The quest to clear Yoon-hee’s name continues but as we shall soon see, that’s not the only thing Seon-joon has on his mind.
Our boy’s hormones are finally catching up with his brain! *sniff*
Seon-joon finally figures out that the beautiful woman standing in front of him is Yoon-hee and promptly goes into shock, dropping his precious accounts book in the process.
And then the doors open and the guards rush in. Fortunately for Seon-joon, who is about as useful as dirt right now, Yoon-hee still has her wits about her and she pushes him to the ground and lies on top of him so that it looks like they’re in the middle of, uh, something.
She throws random objects at the guards and they leave sheepishly. The expression on Seon-joon’s face, btw, is hilarious:
Actually, it’s just as well that it’s him here because can you imagine Jae-shin in this situation? In between trying to contain his hiccups and revive him, you’d probably have to call in the cavalry to haul him out of the storeroom. One thing’s for sure, he’d never hear the end of it from Yong-ha.
Once they’re alone again, Yoon-hee explains that she had no choice but to dress like this because she couldn’t have gotten into the merchant’s house otherwise. What she doesn’t say is that she’s doing this for his benefit as well because do you see what she’s wearing? No girl is going to go through the trouble of curling her eyelashes, putting on mascara, sticking butterflies in her hair and giving Cho-sun a run for her money just to save a friend is all I’m saying.
It looks like what the medium said was true after all. Now that he’s seeing Yoon-hee dressed as a woman, Seon-joon is a complete and utter mess. He tells her it’s her fault (yeah, yeah, blame the woman why don’t you) that he dropped the accounts book but it’s just an excuse for him to turn around and calm his treacherous heart. *sigh* Men.
Yoon-hee finds it on the ground and passes it to him, unaware of the effect that she is having on his fragile psyche. Noticing his hand shaking, she reaches out to touch it, causing him to jerk away from her and…hello, it looks like we’ve found Merchant Song’s secret stash of record books.
Yoon-hee finds a book with the names of the Noron ministers in it but Seon-joon stops her from taking it, telling her if she’s caught with it, not even the King will be able to save her.
Meanwhile, the chief of the royal guards tells In-soo that apart from a merchant and a gisaeng, they didn’t see anyone else in the warehouses. Cho-sun tells him that the girl in question is definitely not one of hers and In-soo orders the guards to search the storage room again and arrest both the man and the woman.
Yoon-hee and Seon-joon are making their getaway but are forced to hide when they see In-soo and his men surrounding the back exit. To make matters worse, In-soo spots Yoon-hee’s skirt peeking out from their hiding spot and motions to his guards to close in on them.
However Cho-sun and her girls, accompanied by the merchants, show up right at that moment, and by the time they leave, the two of them are nowhere to be found.
We cut away to find Yoon-hee stuck on top of a wall. Seon-joon is on the ground over on the other side, looking very amused. Whatever happened to the bear with many talents?
Quiz Time: Why does Seon-joon offer Yoon-hee his hand only to change his mind at the last minute?
a) He is a twit
b) It’s inappropriate for two men to behave in such a manner
c) He doesn’t want his heart to stop beating
d) All of the above
And then, oh crap! The guards! Seon-joon lifts her to the ground, which of course does nothing to help his already frazzled state of mind.
But let’s continue exchanging heated glances later kids, right now you’ve got to run!
A chase through the marketplace ensues and they manage to escape from them thanks to some nifty sidestepping from Seon-joon. In any other show, we’d be seeing a full-on makeout session now, thanks to all that adrenaline coursing through their bodies, but because this is Seon-joon we’re talking about, you’ll have to make do with some awkward throat-clearing.
In an attempt to clear the air between them, he asks her if she came to help him because she felt sorry for him. Yoon-hee is a little embarrassed to hear all her accusations being boomeranged back at her and tries to cut him off, but he captures her fist, giving her a look that turns all of Yoochun’s fans into mush.
He explains that he helped her, not out of pity, but need. At first, he thought it would be a waste of her talent if she didn’t take the examination, but later, as he got to know her better, he realized that he wanted her to remain by his side. He reveals that he’s never had a friend before and that he would have liked her to be his first, but had no idea how to go about doing it. He apologizes for causing her so much grief and misunderstanding, reducing both Yoon-hee and me to a blubbering wreck.
As the tears roll down her face, she tells him she’s been trying ever so hard to control her feelings but he just had to go blow the hinges off the door with his confession. Seon-joon is obviously in a state of conflict himself: Should he hold her? (Yes, yes! Do it you fool!) Should he apologize again? (No. HELL, NO!)
He opts for the latter (*sigh*) but it only succeeds in making the tears roll down faster. At a loss over what to do because he’s never had to deal with a crying woman, much less a crying woman who’s pretending to be a man who’s pretending to be a woman, he gives her shoulder a tight squeeze.
Seon-joon, you’re a moron but God knows I love you anyway.
Meanwhile, poor Jae-shin, who is unaware that his chances with Yoon-hee have just sailed off into the sunset, is beside himself with worry. It doesn’t help when Yong-ha appears alone and tells him that she threw her body in the face of danger.
But his friend tells him not to worry—he would never leave a pretty kid like Yoon-hee in danger. He reveals how he helped both of them escape from In-soo, and tries to get a rise out of Jae-shin by telling him how beautiful she looked in that dress, so much so that it made even his own jaded heart go all pitter patter.
Over in another part of town, In-soo and Cho-sun are having a little showdown. He demands to know who the mystery girl is, adding that he knows both she and Yong-ha are in cahoots. Throwing him a look of scorn, she asks: How is it possible for lowly gisaengs like her to conspire with nobles like him? She shrugs off his hand and tells him to visit her at Moran-gak as a customer if there is anything else he wants to say to her.
Chez Merchant Song. The Minister of War has ordered all of the merchant’s record books to be seized and burned. Frankly, I’m surprised they’re even letting him live.
Yoon-hee is back in her scholar’s robes and as she and Seon-joon walk back to meet Yong-ha and Jae-shin, they talk about the task ahead of them—finding the culprit. Actually, she’s the one doing most of the talking. Seon-joon’s too distracted by the smudge of lipstick that’s still on her mouth.
Her attempts to clean it off only succeed in making things worse for his fevered imagination. Unable to take it any longer, he walks away, muttering how pathetic it is that she should do such a thing when she can’t even remove it properly. Ha ha.
But Seon-joon isn’t the only one who’s going crazy. Yong-ha is probably wishing that he hadn’t returned alone because Jae-shin is driving him around the bend. Just as he is asking for the nth time, “Are they back yet?” Yoon-hee and Seon-joon appear. She spots the bruises on Jae-shin’s face and tries to get a better look at them but he brushes her hand away before the hiccups can rear their ugly little heads.
Of course, this doesn’t escape Yong-ha, who’s gleefully taking in Seon-joon’s forlorn reaction as well. Deciding to spare the latter the agony of having his brain explode on him (there are 10 more episodes to go and we still need him to outsmart In-soo), Yong-ha separates the two of them and changes the subject by asking Yoon-hee if she managed to get what she was looking for, which of course she did.
Meanwhile, In-soo is still trying to figure out what Seon-joon was doing at Merchant Song’s house. Byung-choon guesses that he must have been looking for evidence to catch the culprit. Very well, In-soo tells them that they will have to take pre-emptive measures i.e. they will have to find the culprit first and make sure that he doesn’t talk.
Chez Jalgeum Quartet. Detective Gu announces that he knows who the culprit is. According to the accounts book, he lives in the Banchon area, and Yong-ha deduces that he must be someone related to the children helping out in the school because this means he can enter Sungkyunkwan without raising any suspicions. To test his theory, he throws open the door of their room and sure enough, they find Bock Dong, one of the page boys, eavesdropping on their conversation.
Now that they know who the culprit is, it’s time to go to sleep so they can wake up bright and early to set off for Banchon. To protect Yoon-hee’s virtue, Jae-shin has taken to sleeping in the middle.
However, he doesn’t count on her being a fitful sleeper and as she rolls around, he finds himself having to scoot closer and closer to Seon-joon, who is less than enthused to find him spooning against him. This isn’t his usual spot, he points out. Hilariously, Jae-shin replies that his usual spot used to be the ENTIRE room and tells him to shut up and go back to sleep. Ha ha. Unfortunately for the both of them, Yoon-hee rolls around again, forcing Jae-shin to grab hold of Seon-joon and press against him.
I don’t think the two of them got much sleep that night.
Dining hall. Yong-ha is complaining about the quality of the food but no one is paying him any attention because they’re all occupied with their own affairs. Yoon-hee’s got the burglar on her mind while Seon-joon is being driven out of his looking at her lips.
She stands up and announces that she is going to leave for Banchon first, prompting both Seon-joon and Jae-shin to tell her to sit down.
And then Professor Jung pipes up: Is she really thinking of becoming a thief? For starters, she’s stealing a point by showing up in the dining hall without eating anything. Secondly, she’s wasting the taxpayers’ money—one meal here can feed two people at one of the city’s welfare centres. This is enough to guilt-trip Yoon-hee into finishing all her food.
Unbeknown to our heroes, Byung-choon has been eavesdropping on their conversation and he returns to In-soo to report that the suspect lives in Banchon. Kang Moo guesses that since the suspect comes from the university town, it must mean one of the page boys is involved.
While In-soo and his groupies plot yet another nefarious scheme, our fair heroes are hard at work searching for the burglar. Sadly, even though this wanted poster looks a lot better than the one of Hong Byuk Seo, their efforts amount to nothing.
Jae-shin remarks that it’s probably because the poor are protecting the suspect. There’s no other town in the country that can rival Banchon’s poverty and if the people are turning to crime it’s because they don’t have a choice.
Seon-joon is not moved by this. A crime, no matter what the reason, is still a crime, he says, pointing out that they have less than half a day till the examination to prove Yoon-hee’s innocence. At the rate they’re going, they’re probably not going to succeed. Perhaps it’s time for a different strategy.
Meanwhile, In-soo has chosen to work smart and save himself the unnecessary legwork by bribing one of the school servants to give him the information he wants. He finds out that Bock Dong is an orphan living with his brother.
As In-soo plans his next move, we find our heroes playing criminal profilers. They deduce that the burglar was most likely forced to steal because he was in urgent need of money. There was probably an item that had soared in price, and the only way he could get it was by bartering for it at the black market. Turns out that two items had undergone a price hike recently—salt and hemp, the kind of which is worn at funerals.
Yong-ha’s investigations lead him to find out that Bock Dong’s mother died recently. His conversation with the school servant is overheard by the boy, who immediately runs away to warn his brother.
However, it looks like In-soo has beaten him to it. Resorting to the tried-and-tested method of bribery, he offers the teen money in exchange for his silence. If he can keep his side of the bargain, the money will be his two days after the examination is over.
Bock Soo returns home in a despondent mood, only to be spotted by our fair heroes. Before they can give chase, Bock Dong appears telling his brother to run. He falls and Bock Soo goes over to help him to his feet, shooting Seon-joon & Co a defiant look.
Bock Soo tells them they can’t do anything to him. So what if they have the accounts book? The police can’t arrest him since they can’t enter Banchon. Besides, the four of them will eventually become corrupt government officials, all he’s doing is getting some of his money back from them in advance. They can afford to suffer a little.
He eventually reveals that he was forced to steal to give his mother a proper funeral. The black market was the only place he could get hemp because he couldn’t afford the prices set by the merchants. Yoon-hee, reminded of what she might have become if she had not met Seon-joon and entered Sungkyunkwan, leaves, unable to bring herself to press charges against him anymore.
Lee Manor. The mood here is definitely more upbeat as we find Hyo-eun, who is being accompanied by her father, paying respects to her future father-in-law. She is, however, not at all the demure, refined lady that she is supposed to be and keeps slipping up. Fortunately Minister Ha is there to help her, but even he can’t resist rolling his eyes at his daughter. Ha!
Minister Lee confirms what we already know and tells Hyo-eun that Seon-joon is a nerd who’s hopeless with women. He reveals that his son has never had a sister or a female friend, which is news that sends Hyo-eun over the moon.
As she leaves the minister’s house, she tells her attendant that she’s going to start learning Chinese so that they can go to China after Seon-joon completes the civil service examination. There’s no way she’s going to live in the same house as his scary father. Then again, his eyelashes are so cute. They’re just as long as Seon-joon’s…
No, I don’t know what crack she’s on either.
Now that Hyo-eun’s gone, the two ministers can talk business. The Minister of War reports that he has replaced Merchant Song, and in between all the veiled barbs that they throw at each other, assures Minister Lee that all the account books have been destroyed.
Well, not exactly. Yoon-hee reveals that she smuggled one of them out with her when they were at the merchant’s house. Yong-ha tells her that she’s stirring up trouble but Yoon-hee reasons that she’d rather hand over this book than single Bock Soo out as the culprit. As long as the officials keep receiving bribes, there will always be kids like him.
The matter’s not quite so simple, though. Even though his name is not mentioned in the book, it is also an indirect indictment of the Left Prime Minister. As Seon-joon goes through it, he is confronted with the very real possibility that the man he has always loved and respected is not the upright and just figure that he thought he was. It’s a test for Seon-joon, who has always prided himself on doing what’s right: Should he turn the book over or should he protect his father and destroy it? Both are, in a sense, the right thing to do.
As Jae-shin reminds Yong-ha, a father’s still a father, no matter what dirty things he may have done, and a son’s still a son. Filial piety is a terrible burden that they all have to bear.
Library. Yoon-hee comes across Professor Jung, who asks her if she’s decided to admit to her guilt. She tells him that even if the culprit can’t be found, she knows that she is innocent. No, he says, setting her straight. If she can’t solve the case, she deserves to be expelled because she is, as an official, guilty of incompetency. It looks like the professor has gotten the better of her again but just as she is about to leave, a thought occurs to her. He once told her that girls are not qualified to be government officials. Throughout Joseon’s history, hasn’t the country always been governed by men? Why is it in such a dire state? The implication here is that shouldn’t they be punished for their incompetency as well?
Archery ground. Other men may drown their frustrations in alcohol but our Ga Rang is all for brooding stoically and looking smexy with a bow and arrow. Yoon-hee comes to give him the accounts book. The real culprits are the ones named within its pages, she tells him, but the decision to turn it over lies not with her, but with him.
He guesses that she’s doing this because of his father and tells her that he may have to disappoint her. Even so, she tells him that she will respect his decision, whatever it is. She knows that he will do the right thing because that’s the kind of person he is.
Over in Banchon, Jae-shin is washing Bock Dong’s feet and offering Bock Soo some manly advice.
As his older brother used to tell him, eavesdropping will become a habit if you keep doing it. Same with running away, crying and lying. Young boys always look up to their older brothers, he tells Bock Soo. Does he want his brother to grow up to be a petty thief and a coward? He lends him some money, telling him there should be enough to pay for all the things he stole. Bock Soo sneers. How does he know that he won’t run away with the money? Jae-shin assures him that he won’t, not with his younger brother watching him.
Lee Manor. Seon-joon’s done the unthinkable and broken curfew to speak to his father.
The minister has always told him that a scholar should stay true to his principles, even if it means going against his family. Seon-joon wants to know if he still believes this. Is this really how he wants him to live his life? Minister Lee tells him that he has never been disappointed with him and that he knows this will continue to be the case.
He continues with his brush painting, unaware of the conflict that is eating Seon-joon as the latter struggles with the thought of going against the man who means the world to him.
Chez Minister of War. Hyo-eun’s ladies-in-waiting are telling her that while filial sons sound nice on paper, they make the worst husbands because they’ll always listen to their parents instead of their wife. Hyo-eun’s attendant adds fuel to the fire by adding that if a man chooses his parents over a girl, there’s probably something wrong with her. Well, screw them all. She’ll show them how wrong they are by making him fall head over heels for her.
How’s she going to do that? She’ll arrange for them to spend a night alone together. Oh Hyo-eun, thy middle name is delusional.
It’s the day of the examination and both Seon-joon and Bock Soo are nowhere to be seen. Yoon-hee has no choice but to tell the King that she has been unable to find the culprit. Jae-shin cuts in, asking for a bit more time. He assures the King that the culprit will turn up.
However In-soo, sensing that victory is nigh, stands up to respectfully remind the King that their time is up. Just when it looks like Yoon-hee might have to pack up her things and leave, a voice announces that the real culprit has been found.
Sure enough, it is Seon-joon and with everybody’s eyes on him, he hands the accounts book over to the King.
God, I’m slow. Yes, yes, I know that Girlfriday over at Dramabeans has already recapped Episode 12 (which is hilarious, btw) and here I am, still mucking about in what’s already past. *Sigh* Sorry.
I don’t know why this ended up being such a long recap, so I’ll keep things short:
1) I’ve been listening to Jaejoong’s 너에겐 이별 나에겐 기다림 (it’s the song that plays when Seon-joon is reducing Yoon-hee and me to a blubbering wreck) on loop the entire day. Damn you, Sungkyunkwan Scandal. Before I met you, I had no idea what TVXQ, DBSK or JYJ stood for. You could have told me Yoochun, Jaejoong and Junsu were standing at my front door and I would have been like, “Who?” Now, I am this close to buying tickets for their concert. I am too old for this. Damn you, SHOW!
2) I love the entire scene where he tells Yoon-hee that he’s never had a friend before but my absolute favourite moment is when he says “sorry” the first time. There’s just something about his voice at that particular moment. It’s like being enrobed in Michel Cluizel Grand Noir 85%.