The End Of Time
Following yesterday’s shocking episode, The King: Eternal Monarch returns with another shocking episode that drops some serious bombshells and leaves the door wide open for the final set of episodes to come. With the future seemingly bleeding into the present and time starting to melt away like a Salvador Dali painting, this sci-fi Korean drama has done a wonderful job keeping things consistently exciting throughout.
We begin episode 12 of The King: Eternal Monarch with a bloodied Jeong-Hye told to get some sleep as a man and woman restrain her and prevent her from committing suicide.
Seung-A and Jo-Young talk together and the former realizes there may be a doppelganger given Eun-Sup kept calling her Na-Ri and acted a little shifty. Eun-Sup tries acting normally around her but secretly misses his Na-Ri. This is where we catch up with the scenes from the previous episode as Prime Minister Koo arrives in Korea and orders a drink. Jo-Young enters soon after and acts like Eun-Sup, buying a drink of his own and acting indifferent around his Prime Minister. Watching as Koo leaves, he uses Na-Ri’s car to race after her.
Back in Corea, Lee Gon receives a call confirming that the police are chasing Luna and she caused a big scene. As he starts looking through the camera footage, he reviews the CCTV and sees Tae-Eul struggling and realizes that they all think she’s Luna which is why the police were after her.
At the palace, Ok-Nam begins to realize what’s happening regarding the doppelgangers. As she leaves her room, she approaches Seon-Yeong and slaps her across the face, demanding to know if she’s the real one. Only, she takes the easy option and ingests poison as she bleeds from the mouth and collapses on the ground.
On the road, Jo-Young confronts Koo but as she feigns not knowing anything, a black car drives by and shoots him in the shoulder. Koo makes a swift exit though, allowing Shin-Jae to patch him up and learn more about his past and the exact time he became the Unbreakable Sword back at the Palace.
This catches us up to the events last episode as Tae-Eul sobs in Lee-Gon’s arms. The officers disperse as Tae-Eul passes out from exhaustion and Lee-Gon takes her to his chambers. Thanks to the efforts of Dr Hwang, a dehydrated Tae-Eul is going to recover soon. As she does, Lee-Gon makes a big impression by dressing in his navy gear and making food for Tae-Eul. After getting her clothes to wear afterwards, he stuffs a plum blossom necklace in her pocket.
Meanwhile in Korea, Luna eats fried chicken and tries to catch up with Tae-Eul’s life, looking over her pictures and reading the group messages. Just like Jo-Young did, Luna takes 21 days vacation from the station which immediately raises alarm bells for Shin-Jae given he’s seen this before with Eun-Sup.
Speaking of which, Tae-Eul and the King arrive at the hospital and greet Eun-Sup, holding some roll cake for him as requested. They then turn the conversation onto Na-Ri and he immediately perks up when he learns she doesn’t think Jo-Young is as handsome as him.
We then cut across to Lee Gon and Tae-Eul talking about the upcoming fight with Lee Lim and how his side of the flute may be hidden in the umbrella. As they walk together, Tae-Eul tells him she’s “glad he turned out great”. “We skipped a lot of things,” She goes on to say as he tells Tae-Eul about his past. As they do, Lee Gon greets the priest and tells him he wants a photo of them together. Just before the camera snaps their picture, time freezes completely leaving Tae-Eul smiling and Lee-Gon watching them. After weeping for a while, time finally unfreezes and they snap the photo.
As lightning crackles across the sky and thunder rumbles, we return to Lee Gon and Tae-Eul in their room together. He tells her he feels like he’s been burned and she sees the scar first-hand. Only, he’s not the only one to feel it. Everyone who’s jumped to the alternate world also faces that exact same excruciating pain – a side effect to the jumps. Only… Tae-Eul doesn’t feel the same thing. As they keep talking though, Lee-Gon takes a chance and kisses her passionately.
Meanwhile, Lee Lim bumps into Shin-Jae in the middle of the street before heading to his office and watching Luna on the security cameras taking a stash of notes from a safe. At dinner, Lee Lim sits with Jeong-Hye and after some initial awkwardness, she smacks him in the face with a vase and tries to leave. Only, he’s too quick and knocks her to the ground, calling her perfect bait.
Prime Minister Koo makes her move after learning some shocking news and enters the palace without permission. She heads up and confronts Lee Gon, who admits that everything in the news is correct. Only, as the lightning crackles he notices the scars across her chest and notices that she’s been jumping across to the other world.
As the episode closes out, Ok-Nam sits with Tae-Eul and asks her what happened during the war in June 1950, waiting for her response. Only…that war correlates to the Korean War that engulfed North and South Korea for years. That’s not something from Corean history so that almost certainly confirms she’s actually from the Republic Of Korea! What a twist!
Given the characters have been jumping freely between worlds, there’s no denying that The King: Eternal Monarch does have its confusing moments. I’ve had to rewind this one a few times over the weeks to be sure a character is the right version and even then, it’s not always clear. Even a bit of expository text in the bottom right hand corner to denote Korea or Corea between scenes would be helpful. Failing that, adding a slight hue change between worlds would definitely help distinguish this, especially given the time jumps we’re now dealing with too.
Thankfully the hedonistic blue/orange lights that appear during the Tae-Eul/Lee Gon segment partway through the episode at least show that they’re in a different time and Lee Gon’s crying during this scene is heartbreaking and incredibly well handled.
There’s a lot to digest in this one and hopefully we’ll get some answers surrounding just when Ok-Nam jumped across into Corea. It seems likely that she may well be the reason the flute is still kept in the Royal Palace too but for now, The King: Eternal Monarch bows out with another strong episode and lots of questions left ready to be answered in the coming weeks.
Published: 23 May 2020 at 20:16 pm on