Following an agonizing week’s hiatus, Rookie Historian returns with an episode chock full of drama and plot reveals that does well to lay the foundations ready for the final three episodes of the series. With plenty of character development for Goo and finally some answers to the big questions hanging over the series, Rookie Historian delivers a really good episode here, leaving things wide open for tomorrow’s hour-long slice of drama.
After Goo and Prince Lee’s heartbreaking ending last time out, we return to a disheartened Goo walking through the palace, smiling as both Oh and Heo try to cheer her up with a drink. Meanwhile U-Hui visits her brother U-Won and they share dinner together. It’s here she tells him she doesn’t want her Father to punish Song for staying with the Crown Prince.
Unable to listen to the rumours circulating the palace or the various ministers writing in to him, the Crown Prince dispels the rumours and tells them it was he who instigated Song being with him that night. As whispers circulate around the meeting, at least one good thing comes from this chaos – the King calls off the upcoming wedding for Prince Lee.
After seeing more of Song and the Crown Prince’s conversation, we skip forward a day to find it’s Prince Lee’s birthday. Sam-Bo and the others dress him in a flowered crown, where he then visits the Queen while Goo sits quietly writing down the contents of their conversation. As they head outside to the quiet tranquility of the forest to pay their respects to the Dethroned King, His Majesty stews in his own chamber as a note is passed to the Second State Minister regarding their visit.
When they return back to the palace, Lee tells his Mother he doesn’t want to get married but she insists, turning to Goo for help and asking her to back her up about Prince Lee being a suitable husband. It’s something that’s pretty close to home for her and her reply pleases the Queen, who invites Goo to the table for a glass of wine. She humbly accepts and as she and Lee sit together, the atmosphere turns awkward, to say the least, as they avoid one another’s gazes.
Sensing the tension in the air, Lee tells her not to be awkward around him outside while they’re alone, prompting her to apologize. Shrugging, she tells him she’s just trying to be careful. As they go their separate ways, that night Lee has a strange dream, prompting him to awaken in the middle of the night and come face to face with Goo outside. After discussing the Dethroned King together, Goo and the others continue to walk through the forest the next day, where they’re ambushed on the road by assassins.
With a make-shift shield in the form of a stool, Goo dodges a barrage of arrows and makes her way across to Prince Lee who’s caught in the firing line. It’s here she spies the masked assassins with bow and arrows aiming right for her. Sensing the danger, Prince Lee grabs her by the hand and they rush off together before ducking for cover. Unfortunately in the ensuing carnage, he gets struck with an arrow through the back.
Back at the palace, while the casualties are being patched up, Goo returns to the scene of the incident and checks on the bows after seeing that the arrows were blunt. Bringing one of the longbows back to the palace, she shows both Lee and the Crown Prince what she’s uncovered. It turns out the bows and arrows were purposefully built to only hit at a short angle and they were aiming intentionally for arms and legs. It’s a peculiar turn of events and one that helps them figure out their attackers never actually wanted to kill them.
As they continue to look into the case, Lee and Goo stumble upon the room from his dream. After unlocking the door and heading inside, they learn who the Dethroned King really is.
With a big plot twist at the end and plenty of questions still hanging over the series, all eyes turn to the final three episodes and quite how this one is likely to end. There’s some good characterisation here too and seeing what a positive effect the female historians have had on the two Royals, Prince Lee and the Crown Prince, has really done well to add an extra dimension to the show. With solid plotting and some nicely implemented bouts of humour, Rookie Historian predominantly sticks to its drama this week and it absolutely delivers on this front.
The big talking point here is ultimately going to be around the Dethroned King though and now that the secret’s out, who knows how our characters will react to this going forward from here. There’s plenty to digest here though and thankfully we don’t have to wait long to find out. Roll on tomorrow!