We’re entering the phase of Gwanghae’s descent from the throne, a choice not of his, but a conclusion of the situation that he’s unfortunately in. One episode (or so) was spent on Gwanghae’s failing resistant to send his troops to aid in Ming China’s war with the Jurchens, and the straw that broke the camel’s back was Jung-myeong presenting the petition from the Department of Artillery to send the troops. Jung-myeong urged him to not think of it as a failure to protect his people, but it was something inevitable, as Ming China will attack Joseon should they not send aid.
Neung-yang continues chasing after his (currently unrealistic) wild dream of becoming the next king, as he seeks out possible alliance. Jung-myeong’s insistance to join the other technicians from the Department of Artillery, to go to the war front, met much resistance, and displeasure from Neung-yang. He wants Queen Dowager Inmok and Jung-myeong on his side, so as to justify his quest for the throne. It stemmed from his thirst to prove everyone wrong, especially Gwanghae, because since several years back before his brother Prince Neung-chang was supported to be the next king in a bid to overthrow Gwanghae, nobody thought Neung-yang has what it takes to be a king. Years later now, Gwanghae tells him the exact same words, which probably drove him nuts internally.
And so, Neung-yang got his henchmen to round up volunteers to stage a protest to get Gwanghae to send troops to aid Ming China. The protest ended rather bloody, and Gwanghae looked traumatised at seeeing how his guards treated his people (beating them savagely with batons). Neung-yang also seeks out Kang Joo-seon, and asks Kang to support him to be the next king. Looks like the ball is set rolling to dethrone Gwanghae =(
In Woo is well en route going to the dark side, as he looks for Kim Kae-shi and asks her what should he do to get Jung-myeong. Kim Kae-shi is as much the exposition fairy as she is the “shaman”, as her lines mostly are spoilers according to history. Ugh. She warns In Woo that he may get what he wants, but in exchange he’ll lose the brightness and gleam in his eyes as he goes deeper to the dark side. Ok, I predict he’s gonna die in the end.
With the impending war, In Woo decides to pull strings through his father and got himself a post as a military officer, and off he goes with every other lead to the war. He tells Joo-won that it is the end of their friendship, as he has decided to up his game to fight for Jung-myeong. I still you’re gonna die without getting Jung-myeong, because history says so, In Woo.
There’s yet another new character being introduced, Jo Yeo-jung (Kim Min Seo), who is to become First Consort Jo (or Jo gwi-in), the femme fatale of King Injo’s (currently still Prince Neung-yang) inner palace. According to history, Jo entered the palace at the eighth year of Injo’s reign, but here, she’s arranged to be a court lady in the 12th year of Gwanghae’s reign, so, hmm, we’ll see how things go. Anyway, she’s one cruel lady, as she poisons a kitty cat just because it scratched her, while she was playing with it. Wut, I hate you already, evil woman!
I find that this week’s episodes really showed how misunderstood Gwanghae was throughout history, although historians these days mostly agree that he was largely framed by the Westerners (the faction) because he was revolutionary in foreign affairs, namely with Ming China and the Jurchens. I feel sad watching this version of Gwanghae, because all he wanted is for the good of his people, and for stability of his country. He was denied of both, because of the greedy ministers who put their wealth before the country’s security. It is indeed a shame that Gwanghae was deposed and exiled, when he had done so much good for his country.