Home > Books > Dong Yi — a review of episodes 42 to 47

Dong Yi — a review of episodes 42 to 47

This is a spoiler-rich discussion of what happens in these episodes so do not read this post if you want the experience of watching the serial unfold onscreen. Further, these episode numbers are based on the terrestrial broadcasts I have seen and not on downloaded or DVD episodes. It’s possible that these numbers do not match your experience.

The question of who will dare join the support staff for Choi Dong Yi (Han Hyo Joo) is a nice plot idea. The issue is simple. Dong Yi has come from nowhere so she represents a terrific opportunity for established court ladies to arrive at the top of the social heap with one jump. But if Dong Yi fails, anyone who joined her will be cast into the outer darkness. Only the most willing volunteers can be accepted, and it’s not even convenient to accept all of those who do step forward. Fortunately, the King has finally managed to get past the first kiss and Dong Yi is moderately safe in her new role. This encourages some to be brave enough.

Dong Yi (Han Hyo Joo) and the King (Ji Jin Hee) finally have their moment

The issue of the border defence logs finally resurfaces. This was threatening to be really bad continuity. As it is, it’s only bad continuity. Dong Yi should have immediately handed over the logs, rescued Shim Woon Taek (Kim Dong-Yoon) from exile and introduced Sul-Hee (Kim Hye-Jin) as a back-up witness so that Jang Hee-Jae (Kim Yoo Suk) could be brought down. But we cannot have our enemies killed off too early with so many episodes left to fill. We have to see Jang Hee-Jae humiliated as the maitre d’ of palace functions. After all, as a man notorious for his patience, there’s no-one better to field complaints about the food and poor service.

Although I understand that the King (Ji Jin Hee) wants to keep the common touch going and he does recognise that Dong Yi feels more comfortable outside, he’s getting more testy when the drunken Young-Dal (Lee Kwang-Su) drools over Dong Yi. Let’s hope the warning shot finally penetrates the thick head of the comic relief musician and we don’t have to watch the King get murderously jealous and petty. It rather spoils his image as an easy-going kinda royal guy.

The plot to make everything think Dong Yi is out to kill the Crown Price is moderately ingenious. Except what illness could possible only affect people of one particular class? The answer, of course, is no illness and, with much application of brain power, she deduces the answer (which, incidentally, is the second murder method in Agatha Christie’s Death Comes At the End and in several other mysteries). Now it’s down to collecting proof and Court Lady Jung (Kim Hye-Sun) gathers the loyal members of the Surveillance Bureau to track down the villains. However, with timing everything to prevent suspicion falling on Queen Jang (Lee So-Yeon)’s mother, everything is swept back under the carpet and the more ingenious plot can move forward.

Kim Hye-Sun as Court Lady Jung checks on one of the ladies who have fallen ill

If you can’t easily catch someone in a murderous plot, you have to attack their reputation. The move by Queen Jang to promote Dong Yi catches everyone by surprise. But the promotion depends on Dong Yi disclosing her parentage. Since her father was a convicted murderer, this is inconvenient. Fortunately, Cha Jeon-Soo (Bae Su-Bin) and Sul-Hee have manufactured evidence to conceal Dong Yi’s identity. They set off to collect it while the King secretly orders Chief of Police, Seo Yong-Gi (Jeong Jin-Yeon) to investigate her background. Unfortunately, when the King recounts recovering Dong Yi from the cliff top where she claimed her parents perished, this rings alarm bells. When Seo pulls all the old records out of storage, he’s convinced of Dong Yi’s parentage and, when he confronts her, she admits it.

Cheon Ho-Jin plays Choi Hyo-Won, Dong Yi's father as a noble commoner

To recap the earlier history, Seo was a junior officer from a good family and very friendly with Dong Yi’s father, Choi Hyo-Won (Cheon Ho-Jin) who was the leader of the Geom-Gye or Sword Society which ran an underground railway to help escaped slaves. At the time, there was a series of murders with key figures in the nobility being killed. Despite his own father being killed, Seo is left in charge of the investigation. He hears evidence framing Choi Hyo-Won. When arrested, his friend admits it. As a result, the King orders all the family and clan members killed. During the massacre, it was Seo who let the young Dong Yi go.

When Cha Jeon-Soo returns with the false evidence, Seo threatens to arrest him, but Cha Jeon-Soo explains why the confession was made. At the time, Seo did not have the political support to investigate the families actually responsible for the murders. Indeed, being seen to doubt the evidence framing Choi Hyo-Won could have exposed him to great danger. So, to protect him, his friend confessed. Now Seo has the chance to set matter right and gives the King the false evidence, explaining away Dong Yi’s connection to the Geom-Gye. This leaves him determined to get to the bottom of what happened. Now he does have the status and royal protection to identify those actually responsible for the deaths, including that of his father. More importantly, it focuses the King’s attention on Dong Yi’s birth as a commoner. Whereas, before, the King might deceive himself into believing that he was protecting the interests of all citizens equally, now he has Dong Yi as a positive reminder to be more active in defending the “ordinary” people against predatory nobles.

Kim Dong-Yoon as Shim Woon Taek ambushes Kim Yoo Suk as Jang Hee-Bin

This just leaves us with the border logs. With Shim Woon Taek rescued and joining the Dong Yi family, he brings a sharp mind to bear on her situation. Local society looks on with interest as a major Chinese delegation comes to town. It brings news that the “boy” is accepted as heir. Without hesitation, Shim goes to confront Jang Hee-Bin. This comes at the wrong moment because the Chinese envoy has just told Jang Hee-Jae that the logs were fake. He gives three days for Jang Hee-Jae to come up with the right logs or the acceptance of legitimacy for the heir will be withdrawn and the King will be told of Jan Hee-Jae’s treason. Based on the conversation and on what he discovers when he visits the Chinese envoy, Shim works out the situation. The problem is how to exploit it to bring down the Jang family.

For more general discussions of the social and political context for the serial, see:
Dong Yi — the politics

Dong Yi — superstition and magic

Dong Yi — the minor characters

Dong Yi — final thoughts

Click here for the reviews of the narrative itself:

Dong Yi — the first 22 episodes;

Dong Yi — a review of episodes 23 to 29;

Dong Yi — a review of episodes 30 to 36;

Dong Yi — a review of episodes 37 to 41;

Dong Yi — a review of episodes 42 to 47;

Dong Yi — a review of episodes 48 to 50;

Dong Yi — a review of episodes 51 to 54;

Dong Yi — a review of episodes 55 to 63;

Dong Yi — a review of episodes 64 to 69;

Dong Yi — a review of episodes 70 to the end.

  1. udan pasindu
    May 24, 2013 at 3:53 pm

    hai dong yi im watching the jwell in the crown

    • May 24, 2013 at 7:26 pm

      I think Jewel in the Palace or Dae Jang Geum and Dong Yi are equally good.

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