Dong Yi carries out ancestral rites for her father and brother
In the third part of Dong Yi, JOJ has lost the King’s love and trust but desperately tries to cling on to her title of Queen. To do that she needs to get rid of DY who has proof that JOJ is guilty of framing the dethroned Queen. JOJ seems to think that she can get away with anything and by the end of this part it looks as though she is right, because she manages to get DY arrested and then pushes to have her executed.
Jang Ok Jung (now the Queen) visits her brother Jang Hee Jae whose been arrested
JHJ and his accomplices are tortured to make them confess their part in the death of the Queen Mother, but JOJ still refuses to admit knowing anything about it. And she tearfully blames THE KING for her actions, since he doesn’t love her anymore.
JOJ knows that DY has proof of her guilt and orders Lord Oh to get rid of her. So the Namin faction refuse to accept DY’s evidence as she is ‘just a servant’. They also insist she be handed over to them for questioning!
The King wants to protect DY so he makes her a ‘special court lady’ (the same level as JOJ was when she first entered the palace – a concubine of the king without an official concubine rank). She is not just a servant anymore and everyone will have to treat her with respect. (And she can’t simply be quietly killed off!) She enters the palace in her finery in a palanquin!
DY becomes a Special Court Lady
DY’s life changes overnight – she lives in her own residence in the palace, wears beautiful silk hanboks, and must be addressed politely as mama nim, and she can’t work at the investigation bureau anymore.
At first DY thinks it’s all a mistake and she has no right to be a Special Court Lady (this is an honour for ladies who have slept with the King! And she hasn’t.) She’s also worried about her past and doesn’t want to lie to the King. He soon visits her in her new residence and sheepishly confesses that he has feelings for her. And he gives her a ring. He acts like a teenager who’s never been in love before.
DY carries out ancestral rites for her father and brother
But DY’s promotion is not going down well around the palace. JOJ sees an opportunity and resorts to negotiating with the King: her brother’s release in exchange for her making the namin faction accept DY as a Special Court Lady. The King accepts her offer and at the same time they both acknowledge that the love between them has gone.
DY sneaks out of the palace and in a panic the King chases after her thinking she has run away. But Chun Soo knows where she is – it’s the anniversary of her father’s death and she has gone to the cliff where he died. The King finds her there and tries to assure her that he doesn’t need to know about her past. (but of course he doesn’t realise how serious this issue will be)
DY and her friends from from the music department go out with the King!
The King is in love and daydreams his way through his Royal Lectures on Confucianism! But DY is having trouble in her new role. First, court ladies don’t want to work for her as she has no power – and nobody wants to get on the wrong side of JOJ! In the end Lady Jung and Jung Im from the investigation bureau agree to become her attendants. But then things get worse when DY’s maids start getting sick and rumours spread that DY’s quarters are unlucky. Of course JOJ’s mother is behind this.
The King takes DY on a surprise date out to their favourite tavern in the city but they get stuck in heavy rain and have to stay the night in an inn where they finally consummate their relationship. But when they get back to the palace the strange ‘plague’ has spread from DY’s residence to the CP’s residence so now this is SERIOUS. But oddly it’s only the court maids who are getting sick…
DY is under suspicion of trying to kill the Crown Prince and her residence is searched. Unfortunately JOJ is in charge of the investigation as she is the Queen and head of the inner court. JOJ gives DY three days to find the cause of the problem and if she fails she will pay with her life!
DY wears the ring the King gave her
JOJ discovers that the person behind the ‘plague’ is her own mother who did it hoping that DY would by accused of the attempted murder of the Crown Prince. But JOJ is vindictive and jealous of DY. So first, she wants to break the trust between DY and the King. Then she wants DY dead!
The Namin faction are digging into DY and Chun Soo’s past to see if they can find some dirt on them. But they discover that there are NO early records of them. This is suspicious so they try to wine and dine DY’s friends from the music department to try to get the truth from them.
DY discovers that there is poison in the cosmetics that the court maids are wearing and this is causing the illness. The cosmetic peddler who sold the product to the court ladies is linked to Lady Yoon (JOJ’s mum) But before DY can investigate further, Lady Investigator Yu takes delight in arresting her since the three days limit is up.
The King has been informed that JOJ’s mother is involved in the poisoning of the court ladies, but JOJ is the master of SPIN. She knows that the King will come to question her about this so she has to find some scapegoats ASAP. When the King arrives at her residence he finds ‘the court ladies who bought the cosmetics’ being tortured. She tells the King that she and her mother knew nothing until now and again she makes herself and her mother appear the victims! Brilliant.
There’s good news for the King and JOJ as the Qing envoys are coming to the capital to acknowledge the Crown Prince. But does this mean that the Qing envoys don’t know that the security records JHJ gave them were fake?
Jang Hee Jae gets a grilling from the furious Qing envoy who wants the real records ASAP
When the Qing envoy arrives he immediately summonses JHJ who is very pleased with himself until he sees that the envoy is angry and insulted that he gave them a fake book. JHJ is shocked. He didn’t know it was fake. The envoy warns him that the Crown Prince’s position can easily be reversed. And if they don’t get the book before the party leaves for Qing, the King will be informed of the situation! ha ha
JHJ staggers out in shock and then bumps into the cocky Sir Shim who seems to enjoy seeing him in a state. JHJ also doesn’t know that Sir Shim gave DY the original records!
JOJ sweetly announces that she intends to make DY an official concubine. The King is pleased but of course JOJ has an ulterior motive – she has guessed that DY is trying to hide something about her past and JOJ wants to know what it is. DY’s family background will have to be thoroughly investigated before she can become an official concubine!
The King senses DY’s distress at having her family formally investigated so he asks Chief Seo to check into DY’s past too – he thinks they may be runaway slaves which he will readily forgive. But when he tells Chief Seo about the cliff where he found DY conducting the memorial service for her father, Chief Seo’s face is shocked. He knows who she is…
Chief Seo looks over the geomgye files again
Chief Seo gets all the records of the geomgye (sword fraternity) to review. He relives the past and still thinks DY’s dad killed his own father. But Chun Soo tells him the truth – that he simply admitted it to protect Chief Seo. Digging deeper into the situation would have caused more problems. Sir Shim has discovered who DY is too. Needing more time to look into this, Chief Seo hurries to stop DY telling the King who she really is. He gives the King false papers about her past explaining that her family accepted help from the geomgye when they were runaways and that’s why she feels guilty.
Time is running out and JHJ is getting desperate to find the security records. Sir Shim knows that the Qing want to check Joseon’s army to make sure Joseon is not getting too powerful. JOJ tries to convince Lord Oh that giving the book to the Qing will improve relations with them and gain their trust. She can spin anything for her own gain! They decide to have a banquet for the Qing so that all the guards will be there. Then they can search the palace – and DY’s residence – for the record book. But once at the banquet DY realises something is wrong….
EPISODE 36 (best episode)
During the banquet Jang Ok Jung has Dong Yi’s residence ransacked to find the security records
This has got to be one of the best episodes so far for the twist at the end. At the banquet DY decides to go back to her residence as she suspects that something is wrong – EVERYONE is at the banquet which is odd. But JOJ INSISTS that DY stay where she is. Again she has predicted everything – she knows the protocol at the palace. She makes the Tribunal guards surround the banquet so that Chief Seo will think something is strange and he will send all his Royal Guards to the banquet too. Then all the police will be in one place and her team can freely search the palace for the records.
Lady Yu and the investigators search DY’s room and eventually find the book behind a secret wall in a cabinet. Chun Soo and Sir Shim’s residences have been searched too. Lady Yu is getting more vicious and has a court lady who catches them searching the rooms ‘dealt with’. DY comes back to find the book and her court lady missing. Sir Shim is tied up in barn. Chief Seo just closes his eyes when he hears the news that the book is gone.
But now for the brilliant twist. Most of this episode I had such a tight stomach feeling angry as they search DY’s room and annoyed that she kept the book so that they could easily find it. But the puppet master is DY not JOJ. She knew what JOJ’s plans were all along and was hoping that JOJ would FIND the book so now the police can catch her brother in the act of handing it over!
When JHJ realises that the Royal Guards are surrounding the gisaeng house, he desperately tries to wrestle the book back from the Qing envoy in a very ungentlemanly manner! He rushes outside with it but gets caught trying to burn it.
The King is informed and JOJ realises it was DY’s trap! JHJ and his accomplices are tortured. But JOJ thinks she can escape blame AGAIN. The Namin faction support her and lobby the King proclaiming her innocence.
All the baddies are getting arrested. DY goes to see JOJ and reveals she put ginger water all over the floor in her room so that it would go onto the socks of any intruders – when they add vinegar to the ladies’ socks the socks turn pink. The same has been done with the security records so if JOJ touched the book her fingers will turn pink with vinegar.
JOJ screams vowing that DY and the deposed Queen will suffer for this. But the King has been listening to their conversation and walks in just as JOJ throws the bottle of vinegar on the floor. JOJ begs the King to believe she is innocent but he just looks sad and pleads with her to stop pretending.
He orders all the lower ranking namin to be arrested. Lord Oh coldly admits that he can’t stand by JOJ any longer even though she still thinks she can get out of this. Under Lord Oh’s orders Lady Yu tells Chief Seo that it was the Queen (JOJ) who ordered them to search DY’s room and get the book.
JOJ finally decides to go and confess her guilt to the King. But she still has a card to play. She is the mother of the Crown Prince and so she argues that she should remain Queen! Otherwise the Crown Prince’s position will become unstable too. But the King decides to depose her anyway. All the namin leaders are stripped of their titles, some are executed, and some, including JHJ, are exiled.
Finally Queen Inhyeon returns to the palace. The King is waiting to greet her as she gets out of the palanquin. They are both visibly moved with tears in their eyes. The King feels bad for the way he so easily fell for JOJ’s lies. Duh! DY is waiting to greet the Queen at her residence and JOJ does the walk of shame (having been demoted back to Hui Bin concubine rank) back to her old residence while the court ladies gather to indulge in some schadenfreude. JOJ bears the humiliation wanting to use it to fuel her determination to never feel like this again.
DY is put in charge of the Investigation Bureau and so has to punish Lady Yu and her two accomplices for carrying out JOJ’s orders. They are terrified and expecting to die. And shocked when DY forgives them, simply demoting them to lower ranks.
DY is promoted to an official concubine rank 4
Now for a comic interlude as the King reveals to his head eunuch that he had a dream – a birth dream. He is obviously hoping that DY will become pregnant. He pays her a visit and sheepishly asks her if is she having cravings? She has no idea what he’s talking about and says she is fine. He looks disappointed! But she tells him she would like to eat chuk porridge which she got from the welfare office years ago when she was a hungry slave.
DY and the King go out of the palace only to find a long queue of poor people waiting for food at the welfare office and some people are turned away and beaten by the guards when they refuse to leave. The King realises that he has no idea what is going on in his country and that the officials have not been honest about the situation.
The ceremony to make DY a concubine level 4 is delayed when the doctor has to be called and announces that she is pregnant.
One year later …
The king is busy with national affairs and wants to use funds in the royal treasury to help the poor. DY has had a son and the King spends every spare moment he has with her and the baby. The Queen, amongst others, believes that the Crown Prince should be changed (to DY’s son). So JOJ’s mother orders the court ladies to stab pins into a voodoo doll of the Queen!
Instead of a 100 day birthday party for the prince, DY wants to use the money to open a welfare office for the poor. The plans go ahead and she goes incognito to help dish out the food. But she is shocked when she bumps into a man who drops a geomgye headband. Then the head of the welfare office is found murdered and the geomgye are blamed for the crime. DY and Chun Soo have to find out if the geomgye really has reformed.
A new character, Lord Jang the Inspector General, arrives to investigate the murder. He is the son of the Inspector General who DY found murdered by the water when she was a child. But he’s the new baddie! He pays a secret visit to JOJ who reveals that his father was murdered by Lord Oh and the Namin faction and not by the gyeomgye after all. Lord Jang is ambitious and wants to take over the Namin faction and make Lord Oh work under him. And it looks like he’ll do whatever it takes to get what he wants including JOJ’s dirty work.
Chun Soo confronts the new geomgye members
DY gets permission to go out of the palace to go to a retreat for a break. But really she is investigating again. She needs to find out what the hand signals that the dying official showed her when she was a child mean. Sir Shim thinks they are numbers used by merchants. Together they go to a gambling house to ask the Qing merchants what the signs mean but nobody can help them.
Meanwhile Chun Soo goes back to the Banchon slave village and discovers that the geomgye HAVE regrouped and are having a meeting in the old cave. Chun Soo fights with the new members of the geumgye until they realise who he is. And now for a shocker: the head of the regrouped geumgye is Gaeduara, DY’s childhood friend. And now for more shocking news – the geumgye have been targeting yangban, but the next target is the King’s concubine. Gaedura has no idea that he has ordered his men to kill his friend DY!
The geomgye assassins get into DY’s quarters at her retreat and hold their swords to her throat. But she saves herself when she announces that she is the daughter of the original geomgye chief! Later DY meets Gaedura who is full of hate because his father was murdered. He refuses to stop what he’s doing.
Lord Jang who is working for JOJ informs the King that JHJ and the other exiled Namin baddies have all given away their wealth to the poor – to ‘repent’. (Actually they have given it away to get back in the King’s good books and back to the capital.) The King falls for this and the baddies are invited back.
Chun Soo doesn’t report that the assassins came to DY’s retreat and almost killed her! Lord Jang realises that this is strange. He checks the corpse of a murdered guard and realises that it was the geomgye were the assassins. And yet they didn’t kill her. This is odd. He sends his guards to round up the geomgye members.
DY has been working day and night to work out what the hand signals mean that JOJ and the dead official used. Finally she realises that it is a code using music notes. And the code spells out Lord Oh’s name!
DY, Sir Shim, and Chief Seo stand in silence realising that they now know who the murderer of the Namin officials all those years ago was – Lord Oh. DY also realises that the butterfly accessory dropped by the court lady belonged to JOJ. So now DY knows that JOJ was behind the Namin murders, the framing of the geomgye, and the death of her father.
When Lord Oh realises that the truth is out, he agrees to lie low for a while. Lord Jang’s men take him to the mountain supposedly to a safe house. But instead they kill him. Gaedura and his team have followed Lord Oh thinking he is trying to run away, but they are shocked when they see him murdered. They end up in a fight with Lord Jang’s men and are blamed for Lord Oh’s murder.
At the same time Lord Jang looks through the geomgye records and sees that the Head of the geumgye had a daughter who supposedly died but whose body was never found – and her name was DY too. Rather a coincidence. Perhaps she should have changed her whole name?
A wounded Gaedura is taken to Sul Hee’s gisaeng house. All the roads are blocked by guards as Lord Jang is determined to find him. Worried, DY sneaks out of her house and is helping Gaedura escape when the King and all his men turn up. JOJ’s plan has come true and the King sees with his own eyes DY covered in blood trying to help a traitor. Oh dear.
There are tears as the King finally hears the truth about DY’s past from DY herself. But his reaction is not what JOJ had hoped because the King wants to cover up DY’s past. First he goes to see Gaedura who is locked up in a cell and will be executed. Gaedura explains that her father never killed anyone.
So the King announces that DY is innocent and didn’t know who the geomgye where. But DY can’t stand by and watch as the King’s reputation takes a battering as news spreads that he is trying to cover up what happened.
JOJ is delighted at first when DY hands herself in to the police. Chun Soo is also arrested. But the King chases DY hoping to stop her. And JOJ cries when she hears what lengths the King will go to for DY.
Things are getting worse and worse. In police custody DY confesses to everything before the King can arrive to stop her. The scholars all lobby the King to punish DY by execution but he REFUSES.
Now for more bad news. DY’s son has measles. And within hours he is dead. The palace is in turmoil. Soon after this the King has to decide on DY’s punishment. Chun Soo is exiled and she keeps her title but is sent out of the palace. The King has no choice but to officially vow never to see her again. Team JOJ are happy although JOJ is disappointed that DY wasn’t executed. She thinks DY can still come back to the palace.
One night the King arrives at DY’s new home. He’s drunk. The next day he vows never to go back but later hears that she is pregnant. DY has a son and the King names the child Geum. Six years later DY and Geum live with the commoners but Geum acts and dresses like a nobleman. But when he tells people that he is a prince. they just laugh at him.
So JOJ successfully has DY removed from the palace but this is far from over and she knows it. And for now she has a strong and ambitious partner-in-crime in Lord Jang who makes Lord Oh look like a kitten. JOJ must know though that Lord Jang can’t be trusted and has no loyalty to anyone. Lord Oh seems so pathetic when he naively follows Lord Jang’s men to his death on the mountain. But he gets what he deserves because just as he had the leaders of his own party murdered so that he could move up, now the same thing has happened to him!
It’s pretty amazing that Jang Hee Jae and the other baddies are going to be allowed back to the palace. First he was involved in the poisoning of the Queen Mother and now he has been caught trying to sell the country for his own personal gain. What in the world does he have to do to get exiled forever?