Dong Yi (MBC 2010) episode 1-18 recap

king sukjong and dong yi

Dong Yi (Han Hyo Joo) and King Sukjong (Ji Jin Hee) 

I’ve finally got the recaps together for the sageuk drama Dong Yi (MBC 2010) that I’ve just watched for the second time. I’ve broken the drama down into 4 parts. In part one (episodes 1-18) we learn about DY’s background and childhood. She enters the palace where she looks up to King Sukjong’s favourite concubine, Jang Ok Jung (future Hui Bin). Jang Ok Jung (JOJ) is ambitious and very good at getting what she wants. But gradually she realises that in the ruthless palace you can’t play fair. So persuaded by her immoral brother, Jang Hee Jae (JHJ), she turns to the dark side and vows to do whatever it takes to become Queen. And if that means committing murder? Well, so be it…

EPISODE 1

1681 7th year of King Sukjong

DY is a child and lives with her father, a corpse handler, and her brother Dong Ju, a palace musician, in the slave village of Banchon. But her father and brother and close family friend Chun Soo are also members of the ‘geomgye’ “sword fraternity” – an organisation made up of members of the lowest class who help the powerless and weak, such as runaway slaves.

Dong Yi's father

Choi Hyo Won, DY’s father, a corpse handler and head of the geomgye, sword fraternity

But now the geomgye are suspected of assassinating aristocrats. (the real culprit is Namin minister Lord Oh Tae Suk) A high ranking government official from the Namin southerner faction is the third victim assassinated while out fishing alone early one morning. But he manages to grab the assassin’s ID badge before he falls into the water.

Dong Yi and Gaedura

DY and her friend Gaedura

DY and her friend Gaedura stumble over the body which has been washed up by the river. The official is still alive and tries to tell her something using hand gestures, but she can’t understand him and runs away to get help. By the time she returns with the police the minister is dead. DY is only a young child but she is very bright and since her father is a corpse handler realises that the policemen are not dealing with the corpse correctly and she tells them so!

Police Chief Seo is in charge of the investigation and knows and trusts DY’s dad, Choi Hyo Won, and so comes personally to have DY’s dad do the autopsies. But the other police don’t trust him since he is low class. The police storm a palace banquet and arrest the musicians who are also geomgye members but DY’s brother gets away.

DY finds the assassin’s ID badge in her basket (placed there by the dying minister) and she rushes to hand it in as she was promised a reward if she had information. But the police are corrupt and working for Lord Oh –  the ID belongs to a policeman from the Tribunal. She manages to hand the ID to Chief Seo who has the officer arrested. But the officer gets killed in his prison cell before he can be interrogated.

DY’s dad has seen the corpse and has information about it so Lord Oh’s masked men attempt to assassinate him but he gets saved by Chun Soo. They race home knowing DY’s life is also in danger but she’s not there. A search begins for her. Meanwhile we discover that DY’s dad is the head of the geomgye and he calls an urgent meeting. DY finds herself in a strange house.

***

EPISODE 2

Lord Oh

Lord Oh of the Namin Faction

Baddie Lord Oh is determined to frame the geomgye sword fraternity for the murders of the namin faction members as well as the officer killed in the police cell. Wanted posters go up for DY and her dad. But Police Chief Seo trusts DY’s dad who has discovered that the victims were probably killed by members of their own party. Chief Seo asks his own influential father to speak to the king about opening the investigation again.

Chief Seo

This is urgent.  But King Sukjong has gone to pay respects to his father, King Hyungjong, at his grave so Chief Seo’s father sets off in a palanquin to visit him there. Of course Lord Oh doesn’t want the case investigated. The geomgye realise that he is planning something so they rush to stop the palanquin.  But they are too late. By the time they catch up with the palanquin, everyone is dead.  And the corrupt police are waiting in the bushes to frame them. Luckily, they manage to get away.

Dong Yi's dad

Meanwhile DY finds herself in a noble lady’s house (she has been chosen to give the family’s New Year greeting to another aristocrat family since the original girl is sick). At first the lady doesn’t want her because DY is low class. She wants a commoner (read more about the social classes in the Joseon period here) But she is surprised to see that DY can read Chinese characters well!

DY prepares to go and do the greeting but her father refuses to let her go as it’s too dangerous – he knows police are hunting for them – the geomgye are now blamed for Chief Seo’s father’s murder.

dong yi and Lord Oh

DY manages to sneak away anyway. She wants to be dressed in a fine hanbok and get her reward of good food. But the aristocrat she has to greet is Lord Oh! When Lord Oh talks to her and realises who she is – a witness to his crimes – he is delighted and calls his men to come and get rid of her. But Chun Soo saves her. But there’s bad news, a member of the geomgye has betrayed them and DY’s father and brother have been arrested for murder.

***

EPISODE 3

Dong Yi's dad and brother arrested

DY’s dad and brother are arrested

DY’s father and brother are taken into custody by Chief Oh Yoon (Lord Oh’s nephew). DY is distraught but taken to safety at a fortune teller’s place. He predicts that she will become the leader of the low class. But Lord Oh is keen to get rid of any evidence and it is announced that DY’s dad and brother will be executed the next day. Everyone is shocked as usually nobody is executed in the first month of the new Lunar New Year.

Some ‘evidence’ has been found in the geomgye’s cave headquarters to ‘prove’ that they are the murderers and so Chief Seo loses his trust in DY’s dad – especially when he refuses to actually deny that he committed the crimes. Chief Seo is devastated.

Dong Yi

DY is shocked to see her father arrested

Chun Soo and the remaining geomgye make plans to free DY’s dad and brother and they go to buy dynamite. Whilst there, DY sees a young aristocrat lady (Jang Ok Jung) do the same hand signal that the dying official showed DY at the riverside. The lady then drops a trinket in the shape of a butterfly. DY picks it up and gives it back to her. Guards appear and DY is afraid of being caught so the lady hides her so that the guards don’t recognise her.

Chief Seo

Chief Seo is devastated now that it appears DY’s dad – the man he trusted – killed his father and is the head of the geomgye 

The escape plan works but then they get get chased and killed with arrows on a cliff.  Chun Soo gets stabbed and falls off the cliff. When DY hears that her father has escaped to the mountain she runs to find him. But she arrives to find only corpses and the embroidered purse she gave to her dad lying in the bloody rainwater.

Lord Oh calls the fortune teller to read JOJ’s fortune. The fortune teller predicts that she will rise to the top of the female ranks at the palace but that she will have a rival and will always be in her rival’s shadow. Meanwhile, DY just wants to die as she cries alone in the rain believing that everyone she loves is dead.

***

EPISODE 4

The capital is in chaos as all the yangban are worried that their slaves are involved in the geomgye. Chief Seo orders the city to be searched for members of the Geomgye. DY is still on the wanted list so she hides in the village which is having a fireworks festival.

Dong Yi

DY is frightened and alone but finally bumps into Gaedura again – at least now they are not alone but they are both orphans stealing food to survive. Wanted posters for DY are everywhere and she gets recognised when she takes Gaedura to the hospital with food poisoning. Luckily it’s Chief Seo who catches her and although he is cold towards her, he lets her go and tells the police not to fire arrows at her. She tells him about the hand signals she saw made by the lady.

Chief Seo

DY asks her brother’s friend, a gisaeng, Sulhee to get her into the palace as a servant. She wants to find out what really happened to her father. Meanwhile a girl’s body is found and the police believe it could be DY. Chief Seo confirms that it’s DY although he knows that it isn’t. It seems that he knows something suspicious is going on. DY enters the palace and starts working in the music department. She picks up a hyegeum, stringed instrument, which reminds her of her musician brother and dad and starts to play a sorrowful tune.

Sul Hee

It’s transition time – DY is still playing the hyegeum but she is a young woman. It’s now the 19th year of King Sukjong and as he walks across the palace grounds, the king stops to listen to the moving melody.

***

EPISODE 5

dong yi

DY grows up in the palace

Six years have gone by and DY is now a young woman and indispensable at the palace. Everyone likes her and she is kind and helpful. She is very practical and has learnt many things as the daughter of a skilled corpse handler. She has also been noticed by the king – well her musical abilities have – as the king wants to find the hyegum player he heard during the night. This causes a problem as a servant girl shouldn’t be playing the instruments, so the king is told that the player ‘can’t be found!’

A meteorite has landed in the palace – a bad omen. JOJ’s opposers blame this on the fact that  she has been invited back to the palace by the king. The King makes jokes about the bad omen but he has a lot of stress with the political factions. The Seoin faction are now stronger than the Namin. JOJ is supported by the Namin so he hopes if she becomes a concubine this will even out the political power.

queen mother

Queen Mother

But the Seoin who are supported by the Queen Mother do NOT want JOJ back in the palace. They think she’s trouble. So the Queen Mother and Lord Oh plan a ‘bad omen’ to occur during a banquet on the day of JOJ’s return to the palace.

DY is sent out of the palace to work with the instrument makers and while she is cleaning the chimes a suspicious man comes in – the chimes are essential for the orchestra to play in harmony. Later at the banquet everyone is shocked when the the orchestra can’t play in tune and they realise that this is a ‘bad omen’ and means the country will be ruined. But is it an omen or have the instruments been tampered with?

DY0502

JOJ has also been to the woodwork and instrument makers department – first to fix her broken butterfly accessory and secondly to order a gift for the Queen Mother’s birthday – a musical instrument. But the QM is not pleased to receive the gift. It has a Chinese poem written on it wishing longevity and health but the QM senses there is a warning in the poem too.

DY is on a mission to find the lady with the butterfly accessory (who also used the strange hand signals). She realises that maybe JOJ has the butterfly when she finds the exact same drawing of the butterfly at the instrument makers. She wants to speak to JOJ and so goes to her residence. But JOJ’s guards find DY suspicious loitering around the residence and they grab her and leave her tied up in a barn with a dead man – the suspicious guy with the chimes earlier!

***

EPISODE 6

dongyi

DY finds a piece of a chime which turns out to be rock salt

Dy realises that the chime guy has been poisoned. She manages to find a knife, undo her tied up arms and escape before the baddies come back to finish her off. She finds a policeman but by the time she takes him back to the barn, the dead body has gone.

News of the meteorite bad omen has spread and the people are blaming JOJ’s return to the palace. The capital is in turmoil and people are buying rice in a panic because they think the bad omen means there will be a civil war. The QM is encouraging the mayhem because she wants JOJ GONE. But still JOJ has wealthy middle class (merchants) backing her and so the Namin faction continue to support her. (At this point I’m feeling bad for JOJ who simply seems happy to be back with the King. It’s the QM whose causing all the trouble.)

the capital is in turmoil

The poor Joseon citizens buy rice in a panic thinking the bad omen means civil war

The king is determined to find out who is responsible for the musical disaster at the feast. But the police and tribunal have come up with nothing. They all seem pretty hopeless apart from Chief Seo who conscientiously checks reports every day and has discovered that someone (DY) reported the dead chime maker. So they must find whoever made the report.

DY decides to do some investigating herself and sneaks out to the chime maker’s house. But the baddies are already there taking away the evidence (pieces that look like chimes) They drop one and DY keeps it. Then she goes back to the barn where she was tied up with the chime maker. But who should turn up but THE KING!

DY hides while he searches the barn and his men wait outside. She doesn’t know who he is. He also finds a piece of a chime and identifies it as rock salt. But then there’s a kerfuffle outside and the royal guards get killed! The King jumps behind the haystack to hide where he bumps into DY and is promptly told to ‘shush!’ A funny first meeting.

Dong Yi and King Sukjong

DY takes control of the situation. They escape from the barn while soldiers fight outside but the king is very unfit and can’t keep up as he’s ‘never run before!’ They continue the investigation together and DY makes the king bend over so that she can climb on his back to get over a wall (one of the best scenes of the drama) :)

As they try to collect more rock salt evidence they get cornered by armed men. The King grabs a sword and haughtily announces that he’s the King. But the hard men just laugh. They can see he’s not a fighter and he’s definitely not the king!

***

EPISODE 7

king sukjong

King Sukjong meets DY for the first time and tries to protect her

The king keeps repeating who he is but no one believes him. DY looks at him like he’s crazy. Luckily just in time Chief Seo and his men arrive and save the day. (earlier the King managed to give his seal to a commoner who summoned the royal guards).

The QM is devastated to learn that her plan has been foiled and that the King’s life was in danger. And he now knows that someone changed the music chimes for rock salt. DY and the music department get rewarded with a banquet! And DY gets a hanbok, jewels and money.

JOJ hands the QM the ID badge of the policeman who was ordered by the QM and the Seoin to create the bad omen. This achieves several things – first, it shows the QM that JOJ knows that she was involved in the crime. Secondly, it allows JOJ to get the upper hand. She promises that she won’t tell the King about this, but she could if she wanted to. Thirdly, it means that the King won’t have to punish his own mother. JOJ knows that if he punished her, then his relationship with JOJ would suffer too. Clever. The QM is furious and sees this as a threat.

DY0617

Music Director Lord Oh Tae Poon and his son Oh Ho Yang

Lord Oh’s brother Oh Tae Poon, the new director (picked by the Namin) comes to the music department. They are lazy and incompetent and the son takes an interest in DY. He arrogantly wants her beaten when she refuses him. Luckily DY is called away when JOJ wants to meet her.

***

EPISODE 8

DY wants to take a look at JOJ’s personal hanbok accessory and as a reward for helping to prove that she was not the cause of the bad music omen, JOJ agrees to show her. The accessory is a butterfly but it’s different to the one DY is looking for. DY is disappointed.  Seoin faction members involved in the bad omen deception are demoted whilst members of the Namin including Lord Oh are promoted.

jangokjung

Jang Ok Jung (later becomes Jang Hui Bin) 

DY is sent on an errand for JOJ’s mother to see if she can be trusted. But the task is to bring medicine into the palace (which is prohibited). The medicine is supposed to help JOJ get pregnant.

DY gets back to the palace late and can’t sneak in past the guards who are inspecting everyone. The king has been out of the palace too incognito and spots her. She still thinks he is just a nobleman but she is impressed when he helps her get back in the palace.

JOJ refuses to drink the meds as she could get in big trouble if the palace find out. Her problems increase when word spreads that unprescribed potentially poisonous herbs have been found in Queen Inhyeon’s meds. An investigation begins.

dongyi

It’s the 6th anniversary of DY’s dad and brother’s death. DY goes to pay her respects on the cliff where they died. She still has the geomgye head band that Chun Soo gave her but she drops it by a tree. When Chun Soo arrives at the same place he sees the scarf. On her way back DY gets arrested on suspicion of trying to poison the Queen.

***

EPISODE 9

The pharmacist who gave DY the herbs has been murdered.  DY has to be interviewed by the police but she protects JOJ by saying she got the meds for a musician (not JOJ). Chief Seo turns up and questions her too. He hears her name and asks if she is the same DY that he knew years ago, but she nervously says no.

jang ok jung

Now we meet the court lady investigation department. The ladies investigate crimes committed by the women at court. They are pretty strict and they have been ordered to investigate DY for buying herbs and illegally bringing them into the palace. She still refuses to say who sent her to buy the herbs, so the torture tools are prepared. But JOJ arrives just in time to confess that it was SHE who ordered the herbs.

***

EPISODE 10

Everyone is shocked that JOJ has voluntarily agreed to be investigated – as this is very humiliating. She seems to sincerely want to protect DY. But then herbs are found in JOJ’s quarters (which is strange as she ordered the herbs DY brought to be thrown away – the herbs must have been put there by the QM) and then she is charged with trying to kill the Queen! Things are serious now!

Jang Ok Jung

But DY is convinced of JOJ’s innocence and maintains that the herb in question has a strong smell and wasn’t part of the prescription she was asked to bring into the palace.

Lord Oh is worried since JOJ has been charged with attempted murder – this is treason. So he decides to find a scapegoat  – and he picks DY. The king is also convinced that JOJ is innocent but he has to turn the investigation over to the tribunal.

chun soo and young dal

Chun Soo has been missing up to now but he is alive and well having been looked after at a temple. He doesn’t know where DY is but is looking for her. He rents a room from DY’s friend Young Dal and gets a job working in the city morgue. One night DY sneaks in to the morgue wanting to check the herbalist’s body for clues. She has to hide when someone comes in and doesn’t realise that it’s Chun Soo!

After he leaves, she carries out her investigation – she puts vinegar on the herbalist’s fingers – if he touched the herb in question his fingers will turn pink from the chemical reaction. His fingers DON’T turn pink, which means JOJ must be innocent.

As DY sneaks out of the morgue she is caught by Chief Seo and so has to tell him what she found. But on her way home she is cornered by some assassins. And then the King turns up!

EPISODE 11

Jang Hee Jae

Jang Hee Jae, JOJ’s ruthless brother arrives back in Joseon from Qing

The king’s guards save DY (who still calls the king nauri!) and she tells him that she has evidence to prove JOJ is innocent. The King and Chief Seo gather in the morgue to watch the vinegar procedure again. They are both impressed! Meanwhile, the QM and and the court lady investigation bureau are congratulating themselves on JOJ’s downfall unaware of this new development.

JOJ’s brother, the new villain Jang Hee Jae, arrives back from Qing. He behaves stupidly around men and uncouth around women, but it’s just an act. He is actually very savvy and ambitious.

pig skin

pig skin!

DY bumps into the king again in the market. They bump into Young Dal and Sir Hwang from the music department – who also don’t realise that he is the King! They all end up going out for a drink! But the King can’t handle his alcohol – not poor man’s makolli anyway. But he tries to act macho in front of DY who, seeing him struggle, offers to drink it instead of him! He also tries pig’s skin for the first time and likes it.  Finally DY gets her reward – she is to be promoted to court lady in the inner palace and will work in the Investigation Bureau.

***

EPISODE 12

lady investigation bureau

Court ladies in the Investigation Bureau

The court lady investigators know DY is of low birth and don’t want to accept her. The QM agrees that this is an outrage and storms off to see the Queen who is the head of the inner court and in charge of all the court ladies. But the Queen refuses to change her decision saying it is not illegal for a lady of low birth to enter the inner court.

ae Jong

DY arrives in the bureau and gets her new uniform.  But the other court ladies refuse to speak to her – they’ve studied for 10 years to get to where they are and resent the fact that DY got in simply on a recommendation from JOJ. DY is used to working hard and she gets up early and starts to do her own laundry much to the consternation of the maids. She asks them why the investigators seem to have so much free time and she learns that they are all studying for the mid term exams.

Nasty Investigator Yu doesn’t want DY in her department either. She sweetly tells DY that she must take the exam too but assures her not to worry about not knowing anything! Cunning Lady Yu doesn’t explain to her that she will be thrown out of the bureau when she fails the exam!

***

EPISODE 13

lady Yu

Lady Yu

Of course DY fails the exam. She is asked to recite parts of a book that she has never even read. She begs her superiors for another chance by kneeling outside all night in the rain until she collapses.

The Queen has heard about what happened and is angry at the manipulative behaviour of the investigators. Investigator Yu is scolded and DY is given 3 days to prepare to take the test again. This time nice Lady Jung will be in charge of the exam! And while she crams for the exam in the evening, the King turns up and helps her study! Of course this time she passes.

The king is under a lot of stress and goes to his retreat to think about the political situation. He decides to put the Namin in power now instead of the Seoin Southerners who have had the stronger hand recently. And JOJ will be made a concubine. He practises archery to take a break but he misses the target (a picture of a deer) every time. His officials flatter him about his ‘skills’ – no one tells him the truth and this annoys him. He remembers DY and her honesty chiding him about his weaknesses (He can’t run far, can’t fight with a sword, and can’t handle his liquor!)

There’s comedy over at the Investigation Bureau where the court ladies are excitedly putting makeup on as MEN are coming! Chief Oh Yoon from the tribunal and Chief Seo from the police are coming to teach them about police work. Chun Soo arrives with Chief Seo as a helper but DY doesn’t see him AGAIN as she is in Oh Yoon’s class.

Even though they are both working in the palace DY and Chun Soo keep missing each other. And she still thinks he is dead. But Young Dal has rented his room out to Chun Soo but he’s frightened and suspicious of him because Chun Soo is quiet and serious and very good at martial arts. Young Dal searches his room and finds his geomgye headband. Worriedly he takes it to DY and asks her (since she is an investigator) to find out who this guy is. When she sees the headband she is shocked and rushes off to find Chun Soo.

***

EPISODE 14

chun soo

DY and Chun Soo are finally reunited

Chun Soo and his martial arts skills have been noticed by JOJ’s brother JHJ who wants Chun Soo to work for him. JHJ agrees to help Chun Soo find DY in return so Chun Soo goes with him in the night to smuggle in guns. JHJ is spooked when he hears that an investigator is looking for Chun Soo so he tells his men to get rid of her. Chun Soo realises that DY is in the palace and they run around looking for each other. Finally they have an emotional reunion even though Chun Soo has to fight off JHJ’s men first!

Envoys arrive from Qing but it’s revealed that there are Joseon smugglers in the party. The investigation bureau will work together with the police and tribunal to find out who is involved and they will be undercover at the Mohwagwan guest palace. The ladies use their skills (Chinese language skills and signing with mirrors) to spy on the delegates. The smuggler is working with JHJ and is prepared to financially support the Namin and in return be able to smuggle freely into Joseon. Lord Oh agrees to this but JOJ is not aware of her brother’s dodgy dealings. Not yet.

Qing

Qing envoys arrive in Joseon greeted by Lord Oh

JOJ is visiting the King but he can’t stop talking about DY and how she will react when she discovers that he is the king. He even calls DY by her nickname Pungsan (a Joseon hunting dog). JOJ watches him in horror. She must be able to see that the King is falling in love.

Lord Oh must stop the investigation into the smugglers if he is to get any financial support so suddenly the lady investigators are ‘discovered’ and kicked out of the guest palace. DY keeps thinking about a piece of paper she found with Chinese characters written on it. The characters don’t make any sense but she thinks they are evidence. Chung Soo helps her discover that the letters are a code. DY sneaks back into the guest house dressed as a servant again, gets the paper and wood that she needs and runs away chased by Qing guards! She needs help and when she sees the ‘nauri’ nobleman she rushes over to him.  But he is not a nauri, he is the King!

***

EPISODE 15

dong yi

DY hands herself in to the Qing ambassador

The Qing guards want to take DY away for trespassing but the King insists that the Joseon police will investigate the situation. They discover that the code is a place name near the river and the police go to search. Chief Seo is very thorough with his search and finds JHJ’s smuggled weapons in a house near the river. JHJ is now working under Chief Seo as a low level policeman but all he can do is stand and watch as all his weapons are carried away. But he’s fuming. And he’s annoyed that DY found him out.

The King has to talk to DY now that she knows who he is. She waits nervously outside the King’s office wondering how to address him. She has to change her clothes before meeting him too. Suddenly everything is very formal. As soon as she sees him she throws herself before him and begs for forgiveness. The King laughs as she tries to address him formally and he says that he just wants their relationship to stay relaxed and informal as before!

But DY is in the middle of an international incident as Qing are annoyed that she was snooping around their private residence and now they want her handed over to them.The king is frustrated and feels powerless to deal with the Qing. DY decides to hand herself in.

***

EPISODE 16

Jang Ok Jung

JOJ sees the the King happily talking to DY

DY is given three days to find the truth about the Joseon smuggler. She discovers that he staged his own death – the corpse in the morgue is not him – and the suicide note he left was not in his handwriting. He’s not dead so must be trying to escape.

Chief Seo sets off to stop the smuggler leaving Josoen and heads to the nearest port. Chun Soo has been given the task of taking the smuggler Kim safely to the port! He drops the smuggler off at the port then he hides in the bushes and watches the police burst out and arrest him!

Lord Oh is put in charge of the investigation to find who is behind the smuggler’s crimes. Ironically it is Lord Oh himself! Lord Oh decides that Kim must die!

JOJ catches the King chatting with DY and she looks disturbed. Later during a game of baduk she asks him if he has feelings for DY. He laughs and denies it. Perhaps sensing her jealousy the King plans a surprise banquet in JOJ’s garden. DY is also invited to party and JOJ’s face falls a bit when she sees her there. But she covers her feelings up and graciously praises DY for her good work. The King announces that he will make JOJ a concubine.

***

EPISODE 17

huibin

The palace is in uproar with the announcement that JOJ will become a concubine. The Seoin faction backed by the QM are concerned that this will give the Namin faction more power. The QM insists that the King take back the order but then JOJ becomes pregnant! That changes everything.

Everyone has to reassess their relationship with JOJ’s family (as the family will be a lot more powerful from now on) but at least we can still believe in Chief Seo who remains true and punishes JHJ for not doing his job properly. The king seems uncomfortable though when DY congratulates him on JOJ’s pregnancy!

One year later…

JOJ has now been promoted to Hui Bin (the highest ranking concubine) and the Namin are pushing for JOJ’s son to be named Crown Prince. But still the QM is against this. She wants the King to get another concubine and have more children…

But suddenly the QM becomes seriously ill. Nothing seems to be amiss with the QM’s medication but Chun Soo explains that if her tonics are being mixed with non-prescribed herbs there could be a toxic reaction. DY remembers that she found an unprescribed herb baekchul in JOJ’s ladies’ quarters and confronts the court lady in question.

***

EPISODE 18  JOJ TURNS TO THE DARK SIDE

18

JOJ discovers that her brother was involved in the plot to poison the QM. She is furious but he says that they have to play dirty if they really want her to become Queen. This is a changing point for JOJ. Up until now she has tried to play fair. But she decides that she will have to change. And so she becomes a BADDIE.

It’s a changing moment for DY too who realises that JOJ is behind the poisoning of the QM. Up until now DY has wanted to believe in JOJ’s innocence but the evidence is overwhelming.

The king visits his sick mother and then goes out for a walk alone where he bumps into DY and she comforts him. The king hears that the official involved in the herb scandal has been arrested and he demands to know who ordered him to do this. We are all waiting for the official to say it was JOJ but of course he doesn’t – he says the Queen gave the order!

***

Up until now JOJ has done her best to play fair even though the QM and the Seoin faction were against her from the start. Although she is ambitious, she loves the King and doesn’t want to compromise their relationship. But it seems that her mother and brother have pushed her and now she has decided that she must turn to the dark side …

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