The plot of The King: Eternal Monarch just keeps getting hotter and hotter! It’s as if all the initial episodes that we spent waiting for something exciting to happen are culminating into the second half of dizzying speed. King Lee Gon (Lee Min-ho) is now retaliating after the death of his uncle, Prince Buyeong, and the enemy’s side is fighting back too, giving us thrilling fighting scenes. Gon’s rescue of Tae-eul had everyone on the edge of their seats and was basically the highlight of the entire episode. The neon smoke, the girl in distress, the savior walking towards her in slow motion, the camera’s slow pacing of shots, intense background music, the sound effects of the action scenes echoing a bit, and even the repeated close-ups to show the characters’ facial expressions—everything about this episode was so satisfying.
At one point, Gon tells his men, “Protect her, she’s the future queen of Corea!” and I couldn’t help but fangirl. This is the trademark K-drama romance I’ve been waiting for! And while these kinds of scenes have been used over and over in different contexts and genres, they still don’t fail to make fans swoon. Gon’s declaration, Tae-eul (Kim Go-eun) asking why she would need a knight in shining armor when she has the King himself, and that final hug from a running Gon finally brought some intensity to this romance. The chemistry spiked up and there were heart eyes everywhere. I’m so glad they worked on the romance in this show and were able to finally showcase Lee Min-ho and Kim Go-eun’s chemistry.
Just a bit of recap on the character development in this episode – Luna starts the episode with a literal bang when the police car chasing her gets hit by a truck, and just when she thinks she’s safe, she is run over by a car as well, which we later discover was driven by Lee Rim’s subordinates. Lee Rim (Lee Jung-jin) takes her to the other side to take over Tae-eul’s life, which results in Tae-eul being transported to the Kingdom of Corea to be used as bait against Lee Gon.
Meanwhile, the royal palace is still grieving Prince Buyeong’s death, particularly Head Court Lady Noh Ok-nam and Lee Gon, who were both deeply affected by his passing. Kang Shin-jae (Kim Kyung-nam) is attacked by Lee Rim’s men and asked to be their ally. The most intriguing arc is of Prime Minister Goo Seo-ryung (Jung Eun-chae), who seems to have crossed over to the Republic of Korea as well, but we aren’t shown how it happened or the transition of her crossover. She just happens to be there, shopping for heels.
The popular fan theory of the boy with the yoyo being some kind of deity or supernatural entity tasked with maintaining the balance of the universe now stands confirmed. Luna is seen wondering why the string of his yoyo is red, which, interestingly enough, is a reference to the East Asian belief about the red string of fate that connects destined lovers to each other. The string is supposed to bind two people together, regardless of their circumstances. I wonder how the red string of fate operates in this fantasy parallel world concept. Maybe it binds one person’s fate to his/her counterpart in the other world? I’m excited to see the reveal.
The boy appears in the warehouse where Tae-eul is held captive to free her and help her escape. Tae-eul tries to warn him to run away, but he tells her, “I warn people of danger and help them defeat the enemy.” She then recognizes him as the boy who bumped into her and caused her ID to fall into a drain, and says, “You’re in this world, too,” to which the boy replies “There’s only one of me, I went to the other world.” That alone seems like a big revelation to me. The boy then brings out Luna’s knife, using it to cut the rope binding Tae-eul and reveals that he is trying to restore the balance of the world. Tae-eul is thoroughly puzzled, and so are we, but Gon’s remark from one of the previous episodes about God being the only one who can restore the balance gives us some ideas as to who this child could be.
Every time travel/parallel worlds movie has this one unspoken rule in its universe – that the two worlds set apart should never have collided. Whenever a pathway opens because of interference and the balance is broken, there are always consequences. In this case, Lee Gon discovers that the consequence of traveling between the two worlds is that the time stops whenever someone crosses over to the other dimension. He also figures out that the period of time that stops goes on to multiply with every crossover. By this logic, they will reach a point where time will stop for a whole day, and then a week, a month, a year, and so on. “In other words, there will come a moment, when the worlds, both Tae-eul’s and mine, will stop forever,” Gon explains. Phew.
If the last few episodes of The King: Eternal Monarch were to be compared to a roller-coaster ride, then this episode can be called its highest coast yet, full of big revelations, fighting scenes, and plot twists. The next episode’s preview looks even more exciting, featuring Jo Yeong (Woo Do-hwan), who was missing from this episode, being hit by a bullet. There is loads to look forward to – from Gon declaring Tae-eul to be the woman he loves, Luna successfully infiltrating the Republic of Korea using Tae-eul’s identity, Shin-jae’s mom in the Kingdom of Corea being exposed as a spy, and the answer to why Lee Gon and Lee Rim have those weird marks on their body. Anyhow, I’m excited for the next episode, and very much on the edge of my seat anticipating what hell is going to break loose (pun intended) next.
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