Ah, I can’t believe it’s the end already! This show had such a good run, and I’m sad to say goodbye to these characters who have become family to each other and to us, the viewers. Can we get 10 more episodes, PD-nim? This episode follows King Cheoljong and Queen So-yong in their final confrontation with the masterminds of the corrupt Kim clan. We also learn what finally becomes of the souls of So-yong and Bong-hwan, who have swapped bodies since the first episode.
The King and Queen move to attack
Turns out that the wagon Kim Jwa-geun (Kim Tae-woo) stopped wasn’t the one that Cheoljong (Kim Jung-hyun) and So-yong (Shin Hye-sun) were hiding in. They change back into their royal garb and fight with the royal guards. When the enthronement ceremony begins, Cheoljong panics, but So-yong reveals that she had a back-up plan involving Kim Hwan (Yoo Young-jae, in a hilarious but underrated performance) all along. We find out what her plan was when during the enthronement ceremony, all hell breaks loose on the manipulative Grand Queen Dowager Sunwon (Bae Jong-ok).
Cheoljong and So-yong get shot
Hong Yeon (Chae Seo-eun), Court Lady Choi (Cha Chung-hwa), and Man-bok (Kim In-kwon), along with the rebels, distract the palace soldiers from the outside. Inside, So-yong and Cheoljong stroll to the palace hand-in-hand to defeat Kim Jwa-geun. In a shocking twist of fate, however, Kim Jwa-geun’s loyal servant lands a fatal blow on both of them. As So-yong cries out to Cheoljong, it sees that this is the moment when her soul is finally returning to her body.
Jang Bong-hwan wakes up in his own body
After months of trying to return to his own body, Jang Bong-hwan’s (Choi Jin-hyuk) soul returns at this critical moment, when he doesn’t want to anymore. Bong-hwan is on the run from cops as soon as he wakes up, despite having been in a coma for months. Desperate to save Cheoljong and to find out if the King managed to carry out his plan successfully, Bong-hwan thinks to go to the only place he can in order to verify history—the library.
Final battle between Cheoljong and Kim Jwa-geun
With Jang Bong-hwan’s soul back in his own body, Kim So-yong’s soul also returns, although she is in extreme pain due to being shot while pregnant. Her cries, however, manage to spur Cheoljong on to fight Kim Jwa-geun, and in a thrilling swordfight, he finally manages to overpower the evil mastermind of the Kim clan. Instead of killing him, however, Cheoljong announces a much crueler, punishing end for Kim Jwa-geun that was super satisfying to watch.
A final hurdle for the King and Queen
So-yong urges him to complete his mission, and Cheoljong unwillingly leaves her side to stop the enthronement, leaving Grand Queen Dowager Sunwon stunned. Despite succeeding in stopping the enthronement and defeating the Kim clan, it is not yet the end of troubles for the royal couple. So-yong’s injury threatens to take both her life and her baby’s. Cheoljong watches as his Queen bleeds, and he is unable to help her.
A collapse of a corrupt royal order
It is announced that Grand Queen Dowager Sunwon is to be retired and sent to another palace, far away, to await her end and become irrelevant to palace politics. Sunwon is outraged and refuses to comply, until So-yong herself visits her to forbid her to go out. In a very satisfying moment, So-yong repeats the words Sunwon had told her many months ago: “Even if you die, it will be at the palace.” I’m so glad that the feisty, foul-mouthed Queen is still somewhere inside So-yong! Our other villains—Queen Dowager Jo (Jo Yeon-hee), Kim Jwa-geun, and the corrupt ministers of the Kim and Jo clans are similarly and satisfyingly punished by Cheoljong.
Cheoljong and So-yong’s reign of peace
Cheoljong makes plans to share his power with the people, laying the foundations for democracy. So-yong visits Byeong-in’s (Na In-woo) grave to express her gratitude and wonders how Jang Bong-hwan is. The change in Shin Hye-sun’s body language as she goes from being Jang Bong-hwan to Kim So-yong is so stark! Over in the present, Bong-hwan is relieved to discover that history changed, and Cheoljong really did achieve what he set out to do. He also learns that his own fate has changed, and he is no longer public enemy number one.
The show ends on two hopeful notes—in the present, a recovered Bong-hwan remembers Cheoljong’s efforts for the good of the world, while in the past, Cheoljong and So-yong share a sweet moment with each other. Let me retreat into a corner and weep, because now that this show is over, I don’t know what to do with myself.