Episode 9 of The King’s Affection begins with Ji-un awakening after the big kiss the previous night. He realizes he’s late and scrambles back into the palace. Hwi though, can’t stop thinking about the kiss either.
When the pair reconvene over their study session, Ji-Un apologizes profusely but Hwi is forgiving, telling him they can just laugh it off together. As thanks for his help with the envoys, she hands over a box of candies. Believing this is a special gift, he heads into the study and learns that he’s not alone in receiving these boxes.
That evening, Ji-Un asks Jil-Geum and Yeong-Ji for their advice, speaking in the third person about someone he knows going through this situation. It’s obvious that Ji-Un likes Hwi, and another dream that night about kissing her solidifies that. Ji-Un is lovesick, and he exhibits all the signs of this. When the other scholars tell him this, they wonder just who the young lady may be.
Meanwhile, Seok-Jo organizes a secret meeting with Lord Changchungun in the dead of night. They discuss strengthening the army and heading North. Seok-Jo wants Changchungun to build his own army, encouraging him to do so. If he does, then he’ll support him.
Another secretive chat comes from that between Ki-Jae and Eunuch Cho. The former asks him where the King went the previous night. Cho refuses to reveal anything until Ki-Jae blackmails the poor eunuch into playing ball. Within this chat, he reveals that Commander Yoon accompanied the King on a trip to see his father-in-law.
So-Eun and Ha-Gyeong head to the palace together, although So-Eun heads in alone to hand over her gift. The Queen Dowager is outside though and notices them together, immediately taking a fancy to Ha-Gyeong. The enthusiastic young woman begins looking around, admiring the flower garden and noticing the hidden doorway. Hwi shows up just as a group of kids pass and catches Ha-Gyeong as she stumbles.
Their chat is interrupted by the Queen Dowager though, who requests Hwi’s presence. The subject of marriage is broached but Hwi plays her part well, claiming that a royal wedding so soon after the envoy would be a burden for the people. It buys them some precious time – time that Ki-Jae does not have.
He speaks up, challenging the King and putting him in a difficult position. As things get heated, the Queen Dowager decides to take control of the situation and deal with it herself. This means that a royal wedding is imminent.
Interestingly, Ha-Gyeong takes a fancy to Hwi in the wake of all this and decides to do her best to become the Crown Princess. While she’s excited about the wedding, Hwi is most certainly not. She realizes she’s doomed to a loveless marriage and even jokes to Ji-Un about it. The pair reconvene that evening after a run-in in town where Ji-Un saved her from a sticky situation, and the pair talk about love.
It’s a cute chat, one that paves way for Ji-Un to admit that he’s feeling stressed. Hwi hugs him tenderly and reassures the tutor, telling him she hopes he finds strength. Eunuch Hong though is worried that people will see them together. Hwi though, brushes off his concerns.
When he finds out Hwi is getting married from his other scholars he seems crushed. During his session with Hwi later that day, he tells her it’s great news and congratulates Hwi. There’s a Princess Selection ceremony coming up for Hwi to choose a bride, and Ji-Un does his best to offer assistance. Underneath all of this sweet talking façade though, he’s very clearly hurting and jealous.
The pair continue to dance around their feelings, with Hwi even returning the dice she left during the night of their first kiss. It jogs Ji-Un’s memories, who realizes he didn’t actually dream all this. Chasing after her down by the lake, Ji-Un confesses his feelings for her and despite her being the Crown Prince, reveals that he’s in love.
The Episode Review
The King’s Affection returns this week with a more romantic episode than before, pushing Hwi and Ji-Un together through this forced marriage that Hwi is going to have to sit through. It seems obvious at this point that Ha-Gyeong and Hwi are the two likely to be wed together.
Meanwhile, the show continues to deliver this enjoyable historical drama alongside well-worked comedy. The joke about the candies early on, for example, is the perfect way to showcase this, and it works well in the context of this show. There’s definitely some similarities to Rookie Historian in that respect, but the forbidden love angle here is arguably better.
Either way, the ending hints that we’ve got a big episode coming our way next time!