Chaos At The Palace
Episode 11 of The King’s Affection begins with Hwi returning to the village where news of Ji-Un leaving spreads. So-Eun is not happy about it and pleads with her friend not to go, admitting that her feelings were just starting to grow for him.
Now, Lord Changun sees all of this takes place and begins scheming. He tells Ki-Jae that So-Eun is whom they want to be the Crown Princess. With her removed from the palace, that would allow the Left State Minister and the Queen Dowager to choose who they please. If that wasn’t enough, So-Eun’s father is also accused of political crimes too.
Out in the palace, Hwi notices Changun manhandling a court maid. Given how many problems he’s caused already this season, Hwi loses her patience and brandishes her sword, threatening the guy and taking So-Eun’s court maid back to her. Hwi is kind to the young woman before she leaves her house, wishing her well and awaiting thee day they meet again.
Suddenly, a scream brings her out back where Jan-I, the maid, has been killed. In her hand happens to be a jade button from Changun’s hat. This seems to reinforce that he’s the one responsible.
Hwi immediately confronts Changun, noticing the piece missing from his hat and questioning his role in the murder. When he’s brought before the inspectors, he feigns ignorance but Hwi demands his house be investigated and searched.
While this is going on, Hyun heads over to visit Ji-Un at his physician’s, handing over a gift from his mother. It’s essentially a good luck charm, a superstitious gift which he’s grateful for but decides Hyun should hold onto instead. All this time though, Ji-Un continues to think of Hwi.
Hyun returns to the palace and feeds back how his trip went. When he mentions seeing Ji-Un, her face drops a little. In secret, she struggles to hold back tears.
Now, this assassin has been a point of contention for much of the season and in town the next day, he tries to strike again. He’s thwarted by Seok-Jo though, who chases the guy through the streets and stops him from killing the Left State Minister. Now, Ga-On is our assassin here and it seems this is a play to turn the balance of power away from those wanting to wrong the king. Thanks to Seok-Jo’s interference, that’s now become a whole lot harder. Commander Yoon feigning ignorance just makes the situation that much more suspicious.
Meanwhile, Changun sits with Hyun and the pair end up drinking together. While they’re alone, Changun incriminates himself, claiming anger took over him and although he never meant to kill the maid, he still did so.
Now, this little chat is obviously a ruse to let Hwi search his house for clues. With a scroll in hand, Hwi heads out and threatens her uncle, demanding he visit the maid’s grave and beg for his life. If he doesn’t do this then he’ll b reprimanded and put up for execution.
It’s a lesson in humility for Changun, who does as commanded. When the Queen Dowager and the King find out, they demand Hwi explain herself. She’s defiant in her actions though, not feeling bad about this at all. Outside the royal chambers, the Left State Minister quizzes Hwi, asking if this is a play to try and become King. Furthermore, he talks about the social hierarchy and the petty life of a maid. That word riles her up though and as Hwi clenches her fists, she calls out the Minister for belittling the life of another.
Now, words of the Crown Prince’s actions with Changun spreads across the nation. For Ji-Un, it just makes him long for Hwi even more, standing underneath their tree and wondering how she’s getting on.
In the morning, Lord Changun is found down by the river with a last will and testament on him. It would appear that he killed himself after being humiliated by Hwi. This only further riles up the Ministers, who lash out and rally the Confucian scholars together, standing in solitary against Hwi. They want her stripped of the Crown Prince title. In doing so, this would also rise Prince Jehyun up the ranks.
It’s chaos at the palace but Hwi stands by her beliefs, regardless off the chanting outside the palace for her to step down. In the wake of all this, Hyun shows up that evening and admits he knows she’s a woman. He warns that things aren’t going to be easy and he may not be able to fool everyone. But he has a plan. He wants Hwi to slip out in the night and get on a boat, leaving the palace for good.
With a lot to think about, Hwi takes out her hairpins and looks in the mirror. While she slips on the red shoes Hyun got for her, the King notices her from the doorway.
The Episode Review
Oh dear! Everything looks set to explode into chaos in the upcoming chapters of this historical drama. With the King now seemingly aware of Hwi’s true identity, question marks are left over exactly how he’s going to react in the future.
If that wasn’t enough though, her actions toward Changun have caused the people to start rallying together, and it could well lead to an insurrection against the palace. This obviously doesn’t pose well for the royals but it’s also an interesting power dynamic that’s been explored across the season, especially with Hwi wearing her heart on her sleeve.
The King’s Affection has done pretty well with its story thus far, splitting the run-time between drama and romance. These later episodes have certainly leaned much harder into royal issues. The cliffhanger at the end of the episode though is sure to whet the appetite, leaving plenty of question marks for tomorrow’s episode.