The King: Eternal Monarch has been a bit of a slow burn but boy has its second half of episodes stepped it up a gear. With lots of unraveling pieces still left to be put back together, some of the bigger mysteries of the series are starting to be answered now, including just who was inside the palace all those years ago. While the twist is one that many fans will have seen coming, especially given the sheer amount of clues that have been meticulously picked apart by fans eager for answers, the reveal is still surprising nonetheless and leaves lots of scope for next week’s set of episodes to deliver more of the same.
After losing her family, episode 13 of The King: Eternal Monarch begins with Ok-Nam revealing that in the past she was approached by a man asking if she’d like to go to a world without war. That man was Lee Gon’s grandfather. It’s here Tae-Eul reveals what happened in the Korean war and how, after those 3 years of pain and anguish, the country has remained split and divided ever since. She finishes by offering up a sincere apology.
Prime Minister Koo meanwhile struggles to comprehend what Lee Gon is telling her and she reveals Luna’s criminal record, hinting that she may work against him going forward. As lightning crackles, he sees the scar across her neck and understands she’s jumped between worlds too. When she leaves, Lee Gon immediately speaks to National Forensics, requesting they look into Gi-Hwan and see if the marks are the same on his body too.
Meanwhile, Koo finds herself face to face with Tae-Eul in the hallway. After a confrontation, she mentions the KU Building and starts laughing coldly until thunder rumbles once more and she sees Koo’s scar for herself.
She and Lee Gon decide on their next course of action, which sees Lee Gon speaking to Kim Ju-Hyeon (the physician) about Gi-Hwan’s scar. It turns out she’s seen it before and that same scar has cropped up in prisons, a place where doppelgangers could cross over and remain hidden without arousing suspicion.
Eun-Sup meanwhile manages to help catch another assailant at the hospital, where Lee Gon and his men stand waiting at the doorway. As he’s taken away, thunder rumbles prompting Lee Gon to grab his shoulder in pain. Eun-Sup though doesn’t appear to have a scar, just like Tae-Eul which gets our King thinking about what this means.
In the past, Prime Minister Koo visits Lee Lim at his bookshop and confronts him over his true appearance sand guesses he’s the real Lee Lim, not his son as he’s been calling himself. Dropping the newspaper she’s been sent infront of him, he reveals the truth about the parallel world and she immediately guesses he’s going to try and blackmail her. Lim laughs coldly and gritting her teeth, Koo requests to be taken across to the Republic of Korea to prove its real. This also explains why and how she crossed over.
In Corea, Ok-Nam feeds back to Lee-Gon that a spy has been acting in their midst and reveals it’s Suk-Jin. With her now conscious, Lee Gon arrives to visit the now-conscious spy and reveals why she did what she did. Lee Lim was the one who blackmailed her, threatening her family and decided to consume the poison herself rather than let him suffer that fate.
Back in Korea, Luna is dumbfounded in her role as she sits and eats dinner with her Father. Of course, this is difficult for her given her own family passed away so young. As she looks over Tae-Eul’s house, she scoffs when she notices the symbol for Gemini.
Tae-Eul hurries to meet Lee Gon on a bridge where she reveals she’s about to find Lee Lim’s bamboo forest; this may well be the spot he’s jumping between worlds. Lee Gon reveals that as soon as that portal opens, time freezes. This time, it’s going to freeze for an hour. Realizing that he’d be alone during that time, she throws her arms around him and hugs Lee-Gon tightly. As they talk, the conversation turns to the flute and Lee Gon admits to trying to ride in the dimension between worlds to find the edge but was unsuccessful in doing so.
As we cut forward, we see Eun-Sup transferring between the worlds, as Lee Gon says his goodbyes to Tae-Eul, watching as she crosses back over to Korea. It’s worth noting here too that red balloons are floating in the air so we can ascertain that the moment involving Lee Gon admitting to loving Tae-Eul happens later in the timeline.
When Tae-Eul returns home she learns Luna has been there and immediately sets to work trying to work out what’s happened. Meanwhile, Jo-Young and Shin-Jae speak one last time surrounding his lineage and in particular, his Mother. On his way out, Shin-Jae runs into Luna but believes she’s Tae-Eul. She kisses him before running off to take the call from her Father. When Shin-Jae turns the corner, he runs into the real Tae-Eul and immediately realizes her counterpart is running around. She also has Tae-Eul’s ID card too and after a hostile phone call, Tae-Eul finds herself struggling to deal with the ramifications of this.
Back in Corea, scandalous information about Prime Minister Koo is revealed thanks to the chairman saving the company by throwing his ex-wife under the bus. In the wake of this, Lee Gon reveals to Jo-Young about Koo infiltrating the palace. Eun-Sup returns home and hugs Eun-Bi and Na-Ri tightly, having finally returned to the right world.
Lee Gon arrives at Tae-Eul’s house and she introduces him as her boyfriend. When he tastes the food, he comments on how tasty it is and compares it to the palace food. Afterward, they exchange gifts – with her buying him a black coat that looks strangely familiar as the same one we saw in the throne room during episode 1.
For now, Tae-Eul continues to look into the murder case and with Shin-Jae, they head to a care home that may hold some clues. Not long after, Lee Gon wears the black gear given to him by Tae-Eul and checks it out in the mirror but stops when Tae-Eul arrives at the door to greet him. Only, our Tae-Eul is at the care home so that must mean…this is Luna.
As he realizes this too, we cut back in time and finally understand that the one who saved the young child in the palace was Lee Gon himself. Lee Lim also figures this out at the exact same time too. As Lee-Gon struggles to catch a breath, he collapses on the ground as it appears as though he’s been poisoned. Before we can find out for sure, we cut to the palace in the past for real where it appears as though this theory holds weight but with a mask on, it’s difficult to know for sure. For now though, the episode ends on another cliffhanger.
After 12 episodes, The King: Eternal Monarch is finally starting to answer some of its bigger questions and seeing this come to fruition now is certainly satisfying. Given the way Lee Gon was watching himself in the mirror it seems like he’s the masked shooter and given that revelation, we may be looking at a continuous time paradox where Lee Gon has to save himself and do all these things to set the cycle up to repeat itself.
It also seems likely now that the aforementioned “white rabbit” that we saw run away from Lee Gon back during the opening parts of the series is actually Luna, which explains a lot more about the black clothes she was given. (Thank you to those who commented below with this information!
This also ties in nicely with the recurring motif of black and white that’s been more prominent during these later periods of the drama. The whole idea of yin and yang seems to be playing out here and it backs up the early ideas around this being a show leaning heavily on the concept of dualism. Alongside that, the series does a great job capturing the feel of both worlds and while we’re not really told which world we’re in as we cut back and forth, thankfully a lot of the Corean content is exclusively shot inside the Palace to prevent this becoming too confusing.
For now though, The King: Eternal Monarch delivers another impressive episode and leaves the door wide open for next week too. Quite what direction this one will take next remains to be seen but one thing’s for sure – it’s bound to be dramatic!
Published: 30 May 2020 at 6:24 pm on(Edited: 31 May 2020 at 11:07 am)