Back To The Viper’s Nest
After barely catching our breath following the dramatic return of Lee Hun to court, we return to The Crowned Clown to see the fall out from this devastating episode. After collapsing thanks to his drug addiction, the wheels are set into motion as Ha Sun’s intentions are made clear and the ensuing tensions inside the court are fully realized. As the various players beginning plotting against the King, Ha Sun re-enters the viper’s nest, intent on maintaining his position of power and doing some real good for the country.
We begin with the Queen Dowager being ordered to remain inside her quarters. After defying the original order to execute the Queen, The Royal Secretary puts this plan into motion while Ha Sun returns to court with General Yang. Stuck with the fall out from the real King’s actions, the Royal Secretary demands Lee Hun be taken away again, deep into the heart of the mountains. Intent on rectifying the mistakes made the previous day, Ha Sun immediately makes amends by freeing the Secretary’s family and making amends with So Woon after his cold reception the night before.
Court is held and in doing so, Ha Sun immediately reverses the actions made by the King. Magistrate On Yong is sent to investigate a hot spring on a remote island while all the appointed officials from the Left State Minister have their positions stripped. Unfortunately, one of them recognises Ha Sun’s subtle mannerisms and immediately begins plotting how to tell the Left State Minister of his findings.
It’s at this point where Queen Dowager is freed and she immediately gets to work on hatching a new plan against the King for imprisoning her in the first place. Lady Kim then arrives after court and begins disrobing the King. Now, you may have remembered her offhand comment last episode about the King’s scar in his ear, well this time around that has far more significance as she notices Ha Sun doesn’t bear the same damaging cut. It may well be that she’s figured out Ha Sun is a decoy but we’ll have to wait for next week to see if that bears any weight. We leave her pondering her thoughts as she exits the throne room for the evening.
We then cut to the mountains where Lee Hun wakes up, clearly weak and a little delirious. General Yang informs the King he did not kill Ha Sun which leads to a flurry of profanities and ill intentions from Lee Hun who demands he be killed. It’s at this point where the Royal Secretary shows up and dissuades the King against this on this birthday. They share food together which prompts Lee Hun to open about his rough upbringing in a rare moment of vulnerability. This in turn then leads to our final scene of the episode on a beach overlooking the tranquil sea.
Lee Hun drinks from a canteen that turns out to be full of poison, courtesy of The Royal Secretary. As he sputters thick globs of blood across the sand, he looks up with tears in his eyes, vowing to exact revenge on those who would do him wrong. As he slumps to the ground, we leave the beach with one final glimpse of the King lying motionless on the floor and one question hanging heavily over the series – is he dead?
I don’t think this is the last we’ll see of Lee Hun and given his dramatic reappearance last episode, it’ll be really interesting to see how well Ha Sun deals with the ramifications of his double’s actions. There’s a really interesting and dangerous dynamic at play now where the stakes are higher than ever before. Between Queen Dowager and the Left State Minister both thirsting for blood, can Ha Sun survive court and keep his identity a secret? We’ll have to wait until next week to find out!