Japanese-Korean Drama

Japanese-Korean Drama "SECOND LOVE" Recap

By: Couch-kimchi

Japanese-Korean Drama SECOND LOVE Recap

This drama is like a guilty pleasure, albeit one I was reluctant to admit I was watching. But now that I know there are a LOT of you out there watching and waiting along with me for subs each week, it’s more fun. *heh*

We left off with Yui’s Mother confronting Kei at work, begging him to return her daughter to her. She tells him Yui is a considerate child and him ripping them apart was a bad thing to do, doesn’t he agree? Ermm…no. She scoffs, that was expected since he’s not really Japanese. Wut? He tells her he is Japanese but she claims since he lived in Germany for over 10 years, that means he’s now German. Wait…is she crazy?

She claims Yui was a “dokumo” in high-school and when Kei doesn’t know what that is, it’s further proof to her that he’s not Japanese. “Dokumo” is an amateur model. Kei’s surprised by this, he didn’t know. Mom also wants to know how he’s set, financially. It’s important if he plans to marry Yui. When Kei mentions he hadn’t thought of marriage yet, Mom really loses it, yelling that he’s irresponsible. Well, at least she asked about marriage.

Kei’s co-workers come out and Mom overhears them discussing the young woman who came to see Kei days ago and now it’s an older woman. She questions them about the younger girl, becoming convinced Kei is dating more than one woman at a time. Her neurotic itch starts as she yells at Kei to stop toying with her daughter if he doesn’t want marriage and she smacks him across the face with her purse.

That night at home, he exercises with Yui, trying to get her to stretch her back and laughs when she squeals that it hurts. He leans forward, kissing her but then places his hands behind his back and says he won’t use his hands today…when they do it. ROFLMAO, I can’t…it’s like “Look Ma, no hands!” Oh, but Yui can use her hands. She kisses him but he says he can’t take off his clothes this way so she removes his shirt for him.

Leaning over, with his hands still behind his back, he uses his teeth to pull down the strap on her top. What the hell am I watching and why do I suddenly feel like a perv? As he kisses her neck and uses his foot to remove his own pants, Yui thinks to herself that his movements were like he was dancing. I can’t stop laughing. Is he bored already?

The next day, Kei mopes as he remembers the German guy asking him to be an interpreter. At school, the little brats gossip, convinced Yui and married guy are having an affair. Quiet student, Sora, snaps at them to not arbitrarily decide something like that without proof. When the girls argue there is proof, she stomps towards them and demands to know if they saw them going into a hotel? Or did they actually see them doing it? Slamming her hands on the desk, she yells that Sensei isn’t that kind of person! OMO, she does have a crush on Yui, doesn’t she? Excellent guess by someone!

In the teacher’s lounge, the headmaster wants married guy and Yui to come into his office for a discussion. Married guy jumps up, saying they can talk here and asks if it’s about the rumored affair? The headmaster wants to know what basis the students have to claim such a thing? The headmistress claims the students know the two of them met at a restaurant and married guy drove Yui home. Whoa…if that’s all it takes, I must be having affairs with quite a few of my co-workers. *snort*

Married guy claims they met at the restaurant to discuss a difficult student: Sora. He kindly gave her a ride home and even met her Mother at the gate. It’s only natural that they meet to discuss students, that’s all there is to it and it’s nothing for them to be embarrassed about. The headmaster thinks they should educate the students while married guy apologizes to Yui for putting her in this position. Smooth liar.

At home, Yui wakes up early to cook a boxed lunch for Kei as well as doing the laundry. This makes her realize her Mother did everything for her – shopping, cooking, cleaning, ironing and even taking out the garbage. As they walk out to work, Kei finally tells Yui that her Mother visited him at work. She apologizes if her Mom said anything strange, he tells her no matter what her Mom says, it won’t affect them.

At married guys house, his wife notices again that he’s spacing out but he plays it off and rushes out to work. When he meets Yui in the hallway at school, the students suddenly start chanting “adultery” again. Quiet student Sora rushes up to Yui and asks her if it’s true? Yui says it’s not. She doesn’t understand why they’ve all misunderstood but the person she’s going out with is not married guy. She announces she’s currently living with a 27 year-old single man and reminds the girls that school is a place to study.

Kei has to start getting up early, telling Yui the interpreter job will only last 2 weeks. That night, for the first time, he turns away from her to sleep. Wow, it’s over already. (LMAO) As he heads out the next morning, it’s clear he’s a bundle of nerves. He’s introduced to the company as the interpreter but the guy also gives his stats – like that he won the Lausanne competition at 17, he used to be a solo artist with this company and that he danced the main lead in this work when it premiered.

Kei sits with the German guy on a dias and watches as the new lead who replaced him dances. He’s deeply moved as he realizes this guy is much better than he is and he tearfully admits it’s the end of his dream. Awww. That night, he asks Yui to come see the performance since he was once the lead. When she resists, he admits the other guy is a better dancer. She thinks it’s her fault that he’s suddenly satisfied with being an interpreter but he says she’s wrong. Telling her he loves her, he wants her to see the performance to get to know him better.

Yui’s Mother calls, faking a tummy ache but Yui catches on quickly. This seems to make Mom happy, it proves she and Yui’s hearts are connected since Yui could immediately tell she was lying. ROFL, Mom is a hoot. She expresses worry for Yui since that Kei guy said he didn’t want to get married. Yui accuses her of lying again and hangs up. Ruh, oh, she’s not lying about that bit.

Disaster strikes the dance company as the lead dancer refuses to perform because he hurt his arm. Kei changes the choreography and works through it with the guy so that he can safely perform without straining his arm. Yui arrives and finds her seat, the curtain goes up and the performance goes off without any further problems. Kei walks out to find it snowing and then sees Yui standing across the street, clapping for him. Awwww, cute!

At the practice studio the next day, one of the directors of the dance company arrives to thank Kei and also tells him his phone is going crazy with people requesting Kei’s services. Is it okay if he gives out Kei’s number? Hell, yes! WooHoo, a new career! He’s suddenly in demand, charged with creating choreography for commercials and other things.

Yui is asked by the headmistress to join her for tea and spills that she also has a younger boyfriend, only hers is 20 years younger. LMAO, they gossip and giggle about their young studs like schoolgirls, it’s hilarious. Married guy learns that his son passed his exam and heads home with steak to celebrate but finds the house strangely stripped empty as his wife tells him she wants to break up. She knows he holds no affection for her and hasn’t for a long time. He tries to stop her but she leaves.

Kei comes home with a bottle of Dom Pérignon to celebrate his first paycheck. He’s not only going to be busy doing choreography but he’s being asked to dance in a commercial. They drink the champagne in regular glasses. Yui’s Mom watches her regular game show, curled into blankets on the floor in the living room. Married guy goes into the bathroom and realizes his wife took all the photos of their children, which pisses him off.

Kei believe this good fortune is coming his way because of Yui, she truly became his goddess. Everything started from her. She hopes to stay his goddess forever. He wants to find a bigger apartment but she’s happy where they are since it’s close to the gym, her school and the public baths. Putting his arms around her, he starts to pull off her shirt when she asks if they’re doing it too much? He takes that to mean she doesn’t like it but that’s not what she means. He pulls her into a hug.

In voiceover, Yui says she didn’t know anything. It was only the two of them who were happy.


Korean SBS Drama Secret Door Episode 15 Recap and Screenshots

Korean SBS Drama Secret Door Episode 15 Recap and Screenshots

by Dramabeans:

Yeongjo gives Sun a chance to be reinstated as prince-regent—all he has to do is meet the Qing envoys who are on their way and ready to declare war (over a naval skirmish with a Joseon fishing boat), and stop a war from happening. Oh, is that all?

He makes it clear that taking on the task is a double-edged sword because if Sun succeeds, he does get to be regent again, but if he fails, he will forever be stripped of his rights to the regency. That means he’ll never practice politics ever again. Yeongjo makes sure to add that he won’t be lenient on him just because he’s his only son. I’m pretty sure no one here thought you would. But his point stings nonetheless—he’s happy to find a successor elsewhere.

The extreme terms of the deal don’t dissuade Sun, and he agrees to take on the challenge to convince the Qing envoys without caving to their demands. His father-in-law flails to hear that he agreed to do it, but Sun maintains his sunny composure and assures him he’ll be fine. A run-in with Advisor Chae does darken Sun’s mood, but he walks past without a word.

Korean SBS Drama Secret Door Episode 15 Recap and Screenshots

The Norons wonder why on earth Sun agreed to such a crazy deal when it’s obvious to them that it’s Yeongjo’s attempt to knock down the prince and the Norons in one fell swoop. Where the Qing are concerned, the Norons have no sway and no hidden cards, and Kim Taek decides that they’re better off cutting ties with Sun on this one.

Advisor Chae sneaks a meeting with Sun’s head court lady, and asks the same burning question on everyone’s mind—what is Sun thinking, taking a deal like that? He asks what kind of person she thinks Sun is, because the prince he knew was not that rash. He’s clearly concerned, but Court Lady Choi is wary of his motives since he betrayed them to go stand next to the king.

But this time Advisor Chae says honestly that he wants to help Sun: “If he loses his position as crown prince, then my leaving has no meaning.” Whoo, are we getting the band back together?

Korean SBS Drama Secret Door Episode 15 Recap 

That convinces her to show Advisor Chae the prince’s secret library, where she says he’s spent the most of his time in the last three years. Now Chae sees that Sun has spent his time amassing a wealth of knowledge about the world—other nations’ politics, cultures, and military strategies.

Sun’s archery skills have also become more exacting in the intervening years, and he hits his target with precision now. Princess Hyegyeong comes out to see him, and he knows right away that word of his Qing mission has traveled to her palace.

But their interactions don’t have the same defensive edge that they used to, and she says pleasantly that she’s thinking of taking up archery as a hobby, since he told her to find something of interest. She notes that it must help to clear the mind and relieve stress, since he’s here almost daily.

He readily agrees to let her try, and hands her his bow. She takes an arrow but hasn’t the strength to pull it back with any force, so Sun wraps his arms around her to pull with her and steady her aim. Oh my. He takes his sweet time doing it, too—their faces are pressed together and Hyegyeong gets flustered, keenly aware of how close they are.

But Sun never takes his eyes off the target and shoots with equal precision, congratulating her on the good shot. He’s surprised when she turns to him with tears brimming in her eyes, as she asks if it’s already like an arrow that’s left the bow—is there no going back on this mission to face the Qing envoys?

She asks with genuine concern if he couldn’t just wait it out instead, for another chance to be reinstated. But Sun says that he’s seen too much of the world to sit back and wait leisurely. He says that if it’s something he can help change, then he has to stand up and try, and asks for her understanding.

Korean SBS Drama Secret Door Episode 15 Screenshots

When Sun returns to his library, Advisor Chae is still there, poring over the books and maps. He starts to explain, but Sun has already been informed that he’d be here, and we see outside that Court Lady Choi is smiling to herself at the successful reunion. Aw.

Advisor Chae is impressed that Sun has been studying Qing so extensively, and notes that he’s even learning their martial arts. Sun says that it’s a necessary step in military defense—to learn how the enemy fights and to train your army to do the same—and says that the time of kings packing a bag and running during times of war must come to an end. He intends to be the kind of king who fights on the front lines.

Their more immediate concern is stopping a war, though, and Sun says that the key will be in convincing the Qing envoys that Joseon’s desire for peace is trustworthy. He worries what price they’ll ask for that show of trust, and Advisor Chae says they have to find a way to appear as a friend, and not an enemy to be wary of.

Advisor Chae suggests that he enlist the help of the Norons to wine and dine the envoys, since that’s the kind of politicking they do best, and he should use that to his advantage. Sun smiles at him warmly and admits that he regrets not having Advisor Chae by his side. Advisor Chae in turn says that he hopes to serve him in the great palace, as king.

Yeongjo brings the two surviving Soron ministers back to the palace and offers them a drink. He says he’s come to appreciate their open disapproval over Noron-style backstabbing, though he makes it clear that he doesn’t need an ounce of loyalty from them. What he wants is people who will serve the country and do their jobs (and oppose the Noron—let’s be real here), and tells them to come back to court.

The king’s eunuch asks him later if he brought the Soron ministers back to help Sun, but Yeongjo says he brought them back because he knows Sun will fail. The mission was designed to fail, and Yeongjo knows better than anyone that once the going gets rough, the Norons will turn their backs on Sun. That’s when he’ll swoop in with the Sorons and fix the problem himself, squashing two enemies with one blow. But he leaves his eunuch’s last question dangling in the air: “And what happens to the crown prince?”

Secret Door Episode 15 Recap and Screenshots

As expected, the sight of the Soron ministers returning to court gets Kim Taek’s wheels spinning, and he declares that the Norons will have to back the prince after all—with the king clearly holding hands with Sorons, it leaves them without a side to take. They realize they have to help Sun succeed, and Kim Taek says their future now rides on how well they can tame the prince.

They bring Sun to the gibang to do just that, and he plays the part of the fearful rookie politician beautifully. They’re convinced he’s scared out of his mind about the Qing envoy, and they puff up with assurances that they’ll handle everything and he need only rely on them. Sun readily agrees to do so, and lets them convince him to relax instead of worrying his pretty little head over important matters of state.

Outside, Bingae (Ji-dam) and Woon-shim eavesdrop with scornful looks on their faces. At the same time, former police officer Byun meets his old officer friends and asks how much the bounty on a traitor is these days. Uh-oh, we see that he’s the man who was following Bingae around the other night, and he says now that he’s found Seo Ji-dam.

Thankfully, word reaches Woon-shim of the impending breach, and she quickly passes a note to Sun that Bingae has been found out and officers are on their way to arrest her now. He quickly ends his party and sends the Noron ministers home, but just as they’re about to leave, the officers arrive and explain their purpose. Damn.

Secret Door Episode 15 Recap 

They eye Woon-shim warily and send the officers inside to search for the supposed traitor. Inside, Bingae refuses to take Sun’s help, insisting stubbornly that she’d rather die. But when officers come storming in, he doesn’t give her a chance to argue and sneaks her out. Woo-sub is ready in the back with a horse, and they ride off to safety.

They’re far from in the clear though, since they’ve only raised suspicions all around. Kim Taek calls his grandson in to ask if Sun has a regular gisaeng that he sees, and the grandson repeats the conversation he overheard between Sun and Woon-shim, implying that he knew the new gisaeng.

Woon-shim gets tortured for information but doesn’t say a word, so Kim Taek sends Minister Min to make sure that Sun really went back to the palace like he said he would.

At the same time, Hyegyeong learns that Sun ran off with Bingae to hide her, and goes to find out if it’s true from Court Lady Choi. As she arrives, Woo-sub is just about to ask Court Lady Choi for her help with something urgent, and Hyegyeong interrupts to ask where Sun is.

By the time Minister Min gets there, both the prince and princess’s servants are lined up outside, and Sun and Hyegyeong’s shoes are on the front stoop, side by side. Court Lady Choi says that Hyegyeong hasn’t been feeling well, so Sun returned to comfort her upon his arrival. Minister Min sees his son Woo-sub standing guard as well, and decides that everything looks normal.

But he conveys these things to Kim Taek, whose mind immediately jumps to other scenario that Minister Min didn’t consider: that Sun only sent Woo-sub back alone.

War Minister Hong seeks out Officer Byun to confirm Ji-dam’s identity, and asks how he can be sure that it was her. Officer Byun says bitterly that it’s because of her that he was stripped of his status and lost everything—hers is the one face he’ll never forget.

Sun has taken Ji-dam to a temple, and covers her shoulders with a monk’s robe to keep her warm. She’s still emotionless and cold towards him, but this time Sun lets his sincerity show through, as he reminisces about the things she used to write.

She says she doesn’t remember those things anymore since too much time has passed, but Sun says that the Ji-dam he knew was a brave girl who would put herself on the line to clear someone else’s name. He recalls with clarity the things she said to him while he was imprisoned, and she finally turns to look him in the eye.

He asks if she won’t find the courage one more time—to survive and give him one more chance to right wrongs and clear her father’s name. She goes to her room and mulls over his question and her conviction to give her life to destroy the royal family.

The Norons gather to share what they’ve found out, and Kim Taek says he’s got a bad feeling about this. One of them asks what it means if Sun has really helped Ji-dam escape—what is the face he’s been showing them lately? Minister Hong replies, “A mask.” They deduce that if this recent turn is true, Sun hasn’t changed at all from the person he was three years ago, and he could’ve spent his time sharpening his knife to stab the Norons in the back.

Woo-sub and Court Lady Choi arrive at the temple to escort Sun back to the palace, and warn him that there’s been a hiccup—Hyegyeong knows everything. They bring Ji-dam back to the palace with them, and from the shadows, Officer Byun watches them leave the temple together.

They bring her in dressed as a court lady, and when they find that Hyegyeong still hasn’t returned to her palace, Sun braces himself before going in to see her. She says that throughout her years of palace life, she’s always had expectations of Sun, but he’s always gone outside those expectations. Today is no exception, since she hoped he’d return safely… but alone.

She asks if it’s because he missed Ji-dam that much, to risk all this for her. But Sun’s response is that he felt regret and anguish because she’s one of his people, and he failed to protect her. He says that he felt like a sinner for not protecting the person who said her dream was to live one day as a citizen of a king who would serve his people as the heavens.

Sun admits, “More than the danger I face because of her, the thing I fear more is coming face-to-face with myself—the me who hasn’t the power to protect his own people.” Hyegyeong counters that she doesn’t want to understand a man who risks his own family to save others. “But… a heart for your people—the desire to protect them even if you have to trade your safety to do so—if that’s the heart of the crown prince, no, the future king… then that’s a heart I want to lose to.”

And with that, Hyegyeong takes Ji-dam in as a court lady in her palace. One of her court maidens has fallen ill, so Ji-dam will take her place, and Hyegyeong asks what she wants to be called since she can no longer live by her real name. Bingae is the name she chooses, and Hyegyeong gives her the last name Park because that’s the name of the girl she’s replacing.

So now the transformation is complete, and Ji-dam has officially become Bingae, the court maiden (and future Royal Consort Park, history tells us). Hyegyeong reminds her that her very presence puts the prince at risk, and warns Bingae to live as if she’s dead.

And then in a surprise twist, Officer Byun reports to Chul-joo, of all people. What in the what? Why would you report Bingae to the police if you’re on the same side? It turns out that this is all part of Chul-joo’s plan to get Bingae inside the palace, and to turn the Norons against Sun. Aaaaack, you guys, you’re fighting the wrong enemy!

Chul-joo asks Officer Byun if he doesn’t regret leaving the Norons—they have the power to reinstate him, after all. But Officer Byun knows from experience that there he’s just a tail to be cut off at any moment, and he’d prefer to live as a person under Chul-joo’s command.

We see that Chul-joo has amassed quite a group of rebels, and he leads a meeting with the declaration that they will become myung for cry and sa for sand—alone they dissipate like grains of sand, but together their powerful cries will be heard, and change the world.

Woo-sub returns home that night to a suspicious father, who asks where the prince really went today. Woo-sub insists that Sun returned to the palace, and that he’s just guarding the prince because that’s his job. But Dad reminds him that his job is to watch the prince and report his actions to the Norons, and that if he strays from that, their entire family will see ruin.

Once she’s shown to her room, Bingae immediately gets to work on her first mission given by Chul-joo: to record anything she can find out about the prince or the king, and their current status.

The Qing envoys arrive, and the Norons argue once again over whether or not they should help the prince. War Minister Hong yells at his colleagues that this is a matter of national security first—they have to help Sun reach a peaceful agreement for the sake of their country, and then deal with him later. At least you have one logical person here.

The meeting begins, and the Qing envoys come out strong with demands for free reign in Joseon waters for Qing fishing vessels and new ports built expressly for their use. When Sun counters, they offer Door Number 2: the dispatch of 50,000 Joseon soldiers to support the Qing army. What. They add the suggestion that the crown prince can command the army himself, and in that case, their emperor will believe in his loyalty completely. And of course, they remind him that there’s always Door Number 3: war.

Sun asks for time to consult his ministers, and they give him three days. When Sun meets with the Norons, War Minister Hong argues vehemently against the dispatch of soldiers, which would leave them defenseless. Sun wants to try and persuade the envoys one more time, and Kim Taek offers to go out and procure the best ginseng available for Sun to present as a gift. Minister Hong accuses Sun of thinking of his regency above the good of the nation, and Sun asks what’s wrong with that.

Advisor Chae asks Yeongjo what he plans to do about the regency if Sun succeeds, but Yeongjo scoffs that there’s no chance he will—there’s absolutely no way out of this without giving into one of their demands in some way, and he’s known all along that Sun would fail.

Woo-sub warns Sun that the Norons are suspicious of him, so he tasks Woo-sub to watch Kim Taek carefully. Kim Taek goes out to procure the rare ginseng but curiously, he goes to Chul-joo to do so. Chul-joo remains hidden behind a door and refuses to show his face, but makes a deal to help Kim Taek, who returns to the palace with ginseng and a suspicious smile on his face.

Officer Byun asks Chul-joo why they’re helping Kim Taek of all people, but Chul-joo says that they’re simply holding hands with the enemy of their enemy. What they need is time to amass public sentiment on their side, if they’re going to change the world.

Sun puts Woo-sub on guard over the ginseng, expecting foul play. But there’s no disturbance overnight, and Sun heads to meet the envoys with gifts at the ready. Chul-joo watches the procession and takes note of Bingae, and says that today the prince will be stripped of the regency for good.

And in turn, Kim Taek says that he’s a little sad about having to cut down such a young man’s life. Uh-huh, I’m sure you cry about it in your sleep.

The Qing envoys are impressed by the lavish gifts and they’re ready to compromise. That is, until they get to the grand finale—the best and rarest of ginsengs—and find them all rotting and infested with maggots. The envoys are offended, Sun is shocked, and the negotiations are off.


This was a plot-heavy episode with all setup and no payoff, so it wasn’t particularly exciting to watch. I suppose the outcome in tomorrow’s episode could ramp up the tension, but despite the stakes being high, I don’t feel the same level of interest when the conflict is external rather than a direct confrontation between father and son. Granted, Yeongjo is still using the external conflict as a means to further control Sun and put him in his place, but I still find the machinations less interesting overall.

I like the court politics that’s a battle of wits, when Sun and Yeongjo are maneuvering to gain ground against the ministers, or against each other, in order to enact policy. Politics via bribes is not only less appealing, but also really simplistic dramatically. When they opened the boxes of ginseng and found them rotting, I just went, Well, duh. What else did you think was going to happen when you entrusted such an important task to Kim Taek? I was frankly disappointed to see a flash of the naïve Sun again, because he seemed to have learned his lesson about being too trusting, only to become the unsuspecting victim yet again. I really hope there’s another twist down the line, because the best part of skipping a few years ahead in the story is that now we get to anticipate countermoves from Sun that rival his enemies. At least that’s the hope, anyway.

Advisor Chae seemed to be genuinely moved to discover that Sun hadn’t been spending his years becoming a wastrel, and impressed with the level of studying he’s been doing—that makes me want to see that scholarship put to good use in a situation like this, where he might be able to meet foreign emissaries on common ground, share his knowledge of their country with respect, and in turn gain their favor. It just seems more difficult, and thus more satisfying, than presenting them with bundles of loot. And more than anything, I want Sun to succeed where Yeongjo is certain he’ll fail.

The only scenes that really moved me in this episode were Sun’s moments with Hyegyeong (which are still too few, but I’ll take what I can get). I love how their dynamic has shifted in the three years that we’ve skipped—it’s subtle and neither has changed at the core, but there’s more genuine concern that they allow themselves to show on the surface. Now Sun shares his thoughts with Hyegyeong and asks for her understanding, which he never used to do. And Hyegyeong reciprocates by showing him how angry she is at his rash behavior, how it worries her, and how she just plain doesn’t want to be understanding sometimes.

It’s too bad that I don’t feel the same level of emotional investment in Sun’s relationship with Ji-dam/Bingae, because I still see her the way Sun describes in this episode—as one of his people, whom he failed to protect. She holds significant meaning in that regard, but their relationship doesn’t stir my heart, at least not yet. There’s potential for that to change, but by now I’m so invested in Hyegyeong that it might hurt too much. I was so impressed by Hyegyeong’s response to Sun that she disapproves of basically everything he’s doing as a man; but as a future king, she respects him. It’s her sacrifice to give up her disappointment as a wife in order to support him as a queen, and I’m SO glad that this time Sun sees it clearly, and that she isn’t hiding behind her pride. It’s all the more reason I don’t want to see him break her heart. I know it seems inevitable, but hey, aren’t we rewriting history here?


Korean SBS Drama Secret Door Episode 14 Recap and Screenshots

Korean SBS Drama Secret Door Episode 14 Recap and Screenshots

By Dramabeans:

Sun bursts in to stop the torture, too late to save Ji-dam’s father. He confronts his father with threat of the maengui, now that he has possession of the original document, and demands a stop to the proceedings. Yeongjo just literally walks over the pile of bodies he’s just killed and leaves without sparing Sun a word.

The father-son confrontation continues that evening, when Yeongjo laughs bitterly, asking if he’s to try to rule the nation while feeling on the hook to his son. Which is rather missing the point, honey, if you think Sun would be happy letting you rule while pulling your puppet strings.

Sun says that he has no intention of pulling those kinds of dirty tactics, and then pulls out the maengui. Yeongjo’s eyes widen in shock… and then widen even more when Sun walks very deliberately… to the torch nearby…

Korean SBS Drama Secret Door Episode 14 Recap 

What! I repeat, WHAT? Are you insane or is this a fakeout? Tell me this is a fakeout. You have the real maengui somewhere and this is just a duplicate, right? You can’t burn that!

Father and son watch the document burn, and then Sun declares, “Father, you are now my political enemy.” It’s rather amazing how quickly Yeongjo shifts from being stooped over in fear and disbelief to straightening and puffing up with confidence. He scoffs that Sun shouldn’t have burned that document if he wants to take him on.

Sun says that what he wanted was political battle, not war—because in order to finish off this war, he will have to be responsible for taking as many or more lives than his father has: “Rather than politics that kills, I want to engage in politics that saves—not war, but true politics.”

Korean SBS Drama Secret Door Episode 14 Screenshots

Yeongjo chuckles in amusement, saying essentially “over my dead body”—Sun won’t be able to conduct politics while Yeongjo’s alive. You’d think he’d be more careful than to tempt fate like that, but perhaps he’s just feeling confident that Sun is too weak present much of a threat. To his credit, Sun doesn’t back down an inch and merely says that while his father has won this round, politics is all about the twists, so they’ll have to see who comes out on top in the end.

Advisor Chae is given a promotion by the king, who issues him his first order, which is to personally deliver the message to the prince that he is being stripped of his regency. So the king’s being sadistic now, since it’s plain to see that Advisor Chae feels pained to deal Sun this blow. The message instructs the prince to restrict his activities to those of a prince, and to remove himself from all of his duties in actually governing.

Secret Door Episode 14 Recap and Screenshots

Sun duly does as told and drops by Princess Hyegyeong’s quarters to see his son. It’s a lovely understated moment, where he greets his family warmly, though his overall mood is downtrodden.

Yeongjo assembles his full court to announce that he will be resuming direct rule in this time of difficulty and turmoil. He declares that he’ll be adopting a more compassionate approach to the rebels, scaling back their punishments to spare their lives. Yet the court bursts out in a chorus of protests, as the Norons insist on death for the Soron traitors.

Yeongjo looks taken aback at the vehemence of the pushback and meets with former prime minister Kim Taek to tell him to back off, considering that the prince burned the maengui. But Kim Taek is feeling more secure than ever and smirks that the king won’t be able to do anything to him now, because the king has effectively done their dirty work for them in cutting down the Soron opposition, “And now only the Norons are left.”

SBS Drama Secret Door Episode 14 Recap

Kim Taek smugly congratulates Yeongjo on being the Norons’ king, and Yeongjo looks a little stunned to have been outmaneuvered. I’m a little surprised that he seems so surprised, but Yeongjo did allow his emotions to drive him over the line, and the Norons were ready to use him to their benefit.

Thus instructions are reissued to round up the traitors, to Sun’s dismay. Officer Min Woo-sub says despairingly that he wishes the prince hadn’t burned the document, but Sun says that not doing so would have led to even bloodier results. Someone has to sever the loop.

This means that the families of the accused are rounded up, and Chul-joo acts quickly to smuggle Ji-dam out of the city dressed as a boy before she gets caught up in the purge. Teacher Park anticipates their escape and encounters them on their way out of the city, ushering them to a safehouse temporarily.

Chul-joo entreats him to join them on their flight, but Park is quietly determined to meet his fate head-on. Chul-joo, fired up in righteous indignation, vows that this won’t be the end of them and that they’ll come back one day to repay everyone for what they’ve done.

Teacher Park asks Chul-joo to remain safe and hurries them on when he hears the authorities approaching. Chul-joo and Ji-dam escape in the nick of time, while Park is taken down swiftly by a swarm of officers. He’s punished to exile, and accepts his lot stoically.

Secret Door Episode 14 Screenshots

Teacher Park is now speaking of his life as something about to meet its end, and sends a letter to the king. Yeongjo opens the note to find only two characters written on it: Juk-pa.

Yeongjo flashes back to the day when Teacher Park first offered him that moniker, its characters for bamboo and flowing water meant to symbolize a country where righteousness flows like water. Yeongjo also recalls that day when, as crown prince, Park had stayed to counsel him with all the other officials had scorned him and left.

Park, who has been looking progressively weak and ill, dies while in exile. We hear his last message of entreaty to the king in voiceover, as he begs Yeongjo to become a good king, and that it’s not too late to turn things around. Yeongjo reacts to Park’s death sorrowfully at first, sighing, “I am alone once again.” However, ever one to twist things the way he wants them, he then tells his eunuch, “We have once again survived.” Let’s not forget what’s most important here: protecting Number 1.

Sun hears of the death with sadness. Holding his son in his lap, he asks with heavy heart, “Will I be able to endure this pain and win this fight? Could I make this world one that’s better than it is now for you—could I be that kind of father?”

And then, we reopen three years later. (This puts us in 1758, in Yeongjo’s 34th year. Sun is now 23.)

Sun, now sporting facial hair, enjoys the weather outside while his faithful guard Min Woo-sub (phew, he’s still around) cautions him against being seen outside of the palace. To the contrary, Sun wants exactly that—for news of his trip outside to get back to the king.

Yeongjo is incensed to find the prince missing from his politics lessons and demands to know where Sun went. War Minister Hong passes along the message that the prince has decided to select his own teacher.

Sun visits with Kim Taek, his mood a far cry from the open suspicion and hostility with which he used to regard Kim. Today he’s fully of flattery and praise, and then makes his overture: He’d like Kim Taek to be his politics teacher. Ooh. This is interesting.

It’s an unexpected request, but one that intrigues Kim Taek, particularly when Sun explains that he’d like to challenge the king. Kim points out that the prince could be harboring secret designs to backstab him, but Sun knows how to hook his interest and says that he wishes to learn all about how to gain and wield power from Kim… unless Kim is scared that he’ll teach Sun too well? Then he dangles irresistible bait: Kim Taek should teach Sun, and in so doing, he could make Sun into the ruler that the Norons want.

Yeongjo is alarmed to hear Sun has been courting Kim Taek’s interest and takes issue with War Minister Hong. But Hong is firmly entrenched with the Norons now and doesn’t flinch in front of the king, pointing out merely that it’s a good idea for Sun to learn about politics from a master like Kim.

Yeongjo’s confidante pool has shrunk (…because he killed them all) to his eunuch and Advisor Chae, who still serves him faithfully while keeping his distance from Sun. Yeongjo notes that the Norons have grown in power since the Sorons were cut down, and wonders what his son means by this. Advisor Chae counsels the king to take it in stride, since he was partially responsible for sending Sun along this path. Yeongjo balks that he stripped Sun of his regency because he was going to position himself as a rival, but Chae points out that it was in stripping him of the regency that Yeongjo actually caused Sun to take him on is rival. Isn’t it ironic.

Kim Taek is surprised to learn that Sun has already taken his grandson, Kim Moon, under his wing. Hm, Sun is moving quickly and quietly, and thus far his motives are a mystery, which bodes well for him. (I get too scared for his safety when everyone else can read him like an open book.) So Sun calls Kim Taek “Teacher” and heads off with Moon, who has gathered a whole cabal of his young friends—all sons of prominent Noron officials.

Kim Taek informs his cronies in the elder Noron circle, who receive news of Sun’s offer positively. One minister remains wary of Sun harboring ulterior motives, but Kim Taek isn’t blind to that possibility—he just isn’t daunted by it. With the Sorons having been crushed, it’s time for the Norons to face off against the king, and the prince will be a pivotal player in that fight. In fact, War Minister Hong argues that if Sun hadn’t come to them, they still need to grab onto him. They can use the prince to check the king, and thus restore the power balance to the level they like it at: with the royalty weak and puppet-like, and the actual power in the hands of the noble class.

The prince’s young crowd enjoy themselves with liquor and women at Woon-shim’s gibang, which is where Advisor Chae bursts in to summon Sun to an audience with the king. He’s so disapproving and disappointed that it kills me, because he sees Sun as a son who’s gone astray, wasting away his life in frivolity and glibly calling gibang parties lessons in culture and music. Sun is quite brazen to his face, introducing his pals as his future Noron supporters, not breaking his facade even when Advisor Chae tells him frankly that he’s disappointed in him.

Unsuccessful in getting Sun to leave the party, Chae speaks to faithful guard Woo-sub and asks if Sun does this often (he does) and why Woo-sub doesn’t stop him (nobody can stop Sun).

Meanwhile, Sun apologizes to his buddies for ruining the festive mood, and asks after the newly arrived gisaeng. Woon-shim stiffens visibly and tries to make excuses about her, but she can’t stop them from flinging open the door and revealing… Ji-dam, all grown up and dressed as a gisaeng.

This is Yoon So-hee, stepping in for Kim Yoo-jung, and while she’s obviously a new person to us, Sun’s reaction informs us that she is immediately recognized as Ji-dam.

He sits with her in private to express his relief to know she was safe all these years, but Ji-dam—who insists that he use her gisaeng name, Bingae—is curt and dead-eyed as she faces him, and avoids looking at him directly. She informs him that the childish, naive Ji-dam of the past died alongside her father, and pointedly remarks that the old prince is gone, too—the man who valued his people more than himself. Instead, now he wastes his time drinking it up with the elites.

She asks flatly what he wants from her, and says that if it’s sex, she’ll comply. With that, she starts to undress mechanically, and he stops her in horror. He apologizes and says that he’ll be back, leaving for the day.

He asks Woon-shim if it’s okay to leave Ji-dam here, and she supposes that it’s safe as long as Sun doesn’t let on that he knows her. He leaves her with his contact information in case he’s needed… and then his haughty new friend Kim Moon steps in to ask Woon-shim what they meant about him “letting on” about Ji-dam. Gulp. She lies to cover it up, but he doesn’t buy it.

As they leave the gibang, Woo-sub suggests to Sun that they could have been honest with Ji-dam about their intentions. But Sun hushes him vehemently, saying that they can’t endanger what they’ve worked so hard to prepare. Well I’m glad that at least Woo-sub is in on Sun’s double-faced mission; the guy needs friends to count on.

Disguised in plain clothing and a large hat, Sun drops in on a bookseller—underground, from the looks of it—to collect his latest order that has just come in. The seller wonders what he means to do with these books and maps, which are diverse and somewhat dangerous writings that are critical of tyranny. Sun just says he’s reading to pass the time.

That bookseller reports the exchange to Chul-joo, who can tell just from the books being bought that this mysterious man is up to more than just reading for fun, as he says. He wonders what he means to do with this information and speculates that this man may be planning something—and that those align with their own interests: “To change the world.” That sounds like grand idealism, but in a practical sense we’re talking about a coup.

Nettled that his son ignored his summons, Yeongjo waits for news of Sun, impatient at his slow return to the palace. So when his dinner is brought to him, Yeongjo declares in a huff that he will be going on a fast, refusing all food and medicine.

Hyegyeong is also anxious at Sun’s extended absence and is waiting for him when he returns, preparing honeyed water to sober him from drink and a toothbrush to clear off the liquor smell. She’s concerned that Yeongjo might blow up at Sun at the remind of his activities, but he seems unconcerned—and moreover, quite used to fasting as one of his father’s tactics.

It’s reminiscent of Yeongjo’s frequent threats to abdicate as a method of getting his courtiers to fall in line, and while everyone may guess that Yeongjo’s not very serious about the hunger strike, they still have to go through the motions of placating him. In fact, when Sun visits his father to urge him to break his fast, Yeongjo’s attitude brings to mind nothing more than a child in a tantrum, while Sun soothes him.

Yeongjo takes issue with Sun approaching Kim Taek to be his teacher and tells him to give up on that idea, but Sun pushes back. He says he wants to learn how to be a good king, as though his motives are completely pure and therefore unobjectionable. Yeongjo asks about his frequent gibang visits, and Sun has a ready answer for that too, saying that he’s creating a casual atmosphere in which he can talk with his future colleagues, just as his father does with his politicians.

Yeongjo bolts up in alarm, his mind hearing A-B-C and leaping to Z: Is Sun already planning to take over the throne then? Is he that eager for his father to die?

Sun answers calmly that it’s his job as the crown prince to inherit the throne, and thus he is working hard to prepare to be a wonderful ruler like his father. The sarcasm is thick but he delivers it straight, and has Yeongjo in a fit; eyeing Sun as a slippery fish, he demands to know his true aim, accusing him of making a power grab to cut down his father. Sun says he has no immediate plans of engaging in politics, and Yeongjo sends him away in a huff.

Kim Taek assures Sun that the fast isn’t serious, and heads in to talk to the king next. He tells Yeongjo to put an end to the fast and chides him for forcing the point in accusing the prince of underhanded plots. Yeongjo just pouts like a child, but Kim Taek knows how to bring him around, and warns that the court officials will refuse to appear at the official assembly tomorrow if the king doesn’t relent.

It works, mostly because Yeongjo didn’t really have his heart in it anyway, and Sun thanks Kim for changing his father’s mind so quickly. Meanwhile, the king continues to worry about his son’s growing association with Kim Taek and the Norons; their growing power is a danger they must figure out how to neutralize.

I do love Advisor Chae’s ability to say “I told you so” without rancor, which is why the king doesn’t rage at him when Chae reminds him that this is sort of the king’s own fault—he should have anticipated the Noron power base growing when he purged the Sorons. Now with nobody left to keep the Norons in check, who can stop them?

Yeongjo interprets this as Chae saying that he dug his own grave, but he appreciates the advisor’s frankness and invites him to continue sharing his thoughts. So Chae explains that while he disagrees with many of the king’s actions, he has also accomplished many things. He brings up one of the king’s most important laws, the Tangpyeong policy that stressed non-factionalist politics. He’d put it into practice by appointing office on ground of merit instead of party lines, and Advisor Chae sees the need to revive this policy.

He suggests that Yeongjo bring back the surviving Soron politicians (who are no longer in office), and Yeongjo mulls this over seriously.

Sun takes particular precautions to make sure that he isn’t seen when he and Woo-sub reveal a hidden door in a wall (ah, so that’s what the secret door is?), taking the staircase down into a secret library below.

The library was built two years ago, and Sun wryly gives credit to the assassins who’d tried to assassinate him by setting fire to his palace. In the reconstruction process, he was able to install this room, and has been quietly stocking its shelves.

Woo-sub points out the risk he’s taking on with such dangerous materials, and asks why he’s working so hard. Sun replies, “Because that is the voice of the people.” So whether or not these are dangerous items, he must read the people’s thoughts carefully.

Bingae (Ji-dam) slips outside the gibang to meet with Chul-joo, not noticing that she’s being watched. Well that’s not good. She’s got bigger concerns on her mind, though, and is ready to move on to the next step of their as-yet-disclosed plan. Chul-joo reminds her of the dangers, but Bingae says with resolve that seeing the prince only strengthened her determination to repay what was done to her many times over.

News arrives of an alarming disturbance at the border, and everyone is on edge to hear of a skirmish between a Joseon fishing boat and the Qing navy. Qing forces are arguing that this is an act of aggression by the Joseon nation and are sending envoys to the capital. It’s a volatile situation and Yeongjo understands the dangers involved… but is also quick to realize, “A danger is also an opportunity.” Ack, I don’t like the sounds of tha.t

Thus he assembles his court and rails at them for being a do-nothing government, essentially. Oh, he enjoys blaming this all on their laziness and ineptitude, and lays into them about how their inactions may lead them to war against the Qing. Thus, he will have to send out for more helpful officials—bring the Sorons back to court!

The Norons are aghast, but Yeongjo shoots them down, saying that he’s not expecting the Sorons to fix the mess, only that he needs their help in light of the Norons’ incompetence. Furthermore, he intends to have the prince handle the matter of the Qing envoys.

Oy, so he means to trample the Norons and set his son up for failure, is that it? Because everyone argues that this matter is too dire to leave to the prince, and even Sun’s father-in-law warns him privately to decline the assignment.

So Yeongjo summons Sun, and asks once more what he intends from his lessons with Kim Taek. Is it truly just to learn politics, or is he using it as a way to regain his prince-regency? Well, Yeongjo will give him a chance to do just that, and outlines his mission, if he chooses to accept it: persuade the Qing envoys, don’t give them the slightest pretext to launch a war, and also don’t do anything to mar Joseon’s standing. It’s a tall order, perhaps near-impossible, but if he succeeds, Yeongjo will reinstate him as prince-regent. If not… well, prepare for dire consequences. What will he decide?

Sun replies, “I will do it.”


Korean SBS Drama Secret Door Episode 13 Recap and Screenshots

Korean SBS Drama Secret Door Episode 13 Recap and Screenshots

by Dramabeans:

In the wake of Yeongjo’s order to kill everyone in possession of the book that makes him complicit in his brother’s death, Sun finally confronts him with the truth: Did he sign the maengui? Is he Juk-pa and does that mean that everything written in this book is true?

Yeongjo quakes with rage to be confronted with the truth so head-on by Sun, and cries defensively, “‘How afraid were you? How difficult and scary was it? Didn’t someone threaten to kill you? If you didn’t sign that document, were you scared they would kill you?’ If you are my child… IF YOU ARE MY SON—that is what you should ask!”

Father and son’s eyes are brimming with tears, and Sun drops to his knees as his tears spill out. He immediately realizes that he never considered it from his father’s perspective and begs forgiveness, acknowledging that being born his son (and therefore the rightful heir) means he can’t ever fathom the struggles Yeongjo went through as the king’s brother.

Sun’s contrite reaction seems to genuinely touch Yeongjo, and a tear trickles down his face. But just when I think it might be possible for them to reach a moment of true understanding, Sun pleads that if he didn’t know the king’s true heart, the people surely have jumped to the wrong conclusion as well—so shouldn’t they let the truth be known to the world?

Yeongjo’s face immediately darkens at that, and he starts scratching at his ear in irritation. The tender moment between them is gone as quickly as it came, and Yeongjo screams in frustration that if he told the world the truth, they’d remove him from the throne in a heartbeat.

Ever the idealist, Sun cries that the people will remember who he really is and stand behind him, and that it’s possible they’ll applaud him for taking the direct approach by confessing his own sins and bringing the criminals into the light. Sun: “No matter what difficulties lie ahead, I will endure them with you.”

Korean SBS Drama Secret Door Episode 13 Recap and Screenshots

Yeongjo scoffs like he’s speaking to a child, and says plainly that the person who needs to make a decision here isn’t him, but Sun. He says that if Sun really wants to protect his father, then he needs to go out there and find those plotting against the king, and kill them by his own hand.

Ugh, I get this knot in my stomach every time Sun’s trust in his father gets crushed yet again. This time Sun’s tears are hurt and angry, and he glares back at the throne with resolve in his voice: “I cannot do that, Father.” Yeongjo tells him to shut his trap then, and walks out.

In his chamber, Yeongjo asks his eunuch if Sun’s approach is actually possible—should he tell the truth and put his faith in the people? But he answers his own question by declaring that they’ve come too far for that.

Late in the night, a messenger rides up with an urgent report for the king, detailing the appearance of traitorous announcements. They refer to the Soron rebellion of 1728, an attempt to dethrone Yeongjo with accusations that he killed his brother, from which Yeongjo barely escaped with his life.

The king concludes that a new Soron rebellion is underway, and lights the scroll on fire. He cackles maniacally that they should go ahead and try to mess with him, scaring even his eunuch.

Sun hears what’s going on and rushes to the emergency assembly gathered in the king’s court, but he’s stopped from entering with instructions from his father not to attend. Well that’s not a good sign.

Korean SBS Drama Secret Door Episode 13 Recap 

Unsurprisingly, Yeongjo takes a scorched earth approach, and tells the minister of war to arrest every single person connected to the rebellion rumors and the publication of that damning book. Suddenly Shin Chi-woon, the radical Soron who instigated the book’s publication, stands up and declares proudly that he’s the one responsible so there’s no need to look elsewhere.

He rather enjoys sticking it to the king publicly in court, and when Yeongjo asks how a man who gets a government salary could do such a thing, Shin says bitterly that it’s because he’s taken thirty years of government salary—given by the people, not the king—that he feels the need to repay the nation by revealing the truth.

He’s not wrong, but he’s also an extremist, which only makes him an easy target for Yeongjo. When Shin says that the records of Yeongjo bringing his brother King Gyeongjong medicine before his death are all the proof he needs, Yeongjo flares up and has him dragged out of court by the guards. Shin shakes them off and says he’ll go of his own accord, adding the final warning to the king not to try and hide the sky with his hand.

Korean SBS Drama Secret Door Episode 13 Screenshots

The stunt leaves the Soron ministers flummoxed, and Yeongjo goes even further to order the arrest of anyone who illegally publishes books. This time it’s Teacher Park who speaks up, reasoning that punishing innocent citizens this way only supports the rumor that the book’s contents are true: “People who oppose you are your people too!”

Yeongjo simply orders Teacher Park’s arrest on top of everything else, and Teacher Park finally asks the king bluntly to address the question—are the things written in that book true? The room gets tense and (former prime minister) Kim Taek watches the proceedings warily.

Pressed by Teacher Park for an answer, Yeongjo declares that he’ll tell them the truth—he brought medicine to his brother the king, as everyone here knows, but he never poisoned him. Teacher Park’s face falls. Yeongjo decides that they’re all a part of the Soron plot to turn him into a criminal, and goes ahead and has allllll the Soron ministers in court arrested. Yeesh, this is getting out of hand.

Soon the whole lot of Soron ministers gets hauled in by the state tribunal to be tortured and interrogated. It’s a good day to be Noron, but Kim Taek reminds his colleagues that they aren’t safe until they get rid of the prince.

Sun panics to hear of what is soon to be the next Soron purge, but then his eunuch bursts in with more bad news: They’re now indiscriminately arresting every single booklender in town.

Sun rushes out of the palace to see booklenders being hauled away left and right in the streets. And in his basement, Ji-dam’s father works away at another copy of the treasonous book on his own, as if waiting for them to come arrest him.

Dad gets taken away in ropes, and Ji-dam runs up to try and stop them. She cries and wails, refusing to let them take Dad away, and Chul-joo has to hold her back before she launches herself at the officers again. Dad turns back one last time to ask Chul-joo to look after her, and Ji-dam wails after her father.

By the time Sun arrives at the house, Dad is long gone. Ji-dam sits in a daze at the gibang, while Chul-joo asks Woon-shim to send word to the prince asking for his help in the matter.

There’s no need, since Sun arrives a moment later, out of breath. The tears Ji-dam has been holding back start to fill her eyes, and she looks around wondering where her father is—didn’t Sun bring him? What’s her father’s crime? Are the things written in that book false?

Secret Door Episode 13 Recap 

Sun has nothing to say in response to that, and Ji-dam cries, “They’re not—those things are all true! If they’re true, then your father is bad! So why is my father the one being taken away?!” Sun can only hang his head and apologize.

Ji-dam takes his hands and asks with hope-filled eyes, “You’ll release my father, won’t you?” Sun gives her his word that whatever it takes, he’ll return her father to her. Ugh, I have a bad feeling about that promise.

He rushes back to the palace and ignores his father’s orders to leave him alone. He runs inside and gets on his knees to plead for the king to change his mind. Sun says that he’ll be the one to take all the stones that are cast Yeongjo’s way, and will personally seek out every citizen to apologize if need be, and asks that they do this the right way.

He clings desperately to his father’s leg, letting himself get dragged along the floor. But Yeongjo just shakes him off and ignores his cries without a second glance.

Kim Taek is quick to move on this golden opportunity to frame Sun, and tells the king that there’s a rumor that Sun is the one behind Seo Family Booklenders and the publication of that book.

Yeongjo refuses to listen to any more lies, but when his eunuch reports that Sun went straight to Ji-dam’s house immediately following her father’s arrest, Yeongjo begins to wonder if it could be true: “Are you saying that Sun stuck a knife in my back?”

Secret Door Episode 13 Screenshots

Sun calls Officer Min Woo-sub to join him in archery practice, and asks if he’s ever killed anyone, and what he thinks the duty of an officer is. Woo-sub states very plainly that he was put here in this post by the Norons to get information on the prince, and that the prince seems to want the reverse.

Sun takes to his direct approach and asks why Woo-sub is telling him all this. He says it’s because he doesn’t want to be mixed up in any of it, for any reason. Sun asks if there are any exceptions: “Even if it means saving a life?” He asks if that isn’t the true duty of a military officer, and Woo-sub stops to consider his words.

When Sun shares his copy of the maengui for Woo-sub to read, his eyes widen to realize the scope of what’s happening between the king and the political factions. Sun says that what he needs is the original document, likely in Kim Taek’s possession, otherwise countless innocent citizens will die.

Woo-sub asks haltingly what will happen to his father once that document is found and comes to light. Sun counters, “And what do you think will happen to MY father?” Woo-sub is startled by that, and Sun continues, “Do you want to protect your father? I’m no different. But in doing that, I cannot sacrifice someone else’s father.”

He asks how he can turn his back on the innocent fathers who are being tortured without just cause, simply for telling the truth. Sun stands up to look Woo-sub in the eye: “You and I are the sons of sinners. We must finish this and be prepared to share our fathers’ sins.”

It’s a moving speech that speaks directly to Woo-sub’s moral dilemma, and he declares that he’ll search for the document. Sun takes his hands in gratitude, and Advisor Chae is relieved to hear that Woo-sub is now on their side.

But Sun hardly takes two steps when he’s met with the king’s eunuch and a troop of palace guards, here to put him under house arrest. The eunuch whispers to Sun that he’s under suspicion of treason (for being behind the publication of the book), and has been ordered to stay in his residence until further notice.

Advisor Chae gets called in to see the king, and Yeongjo baldly accuses him and Sun of conspiring against him. He threatens to get a confession out of someone to back up his suspicions, after which he’ll dethrone the prince and kill them both. Advisor Chae falls to his knees and begs for the king to have mercy—not on him, but on Sun.

Poor Advisor Chae doesn’t even know how easily he’s being manipulated. Yeongjo asks if he wants to know a way to spare Sun’s life, and Advisor Chae pleads for the answer. Yeongjo approaches him and says that from this day forward, he will cease to be the prince’s confidant, and will be the king’s instead—he will report to this palace, where his job will be to record confessions during the trials.

He is to believe only those recorded confessions as the truth, and no matter how much Sun asks for his help, he is to ignore him. Yeongjo has to ask him twice if he can do it, and after a long conflicted moment, Advisor Chae agrees. Nooooooo. Sun only has maybe three friends in the entire world! You can’t take away Advisor Chae!

Yeongjo is impressed by his loyalty, but only turns it around to tell him that he is never to show an ounce of that loyalty to Sun if he wants to spare the prince’s life. Advisor Chae spills tears as he bows solemnly in obedience.

He goes to see Sun to tell him of his new post, and Sun asks in disbelief how Advisor Chae could be party to those heinous trials and record false confessions. But Advisor Chae says that he asked to do the job, because he wants to live. He turns the reason into a selfish one, lying that he doesn’t want to die a pointless death by taking the prince’s side.

Advisor Chae: “To me, the king is now the truth, and the prince is false.” What breaks his heart is that Sun apologizes for not having enough strength to protect him. Advisor Chae says one last thing before he goes, and begs Sun not to act rashly anymore—he doesn’t want to have to imprison him with his own hands.

Both men tamp down their tears, and Sun manages to give him a weak smile. Advisor Chae holds his emotions in until he gets outside, and turns back tearfully to bow one last time.

Ji-dam gets word that even the prince is under house arrest, and she asks what’s to be done about her father now. Chul-joo takes matters into his own hands, and tells his boys to gather as many men as possible—they’re going to rescue Ji-dam’s father themselves.

Advisor Chae does his new job and tells all the prisoners that if they sign confessions of their guilt, the king will spare their lives. The Soron ministers are all ready to die as a matter of principle, but Teacher Park is the one to speak up and say that someone among them has to live to protect the prince. He offers to stay behind and asks that the others sign confessions and get away with their lives.

In the next cell over, Ji-dam’s father asks for the first parchment to write his confession, and Shin Chi-woon tells Dad that he’s doing the right thing, and that if it weren’t for him, Dad wouldn’t be in this mess in the first place. Advisor Chae apologizes for making him do this, but asks if surviving isn’t most important.

Sun asks his eunuch for a huge favor, and soon they’re in each other’s clothes. Eee, this could be disastrous… Sun says as much, making it clear that if they’re caught, Eunuch Jang won’t escape with his life. But his eunuch is nothing if not loyal, and even though he’s clearly frightened, he says it’s fine.

At the same time, Princess Hyegyeong worries for Sun, sighing to herself that being the crown prince is no easy path. She asks their son if he wants to play with his father, and sets out for Sun’s palace.

With Court Lady Choi’s help, Sun prepares to pass by the line of guards posing as a eunuch on an errand. Hyegyeong arrives just as Sun is given permission to leave, and the sight of the unfamiliar eunuch gives her pause, but Sun manages to slip past them quickly before she gets a good look.

Of course when she gets inside, she finds Eunuch Jang in the prince’s robes and nearly bites his head off. Court Lady Choi gets on her knees to plead on behalf of Sun, who ran off to save someone’s life. Hyegyeong can’t believe they’d agree to something like this when the prince could lose his life as a consequence.

The servants shake in terror and beg for her to overlook it just this once, and the tension mounts as the guards outside start to get a strange feeling that something is wrong inside. The head guard starts to approach…

And inside, Hyegyeong gathers her wits and asks her son very loudly if he’s happy to see his father, and speaks to Sun as if he’s there. The guard returns to his post, convinced that things are normal.

A wave of relief washes over the servants’ faces, and they cry. I might cry too, not out of relief, but the touching way that Hyegyeong speaks to imaginary Sun, asking him to play with their son for a long long time tonight. God I wish you were the main character of this drama sometimes. Okay, every time.

Sun jumps the palace wall and meets up with Woo-sub, and they race to track down the original maengui. It’s a little convenient that Woo-sub happens to have peeked in on Kim Taek as he was having the document lined inside a book, but a search turns up the half-burnt title of the original book, which sends them to the palace library. They’re on the right trail, but the book isn’t there.

Meanwhile, Ji-dam’s dad gives his confession to Advisor Chae, and it turns out to be a letter instead of a confession, which he asks to be delivered to Chul-joo. Chul-joo has gathered his men and is about to go storm the castle when Advisor Chae bursts in with the letter, in which Dad begins by scolding Chul-joo because he’s probably about to do something stupid like storm the palace to rescue him. Ha.

Dad promises that he doesn’t intend to just give up like this—he’s going to fight for the truth and walk out of here on his own two feet. He doesn’t seem to believe his own words, but he insists in the letter that he’s hopeful.

He then addresses Ji-dam to tell her that he’s always been proud of her, and always felt sorry. That’s why he’s trying to do the right thing now, and adds that if he can’t return to her, it’s because he’s joining her mother. He tells her to live a long life and asks her to be happy.

Yeongjo prepares to preside over the trials, and comes marching out in military dress, wielding his sword. A few of the high-ranking Soron ministers kneel in the king’s path with confessions at the ready, and he tells them dismissively that they did the right thing. But the only confession he really wants is from Teacher Park, and he has him brought out of his cell to see him.

Teacher Park gasps to see the king in military dress, because it’s a sign that they’re in times of war. Yeongjo asks how it’s not war when people are threatening to shake the royal house and therefore the nation, calling them all his enemies.

Yeongjo says softly that it’s not too late, urging Teacher Park to sign a confession and be his friend, as always. It’s sad that Yeongjo probably means it too, after all that’s happened. But Teacher Park bows and says he can’t do that, and Yeongjo laughs that he wouldn’t be Teacher Park if he didn’t try to break the king to the very end.

But he says that he has no intention of letting him die so easily—in fact, he plans to keep Teacher Park alive while he kills every one of his comrades in front of him.

Sun and Woo-sub ride all night to the library where the book was transferred to, and Sun frantically digs through the manuscripts until he finds the one they’re looking for. He carefully tears open the backing on the cover, revealing a fresh page with another document hidden inside.

He carefully opens up the document, now worn with age. I’m half expecting a twist, but there it is—the original maengui. Sun finally has the original!

The trial begins, and I’m not even kidding when I say that the entire courtyard has been converted into a torture yard, to house as many different simultaneous forms of torture that can be performed in one space. And as promised, Teacher Park is forced to kneel before all of them, unable to do a thing as he watches them suffer.

Yeongjo tells them that it’s not too late, and they can still confess. But Shin Chi-woon just cries out that the person who needs to confess is the king. Yeongjo presses them to continue with the torture, and they literally burn Shin Chi-woon in the heart with a hot poker until he dies.

Both Ji-dam’s father and Teacher Park wail at the loss of their friend, and Teacher Park cries for the king to please kill him first. Yeongjo just calls for the torture to continue, and Teacher Park has to sit by and watch them all die one by one.

Finally Ji-dam’s dad bellows that they’re all crazy, addressing the officials and ministers who are just standing by and being party to these horrific events. He asks if it’s a crime to see because they have eyes and hear because they have ears, and screams that they’re all insane to serve a king like this. “This isn’t a king!”

At that, Yeongjo draws his sword and approaches, but Dad doesn’t back down, asking if he isn’t ashamed that he can’t face his people without that sword. Dad cries for the others not to stay silent, and to cry for the king to stop this insanity at once. It’s the last thing he cries, before Yeongjo cuts him down with one deadly swing.

Blood splatters across Yeongjo’s face, and Teacher Park cries out in agony. Ugh. I know it wasn’t a light switch that suddenly turned Yeongjo into a tyrant, but this is the moment—he’s crossed that line completely.

Chul-joo delivers the bad news to Ji-dam, who sobs for her father.

Sun has been racing toward the palace all this time, and he finally arrives in the torture courtyard with his jaw hanging open at the sight of his father standing over a pile of dead bodies.

Sun cries for it to stop, and when Yeongjo tells him not to interfere, he shouts that if he doesn’t stop right now, the maengui—the original maengui—will be pasted onto a wall for the public to read. Yeongjo approaches menacingly, and father and son stare each other down right there in the courtyard in front of everyone.


Korean SBS Drama Secret Door Episode 12 Recap and Screenshots

Korean SBS Drama Secret Door Episode 12 Recap and Screenshots

by Dramabeans:

The morning after Sun realizes that his father signed the traitorous maengui document under the nickname Juk-pa, he sets out to see him wearing the grimmest of faces.

(Former) Prime Minister Kim Taek watches this with some satisfaction, having been the one to send the prince the anonymous Juk-pa tip. He calls it a warning to the king, essentially threatening to take him down with him. Nobody messes with Kim Taek and can expect to get away with it.

Before Sun has a chance to say anything, Yeongjo requests his company and takes him along to a visit to his mother’s grave. Yeongjo’s mother was a water maid who became Sukjong’s concubine (and the basis for the lead character in Dong-yi), and Yeongjo explains having been ashamed of that fact, as well as resentful. Had she remained a lowborn servant, that would have been one thing, but because she was elevated to such a lofty status in a strictly stratified society, Yeongjo suffered constant disdain for her origins.

He describes how miserable court life was for him, and the wonderful feeling of freedom when he left the palace and vowed never to return. However, he was made the heir to his brother, King Gyeongjong, who had no sons, and had to return. Even before Gyeongjong died (…because you killed him—at least in this drama’s truth), Yeongjo was treated as a greedy usurper and targeted for assassination.

“In order to survive, I had to become king,” he says. He looks quite earnest as he says that he wanted to truly be a good king for his people, but was so caught between factional warring that only wasted time, “and in the end all I did was age.” He wonders whether he’ll ever be able to enact the reform he’s worked so hard to craft, the equalized military tax law that was mentioned in a previous episode. Meant to ease the people’s burdens, it has met with opposition from the aristocracy, which would like to preserve its privileges to its own class.

It’s a skillful speech by Yeongjo, because his words are honest while at the same time completely calculated. He looks like the beleaguered benevolent king he wants to be, but we already know what turns his gears, and how good he is at emotional manipulation.

Korean SBS Drama Secret Door Episode 12 Recap and Screenshots

Sun, who has been watching his father this whole time with a mix of wariness and disillusionment, says that Yeongjo could still do those things—not only with this particular bit of legislation but with even bigger, more sweeping reforms. Yeongjo smiles and says that his son’s faith in him is a great support.

Yeongjo says he’d like to see through the reforms he’d begun, and asks for Sun’s help as he temporarily resumes power. So he’s putting the prince-regency on ice? Gulp. Sun says that he will of course support any just and fair orders, which is a very deliberate statement; I find it always so fascinating when these characters are having whole conversations in subtext (I’ll do what’s right… even if that’s not what you mean), particularly when one side is pretending not to notice, as Yeongjo does here. So the king draws his son into a hug, while Sun just stands stiffly, looking rather sick to his stomach.

Yeongjo makes his decision to return to politics known to the court, spurring uneasy reactions all around as to his intentions. The Soron faction speculates that Yeongjo must be feeling at risk to cut back on the prince’s power like this, and that the prince may have discovered the truth of Yeongjo’s ascension.

The Norons are just as shocked. They’d expected an immediate blowup when they sent the prince the Juk-pa information, so they surmise that Sun has not revealed what he knows to the king. Ex-prime minister Kim Taek grumbles at his slowness to act.

Princess Hyegyeong is understandably alarmed at the news that Sun has lost his power and demands an explanation. Sun wearily asks her to leave, not wanting to get into an argument today. Hyegyeong asks that he not do anything unbefitting a crown prince, because there are many people at court just waiting to pounce on him.

While Hyegyeong has at times been angry and argumentative, today her genuine concern comes across. She adds, “I say this not as your wife, but as the mother of our child San, now just three years old.” She pleads with him to be careful, because danger to him also endangers their son.

Mention of the boy has a noticeably sobering effect on Sun (…as though he needed more sobering). Advisor Chae says that he agrees with the princess’s concerns in regarding the king’s move as a direct threat to Sun. How could he give up what little power he had? Furthermore, if the king finds out he knows about Juk-pa, Sun is left completely vulnerable.

Korean SBS Drama Secret Door Episode 12 Recap 

Sun tells his advisor of how the king took him to his mother’s grave and explained his reasons for wanting to see his law enacted. He says, “All that is true, but…” Aie, I want to tell him not to fall for his father’s tactics, even as I recognize the same mix of truth and persuasion to his words.

Sun speaks of his father in terms of the facets that others don’t see—the man who enjoys extremely frugal, simple ways and absorbs himself in his work. That’s the man who spoke of working toward this reform to improve the lives of his people.

He wonders what it would have been like to have been born not the king’s son but his brother (thus subject to suspicions in a way a direct heir would not be), and asks if they can’t defer judgment for a while. He gets choked up as he says he wants to wait a little, just until Yeongjo completes that law.

The king calls Sun to consult with him over matters of a new prime minister, since Kim Taek has been ousted. He shows him his top candidates and goes over their merits, asking Sun for his input and gently guiding him toward what he sees as the best selection. He settles upon the Soron leader, supposing that it’s their turn since the last one was Noron, and thus decides the matter.

It’s a lovely tender interaction, and as Yeongjo discusses the candidates thoughtfully, Sun regards him with teary eyes and a renewal of respect and love. You get the sense that it’s these tiny moments, however brief, that Sun clings to in darker moments.

With the royals’ behavior unclear, the politicians puzzle over what they’re planning. For now, the Noron camp decides on a wait-and-see approach.

Korean SBS Drama Secret Door Episode 12 screenshots

Yeongjo announces the new prime minister to his council, and does some rearranging of the offices. Teacher Park is made a minister (of taxation), and he and War Minister Hong are assigned to a new department that will head up Yeongjo’s reform. Sun looks almost unbearably proud of his father, and Yeongjo looks satisfied as well.

And so the inner circle (the king, prince, Teacher Park, War Minister Hong) gets to work on the military tax reform project. The crux of the matter is that tax burdens are unequal across the classes, with the yangban (aristocracy) often exempt from paying. This places an unfairly heavy burden upon the commoners, who are struggling to survive as it is, and Yeongjo wants to level the taxation rules and cut their taxes in half. That has the yangbans in an uproar, because in their eyes the very idea of “all men are equal” is dangerous and uncivilized, and they have a vested interest in keeping their class privileges to themselves.

Yeongjo declares that he will directly address his people on the matter, and arranges for gatherings where they are allowed to come and speak to him in person. Yeongjo doesn’t exhibit any royal airs as he just goes right up to the poor folk, crouching on the ground before them and holding them as they cry and speak of their hardships. Sun watches in some surprise and awe, deeply affected by the sight.

The yangban politicians aren’t about to just sit back and let the king outmaneuver them in the court of public opinion, however, and hatch plans of their own. Kim Taek takes the lead, naturally.

Secret Door Episode 12 Recap 

With the tax reform in motion, Advisor Chae gently reminds Sun that the time he asked for is coming to a close. Has he decided what to do about his father? Does he intend to cover up the 1724 assassination plot?

Sun answers no, but tellingly he has physical difficulty saying the word “crime” in reference to his father. Still, they require more concrete evidence before acting—what they need is the original maengui document. The likelihood that it’s in the hands of Kim Taek or his two cronies is high, but they need some kind of access into their inner circle. There’s one way in, but thus far their attempts to enlist the upright Min Woo-sub have gone unanswered (Min Woo-sub is the former policeman who was forced to resign by his father, one of the Noron cronies).

The Norons are aware that Min Woo-sub is a potential vulnerability, and his father is nervous about that fact, but crafty Kim Taek sees a way to turn that into an advantage. He goes to see Min Woo-sub and persuades him by talking his language of ideals and righteousness—how the country belongs to the people, and that the politicians are stewards of the people, and that they are more capable of helping the people than the king himself. What has the king done for the country, after all?

So he tells Min Woo-sub to accept the prince’s request to enter into his guard service—and once in place, he is to watch Sun and await further instructions. If he does a good job, his father will benefit, and isn’t it his duty to help his father? Let’s just say: (1) Kim Taek is a sly and smart mofo, and (2) now I just want Min Woo-sub and Sun to go off being nobly idealistic BFFs, politics be damned.

Meanwhile, the Norons must hide the maengui again, and Kim Taek has the document literally bound into the cover of a book, which is stored in the palace library. It’s darkest underneath the lamp, after all.

And so, Min Woo-sub reports for duty, and Sun is so pleased to welcome him that it hurts a little. He thinks he can use Min as a double agent for his side, but his father is counting on him being a double agent for the Norons, and, well, we’ve seen what blood ties do to a person in this drama.

Yeongjo and Sun head out to make another appearance with the commoners, only to have Teacher Park kicking up a huge fuss in front of the gate to try to prevent it. He begs the king to head back another day and kneels in front of the doors, but is forcibly removed.

There in the front yard, instead of commoners are rows and rows of yangbans and scholars, loudly protesting the king’s reforms. They demand that he rescind his changes to the tax law, arguing that he cannot disrupt order or declare the lowborns as equal to their betters. It’s repugnant logic, but in their rhetoric, this is tantamount to anarchy.

Their language grows increasingly strident as they dramatically produce axes next to the coffins laid out in the yard, essentially saying, Over my dead body. Then they go so far as to question Yeongjo’s own right to rule, saying that passing his reforms would make him a tyrant to barbarians.

That spikes Yeongjo’s temper and he sputters in rage. He has to be held back from launching himself at the offending yangban, and then collapses to the ground from the shock. Sun rushes to his father’s side, then turns his own fury on the crowd. Spitting contempt, he says he will remember every one of them for their refusal to work with the people of this country.

Sun has to convince his father to leave the assembly, reminding him of his own words that a ruler must know when to step back. Yeongjo agrees, and Sun insists on carrying his father back to the palace on his back.

Today’s display was the Norons’ work, of course, and the protesting yangban are brought before Kim Taek, who congratulates them for a job well done.

Meanwhile, Yeongjo recovers in bed with Sun at his side, sighing that his reforms will be more difficult to pass than he had hoped. He recognizes that alienating the yangban only makes things more difficult, and is eager to get back to work to find a solution to the predicament.

Secret Door Episode 12 Screenshots

To that end, Yeongjo comes to a compromise, deciding that he will cut the commoners’ tax burden and make up for the difference by lowering his own budget and removing certain royal tax exemptions.

Ji-dam makes a reappearance (wow, I’d almost forgotten about her) as she finds herself being followed in the streets and is saved by the intervention of Chul-joo. Her follower is, surprisingly, not a gangster or assassin but a high-ranking Soron politician, and he’s here to see her father.

We’ve seen the Sorons frequently but haven’t felt a need to point them out by name yet, but I have a feeling they’re about to get more significant to the story. This is Shin Chi-woon, the most hotheaded of the Soron bunch, and he apparently goes way back with Ji-dam’s dad—all the way back to a failed rebellion plot 26 years ago. Innnnteresting.

Revisiting their past has Dad clearly on edge, but Shin Chi-woon has a reason for coming here. He reminds Dad of the uncomfortable truth that they’d both ditched their colleagues and ran from the fight—they came away with their lives, but gave up on the possibility of changing their world. (The Soron rebellion of 1728 was four years into Yeongjo’s reign and accused him of killing the previous king.)

Shin Chi-woon produces a book whose contents have Dad gaping in alarm. It’s the diary of an artist, and it contains highly dangerous, damning information about the king. We don’t know its exact contents, but it’s safe to presume that it’s everything we already know to be true that the maengui confirms. Reminding him of their old abandoned hopes, Shin presses the book upon Dad, asking him to copy and distribute it.

Sun continues to tend to his father, who ruefully refers to himself as pitiful. But Sun assures his father this is only the beginning, having been inspired and encouraged by his father’s teachings on equality. With eyes shining in hope, Sun declares that he will take the character “kyun,” the same character used in Yeongjo’s reform policy title, and harbor its meaning in his heart. Furthermore, once he becomes ruler, he will adopt the “kyun” ethos as his official policy. He vows to make a better equality law and a better Joseon. It’s so touching, and Yeongjo is moved.

This time when Yeongjo embraces his son, with tears in his eyes, Sun reciprocates the hug. And when Sun leaves, Yeongjo doesn’t revert to another face, as he so often has, but smiles contentedly at Sun’s declaration of adopting equality as his policy.

But then he’s struck with a thought that brings a worried tremor to his voice as he asks what would happen if Sun knew he had signed the maengui. Would he call his father’s words a lie and reject them wholesale? He fears for the day that Sun might learn the truth, and hopes he’ll never learn that he is Juk-pa.

Sun is caught in a dilemma of his own, drinking with Advisor Chae in his chamber, melancholy and full of regrets. He should have let the first murder slide, he says, even if Heung-bok was his friend. Or he should have scoffed at Ji-dam’s claims. Or he should have clung to the idea of the maengui being lies. Or he should not have learned of Juk-pa.

Looking lost, he tells his advisor, “I do not know now what I should do about my father.”

Ji-dam’s dad, meanwhile, struggles with the decision to publish that book. He wants to not care and steer clear of any trouble, but Shin Chi-woon’s words ring in his ears, about how doing nothing only passes along the troubles to the next generation, for his daughter to inherit. The people must know the truth.

And so, Dad gets to work copying the book, telling his staff to take particular care to keep it from Ji-dam. Which is effective for about two seconds, given Ji-dam’s nose for sniffing out suspicious activity. With the aid of Chul-joo’s gang, the fresh copies are distributed through the booklending network, and in no time it’s everywhere, setting the public on fire. And just when Yeongjo was enjoying a surge of popularity, thanks to his reforms.

Even so, the Soron politicians declare that the king and the rival Norons are guilty of crimes that must be punished. Plans for a rebellion are already underway.

Ji-dam manages to get her hands on a copy of the book, and worries for the prince. If he knows, and he must know by now, he must be hurting and afraid, she thinks.

The book finds itself in a number of palace servants’ hands, which are discovered and brought to the king’s attention. Yeongjo is positively apoplectic. His fury is so overwhelming that it catapults him far past the line of reason, and he orders all the copies gathered and burned. Everyone found in possession of a book is to be killed.

Worked up, he expands the order to include the publisher and every single person who read the book—round them up now and kill every one of them.

Sun bursts in to protest, urging his father to rescind his order. He attempts logic, arguing that even if the books are pure libel, he cannot punish that crime with death. Furthermore, even if he killed everybody he wanted, the problem would not be solved. He pleads with Yeongjo to put a stop to this and harshly warns the eunuch not to convey the message.

Yeongjo will not be reasnoed with, and Sun’s tone changes as he asks meaningfully, “WHY? What is the reason you fear this book so much? Is it because… everything written here is true?”

Yeongjo’s tone changes too, as he asks what he means, fumbling for words before raging back that Sun has no basis for asking this.

“Juk-pa.” Ohhh snap. Sun utters the name that his father stiffening in alarm, and then continues by saying that there was a document signed thirty years ago, which bore the name Juk-pa—was that his father’s signature?


Korean SBS Drama Secret Door Episode 11 Recap and Screenshots

Korean SBS Drama Secret Door Episode 11 Recap and Screenshots


by Dramabeans:

Ji-dam bows before the king, who restores Heung-bok’s name and offers to give her whatever she likes as a reward for helping to solve the murder case. In the presence of Princess Hyegyeong, Yeongjo asks Sun if he wants to take Ji-dam as a consort, and all three heads turn up toward the throne, wide-eyed. Way to put your son on ice there. Thanks, Dad.

Sun answers diplomatically that he doesn’t even give enough time to his family as it is, and can’t handle taking on a consort. Yeongjo laughs and notes that he didn’t really consider Hyegyeong’s feelings, as if he weren’t doing all this on purpose.

He asks Hyegyeong if he upset her, and of course she answers the way she’s supposed to—that the royal house must be prosperous for the nation to be prosperous. Yeongjo is pleased at the answer, and comes down to look them in the eye as he says that a king ought to have many heirs, so that he can weigh his options and choose the one who would rule best. Ouch, the implication isn’t lost on either of them.

Still, Sun argues against making Ji-dam a consort, so Yeongjo lets it drop and tells his eunuch to make sure she’s richly rewarded. He warns Sun to stop playing a police officer and turn his attention to more important matters, and Sun agrees with a pleasant smile.

As they leave the king’s palace with Ji-dam trailing behind them, Hyegyeong says that Sun should consider keeping Ji-dam close as a court lady if he doesn’t want her as a consort, calling her smart and useful. But Sun argues that Ji-dam isn’t fit for court life: “And more importantly, I don’t want to keep her encased within in the walls of this incomparably cruel and relentless palace.”

That turns out to be the most hurtful thing he could possibly say, and Hyegyeong’s face hardens to realize that he cares for Ji-dam so much that he wouldn’t want her to suffer their fate. Hyegyeong returns to her room and admits to her court lady that she didn’t realize he cherished Ji-dam that much.

Sun takes Ji-dam back to her father, who is just relieved to have her back safely. When Sun apologizes for constantly putting her in harm’s way, Dad sends him off with an air of finality, wishing him a long life. Sun points out that it sounds like farewell, and Dad admits that the prospect of seeing the prince again frightens him.

But Sun isn’t about to stop coming by, and tells Ji-dam with a smile to write many good books, and that he’ll see them for only good things now.

As we know, things are hardly over for Sun despite the murder case coming to a close, and he wonders about his father’s sharp reaction when he brought up that traitorous secret document.

Chul-joo meditates in the forest, remembering his old friend Kim Mu. In flashback we see Chul-joo arrive in the final moments before Mu’s execution, and Mu’s last thought was that he didn’t save Chul-joo’s hand because he was a friend, but because he had become Joseon’s greatest swordsman.

Sun finds Chul-joo training in the forest, and Chul-joo calls it a moment of telepathy because he was hoping to see the prince. He tells Sun that he delivered the pipe (and themaengui, hidden inside it) to Teacher Park, but Teacher Park in turn handed it over to someone else to save Sun and Chul-joo.

Sun asks why he’s telling him all of this, and Chul-joo says, “Because someone has to set it right. This filthy world that believes a man can just kill anyone beneath him because of a dirty document that amounts to less than a scrap of paper—doesn’t one person have to rise up and change it?”

The words move Sun deeply, and his eyes glisten with tears. Chul-joo asks, “Will you change it?”

Sun marches back to the palace with determination and has Teacher Park called to see him. Park arrives with a resignation letter at the ready, and Sun tears it up angrily, calling it an attempt to run away. He asks point-blank if Teacher Park handed the maengui over to Prime Minister Kim to save him, and Teacher Park doesn’t even know where to start defending his actions, mostly freaked out that Sun even knows what the maengui is called.

Sun fumes, reminding Teacher Park that he said he was fine to be imprisoned as long as they went after the truth—that’s what all of this was for. Teacher Park asks how he came to know about the maengui, but Sun says he was the one who taught him not to trust anyone, and he intends to follow that advice starting right now.

He intends to get his hands on that document, and tells Teacher Park that he simply needs to be Sun’s horse in that war. Teacher Park trembles in fear and pleads with Sun not to do this, warning him that he isn’t ready to handle it.

Sun gets to the heart of his fear and asks if it’s really what he suspects—is his father party to the treason documented in the maengui? Teacher Park falls silent, and Sun looks wounded as he notes, “Do you know when you are most frugal with your words, Teacher? When you don’t want to lie.” He storms off before Teacher Park has a chance to come up with a reply.

Korean SBS Drama Secret Door Episode 11 Recap 

The Noron ministers’ central concern now is keeping the document in their possession so that recent events aren’t repeated, and Prime Minister Kim says not to worry—he plans to bury the thing right under the king’s nose.

Sun asks Court Lady Choi about what happened in 1724, and she looks visibly troubled at the mention of the year. At his prodding, she confirms only the most obvious events, namely that King Gyeongjong died and his brother Yeongjo became king. But she looks downright petrified as she says she can’t say any more and that Sun should refrain from even mentioning the year out loud.

That’s enough to confirm his suspicions that there’s a hell of a lot more to the story, and the more she warns him not to dig, the more he’s convinced he has to. Ack, somebody just tell him the truth so that he listens to your warnings!

He only proves their fears to be warranted when he saunters right into the royal library and asks for the records from 1724. That raises eyebrows left and right, and Sun is told that no records exist from that year because they were all destroyed in a fire ten years ago (the fire Yeongjo set to try and get rid of the maengui in the first place).

Yeongjo immediately gets word that Sun was poking around for records from that year, and looks petrified as it dawns on him that Sun might already know everything. His eunuch vows to have his men watch the prince closely to know for sure.

Sun stands outside the library that went up in flames ten years ago, and remembers seeing it ablaze as a young boy. Prime Minister Kim and Teacher Park were there, and the king had wailed at the loss of their precious history. He wonders now about the true meaning of those tears, and thinks that they could be proof that his father had nothing to do with the maengui or the fire.

Advisor Chae brings the prince another stack of Noron records, and hesitates before asking carefully if Sun is looking for the identity of Juk-pa. He takes out a list of all the nicknames signed to the maengui, all of them identified to Noron officials except for one: Juk-pa.

He asks again what the contents of the document are, and Sun says gravely that he needs a promise from Advisor Chae before he can answer his question. Sun says that he intends to seek out the truth no matter where that road leads (Nooooooooo! It leads to a very bad place!), and asks if Chae will follow him to the end.

Chae kneels as a sign of his commitment, and then asks for the document. Sun’s hand trembles as he takes it from his sleeve and hands it over, and Advisor Chae’s eyes widen as he reads it.

Sun averts his gaze and his voice shakes as he asks what Advisor Chae thinks: “Does the king know of the maengui? Could he be Juk-pa? That won’t be the case, right?” Agh, the hope in his voice…

The worst part is, someone is eavesdropping on their conversation. The spy reports to Prime Minister Kim, who looks shocked that the prince is inquiring into the identity of Juk-pa. Cruuuuuud.

Korean SBS Drama Secret Door Episode 11 Screenshots

The next morning, Sun calls for a royal tutoring session and changes the topic of study, wanting to discuss the importance of managing a household as taught in a text, and asks the pointed rhetorical question—what happens if a man who can’t manage his own household or control his own son holds a high-ranking government post? (He refers specifically to the top three ministerial posts, of which prime minister is highest.)

Yikes, it’s barbed enough to worry Advisor Chae, who asks after the tutoring session if Sun intends to go directly after Prime Minister Kim Taek. Does he mean to test the king as well? He worries that Sun won’t be able to handle what he’s getting himself into, but Sun clearly has no intention of backing down.

Yeongjo gets word of the prince’s tutoring session and it puts him on edge: “A father who can’t control his own son… is that me, or is that Kim Taek?”

Secret Door Episode 11 Recap 

Teacher Park storms in to scold Advisor Chae, lighting into him for letting the prince go for a full-frontal attack on the prime minister. Advisor Chae argues that he didn’t want to stop Sun—he can barely contain the desire to snap the prime minister’s neck with his own hands, and came this far because he doesn’t want to bend the prince’s will to serve his people as the heavens. He asks if he’s this embittered at the injustice, how Sun must feel.

Teacher Park says that’s not enough reason to throw a young soldier out into a war that he’s not prepared to win. Chae thinks there’s nothing to say that the prince won’t win this fight, but Teacher Park contends that Sun and Advisor Chae are both ill-equipped to go up against the likes of Prime Minister Kim.

Chae shuts him down by saying that the arrow has already been fired. Park finally shouts, “And if in trying to stop Kim Taek, you face an even greater enemy?!” He’s not saying it out loud, but he means the king, and Teacher Park is even more terrified when Chae answers curtly that he already knows. Park asks incredulously how he isn’t putting a stop to it, and Chae answers, “Because I’m not you.” Damn.

The prince’s desire to go after Prime Minister Kim has the Soron camp excited, and they begin the process for the prime minister’s impeachment, beginning with official appeals to the prince so that he has a leg to stand on. Sun calls it a good start.

But Prime Minister Kim, though shocked at the power play from Sun, just calmly goes to Yeongjo to say that he ought to put a stop to this, “Or else you’ll have to envision a very different successor to the throne.” Eek. Yeongjo rages at him to get out, leaving both sides rattled.

Prime Minister Kim goes straight to Yeongjo’s pregnant concubine Lady Moon and tells her that she must have a son, because that heir will become the next king of Joseon. He plays the part of the faithful subject and vows his allegiance: “They say that a wise bird chooses a good tree, and that a wise vassal chooses a good lord.” Lady Moon doesn’t hesitate to take him as an ally, and entrusts everything to him.

Princess Hyegyeong hears of the prime minister’s visit to Lady Moon, and surmises what he’s up to—he’s going to shake the royal house and replace the crown prince. She tells her father that they have to get rid of Prime Minister Kim, and at her word, he gathers scholars together to write more official appeals for the prime minister’s impeachment.

Meanwhile, Prime Minister Kim comes to ask Sun directly if he really thinks he can beat him, and Sun just smiles back at the challenge to say that they won’t know until he tries.

Both sides mount support, and Prime Minister Kim plans to accuse Sun of getting involved in a Soron plot, essentially engaging in factional politics, which they’ll then argue is technically criminal due to Yeongjo’s Tangpyeong Policy (a policy he instituted to curb factionalism in his court).

But Sun surprises Advisor Chae when he says that he intends to protect Prime Minister Kim. Oh, are you messing with him? Yeongjo hears what’s going on and chuckles, a little impressed at his son and wondering what his endgame is.

By now the Soron scholars who have rallied against the prime minister are angered that their cries have gone unanswered, and they kneel in the palace courtyard to begin a demonstration, chanting for the prime minister’s impeachment.

Prime Minister Kim, meanwhile, argues that Yeongjo needs to put a lid on his son once and for all, and take away his regency.

Secret Door Episode 11 Screenshots

Sun lets the protest go on late into the night, and then goes out to meet the Soron scholars. He makes a show of defending the prime minister’s years of faithful service to the king, but when the Soron leader cries that he’ll die in protest, Sun acts like he’s being forced to give in, and declares that he’ll present their case to the king. You smartypants.

The Soron ministers hear of this and figure that nothing will happen to Prime Minister Kim if it’s in Yeongjo’s hands, but Teacher Park panics. He’s too late to stop Sun, and asks Advisor Chae if he knew all this time—that all of this was meant to test the king.

Yeongjo reads through the appeals, and asks Sun why he brought this matter to him. Sun says that the impeachment of Prime Minister Kim isn’t a matter he’s equipped to handle. He says with extra emphasis, “Since 1724… since the day you ascended, is he not the subject you hold most dear?”

Sun watches for his father’s reaction, and Yeongjo twitches at the mention of the year, reaching characteristically to cover an ear at the utterance of an unpleasant thing. Yeongjo treads carefully, and says that to him, it’s not a matter of which subject he holds dear, but which subject he finds useful at any given time.

He insists that this is a matter that Sun can decide without him, and asks if Prime Minister Kim is of use to him, or not. Sun doesn’t back down in the slightest and presses for an answer—does this mean he can remove the prime minister from office?

At last, Yeongjo tells him he can take the prime minister’s seat away from Kim Taek… but then adds that dismissing him entirely is overkill, and he should just demote him to a useless post. Yeongjo warns that he is the Noron leader after all, and there will be a price to pay. He advises Sun, “Taking the hand of the grim reaper when you need to—that is politics.”

Sun is troubled by his father’s words, but has successfully won the right to fire Kim Taek, which he does immediately. Sun demotes him per his father’s suggestion, and Kim Taek tells Sun that he’s won this round, but he intends to etch this moment deep in his bones to repay later. Great, now I’m terrified that Sun got his way.

Kim Taek is all smiles until Sun walks away, when he opens his shaking hand to reveal blood from clenching his fist so hard.

Sun returns to his palace exhausted, and though Advisor Chae calls this a clear choice from the king to side with Sun over Kim Taek, Sun doesn’t seem as happy or sure.

Yeongjo goes for a late stroll with Teacher Park, and mentions that Sun is digging around for the identity of Juk-pa. He knows now that Sun has to have read the maengui, and asks if Teacher Park was the one who showed it to him. Without having to hear the answer, Yeongjo guesses that Park isn’t the type to act so rashly, figuring that there’s another copy floating around.

Park worries that this is getting out of control, but Yeongjo cuts him off: “Do you know what the biggest problem right now is? That the prince dared to test me.” Yack, I knew that was a mistake!

Yeongjo says that if Sun read that document, his first thought as a son should be to consider his father a victim who was framed. Instead, Sun’s first thought is to suspect his father and use Kim Taek to test him. Teacher Park tries to speak up in defense of Sun, but Yeongjo just laughs manically that if he was given a problem he ought to give an answer.

Yeongjo leans in ominously: “You said I would become a tyrant, didn’t you? I will—to those who challenge me. But to those who follow me, I will be a sage king.” It’s especially chilling because the latter IS what Yeongjo is known as. He laughs as he walks away, leaving Teacher Park disheartened.

Kim Taek wastes no time and sends an assassin after the prince. A man dressed in black steadies his bow with Sun in his sights, and fires off an arrow. It narrowly misses him and the shooter runs, but after the initial shock, Sun realizes that it wasn’t an attempt on his life, but a message.

There’s a scrap of paper tied to the arrow, and he unravels it to find a riddle about the identity of Juk-pa: He is in a picture, but is not pictured. Sun contemplates the clue and gasps, “It can’t be… I know who this is!”

He takes off in a run, and Advisor Chae follows. Sun scrambles to the library as he mutters the clue over and over, and grabs a volume of royal processional paintings.

His terror mounts as he scans page after page, repeating the clue and parsing its meaning: “The person in the pictures, who is not in the pictures. The person who cannot ever be drawn…” We see that in drawing after drawing, the king’s place is always marked, but his figure is never drawn. Because it’s not allowed.

Sun: “It’s the nation’s king, my father!”


Korean SBS Drama Secret Door Episode 10 Recap and Screenshots -   10

Korean SBS Drama Secret Door Episode 10 Recap and Screenshots - 10

By Dramabeans:

Princess Hyegyeong stands up to the king… in that she kneels before the king, prepared to supplicate until he either reopens the prince’s murder investigation or she dies, whichever comes first. More to the point, she has her toddler son, San (future King Jeongjo), wailing at her side. Under her relentless appeals and the mounting pressure, Yeongjo finally comes out to face them.

He softens (thank god) at the sight of his bawling grandson, picking him up and soothing his tears with the promise, “Your grandfather was wrong and will take care of everything, so stop crying.” Hyegyeong secures a further promise that Yeongjo will reopen the investigation, then allows herself a tiny smile of relief.


Korean SBS Drama Secret Door Episode 10 Recap - 비밀의 문 10회

Yeongjo chides Hyegyeong against directly involving herself in the future; the mother of the nation should be aware of what’s going on, but only quietly. Hyegyeong replies that such a mother of the nation would be derelict in her duty if her limited perspective hindered her from helping the ruler in a fix. Good answer.

Teacher Park and Advisor Chae confer with Sun about the case from his prison cell. They’ve been trying to find witnesses to prove that the murders are a cover-up, but those witnesses keep disappearing. Sun says that they must find the mastermind.

Ji-dam asks Hyegyeong to let her meet with Advisor Chae, wanting to help with the investigation. Hyegyeong tells Ji-dam to let the court handle the investigation; all she need do is testify. But Ji-dam points out that her testimony wouldn’t be necessary if the tribunal were investigating successfully. Hyegyeong sees her point. 

Ji-dam is escorted to see the advisor and is allowed a visitation with the prince, who is relieved to see her safe and sound. She even laughingly suggests that this isn’t a bad learning experience for a future ruler, since criminals are his subjects too. She tries to hold back her worry until she’s out of sight, forcing a cheerful face in front of Sun.

Examination of Shadow’s corpse reveals the telltale signs of the assassin’s particular brand of torture. The lacerated fingertips point to an engraving blade, and Ji-dam recognizes it and guesses is the work of the vicious Kim Mu. His exact identity is unknown, but there are rumors that state that Kim Mu is the son of a retired gisaeng, so off they go in search of that woman.


Korean SBS Drama Secret Door Episode 10 Recap 

That is in fact where Mu heads—to his now-uninhabited mother’s home. He recalls memories from a better time spent here, when his mother had looked quite happy with his father, Prime Minister Kim. He may have been born to the lowest class, but Mu seems to have enjoyed some comfort as a child.

There’s no time for nostalgia, as Teacher Park’s men arrive at that house moments later. Mu slips away unseen and the mother angle hits a dead end, so Ji-dam suggests that they look into Mu’s father. Ooh. Yes, do that.

The prime minister wants all his loose ends tied, so he orders the capture of Officer Min Woo-sub, the honest policeman whose testimony would contradict their cover-up. Assassins are dispatched to intercept him while Officer Min is being brought in for interrogation, but find their ambush foiled—somehow, officers were expecting them and came with backup.

This is the princess’s doing, and she had both anticipated the attack and circumvented it with a decoy. Tricksy. She deduces that the attempt to interfere proves that the bad guys need to cover up for their actions, and looks forward to the official interrogation tomorrow.

The conspirators realize they were tricked, and Yeongjo advises that there’s not much he can do for the Norons once the court interrogation opens. He suggests that Kim make a deal before it does—sacrifice the assassin in exchange for the document. Not that Prime Minister Kim is any more scrupulous than the king on the whole, but he doesn’t like the plan this time with his son on the line. He clenches his fist quietly.


Korean SBS Drama Secret Door Episode 10 Screenshots - 비밀의 문 10회

The prime minister mulls over the choice all night long, barking at his crony when he urges him to get moving on that sacrifice/trade.

Yeongjo’s eunuch worries that this move would put the maengui document back into the hands of the Norons. Yeongjo reasons that it’s still better than either Sun or the Sorons getting it—the time has passed for them to seek the best or second-best: “Avoiding the worst is our answer.”

Prime Minister Kim doesn’t look ready to cave yet, though. He meets with Mu regarding the captive, Chul-joo, which results in Mu sharpening his torture knife. 

Our team only now learns of the blood tie between the prime minister and Mu, which provides another lead in where to search. Teacher Park returns home to find a “gift” left anonymously for him. It’s a box containing a severed hand (ack! Chul-joo!) and a note, which sends Teacher Park beelining for a meeting with Prime Minister Kim. No more dithering around: it’s time for a deal. Mu, in exchange for the document and Chul-joo’s life.

Prime Minister Kim agrees so easily that Park asks if he can really sacrifice his son. Kim says mildly, “To get that document, I could hand over even more.” Teacher Park can only say, “You are quite something, both you and the king.”

The Noron cronies make another deal: Minister Min presents the princess’s father, Hong Bong-han, with a letter informing him where he can arrest the murderer. Hong would get to claim credit, but there’s a quid pro quo, and Min wants certain records expunged. Gotta tie up loose ends.


Sun is shocked to hear of the relationship between the prime minister and the assassin, particularly at the implication that a father would order his son to be his hit man. It makes me sad every time he’s shocked at a father’s cruelty, but maybe it’s for the best that he keep his own faith for as long as possible.

Prime Minister Kim isn’t without a heart, limited though it may be, and hurries to give his son a warning before the authorities come to arrest him. He urges Mu to escape, saying that even if he wasn’t able to be a father in name to him, he wants to at least keep him alive.

He sends Mu off running with the entreaty to stay safe, just before officers burst in. They chase Mu through the woods, and despite a strong defensive showing, Mu gets shot down. 

So Mu is arrested and dragged through the village, where his father pretends not to notice. His capture fulfills the first part of the deal, so Teacher Park hands over the maengui, and Prime Minister Kim in turn points him in the direction of Chul-joo—alive, but badly injured. Also holding a bloody stump of a hand! *sob*

Sun is released from prison, and there’s a lovely moment when he steps out of his cell and is a little surprised, but in a pleasant way, to see Hyegyeong awaiting to hand him his dragon robes. She tells him he endured a lot, but he just says that it was nothing compared to the trouble she suffered, and this moment of understanding makes both Hyegyeong and his faithful court lady happy.


Korean SBS Drama Secret Door Episode 10 Screenshots

Hyegyeong even gives a lot of credit to Ji-dam and praises her hard work, looking quite pleased with her contribution. Sun thanks her with a special smile, and now Hyegyeong looks uneasy to see how glowingly Ji-dam receives it.

Now it occurs to Sun that Mu’s capture happened too easily. His suspicions flare when he’s told that the tip came from an anonymous informant.

Sun arrives at the tribunal for Mu’s interrogation, and Yeongjo greets him with the admonition that if he’d just put someone reliable in charge of the interrogation, he wouldn’t have had to suffer. Yeesh. Yeongjo is such a master manipulator that you think he almost believes the revisions he makes to history. 

Mu is brought in, and readily admits to the charges of murder. Asked for a reason, he states that he was given the order, but refuses to state whose orders they were. It’s almost amusing to me that everyone here knows that Prime Minister Kim was the one, but because these proceedings are primarily formalities, they’re bound by procedure.

We see in flashback that Prime Minister Kim had made arrangements to keep the questioning short. Since torture is a commonly applied method of interrogation, surely it wouldn’t be difficult to have an “accident.” And no doubt the sham of an interrogation would proceed just like that, with Yeongjo agreeing to torture right away, if only Sun weren’t here.


He speaks up and approaches Mu, directing him to reveal who he was working for. Sun crouches to meet him at eye level, explaining that he knows who that person is and saying indignantly, “One must not do this to one’s own son,” sparking a flicker of emotion across Mu’s face. Sun asks, “Is this something a person can do to another person?”

He advises Mu to think it over carefully, offering to spare his life if Mu reveals who it was. Everybody tenses as Mu speaks: “The person who ordered me to kill Kang Pil-jae [Shadow] is…”

But then, Prime Minister Kim interjects, “Me.” Omo. Is this for real? If this is another dream sequence fakeout, Imma throw something.

Mu looks up in shock as his father joins him on the straw mat, kneeling before the court. Prime Minister Kim reveals that Mu is his son, surprising more with his honesty than with the actual truth, and takes responsibility for all the crimes.

But that just spurs Mu to burst out that his father isn’t guilty, and that he’s only confessing out of paternal protectiveness. Aw, now this is sweet. Is it twisted to think that this sadistic criminal duo is the healthiest example of father-son kinship in this drama?

So then the court demands to know who the true mastermind was if not Daddy Dearest, and Mu gives a name: Chun Seung-se, a longtime associate of Shadow’s. Fyi, in case you’re keeping track of all the dead bodies in this drama, Chun is actually Shadow’s lackey who was killed by Shadow in an earlier episode. Convenient to pin the blame on a dead guy, though.

Sun smells bullshit, but Yeongjo is happy to call it a day and close this interrogation. Furthermore, Mu has cobbled together an alternate story that’s believable, or at least not easily refuted—that Chun ordered the hits on the artists, then ordered Shadow killed so he could monopolize the market. (But Shadow killed Chun first.)

Sun asks why Mu would carry out a hit when the client had already died, but Mu replies that he wanted the document. And that word has everyone on alert, and ministers demand to know where the document is now. Mu answers that Shadow never gave up the answer despite all the torture.

Even though he’s convinced this is false, there’s nowhere for Sun to take the interrogation. As Yeongjo and Sun return to the palace, Yeongjo talks lightly of the case, writing it off as some gang turf war that merits no further attention. He informs Sun that he’ll be handling the rest of the investigation; he argues that it’s improper for Sun to be involved since he was at one point a suspect. 

With difficulty, Sun agrees. He also agrees when his father tells him to stop working directly on cases like this and turn his attention to other matters of state.

But as his father turns away, a thought strikes Sun and he recalls the contents of the maengui. He asks sharply what the document is about that it would put lives on the line, and Yeongjo’s temper flares. He yells at Sun to let closed cases rest and orders him out.

Teacher Park has a lot to explain for when he comes empty-handed to his Soron colleagues, who furiously demand to know where the document is. They argue amongst themselves, but the hotheaded one who wants to take it public is silenced by the stern leader, who warns him of the ramifications.

Advisor Chae has seen the second page of the copied maengui containing signatures, but not the first page that has all the damning information. Now he asks Sun for the full explanation, having deduced that he’s being kept in the dark about something important. He guesses that the document that was mentioned at court today is the same document Heung-bok copied and left in the pages of Ji-dam’s novel.

Sun says that he’ll tell him everything once he’s more certain of the facts, just as he receives words that the court lady who stole his dagger has been apprehended. She’s beaten bloody and ordered to declare whose orders she was taking; she gives Shadow’s name, Kang Pil-jae. 

Crooked Officer Byun is similarly tortured and questioned about Pil-jae’s orders to kill Heung-bok and cover up the investigation. He knows he’s being caught as scapegoat to protect those at the top, but a direct threat to his family makes him sign the confession.

In light of the newest “revelations” about the case, War Minister Hong and Minister Min submit their resignations to the king, humbly accepting blame for not doing their jobs properly. (So the explanation is that they failed in their duties, rather than contributed to active corruption.) Yeongjo just dismisses the resignations and tells them to return to their posts, making up for their lapses by working harder. 

Minister Min sits his son, our idealistic good cop Min Woo-sub, down for a stern talk about not doing things that’ll make himself a target. The world is tougher than he thinks, Dad warns.

Sun reads the final report concluding the investigation, and has to grudgingly recognize that the cover-up is perfect. The bad guys have managed to absolve all of their players of criminal guilt and filled in all the gaps tighter than even a mystery novel.

Suddenly, he rises and makes his way to the prisons, going directly to Mu’s cell. He sits right down next to him and says that he was in Mu’s place directly before him, to which Mu shrugs that it’s his lot in life in having a cruel father. Sun replies, “I don’t think you’re in a position to tell me that.” No kidding, to an epic degree.

Sun asks what Mu knows of his father, and why he would perjure himself for him. He sees the flicker of emotion in Mu’s eyes and says that the eyes never lie, then urges him to tell the truth even now. Mu scoffs, asking if he means he should divulge that his father used him to further political ends, then abandoned him once he became useless. Sun is stunned, asking how he behaved as he did even knowing this.

Mu replies simply, “Because he’s my father.” Ack! Nooooo, that is a lesson I don’t want you teaching Sun!

Sun doesn’t buy it, and says that Mu killed numerous innocent people, all of whom were someone’s father or brother or son, and that he did it for a man who’s only concerned with saving his own neck. He’s not worth Mu’s heart-stirring sacrifice.

Sun entreats Mu to confess the truth, for the sake of those who died unjustly and those who may yet die in the future. Mu is unmoved, saying that no matter how the prince appeals to him, he’s still only got one answer. 

Incredulously, Sun asks, “Are you saying that ultimately you will choose to die for your father—in place of your father?” Mu says that he’ll be dying for his crimes, and the father part is just to take some memories with him. That is, after all, the man who openly claimed him as son despite the rest of the world fearing and shunning him. “If I did not have even those memories of that father, my road to the afterworld would be quite lonely, wouldn’t it?”

Sun leaves that encounter deep in thought, thinking to himself: “Father and son. Mother and child. Brother and sister. And friend. Through them, living is warm, but also at times contradictory.”


Sun has a cute play session with his son, baby San (Jeongjo), as a smiling Hyegyeong watches. He worries briefly that the baby seems warm and is suffering from the other night, but Hyegyeong assures him that he’s fine. Still, Sun requests that even if the same thing were to befall him in the future, or worse, he doesn’t want his son involved. The boy will be a prince one day, and as a prince he will be forced to endure many difficult things—and here Sun looks a bit choked up, thinking of his own life—and thus, he asks Hyegyeong that they not add to those troubles.

He adds that he’d like to delay the boy discovering that these difficult trials are his fate to endure, for as long as possible. Hyegyeong agrees, her protests quieted for now, and the father-son play session resumes.

Yeongjo mockingly asks whether Teacher Park is happy with the results, having decided to save one gangster instead of a critical document. Park answers, “What I wanted to save more than Na Chul-joo was Your Highness.”

He reminds the king that he’d said the document was for the good of the people, needed to protect and rule over them, but now Park knows that the people are no concern of Yeongjo’s. What he wants is to stay on his throne and be an absolute ruler—but that kind of power must be kept in check.

Yeongjo asks if that’s why he gave the document to the prime minister, so as to keep the king in check. Park answers, “It is better that a bad man checks your power than nobody.” He begs the king to check himself, because if he doesn’t, he’s well on his way to becoming a tyrant. Wow. Those are strong words, and I fear for Park—he means this in the best way possible, but Yeongjo is the furthest thing from a receptive listener.

As Mu is dragged to the town center for a public execution, Sun asks Advisor Chae about the possibility of Prime Minister Kim being the mastermind behind everything. If that’s true, then did he calculate his son’s sincerity into his plans?

Okay, I rescind anything positive I ever said about Prime Minister Kim’s fatherly affections. He shares the truth with his Noron cronies, who are shocked that he went with such an extreme plan—what if Mu surprised him by confessing the truth? The prime minister just says that the low-born are weak to affection.

Poor low-born scapegoat. As he awaits the executioner’s blade, he sees Chul-joo arriving at the edge of the crowd… and he has his hand still on? Wait. Was that a trick? Is there a secret trick stuck in here somewhere?!

Chul-joo sends a teary-eyed smile and waves at his old friend. Mu hopes that his truth wasn’t part of the calculation, and maybe that’s enough, that he retains his hope through the end. It’s his last thought before he’s cut down.

Sun wonders what it means to be a father and a son, replaying all the little moments we’ve seen between them, as Yeongjo offers him advice and guides him with small, affectionate gestures. He asks his advisor, though in a rhetorical way, “Do you have memories of your father. And if not, what memories do you wish you had?”

Sun returns to the library to continue his private investigation of the names signed on the maengui. He goes through the files, connecting the nicknames with their real owners, seeing that every name on the list is a Noron. Everyone but one, who he has been unidentified: Who is Juk-pa?


Korean SBS Drama Secret Door Episode 9 Recap and Screenshots -   9

Korean SBS Drama Secret Door Episode 9 Recap and Screenshots - 9

By Dramabeans:


Korean SBS Drama Secret Door Episode 9 Recap  - 비밀의 문 9회

Sun at last makes some headway in Heung-bok’s murder case, and hears the devastating confession from Teacher Park Mun-su himself—that he had Heung-bok’s body thrown in the well. Sun’s heart shatters on the spot.

Teacher Park needs to follow that up with the secondary statement that he wasn’t the one to kill Heung-bok, but he doesn’t get that far because the mayor that’s leading the investigation, walks in to arrest their prime suspect for Shadow’s murder: Sun.

Both Sun and his teacher look back and forth in shock, and Teacher Park is the one to raise his voice that this is an outrage—the prince is not the killer! But even more shocking is the fact that the king has ordered them to proceed with the investigation knowing that this means Sun will have to stand trial.

Teacher Park goes straight to Prime Minister Kim to have it out with him, and grabs him by the collar to shake the truth out of him. But Prime Minister Kim just strokes Teacher Park’s beard like he’s being cute, and says condescendingly that Park is no match for him. The difference in their physical sizes makes the power disparity feel particularly sardonic.

Princess Hyegyeong receives word that her husband has just been arrested for murder, and runs out of her palace to ask her father what’s happening. She pleads with him to stop the trial from happening, but even as she’s talking, the court ministers are filing past them to begin the interrogation. Her father warns her to return to her quarters since it isn’t her place to be here, and falls in line with the other officials.

Sun kneels on a straw mat before his father, who presides over the trial. Yeongjo asks very straightforward questions about who Shadow was and why Sun went to his house the night he discovered the body.

Korean SBS Drama Secret Door Episode 9 Screenshots - 비밀의 문 9회

But Sun knows the answer to that question is about to open up a can of worms, and he looks back and forth between Teacher Park and Prime Minister Kim. Yeongjo prods him for an answer, so Sun says truthfully that he went looking for the person who ordered Heung-bok and Jung-woon’s murders.

That makes everyone draw in a sharp breath, no one more so than Yeongjo. He braces himself before asking if Sun discovered the person behind the killings. Without a word, Sun stands up and slowly approaches the line of ministers.

Their heads turn with his every movement, and they all gape in horror as Sun stops… right in front of Prime Minister Kim. Whoa. I mean, he’s right, but now I’m terrified for him. Even Yeongjo looks a little terrified.

Sun accuses him of ordering the deaths of the two royal artists, and then the death of Shadow to tie up loose ends. Yeongjo stands up and asks defensively what possible motive Prime Minister Kim could have for those murders.

At that, Sun turns toward the throne: “If it isn’t the prime minister, then is it you, Father?” Oh shit, you did not just say that out loud. Yeongjo reels at the accusation turned against him and asks why he would do such a thing.

Sun approaches him with the copy of the maengui, the secret document that Heung-bok transcribed into the pages of Ji-dam’s novel. He says that the motive is right here—keeping the conspiracy documented in these pages a secret. This… has to be a daydream sequence, right? This is too horrifying if it’s real.

Yeongjo’s eyes dart left to right searching for a way out, but all he can do is grab the incriminating pages and fall to the ground, as his ministers look on. Father and son lock eyes, and Sun’s eyes well up with tears to see his father so broken.

Whoosh, back to the interrogation, as Yeongjo prods Sun for an answer as to why he sought out Shadow in the first place. Oh phew, it WAS a daydream. I know it’s the truth, but I’m not prepared for that kind of confrontation yet. Sun comes out of his reverie and decides to hold his tongue, and replies that he can’t give an answer.

That angers Yeongjo and he asks if Shadow refused to talk as well: “Is that why you tortured him?” Sun denies that he tortured or killed the man, but Yeongjo asks how he can insist on his innocence when evidence was recovered at the scene.

Korean SBS Drama Secret Door Episode 9 Recap 

The murder weapon is brought out, and to Sun’s horror, he recognizes it right away—that’s his knife, the one we saw a court lady steal, which he never even noticed was missing. Yeongjo asks whose knife it is, and Sun can only answer that it belongs to him. He swears he didn’t kill anyone with it though, and Yeongjo shouts, “How long will you attempt to cover the sky with your hand?”

And then in a move that really drops jaws, Yeongjo orders Sun to be locked up in jail until he decides he wants to start answering questions truthfully. Yeongjo looks pointedly at Teacher Park (ah, is he hurting him by going after Sun?), while Sun glares daggers at Prime Minister Kim.

It’s only when Yeongjo leaves the scene that he betrays any anguish at treating his son that way. The ministers stand frozen in their places, wondering what on earth they’re supposed to do. Prime Minister Kim is the one to say that he’ll entreat the king to reverse the order, but Sun stands up and says he’ll go to jail, because no one should be above the law—not the king, the prince, or the prime minister. Nicely done.

Prime Minister Kim says he just regrets the fact that the prince has to suffer, so then Sun asks him to personally prove his innocence if he really feels that way. Ha, has he just entrusted the murderer to prove that the man he framed for his own crimes is innocent?

The prince’s people focus on the murder weapon that was planted at the crime scene, and Advisor Chae entreats Court Lady Choi to remember any suspicious activity from any of her staff. She remembers the girl who acted strangely while digging through a dresser, and when they go to search her quarters, she’s gone.


Korean SBS Drama Secret Door Episode 9  Screenshots 

Sun gets led into his prison cell, where the guard asks for his royal robes. He takes them off and comes back out to hand them over, and finds Hyegyeong waiting to receive them. She takes his clothes silently and looks like she’s on the verge of tears the whole time, but holds them back.

When Sun turns around to return to his cell, she calls out after him, “You will come out. I will make it so.” He pauses, but continues on ahead without looking back.

Once he’s alone in his cell, Sun takes out Heung-bok’s secret pages that he tucked away into his shirt, and begins to re-read them for hundredth time. We see Prime Minister Kim creating the document thirty years in the past, and getting his Noron co-conspirators to sign it.

And while we all suspected as much given the historical context, we finally get to the meat and potatoes of the secret document—it details the intent to place a new king on the throne, and says that history will forgive the use of swords and poison (King Gyeongjong died of mysterious causes, and it was always suspected that he was poisoned).

Sun looks at the signatures (all nicknames or codenames) and recognizes only one: that of Prime Minister Kim Taek. He wonders who the others are, and if the new king they intended to place on the throne is his father. And the million-dollar question: “Did Father know of these things?”

Yeongjo drinks alone in front of his brother Gyeongjong’s shrine, calling him “hyungnim” and noting how odd it is that he never once got to call him that. He glares up at the portrait of his brother looming down at him: “Are you still looking at me with those eyes?”

He spits defensively that while his brother only wore the royal robes for four years, he’s worn them for thirty, always in service of the people and never once with any selfish desires for power beyond that. “So why are you looking down on me with those eyes? What did I do wrong?!” He turns from anger to laughter to anguish in a matter of seconds, as he stands there looking up at his brother, as if waiting for an answer.

Hyegyeong and Teacher Park each take turns trying to get an audience with the king, but keep getting rejected at every turn. Hyegyeong fumes to hear that Yeongjo went to see his concubine Lady Moon, and worries about what Lady Moon will do to further undermine his relationship with Sun.

That’s exactly what Lady Moon is doing, as she asks Yeongjo what he’ll do if Sun really murdered a man, and he says that he’ll have to strip him of the prince-regency. She asks if that means the crown prince’s position will be left unfilled, and he looks over at her very pregnant belly and says that that won’t do.

Advisor Chae visits Sun in prison and has a fit about him taking the fall and not naming Teacher Park as the killer. But Sun is smart enough to have pieced together what Teacher Park meant by his confession that he put Heung-bok’s body in the well—he didn’t want that death to be covered up as a suicide, and was hoping to draw the Noron conspirators out by forcing the case to become a murder investigation.


Sun says that Teacher Park wants the same thing that they want, and asks Advisor Chae to keep this between them for now. I’m so relieved that Sun’s unwavering faith is actually not misplaced for once. He orders Chae to look into Eastside boss Chul-joo’s whereabouts to figure out exactly what he and Teacher Park were up to.

Ji-dam and her father hear of the prince’s arrest and worry that things have gone massively astray. Ji-dam is antsy to go see Chul-joo herself, but Dad insists she stay put (at Advisor Chae’s house, their latest hideout) while he checks on Chul-joo. But it turns out that their hideout isn’t so secret, and everyone from the king’s eunuch to Prime Minister Kim sends out orders to kill Ji-dam.

Princess Hyegyeong, meanwhile, is busy ordering the prince’s eunuch to stab himself in the neck with a knife, for failing in his duties to protect Sun. Eunuch Jang begs for mercy, so Hyegyeong tells him he can live if he tells her everything that’s been going on and how Sun ended up in prison.

Eunuch Jang buckles under pressure, and says it all started with Seo Ji-dam. Ruh-roh, I really don’t think this is the way you want to be framing the story for the princess. In any case, this is how Hyegyeong finally learns Ji-dam’s name.

Advisor Chae rushes over to the Eastside gang’s compound and finds Ji-dam’s dad there ahead of him. They’re both looking for Chul-joo, but his men say that their boss has been missing for days, and they’re worried sick that something terrible must’ve happened.


Chae suggests they head back to his home because he has things to ask Ji-dam, but when they get there, they find the house overturned and his servant crying that men in black stormed in here and took Ji-dam away. Chae runs off in alarm, and Dad clutches his sleeve to beg that he find his daughter: “I can’t live without Ji-dam!”

Sun gets another visitor in jail, and smiles broadly to see Teacher Park. Park’s face is stricken with guilt and worry to see the prince suffering in this way while he’s the one who committed a crime. But Sun assures him that what Park did was in service of uncovering the truth, and that if his teacher can work to make sure that innocent lives were not lost in vain, then he can stand to spend some time in jail to do his part.

Teacher Park promises to free Sun and receive his just punishment when all is said and done, and asks the prince to trust him and wait. Sun smiles and nods reassuringly, already having chosen to do so.

Teacher Park seeks out the mayor to go over the particulars of the case, but is informed that everything’s already been handed over to the state tribunal. His Soron cohorts corner him to ask why he’s so sure of the prince’s innocence, and accuse him of either being blinded by his trust, or knowing the true culprit himself. The mayor says he didn’t hand over the evidence that would be bad for Park, and takes out the piece of cloth that was found at the crime scene.

It belongs to Chul-joo, who’s currently wearing the same clothes from that night because he’s been tied up in assassin (and Prime Minister Kim’s illegitimate son) Kim Mu’s shack. Mu is slowly bleeding Chul-joo out with shallow cuts, and asks why he sensed humaneness in Chul-joo’s hand as they fought one another.

Chul-joo: “Because you’re my friend.” He asks Mu if he still doesn’t have any other friends, and Mu kicks him in the chest in response. Chul-joo winces from the pain, but it does get Mu out of the room for a while, and it gives him a chance to try and get to the tools that are just out of reach.

The Soron ministers are convinced that Teacher Park is the culprit behind Shadow’s murder and that he’s in possession of the secret document that they attempted to buy. He denies it but it’s no use, and they threaten that if he doesn’t hand over the document to them, they’ll make sure he’s indicted for Shadow’s murder.

Park swears that the real killer is someone else, but they don’t give a damn about that. And when he argues that the prince has been unfairly imprisoned, the Soron simply say that he’s there ahead of schedule, since neither Yeongjo nor Sun have the right to the throne, the way they see it.

That’s awfully dangerous talk, and Teacher Park follows the Soron leader to ask if he really intends to use the document to overthrow Yeongjo and place someone else in power. Teacher Park pleads with him not to repeat the bloodshed that they faced in the past, and asks him to keep a lid on his hasty colleagues.

Teacher Park finally manages to catch Yeongjo as he’s leaving Lady Moon, and Yeongjo doesn’t waste the opportunity to twist the knife further—he tells Lady Moon that he’ll have her moved to the palace that’s reserved for queens and princesses to give birth. Teacher Park’s face goes white to hear Yeongjo already treating this unborn child as his future heir apparent, and Hyegyeong panics when she hears the same news.

Yeongjo lays it all out rather simply for Teacher Park: Park is the one who put Sun on trial, put him in prison, and put his prince-regency in jeopardy… and he’s the one who can get him out. Ugh, how can he use his own son as a pawn like that? The genius part, of course, is that it’s totally effective because Teacher Park loves the prince.

Park sighs to see Yeongjo’s motives so plainly, and asks if he likes power that much, to risk his own son. Yeongjo just does what he does best and plays mind-games with him, countering that Park is the one who made him do this: “Why did you force my hand? Why are you making me such a bad father?” AUGH. OR MAYBE YOU’RE JUST A BAD FATHER.

Yeongjo is practically dancing rhetorical circles around Park, and asks for the secret document so they can free the prince and put him back in his rightful place. You say it like you’re not the one who threw him in there.

Park argues that even if he were to comply, the murder case would have to be solved in order to clear Sun completely—that means they’d have to catch Shadow’s killer first. Yeongjo just says they can make a culprit, and suggests Chul-joo to take the fall.

Horrified, Park says that he can’t let an innocent man die, but Yeongjo says he’s just a street thug who would’ve died in some gang fight anyway, and he should consider it an honor to die for the prince. Wow. Park cries that even a gangster is one of the king’s people, and Yeongjo agrees but says small sacrifices are needed in order to do big things.

It’s clear now that Yeongjo is too far gone, and Park refuses to hand over the document. Yeongjo says as if it’s just an inevitable result now: “Then you will lose a student… and I will lose a child.”

Teacher Park leaves the room barely managing to stay on his feet, and Prime Minister Kim stops him in the hallway to add casually that he shouldn’t be so quick to give the document to the king—after all, the deaths won’t stop at just Sun when there’s Chul-joo to consider as well. Holy moly, is no one safe?

Just when you think Teacher Park’s day couldn’t possibly get any worse, Advisor Chae tells him that Ji-dam has now been kidnapped too. Chae demands some answers about what Park knows, worried that if Ji-dam dies, Sun will never forgive himself and just break.

Park storms into Prime Minister Kim’s home and demands that Chul-joo and Ji-dam be returned to their rightful places by tomorrow. Kim tells him that nothing in life is free, but Park threatens to make the contents of the document public to the entire nation if he doesn’t comply. He doesn’t look like he’s bluffing either, and Prime Minister Kim grimaces.

Sun slams his fist into the wall when Advisor Chae tells him that Ji-dam and Chul-joo are missing. He says it’s time to clear his path out of here, and hands Advisor Chae the page of the maengui that contains all the signatures. Without revealing the contents of the first page or what it’s about, Sun asks him to figure out who signed the document: “The culprit will be one of them.”


Advisor Chae is startled because he recognizes the name for Prime Minister Kim, and identifies a few other key Noron members, Min Baek-sang and Kim Sang-ro, members of the prime minister’s inner circle. Sun tells him to use whatever means necessary to search these men and their surroundings—one of them will have Ji-dam.

Advisor Chae gives Eunuch Jang instructions to begin the search, but the eunuch hems and haws awkwardly. At the same time, the Noron inner circle contemplates the seriousness of Teacher Park’s threats, and they ask how they’re supposed to produce a girl out of thin air when they don’t have her. Wait, you don’t?

Elsewhere in the palace, Hyegyeong opens up a suspiciously large sack… and there inside is a hog-tied and gagged Ji-dam. Well that’s a twist. Hyegyeong points out that this isn’t their first meeting, and Ji-dam says rather impertinently that kidnapping people like this is against the law, but last time she was in the wrong, and this time the princess is in the wrong, so they’ll call it even.

Hyegyeong tamps down her anger to say that she isn’t kidnapping her—she needs her testimony. Oh. Ji-dam tells her about Heung-bok’s murder, and when Hyegyeong asks if she can testify to those facts in court, Ji-dam agrees without hesitation. Hyegyeong declares that from now on, she’ll ensure Ji-dam’s safety. Okay wait, now THAT’s a twist.

Advisor Chae loses his temper when he hears that Hyegyeong has Ji-dam, and that Eunuch Jang basically spilled all his beans under pressure. Court Lady Choi thinks that maybe this isn’t a terrible development, since Ji-dam might be the only way to get Sun out of jail.

Hyegyeong has Ji-dam safely moved to her palace, and asks her father to have Officer Min brought here. Her father protests that Minister Min is a powerful man and bringing his son here to testify might bring calamity upon all of them, but she’s determined to see this through.

Sun is pacing in his cell when Advisor Chae returns, and is shocked to hear that Ji-dam is safe in Hyegyeong’s care, of all people. Hyegyeong then kneels in the king’s courtyard to plead for a retrial, accompanied by their tiny son who wails appropriately just as his father was taught to do.

Finally, Show has decided that their son Lee San (future Jeongjo) exists! I was seriously wondering if they were going to sweep an entire child under the rug. (He’s three years old at this point in the story.)

As San wails, Hyegyeong cries out over and over for the king to reopen the trial. Yeongjo covers his ears to drown out their cries, annoyed that his grandson and daughter-in-law are adding to his troubles, but Hyegyeong continues, prepared to do this all night.

The Noron ministers realize that it’s possible that the princess has Ji-dam, and that actually fills them with dread. Sun is more alarmed than anyone that Hyegyeong intends to put Ji-dam before the court as a witness, and has dragged their tiny son out there to plead his case before the king.

Sun says that they can’t let Ji-dam testify because if it’s determined that there’s insufficient evidence to support her claims, she’ll be punished as a criminal. Advisor Chae refuses to back down this time, because it’s the only way to get the prince out of jail. He says that they’re going to put Officer Min on trial too, to back up Ji-dam’s statement. Guys, there are so many ways this could go awry! Hyegyeong’s father sends his officers out to capture Officer Min, and the Noron camp panics.

Little San is exhausted, but Hyegyeong refuses to let her court lady comfort him, and puts the child right back by her side to do his duty as the royal heir. Yeongjo finally comes outside to ask what Hyegyeong is doing when the baby is crying, but she counters that he’s not a baby—he’s here as the crown prince’s heir. She points out that Sun himself was not much older when he began to lie prostrate before the king, which… is true, but that was totally messed up.

Yeongjo flares up in anger and asks if she means to keep this up, and Hyegyeong steels herself to declare: “The king’s grandson and I will make this place our grave!”


[Korean Drama Recap] My Secret Hotel Episode 15 Recap

[Korean Drama Recap] My Secret Hotel Episode 15 Recap

By Dramabeans:

Secrets aren’t safe when everyone seems to be hiding around the corner, but the good news is that we (and Sung-gyum) finally learn who killed Sung-gyum’s father. We also learn who killed Young-mi and Hwang, although the jury is still out as to whether that’s not just another cover-up for the truth. As for as the love triangle, get your hankies ready; it’s a messy and tear-filled journey.


Korean Drama My Secret Hotel Episode 15 Recap

Jung-eun intercepts a message meant for Shi-chan, where a drunken and depressed Hae-young asks him to come to the nearby bar. Hae-young’s pretty much passed-out drunk by the time she arrives, and she reassures the bartender that she’ll take care of him.

She ends up putting the passed-out Hae-young into her car like he’s a prize she won at a carnival, but Shi-chan has figured out what’s happened and tries to chase after her. Too late, though, as Jung-eun hurries off with the unaware Hae-young. I guess she’s upped her stalking game to now include kidnapping.

After a night of sorting out her emotions while sitting in front of the cold and abandoned dinner in Hae-young’s apartment, Sang-hyo decides to pack some fresh clothes for him, and waits eagerly for him at the office. But her eagerness disappears when she sees Jung-eun’s car pull up — and Hae-young get out from the passenger side.

Korean Drama My Secret Hotel Episode 15 Recap

Sang-hyo scurries to hide, and overhears Shi-chan fuss over him like a worried hen, asking where (and with whom) Hae-young slept last night. He, too, saw Hae-young in Jung-eun’s car, and yells after him, asks how Hae-young could cheat on Sang-hyo after all he went through to get back together with her.

A stunned Sang-hyo sits down on a bench and fights back tears as she remembers how she had decided seven years ago to use the plane ticket to New York that Hae-young had left her. She’d realized that her career seemed meaningless without him there, and so she’d packed her bags, eager to surprise him by showing up on his doorstep. 

But instead she was surprised by Jung-eun, answering the door in nothing but Hae-young’s dress shirt. Jung-eun invited her in, but said nothing to explain away the very suggestive circumstances. Shocked, Sang-hyo told her not to tell Hae-young she was there, and she returned to Las Vegas, brokenhearted.

Even though those aren’t pleasant memories, current-day Sang-hyo tells herself that it’s all over now, and so it doesn’t matter who Hae-young is with. So, then, why can’t she stop crying?

Shi-chan pouts as he does his work, and a hungover Hae-young cuts to the heart of the matter: Shi-chan likes Jung-eun, doesn’t he? Hae-young reassures him that nothing happened last night — he sobered up as soon as he got to Jung-eun’s home, and besides, he’s not attracted to Jung-eun. The real reason he didn’t return to his apartment, however, was the fear that Sang-hyo wouldn’t be there.

The detectives have dug up some interesting information about Team Leader Cha: he apparently killed one of his classmates when he was younger, and that classmate was none other than the nephew of GM Lee. But even more interesting is the fact that GM Lee forgave him and visited him frequently while a young Cha served his jail time. 

Speak of the devil: Team Leader Cha meets privately with Sung-gyum, letting him know that he never intended to harm Sang-hyo — it was supposed to be a warning for Sung-gyum to leave the hotel.

Sung-gyum snarks that if he decides to stay, will he then die like the rest? He’s not budging, and tells Team Leader Cha to pass along a message to GM Lee: Attempting to hurt Sang-hyo was a mistake because Sung-gyum’s opened up an official police investigation.

Instead of warning GM Lee, Team Leader Cha calls Kyung-hee, asking her to promise that no matter what she hears about him, to ignore it. They both fight back tears as she promises. Just in time, too, because Detective Kim is there to arrest him for the attempted murder of Sang-hyo. 

The hotel staff is abuzz with this surprising new development, but Sang-hyo is still unaware as she calls to let her staff know she won’t be in today. GM Lee is furious with Sung-gyum, demanding to know if he’s out to ruin the hotel, since this next round of publicity will ruin its image even more.

But Sung-gyum is not backing down, warning him that ugly secrets are going to be revealed, including the secret behind his father’s death. GM Lee points out that Sung-gyum won’t be able to do anything about it even if he does reveal who killed his father. But Sung-gyum is determined to eventually reveal what kind of person GM Lee truly is, even if it means taking down the hotel with him.


Korean Drama My Secret Hotel Episode 15 Recap

GM Lee grabs Sung-gyum by the collar, warning him to stop now: His father was trash, and if he doesn’t stop investigating now, Sung-gyum will be the one to regret it. Mom walks in just then, and he lets go of Sung-gyum, telling her that she and her son should leave the country immediately, before its too late.

Hae-young stares at his phone and wrestles with calling Sang-hyo. Shi-chan cheerfully tries to give him tips on how to make up with Sang-hyo, even offering to be his alibi. But Hae-young is still worried that she won’t be there when he gets home.

She isn’t — and he sadly wanders the empty apartment, remembering their few happy moments together. But the sound of the door makes him perk up, and he rushes out to find that Sang-hyo has come home. He asks if she’s mad he stayed out last night, and he admits that he didn’t want to come home because he was afraid she wouldn’t be there. 

When she asks where he was, however, he says he was with Shi-chan. Which Sang-hyo knows isn’t true, but she accepts his lie. She keeps her composure long enough to go to the spare bedroom, where she fights back her tears, telling herself that she won’t cry over him again.

At the hotel the next morning, a worried Eun-joo rushes to the wedding department, asking after Sang-hyo. This is the first time Sang-hyo’s heard about Team Leader Cha being arrested for trying to kill her, She struggles to believe it, though, even if the rest of the hotel staff seem to (except for Kyung-hee).

Hae-young finds about the “hotel serial killer” and immediately tries calling her on the phone, but she’s with Sung-gyum and ignores his call. They’re headed to the police station so Sang-hyo can give her side of the story, despite the fact she still finds it difficult to believe Cha tried to kill her. Sung-gyum tries to reassure her, but he’s more focused on the fact that he’s so close to taking down GM Lee. 

They meet with Detective Kim, who is happy to inform them that everything has been resolved since Cha confessed to killing Hwang, Young-mi, and attempting to kill Sang-hyo. Sung-gyum isn’t as happy to receive this news, refusing to believe the Cha’s confession as anything but a cover-up. But with the confession, there’s no reason to investigate further.

Shi-chan gets more details about the situation, and reassures Hae-young that they caught the perpetrator, and Sang-hyo is fine. But he wonders at what made Hae-young keep from running out like a madman to check on Sang-hyo, like he normally would have done, and Hae-young quietly admits that he just felt like he wouldn’t be needed, since he assumed she would be with Sung-gyum.

She is, and as Sung-gyum drives her to Hae-young’s apartment, both are quietly lost in their thoughts. But he notices her shaking hand as she tries to unbuckle her seatbelt, and she tells him that she keeps remembering how scary it was. He apologizes profusely for being more focused on his agenda, not thinking about how it would affect her.


Korean Drama My Secret Hotel Episode 15 Screenshots

This time it’s Hae-young who hides around the corner as Sung-gyum puts his arms on Sang-hyo’s shoulders, reassuring her that he won’t put her in danger again.

Sang-hyo nervously enters the apartment, and she turns around to find Hae-young waiting for her with outstretched arms, promising he won’t let her be scared any more. Except it’s just a phantom-Hae-young, and she huddles under the covers, scared and wondering where he is.

He’s back at the bar, is where. This time Shi-chul is the one to find him, thank goodness, and he asks if Hae-young hasn’t made up with Sang-hyo yet. He hasn’t, and in fact is planning on letting her go. He used to believe he was the one for her, but now he’s not so sure. After making her go through the wedding, honeymoon, and moving in with him, he’s finally ready to stop acting like an idiot trying to keep her around.

Not because of any shame of looking like an idiot, however — but because he’s aware of how much he’s made Sang-hyo suffer. Aw, his tearful confession even chokes up Shi-chul. He’s totally blitzed by the end of the night, though, so Shi-chul drags him inside his apartment, reassuring Sang-hyo that, just like tonight, Hae-young was with him the last time he stayed out late, too.

As she watches Hae-young sleep, Sang-hyo realizes that as difficult as everything was for her during the day, this moment is the hardest for her. But after she leaves, a single tear slips down Hae-young’s cheek, revealing that he heard her say how hard he’s made life for her.

Sung-gyum’s headed to his room in the hotel when he happens to meet GM Lee in the hallway, and Sung-gyum brashly accuses him of putting all the blame on Cha. He tells GM Lee that he’s not going to give up the investigation, but GM Lee warns him that there’s a board of directors meeting soon that will decide if Sung-gyum should be fired or not.


But Sung-gyum realizes why GM Lee is still at the hotel this late, and knocks on the door of his mother’s suite. He notes the pair of empty teacups, confirming that GM Lee was with her, but she denies it. Even though she begs him to stop investigation, he’s determined to find his father’s killer and make him pay.

She desperately calls out to him, letting him know that if the truth is revealed, both he and Sang-hyo will be hurt. Nothing good will come from digging into the past.

Sang-hyo makes Hae-young breakfast and asks if it’s uncomfortable for her to stay here. He knows she’s just doing it for the reporters, but it must be hard on her — and Sung-gyum. 

Casually, he tells her there’s no need for her to stay here against her will. But his nonchalance is all an act, because as soon as Sang-hyo leaves, he cries into his rice bowl.

Simon delivers Sang-hyo’s adoption records that Sung-gyum requested, and he’s shocked to realize that GM Lee is listed as her guardian.

Speak of the devil, Hae-young arrives at work to discover GM Lee waiting for him. He confirms what we all know — Sang-hyo is like a daughter to him, and when Sang-hyo asked him for advice about getting fake-married to Hae-young, he was originally against it. 

But he still walked her down the aisle, and saw how she looked at Hae-young — she didn’t agree to go through with the marriage to just save the hotel. GM Lee assures Hae-young that Sang-hyo still has feelings for him, so he shouldn’t give up yet. Especially since he believes Sang-hyo and Sung-gyum shouldn’t be together.

Back at the hotel, Sang-hyo reflects on Hae-young’s declaration that she doesn’t need to stay with him anymore.

But Hae-young’s buoyed by GM Lee’s encouragement, and rushes back to the apartment, looking for Sang-hyo. He finds a simple “thank you” note with the key to the car his parents gave her, and realizes she’s gone for good. This makes him remember when he went back to the apartment in Las Vegas to find out she’d left. Her landlord had told him that she’d left with a new guy who loved her more than he had.


Korean Drama My Secret Hotel Episode 15 Screenshots

Sang-hyo meets with Sung-gyum, who apologizes for calling her — but he missed her. But he’s not sure if he can continue to keep on waiting for her, and he’s decided to stop trying to hold on to her. But as he says goodbye, he reassures her that his feelings for her were genuine. Then he walks away without looking back.

Mom confronts GM Lee, asking him what he plans to do about Sung-gyum. But GM Lee’s worried everyone will find out about their relationship, so they step aside to talk privately. Too late, because Sung-gyum watches them from around the corner.

She wants to why he’s trying to get her son fired, and he explains that it’s the only way to get Sung-gyum away from the hotel. Mom’s having none of it and yells at him that the price she’s paying to trust him is ruining her son’s career. She threatens to confess everything, and he grabs her shoulders, reminding her that everything will be ruined if she does.


Sung-gyum barges in, grabbing GM Lee by the lapels and leaning him over the balcony of the lobby. Furious, he accuses GM Lee of killing not just his father, but trying to kill his mother just now, too. He threatens to kill GM Lee with his own hands, but Mom desperately cries out: “I killed your father!”

As she breaks down sobbing, a flashback shows Sung-gyum’s father in a drunken rage, threatening to harm Sung-gyum’s mother. He picks up a bottle to smash on her head, but GM Lee rushes up to stop him. Dad taunts Lee about his relationship with his wife, and threatens to smash the bottle on Lee’s head instead. Mom rushes forward to protect Lee, accidentally shoving Sung-gyum’s father off the railing, where he falls to death in the lobby below.

Back in the present, she explains to Sung-gyum that GM Lee had covered up for her, and they had spent the past thirty years being blackmailed by Hwang since he knew that she had killed her husband, and held onto her necklace as evidence.

A shell-shocked Sung-gyum slowly releases his grip on GM Lee, dazedly asking if it’s true. Mom desperately reassures him that as much as she hated his father, she never meant to kill him — it was an accident. She apologizes over and over as he staggers away to deal with this new information.

Sung-gyum sits alone in his suite: “Sang-hyo, what do I do now?” Hae-young sprawls out by his ginormous wedding photo: “Sang-hyo, now that you’re gone again, how will I live?” Sang-hyo curls up on her sofa, eyes red with tears: “Sang-hyo, who are you crying about?”


[RECAP] SBS Korean Drama Secret Door Episode 8

[RECAP] SBS Korean Drama Secret Door Episode 8


Recap by Dramabeans:

With the prince closing in on the bad guys in the Noron camp, the Norons are shaking things up internally to cover their asses in case Sun works out all the clues. So while Westside boss Shadow had previously been Prime Minister Kim’s go-to assassin, Shadow’s fallen out of favor and is now the target. Prime Minister Kim has already found himself a new assassin to take over, Blacklist, and gives the instruction to kill Shadow.

I’d maybe feel sorry for Shadow (just a tiny bit) for being used and discarded thusly, except that Shadow brought this upon himself by holding onto that secret document and using it as blackmail/collateral. Prime Minister Kim won’t stand to be double-crossed like that, and plans to use his secret illegitimate son, Kim Mu, as his assassin.

The Sorons are equally keen to get to Shadow and intend to bribe him for it, before the Norons get to it. (Fyi, the document at the center of this show, which binds Yeongjo and the Norons as conspirators, is called maengui in the show; we’ve simply called it the secret document to keep things simple. But if it becomes clearer to use the word maengui instead, we’ll do so.) So now it’s a race to get to Shadow first, and he must know things are moving because Shadow takes extra precautions to hide that maengui document in a smoking pipe. 

It’s secret assassin Mu who gets to him first, knocking him out with a dart to the neck. When Shadow wakes up, he’s tied up in preparation for what looks to be a grisly torture session. Mu asks for the secret document, and Shadow, who’s carrying the pipe on him, doesn’t give it up. He starts to panic as Mu applies the blade to his hand…

I’m relieved we don’t have to watch the torture, but we come back after the first round is done. Mu carefully takes the blood that’s been collected by a funnel contraption, then pours it into a plant vase. Guh. So he’s a neat-freak sadist? Why does that extra detail make him so much more terrifying? Mu asks again for the document, but then hears a noise outside.

Chul-joo slips inside Shadow’s now-silent house, operating on Park Mun-su’s instructions to kill Shadow and bring back the pipe. He spots drops of blood on the floor, leading to the wall screen, which tip him off to the assassin’s presence. He stabs through the screen, and though he misses getting a piece of Mu, it brings the fight out into the open.

As they battle it out in the small room, Chul-joo snatches the pipe from Shadow, and Mu realizes what it must be. So he slashes Shadow’s throat since he’s no longer useful, and then our two swordsmen take the fight outside.

Hyegyeong isn’t dealing very well with the sting of being abandoned by her husband in the middle of the night they were scheduled (by the government, no less) to sleep together. She takes it out on Sun’s head court lady, whipping her legs with a switch and demanding his whereabouts. 

The court lady stoically endures the punishment and says she’ll be the outlet for the princess’s anger, which only angers Hyegyeong more. She insists that it’s not because of her hurt feelings (uh huh) that she’s reacting this way, but because Sun’s behavior is going against the rules. She’s ignoring the part where she’s crossing the line, because the prince’s staff isn’t hers to punish this way, but that isn’t stopping her.

You get the sense that Hyegyeong would actually hate being understood, because she expends so much effort putting up that front of icy decorum. She isn’t hurt, she’s concerned for the country! But the court lady either doesn’t know where Sun is or won’t divulge it, and so Hyegyeong goes on whipping her.

Sun arrives at Shadow’s house next, and finds the bloody corpse on the floor. His bloodstained appearance has the servants in an uproar, at least until he identifies himself and sends a man to fetch officials.


SBS Korean Drama Secret Door Episode 8 Recap

The chase between Chul-joo and Mu takes them across town and into the woods, where they confront each other—and, surprisingly, say that it’s been a long time. They were once friendly, and Mu says that it’s a pity that he’ll have to kill the one person he knew in the city. Not if Chul-joo has anything to say about that, and they go at it with their swords.

Corrupt Officer Byun and his men arrive at Shadow’s house, but they’re not the officials Sun called, and he seems rightly skeptical of their “We were just in the neighborhood” excuse. He turns them away because the case isn’t in their jurisdiction, and they have to comply when the city mayor arrives on the scene moments later to take over. 

The mayor’s a Soron, the policemen are Norons. So Officer Byun leaves griping about the prince’s continued interference, and Ji-dam happens to hear this since she’s snuck out to do some snooping of her own.

Prime Minister Kim’s inner circle (well, triangle really) freaks out to hear that the prince is involved and wonder just how much he knows. King Yeongjo, despite being in the same conspiracy boat as the Norons, jumps to the conclusion that they’re trying to pull one over on him. But his eunuch suspects the opposite, noting that the prince called for Mayor Jo, the Soron leader. He asks the horrifying thought, “Could the prince have found out about the maengui?”

Yeongjo reels at the thought, then asks if this means the prince is searching for that document.


SBS Korean Drama Secret Door Episode 8 Review

Yes but not-yes. Sun is looking for the document, but at the present he doesn’t know exactly what it is. He pores through every book in Shadow’s house, hoping to find the book Heung-bok was carrying when he died. It’s not there.

There are several unusual things about Sun’s behavior tonight that Mayor Jo picks up on, such as his excursion into the city in the first place and his dismissal of the police. He asks Sun about them and whether the prince wants something of him, and offers himself up to command.

For now, Sun chooses to trust him (ackkkk) and asks the mayor to select a few trustworthy officials to work on this case. It’s imperative that nobody outside this small group be allowed close to the investigation. He asks to be updated with the utmost secrecy. Unfortunately, that trust is misplaced, and the second Sun leaves, Mayor Jo gives the order to scour the house for any suspicious books. 

Ji-dam is waiting to speak to Sun outside, and he starts to scold her in frustration for leaving her safehouse. But she tells him she may know who killed Shadow (aka Pil-jae, the prince’s bodyguard. I know, so many names!). She reports what she heard—that Park Mun-su gave orders for assassins to kill Shadow and recover a pipe. It’s hard to hear, and Sun isn’t ready to believe this of his teacher.

“It’s not him,” he says, arguing that this doesn’t make him the mastermind. “If Teacher is the one behind Kang Pil-jae’s murder, then that makes him behind all of these murders. And that means he also killed Heuung-bok. There’s no way that could be—why would he do that?”


SBS Korean Drama Secret Door Episode 8 Screenshots

Advisor Chae points out that this mysterious and dangerous document could provide that reason. Obviously Park didn’t order a murder just to claim a smoking pipe, so it’s likely that the document is tied to it. Furthermore, Chae argues that the best way to clear up suspicion over his teacher is to push forward and investigate him. Despite feeling sick at heart, Sun sees his point.

With this new information putting Chul-joo’s home base under suspicion, they agree that Ji-dam can no longer stay there, and Advisor Chae invites Ji-dam and her father to stay with him. Ha, is she going to house-hop every episode? That would actually be fun, and true to the spirit of keeping her on the move and hidden, rather than just hiding out in one conveniently unfindable spot for the whole drama.


 Secret Door Episode 8 screenshots

Sun feels extra sorry to her father with each disruption and apologizes. He then checks on Ji-dam, who has remained quiet but whose dismay he well understands. He assures her that when all is said and done, their faith in Park Mun-soo and Chul-joo will be proven true: “They will be the people we trust them to be.” It’s a poignant moment for the two idealists… but why does the camera cut to an eavesdropping spy?

Meanwhile, the Soron leaders who tried to buy the maengui document from Shadow/Pil-jae is left wondering why the meeting fell through. They must not know about the death yet, and wonder if he decided to take the document elsewhere, to someone who wanted the document more. They recognize that even so, the other party wouldn’t have just accepted a simple deal—what if they were planning to kill him afterward, just as the Sorons intended? Is there nobody whose idea of fixing problems means killing them?

It’s interesting to see everyone working with different pieces of the puzzle, because they all have gaping holes in their information. Yeongjo, for instance, mulls over the question of the prince’s involvement and comes upon a comforting thought—that Park Mun-su sent an assassin, which means that he got to Pil-jae before the prince did. So for now, it’s likely that Sun doesn’t have that document. 

Assassin Mu returns to Prime Minister Kim’s house empty-handed, but his father takes a surprisingly gentle approach and tells him that it’s enough that he returned safely. He tells him not to worry and rest up, while Mu offers up the comment that he may know how to recover the document.

Chul-joo reports to Park Mun-su about the interloper who killed Pil-jae, and hands over the pipe. Park Mun-su takes it with great excitement, but as he fiddles with it, he notices blood on the handle and realizes that Chul-joo was injured. He runs out to look for him, but misses him.

Chul-joo in fact has a great bleeding wound in the side, and his sight goes blurry from the blood loss. His reflexes kick in to avoid getting stuck by a flying dart, but a second one finds its mark in his neck. He struggles to stay awake as Mu approaches, but he falls unconscious in seconds.

Sun enters Park Mun-su’s office late that night and instructs his advisor and eunuch to begin the search.

Park Mun-su’s concern takes him to the Eastside gang’s headquarters, where he grows even more worried upon hearing that Chul-joo hasn’t returned yet. That’s because he’s been taken by Mu, and awakens to find himself tied up. Mu tells him to rest up because tomorrow is likely to be a rough day (…to put it mildly), and leaves him for the night.

The search of Pil-jae’s house turns up one suspicious book, a memoir. We don’t see what has the Soron mayor gaping in shock, but it must be serious.

The search of Park Mun-su’s office turns up nothing, but Advisor Chae just chides Eunuch Jang to look harder. For the gloomy prince’s benefit, his faithful eunuch says that this may be wasted effort since Park may be innocent, and for the prince’s benefit, Advisor Chae tamps down his skepticism. And then he gets a hunch about possible hidden safes in the room, leading them to a locked compartment set into the wall.

With both hope and fear, Sun opens the safe… and there it is, that borrowed mystery novel they’ve been searching for, marked with the stamp that Heung-bok altered. Smash!goes the prince’s heart as he realizes his trusted teacher has been doing some untrustworthy things.

Advisor Chae presses him to arrest Park Mun-su right away for trying to hide evidence related to the investigation, but the eunuch sees Sun’s devastation and gives him the Not now, dude look. With difficulty, Sun asks for just a moment of quiet to process this.

He heads back to his quarters alone, his heart heavy as he thinks back to his childhood and the nurturing presence his teacher played in it. He remembers Advisor Chae warning him to be suspicious of Park, and of Park himself urging him not to trust anybody. In his empty chamber, he breaks down in tears.

Sun’s head court lady hears of the latest and feels for the prince’s emotional state, knowing how he’d trusted Park Mun-su. Asked about her own condition following the princess’s punishment, she dismisses it soundly, calling it nothing in light of the prince’s situation. Aw, I do love her; she’s like a surrogate mother, so quietly steadfast.

When she then hears of yet another potential problem in the making, she hurries to intercept Hyegyeong before she reaches Sun’s quarters, asking her not to disturb him tonight. Hyegyeong doesn’t take kindly to the impertinence, so the court lady kneels on the ground and says she’d have her legs cut off if necessary, but cannot step aside. 

Hyegyeong demands a reason, and Court Lady Choi starts her explanation by describing the prince as the child she raised from infanthood, who didn’t cry much and had more laughs than tears. She realized only later that he didn’t like to be seen crying, so he would hide and then cry in secret.

Hyegyeong looks genuinely moved to tears, catching on that the prince is crying alone right now. But she argues that it’s her place to be with him in times like this, and Court Lady Choi replies that it’s her lifelong wish that such a day will come. “But today is not that day,” she says, pleading for the princess to allow him this time to cry without interference. Aw, and now I’m crying without interference.

The princess is, at least, swayed by the words. Sun continues to cry in private. Small, small consolation.

Park Mun-su finds the document hidden in the pipe, at the same time that Sun opens the mystery novel and flips through the pages. When one catches his eye, he recalls Heung-bok’s letter hinting at a hidden clue, and examines the page that’s thicker than the rest. He holds it up to a candle, and the light reveals the words hidden between the lines.

As those words literally come to light before Sun’s eyes, Park Mun-su reads the same thing on the original document, which start out with a cry to save the country, identifying these faithful servants of the nation who will take up the call (using the name Great Unity to describe their secret society). It specifically outlines the plan to enthrone a new king, and despite the pseudo-patriotic rationale for the move, this is clearly a traitorous document, and highly damning. Sun is aghast.

 Secret Door Episode 8 Recap

Park Mun-su reads the names signed to the document, and it sends him into a flashback of the day he had given Yeongjo a fan with a nickname he’d made for him—Juk-pa, to mean a ruler who would reign with righteousness. Yeongjo had vowed to cherish the name more than his given one, and it was that name that he had written onto the maengui. Oof. Is that hopeful or deeply ironic? Hopeful, or horrifying?

Park Mun-su reads that name and laughs with tears in his yes.

He then reports to Yeongjo that he found the document, and is embraced with the king’s full gratitude. But Park’s face is stony and unmoved, and he tells the king, “I’m sorry, Your Highness. I do not intend to give it to you.” 

And just like that, it’s the scary Yeongjo again (though one could argue he’s alwaysscary), shaking in rage. He asks if Park means to lay everything bare to the whole nation, but Park replies that everything depends on what the king decides. He outlines the crimes committed thirty years ago by everyone who signed that document, and states that they’ll have to take responsibility for them.

Yeongjo actually sputters and asks if that includes himself. Park replies, “If that is what you decide, that may be one way.”

Yeongjo grabs his sword and brandishes it at an unflinching Park Mun-su. He bellows, “You’re telling me to give up the king’s seat?!” He demands to know what Park wants, and Park kneels and declares that he only wants to right what’s wrong.

At that, the king howls in laughter at the idea of straightening out a crooked history. He orders Park to be more honest, and asks, “If I am the past, then who is the future?” Oh no, he’s twisting this down a dangerous path, isn’t he? He guesses that Park wants to throw Yeongjo aside to make Sun the king.

Park Mun-su tells the king he will give him time to figure out how to straighten out this crooked path. Yeongjo challenges, “What will you do if I do nothing?” Park answers the question with a question (infuriating, but effective): “What would you do if it were you?”

Yeongjo wouldn’t be lenient, that’s for sure, judging from the deathly glare he shoots at Park, who entreats him to make the wise choice. When Park turns to leave, he raises his sword as though to strike him down then and there, but Park adds one last word: The instant the king tries to (or even succeeds in) harming Park, copies of the maengui will be spread far and wide. 

Yeongjo’s good and cornered, and he tells Park he’s gotten better at this. Park replies, “I owe it all to you.”

Park was remarkably composed throughout that exchange, but he returns to his office feeling drained. The same goes for the king, who turns toward his throne and looks at it beseechingly before falling to the ground before it. His earlier words ring in his ears: “You’re telling me to give up the throne? You mean to shove me aside and enthrone the crown prince?!” Yeongjo looks lost and weak. For now, at least.

The Soron mayor hears the results of the autopsy, and the coroner notes that Pil-jae suffered torture before being killed. He’s also alerted to a problem with the murder weapon.

Prime Minister Kim stops Park Mun-su to ask whether he found any interesting documents last night. Park answers with a question (stop Yoda-ing everyone!), “What do you think?” The prime minister just chuckles that the real fight is about to get started, and that it should be entertaining.


By morning, Sun has calmed his emotions and put his thoughts in order. He asks for Park Mun-su to be brought to him quietly.

Yeongjo hears of this, and his paranoia is running at an all-time high; anytime he hears Park and Sun mentioned in the same breath, he jumps to the conclusion that they must be colluding against him.

That’s far from the truth, and Sun sits down with Park and starts out lightly by speaking of his fondness for mystery novels. His favorite writer’s first novel (about Park Mun-su the inspector) was wildly unpopular, but this novel is different, he says—and pulls out the one hidden in Park’s safe.

At the same time, Yeongjo reviews the report brought to him by the mayor, who is clearly afraid to tell him something important. To his surprise, Yeongjo just tells him to deal with it via the law, and the mayor looks shocked. Oh! Is the murder weapon the dagger stolen from Sun’s room?

Sun asks Park point-blank what he was doing with the book, and whether the man sitting before him is the prince-regent’s teacher or a criminal. Park replies, “A criminal.”

Sun asks what his crime is. Park replies, “With my own hands, I left Shin Heung-bok’s corpse in the well.”

Well, it doesn’t get more damning than that. Sun’s hand balls into a fist and shakes, so much that he has to hold it firm with the other hand. Tears fill his eyes and he looks at his teacher with betrayal, and Park can only look away.

And just then, the mayor leads his team into the office, here to arrest the criminal, he announces. Sun turns his face and tells them to take Park away, and Park dutifully rises to accept his punishment.

But the mayor counters that they are not here to arrest Park: “Your Highness, you are under arrest for the murder of Kang Pil-jae.”

Knowing what is happening to son at this moment, Yeongjo muses to himself that there’s no rule forcing him to die.