[Recap] “The Three Musketeers” Episode 9
We start this week where we ended last week—with the Princess asking the Prince to set her aside. All she wants is to be with a man who loves her, which the Prince clearly does not. The Prince, his face almost entirely without emotion, tells her that he can’t grant her request. He regains some of his snark as he continues, telling her that it sounds like she wants to elope with someone, and his honor as a man won’t let that happen. Oh no—more sarcasm?
The Princess tries to protest, but the Prince won’t hear it. Besides, she has a family to think of. She needs to act like an adult and think of others.
With that, the Prince leaves. But as soon as he walks out the door, he realizes that he hasn’t been with the Princess for very long—certainly not long enough to fulfill his baby-making mission. So he goes back into the Princess’s room, but waits on a porch outside one of her windows, so that she doesn’t have to be in the same room with him.
Inside, the Princess starts downing shots, and I can’t say that I blame her.
The Prince is lost in contemplation outside, but he hears the sound of something falling and breaking. Through the door, he sees his wife’s silhouette stand up and stagger out of her room. He starts to follow as she drunkenly barges out into the courtyard, where both eunuchs are now waiting.
Pitiful as her situation is, it’s sort of funny to see the Princess trip her way towards the eunuchs, trailed by a lady-in-waiting who wants to get her back inside, or preserve her dignity at the very least. But the Princess won’t be stopped—she has a message for the eunuchs. She wants to see the King, so that she can formally renounce her title and go back to being Kang Yoon Seo. She’s never going to give the King a grandson, so she shouldn’t be the Princess anymore.
The eunuchs are horrified, but the King’s eunuch reacts pretty well, telling the Princess that she can’t see the King, as it’s too late. But the Princess is firm in her resolve.
Just then, the Prince finally arrives, and tries to make his wife come back inside to talk with him. She refuses—they’re not a true married couple, and he never speaks sincerely to her. So he picks her up to take her back in, asking the eunuchs to keep this incident quiet.
The Princess struggles on the way in, but by the time the Prince reaches her room, she’s asleep. She briefly opens her eyes, sees her husband, and then goes back to sleep.
After some time has passed, the Princess opens her eyes again. The Prince is still by her side, writing something. But when she wakes up the next morning, she’s alone.
First, the Princess feels her hangover. Then, with the help of her lady (who hilariously doesn’t even try to hide how scandalized she is), the Princess remembers her embarrassing behavior.
As for the Prince—he has gone to the hot springs to recover from his stabbing. But he left the Princess a letter. “If we’re in the same palace, we’re both under the King’s watch. I’ll leave for a while so you don’t have to feel pressure. You didn’t do anything wrong. It’s entirely my fault. But… I can’t control myself.” Yes. Finally, he tells her what he should have said long ago—that she is completely innocent, and that she didn’t deserve to be treated so cruelly. “Mi Ryung is a flaw of my life I can’t even understand.”
In flashbacks, we see the Prince after he witnessed the murder of the real Mi Ryung. His Mi Ryung, Hyang Sun, has been bound like a criminal, but the Prince’s eunuch tells him that the whole family will be punished if this affair becomes public. Minister Yoon was entirely innocent—he shouldn’t suffer that. “It’s all because of that maidservant.” (Well, the original deception was actually the mother’s idea.)
The Prince, clearly in shock, has no idea what to do. His eunuch guides him to the solution—if the fake Mi Ryung dies, this will all go away. So the Prince orders Hyang Sun to kill herself, but he remains haunted by what happened.
“I’m sorry and I understand you, but I need some more time. Let’s take some time for us. This time I wrote this letter with my sincerity. I mean this, believe me.” The Princess finishes the letter, and though she doesn’t look happy, she looks relieved, like a weight has been taken off her shoulders.
Fifteen days later, Yong Gol Dae and his entourage arrive in Anju, in the northern province of Pyongan. Pan Soi is thrilled to learn that the party will be staying in the city for four days, giving everyone a chance to rest. Pan Soi, it turns out, spent the trip learning some basic Manchu. He uses this skill to act as an intermediary between Dal Hyang and a Manchu girl who’s been making eyes at him. It’s very cute.
Meanwhile, Yong Gol Dae is welcomed to Anju by Governor Kim, the local official.
In his house, Kim Ja Jum learns of the arrival as he examines an ornamental hair pin. Looking at the list of members of the General’s entourage, he sees Park Dal Hyang’s name. He’s pleased—Hyang Sun, Yong Gol Dae, and Park Dal Hyang have all come to him, so that he can take care of them at his convenience. Well this doesn’t bode well.
Dal Hyang comes to Yong Gol Dae’s temporary office, to get his signature on a document. While reading the paper, the General notices that Dal Hyang is wearing the Prince’s sword. Using writing to communicate (in situations like this, a common script is really useful!), Yong Gol Dae asks Dal Hyang if he’d like to learn how to use his royal sword properly. His skills are no match for Yong Gol Dae’s, and it was the General’s advice that helped the Prince beat Dal Hyang. Dal Hyang doesn’t respond, but the reminder of his defeat clearly stings.
Yong Gol Dae hands over the signed document, and Dal Hyang finally grabs the brush to write his own message: “When?” The answer: tonight, after the welcome dinner.
We cut to the dinner itself, which seems to be a very pleasant affair until Kim Ja Jum shows up. Governor Kim greets him warmly, but Yong Gol Dae, who of course already knows the Minister, looks troubled. But no sooner has Kim Ja Jum sat down than Yong Gol Dae receives word that he has a visitor.
In his office, Yong Gol Dae has a drink while he waits for his guest to arrive. And who should it be but Mi Ryung, who appears to have taken up Kim Ja Jum on his offer from last week. She works for him now. Her mission tonight is to drug Yong Gol Dae—which he realizes, too late, she has already done. The room swims before the General’s eyes as Mi Ryung comes closer. “I have a secret to tell you: the real identity of Park Dal Hyang.”
Cut to Mi Ryung, leaving Yong Gol Dae’s office. When his guards check inside, though, the General is still conscious, sitting at his desk. Looking both menacing and woozy, Yong Gol Dae orders for Dal Hyang to be brought to him.
Dal Hyang receives the message and goes to the General, confused both by the earliness of the invitation (he was expecting to practice his swordfighting with the General later in the night) and by the absence of guards outside the office door.
Inside the office, Yong Gol Dae attacks Dal Hyang without warning. Caught off guard, Dal Hyang puts up a good fight, but even drugged, Yong Gol Dae is too good. He quickly disarms Dal Hyang, then slices him across the back. Lying on the floor, his sword out of reach, Dal Hyang can only watch as Yong Gol Dae approaches, and brings his sword down. The General’s face is spattered with blood.
Outside, Pan Soi is drinking with the other servants by the gate when Min Seo and Seung Po ride up. Clearly on a mission, they leave their horses with Pan Soi and barge into the dinner.
Still at the dinner, Governor Kim and Yong Gol Dae’s second-in-command receive word separately that there is a problem. Min Seo and Seung Po arrive in time to see the two parties, Joseon and Manchu, leaving the dinner area.
They follow, but they seem to be too late. By the time they get to Yong Gol Dae’s office, it’s already a crime scene. The general is slumped over at his desk and in the middle of the floor is a headless corpse who has been identified as Park Dal Hyang.
NEXT: Rewind to 5 days earlier…
We cut to five days ago. The Prince, still at the hot springs, receives a summons from his father.
Back at the palace, the King asks if it’s true that the Prince went away because of his health. Or did he have a different reason—such as the state of his relationship with the Princess? The Prince denies it. Why would he leave because of his wife? But the King has heard from his eunuch that the Prince and Princess had a fight. Again, the Prince denies it—they never fight! (HA.)
The King is persistent. Hasn’t the Prince heard the rumor about his wife and Yong Gol Dae? The rumor that says that the two of them were meeting at the temple? The King claims he found the rumor ridiculous, but the details stuck with him. After all, Yong Gol Dae was captured very close to the temple.
The Prince knows that this rumor has a basis in fact (the Princess helped to sneak Yong Gol Dae out of the palace by disguising him as a priest accompanying her to the temple), but he plays dumb. This rumor is just baseless slander invented by somebody who wants to insult the royal family.
The King isn’t convinced. The rumor is too specific—it even claims that the Princess gave Yong Gol Dae a hairpin that had previously belonged to the Queen as a gift. The hairpin in question is the same pin that we saw Kim Ja Jum holding earlier. Oh no. This can’t end well.
The King, as suspicious as ever, decided to test the rumor by asking the Princess to bring the hairpin to him. The Prince maintains his wife’s innocence, but the King wants to make sure that the rumor isn’t true.
But the Princess, of course, can’t find the hairpin. Just then, she gets word of the Prince’s return, and runs outside to greet him. He instructs his eunuch to find Seung Po and Min Seo, and pulls the Princess aside for a private conversation.
Inside, the Prince warns his wife that she can’t tell the King that she lost the hairpin. If she does, there will be dire consequences. Even though she’s a terrible liar, today the Princess needs to lie convincingly—or she won’t be the only person in serious trouble.
Meanwhile, our two missing musketeers are found—Min Seo at the temple, and Seung Po gambling. Of course. Together, they read the Prince’s message: they must go to Anju to stop Kim Ja Jum’s plan.
The Princess is clearly nervous when she goes to meet the King, but she lies better than she has before as she tells him that she’s sent the hairpin out for cleaning so that she can wear it for the Prince’s sister’s birthday. Now Team Musketeer has 15 days until the birthday—and in those 15 days, they must get the hairpin back from where Kim Ja Jum will have planted it in Yong Gol Dae’s belongings.
Of course, the King suspects that the Princess is just trying to buy time, so he sends his eunuch up to Anju as well. So the Two Musketeers need to ride as quickly as possible, to make sure that they arrive before the eunuch does.
But of course, they were too late. We return to the scene in Yong Gol Dae’s office. Seung Po and Min Seo approach the body, which bears Dal Hyang’s identification tag and is still holding the Prince’s sword in one hand. Just then Pan Soi arrives. He starts sobbing as soon as he sees the body. Governor Kim orders for all three of them to be taken out.
After they’re taken out, Yong Gol Dae wakes up, disoriented and with blood on his hands and face. This doesn’t look good.
Governor Kim, overwhelmed by the magnitude of the incident, turns to Kim Ja Jum for help.
The Two Musketeers, Pan Soi, and Dal Hyang’s body have been taken to a separate room. Seung Po asks, quite logically, where the head is. But nobody knows. There’s a search out, but the head appears to be missing.
So Seung Po asks Pan Soi—is this body really Dal Hyang’s? Pan Soi, still sobbing, isn’t sure. It might be… but it might not be.
Min Seo spots a letter in Dal Hyang’s jacket. He takes it out and reads it, together with Seung Po. Their eyes widen.
Just then, Kim Ja Jum arrives and orders that the Two Musketeers and Pan Soi be taken out of the room—though not before he takes the letter from Min Seo. Man, Kim Ja Jum is on top of his game today!
Kim Ja Jum reads the letter, which is apparently a secret letter from the Prince.
Now that there is cause for suspicion, Yong Gol Dae’s office is searched. And of course a guard finds the Princess’s hairpin in one of his drawers. The worst part is, the General can’t even defend himself—because he was drugged, he has no idea what actually happened.
Back in the palace, the Prince meets with Pan Soi, who has been sent to update him on what’s happened in Anju. Pan Soi leads with the news of Dal Hyang’s death, just as the Princess, also curious to hear the news, walks in. The Prince pushes her back into the corridor.
Pan Soi gives the Prince a letter from Seung Po, which is filled with bad news.
With Dal Hyang dead and Yong Gol Dae without memory of the incident, Kim Ja Jum has created his own version of events, which we see: first, Dal Hyang received a letter from the Prince, telling him of the Princess’s affair with Yong Gol Dae, and the gift of the hairpin. Dal Hyang went to Yong Gol Dae’s office to find the hairpin, which he did. But then the General walked in, they fought, and Dal Hyang was killed.
All of the evidence backs this story up, so Kim Ja Jum is free to proceed as he wishes. He tells Yong Gol Dae’s interpreter that he’s willing to keep the specifics of the incident private, considering how delicate relations between Joseon and Later Jin are.
In private, Kim Ja Jum tells governor Kim that there’s only one way to resolve this question quickly and cleanly: Yong Gol Dae must be summarily executed. The Two Musketeers try to protest, but Governor Kim is under Kim Ja Jum’s thumb, and they have no official authority to back them up.
The only thing they can do is bury Dal Hyang’s rotting body—which they still don’t entirely believe is his. But though Min Seo has searched, he can’t find Dal Hyang anywhere.
As for Seung Po, he’s looking for the woman who drugged the General. All he knows about her is that her name is Hyang Sun. The name doesn’t seem to mean anything to Seung Po, but the Prince obviously recognizes it, and crumples the letter in fury.
Pan Soi cries that the Prince should go to Anju. The Prince agrees, and orders his eunuch to ready his horse, but to make it look like he’s returning to the hot springs.
Before he can go, however, the Prince has to guarantee his wife’s safety. He tells her to go stay in her family’s home, away from the palace.
In her room, the Princess looks around once sadly.
Outside, just as her litter is about to leave, the Prince arrives to say goodbye. The Princess confesses that she feels like she’s leaving forever. The Prince smiles and reminds her that she had said she wanted to leave—but it’s a really gentle joke, not mean at all. The Prince promises that her dream won’t come true: “You’ll come back even if you don’t want to.” Again, he isn’t speaking in a cruel way. It’s like he’s finally telling the Princess that he wants her to be with him. It’s incredibly sweet.
Having seen the Princess off, the Prince leaves for Anju with Pan Soi. Just as he gallops off, Teacher Choi shows up. What terrible timing—Team Musketeer really could have used one of Teacher Choi’s evil genius plans this episode.
The Prince is going to have to hurry, because it’s the day of Yong Gol Dae’s execution. As the General is led to the scaffold, a man in uniform enters his office, still roped off as the scene of a crime.
But we quickly see that it’s No Soo, and he’s here on a mission: he takes out his sword and stabs it between the floorboards—right between a decapitated plastic head and Dal Hyang’s head, which is of course awake and attached to the rest of his body. Dal Hyang jerks awake and stares up in horror.
Back at the scaffold, the executioner brings his sword down towards Yong Gol Dae’s neck…
…just as No Soo prepares to strike again, through the crack right over Dal Hyang’s face.
This episode left me with so many questions–I need to know exactly how Kim Ja Jum orchestrated his plan. How did he hide Dal Hyang’s body? Does he even know that Dal Hyang is still alive? What did Mi Ryung tell Yong Gol Dae to convince him to attack Dal Hyang? And, most importantly, how will everyone make it out of this alive? (I’m even worried for Yong Gol Dae. Yes, he’s a brutal guy, but he’s a great character. I’d be sad to lose him.)
It’s funny, because even though Kim Ja Jum now seems to be an actual evil genius, I loved seeing his trap tighten around our heroes. After all, if it were easy to defeat him, this wouldn’t be a very exciting drama! (…the good guys are going to defeat him, right?)
And on the emotional side of things, it looks like the ice might be melting in the Prince and Princess’s relationship! It’s a slow process, but I was so happy that the Prince finally apologized. Maybe this could be the start of a healthy marriage–assuming Kim Ja Jum doesn’t manage to get everyone killed!
How did you like this episode? Let us know in the comments!
(All of the quotes in this recap are taken from SoompiTV’s subs.)