Well here we are. It’s been quite the ride up to the penultimate episode band there’s been a lot of twist and turns along the way. As we approach the final fight, one thing’s for certain – not everyone is going to get a happy ending. With time jumps explained (despite a few plot holes still hanging over this one) and lots of drama and bittersweet reunions, The King:Eternal Monarch is gearing up for quite the dramatic showdown.
Episode 15 of The King:Eternal Monarch begins during the altered first meeting with Tae-Eul as she throws her arms around Lee-Gon. As she does, we cut back in time to see Tae-Eul bleeding out after being stabbed by Luna. Her Father calls but before she can speak too much, she passes out.
Meanwhile Shin-Jae teams up with Eun-Sup in tracking down Jeong-Hye. Before he can however, the phone rings and Shin-Jae (who’s actually Hyeon-Min remember) is brought before Lee Lim and told that both Mothers rest on his next decision. He’s tasked with bringing Lee Gon’s whip to him and as we see in the past, Lee Lim approached Hyeon-Min’s Mum and promised her a new life. Clutching a young Hyeon-Min, she regretfully nods and sets into motion what follows in the story.
Back in the not-too-distant past, Lee Lim receives a palm reading from Na-Ri that involves him being stabbed across the neck. Of course, he already has this prophecy as he declares that he himself was involved in this action. Interestingly, his action brings a slight tone of regret in his voice. Eun-Sup then shows up and immediately recognizes Lee Lim, shielding Na-Ri until he leaves. When he does, Eun-Sup hurries out and runs into Luna. Tae-Eul scrambles up to her house alive and well too, eventually capturing Luna. It’s here they learn Luna has cancer and is going to die soon.
As they talk together, time freezes and Lee Gon races back to Korea and starts looking for Tae-Eul. In the station, time unfreezes which startles Jang-Michael and the others. He finally realizes he’s made it back to 2020 and finds Tae-Eul. The two finally hug tightly as tears stream down her face. Lee Gon promises not to leave her and it’s here Tae-Eul explains what happened in the past. Time did change but only fractionally.
Tae-Eul went to his world earlier in the timeline, she embraced fate and what was bound to happen happened anyway. As Lee Gon listens, he realizes there’s no way for him to change his fate that easily. Only, fate has changed slightly. Shin-Jae has now seemingly been forced to work with Lee Lim and as Lee Gon jumps back again, Shin-Jae tells him he wants his life. However, Ji-Hun’s Mother (the Korean alternate of Lee Gon) walks past and Lee Gon promises to help. “I’m not your mother,” She says and walks away. This will almost certainly play a part in the finale. Lee-Gon finally realizes what he needs to do and decides to try and rewrite history. Just before he goes, he promises to return to Tae-Eul in the future .
While Tae-Eul and Lee-Gon spend the day together and make the most of what fate has allowed them to have, Jo-Young and Eun-Sup say their goodbyes, with the latter begging Jo-Young to return to him in the future. It’s a teary farewell and something that’s incredibly moving.
Meanwhile, Lee Lim meets Koo and tells her she can’t become Queen. Instead, she decides she wants the flute and will take it from him. He grabs her by the throat and gives her one way out of this to live – bring him to the memorial for Lee Gon’s Mother. Only, time freezes midway through asking and Lee Lim realizes that his nephew has now crossed over and arrived.
Secretary Mo informs Lee Gon about Seung-Heun and now understanding his part in all this, stops the man on the road and drops off a bullet, that very same bullet that shot him in the leg. After knocking him down, Lee Gon walks away. Shin-Jae also finds himself face to face with his Mother and finally speaks his mind about what transpired in the past. “I want to wake up from this bad dream,” He mutters through teary eyes and walks away; it seems Shin-Jae has finally made peace with what happened in the past. Afterward, he sits with Lee Gon and they drink together, with Shin-Jae thanking him for offering this kindness.
Meanwhile, Lee Lim is poisoned by Jeong-Hye after she poisons herself but before the antidote can be administered, time freezes again. This time though, Lee Lim makes a bold decision and heads out with his side of the flute as Lee Gon fast approaches. Although he’s “transcended death”, Lee Gon still finds a way to meet him but Lee Lim understands what’s happened and tells his nephew time won’t flow for quite some time thanks to what he’s done. Realizing the world has gone wrong thanks to Lee Lim’s constant meddling and use of the flute, time suddenly unfreezes just as Shin-Jae and Jo-Young both team up together and help apprehend Lee Lim, bringing him into custody.
Taking the other end of the flute, the trio head to the bamboo forest where Lee Gon grabs both ends of the flute and heads into the world between worlds. There, he finds himself on a beach and wonders just how far he needs to go.
Back in Corea, Lee Gon commands that Se-Jin be made the King in his absence but unfortunately Lee Lim is one step ahead and a horrific car crash causes massive repercussions for Koo. She realizes what this means and immediately phones through and asks her Mother what she ate. When she doesn’t reply mackerel, Koo realizes that her actions have caused her real Mother to die and in her wake, the other version has crossed over.
Back in Korea, Tae-Eul confronts Lee Lim and asks him where the flute is. Of course, this scene of her questioning him in the police station is what we saw way back during the very early episodes of the show and makes more sense in context now.
Tae-Eul frees Luna from her restraints and tasks her with protecting her Father and family in her absence. Allowing Luna this kindness, she grabs the opportunity to adopt this role while our lead heroine heads to the parking lot and requests the flute from Shin-Jae. He admits he has feelings for her but it’s not enough to change how she feels about Lee Gon. As Shin-Jae stands idly looking at the floor, Lee Gon realizes that the choice he’s made only leads down one path. He speaks to Ok-Nam and asks her for a favour – to let him go and change things forever. As the episode closes out, he races through the portal once more, which is where the episode ends.
Given what we’ve seen here, it looks like we’re gearing up for a time reset. Lee Gon is going to change destiny which appears to be saving his alternate self as a way of righting all the wrongs that have been caused across both timelines and worlds. Both Corea and Korea will go back to how they were before all of this happened and potentially we’ll get a bittersweet ending with Tae-Eul and Lee-Gon never meeting but both possibly happy in their own worlds. This could all be completely wrong of course, but that’s my theory over how the finale will play out – feel free to comment below with your theories though as we love reading them!
Eun-Sup and Jo-Young hugging is certainly one of the highlights this episode and the beautiful way this plays out really hits home what this world has done for both characters. At the same time, Tae-Eul and Luna come to a mutual understanding and it looks like Luna may just taste some of that family-time she’s been craving so much.
Given the issues with time jumps last episode, it’s good to see The King: Eternal Monarch go some way to explain the time differences and while it’s not perfect and could easily be picked apart from a number of different angles, it’s good enough to make for an enjoyable watch nonetheless.
Quite how the finale will play out remains to be seen but one thing’s for sure – you certainly won’t want to miss Friday’s episode!