KDrama Review: The King: Eternal Monarch (Episode 14)

June 06, 2020

The week that followed episode 13 was a complete torture. Every fan of this drama would totally agree with me, because the previous episode ended with that huge cliffhanger! But I must say I am really enjoying this experience. It was the right decision to follow this drama as it aired in SBS (and also released on Netflix) because all the anticipation (and the rewatching of the previous episodes) added to the fun and enjoyment of the whole series.

Guess who Lee Gon is talking to? 😉

And so the most awaited continuation of the story happened yesterday night as the next episode got released on Netflix (I was waiting for 10:30PM to finally come!) To my delight, the episode started on the same scene where the previous one ended. I guess the production team is indeed listening to the fans' reactions!

As most fans have predicted (I included!). KSJ sees his doppelganger in that room in the care center. Although we knew this already all along, it still felt so different seeing that scene unfold in front of my eyes (I had to stiffle a scream because I didn't want to be noisy because I watched this around 11PM last night LOL). And so the true reason why KSJ had to be swapped to RoK is because LL needed his father's care center. That's where LL planned to dump (or treat?) all the useless doppelgangers along the way.

Back at the hotel, we see LG still lying down on the floor as the poison slowly paralyzed him. Luna searched his robe for the whip, but LG is indeed one step ahead of his enemies -- he had already hid it somewhere. I was curious when Luna told him that LL wants his life, but she wants the flute. So she knows about the power of the Manpashikjeok? Good think JY arrived in time to rescue the king, although Luna got away. I'm a bit disappointed with JY's character. How come he let his king be left alone while he bought some soju? 😢 Well I guess some things are really just meant to happen.  

While being treated in the hospital, LG kept hearing the flute's sound, and that's how he knew it's time for him to travel to the past, after realizing that it was him who saved his younger self that night. One rule on how the Manpashikjeok works is revealed in this episode -- if both pieces of the flute is present inside the portal, the holders of the flute can travel both along the place and time axis, and they could travel back at a time that they wanted to save themselves. It was noticeable that when the portal opened, there were no shattering of glass -- the entrance was smooth and peaceful, like a mirror of an ocean.

Little did I know that there were more to twists to come in the next scenes. Lee Lim meets his past self to warn him about the things that will unfold in the next hour during the coup. True to his evil character, his past self felt so resentful of his future self's failure that he killed his future self. 😱 I never saw this coming. Never! So I was so shocked when this scene happened. I was so pumped with adrenaline already, and we're just within the first half of the episode!

As LG fulfilled his fate of rescuing his young self in the attempted coup, I was curious on how he would be able to escape the palace and go back to the portal. I nearly cried during the scene when he met Court Lady Noh on his way outside. I thought it was also too convenient for LG to escape that easily from the palace. I guess we know why they weren't able to arrest LL and his followers that night.🙄 When LG realized that he couldn't go forward in time again using the portal, I felt his frustration. I also panicked like oh no what is he going to do? Well, clever as he is, he was able to calculate that he needs to wait for 4 months inside the portal to pass the 26 years in the outside world (there you go~ this is what that Back To The Future phone case forshadowed!)

I found it entertaining that he wasn't able to resist to find JTE in this timeline. I would understand that scene when he met the 5-year-old JTE. So as a child, JTE saw LG and that memory stuck with her... which explains how she recognized him when she saw him again at the Gwanghwamun square in the revised timeline. But then he visits her again in 2016 and even talks to her? Meh I really found that scene very unnecessary, and it kind of removed some element of mystery in JTE's perspective.

While waiting for LG to come back to the present, JTE continues detective work in locating the patients that were admitted at the care center. I have to commend all the hard work that these policemen are doing, as they had to do several overnight work just to check all the footages/records of the care center. 

Later on, JTE comes face-to-face with Luna. Luna stabs JTE and she is left bleeding at the road side. Based on the next episode's preview, she would be able to make it anyways...although there are still a lot of scenes from previous previews that still don't click. I'm sure there are still plot twists waiting to be unveiled.

With two episodes left, there are still also a lot of questions that needs to be answered. Since the coup, Lee Lim is nowhere to be found, and I am finding this uneasy. With the added knowledge that he was not able to be successful in the coup the first time, what changes would he do in this revised timeline? Would he commit the same mistakes? Also, what are PM Koo's plans (what was that mackerel code with her mom about)? What's the real deal with LG's mother in RoK? What are the rest of LL's followers doing? What's the role of that swapped pregnant woman moving forward?

Additional Observations/Theories/Commentaries:
  • I think the rule about travelling back to just a specific time was convenient for the plot to have a smoother story. During the period that everyone was formulating theories about the time travel, things get too complicated because there were endless possibilities of how far back the characters would travel: would both of them go back when the flute was still whole? Would LL/LG kill their past selves so as to erase them in the future? I guess to simplify things, Kim Eun-sook (the writer) established this rule to simplify things.
  • I liked the additional reveal that that kid with the yoyo is a representation of Manpashikjeok.
  • Those "fresh memories" that kept appearing to various characters (i.e. JY and JTE) as LG interacted with them in the past is a huge loophole for me. It contradicts to the fact that LG already had the memory of his future self rescuing him since he was a child. I found this aspect somewhat irritating. 😅
  • Even while JTE was tearfully processing those "fresh memories" as they came to her, she's still being a detective -- connecting the dots as to where LG was already in time. I liked that part.
  • That writing on the payphone reminded me of a scene in The Secret (Taiwanese movie).
  • Another lesson learned from LG's time travel journey: he has no power to save those people who are destined to die.

Episode Rating: ★★★★★
I cannot wait to watch the next episode tonight!

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