Will the truth tear people apart or unite them together? Knowing the facts is one thing, but choosing what to do with such information (Do nothing or stand up for it) is a whole different matter. Courage is so much more than laying your life on the line for something you believe in. It’s also being able to endure the consequences of your actions, no matter if the result is good or unfavorable to you.
Eunuchs and court ladies that were involved in distributing the books are captured by the order of the Second State Councilor. The matter is discussed at the Royal Court and confessions from the captives hold the Queen Dowager accountable for the deed. The Second State Councilor connivingly requests the King to close off the Queen Dowager’s chambers and investigate her court ladies to get to the bottom of things. The Crown Prince counters this plea stating that doing that is the same as accusing her of treason. The King does not give a decision at the moment and wants to think it over first.
Once alone, the Crown Prince implores the King not to give in to the Second State Councilor’s request as it will cause a rift between the Royal family. His father finally comes clean about Prince Lee Rim being the legitimate son of the dethroned King, Prince Huiyeong/Yi Gyeom, and that he is doing this to protect the Crown Prince’s position. It’s such a bittersweet moment because at least he now knows the truth but his words come off as a tool to manipulate his own son. He is speechless with this revelation and does not argue with the King anymore.
With the Nokseodang records in her hands, Hae Ryung resumes the search for Historian Kim Il Mok’s daily records after her and the Prince’s 1st failed attempt earlier. She reads that other parts of Nokseodang had been repaired in less than 20 years so she deduces that it couldn’t have been placed there as someone would have found it by then. She takes a closer look at the signboard and notices that it is not as old like the other components of the building. Sam Bo makes a comment that it is strange that the sign does not rot or discolor as well. The Prince pokes the board and the sign, along with a blue cloth with some papers spits out of it.
Hae Ryung stops the Prince from reading because it is forbidden for anyone to else read a historian’s record. She beseeches him not to read it yet his voice rises on why he should wait any further when the answers that he has been so desperate to find is right in front of him. He takes the daily records in his hands and Sam Bo gets down on his knees exclaiming that he will instead tell him the truth as long as he doesn’t commit a crime.
Despite a guard stopping him in his tracks; Prince Lee Rim pulls out the guard’s sword and puts the blade near his neck warning the guard that he can easily kill him if he doesn’t let him see his grandmother. He is brimming with a wave of emotions and confesses to her that he always blamed himself for the reason that the King disliked and exiled him to Nokseodang. He confronts her about the promise she made with the King that in exchange for the throne, he would spare the Prince’s life. The Queen asks for his forgiveness and says that she couldn’t lose her grandson too. Prince Lee Rim is a bit spiteful because despite being alive, he has lived such lonely years, thinking that he is being punished for no reason. The Queen dissuades him from giving up and that he should try to endure the pain, as much as she has endured all these years of losing her son too.
The next day, Hae Ryung speaks to Officer Min about finding Kim Il Mok’s daily records. She says that someone edited the records because there is a disparity of details between what is known now and Kim Il Mok’s words. Officer Min is initially reluctant to do anything and Hae Ryung calls him out that it could be because his father is involved on why he wants no part in revealing the truth. She exclaims that a historian who refused to submit his daily records was killed and that those who took advantage of the situation are now living a good life. Hae Ryung will lose respect for Officer Min if he refuses to take this up with the Royal Court.
After a night of contemplation, Officer Min talks to Hae Ryung the following morning that he wants to be a historian who can write the truth even if the effect is not immediately seen. They show the daily records to the rest of the historians and they are dumbfounded with the new details of what they have always known as history and because it means that the current King propagated lies just to claim the throne. To justify the rebellion, a letter claiming that the King then wrote to a French priest that he wanted to make Joseon into a Catholic nation and that he wished to send priests to spread the word of God. But as stated in Kim Il Mok’s records, it was simply a harmless note – which means someone changed the contents of the letter.
Officer Yang, Officer Min, and Hae Ryung go meet with the Chancellor as he was in charge of the historians at the time. They tell him of their discovery of the daily records and that a historian manipulated the facts before. He angrily dismisses their claims but Hae Ryung reminds him that he was also a historiance once in his life. She uses this fact to stir his heart into helping them reveal the truth at the Royal Court. I honestly think it worked!
At the royal meeting, Officer Min reads a petition with Hae Ryung’s name representing the historians. They ask for a reinvestigation of the past records as they have proof of a daily record that presents different details of history. They wish to know who is responsible for possibly threatening the historians to alter such facts and ask that all 42 officials involved in the dethronement of the King then be inspected. Of course, the Second State Councilor’s minions retaliate except the Chancellor who backs up Officer Min’s request. In a twist of events, the Crown Prince turns down the petition and declares that he doesn’t want to hear anything more about the topic. Cowaaaarrrdd!!😡
Elsewhere, Jae Kyung scolds Hae Ryung that the situation has escalated to more than she can handle. She says that she’s always thought it was strange how the 2 of them could survive the raid at Seoraewon and how he could still get a government position despite being actively involved there. She tells Jae Kyung that she forgives him for being the one who changed the contents of the letter and that he must have had a difficult time too in taking care of her and carrying the burden of his betrayal alone. Hae Ryung holds his hand in hers as he holds hers as well, a sign that she is at peace with her brother.
Prince Lee Rim visits his older brother and asks him to reconsider the historians’ petition. The Crown Prince scowls that he must want the truth of the dethronement to be revealed and not to simply discover what really transpired back then. He agrees with Prince Lee Rim when the latter retorts that is it his duty to just do nothing and be powerless. The conflict in the Crown Prince’s face is apparent but he doesn’t let himself be swayed by Prince Lee Rim and orders palace guards to not let him out of Nokseodang.
Hae Ryung gets wind of this development and goes to Nokseodang to see the Prince. She is not allowed entry despite being a historian, but she and the Prince lock eyes from his balcony.
I didn’t think that the Crown Prince would feel threatened about his position, hence not giving in to the historians’ request. I know that he loves Prince Lee Rim; but I suppose the shock that his seat in the throne, his known identity, is actually not legitimate thus making him anxious to hold onto it more. I’m not sure if it’s a misdirect and he’s actually trying to protect the Prince from danger but with this development, I’m uncertain if he’ll go against his own father or support the Prince. I honestly don’t think Prince Lee Rim wants to take over as King; he simply wants justice for his real father and for history to be rightfully restored.
It was also such a heartwarming moment between Hae Ryung and Jae Kyung because I know that the latter was fearful of the former discovering the truth that he was the one who sparked the revolt and ultimately lead to the deaths of many innocent lives. Hae Ryung understanding his predicament back then shows just how mature and insightful she is. This was the best kind of closure they can have with their past and to move forward to a happier future.
Feeling chills over the united front of the historians, I hope that their passion and loyalty influences others to join their side. I’m not sure if the Second State Councilor will employ force to threaten them now but with Jae Kyung, Mo Hwa, and the Military Commander at the same side, I hope that they officially all band together to fight him. I would like to see instead though is a democratic rebellion, one where the people of the Palace persuades the King and Crown Prince that they can no longer bury the truth.