and tied up. All the men can do is watch helplessly. But I think the assassin should really have been able to catch her when she started running. She’s taking dainty tiny steps compared to him sprinting. And why doesn’t he just chul sang sul towards her?  

Meanwhile, Chae Yoon STILL hasn’t worked out the message. He realises that this note is not from Milbon but who else could know about the pouch? As So Yi staggers out of the water soaked she looks up at the moon and realises it’s time to go and meet him. And she runs off praying he will remember their special meeting place.

Park Po runs up to Chae Yoon in a panic because the Internal Affairs department is looking for him. He tells Chae Yoon that he heard that it was So Yi that night at the meeting place. Then he looks down at the Chinese characters they’ve drawn in the ground and reads them out differently. This gives Chae Yoon a clue. He puts two and two together – So Yi is his old friend Dam and the meeting place is the mountain where they played the word game as children. He rushes off but the Internal Affairs officer sees him and follows him.

So Yi arrives at the mountain. Then Chae Yoon/Do Bok arrives. Cue romantic music.  She hides behind a tree wondering what Chae Yoon is doing there until he tearfully calls her name, ‘Dam’… On no. That’s it for this week. OK I have high expectations for next week’s episode now and I’m looking forward to seeing what will happen when they are finally reunited..


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