Jang Ok Jung finally becomes Queen
Here are the recaps for the second part of Dong Yi (MBC 2010). see here for episodes 1-18 JOJ (Jang Ok Jung, the future Hui Bin) has changed from an ambitious but respectable lady to a vicious villain prepared to get rid of anyone standing in her way of becoming Queen. She does eventually become Queen but it’s not the complete triumph that she had hoped for as the King becomes aware of her ruthlessness and the crimes she has committed and she loses his trust and love.
Jang Ok Jung (JOJ) and her family will be in big trouble if it’s revealed that her brother tried to poison the Queen Mother (QM). But JOJ is great at turning any situation around to her advantage and sees this as an opportunity to frame the Queen for the attempted assassination! The Queen and JOJ are both suspects and both deny the crime. The King doesn’t know who to believe, so he orders Chief Seo to investigate the matter.
JHJ wants to get rid of DY as he thinks she’s trouble and may influence the King. At first JOJ refuses to believe that DY could influence the King – she still arrogantly believes that SHE herself is the only lady who can do that. 😉 But then one evening she arrives unannounced at the King’s residence only to find him chatting with DY again. Oh dear. She is furious this time. So the next time her brother offers to get rid of DY for good, she doesn’t resist.
The police discover that the official who tampered with the QM’s medicines has close connections to the Queen. And he’s been given money from the Queen’s family too. This looks very bad and all the Queen’s family and court ladies are arrested and questioned. Of course it’s a set up and JOJ confidently tells the Queen to her face that she will soon have her title. But when she’s alone, JOJ seems upset as though this is not the way she ideally wanted to become Queen.
Meanwhile, DY believes in the Queen’s innocence and JOJ’s guilt. She goes out of the palace with Chun Soo to investigate but they are followed by some dodgy men.
DY and Chun Soo go into town to investigate who gave the money to the official who tampered with the QM’s medication. They are sure it wasn’t really the Queen’s family. But when DY is left alone for a moment she is captured by JHJ’s men. They gag her and lock her in a barn and then later throw her into the RIVER on JHJ’s orders. 😮
But Chun Soo is on their trail and manages to fight off the men before jumping into the river to save DY. Phew that was close! She dries off by a fire Chun Soo makes and although still shaken from almost drowning, she wants to get on with their investigation – unfortunately the real villain JHJ has been busy killing off any witnesses who knew HE was the one behind the money.
Unfortunately before DY can get more evidence to prove the Queen’s innocence, the QM dies. The Namin faction have been pushing for the Queen to be removed (blaming her for the poisoning of the QM) and upon the death of his mother, the King orders the Queen to be dethroned.
The Queen is dethroned and must wear white and live a simple life outside the palace
A ceremony is held for the Queen’s dethronement. She wears all white and sits on the ground as her hair accessories, which symbolise her status, are removed. It’s a sad scene as she is quietly taken away in a palanquin followed on foot by her maids – also dressed in white. The Joseon citizens are not happy about the Queen being deposed and they are not happy with JHJ either as he is being carried around town on his own palanquin as though he were King himself.
DY is assigned to work in the treasury with the eunuchs – a notoriously difficult job chosen for her on purpose by Investigator Yu who is now working for JOJ. The eunuchs don’t take DY seriously. They give her an ‘erotic’ book when she asks to see their records. But she is keen to do her job and when she investigates an issue about a shortage of copper, she notices discrepancies in the book-keeping. But when she challenges the eunuchs about this they beat her up!
She tells Chief Seo that she has discovered that money from the treasury has found its way to team JOJ. The eunuchs try to stop her again but this time the other lady investigators are there to back her up.
DY takes records from the Treasury before it burns down
The eunuchs still refuse to let the lady investigators do the audit and they send guards to remove them. The King becomes involved and surprisingly decides that the ladies should NOT continue with the audit – he later reveals to DY it’s because he doesn’t want to cause a fuss as he is secretly investigating the lack of copper which is causing a shortage of coins.
DY visits the Queen who is living a simple life outside the palace with her servants. She acknowledges that the coronation for JOJ is going ahead but is sure that they can find some proof of the Queen’s innocence soon.
The King leaves the palace to visit his parents’ graves before JOJ’s coronation to become Queen. Most of the guards go with him so JOJ and JHJ decide to get rid of the record books while the palace is quiet – they decide to set the treasury on fire and send assassins to kill DY too. But the assassins kill the wrong girl as DY is not in her bed but in the treasury looking for the record books. She has to run away when the fire starts and gets chased by the assassins.
DY is hit by an assassin’s dart but manages to stagger away
DY runs to the home of Chief Seo’s trusted colleague with the records that prove JOJ and JHJ are behind the bribe. But then the assassins arrive at the house and kill everyone. DY runs away but a masked man fires a dart into her shoulder. She manages to get away but she’s very injured.
DY staggers across the mountain hoping to reach the King’s procession (on his way back to the palace from his parents’ grave) but on the way she collapses. She wakes up hearing the King’s band accompanying the retinue. But she is too weak to catch up with them. The King stops the procession and for a moment it looks as though he heard her call him. But he can’t see anyone and the procession continue as DY lies lifeless in the grass.
The King later discovers that Chief Seo and DY were secretly investigating JOJ’s role in the Queen’s dethronement. So he must consider the possibility that JOJ is guilty of poisoning his mother. He’s also worried about DY as she is missing, so in JOJ’s coronation to become Queen he looks unhappy and deep in thought.
JOJ still has nightmares about DY!
JOJ is now Queen and believes that her brother has managed to kill DY, but she has nightmares that DY is alive and has evidence to prove JOJ murdered the QM.
All the literate citizens of Joseon are reading a book that portrays JOJ in a bad light and the dethroned Queen as the victim. JOJ is furious and demands that all the books be confiscated! She’s angry that she’s not respected or accepted as Queen. Her only hope is her son – if her son is accepted by the Emperor of Qing as the Crown Prince, then the people of Joseon will have to accept her as the Queen. So her brother JHJ agrees to go to Qing to get the Emperor’s seal of approval.
Meanwhile, DY has been nursed back to health and is working for a wealthy merchant in the north. She desperately wants to get in touch with her ‘brother’ Chun Soo to let him know where she is and that she’s all right but she discovers that the merchant hasn’t been sending her letters because he wants her to stay and work for him!
So DY carves a message on a rock and asks a merchant passing through town to take it with him when he goes south. (This was a custom for merchants to do at the time) Chun Soo and Chief Seo have been ‘fired’ from their jobs at the palace and sent by the King on a secret mission to find DY. On their travels they find the rock left in a pile of other rocks with messages. Now they know DY’s location so they ride for three days to reach her.
DY is getting impatient and worried that she can’t get in touch with them so she tries to sneak back to the capital. But she freezes in horror when she sees JHJ arriving on a palanquin.
JHJ finally captures DY
JHJ has arrived in the city to wine and dine (bribe) the Qing envoys and rents a gisaeng house from the wealthy merchant. (The owner of the gisaeng house happens to be Sul Hee, DY’s brother’s old friend) The merchant catches DY trying to sneak away so she has to stay.
Sir Shim, an exiled yangban staying with the merchant, realises that JHJ’s arrival is suspicious and wants to find out why he’s there. So he manages to be the ‘interpreter’ at JHJ’s meeting with the envoys where he’s SHOCKED to discover that JHJ intends to give the Qing envoy the records of Joseon’s national security in exchange for his nephew being accepted as Crown Prince.
After the meeting JHJ orders the ‘interpreter’ to be killed off as he knows too much. But Sul Hee (the gisaeng) sends men to protect him from JHJ’s assassins. There’s an emotional reunion when Sul Hee realises who DY is.
Chief Seo and Chun Seo are on their way north but they have to keep changing their horses at various stops and when they get nearer there are no horses to rent as JHJ has taken them all!
DY tries again to send a letter to Chun Soo (this time via Sir Shim) but this time it gets intercepted by JHJ! He learns that DY is alive and well, right under his nose! So he immediately deploys his assassins. DY is trying to sneak away again but the merchant catches her AGAIN. And then JHJ turns up…
Sir Shim and DY are arrested by Jang Hee Jae
Chun Soo and Chief Seo are on their way to save DY after FINALLY managing to get some horses. But they are too late as DY is tied up and about to be killed by JHJ. 😮 This time Sir Shim saves the day by bursting in with some bad news for JHJ – Sir Shim has managed to get the security records that JHJ wants to give to Qing as a bribe. So if JHJ kills DY, he will never get the records!
JHJ is furious but he has to let DY go. Sir Shim reveals where he buried the records and is locked up in a barn while JHJ’s men go and search for the book. But after they find the buried book, the assassins come back to kill Sir Shim. But DY has helped him escape from the barn and they have run away. Sir Shim is very unfit and can’t run far, which reminds DY of the King.
Chief Seo and Chun Soo arrive in town to find DY. But they are too late – DY is already on her way to the capital with Sul Hee. Before they left Sir Shim revealed that the records that he gave JHJ are FAKE. He gives DY the original records to take back to the capital. JHJ is also on his way back with the bad news that DY is still alive!
Sir Shim gives DY and Sul Hee the security records to take back to the capital
Back at the palace, JOJ is concerned that the King doesn’t trust her anymore. So she decides that the only way to make him trust her is to poison HERSELF at a ceremony to celebrate her own coronation! Then she can blame the dethroned Queen for trying to kill her. It’s a dangerous plan and her court ladies don’t want to go through with this. But she orders them to poison her. After drinking the poison she becomes seriously ill, but later recovers.
DY has returned to the capital with Sulhee but guards have her picture and are looking for her. Still, she manages to sneak into the capital past the guards dressed as a boy. Desperate to see the King (who still thinks she is missing) she takes a job as a water maid. She sees the King and calls out to him but before he sees her she gets caught and dragged away …
Oh Ho Yang recognises DY
The King doesn’t recognise DY as she is dragged away in the distance by the guards. And then he turns his attention to JOJ when he hears that she’s regained consciousness (after poisoning herself ). The King is attentive and concerned about JOJ and she loves it! Her plan seems to be working too, as the King starts to think that many JOJ is innocent and the Queen guilty after all…
The court lady investigators come to carry out a routine inspection of the water maids’ residence. DY sees an opportunity to hide a message in a room for Investigator Jung (who still thinks DY is probably dead). Lady Jung gets the message but before she has time to tell the King, she’s arrested because ‘proof’ has been found that some of the investigators conspired with the Seoin party to kill JOJ, the Queen. (Of course this isn’t true since JOJ poisoned herself!)
DY gets a job as a water maid in the palace
Oh Ho Yang, the silly son of the director of music, has recognised DY and( hoping for a reward) his father insists that they tell JHJ who immediately dispatches his soldiers to bring her to him dead or alive. There’s a cat and mouse chase around the palace before she manages to outsmart the soldiers by leaving her shoes poking out behind a wall and running out of the palace in her socks!
Chun Soo and Chief Seo arrive back in the capital having failed to find DY. The King is very concerned and in disguise goes out of the palace to their old haunts. Then he hears the familiar melody of the haegum instrument and he follows the music. The melody leads him to DY!
DY and the King are reunited
At last the King and DY are reunited. DY seems overwhelmed by his emotional reaction seeing her. He takes her to the royal residence outside the palace in the city to hide her. At last Chun Soo is reunited with DY too. (Poor Chun Soo spent all this time searching for her but it’s the King who finds her in the end. ) Later Chun Soo overhears the King expressing his love for DY and he looks shocked. Poor Chun Soo.
DY gives the King the evidence about the money bribe that proves JOJ et al were involved in the dethronement of the Queen. So now he knows for sure that she is guilty. When he returns to the palace he is cold to JOJ and she is shocked and confused at his change of behaviour.
JOJ has the King watched and discovers that the King’s red ginseng tonic is being taken out of the palace. To her horror she realises that DY is alive and the King is so worried about her that he is giving her his own medicine!
The King orders the the case against the Queen be reopened and promotes Chief Seo to Head of the King’s Royal Guards. The Tribunal, headed by baddie Oh Yoon, is investigated and clothes are confiscated from the laundry as DY noticed that JOJ’s hanbok had mung beans on it. (eating mung beans before drinking poison would weaken the poison’s effect).
The head of the Treasury panics when some of his dodgy account books are found buried in the palace grounds. Guards arrive and confiscate the books, but the head is so worried that he breaks into the library to get the books back. Chief Seo is waiting for him – it was a trap and the books are fake. But this proves that the books contained information that the head did not want the King to see! The King has all the proof he needs and guilty parties including JHJ are arrested.
This second phase of the story sees JOJ reaching her goal of becoming Queen but also sees the beginning of her downfall. She could never stay in the position for long and surely she must be wondering if it was really worth it. She’s certainly not happy and she is not respected by the people of Joseon. The King has desperately wanted to believe in her innocence but now he KNOWS for sure that she is not. Their relationship can never recover from this and it’s only downhill from now on for JOJ.
At last DY and the King are reunited after Chun Soo and Chief Seo rushed all over the country looking for her. I feel so bad for Chun Soo though as now that the King has confessed his feelings to DY Chun Soo will always have to play second fiddle to the King.