Rookie Historian Goo Hae-Ryung – Season 1 Episode 12 Recap & Review


The King’s Test

Back for another episode of drama, this time with a more historical edge to it, Rookie Historian continues to impress with its latest slice of historical, romantic drama. We begin with Prince Lee, Goo and a handful of Officers made to visit the Queen Dowager’s chambers early in the morning. As day breaks, His Majesty enters, where their conversation is tinged with sarcasm as the Queen tells him how busy he must have been to have not seen her, even on her birthday. As a way of making it up to her, she tells him to visit her every morning.

In the aftermath of this, the King gathers the Royals and asks whether he’s broken any of the six condemned behaviours. After everyone says no, Prince Lee speaks up and tells him he’s broken 3 of them. The King laughs it off, calling him intelligent and praising his Son for his honesty. Of course, this happens to be a half-compliment as His Majesty secretly fumes that Prince Lee embarrassed him like that.

While the others try and plea with him to see reason, Hae-Ryung is summoned to the King’s chambers to record him eating lunch; a barrage of different dishes and delicacies that she struggles to record down. After all that food, His Majesty has digestive issues, which leads to a pretty disgusting turn of events as Goo is forced to tender to the King’s faeces.

Heading back to the office, the other Officers fill her in on what happened in the previous episode with the fight, especially since Goo happened to be in a jail cell when it occurred. Encouraging her not to give in, Goo returns to the King’s chambers where more torture awaits her. It’s awkward, to say the least, as Goo is forced to record an impossibly long list of numbers, which ultimately leads her to ask them to repeat themselves a number of times.

Sensing an opportune time to get away, Sa-Hui follows the Crown Prince into the local village on an undercover inspection. It’s here we learn he used to live outside the palace and these trips are a reminder to him of where he came from. After a pleasant trip, he gives Sa-Hui a present as a way of thanking her for her company.

Determined to help her with her tricky ordeal, Officer Min gives Goo a list of petitions for the upcoming day, as well as advice on how to stop her hand bruising any further. She asks whether she has a bright future of being a historian, especially given she’s been arrested already, and he promises not to allow her to be arrested again. He holds her hand lightly and wraps it in towels, apologizing for putting her through this trouble. There’s definitely a spark here too; faint glimmers of romance on the horizon perhaps?

Another day, another grueling schedule for the King to attend to. Only this time, Goo appears to have the upper-hand as her newfound enthusiasm has her recording the history at a decent pace, despite the King falling asleep. After a momentary break, where Goo receives some encouraging words from Prince Lee, she’s summoned back in by His Majesty and told to sit down before him.

Asking her to speak to him like a normal subject, they discuss the importance of historians and he asks her to destroy what she wrote in secret while eavesdropping. As he looks set to erupt into anger, he promises her whatever she wants in exchange for destroying the documents.

From here, we cut back to the Office of Royal Decree as Officer Yang receives a letter from the King. They open it up and read his apology, granting the Historians access to his chambers. As it turns out, she didn’t actually write anything although she was about to. She calls him a great King because of his actions and explains exactly what good historians can do. All she asks is not to distance himself from historians, but instead work hand in hand with them to portray him as the best King possible. The words seem to get through to him and Goo is allowed to go.

In the aftermath of this victory, Goo shares a drink with the other clerks and Prince Lee arrives to join in with the festivities. As the others continue to drink, Lee and Goo sneak away. It’s here she reads his work and sees his message written to her several episodes ago. As she look out at the pond, Lee approaches and she recites the words to him, leading them both to kiss.

Although the big talking point here will inevitably be Goo and Prince Lee’s kiss at the end, if I’m honest the more interesting drama comes in the form of Officer Min and Goo’s pleasant, and gentle exchanges. There’s definitely a spark there and I hope this Prince Lee storyline is a red herring for the better-matched pair of Min and Goo. Part of this is down to the acting, which I’ve mentioned several times here so I won’t repeat myself, but the chemistry just feels more natural between Officer Min and Goo.

Still, the door is left wide open for the future and it’ll be interesting to see where the show goes from here.


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