We go back 15 days before last episode’s cliffhanger. Plans are set into motion as our resident villain, the Second State Councilor, crafts an idea to pressure the King to oust the Prince out in the open. As a direct consequence, Hae Ryung and the Prince’s romantic ties will be put to the test.
Sa Hui goes to check Hae Ryung’s sachaek and copies what she wrote in another notebook. This is given to the Second State Councilor and he finds out about Prince Lee Rim’s confession about hiding Jean in Nokseodang. He goes to the palace to have a drink with the King when he notices the line the latter said about Prince Lee Rim having filthy roots. He continues to badger the King if he is hiding anything from him about the Prince but the King dodges the question and says he is stressed out. For 2 people who are supposed to be allies, this is indeed the start of a power struggle between them.
Officer Seong is late to work much to everyone’s curiosity. Officer Min takes Officer Kim to the royal meeting instead. A petition from Officer Min is read for Officer Seong to be impeached from his position with the reason that he revealed information in the sachaek. Although there are other officials who argue against his petition, the Crown Prince accepts his request and puts an end to the inquiry. The news reaches the Office of Royal Decrees and the men tell Officer Min off when he doesn’t disclose his reasons for the impeachment.
Hae Ryung catches up with Officer Min who went inside the office and tells him that she ought to be punished as well because she withheld information about the foreigner. He tells her that the difference between her and Officer Seong is that she didn’t divulge the information she knew and kept her duty as a historian intact while Officer Seong used those same facts to threaten the Crown Prince. Hae Ryung defiantly says that she does not understand his reasoning because they both had the same goal anyway and leaves.
On the same night, all the historians (sans Officer Min) went out for a drink and continue to backstab Officer Min. They all pitch in some money for Officer Seong since he is now exiled and that he used all of his stipend for his sick father’s medicine. When it is Sa Hui’s turn, she doesn’t budge and exposes Officer Seong’s threat to the Crown Prince about using the sachaek if he doesn’t free the Catholics. Officer Yang asks her how she knows and she tells them that Officer Min visited the Crown Prince to plead for a lesser punishment for Officer Seong. Instead of death, he is forced only into exile. All the other officers regret their actions toward Officer Min and ponder about this truth.
Officer Min visits Officer Seong in his home and gives him money to help with his eventual move to isolation. Officer Seong expresses that he has spent all his life studying and writing on the sachaek. From now on, he wants to help other people write and tend to legal matters. They part with no bad blood as Officer Seong is truly grateful for Officer Min’s help in giving him a second chance at life.
I didn’t expect the next scene to unfold as Officer Min visits the book rental store after leaving Officer Seong’s home. He asks for books that he should be discreet about and Mister Kim hilariously exclaims that what he seeks is his specialty, ew😈 Officer Min opens the books outside of the shop and it turns out to be books about the bible and the Catholic faith. I suppose he can’t get over the fact on how Officer Seong can turn his back on his life as a historian, or even as a normal citizen, to protect a belief that could get him killed.
Hae Ryung talks to Officer Min for getting angry at him yesterday without knowing the full story on what happened with Officer Seong. She does clarify however that she still doesn’t understand his reasoning about not using the sachaek even for good intentions. Before he could scold her though, she takes his documents and runs away to do his errand, hihi🏃🏼♀️
It’s a work date with Prince Lee Rim as he and Hae Ryung walk leisurely to the pagoda where they spent the night reading books last time. They are both shocked when they see A Ran and In Im already lounging there — and the fact that the two girls witnessed our lovebirds holding hands comes as a big revelation too, hehe. Both girls assume that Prince Lee Rim tempted Hae Ryung to be his lover and lament that the situation is disadvantageous to her. The Prince’s 2 court ladies see them lecturing him and come to his aid by saying that Hae Ryung was the one who made the 1st move on him. Sam Bo sees both sides fighting each other and puts an end to their confrontation.
A Ran and In Im didn’t let Hae Ryung off the hook yet and they interrogate her relationship with the Prince in the library. It’s odd that they thought the Prince tricked her into getting into a relationship with him, does he really look like a guy with an ulterior motive? haha! They get excited when she accidentally reveals that they “slept” together on the night of the Gyeongsin ritual and insists that they hear every detail of their escapade together. Yes, even the girls are perverts here, hahaha!😉
The King talks to the Queen Dowager about Prince Lee Rim’s marriage since he is 20 years old now. This was the seed planted by the Second State Councilor in their talk earlier when he mentioned that the King should let go of Prince Lee Rim before it’s too late, implying that he is indeed not his son. The Queen approves of his suggestion and talks with her Head Court Lady. The latter warns her that the Second State Councilor will surely get involved in finding a wife for him but the Queen is confident that she can also choose a suitable partner for the Prince. Yikes, Joseon royal family marriages are the worst!
At last, we pick up where we left off from the last episode. Hae Ryung congratulates the Prince when she hears the news and he chases after her to talk. He assures her that he doesn’t want to marry anyone else but she doesn’t say it back to him. I think this was her first splash of cold water realization of how complicated their relationship truly is and that their days of being lovey dovey are officially over.
Prince Lee Rim storms in the Office of Royal Decrees and commands, yes, commands Hae Ryung to follow him. The male historians are confused on why Clerk Yi could suddenly barge in while Officer Min, A Ran, In Im, and Sa Hui look worried. The Prince goes to see the Queen Dowager and he tells her that he doesn’t want to get married because he is in love with someone else. He earnestly confesses his love hoping to change not only the Queen’s mind, but Hae Ryung’s as well.
This is the 1st time that they actually dealt with the fact that Hae Ryung and Prince Lee Rim are a forbidden love waiting for disaster. I felt so bad for her because she knows that it’s his duty to marry someone of a high status, or in this case, a politically advantageous person to the Queen Dowager or Second State Councilor. She has no power to fight for him and this leads me to feeling bad for the Prince too because he’s all out in his feelings for Hae Ryung.
Watching the scene again though makes me irritated at Hae Ryung because I’m sure she knew the consequences of being with a Prince, so now that things get hard she’ll just leave him hanging? I know it’s out of her hands but it does make me sympathize with Prince Lee Rim who seems prepared to stop this marriage at all costs. She will push him away, I’m sure as this is the standard leading lady move, and I don’t know how our Prince will take it💔 I’m almost afraid that they’ll apply an ending similar to Queen for Seven Days but I have faith that they’ll come up with a creative solution to have our leads end up together🙏🏻
In other Rookie Historian Goo Hae Ryung story arcs, I’m not sure if I agree with Hae Ryung or Officer Min about using the sachaek. When Officer Min’s curiosity got the best of him and he wanted to read books about the Catholic faith, I felt that his character is growing the most in the show. Hae Ryung has a point too, of course, but her belief would jeopardize her job and maybe other people if she’s not careful. She’s stubborn, yeah, and even if it works in her favor sometimes, I think she needs to remember that her actions can affect other people too.