Home > TV and anime > Dong Yi — a review of episodes 55 to 63

Dong Yi — a review of episodes 55 to 63

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.

When you are seen to have done something “wrong”, the best strategy is always to admit the error and accept the punishment. Choi Dong Yi (Han Hyo Joo) obviously has the best PR consultants working for her. The “arrest” while helping Ge Dwo Ra (Yeo Hyeon-Soo) is a political disaster of the first magnitude but, on her own insistence, she makes a full and frank disclosure to Jang Moo-Yul (Choi Jong-Hwan). This protects the King (Ji Jin Hee) who would otherwise try to use his power to sweep everything under the carpet. The Jangs, of course, see this as a wonderful opportunity to characterise Dong Yi as a traitor for aiding the Geom-Gye in general and Ge Dwo Ra in particular. Execution could not come quickly enough, but she’s saved by the secondary disaster of the death of the “heir”. Measles was a common disease and frequently fatal. This shifts the sympathy back to the King and Dong Yi. He’s therefore able to defend merely banning her from the palace. This has the effect of protecting the position of the Crown Price so, muttering darkly in their beards, the Jangs take what they can get. In a single night’s drunken visit to Dong Yi’s humble place of exile, the King proves himself a one-shot wonder and, nine months later, there’s a new potential heir. Six years pass in an instant.

Well, the casting is good enough. The young Prince, Lee Geum (Lee Hyung-Suk), is going to be pivotal. The history books tell us this boy becomes a benevolent King. So he has to be precocious yet endearing. As shown on the screen, he manages not to be a pain. For all he has a lawyer’s ability to redefine promises to suit his needs and a photographic memory, there’s an essential humility about him that keeps him likeable. The role of Ae-Jong (Kang Yu-Mi) is now reduced to running after the “heir”. Even Court Lady Bong (Kim So-Yi) is increasingly frazzled as the young Prince runs rings around her.

The Princes form a bond as "brothers"

Although the Prince’s attempt to enter the palace is overdone and the first actual meeting with the King contrived, it’s all saved from sentimentality by the naturalness of the King’s acceptance of the boy. The later day at the fair and the pool stays just on the right side, but even “incognito” has its limitations. No matter how much the King may try to deceive himself, the presence of the armed guards lurking in his wake is a bit of a give-away. As he stands looking down at Dong Yi’s home, he’s observed by Oh Ho-Yang (Yeo Ho-Min) whose obsession for Dong Yi grows ever more destructive. When Lady Yoon (Choi Ran) is informed, she sees the immediate threat to her daughter’s interests. If the King is planning to bring back the young Prince, the Crown Prince may be threatened. She sends her minions to kill Dong Yi and Lee Geum. Fortunately, troops arrive in time to put out the fire. This is the final straw for the King. Enough time has passed and the law permits the King to bring his son back into the palace for a royal education. The attempted murder quells potential resistance from the Jangs.

Choi Jong Hwan as Jang Mu Yeol grows increasingly threatening

When the King brings Dong Yi back into the palace, he also summons Cha Jeon-Soo (Bae Su-Bin) from exile to form an axis of benign power with Chief Seo Yong-Gi (Jeong Jin-Yeon). On his way back into the capital, Cha interrupts another plot from Lady Yoon. She’s increasingly alarmed that the blame for attempting to murder Dong Yi and the young Prince may fall back on her, so she instructs her minions to fake a suicide by Oh Ho-Yang. A note has been prepared in which he admits setting the fire after seeing the King’s visit. Fortunately, Cha arrives just as the minions hoist Oh Ho-Yang into the air for a hanging. He drives the minions away and cuts Oh Ho-Yang down, passing on as if nothing has happened. However, Oh Ho-Yang still has the “suicide” note.

Meanwhile, back at the palace, the royal succession issue is really hotting up. After an illness, Crown Prince Kyung-Jong (Yoon Chan) may not be able to produce an heir. He’s been treated in secret but, as the natural age for a marriage approaches, Queen Inhyeon (Park Ha Sun) is the force pushing for Lady Jang to explain her refusal to follow the usual court procedures. With her own health in danger, the Queen gets real evidence of the Crown Price’s condition from a nurse who’s then hidden away. Now battle is joined as Lee Geum comes into the palace. When his status as a prodigy is revealed by a plot from Lady Jang unexpectedly miscarrying, there’s a perfect storm in the offing. What makes this all the more interesting is Jang Moo-Yul’s reaction. He’s forced to the conclusion the Crown Prince has a health problem, so the race is on to find the nurse. At the final moment when the Queen has trapped the Jangs and captured their hired killers, she has a heart attack. Now Jang Hee Jae (Kim Yoo Suk) and his mother make the mistake of asking a shaman for guidance. The advice does not guarantee results, but the suggested course of action may give the Jangs a better chance of ensuring the Queen does not survive.

The Queen lapses into a coma after a heart attack

When Lee Geum exploits the literal wording of the promise he gave to his mother and shows the world he’s a top scholar, this creates a further threat to the status of the Crown Prince as the King proposes to make the two boys study partners. When the outcry shows strength, the need is to persuade Kim Goo-Sun (Maeng Sang-Hun) to take on Lee Geum. In due course, he’ll become the tutor to the prodigy. He’s not only one of the best read people in the country, but he also has a better grasp of the reality of the kingdom. One of the first lessons is make Lee Geum share acorns with the poor. When the prince reacts to the bitterness of the acorn, Kim Goo-Sun bids him never forget the taste of the tears of the people when starvation threatens. This counterbalances bookish learning with essential insights into practical politics. It’s not what you know that matters. It’s what you do with what you know that matters and, when the person you’re tutoring is a future king, he will have the power to do something about the poverty.

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. smijurija
    February 6, 2012 at 7:39 pm

    was a big crisis when the Queen died.

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