With only 3 episodes left before the finale, the puzzle that is The King: Eternal Monarch is almost complete. Just a quick recap for this episode: Head Court Lady Noh Ok-nam (Kim Young-ok) is revealed to be from the Republic of Korea. Turns out she was brought over to the Kingdom by Lee Gon’s grandfather, who was also a time traveler. Lee Gon (Lee Min-ho) discovers that Prime Minister Goo Seo-ryung (Jung Eun-chae) is conniving with Lee Rim (Lee Jung-jin), and relieves her from her position for treason. Now, we wait for her retaliation in the next episode. Meanwhile, Jo Eun-seob (Woo Do-hwan) finally goes home to the Republic of Korea after surviving an assassination attempt by Lee Rim’s men and receives a brand new car as a thank you gift from Lee Gon. Tae-eul (Kim Go-eun) introduces Gon to her father as her boyfriend, while some new facts come to light regarding Kang Shin-jae (Kim Kyung-nam).
After this episode, I have a feeling that Shin-jae’s counterpart might not be dead, as we all thought, but trapped in one of the care centers under Lee Rim’s influence that Tae-eul and Shin-jae searched. Song Jung-hye (Lee Gon’s counterpart’s mom) knows this; that’s why she tells Min Hwa-Yeon (Shin-jae’s mother) that the family might be overwhelmed from paying the hospital bills of a comatose son for two decades. Then, when Shin-jae’s mother reveals that her son woke up one year later after the accident and shows her a picture of Shin-jae as a cop, Jung-hye recognizes him as the one who visited her dead son’s (Lee Gon’s counterpart) tomb and is shocked. The possibility that Shin-jae’s counterpart might be the one inside the locked room that Shin-jae is seen attempting to enter is thrilling. I hope the next episode finally answers all of Shin-jae’s questions, and ours.
I wonder if the reason Yeong keeps an eye on Jung-hye is that he knows something about her colluding with Lee Rim and being one of his most important cards. I’m not sure how exactly Lee Rim plans to use her as bait against Lee Gon since the King has no emotional attachment to the woman, even if he was looking for her.
Moving on, we now know that the burn marks only appear on people who crossed over to the other world with their counterparts already dead, like Lee Gon, Lee Rim, and Seo-ryung, among others. The marks don’t appear on Tae-eul and Jo Yeong, whose doppelgangers Luna and Eun-seob are still alive. This fact is also noteworthy because Shin-jae also doesn’t have any marks, which, again, leads me to wonder if his counterpart is still alive.
Remember the prime minister’s sneaky and suspicious advisor? Turns out, he is indebted to Lee Gon, and sides with him. The man is a double agent working under Seo-ryung for her ex-husband’s family, in order to keep her in check. That is how her treason is revealed, although, don’t you think getting rid of the prime minister was almost too easy? Usually, for antagonists, they always put up a fight, lying and plotting to cover up their wrongdoings, but the prime minister went down easily. It wasn’t satisfying at all. Another character I’m bothered by is the pregnant woman who gets screentime in every episode. What exactly is her role? Will she take part in the prime minister’s retaliation? Why didn’t she kill her doppelganger, who could cause a ruckus in the other world? What is Lee Rim’s plan for her, aside from using the influence of her doppelganger’s husband?
And now, for an exciting new development – it looks like the most-awaited clash between Luna and Tae-eul is about to happen. Trying to impersonate Tae-eul, Luna suddenly kisses Shin-jae, which catches him off guard and was the the best move for Luna to avoid getting caught herself. She knows Shin-jae and Tae-eul have been best friends since high school and the moment she opens her mouth to talk, Shin-jae would realize she is not Tae-eul (just as Lee Gon knew she wasn’t Tae-eul when she spoke to him in a later scene), so she makes a move Shin-jae does not expect.
Aside from Shin-jae, Tae-eul’s weakness is also her father. She might be a tough, strong-willed detective outside but she turns into an affectionate, dotting daughter inside her house, even clinging to her father the first thing after getting home. Meanwhile, Luna grew up in the streets – she may not poke at other people’s wounds but she knows how to use their weaknesses against them. After crossing over to the Republic of Korea, Luna has been in contact with Tae-eul’s loved ones to turn them against Tae-eul in the future. Her most important card is Lee Gon himself, so she poisons him, which significant because she is planning to meet up with Tae-eul. Amidst all this, Luna battles cancer on her own.
Lee Gon also finally realises that the mystery guy who saved him 25 years ago is him from the future, and not Tae-eul, like he grew up believing. It wasn’t a huge revelation, though, because this has been one of the biggest fan theories since the show began. However, just as Lee Gon finally pieces together this puzzle, Luna’s poison kicks in and he falls to the ground. I’m curious to see how this situation will play out in the next episode, with Luna’s participation as Lee Rim’s pawn. The big question is, will Captain Jo Yeong make it in time to save His Majesty now that Luna’s poison has completely immobilized Lee Gon? Or will it be Tae-eul who comes to Lee Gon’s aid, like he saved her before?
Although this episode was paced slower than the last few, it has served as a good build-up for the next episode’s big events. Lee Gon is finally seen wearing the all-black suit from when he traveled back in time 25 years ago to save himself, so I’m going ahead and assuming that we are staring at the start of the final confrontation. With just 3 episodes to go, I expected bigger hype and increased tensions at this point, but this show has been nothing if not unpredictable, so, for now, I’ll quiet my doubts and wait for the next episodes.
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