The Bird That Stays Grounded
Episode 15 of The King’s Affection begins with Seok-Jo reeling over seeing the kiss last episode. He waits for Ji-Un to move past before the pair spar together. It’s a way to broach the subject of Dam-I, as Ji-Un admits he’s perplexed by his choice in the past, referencing the brutal murder he witnessed.
Meanwhile, Ga-On remains on the hunt for the eunuch who poisoned the King. When he eventually catches up to him, he finds the man hanging from the ceiling.
Despite cutting him down, he’s too far gone and passes away. However, someone stirs in the distance. Ga-On notices this and gives chase, unfortunately losing them in the crowd. When he feeds this grim news back to his wife, Ga-On learns she’s in hiding because of Lord Sangheon. It turns out the eunuch was being blackmailed over a letter that was supposed to be for Hwa-Gil, the Crown Prince’s royal preceptor.
Ha-Kyung wallows in self pity in her chambers. Her maid Yu-Gong suggests Hwi’s coldness is not to her but to her father instead, and this is just a way of distancing herself from the situation.
Hwi meanwhile, continues to serve as Ki-Jae’s puppet. However, she has her own agenda, typified by her asking for Shin Yeong-Su to be reinstated. The scholars are restless and the Inspector General could be the perfect remedy to quiet them down.
Sending over his royal decree, Hwi writes the word “Bulbibulmyeong” to him. This simply translates to “the bird that stays grounded in silence”. In other words, Hwi intends to use him as try and rectify and reform the court. With Ji-Un in the court hearing this, he promises not to write what they’ve discussed and decides to stick by Hwi’s side.
The Inspector General immediately gets to work, investigating the Minister of Taxation. Within his ledgers is evidence of him using the cargo boats for his own personal gain and misusing the rice. He claims he’s working with Ki-Jae and didn’t have a choice.
Hwi offers an alternate solution – leave the palace and give up the name of the guild he moved weapons to within Hamgil Province.
News of this spreads across town, allowing Hwi to cleverly dismiss the minister thanks in part to rumblings from common people. In court, Ji-Un congratulates Hwi’s cleverness with a kiss, sending them both blushing and grinning from ear to ear. Of course, they’re both alone when this occurs!
As Ji-Un steps outside, he runs into Hyun, and tells him that there’s no way he’ll be leaving the palace… or be hiding his feelings.
Ha-Kyung eventually tries to win over Hwi, handing over “some” flowers that are almost as big as she is. Ha-Kyung also hands over some sweet peaches too. All of this, of course, is a big ploy to try and win Hwi over.
Ga-On returns to the palace with big news for Hwi. He reveals himself to be the assassin that tried to kill her at the royal hunt. He was biding his time to infiltrate the palace and kill the late King. However, he’s also been trying to find evidence relating to Hwi’s father’s murder. In fact, Ga-On actually witnessed his last moments too.
Ga-On reveals himself to be Kang Eun-Seo, whose father was executed by Ki-Jae. This explains what he’s been doing all this time – and his ties with Commander Yoon.
After these big reveals, Hwi falls asleep outside under a tree. Only, Ha-Kyung sees her and sneaks up to see the young woman. She looks set to kiss her but Hwi opens her eyes and tumbles forward in surprise.
With Ji-Un watching on from afar, he immediately grows jealous. When they head back to the palace, Hwi whispers something inaudible in his ear. As they head out into the open, the pair start kissing.
The Episode Review
The King’s Affection returns this week with another good episode, this time with Hwi and Ji-Un continuing to develop their relationship. Hwi is very much taken with Ji-Un now and the moments of her blushing and hiding her face are just the absolute cutest.
Meanwhile, the episode does a great job continuing to see Hwi work politically to try and outsmart Ki-Jae. This includes brining back the Inspector General, which actually works surprisingly well.
Hwi is really starting to understand the court system now and the reveal with Ga-On too is another nice inclusion, helping to flesh out his character and understand his motivations.
Either way, it looks like we’re gearing up for more romance on the horizon, and thankfully we don’t have to wait too long for the next episode!