Deep Rooted Tree Episode 15

This was the most exciting episode so far. Full of action and suspense as Milbon and the Palace race to find the prince. When Yoon Pyeong manages to ‘escape’ from prison, Mu Hyul and his men stay hot on his trail and the enemies clash in some stylish sword fights. Neither side has any idea that it’s Dol Bok who has the prince and Dol Bok has his own agenda. He bets the prince on his life that the king will give up his writing system rather than lose his son. But will he? Milbon, desperate to save face, try to put the puzzle together to work out who has taken the prince. And the pieces of the puzzle all lead to Dol Bok…

Dol Bok faces the Milbon soldiers and draws his sword.  They charge at him but he calmly finishes them all off one by one without even getting out of breath. With the soldiers bodies lying on the ground, Dol Bok opens the cart to release So Yi and the prince. But he’s not interested in their gratitude or in hanging around. He takes So Yi by the hand and starts leading her away. And when she struggles, he picks her up in a fireman’s lift over his shoulder! (An unusual and unexpected lift under the circumstances!) The prince doesn’t know what to do, so he grabs a sword from one of the slain soldiers and runs around to stop him.

But the prince doesn’t look too adept at using a sword. And Dol Bok doesn’t look too worried about the sword at his throat! He merely tells So Yi to get away from the palace as working for the king has nearly got her killed. But she refuses.

Meanwhile, Jeong Gi Joon is informed that the Milbon soldiers have captured the prince and So Yi. And now he intends to use the prince to put pressure on the king. He orders notices to be put up giving the king a deadline to Give up his writing project or the prince gets it….

Dol Bok continues to try and persuade So Yi to leave. He thinks the king is only using her and while she’s out risking her life the king is safe in the palace. From Dol Bok’s point of view, it looks like the king thinks it’s ok for the commoners to die for the great cause, but the king’s family will not suffer for it. The prince is adamant that this is not true.

So they make a bet – Dol Bok will kidnap the prince and give the king an ultimatum – Give up the writing project or the prince gets it. If the king chooses to save his son and Dol Bok wins the bet, then Dol Bok will kill the prince to make the king suffer. But if the king chooses to save the writing system and the prince wins the bet, then Dol Bok will become a loyal subject and return with them to the palace.


The king is horrified to hear that the cart was ambushed by Milbon and So Yi and the prince were captured. And to make matters worse he believes the prince is in danger when he reads Milbon’s threat.

By now everyone has read or heard about Milbon’s notice. BUT now MILBON have heard that somehow So Yi and the prince have disappeared! So in desperation they send soldiers out to find them. It will be SO humiliating for them if Mu Hyul has rescued the prince when they have put up these notices threatening the prince! It’s funny to see their plan messed up. Advice to Milbon – don’t count your chickens before they are hatched. But later at the palace, Shim Jeong Soo hears that Mu Hyul hasn’t got the prince either as a search party is getting ready to go out and find them. So WHO DOES have him they wonder?

The two guards are downcast as they read their letters from Chae Yoon. He writes that he’s going away but has given up revenge. Cho Tak explains about his father just as Jeong Gi Joon happens to pass by. He overhears their conversation and later back at Milbon HQ he starts putting the puzzle together – Milbon know about Dol Bok’s childhood (and the letter that had his father killed) so they work out that he’s using the prince to get his revenge on the king who he plans to assassinate. Now Jeong Gi Joon wants to find Dol Bok!

The king discusses with Mu Hyul and Jeong In Ji what to do. Meanwhile, the prince and Dol Bok unaware of Milbon’s notice continue their bet. The prince writes a letter to the king saying he has been kidnapped by Dol Bok etc etc!

But on his way to give the letter to Mu Hyul, Dol Bok sees a Milbon notice. ( The yangban have to read out the notice for the common people as they can’t read) Dol Bok realises that the notices went up early when Milbon thought THEY had the prince. He also realises that they must now know he has the prince. AND that the king thinks Milbon has the prince. (Blimey this is confusing!)

The prince was wounded by the Milbon soldiers. But he hides the wound from Dol Bok and is determined to bring him back to the palace to help the king. When Dol Bok shows him the Milbon notice, they know that the king will think this is a lot more dangerous. But the prince is still sure the king won’t give up the writing.

At Milbon HQ Jeong Gi Joon doesn’t believe that the king will give up the writing project either. But he’s not bothered about that. He thinks (like everyone else so far) that a new writing system is useless and won’t catch on. But he can use it to bring the king down.

Dol Bok still has a chip on his shoulder about coming from the slave class and he repeats his argument about the people learning to read. He doesn’t think they have the time to learn a complicated writing system. And what’s the point? It’s ok for Yangban who have the time but not for the common people.

But then he learns how many letters they have to learn – not 5000, 3000, or even 1000 – JUST 28! He’s shocked. So how many words can you write with so few letters, he demands to know? And to his amazement he learns that they can write ANY word in their language. So Yi rips up some silk from her dress and writes out the letters on the silk. And she believes he could learn to read in half a day.

Meanwhile the king is in turmoil. He pays Yoon Pyeong a visit in prison. First he sits in front of him threatening to rip his body limb from limb if anything happens to the prince. (And ALL his family will be killed too.) Then suddenly the king changes his tune and tearfully begs Yoon Pyeong to help him find the prince. Yoon Pyeong smirks. But it’s all an act by the king. Did you think I would be like that? (soft and weepy) the king asks getting tough again.

He says he has no interest in who Milbon are or what they want from him. But he will not spill blood and he will NOT negotiate with them. And he is adamant that they will fail in the end. It’s a tough speech and shows us how the king really feels. And this is the first time I’ve seen Yoon Pyeong visibly shaken. 

From now the chase for the prince begins ….

Dol Bok writes his newly learnt letters in the soil, amazed he has learned so easily and quickly. Can it really be possible for everyone to be able to read, he wonders? (I suppose at the time it was just natural that only the yangban could read. Makes you think…)  Inside, the prince has collapsed as he loses blood from his wound. But even as he’s lying on the floor he questions Dol Bok – so NOW do you think we can just quit the project? But Dol Bok just puts a tourniquet on the wound and goes to get help – from Ka Ri On! (Oh no, that’s right – they all still trust the ‘butcher‘)

Meanwhile Yoon Pyeong is chained up in a cell when someone throws him a tool through the bars to help him escape. Milbon must be helping him. There’s even a well-positioned horse waiting for him. And as Yoon Pyeong rides off,  Shin Jeong Soo watches in satisfaction as guards race to catch the escaped prisoner.

But the bag on the horse has a hole leaking white powder.  Mu Hyul stoops down to look at the powder – it’s a trick. And Mu Hyul orders his men to follow the trail thinking Yoon Pyeong will lead them to the prince. They don’t realise that Milbon doesn’t have the prince either!


Shin Jeong Soo smugly congratulates Lee Shin Chok for helping Yoon Pyeong escape. But his smile vanishes when he hears that Minister Lee had nothing to do with it! And they realise it’s a trap.

Jeong Gi Joon acts his part as the butcher as he bandages and sees to the prince all the while wondering what Dol Bok is up to. But Dol Bok is unaware that he has unwittingly led Milbon right to the prince!

Yoon Pyeong arrives warily back at the Milbon HQ. He is relieved to be back but has no idea that Mu Hyul and his men are right behind him. Mu Hyul moves around fast as lightening (!) But as he listens in to the Milbon soldiers he realises that they don’t have the prince. But he has no choice but to stay on their trail.


Ka Ri On has finished seeing to the prince and tells Dol Bok that the prince needs a medicinal herb that grows on the mountain. Then he leaves but is sworn to secrecy. Oh the irony. On his way down the mountain his men join him. Meanwhile, Dol Bok goes out for the herb. But as he sits on a rock he senses something. The Milbon soldiers are nearby ready to pounce on the prince. But they have been instructed to wait for Yoon Pyeong as Dol Bok with his martial arts and swordsman skills is too strong for them. (But what happened to all the bows and arrows they were using at the beginning?)

Dol Bok sensing something is going on asks the prince if he can walk. Meanwhile, the Milbon soldiers get ready to attack the barn AND Mu Hyul and his men get ready to pounce on the Milbon soldiers!!

Yoon Pyeong and his men raid the barn with swords blazing. But there is NOBODY there. Just some bloody bandages and the remains of their hangul notes. Mu Hyul waiting outside behind more rocks is confused AGAIN as he realises the prince is not there either! They are all going on a goose chase!


Dol Bok carries the prince piggy-back over the mountain and away from the barn. Yoon Pyeong orders his men to find them. Then he stops and raises his hand for silence. In a flash, he flings a mini dagger into the woods. But it’s blocked by a sword. ‘Who’s there?’ Yoon Pyeong demands. Mu Hyul has no choice but to stand up and show his face. Yoon Pyeong is shocked. Sword fight. Again Mu Hyul easily slays the Milbon soldiers. And even when outnumbered and circled by several soldiers he fights them all off. And doesn’t even get any blood on his clothes.

On another part of the mountain, Dol Bok is doing his fair share of fighting too, finishing off the Milbon soldiers with his bare hands! But the prince is concerned that he is holding them back because of his injury. He tells Dol Bok to leave him behind and take So Yi back to the palace. The Milbon soldiers are everywhere and he doesn’t want to jeopardise the project. He is prepared to die here on the mountain.


Mu Hyul finishes off another bunch of soldiers when he looks around to see his soldiers surrounding Yoon Pyeong. He steps forward and they all retreat to let the two men have a showdown. In a flash Mu Hyul soon has his sword against Yoon Pyeong’s throat and he demands to know where the prince is. But Yoon Pyeong just smirks as Mu Hyul senses someone behind him.

He grips his sword tighter and swings around to come face to face with the strange butcher’s helper (recognisable even in a mask!) They come to blows but again Mu Hyul is not to be beaten. He must be too strong for them because when he turns around they have both disappeared.


The king sadly looks through the empty drawers where all his research once was. Jeong In Ji urges him to go to his assembly meeting with the ministers. And advises him to be vague at the meeting and admit nothing – they need more time. Before he goes, the king sits alone and cries over his son. While they wait, the ministers discuss the message from Milbon. The general feeling is that the king must give up the writing system. Although some ministers are not happy about bowing to threats from rebels.

The king, who was just in tears, arrives acting jolly. He says he has something interesting to tell them and takes out the Milbon notice!

‘And my answer is this’, he says.

The ministers wait expectantly.

‘This is all 지랄 chiral’, he says. – bullsh*t!

There are frowns and gasps around the room. And I love the way the prime minister just rolls his eyes to the ceiling – they just never know what the king is going to do, do they?

The king continues to laugh at the audacity of Milbon who think they can so easily threaten the Royal Family. He rips up the notice and announces that he has already completed the letters. He knows his son would not want him to give up. But the head of the Institute is outraged – Joseon cannot have its own alphabet! The king merely says they will talk more about that tomorrow!

Then before he leaves he thinks back to the day he hit Jeong Gi Joon when they were children. And he remembers Jeong Gi Joon’s exact words – Violence? Is that all you’ve got? So he turns to the assembly and says that IF there happen to be any Milbon members in the room, they can pass on this message – and he repeats Jeong Gi Joon’s words. Oh yes. at the time Jeong Gi Joon was trying to criticise him for being just like his violent father King Taejong. And now HE is the one who is threatening violence. Oh the irony!


The king comes back from his meeting shaken. He has had to give up his son. But then to his joy he finds the prince, So Yi and Dol Bok waiting for him. After the shock of seeing his son alive the king is also pleased to see Dol Bok has changed towards him.

Dol Bok kneels before him and hands him a paper with ‘Soksam’ written on it in hangul. It’s the name of Dol Bok’s father. And Dol Bok will now serve the king faithfully. He just asks that the king remember his father’s name.










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