I’d mentioned in a previous post that whenever Prince Lee Soon and Ok-jung made eye contact my computer melted.
Sweet Lord, let me tell you about episodes 7 and 8…
Oh yes… there will be spoilers.
So Lee Soon finally finds out Ok-jung is in the palace. Unfortunately it’s just after Ok-jung puts two and two together and realizes Lee Soon is a lying liar who lies. And also the king. (And yes, I adored that she connected the pieces. Because she’s a smart cookie and the pieces were there to connect. But oh my heart, the timing was bad.)
I also totally got why Lee Soon’s mind immediately went towards conspiracy. Of course it went to conspiracy — he’s surrounded by manipulators trying to shift his power base out from under him. Plus, there was a bit of conspiracy to Ok-jung coming to the palace. The Great Dowager Queen purposefully chose Ok-jung to seduce Lee Soon. And Uncle Jang allowed Ok-jung into the palace because he realized the king was basically seduced already. It’s just that Ok-jung herself wasn’t in on any of the plans. She was just trying to find her Palace Guard.
(Tangent: I wonder what she was planning to do once she found Lee Soon the Palace Guard? Did she figure the king would gift her to him, since he’s the king’s favorite body-guard? Or was she harboring innocent fantasies of sharing a platonic love while he guarded and she tailored? In which case… wow, that’s some innocence.)
And I also get why Ok-jung hesitated when he asked her if she knew he was the king. The only support for her protest that she’s not a conspirator was her sincerity — so to white-lie that she didn’t know, when she’d realized just before she entered the room… Ok-jung is not a liar. It would have backfired.
So I was feeling for both of them and then Lee Soon pulls his hate-sex move and… Yes, he was doing so out of anger and it was a cruel move and I’m glad (no, really!) that he stopped because he’s not really that cruel at heart (hence his guilt over In-kyung and his trouble bearing the weight of being king and all the ruthlessness that role apparently calls for). But…
Then came episode 8… Which had some adorable push-pull and Lee Soon letting out his childish side. But also had Ok-jung getting more and more sad. Because again, she’s a smart cookie and she knows how dangerous getting involved with the king is when she has no status at all of her own. (And I really, really like that for Ok-jung, finding out Lee Soon is the king is actually a deal-breaker. Her ambition is in a different direction — she’s not after the power of the throne. Ironically, that’s what makes her such a good support for him. It’s the man she cares for, while everyone else is focused (some quite legitimately) on the throne.)
Fortunately, for the viewers, Lee Soon got tired of the game and full on confronted Ok-jung and it all came out and he pushed right through it and turned around her metaphor of him being the sky (far, far out of her reach) and told her to brace herself, the sky was falling (or words to that affect) and…
Explosion. And an explosion worthy of all that buildup for that matter.
Though of course, right at the credits, so it ends almost immediately. (With the saddest little credits-moment in the world happening in the background — which was a nice subtle touch I really, really appreciated.)
Which of course leaves me beyond eager for episode 9. And I also just realized this is a 24 episode drama — which, usually I prefer 16 but in this case? I’m so happy! (And hoping, hoping, hoping the magic lasts all the way through.)