The King Is Dead
Episode 13 of The King’s Affection begins with Hwi revealing her true self to Ji-Un. While Ji-Un reels over this, Seok-Jo interrogates Hyeong-Seol for information. Tied to a chair, he antagonizes the Commander, praising his cleverness in disguising the Prince as a woman. Unfortunately, the guards rush in with news of Ji-Un and Hwi being spotted in the woods, and he takes off to investigate.
Hwi is badly injured and bleeding from her arm. Because of this, it gives Seok-Jo the perfect trail to lead them right to her. However, Hwi is more concerned with how Ji-Un is taking the news about her being a woman. Ji-Un, as it turns out, feels resentment, but mostly at himself. Hwi does her best to try and explain the situation, telling him she was put in a difficult position to play this role. After all, that’s not exactly her fault. Eventually he comes around to her way of thinking and embraces her in a really touching moment.
Meanwhile, Ga-On shows up in the palace later that night and holds a sword up to the King’s neck. He demands to know why Yoon was following him. Hye-Jong tries to level with him, promising to do right by Ga-On’s father whom a lot of this animosity is directed toward.
However, they’re both interrupted by the eunuch showing up and handing over some soup to the King. Of course, this is the Left State Councilor’s doing, and he’s poisoned the dish. Unbeknownst to the King though, he drinks it all down.
From the shadows, he calls to Ga-On, telling him his father’s grave is halfway up Mount Gwanak. He encourages the assassin to visit, leaving the guy with lots of questions. However, no sooner has he left the palace than numerous court maids and scholars rush in and realize the King has died. The poison has done its job and as he passes away, Ga-On watches in wide-eyed horror. Of course, this also means the crowning of a new king is imminent.
While this is going on, Yoon uses his quick wits and smarts to escape his captor. As he breaks free from his binds, thanks in part to Hyun showing up, he hurries to the woods before Seok-Jo can find Ji-Un and Hwi.
Our star-crossed lovers spend the night together cuddled under a tree before eventually making it into town. They’re unaware they’re being hunted so mercilessly and take time to buy new robes and embrace their roles of male and female. It’s all pretty surreal to Hwi, who struggles with her newfound freedom after so much time in the palace.
Unfortunately, she lets her guard down while waiting for Ji-Un and she’s snatched up, taken by armed guards. Of course, this is Seok-Jo’s doing who demands she head back to the palace. Her grandfather arrives too, braving the news that the King has passed away. This also falls to the Crown Prince to take the throne… and that’s obviously Hwi. Or is it?
The Left State Councilor has his own agenda in the wake of all this going on. The Crown Prince being exiled and the King dead both lead to the possibility of social unrest. For now, Hwi shows up to pay her respects to the late King. She drops to her knees, struggling to hold back tears.
This obviously works in the Minister’s favour, urging the Queen Dowager to have Hwi arrested for breaking the exile charge. In return, that would allow Prince Jehyung to take the throne… and be an easy target to be manipulated.
With the King poisoned and evidence of this at hand, thanks to the investigation, the wrong people are arrested. The Queen Dowager, Lord Changcheon and Prince Jehyung are all arrested on conspiracy of murder. With only Hwi left, Ki-Jae revels in telling her that he needs to step up and be the King. If he defies that? Well, he’s going to have absolutely everyone she knows hurt, killed or enslaved. No pressure then!
The Councilor’s desire is insatiable and his rule wicked, forcing Hwi into submission. Hyun though is not happy and arrives to fight back, grabbing a sword from one of the guards and turning on the others. He urges Hwi to leave but it’s no good. He’s eventually outmanned and taken away too, leaving Hwi at the Councilor’s mercy.
Ji-Un heads back to the palace, where his father greets him with a nasty slap across the face. When he learns Hwi is going to be King, Ji-Un refuses to leave and hurries inside. However, it’s not in enough time to stop Hwi agreeing to the Left State Councilor’s terms. As long as all of her people are kept safe and out of harm’s way, she’ll play along and be his puppet.
When Hwi leaves, defeated and bleeding from the arm thanks to her prior cut, she greets Ji-Un and plays the role of King once more. Unfortunately her promise to him is broken and there’s no way Ji-Un will be able to stay by his side anymore. It’s a heartbreaking moment, and one that eventually sees the King step up. “Let the morning assembly begin.”
The Episode Review
What a heartbreaking ending! The King’s Affection returns to see Hwi and Ji-Un’s getaway cut short thanks to the King being poisoned and everything spiraling out of control. The evil Left Stater Councilor sure knows how to manipulate and the gambit for Hwi has certainly paid off for him.
It’s an impossible situation for Hwi to try and wriggle out of, and with everyone she knows put in serious danger, she has no choice but to comply.
Whether Ji-Un and Hwi will actually end up together though is anyone’s guess. The show has done well to slowly drip-feed out their romance and this slow-burn has actually been really good value. The moments with them together this episode, embracing their true selves, helps to set the foundations for what should hopefully be a triumphant romance in the end.
For now though, The King’s Affection delivers a really exciting and thrilling chapter of drama and romance.