My Dearest – K-drama Episode 18 Recap & Review

Jang-hyun is accused of being a Rebel Leader

Episode 18 of My Dearest starts with Jang-hyun and Gil-chae having a stirring moment of intimacy. Meanwhile, the Crown Prince attends to his ailing father, King Injo of Joseon. The Crown prince takes the opportunity to ask King Injo for permission to bring back the captives he had freed in Qing. King Injo tells him about the traitor who initially thought of making the Crown Prince the new King. 

The Crown Prince insists that he knows nothing about the traitor’s intentions, but the King continues to enquire about the Prince’s reason for buying the captives using the wealth he made farming in Simyang. King Injo insists that the Crown Prince bought the captives’ favour when he released them. He orders the Crown Prince not to bring in the captives if he does not want to be misunderstood. King Injo orders Eunuch Pyo to accompany the Crown prince to the hot springs since he feels unwell.

Jang-hyun wakes up beside Gil-chae. She asks for flower shoes, and he says he threw all the shoes away when he resented her. Jang-hyun tells her he has a matter he needs to handle since he promised someone. He will be gone for a month, and then he will be back. Gil-chae takes out the rings she made when she thought Jang-hyun died. She gives him a ring and tells him that she cursed it, and if he betrays her, the curse will smite him. Gil-chae tells him not to worry about her. She will wait for him with a smile on her face. Gil-chae bids Jang-hyun farewell.

Jang-hyun visits Eunuch Pyo and tells him that the preparations to bring back the captives are complete and awaiting the Crown Prince’s instructions. Eunuch Pyo asks Jang-hyun not to discuss the issue of the captives with the Crown Prince. Jang-hyun insists on seeing the Crown Prince, but Eunuch Pyo stops him. Regardless, Jang-hyun insists on getting the captives from Simyang.

The Crown Prince walks out and tries to order Jang-hyun to obey him. Jang Hyun says he is leaving to fulfil the promise the Crown Prince has forgotten, and he will never see him again.

Before leaving Simyang, Jang-hyun promised to stay by Gak-hwa’s side as long as she helped him safely get the captives across the river. Jang-hyun and his team wait for Yang-chun and other prisoners of war on the opposite side as they cross the river while Gak-hwa watches over them on the Simyang side. 

A group of unknown bandits attack the captives as soon as they arrive in Joseon and try to push them back to Simyang. A fight ensues, and the captives are forced back into the river. Goo Yang-chun is injured during the fight. In addition, the assailants knock Ryang-eum and Jang-hyun unconscious. 

Some captives return to Simyang, while others, including Jang-hyun, are imprisoned for planning a rebellion. Yeon-joon’s informant from the palace sends him the message, and he tells his master about King Injo accusing captives of being rebels. 

In prison, King Injo’s officials are looking for Goo Yang-chun since they believe he is the rebels’ leader. They mistake Jang-hyun for Yang-chun, and he rolls with it and signals other captives to do the same. The officials ask the soldiers to take away the other captives and leave Jang-hyun. 

Yang-chun regains consciousness in Simyang to the sight of dead captives outside. One captive lost her baby, and she accuses Yang-chun of betraying them and selling them out. Her infant daughter is dead in her arms from an arrow shot by the bandits. Elsewhere, Ryang-eum arrives at the Crown Prince’s house and tells him about the incident. The Crown Prince storms the palace to ask King Injo about the captives. Meanwhile, the officials torture Jang-hyun, still thinking he is Yang-chun. 

The Confucius Disciples, led by Jang-cheol, head to the palace in a crowd. At the same time, the Crown Prince arrives. The Royal Concubine tells King Injo that Jang-cheol and his disciples are after the cursed objects hidden in the palace. The Crown Prince forces his way into the King’s chambers and orders the Royal Concubine to leave. 

The Crown Prince tries to plead with King Injo and make him understand. The Crown Prince’s words and tears do not move the stubborn King Injo. The Royal Concubine waits outside the door, and seeing the conflict escalate between the King and the Crown Prince, tells his assistant to pass an order to Gil-chae about something.

Meanwhile, Jang-cheol and his disciples gather outside the palace. They make a mass appeal for the prisoners in the royal prison to be handed over to the Royal Investigation Bureau. Their appeal infuriates King Injo, and he asks for an audience with Jang-cheol. King Injo sends an order for the officials to kill the prisoners. However, the bandit recognises Jang-hyun. 

The Royal Concubine’s assistant goes to see Gil-chae. She asks her about an item they want her to create in secret. Gil-chae refuses the request, and the assistant tells him about the different Prince taking over the throne. Gil-chae wonders how that Prince could become King when the Crown Prince is back in Joseon. The assistant informs her about the Crown Prince’s arrest, including everyone who followed him in Simyang.

The Royal Concubine’s plan is for her son to become the future King. Gil-chae agrees to meet with her. She asks Gil-chae to bury one of the daggers she buys in the garden. Gil-chae sneaks into the Royal Prison while in the palace and sees the guards carry out dead bodies. One of them drops the ring that Gil-chae gave to Jang-hyun.

Meanwhile, the King meets with Jang-cheol. King Injo orders him to take his disciples out of the palace grounds, or he will have them thrown out. Jang-cheol reminds him that if he loses the favour of the scholars, he will lose the nation. Jang-cheol’s words demanding that he hand over the prisoners for investigation anger King Injo, and he orders the guards to throw him out.

Gil-chae secretly follows the guards as they empty the prison. She finds Jang-hyun among the bodies. She tries to move him, but the guard returns before she can. She smears blood all over her clothes and hides among the bodies. Gil-chae waits until the guard is unaware, and she knocks him out with a rock. At the end of the episode, Jang-hyun regains consciousness. 

The Episode Review

Is King Injo delirious and under the Royal Concubine’s control? That is the only acceptable explanation for his paranoia and cruelty. The Royal Concubine wants her son to become King, and she has been instigating conflicts secretly.

Even though the episode is distressing, Jang-hyun and Gil-chae getting together and Gil-chae admitting her feelings to her friends is a dream come true. However, there is still the looming uncertainty of what Gak-hwa might do to make Jang-hyun hers. Will they continue to be together in the next episodes? Will external factors continue to shake the stability of their relationship?

The good thing is that Gil-chae has accepted Jang-hyun’s feelings wholeheartedly, and Jang-hyun would rather walk through hellfire than lose Gil-chae now that he has her. The political struggle for power plotline continues to be messy and weak. Enough background information does not back the actions of the government and other individuals in power. What’s with the cursed objects buried in the palace grounds? Nothing much is revealed in this episode regarding them other than the Royal Concubine’s involvement. 

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