Home > Books > Dong Yi — a review of episodes 64 to 69

Dong Yi — a review of episodes 64 to 69

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.

It’s always sad when a major character dies and, in this instance, the death of Queen Inhyeon (Park Ha Sun) is thoroughly milked. The King (Ji Jin Hee) is particularly affected by guilt because, as a marriage of convenience, he never actually loved the woman and showed her little warmth during her life. As alway, this is futile remorse. After her death, there’s nothing he can actually do to rescue his failings except honour her memory. As a dying request, she asks the King to make Choi Dong Yi (Han Hyo Joo) the Queen. She believes this is the only way to protect both Princes. This creates a problem for the King because Dong Yi is not of noble blood and, inevitably, the conservatives in the court will object. In secret he plans to raise Dong Yi to a position that can only be filled by a noble. If confirmed, this will pave the way to her becoming Queen.

Dong Yi has been rather passive of late. When she started off, she was rather more can-do. For the last few episodes, she’s been wandering the palace looking a bit helpless while the Queen finally stepped into the battle directly. With the loss of the Queen, Dong Yi has lost a key friend and must now resume her more active stance. Even the young Prince, Lee Geum (Lee Hyung-Suk), gets in on the act, making a wreath to drive away the Queen’s illness only to deliver it too late. However, the sprog did at least find the half-burnt “voodoo” doll while grubbing around for the right kind of grass, so he did prove useful.

Cha Jeon-Soo (Bae Su-Bin) rescues Crown Prince Kyung-Jong (Yoon Chan)

So now we have Dong Yi offering a truce to Jang Hee-Bin (Lee So-Yeon). She thinks back to the time when, dressed in her silk dress, the young court lady recognised her as the fugitive but let her go. To prove her good intentions she hands over the voodoo doll and its associated name tag. This tempts Lady Jang. She half wants to believe Dong Yi will keep her word. Except, of course, the not very bright and emotionally paranoid Jang Hee-Jae (Kim Yoo Suk) sees a plot everywhere. He persuades her that Dong Yi is not sincere in handing over the doll and offering not to reveal the nature of the Crown Prince’s problem. Later, Jang Hee-Jae sees Jang Moo-Yul (Choi Jong-Hwan) hand over the Royal Nurse to Chief Seo Yong-Gi (Jeong Jin-Yeon). After all, that’s what a loyal Minister is expected to do. This confirms Hee-Jae’s suspicion that Dong Yi is plotting to stab Lady Jang in the back. It does not occur to Hee-Jae that he has the timing the wrong way round and that, actually, it’s Jang Moo-Yul initiating the contact with Dong Yi yet to respond.

Jang Hee-Bin (Lee So-Yeon) and Jang Hee Jae (Kim Yoo Suk) plot their revenge

After bonding as brothers, the two Princes investigate the nature of the older one’s illness and crack the prescription. This creates an interesting dilemma for the Crown Prince Kyung-Jong (Yoon Chan). Whatever his faults, he’s sufficiently experienced in court matters to understand the significance of his inability to produce an heir. So then we’re back into melodrama with the two princes going walk-about in the marketplace and the Crown Prince being arrested as a pickpocket. This is resolved in the worst kind of deus ex way with Cha Jeon-Soo (Bae Su-Bin) magically materialising in just the right part of the rural outskirts to pluck the escaping Prince from the jaws of recapture.

Now we’re into the more interesting political bit with the nobles up in arms that the young Prince was trying to get the Crown Prince killed so that he could take over the reins of power. Jang Moo-Yul is particularly exercised by Dong Yi’s continuing failure to exploit her knowledge of the Crown Prince’s condition. He understands the nobles would drop the Crown Prince in a heartbeat if they knew he was impotent. He doesn’t understand she’s protecting both Princes. When he takes the initiative and mentions the fact of an illness to the factions supporting the Crown Prince, Dong Yi is back to blackmail him over his capture of the nurse. If he gets more explicit as to the nature of the illness, she will produce the nurse and tell the King he was covering up the problem. At last a little backbone from our heroine.

Assassins manage to wound Dong Yi (Han Hyo Joo) (again)

When the young Prince is arrested for exposing the Crown Prince to danger and Lady Jang gets the campaign for expulsion from the Palace up and running, our Crown Prince demonstrates a high sense of morality. He’s been in training under an independent tutoring system to become a good king and now he finds himself unsuitable. Worse he sees his mother acting as a criminal to protect his position and undermine the future line of succession. Unable to stand this position, he goes to his father and tells him everything. Meanwhile the Oh family has captured the thugs who tried to hang Oh Ho-Yang (Yeo Ho-Min), the nutty son. When the beating starts, these spineless ruffians blow the whistle on Lady Yoon (Choi Ran). Ah, a perfect storm is breaking. The King is now on the warpath and discovers Lady Jang has been covering up the Crown Prince’s problem for a year. The whole carefully constructed web of lies is about to be exposed. The factions of nobles previously loyal to Lady Jang back away. It looks as if all is lost, so now’s the time for a last desperate strike. If the Jangs are going to fall, they decide to kill Dong Yi and the young Prince. They can pass on knowing they finally killed their enemies.

For once the melodrama is short and to the point. A fire is set in the palace and, during the confusion as loyal citizens are encouraged to enter the grounds as volunteer firemen, a team of assassins enters. Cha Jeon-Soo is on the job as he sees the men wearing sound-deadening footwear and he’s able to intervene. But not before Dong Yi has taken a sword cut as she falls on her son to protect him. Drama must be maximised. Then he’s quickly surveying those trying to leave the palace for the same footwear. This time they scoop up all the surviving assassins before they can get away. Now there must be consequences.

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.

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