The Ice Queen
Episode 3 of The King’s Affection begins with Ji-Un being caught out by Lee Hwi, who makes an excuse that he’s out digging for herbs. With shouts and cries from the royal hunt, he encourages Hwi to leave. Instead, she brandishes a knife to his throat. In doing so though, he notices her robes and realizes she’s a court maid.
Realizing they’ll both be in trouble if they’re caught, Ji-Un and Hwi take off together. As the royal soldiers close in on them, the pair make a bold decision and both jump into the icy water below off the top of a cliff. They hold their breath, intending to stave off their pursuers, and it seems to do the trick.
Bok-Dong and Hong both catch wind of what’s happening and begin to worry. They know they need to find the Crown Prince before anyone else does but the arrival of Hyun throws everything askew. Now, Hwi actually manages to slip away from Ji-Un, who awakens on the shore disorientated and alone. Hwi though, manages to thwart the threat of an assassin out in the woods thanks to Hyun’s quick thinking, saving her from certain doom when she wanders back to the royal hunt.
In the woods, Hyeong-Seol chases after the assassin and manages to take them out with a well-placed arrow to the back. It’s only a matter of time now until they find out his or her identity.
As word reaches the hunt of what’s transpired, the Left State Minister believes they should wait where they are rather than retreating back to the palace. It’s a pretty bold decision and one that sees him justify this by needing to find out who this assassin is first.
Out in the woods, it’s bad news as Yoon realizes the assassin he shot is actually dead. But there’s another, hiding from afar. Whoever this is, they wait as it would appear as if someone inside the palace could be ordering this assassination. Is it the Left State Minister? Or could it possibly be the queen? The latter seems to be what Hwi suspects and a rather frosty meeting with the Queen back at the palace only reinforces that.
Ji-Un, still reeling from his incident in the forest, heads to the palace and enquires with the court maids over the identity of our mystery woman. Of course, we know it’s Hwi but he doesn’t.
After another nasty bad dream that night, Hwi tries to take her mind off things by practicing her archery skills. With Ji-Un sneaking around the palace after-hours, Hwi watches from around the corner and eventually fires a warning shot when he gets too close to her hidden doorway. The point grazes him across the cheek.
Realizing that only she and Ji-Un know about this secret, Hwi wonders whether he could be the boy from her past.
Ji-Un though, winds up confronting his father about his actions. He refuses to be like Seok-Jo, especially after witnessing the man kill that court maid in the past in cold blood. It’s a step too far for his moral code and he remains determined to forge his own path.
Now, word of what happened in the forest spreads to Lord Changun and several other scholars, who deliberate over what this means for the future of the royal family. When one of the scholars claims Changun is drunk after suggesting a female is lurking about, he’s beaten down to the ground.
Sporting a bloody mouth, he’s eventually thrown through the wooden partition, the same one that Hwi happens to be listening from on the other side. However, when Changun heads out there’s nowhere there. The reason why stems from Ji-Un, who earlier grabbed the Crown Prince and took Hwi into an adjacent room.
When the threat passes, she looks in his eyes with affection as he realizes that she’s familiar, a similar complexion and demeanour to the girl he laid eyes on down by the shore. Hwi soon snaps out of her gooey-eyed look though, realizing this is a matter of life and death.
When she finally sees Lord Changun, she coolly reflects on her uncle’s actions and threatens to get the Queen Dowager involved. She even indirectly threatens him with a beheading too, telling Changun to stop being cheeky when he tries to backtalk her.
Hwi starts writing in her journal later on, recalling her encounter with Ji-Un. While this is happening, chaos ensues with Ji-Un as he returns to his shop and finds the place ransacked by a whole group of mysterious people. In the wake of this, Ji-Un is taken to become the Crown Prince’s tutor, in preparation for Ming’s visit. So naturally, Hwi heads off to meet her new tutor… and finds out that it’s Ji-Un!
The Episode Review
The King’s Affection returns with another charming episode, one that sees Hwi and Ji-Un grow closer together while Hyun continues to serve as the third part of this potential love triangle.
Whether this comes to fruition or not, the show does well to keep things interesting and the character development for Hwi in particular has been great to see. She’s really come into her own playing up the Crown Prince role, and seeing her eyes turn from that of feminine innocence to hard and cold in the wake of her uncle’s arrival, is a nice example of the good work done here.
Given this historical K-drama is spreading its story across 20 episodes, the plot is a little slower this time around, allowing for more time for our characters to develop. That’s not necessarily a bad thing but you can tell The King’s Affection is going to be a bit of a slow burn. Either way, The King’s Affection has been an enjoyable watch and the ending leaves things wide open for tomorrow’s follow-up.