Episode 8 of The King’s Affection begins with King Seongjo disappointed by Hwi’s actions. Sporting bloodied knuckles and teary eyes, Hwi watches as the King walks away. However, Ji-Un is there with her and tells the young woman that she did the right thing. He even helps wrap her hand too.
Court Lady Kim is still a mess but Hwi does her best to try and make her feel better, calling her beautiful and reassuring the handmaid. However, Tae-Gam (the Crown Prince of the Ming Dynasty from last episode) wants to talk in private. As a peace offering, he suggests the “best swordsman in the dynasty” square off with his choice of warrior. Hwi refuses to entertain this notion, until the brute chases after Ga-On and Hwi.
Kim Ga-On is bested by this man, but as the brute swings his sword toward Hwi, Ga-On takes the brunt of the blow. Thankfully Ji-Un comes in at the last second and saves them both, threatening the soldier and promising to kill him if he continues.
Tae-Gam has a serious grudge though, and mostly over those he deems have been born with a silver spoon. He believes Hwi has lived a life of luxury, unaware of her being thrust into this role unwillingly. When he leaves, Hwi clenches her fist tightly.
Only, it’s not Hwi who goes after Tae-Gam. In fact, Lee Hyun approaches him and mentions how there’s someone stealing the Emperor’s private assets. And he knows who. Hinting that this is Tae-Gam, especially with the way he squirms uncomfortably in his seat, Hyun tells him to behave.
Off the back of this, the King is troubled by Tae-Gam demanding that they double their tribute. Hwi is not happy and decides to head off alone to talk to him. However, in the middle of the night a big swordfight ensues as Ji-Un and Hwi both tail Tae-Gam. When masked assassins show and begin attacking, Tae-Gam heads off to visits a pawn shop, telling the owner that “If you ever use her to blackmail me again, I’ll cut off your head.” As he turns to leave, Tae-Gam’s guard shows and informs him that they’ve been followed and need to leave.
Back in the courtyard, fighting continues but Hyun arrives with some guards of his own, intent on arresting anyone responsible for this. Hyun eventually takes Tae-Gam in for questioning, telling him he may have been the target of an assassin. Off the back of this, he’s going to strengthen the security positioned outside his guesthouse. And just to signify this strength, a whole legion of guards rush in.
With Hwi and Ji-Un in the clear for now, the former takes care of his wounds. While they walk, they run into Hyun, where Hwi asks to be part of this investigation and help any way she can.
Well the next day Hwi, Ji-Un and Hyun all head out together to try and find news of the mystery man, the one Tae-Gam handed over jewelry to the previous evening. They start off at a pawn shop. There, they learn the man is a gambling addict and arrogant since his daughter became a royal concubine to the Ming Dynasty.
With this information, the trio orchestrate a plan to capture him, although Ji-Un is hurt by Tae-Gam’s men in the ensuing conflict. Ga-On is left behind while they leave, as this talented sword fighter finds himself face to face with that brute from earlier in the episode. This time, Ga-On bests his man.
Meanwhile, the trio manage to grab this man and demand to know what Tae-Gan has planned. After extracting the information she needs, Hwi arranges another meeting with Tae-Gam. As a peace offering, she has a plan of her own… including a ledger full of records relating to his management of the Emperor’s private assets. Uh oh!
As Tae-Gam squirms, Hwi speaks plainly and mentions the young woman he so clearly cares about. Tae-Gam has been blinded by revenge and Hwi empathizes with his plight, talking about how hard things have been for him. She also understands why he hates the Joseon Dynasty too.
Off the back of this, Hwi apologizes to him for the hardships he’s had to endure in his past and agrees to keep his affair a secret until the day she dies. And just like that, the anger and resentment Tae-Gam felt disappears, typified by how he unclenches his fist.
This forbidden love is similar to that felt by Hwi and Ji-Un, and in a way Hwi understands what it’s like to be caught in this situation. After resolving the matter in a diplomatic way, the Ming Dynasty leave and Tae-Gam even shoots a warm smile Hwi’s way too.
That evening, after drinking and engaging in a pretty hilarious group chat, Ji-Un and Hwi find themselves alone outside in the courtyard. They both share a drink, as fireflies float lazily in the breeze. Ji-Un admits that she’s tender-hearted, as Hwi looks taken aback by the compliment.
As the pair sit together, the absolute cuteness of their conversation paves way for Ji-Un leaning forward and kissing her on the cheek.
The Episode Review
Ah, what a cute ending! Most of this episode though tackles the Ming Dynasty and, more specifically, Tae-Gam and what his game is. Given he was acting completely deviant and evil last episode, this follow-up chapter actually works really well to reinforce why you should never judge a book by its cover.
This message is something that works particularly well here, as we soon come to learn that there’s more going on with Tae-Gam than we were first led to believe. This revelation works really well in the context of the larger story, and his forbidden love is pretty similar to what’s going on between Ji-Un and Hwi.
Either way, this story is just starting to tighten up the romance elements and that kiss at the end may well pave way for the two growing closer together over the weeks. Will they be able to keep this a secret in the wake of the others at the palace? And what does this mean for Hwi’s role as the Crown Prince?
There’s plenty of intriguing questions and the ending leaves things wide open for where this one may go next,