Tree with deep roots
I guess this has turned into some kind of rambly recap of sorts… oh well, I hope you all don’t mind^^. It’s just so awesome! And I never tire of looking at Song Joongki.
There are so many things to talk about in this second episode, but i think that the most relevant one is the idea of power. What does it mean to be a powerful king? Who will wield it from this momoent on?
Power, who has it and who is willing to go all out to keep it.
In the last episode the obvious answer was that power was definitely still in the hands of the former king. Taejong. King Sejong at this point is little more than a figurehead king. He sticks to his math games trying to decipher something else as he looks for solutions to it.
Young King Sejong – Lee Do – has been named King but his father is the one who has retained the actual power while he was setup as a figurehead. He’s found this extremely burdensome, because even though he is King he didn’t even have a say on the forced suicide of his father-in-law, and many other such killings. He keeps remembering what Joon Ki Joong told him: You can’t do anything.
Lee Do is “weak” in his father’s eyes and indeed in many other’s because he is not someone who would solve a problem through violence, preferring to take a more peaceful course. However at this point he has been pushed too far by his father and he wishes to change his figurehead status.
After his father in law was forced to take poison, Lee Do’s wife comes in to tell him that it was for him that her father quietly took the poison. At the same time as the Queen is telling Lee Do that he’s responsible for the death’s Ddol Buk is screaming at the at his father’s corpse, ” Who did this? Who was the Bastard that ordered this?” The editing job was great and so that it almost seems as if Lee Do can hear those heart wrenching shouts as he receives the answers from another equally distraught individual.
Ddol Bok and the Queen both don’t have any power, and the King who should have power to protect his people, his Joseon, has also been shunted to the side by the former King.
There’s a riot going on in the prison, something that neither the King or Queen were aware of as they approach it separately. There’s so much gore it’s utterly nauseating. Soldiers ruthlessly killing the prisoners before they could exit the prison, but even then the slaves didn’t stop. At this point they already suspected that even if they stayed in the cells calmly they would all be killed for being associated with the Queen’s father. This riot was a chance for freedom and even if it wasn’t achieved then at least they died while doing something and not waiting like sheep to the slaughter.
At the prison break riot that occurs Lee Do finally seems to be properly shaken up and though he doesn’t believe he’ll actually win over his father, for the first time he tries. and it’s all thanks to Ddol Bok and the vision of Jung Ki Joon escaping from a bloody fight much like this one. That makes he insists that his personal guard the great swardsman Mu Yeol save the boy. Right before that the Queen also helped save a child slave. She saved Dam the slave girl Ddol Bok was friends with and who she obviously was acquainted with even by name.
After Lee Do saves Ddol Bok and hidden him in a shed in the forest, he’s confronted by his father who had followed him from the scene of the fight. In front of Lee Do, Taejong now has given orders that the boy Lee Do rescued be beheaded. He’s seen this bit of rebellion by his son Lee Do and he’s going to squash it in front of his eyes.
No matter how much Lee Do pleads, Taejong does not budge, the boy must die. Lee Do shouts that a Former King is NOT the same as King, He’s the king. Then they get into a debate about Taejong’s Joseon and Lee Do’s Joseon. Lee Do starts naming all of the people who have died because of Taejong, he says that that isn’t the JOseon that he wants. Taejong asks Lee Do what he would do so differently, what Lee Do’s Joseon is like? Lee Do has no answer and Taejong smirks, “Fool” and orders the soldiers to behead the boy now.
Lee Do has had enough he throws his sword at his father, and says “if you behead the boy then you must behead me, because I have named all of those you’ve called traitors, I am also a traitor.” Taejong takes him up on that bluff and as he places the swords edge at Lee Do’s throat Lee Do shouts at Mu Hyul.
Mu Hyul!! As my last order, Whoever hurts the King shall be struck down, even if it is my father, for the greater good he must be eliminated. This is my last order as the good for nothing King.
Seriously this exclamation took me for a loop, I about jumped out of my seat it surprised me so. Finally we see that Lee Do does have a temper, a back bone, and he won’t continue to hide in his room with his number puzzle.
After this shout we see that King Taejong seriously considers his son and lowers the sword. As he left he launched the sword back a Lee Do. The army General asks Taejong what he thinks about Lee Do and all Taejong says is that not even Confucius could convince him only poer does, and they’ll see how much of it Lee Do has. Meanwhile Lee Do’s knees give out as all the strength he’d had from the adrenaline rush in which he chose fight rather than flight gave out. I’m pretty sure if I’d had been in his place I would have lost control of my bladder and my sphincters.
Another impressive scene was when the next day Lee Do and Mu Hyul go to the shed where they’d left Ddol Bok and find him threatening a soldier into telling him who was the one who caused his father’s death. The soldier barely gasps out “the King” before Ddol Bok shouts out “I’ll kill him” the soldier tells him that it’s he shouldn’t because it’s all “for the great cause.” Ddol Bok isn’t having any of that,
My father was a poor fool. what does a fool have to do with a great cause? […] I thought the king was supposed to protect his people like a father. A great cause? Tell the king it’s all crap.
Mu Hyul says that the wisest thing would be for them to kill the boy because right now he may not be a threat but when he grows up he will be harbouring hate for him. Lee Do says that he won’t kill the boy, because he was his first subject. The first one he saved and perhaps the last one if things go awry with his father. He’s particularly struck with the truth in Ddol Bok’s description of the cause as “crap.”
Though Lee Do managed to save Ddol Bok, he knows that things aren’t going to end well, at least not if he can’t give an answer on what his Joseon will be like.
Ddol Bok finds himself in Banchon. It’s an area that the army can’t approach past it’s gates. He doesn’t know why or how he came to be here and he’s wary and antagonistic to all of them. Though he is overcome by the nostalgia of a time where his own slave family were alive. One of the things I didn’t like in this episode was that there was a LOT of loud and anger ridden Ddol Bok, though I do understand that everything that he’d gone through in the last 24 hours would be enough to kill a person’s spirit a million times over, I can’t stand his loudness.
The King meanwhile sends Lee Do a lunchbox that’s completely empty. It’s literal interpretation is “Don’t Eat” and it’s more symbolic meaning, is that Taejong is telling Lee Do to kill himself. The Queen’s with Lee Do when the box arrives and she obviously understands the meaning behind the empty lunchbox but they’ve all underestimated Lee Do’s inventiveness and cunning. From the box he gets the idea on how to love math problem which has been translated as Sudoku. And as he solves it he comes to a decision about how HIS Joseon will be shaped.
In Banchon there’s a moment in which two slaves are given a book supposedly written by Jung Do Jun. Who was someone who’d apposed Taejong and had suffered the consequences by being assassinated. The woman who greeted Ddol Bok upon his awakening turns out to be the leader of Banchon. She asks that the slaves who had been given Jung Do Jun’s book kill themselves. She’s so intense, but I guess it’s thanks to her strict (and even brutal) guidance that the slave district avoids problems with the king. However there’s obviously more to her since she only burned the book but not the sash and wooden symbol that had covered the book. She kept those.
After the slaves killed themselves they start interrogating Ddol Bok about who he is and why he’s there. Though he just asks the questions right back. It appears that the woman is in a better position to tell him because she was the one who was approached by Mu Hyul and told to try to get Ddol Bok under control and if she couldn’t then she was to kill him.
King Taejong has meanwhile gathered the military in what’s ostensibly a training session, but he’s done it to prove a point. The military is his, therefore the power is his. However Lee Do has solved his puzzle and he’s come to an understanding of his own.
The last scene of the episode,prepares us for future epic battles between the father and son pair. Lee Do vs. King Taejeong. Looking forward to it^^
There’s also the fact that Ddol Bok’s father had his slave owner right him a message for Ddol Bok. Which is interesting since Ddol Bok nor his father can read. I hope we find out what that not says.