After much trouble to get married, the first day post-wedding begins another round of chaos, with Lee Gwal’s men storming the Department of Artillery (where all of Jung-myeong’s people are gathered), hauling Jung-myeong’s supporters and herself away. Lee Gwal demands Jung-myeong to lend him her support, if not he’ll start killing her people one by one, starting from Joo-won.

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A flashback shows that our newlyweds had already anticipated Lee Gwal’s threats coming, and Joo-won is willing to die for the greater good (as usual). Jung-myeong gave in to Lee Gwal’s demand, and Joo-won and the rest were released. That night, Lee Gwal and his minions hold their celebratory dinner for the successful occupation of the palace, and found their new puppet to put on the throne, in the form of Seonjo’s 10th son, Prince Heung-an.

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Meanwhile, Kim Ja-jeom and Kang Joo-seon hatched a plan of having the royal troops launch a full-scale attack on Lee Gwal’s rebels in Hanyang, ignoring the fact that many civilians will be caught in the battle, as well as the rebels are actually elite soldiers specially trained for protecting Joseon’s border from Jurchens. At the same time, the remaining gunners were rounded up by Jung-myeong’s forces, and they decided to make a surprise attack on the rebels.

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The two troops meet by chance, and Joo-won tries to persuade the commander for the royal troops to abort the plan for a fullscale battle in Hanyang. In Woo did the same too, but the commander insists that it is a royal order not to be defied. The commander orders for Joo-won to be brought away, but In Woo turns against the commander and claims full responsibility of ordering the royal troops. The two friends finally work together after a long period of strife, with In Woo apologizing to Joo-won for his previous pettiness and denial about who Jung-myeong truly likes.

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Joo-won and his gunners try to hold the fort as Lee Gwal’s rebels come attacking, after getting wind of the surprise attack, while In Woo and the rest of the royal troops (I thought its some large number of soldiers, but it’s so pathetically numbered I actually LOLed) waited for a signal for reclaiming the palace. The gunners are vastly outnumbered by the rebels, but at the very last minute, the signal came for In Woo and his men to attack the remaining rebels in the palace, and Joo-won and half of his gunners managed to survive.

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Injo and all who escaped, return to the palace, and Injo’s inferiority complex starts acting up again. He’s convinced that those who remained in Hanyang are mocking him for running away, and being an inept ruler. It also doesn’t help that Kim Ja-jeom persuade him that strengthening the defense of Hanyang is more important that protecting the borders of Joseon from Jurchens, especially since the elite troops are mostly gone, either killed during the reclaiming of the palace, or gone into hiding. Injo validates his agreeing to Kim Ja-jeom’s suggestion as a way for him to consolidate the royal power, and that everything else can come after that.

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Jung-myeong had a talk with Kim Ja-jeom, which makes her disheartened at politicians like him, who have no qualms in kowtowing to the larger countries, ie China, because they believe that it is the only way for them to survive. Kim is not wrong in that sense, but it makes people like him have no integrity and loyalty to their own countries. Jung-myeong then tells Injo that he’d be wrong to think that he is the owner of Joseon, for it is actually the people, who’d take things in their own hands, to protect themselves, when the country fails to do so for them.

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The thing with sageuks is that characters are always some oracle, because the script is written with what transpired in history, and therefore it feels strange, especially in this context when various people keep telling Injo to be mentally stronger, to not take the easy way out. Anyway, I’m waiting to see if Show will make Injo do the “kneel thrice, kowtow nine times” ritual to Hung Taiji.

 

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