Episode 5 of The King’s Affection begins with Hyun continuing to act boisterously. He interjects while Ji-Un and Hwi are talking, with the former even helping to tie his hat round Hwi’s chin. However, Eunuch Hong shows, rushing down the street and desperate to find the Crown Prince. With Hong by her side, Hwi heads back to the palace. But not before Hwi hands over a gift for Ji-Un, which happens to be a ring.
As Hwi gets changed inside, she can’t help but blush. As we cut across to Ji-Un, he looks upon the ring and flashes back to moments of the past, specifically where he spied Hwi getting changed and noticed her long, flowing hair.
Now a lot of the tension here stems from Hwi’s lessons with Ji-Un. Given he’s the new lecturer for her, the two trade banter but Ji-Un finds himself looking fondly at her, unaware that the Crown Prince is a female. This continues later on when she heads out for a stroll, with a football almost hitting her in the face. That is, until her new mysterious bodyguard, Ga-On, stands in the way.
Things are tense, at least to begin with, but Hwi plays the role well, eventually bringing that same attitude to the archives when she notices just how much of a mess the library and the royal infirmary are. With neither books nor herbs stored correctly, Hwi vows that there will be punishments for this.
In the wake of her inspections, Hwi runs into Commander Yoon who ends up chasing someone throughout the palace, believing them to be an assassin. Now, given this person ran through a muddy puddle, he notices that Kim Ga-On also sports the same muddy spatters. Could he be he assassin he’s seeking?
Ji-Un does his best to try and thaw the icy heart of Hwi, taking her out to see the whole palace from a beautiful view up top. Her standoffish behaviour stems back to the past where her mother urged Hwi not to show emotion or grow to close to anyone, for fear of blowing her cover.
Outside her chambers that night, one of the maids ends up dizzy and passes out. Hwi allows her to be taken to the physician, but Ga-On shoots a suspicious glance her way just before he does.
Meanwhile, So-Eun arrives home to see her father, intending to visit Samgaebang next to apologize to the physician and his assistant. Only, in the wake of all this, a second man is killed in town. This time it’s Un-Am, a man who testified against Preceptor Kang 10 years back. That’s pretty suspicious unto itself but the fact that the hanging has been staged rings even more alarm bells for these inspectors.
That evening, while Hwi is preparing for her bath, she’s interrupted by Ga-On bursting in. One of the court maids is there, intending to use incense to elevate Hwi’s strength given it’s good for men. Lord Changun gave this order, which immediately sees him come under fire from the Queen Dowager for is actions.
He also comes under fire from Hwi too, who reminds him that she warned the guy not to be cheeky with her. Only, it’s Lord Sangheon who gets the last word, slapping the man across the face. As a consequence of all this, Changun is put under house arrest – which is a merciful act compared to what the Crown Prince would have otherwise done.
Later that day, Hwi falls asleep at her desk. As Ji-Un heads in to check on her, Hwi bolts upright and grabs him round the neck. When she inevitably stumbles, Ji-Un is there to catch her, scooping her up in his arms as the episode comes to a close.
The Episode Review
With a lot more development surrounding Ji-Un and Hwi’s growing relationship, we’re also just now seeing some subplots come into the fold. Specifically, Ga-On’s involvement as the bodyguard who could be an assassin, and the issues befalling the king and the throne. Given this show is 20 episodes long, there’s a lot more still to get through and develop so we’ll have to be patient on that front.
That much is especially true when it comes to historical K-dramas of course, and The King’s Affection has done okay so far to keep things interesting.
While it’s not quite at the same level as SBS’s Lovers of the Red Sky (which is just about to finish) there’s still time for this one to pick up the pace. For the time being though, this show feels content to paddle around for a bit before braving tougher waters.