Oh my God. How to describe this episode… It’s more angst once again for our leads, who must now bear the consequences of being too happy too soon.
Yay! So Yoon Kang doesn’t want to let Soo In go! It’s too painful for him to even try to forget her, so he begs her to stay by his side. Yesss, I am so glad he didn’t even take any of Hye Won’s words to heart. Soo In accepts him again, and they kiss. Oohlala. Hey all other actors in other dramas, take note on how Lee Jun Ki kisses his female lead. The lips move.
Anyways, the two are now happily reunited, and Yoon Kang promises that he won’t get hurt or killed so that they can spend their future together.
Won Shin visits VP Kim to congratulate on his reinstatement, and VP Kim is quite impressed that someone like Won Shin was able to get him back into the palace when Leader Kim had pretty much abandoned him. With that, Won Shin hopes VP Kim will now take him in so that he doesn’t have to be Leader Kim’s hunting dog any longer. Meanwhile, Sang Chu sends a message to Hye Won that Yoon Kang wants to see her that evening. She’s excited that he might want to see her for more personal reasons than just business. Pfft. More likely to break her heart.
Yoon Kang has other plans though. Instead of meeting Hye Won, he’s drawn her away from her home so that he can break into Won Shin’s estate. He has Sang Chu act as decoy and shoot a pistol into the air, drawing all of Won Shin’s guards away from his room. Yoon Kang easily breaks in but Sung Gil aims his rifle at his head. Won Shin wasn’t fooled by his little ruse just by knowing the sound a pistol makes versus a rifle’s. He also knew that Yoon Kang would do something tonight because he always acted emotionally rather than rationally. Sung Gil forces Yoon Kang to drop his gun, and then Won Shin takes out his own. It’s the same gun that killed Park Jin Han, and he’s going to use it to now kill the son.
What will Yoon Kang do with two guns aimed at him!? But he quickly grabs Sung Gil’s rifle and uses it to push the both of them out of the room. Won Shin hurries out and shoots, but misses Yoon Kang. Sung Gil goes after our hero, who then jumps on him from behind. The two scuffle for a bit, and Sung Gil whips out his knife. Yoon Kang deflects it well and manages to gain the upper hand by grabbing Sung Gil’s gun and shooting him in the leg. He runs off just before Won Shin catches up to them.
Won Shin’s guard is up and he senses Yoon Kang behind him. Yoon Kang jumps on top of him from the roof and knocks Won Shin down. Aiming his gun at his head, he unmasks himself. No need to keep up the ruse anyways. Yoon Kang demands an apology but all Won Shin can give is a defeated excuse: He didn’t want to kill Park Jin Han, but he was ordered to do so. He had no choice but to obey because otherwise his daughter would have become a salve who would get repeatedly raped and beaten. Yoon Kang yells for him to shut up, because really this sob story could kind of work and mess with his revenge. It’s working on me at least.
Yoon Kang readies his gun to shoot, but suddenly Hye Won rushes in protecting her father. Smart woman, figuring out Yoon Kang’s schemes. She throws herself as the sacrifice instead, stating that she too much pay for the crimes her father committed for her sake. Won Shin freaks out. Like, really freaks out at the prospect of his daughter dying before him. My heart breaks watching him trying to protect his daughter, and he pushes her away, this time willingly giving himself up for death if it means his daughter can live. In a way it’s a bit comedic seeing these two throwing themselves before the gun, and Yoon Kang keeps switching back and forth on whom he should shoot first. But it’s really touching when you realize that these two are our “villains” and yet still display a love and deep loyalty to each other that you would normally see only between the “heroes.”
It’s a touching display of love that even moves Yoon Kang to frustration. They’re ready to die, and won’t give him the satisfaction of revenge. He ends up not shooting either of them, afraid that he’ll become as evil and ruthless as Won Shin. Instead he ties up Won Shin and hands him over to the Moon Il Do and the police, who arrive in the nick of time. Won Shin is to confess everything, and if he doesn’t then Yoon Kang swears that he will kill him next time. Moon Il Do assures Yoon Kang that everything will be resolved by tomorrow. However, when Won Shin is led into the police headquarters, he exchanges a strange look with the vice captain in charge. Looks like our troubles won’t be resolved so soon.
The following morning Yoon Kang visits the riverside where he was shot. Soo In meets him there and they embrace, relieved that the worst is over. But is it over?!
When interrogated by Moon Il Do he completely denies knowledge of Kim Jwa Young or being a gunman. He’s going against everything he implicitly confessed to the other night, and makes up the excuse that the gun in his house is only for self protection. Won Shin accuses Yoon Kang instead of being the gunman who committed high treason and killed all the ministers. After all, didn’t Moon Il Do see for himself that Yoon Kang had threatened him with a gun and tied him up?
Officers from the Court of Justice (read: Leader Kim’s puppets) barge in and take over the investigation. Leader Kim still isn’t happy that Won Shin got caught though, and is outraged to find out that Park Yoon Kang – the son that should have been dead three years ago – is actually alive and the one who turned Won Shin in. Leader Kim suddenly turns all of his wrath towards Yoon Kang, and VP Kim is only happy to help get rid of him.
Soo In is shocked to hear from Yoon Kang that Won Shin was the actual murderer when she had been so close to the Choi family, but she’s proud to hear that Yoon Kang chose not to kill him in front of her best friend. As they’re joyously celebrating a brighter future together with Yeon Ha (and introduce his sister to Kanemaru, Sang Chu, and Je Mi), Hye Won has arrived at his estate, wanting to apologize for her father’s actions. Yoon Kang rejects her apology, as it’s not something she should say, and bids her to leave. On her way out, she witnesses the merry family reunion cut short when the Court of Justice officers barge in and arrest Yoon Kang for treason. Oh boy…
When dragged into his prison cell, Yoon Kang crosses paths with Won Shin. Clearly Won Shin did not confess as Yoon Kang had instructed him to do because he had seen an opportunity and had taken it. Their case gets taken all the way up to Emperor Gojong, where the conservatives led by VP Kim call for Yoon Kang’s death because he escaped his beheading three years ago. Gojong’s supporters try to redirect the focus of the case on to Won Shin being the gunman, and the arguing leads Gojong to assign the Court of Justice to the investigation… led by Minister Min Young Ik. AHA! VP Kim is foiled.
Hopefully Min Young Ik can provide a fair investigation considering he got bribed by Won Shin into bringing VP Kim back into the palace.
Hye Won visits her father in his wooden cell and begs him to tell the truth. She wants nothing more than for all the madness to end, but he tells her to hush. He never committed any crimes, and will find a way out by himself. If she dares spill the truth, then she would have just killed her own father.
Meanwhile Moon Il Do visits Yoon Kang and tells him to continue pretending that he’s Hanjo. The court has no evidence that he killed the ministers and couldn’t find his gun. However, Yoon Kang is afraid that Yeon Ha might be dragged into the mess so he’d prefer to just reveal the whole truth. He also wants Moon to arrest the vice captain (as he was the one who made Son Taek Soo lie about the letter) and Jo Dal Soo, a criminally well-known counterfeiter. These two will be integral to his plan of exposing Won Shin’s crimes.
The following day Minister Min brings both of them to his office to interrogate them together. As expected, Yoon Kang admits to the whole truth, stating that he was shot by Won Shin’s gun instead of the officers who were chasing him. He accuses Won Shin of following Leader Kim’s orders, framing his father, and eventually killing his father.
Naturally Won Shin denies it all and claims that the gun found at his house was for self-protection. He denies any knowledge of ‘Lord Kim Jwa Young,’ which Yoon Kang then points out: “If you don’t know him, why do you call him ‘lord’?” Hehe.
Minister Min silences their arguing and asks after Hye Won. Apparently she was a witness to the events the other night when Yoon Kang handed Won Shin to the police. Won Shin doesn’t want her involved in the investigation at all, even though she’s the only witness, and begs Minister Min to not question her. Otherwise Won Shin may blurt out something he shouldn’t…
At that moment, both recall the bribe that Minister Min received, and the tension between the two does not go unnoticed by Yoon Kang. Minister Min pointedly asks if that’s a direct threat, and Won Shin backs down as he doesn’t want to reveal all his cards yet. With that, Minister Min calls Hye Won as a witness and now it’s Won Shin’s turn to be really worried.
Soo In begs Hye Won to tell the truth, but Hye Won doesn’t want to see her. To tell the truth means to sell out her own father, and that’s a tricky dilemma. Will she tell the truth for the sake of doing what’s right, or save the father who’s done everything he can to let her live a good life? Ho Kyung also visits Yoon Kang to see if Soo In knew of his identity. He berates Yoon Kang for not hiding it better because now Soo In will be in pain again. She’s already suffered enough with his “death” the first time around. Heh, that lover boy.
The Vice Captain and Jo Dal Soo are separately called into the Court of Justice as per Yoon Kang’s plan. They’ll be questioned separately and told that the other already confessed to get them to really confess their part. Then they’ll be offered asylum for the rest of their lives, protected by the king. Yoon Kang knows that Jo Dal Soo will bite, but Vice Captain will not readily sell out information just for a promotion. So the Court should allow him to be released when they get pressured by the conservatives. At that point, the conservatives will most likely send a gunman to kill the Vice Captain so the police should be ready to save him. When the Vice Captain sees this attempt on his life, he will most likely turn and tell the truth.
Everything works to plan, except instead of releasing the real Vice Captain they send out a decoy. The Vice Captain watches in the darkness as an assassination attempt is made, and he realizes that the conservatives will not protect him as he thought they would.
While all this is happening, Yoon Kang pays a visit to Won Shin. He wants Won Shin to reveal the truth tomorrow before Hye Won gets involved. She will most surely side with her father in her statement, but when it is proved that her statement is false, she will be in trouble as well. Soon after, VP Kim comes by with bad news: They weren’t able to kill Vice Captain so their actions have now backfired. If Won Shin was calm before, now he’s not so much. With Vice Captain being a wild card to his plans, he tells VP Kim to visit Minister Min. The threat of the bribe from before will surely help Won Shin’s case now.
VP Kim seeks Minister Min, but the minister has no interest in talking to him at all. It’s impressive that even under the threat of the bribe being revealed, Minister Min is still acting quite righteously.
The following day Won Shin and Yoon Kang are seated outside in the courtyard to face Emperor Gojong and listen to the witnesses called forth. Hye Won comes forward first, and when asked if her father admitted to being a gunman, she says… he didn’t. That’s kind of disappointing, but not unexpected. She says that the only gunman that night was Yoon Kang, who had threatened her father and herself, and because she only knew him as Hasegawa Hanjo she never knew what his true motives were towards her family.
Hye Won leaves the court and sees Soo In fretting outside. “Now, Yoon Kang has become someone neither of us can have,” she says. That’s cold. And slightly pathetic. And very vengeful.
Now Jo Dal Soo and Vice Captain are called forth. When questioned by the emperor, Jo Dal Soo admits his part in the fabricating of Park Jin Han’s letter and he says that Won Shin ordered him to do it. The emperor turns to Vice Captain to see if he’ll corroborate the counterfeiter’s words, and the man pauses.
Flashback to the night before and it turns out VP Kim did eventually get to Minister Min. He does threaten him with the bribe, but in return for keeping the secret he only wants to speak with Vice Captain. And, sadly, Minister Min allows that to happen. Guess he’s not so impressive anymore.
VP Kim then convinces Vice Captain to keep his mouth shut by apologizing for trying to kill him and saying that the emperor will surely not protect him. And even if the emperor did and Vice Captain told the truth, the conservatives will still all be after him. If Vice Captain shuts up, VP Kim will ensure the man’s safety for the rest of his life. Wow – not only do the conservatives get the result they want but VP Kim also manages to use this case as a way to gain more leverage in the conservatives’ party.
So back to the court and Vice Captain says… no, Jo Dal Soo is lying. Of course that is a shock to both Jo and Yoon Kang, whose plan is now completely falling apart. Now that the statements are completely opposite each other, no conclusion can be made.
Emperor Gojong wants both Jo and Vice Captain tied up and interrogated until they tell the truth, but VP Kim calls for the emperor to stop the interrogation and render the verdict. Whether Yoon Kang killed the ministers or not, he’s still Park Jin Han’s son and should be beheaded for treason by association. By not beheading Yoon Kang, Gojong would be rendering the verdict three years ago null and also allowing the slander against his father to actually be upheld. On top of that, if Gojong is to use torture for interrogation, surely he did not forget that that was the reason VP Kim was exiled in the first place? To question forcibly would mean to become VP Kim.
Compelling arguments made by a conniving man. Denggit!
Yoon Kang appeals to the king’s friendship and belief in Park Jin Han, and begs him to believe in the truth. But it’s all futile.
Emperor Gojong hands out his verdict: Won Shin will be released on lack of evidence for committing the murders. And Yoon Kang will be beheaded for high treason.
AH CRAP. Well we know Yoon Kang can’t be killed because it’s episode 13. If this happened later in the series then we might have more cause for worry. But still, it’s not fun watching Gojong be played like a fiddle by the most corrupt members of his court. Even his own loyal men can’t argue against VP Kim’s logic in the end because the weak Gojong of the past had set a precedent that the semi-strong Gojong of the present can’t undo just yet.
We’re at an interesting point in the series where the main confrontation is coming to a head and we’re not even at the end of the series. It indicates that the larger issues in the world will now play a bigger part in the rest of the episodes. Yay! It would have been too exhausting to go back and forth between Yoon Kang and Won Shin for another six episodes, so I’m glad that this story arc is going to be put to rest by episode 14.
I have to say though that the portrayal of Won Shin and Hye Won has me super conflicted. I’ve always been impressed with how well drawn they are as “villains” and that the main motive for all their actions is based on their love for each other. It made the first ten minutes really agonizing for me. While I wanted Won Shin to die, I also didn’t want him to die because of how he protected Hye Won. I would love to watch Yoo Oh Sung play a loving father in a present-day drama. His relationship with Jeon Hye Bin is just so special, and the two of them are just so convincing as father and daughter. I love it! I shouldn’t ever be on their side, but kudos to the cast and crew for making them really well-drawn antagonists to our heroes.