Home > TV and anime > Dong Yi — a review of episodes 70 to the end

Dong Yi — a review of episodes 70 to the end

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.

I suppose there should be rejoicing in the streets because the Jang clan has finally come unstuck. Their assassins have been captured and, with Choi Dong Yi (Han Hyo Joo) undergoing treatment, Shim Woon-Taek (Kim Dong-Yoon) passes on the good news about the curse to the King (Ji Jin Hee). Needless to say, he’s very disappointed in everyone involved and suggests the interrogators ask a few pertinent questions. What makes this interesting are the reactions of Dong Yi, Crown Prince Kyung-Jong (Yoon Chan) and Jang Hee-Bin (Lee So-Yeon).

Shim Woon-Taek finally tells the King about the curse

For Dong Yi, there’s frustration. It need never have come to this if the Jang clan had made better choices. But it’s the old scorpion story of the animal that can’t change its essential nature. If you put a predator into a jungle, it fights for dominance. Sadly, the palace is a jungle where the most dangerous animals fight and kill. It should not be so but such is the way the power game is played. So Hee-Bin sees nothing wrong in trying to kill Dong Yi. That’s just the way the world works. Indeed, she has no faith Dong Yi can remain uncorrupted by those around her. As the threats to her son multiply, Hee-Bin expects Dong Yi to run into the arms of the strong as the only way of keeping the young Prince, Lee Geum (Lee Hyung-Suk) alive. Sooner or later, she opines, Dong Yi will kill or be killed.

This makes her realpolitik appeal at the last breath all the more calculating. Having said she will never apologise, she sees the only one left standing is the only one who might be able to protect the Crown Prince. So in the interests of preserving the Royal Succession, Hee-Bin falls to the ground and begs Dong Yi to be the Crown Prince’s mother. Hee-Bin finally goes with dignity, supping down the poison in a quiet ceremony in the palace. Jang Hee-Jae (Kim Yoo Suk) and his mother, Lady Yoon (Choi Ran), have to face being carted through the streets where the likes of Lady Park (Lee Suk) can incite the crowd to throw stones — revenge is in vogue even though there may be karma involved.

Kim Yoo Suk as Jang Hee-Jae suffers a little torture before being executed

Wracked by guilt that his disclosures to the King have contributed to the uncovering of the family’s crimes, the Crown Prince wants to give up everything and die with his mother. Dong Yi and the young Prince are doing their best to rescue him from depression and there are signs of a thaw.

When Dong Yi refuses to become the new Queen, she avoids direct conflict with the nobility. The most extreme right-wingers are not only averse to bending the knee to a commoner, but even baulk at the notion of accepting a half-blood like the young prince. When Dong Yi also turns Jang Moo-Yul (Choi Jong-Hwan) away, he allies himself with the radical right who want to kill the young prince to avoid any problems with the succession. To achieve their aim, they plan to exploit the inexperience of the new Queen In-Won (Oh Yeon-Seo) and move the young prince out of the palace where he will be easier to kill.

Oh Yeon-Seo as the new Queen In-Won tries to ban the Crown Prince's porridge

The appointment of the new Queen is not explained. It seems to be a recruitment campaign where a few eligible ladies are headhunted into an interview panel with a winner eventually emerging. She seems to be a stickler for getting everything in the right place which makes the failure of the King to take her to one side to explain the situation all the more contrived. In their first serious meeting, Dong Yi warns her she will not get very far unless she quickly learns to distinguish truth from the more pervasive lies. In the lying corner comes Jang Moo-Yul who manipulates the Queen into marrying off the young prince. The court’s convention is that married princes have to live outside the palace. This threat shows Dong Yi at her most formidable. At the suggestion of Kim Goo-Sun (Maeng Sang-Hun), her exploitation of the local superstition about a kingly spirit potentially anointing the young prince is delightful. What’s also interesting is the new Queen’s incomprehension as to why Dong Yi should have selected the daughter of a scholar as the young prince’s wife. Jang Moo-Yul is quickly on the case, arguing this is obviously a deep-laid plot by Dong Yi to unseat the Crown Prince, but the Queen is showing she has a brain. A sign more obviously signalled when her attempt to turn away food prepared for the Crown Prince on safety grounds is rapidly rejected by the Crown Price who roundly asserts Dong Yi is the only one who cares about him in the palace.

The leader of the blood-thirsty right wing nobles

In the meantime, Jang Moo-Yul is struggling to understand the latest secret moves from the King. For him, it’s never appropriate to accept things at face value. A decision to confirm the Crown Prince as heir and throw Dong Yi out of the palace cannot be the real intention of a King known to be in love with Dong Yi. So, after killing a few guards, he knows the King intends to abdicate. He immediately jumps to the wrong conclusion, namely that Dong Yi would then have all the power and would come after him. So now, with the King out of the palace to talk with the Chinese about his proposed abdication, this is the time to launch a final attack to dispose of Dong Yi and the half-commoner prince.

Choi Jong-Hwan as Jang Moo-Yul arrested in his moment of triumph

It has been a delight to watch Jang Moo-Yul sitting or standing quietly as he calculates what’s happening. There’s a great calmness about him. But he’s hitched his horses to the wrong wagon this time. Even though it’s a well-crafted plot to threaten the Crown Prince and blame it on Dong Yi, and he thinks he can talk the Queen into arresting everyone (and hopefully executing them before the King returns), some of this is less than credible. Does he not think the King will see what has happened? Then we have the survival of Cha Jeon-Soo (Bae Su-Bin) when he willingly runs into the trap. . . But, in the spirit of the program, this is a good way of ending all the conflict and giving the King a chance to purge all the most dangerous nobles. The new Queen turns out to be a human being behind her stickler facade and solves the problem of the royal succession.

I think we could have done without the marriage of Oh Ho-Yang (Yeo Ho-Min), the nutty son, to a Dong Yi look-alike, but it did provide some comic relief and tie up a script loose end. The final episode gives us a rerun of the original scenario of a murder blamed on an innocent commoner. But now Dong Yi has set herself up as a Champion of the People, all investigative hands are called into play and the King has fun stomping on the corrupt nobility and their lackeys. There are moments of sentimentality but it has a feel-good quality about it that celebrates the spirit of the show. It’s good to see Chief Seo Yong-Gi (Jeong Jin-Yeon) smile again. He went from happy minion to dour leader after the death of his father, but now can finally relax as he also leaves the palace. Uncle Cha outlives everyone and the Kingly kids look into the future with bright eyes thanks to the good upbringing from the King and Dong Yi.

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. February 2, 2012 at 2:38 am

    I love this series more than I can ever say.

    • February 2, 2012 at 2:54 am

      It certainly is one of the better sageuk series of the last ten years.

  2. smijurija
    February 4, 2012 at 2:37 pm

    I also love this series, it was one of the best series.

    • February 4, 2012 at 3:18 pm

      I agree. This was one of the most consistently enjoyable of all the sageuk serials produced over the last ten years.

  3. smijurija
    February 4, 2012 at 2:45 pm

    I was very pleased when the Queen decided to arrest the third minister of war and move to a runner-Sook side. And when she decided to keep the prince Joen Inga while the runner-Sook outside the palace.

    • February 4, 2012 at 3:20 pm

      Moving to a place outside the palace is a satisfying way of ending the serial. She can more directly support the people.

  4. smijurija
    February 4, 2012 at 4:37 pm

    Where you come from, Davide?

    • smijurija
      February 4, 2012 at 4:46 pm

      I come from Bosnian and Herzegovina. you?

  5. smijurija
    February 4, 2012 at 4:39 pm

    Here I just look on the internet 46th episode.

  6. smijurija
    February 4, 2012 at 6:21 pm

    Craziest was when the dong ji and the king kissed

  7. smijurija
    February 6, 2012 at 12:13 am

    let me send her a picture

    • smijurija
      February 6, 2012 at 12:14 am

      Of course your picture, David

  8. smijurija
    February 6, 2012 at 1:02 am

    Hoe old are you?
    I am 12.
    What your name?
    Meine name is Kanita Hadžić.
    Scream my name just to this miracle.
    Why Gonziep nothing fits?

  9. kanita
    March 8, 2012 at 2:52 pm

    I am just a trifle that I changed the name. 😀

  10. kanita
    March 8, 2012 at 2:53 pm


  11. janine
    March 22, 2012 at 10:55 am

    It’s good that you have reviews like this, it satisfies the curiosity of someone like me who’s very much into kdramas.

    • March 22, 2012 at 3:06 pm

      Thanks. I do my best to enlighten and entertain.

  12. Con Fabella
    April 20, 2012 at 9:49 pm

    Hi there , very nice review, at least I have a glimpse of how the story ends since I’m just watching it from a local tv station in our country. Thanks Mr. David Marshall

    • April 21, 2012 at 12:26 am

      Dong Yi is one of the best of the historical dramas over the last few years. It’s good you are enjoying it.

  13. Con Fabella
    April 21, 2012 at 4:18 pm

    Yes I do enjoy it, I’m watching it with the whole family so to say… It is a nice bonding time every evening and also a very good way of learning another country’s history alongside its traditions and cultures, especially that Korea is also from the same continent where my country is located as well.

    Sir, again congratulations for a job well done and hope to see more and more of your writing reviews. Take care.

  14. Con Fabella
    April 21, 2012 at 4:20 pm

    Oh sorry, I forgot to say something, it is a big fascination for me as well to know an English man like you to be very much into reviewing the eastern cultures. Hehehe. Thanks again..take care…

    • April 21, 2012 at 10:29 pm

      Dong Yi is good enough to appeal to anyone no matter where they come from. Thanks for taking the time to comment.

  15. April 28, 2012 at 2:09 pm

    sana tumagal pa ang series na ito….e2 na ang paborito kng series….. ❤

  16. May 12, 2012 at 2:53 pm

    “You have a great idea”

    but I’m just confused do the crown prince (Yoon Chan) become a king?

    Please i’m waiting for your reply

    • May 12, 2012 at 8:37 pm

      Crown Prince Kyung-Jong (Yoon Chan) became the 20st King of the Joseon Dynasty from 1720 to 1724. He was succeeded his younger brother, Lee Geum (Lee Hyung-Suk) who ruled from 1724 to 1776.

  17. kanita
    June 21, 2012 at 4:03 am

    I’d like to release this series again because I can not seem to break the habit of this series. Again I began to look at her site because I watched the first 3-4 episodes so that I would not examined without reviewed by the end I was to end. Blessed are those who like Dong Yi but living in Korea. in this series are my most liked Queen Park ha sun because izkazala tenderness toward Dong Yi, a girl who lost her father and brother when she was little. of her friends stayed only Cha-Soo Jeon who, after several years there, he found it on a conveyor belt that gave her when she was little that when he loses it will be found in that. and this was true, he found her at the bar. Of course I liked the king, because he showed affection for her but not a queen because at some time been keen on it, I think because of some murders committed by runner-Hui. her son was too sweet, especially when he cried and he met the king, his father, whom he does not know that it was his father. with him, Geum, I still liked it when his mother died, Dong Yi, so every time he went to her grave and Jeon Soo Cha told how she took care of him.

    • June 21, 2012 at 11:53 am

      I thought the last scenes in the last episode were a bit mechanical. The writers had to find some way of ending it so this way of showing the young girl who might carry the burden forward for the poor if only she worked hard and believed was just like a fairy story. All she needed to do to make it come true was marry a Prince (he’s usually the good-looking man pretending to be a frog). But you’re right. Overall, this is one of the best of the Korean drama series.

  18. kanita
    June 21, 2012 at 8:00 pm

    I just wanted to say something else, that the king was not well acted later when the runner Hui crowned the queen, although he knew that a lot of damage inflicted on the Dong Yi, who all suffered from the death of her father and older brother. It is much more happy when it comes Cha Soo Jeon, because this is who I noted in a previous comment that it was her only friend from her childhood. but he had another friend who was called by geadura after arrest and he dies, she weeps for him a lot because it was prior to her best friend.
    When the first son of the king receives a lot to be happy because it is the son of dong yi, where girls can always be trusted. I know that she did not want to tell the officer that she was dry criminals daughter because she wants everyone to know that her father was a criminal. she hides the truth until it becomes a runner-Sook why the king is angry at her. It will later be injured due to which the king is but he does not know where the boy was given a handkerchief to wipe away the tears actually his son. He recognizes it when you hear the sound of that dong yi called Geum to return. because he is very fascinated by Parent but her son died when she was in the palace. This is another of my experience of Dong Yi and her son.

  19. kanita
    June 22, 2012 at 6:26 pm

    much I was sorry when the Dong Yi refused to be a queen, and left the palace, leaving his son with the new queen of oh-jeon-seo. But in fact the queen wanted to protect her son and to take care of him like that was her child. The king was much distressed when he heard that Dong Yi wants to leave the palace. end of this series is the least I was sad ending, I guess that was you. I never could understand that ended because I liked a lot this series that I watch every time I waited for the next day that I watch. I forgot to say that I watched last week of January because I had to go to school so I’ll slip so catch up because what I saw so I will watch this series from the start or where I left off. See you tomorrow on the new commentary.

  20. kanita
    June 23, 2012 at 3:50 am

    왜 안된다고 안 했어?

  21. kanita
    June 23, 2012 at 4:14 pm

    이런, 이런

  22. kanita
    June 23, 2012 at 4:17 pm

    znate li vi išta bosanskog meni je mrsko više pisati i pričati engleski. ako ne znate nekako skontajte šta pričam.

  23. kanita
    July 2, 2012 at 3:31 am

    I’m so glad they still let Dong Yi. 🙂

  24. awlasramo
    July 10, 2012 at 9:33 pm

    What a wonderful life to share, in every situations there’s always a conflict, a way to solves and we shall remember every minutes that we suffer most.

  25. Shan
    March 27, 2013 at 10:11 pm

    Super teledrama.i like it.and I love it.

    • March 27, 2013 at 10:17 pm

      It’s certainly one of the best of the Kdramas. Have you watched Jewel in the Palace or Dae Jang Geum? If not, you should. It’s equally as good as Dong Yi.

  26. kanita
    April 2, 2013 at 12:05 am

    no one series is not best as dong yi. i watched dae jang geum but i dont like them because is so bored.

    • April 2, 2013 at 12:34 am

      If we all liked the same things, life would become very boring. As it is, there are hundreds of thousands of different things to like and dislike. We are all free to pick the things we like the best and discard the rest.

  27. yan
    October 9, 2013 at 4:34 pm

    good drama, love it

    • October 9, 2013 at 5:34 pm

      Certainly one of the best over the last decade.

  28. kim benard j
    November 21, 2013 at 1:26 pm

    its so nice ,,watch it if uve neva

  29. peony
    November 21, 2013 at 7:28 pm

    Should watch Yi Sun is the sequel to Dong Yi… nice drama still Dong Yi and Dageum are the best sageuk… looking forwarding to watching more of JJ Hee saguek….

    • November 21, 2013 at 7:34 pm

      I never got round to watching Immortal Admiral Yi Sun-sin. There are just too many episodes.

  30. peony
    November 21, 2013 at 7:29 pm

    He acted well in Seers also but don’t really like the ending part… too bad the story ending part if longer could be better…

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