My Dearest (Part 2) – K-drama Episode 12 Recap & Review

The King’s Affection 

Episode 12 of My Dearest starts with Gil-chae and the enslaved people en route to Simyang. Back in Hanyang, the boy saved by Gil-chae from recapture tells Ryang-eum that he saw men drag Madam Gil-chae away.

Meanwhile, Goo Won-moo thinks that Jang-hyun has returned, and Gil-chae ran away with him. 

Ryang-eum takes the child back to his house and tries to understand the situation during a meal. The boy discloses that Gil-chae was not close to the people who took her. Ryang-eum and the boy head back to Won-moo’s house.

Won-moo suspects that Eun-ae is deceiving him and helps Gil-chae leave again. Eun-ae stands up for Gil-chae. She reminds Won-moo that Gil-chae never changes her mind and confronts him for doubting her. 

Ryang-eum arrives to tell them about Gil-chae and Jong-jong being abducted by people speaking the language of the foreign intruders. He also mentions that the intruders have been abducting women recently.

Won-moo does not believe Ryang-eum since he is Jang-hyun’s man. He believes that Gil-chae left him for Jang-hyun. 

While Eun-ae tries to request Ryang-eum to bring back Gil-chae, Won-moo orders him to be tortured until he reveals the whereabouts of Gil-chae. Ryang-eum asks Won-moo to send him after Gil-chae, and Yeon-joon offers to accompany him.

Meanwhile, Gil-chae saves Jong-jong by paying for her to ride the wagon. In Simyang, Jang-hyun thinks back to when Gil-chae wore a dress he gifted her as he stares at the moon.

Gol-dae and Myung-soo tell the Crown Prince that the Joseon people must start farming to grow their food. There is not enough food for the Qing people and the enslaved Joseons, so the Imperial Majesty orders them to start farming.

The officials start protesting, but Gol-dae tells them they must obey the Imperial Majesty’s order. The Crown Prince feels that the Qing did not intend to send him back to Joseon. Among the officials, the royal lady knows about farming since her father was a farmer, and Jang-hyun says they could get farmers from the slave market.

Therefore, The Crown Prince accompanies Jang-hyun to the market, and he witnesses the horrendous treatment of the enslaved Joseons. Jang-hyun plans to buy enslaved people and use them as farmers. 

The Crown Prince cannot withstand the humiliation of the Joseon Women. He asks why the women chose to stay alive and suffer such humiliation. Jang-hyun asks, “Why is the King of Joseon still alive after the humiliation of bowing to intruders nine times? Why does someone’s humiliation deserve sympathy, while another’s deserves death?”

Even with a sword to his throat, Jang-hyun does not cower and continues asking the Crown Prince to kill him if he believes these people should have chosen to die to avoid humiliation. 

Later, the Crown Prince asks Jang-hyun to explain why he followed him to Simyang. Jang-hyun says that he was curious about the fate of the Crown Prince and thought he would surrender to the Qing people.

He encourages the Crown Prince to hold out even when people point fingers and humiliate him for bowing to the intruders, and the King of Joseon doubts his loyalty. No law states that the child should protect the father, but the father is supposed to protect their children. He also mentions how someone close to him chose death over humiliation. 

Jang-hyun and Eunuch Pyo buy some farmers from the market the following day. The Royal Lady orders them to be fed, clothed, and look for land.

One of the enslaved masters dares to ask the Crown Prince if he would send them back to Joseon. Looking at Jang-hyun for a silent encouragement, the Crown Prince promises to take them all with him back home should he ever be able to return someday. 

Still, en-route to Simyang, Gil-chae gets creative and finds a chance to send a message to Goo Won-moo. Yeon-joon and Ryang-eum are searching for her. On the way, Yeon-joon witnesses the suffering of the Joseon people and realises that the war is not over. 

Gil-chae and the escapees arrive in Simyang. Among them, three will be punished by cutting their heels. Gil-chae is taken to the King’s palace, and the King chooses Gil-chae and Jong-jong to stay.

Gil-chae tries to convince the lady that they are not captives, but she tells them that whether they are enslaved or not, only the King can decide as long as they are in the palace. If they do not follow the rules of the palace, they will be taken to the Joseon slave market.

Jong-jong asks Gil-chae to ask for help from Jang-hyun. She says she would rather die than seek his assistance. 

The Joseons start farming in Qing. The farmers request cows to help with ploughing. Jang-hyun offers to buy the cows.

Meanwhile, Gil-chae approaches His Majesty and pleads to serve him. Later, concubine Hwayu asks that she be brought to the backyard as punishment for flirting with the King. Hwayu wants to cut off her hand when the head maid interferes.

She reminds her that four Joseon women serving the King escaped because of her torture. The King has his eyes on Gil-chae, so she cannot have any scars. Otherwise, the King will investigate who caused his women to escape. 

Gil-chae realises the lady who taught her what to say to the King had lied. She led her to flirt with the King, which made Hwayu angry.

A tortured woman in the sleeping room tells her to give up, or Hwayu will lie that she caught her running away and cut her fingers and limbs.

Meanwhile, Ryang-eum and Yeon-joon find the note written in blood and take it back to Won-moo. Won-moo is distressed and cries out in pain. Yeon-joon suggests they prepare money to repurchase her and leave for Simyang.

Goo-jam and Jang-hyun leave for Mongolia to buy cows after they sell tobacco. Back at the Simyang palace, the King continues to set his eyes on Gil-chae. Jong-jong wants to ask for help from Jang-hyun since she knows the King has his eyes on Gil-chae. Just then, the King’s concubines take Gil-chae away to get her ready for the King. 

Gil-chae asks what the lady means when she says Gil-chae has no scars and, therefore, will receive the King’s affection. She learns that she will become the King’s concubine.

Jong-jong secretly approaches a Joseon official and asks him to tell Jang-hyun that Gil-chae is in Simyang. Meanwhile, Gil-chae hits her head on a vase to get a scar. The King’s lady knows she hurt herself to avoid sleeping with the King and asks her men to take her to the slave market and fetch a reasonable price for her body. 

Later, the men take Jong-jong and Gil-chae to the slave market. Meanwhile, Goo Won-moo leaves for Simyang. At the slave market, Gil-chae tries to make a deal with the seller to allow her to send a letter to her husband in Joseon.

The seller tells her that mothers and fathers have come for their children, wives have come for their husbands, but no husband has ever come to get their wives from the slave market. Gil-chae watches from her cell as the Joseon enslaved at the market are humiliated with their clothes removed for all to see. 

One enslaved person fakes an illness, causing a commotion in the market. When the seller comes to check, the enslaved people attack him and run away. Da-jim’s grandfather opens Gil-chae’s cell and asks her to run.

Meanwhile, Jang-hyun and Goo-jam return from the business trip and see the bounty hunters running after the escaping slaves. Among them are Gil-chae and Jong-jong. Jang-hyun starts helping the escaping prisoners of war.

The episode ends with the bounty hunter aiming at Gil-chae while Jang-hyun aims at the bounty hunter.

Instinctively, Gil-chae stops and looks back, and their eyes meet.

The Episode Review

Even though the Joseon people deserve sympathy for the suffering after the war, their unpleasant belief makes it hard to sympathise. For instance, they look down on women who choose to live through the torture by the intruders, hoping they will return home.

The Crown Prince wonders why they did not choose to die, which is infuriating. They applaud men who willingly bow down to the intruders but scorn women who do the same to survive. 

As usual, Gil-chae creatively finds a way to escape a horrible situation. Her quick thinking deserves the applause. The episode is entertaining and easy to watch since it is predictable.

We were somehow certain Gil-chae would not let herself sleep with the King; the only curiosity was what she would do to avoid that.

In the following episodes, I want to see more information on the politics of war, including the choices the Crown Prince will continue to make to survive. Also, is King Injo still suspicious of the Crown Prince? 

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