Inquirer Super

Lee Min-ho fulfills his destiny: ‘The King’ episodes 14-15 breakdown

By Ruel S. De Vera
06/11/20 10:41 PM

Netflix’s “The King: Eternal Monarch” is now about to end its reign over K-drama streaming, with one episode left. Super will devote itself to make sure you’re fully informed about each episode, so will recap and break down every episode for you as soon as it comes out. Make way for the king!

Recap:

Episode 14:

Korea: Shin-jae finds his other self, comatose and on life support, in one of the secret rooms in the care center. In the hotel, Lee Gon has been poisoned, and Luna is searching his pockets for his half of the magic flute. Lee Gon tries to talk some sense into her, but she is determined to find the flute. Captain Jo returns, startling Luna who flees. Instead of chasing Luna as ordered, Jo calls Tae-eul. It turns out Capt. Min-shik’s wife is a doctor and they have sworn her to secrecy so she can save Lee Gon and keep him in this facility in secret.

Shin-jae sees a familiar face. It is the wife of the dead hardware shop owner Lee Sang-do. We haven’t seen her since early in the series and it becomes clear she has been hired by Lee Lim to work here. Shin-jae is told, “someone will call.”

Corea: Lee Lim is standing in the bamboo forest, puzzling over how exactly Lee Gon is using his half of the magic flute Manpashikjeok.

Korea: As anxious as she is, Jo won’t allow Tae-eul to be by a recovering Lee Gon’s side. Lee Gon was, after all, poisoned by someone who looks exactly like Tae-eul and Jo just couldn’t risk it. After telling Eun-sob that he should get the twins and stay with Do-in for safety, a heartbroken Tae-eul leaves the clinic.

As Lee Gon comes to, he reveals to Jo that he has figured out it is his present self who went back in time to save his younger self. He orders Jo to stay and protect Tae-eul.

Lee Gon now goes to the bamboo forest and runs to the gate while Lee Lim does the exact same thing on the other side. They arrive at the same time but just go through the door, we can see that, as before, Lee Gon’s side has all the balloons frozen in mid-air, but now we see that Lee Lim’s side, which we see for the first time, is full of those floating old-fashioned photographs he’s been developing in his darkroom, including one that falls, of Tae-eul, which falls apart. They can hear sounds of the flute and realize they are both in the same space.

Corea: (But it is not clear exactly when) the boy with the yo-yo is talking to Jeong-hye. He explains that when the two halves of the flute (or when the flute was in the space before it was broken), time is changed on its axes, which allows you to go to the point when you can intervene to save yourself. That night was in 1994, since Lee Lim is staging is coup and Lee Gon is at threat of being killed.

It is back to that night in 1994. Lee Lim confronts his younger self and tells him to kill the young Lee Gon. Instead, Lee Lim kills his future self, intending to use the flute for his own purposes, but he is frustrated when the flute vanishes, thus forcing him to go ahead with his plans.

The boy then explains this is when Lee Lim became a monster. Jeong-hye asks him, who are you. He replies: “I am the one who warns people and defeats the enemy. I also want to save myself and become whole.” He also says Lee Gon is fulfilling his destiny.

Back to 1994, Lee Gon kills the mutineers and closes his father’s eyes and sure his younger self is alive. But on his way out, he encounters Lady Noh. He implores her to trust him. “As you said, I am following my destiny.” She lets him go.

Lee Gon follows traces of blood outside and overpowers his own security to get to the gate that Lee Lim evidently escaped through. When he gets there, he finds out who let them out: Prince Buyeong’s son. Lee Gon shoots the arrogant son in the leg.

Korea: Tae-eul finds out Lee Gon has left and Jo tells her the king was sorry for not being able to say goodbye. Shin-jae visits his father in prison and discovers that he was in on the switch, and that Lee Lim had promised to come back for him but failed to do so. His father had given up ownership of the care center in exchange for Shin-jae—and money. Shin-jae’s real name is Hyeon-min.

Lee Gon is back in the Republic of Korea but is shocked to find out that, due to the messing around they’ve been doing with time, he is stuck in 1994. He figures out he will have to spend four months in the nexus to through the 26 years to 2019. He calls the police to try and warn them about the murders but it turns out he’s too late, this world’s version of him and his father are dead. He goes to Tae-eul’s house and actually meets the 5-year-old Tae-eul, dressed in her taekwondo outfit. Tae-eul says he is a stranger, but he says he is on his way back to her. “You haven’t changed at all,” he says.

In 2020, Tae-eul is moping when Gyong-ran calls and plays the recorded call from 1994 that matches Lee Gon’s voice. Lee Gon is now the prime suspect in those deaths. But now, Tae-eul has new memories of that day when she technically met Lee Gon for the first time and is flabbergasted, left in tears.

Shin-jae and his psychiatrist Jo Hae-in transport his comatose self in an ambulance with her saying she must really be a quack because it turns out everything he said was true. She asks is he Shin-jae or Hyeon-min, he answers he doesn’t know.

The squad begins looking through evidence to see anything connected to the care center. They find an address and head there, but the bad guys have already moved an unconscious Jeong-hye and blown the apartment up.

The pregnant Park Ji-young, who has been switched with her Korea counterpart, escapes her abusive partner and Lee Lim’s minion Ms. Baek asks her what she would be willing to do to get her old life back. “Anything,” she says.

Corea: An idle Koo is speaking to her mother Kim Seong-ae on the phone. To keep her safe, her mother had moved to her sister’s. Koo formulates a safeword. If Koo asks what she ate, the mother is supposed to say “Mackerel.” Koo continues to think about the scars on her neck and how Lee Gon seemed to see them. She realizes only these damned royals—Lee Lim and Lee Gon—can cross over. Why can’t she? She plots to take the flute for herself.

Korea: Tae-eul ponders what’s been happening as she walks in the forest and visits the payphone. She suddenly has a new memory: election day. Apparently, in 2016, the squad was eating in a restaurant when Shin-jae’s phone rings and someone asks for Tae-eul. Tae-eul sees Lee Gon at the phone booth and walks over. She remembers him from the time when she was 5, though she does note he hasn’t aged at all. Even his clothes are the same. When she tries to tie her hair, he produces her own hair tie from the future and puts it on her wrist. He walks away, noting it is difficult because she does not know who he is. He says wait for him; they will meet again. “Be a little nicer and make more time for me,” he says with a smile.

In 2020, Tae-eul is really crying now after knowing he had come to see her then. On the counter in the phone booth, the date is etched and he has even left a message: “Wait for me just a little longer. I am almost there.”

Captain Jo is having his own new memories, specifically from the rowing competition when Lee Gon, dressed in black, asks for the access card for the racetrack. Lee Gon puts it inside the bunny hoodie and leaves it on the bench, admonishing Jo not to touch it. Of course, Luna comes and steals it, putting it on as she runs. She finds the card in the pocket. Lee Gon instructs Jo: There will come a time when you will be stranded in the Republic of Korea, when that happens, find Jeong-hye. Evidently, this is what Jo had been trying to gather the courage to tell Lee Gon in the present and Lee Gon has figured it out. He also tells Jo that if he can’t trust Tae-eul, trust Shin-jae.  An astonished Jo asks Lee Gon if he already knows who Tae-eul is, and Lee Gon sheepishly answers he is on his way to meet her now and he can’t waste any time because every moment is precious.

 Korea: Eun-sok reports to Tae-eul that he can see Luna go with Na-ri and Do-in to the supermarket. As they head home, Luna bursts out laughing asking if Na-ri and Do-in are always like this. Tae-eul closes in and when she turns a dark corner, Luna is waiting for her. “I told you if I saw you again, you would die,” Luna reminds her. Adding that it will now be Tae-eul’s turn to experience loss. She stabs Tae-eul in the stomach, drops the bloody knife and walks away.

As she falls to the ground, Tae-eul manages to call the station for backup. As she is losing consciousness, she remembers a new memory. When Lee Gon shows up in Seoul on Maximus for the first time, Tae-eul is now expecting him, and Lee Gon is surprised by this. “There are no coincidences when there is fate,” Tae-eul says and, in order to avoid regret, hugs him first, instead of the other way around.

Episode 15:

Korea: Tae-eul is bleeding on the street when her dad calls, saying the police have arrived and hangs up. Tae-eul loses consciousness but fortunately, some passersby see her and call an ambulance.

Captain Jo asks Shin-jae for help to track down Jeong-hye. Just then, the analog phone; Lee Lim wants to meet him. Upon arriving, Shin-jae realizes it is indeed the same man who brought him over from the parallel world but he hasn’t aged. When he talks back, Lee Lim assaults him, saying that Shin-jae must retrieve Lee Gon’s half of the flute or both versions of his mother will die.

Corea: In a flashback, Shin-jae (we will keep this naming convention even though he is in reality Hyeon-min) remembers his mother about to kill the two of them when prevented by Lee Lim. A deal is brokered and that’s how Shin-jae wound up where he did.

Korea: Na-ri reads an eerily prescient palm reading of a bucket-hat wearing Lee Lim. He realizes the tactical mistakes he’s made, including killing and ignoring his future self’s advice. Just then, Eun-sob arrives and is stunned to see who is with Na-ri. Calmly, Lee Lim leaves a message for Lee Gon: Meet him at Lee Gon’s mother’s death anniversary or he will pay Na-ri another visit.

Just as Lee Lim leaves, Luna is outside and Eun-sob mistakes her for Tae-eul. Shin-jae arrives and asks why Tae-eul is here. Luna then pretends to grab her wounded side, but Shin-jae says she’s grabbing the wrong side. Shin-jae grabs her and Tae-eul arrives. In front of an incredulous Na-ri (she’s seeing double, of course), Tae-eul punches Luna.

Capt. Jo, Shin-jae and Tae-eul question Luna and figure out she has a terminal illness. Tae-eul asks to speak to Luna by herself. Tae-eul asks why Luna didn’t just kill her outright and Luna admits she didn’t want to cause Do-in pain. The two stare at each other, and we can see that they really are different versions of the same person.

Lee Gon arrived at the police station. He is happy when he spots a calendar proving it is the correct year. He has been traveling through the years this entire time. The squad points Lee Gon to the hospital.

Tae-eul breaks into tears when she finally sees Lee Gon running to her and the two share a sweet if urgent embrace. He says sorry for keeping her waiting. Tae-eul and Lee Gon lie in the hospital bed together, afraid to be separated again. She is profoundly moved by the new memories, realizing that Lee Gon has been visiting her all these years. Because of these changes to the timeline, Tae-eul says she had been more accepting of the idea of the parallel worlds and take the necessary actions arising from it. They discuss the idea of destiny and differ on it. He believes you can change it; she thinks you can’t.

After Lee Gon calls Capt. Jo, Jo and Shin-jae arrive, both disoriented by their new memories and asking if he can really time travel. A relieved Jo reports they have found Jeong-hye. Then Lee Gon and Shin-jae jave a semi-angry back-and-forth about whether the people of the Kingdom of Corea would mourn if Lee Gon dies, with Sin-jae sayong just let him know when Lee Gon is leaving before walking off.

Lee Gon tells Jo to continue watching Jeong-hye. Jo tells him about Lee Lim’s demand that Lee Gon go to the memorial mass.

Just then, Jeong-hye passes by and she recognizes for some weird reason Lee Gon. She says it is Lee Gom’s fault that her son died, and she will be the reason that Lee Gon will die, which is the whole point of Lee Lim’s keeping her alive entire time.

When the thug assigned to Jeong-hye figures out what’s going on, he attacks them with a knife but Jo handles him, calling Shin-jae for help. Lee Gon guesses that Lee Lim plans to cross over to the Kingdom and use her somehow for his mother’s death anniversary, though of course, that would mean she would be stuck there. Jeong-hye tells Lee Gon to come back two days before the day of the anniversary. Lee Gon is sorry for what happened to his parallel self but Jing-hye isn’t having it. She emphasizes she is not his mother and he shouldn’t die for her. She walks away as Lee Gon looks on.

Lee Gon stays by Tae-eul in the hospital, even walking outside with her and visiting the chapel. He is clearly cherishing these hours.

The next day, Capt. Jo takes the twins to school and is sentimentally amused by Eun-bi’s glare. He will miss her. He talks to Eun-sob and the two pretend they aren’t sad to be parting perhaps for the last time. They hug. “Let’s meet again,” Jo says. Eun-sob cries.

Tae-eul is forcing Lee Gon to spend the day as they usually do, but Lee Gon is talking to her seriously. She interrupts him and won’t let him leave. “Let’s not save the world,” she pleads.

Tae-eul knows him well enough to know what he’s planning: To go back in time and prevent Lee Lim from crossing over from the start. But if he does that, it would erase any trace of his presence in her world. She won’t know him and she can’t accept this. Lee Gon believes this is the only way to literally prevent the impending collision of worlds.

“So, tell me to go,” he says, asking for painful permission to do what he is fated to do. She tearfully agrees. They hug desperately, and he promises to return for her.

Corea: Koo confronts Lee Lim and reveals her intention to acquire Lee Gon’s half of the flute. Wrong move. He grabs her by the throat. He says she must find a way to force or trick Lee Gon to attend the memorial mass during which he plans to use Jeong-hye to reveal the truth about the parallel worlds.

But then, time stops, and so Lee Lim knows Lee Gon has returned. When time moves again, Koo finds in her hand a photo of Jeong-hye and Lee Lim has left.

Lee Gon meets Lady Noh in the palace and he thanks her for letting him go that night in 1994 and she understands. During the briefing with Secretary Mo, he finds out that the late Prince Buyeong’s son Seung-heon is leaving. Does he have a limp, he asks. A seething Lee Gon arrives just s Seung-hon is about to depart the airport, telling the traitor that is was he who shot him those many years ago, saying that it was a good thing Buyeong never knew it was his son who committed the treason. Buyeong would never have been able to live with that knowledge. Lee Gon banshes Seung-hon from the Kingdom of Corea for the rest of his life.

Park Sook-jin, Shin-jae’s actual mother, is allowed to change and then goes to a pre-arranged bridge. Shin-jae has traveled to Corea with Lee Gon and the two meet for the first time since 1994. She is shaking as she asks if he is really Hyeong-min. He is taken aback. She says it was the only choice she had because she wanted him to have a better life. Shin-jae tearfully said he didn’t have a good life anyway. He didn’t come to forgive her, only to see her one more time and then forget about her. He leaves and she cries.

Shin-jae then goes to have a meal with Lee Gon, and they agree the king has settled his bill for his meal. Shin-jae thanks him for the chance to meet his mother; Lee Gon asks which world he will love in but his question is ignored. Lee Gon plans to strike when Lee Lim is choking his younger self in 1994; Shin-jae can see from the king’s demeanor that Lee Gon does not expect to survive this encounter. For once thing, such an intervention would erase Shin-jae’s life in the Republic of Korea so Lee Gon says if Shin-jae wants to stop him, now is the time. Of course, Shin-jae has. No plan of doing so, asking only if Tae-eul knows. “She cannot know,” Lee Gon answers.

Now Lee Lim has returned to Corea with Jeong-hye as his food taster to prevent poisoning, same as back in Korea. He eats everything only after Jeong-hye tastes it. But then Jeong-hye starts to laughs and coughing blood. “You let your guard down,” she says as she collapses. The food is poisoned, and Lee Lim starts coughing up blood as well. Jeong-hye says she is getting her wish to finally die and Lee Lim’s minion Ms. Baek comes in with an injection, but then time stops—Lee Gon has used the door—and the plunger won’t work. Despite his efforts and planning, Lee Lim can’t prevent Jeong-hye’s death.

Clutching his half of the flute and a gun, Lee Lim runs out and sees Lee Gon walking towards him. Everyone else is frozen. Lee Lim fires at Lee Gon, but because time is frozen, the bullet doesn’t travel, and Lee Gon has figured it out in advance.

Time starts moving again, and so Lee Lim tries to shoot Lee Gin again, but this this someone shoots him in the leg. It is Captain Jo and Shin-jae, who are walking next to Lee Gon, guns drawn. They go to Lee Lim’s gate and find out that that if one only has one half of the flute, the gate won’t work for anyone else, so Lee Lim can’t use Lee Gon’s gate and vice versa. But with both halves of the flute, Lee Gon is able to open a new gate.

Lee Lim says this is the gate of his father, and Lee Gon’s grandfather, King Haengjong (Lady Noh mentioned two episodes ago it was he that brought her through the gate) and Lee Gn says that unlike before, the flute is not “crying.” Lee Lim tries to tempt Lee Gon is using the flute for conquest but Lee Gon says all he wants to do is go home. Lee Gon is content knowing that Lee Lim doesn’t have power and immortality.

But now, someone will have to bring Lee Lim back to the Republic of Korea to keep him out of trouble. Whoever that will be will never be able to cross over again, if everything goes to plan. Of course, Capt. Jo and Shin-jae fight over who gets to do it, and a tearful Lee Gon enters the new gate.

It is Shin-jae. He questions Lee Lim with Tae-eul and we can see this is exactly the same scene at the beginning of the show, but with just the subtlest differences.

Corea: Lee Gon and Capt. Jo cremate Jyeong-hye’s body. At the palace, Lee Gon instructs Secretary Mo to announce that Prince Buyeong’s granddaughter Lee See-jin will be named next in line for the throne.

Korea: The flowers that Lee Gon gave Tae-eul are fading away. Something is happening. She goes to the station to confront Lee Lim about the flute. Lee Lim angrily says she is stupid for everything she’s doing but she doesn’t care as she is just worried that Lee Gon will be all alone with the worlds as they are. Lee Lim smugly says he has brought hell to Lee Gon and Koo.

Corea: Everyone is shaken by the sudden news that Lee See-jin has been killed in a car accident. It was caused by Park Ji-young. This was the price that Lee Lim has asked of her to return to the Kingdom of Corea. Koo finds out about this and realizes that this is Lee Lim’s work. She calls her mother and, using their code word, asks what she had for dinner. To her horror, her mother doesn’t say mackerel and instead asks why Koo hasn’t had dinner yet. Koo starts screaming, realizing her mother is dead and has been replaced by her counterpart from the Republic of Korea, all the work of Lee Lim.

Korea: Tae-eul has a plan. She goes to Luna’s room and uncuffs her. She lets her go, admonishing her to live so that Do-in will not be in pain. Tae-eul wants Luna to watch over Do-in while she goes off to do something.

She has figured out who has the flute. She calls Shin-jae to come to the safe house and asks for the flute, because he would not have been able to return with Lee Lim without it. Lee Gon’s plan was to keep Lee Lim here and return him to the forest after two days but now Tae-eul wants to bring Lee Lim herself. Shin-jae warns her she may not ever be able to cross back if she does this. But she says she cannot be without Lee Gon.

Now, Shin-jae confesses that he loves her. He can’t let her do it. Tae-eul understands the pain he feels but asks for the flute anyway. After all, she loves Lee Gon and will give up so much to be with him, even her life here.

Corea: Lee Gon finally wears that gorgeous ceremonial robe we’ve been seeing all season long. He talks softly to Lady Noh, thanking her for being willing to stay here. He has figured out Lady Noh’s secret because the lullaby she used to sing him as a child was a poem by real-life poet Kim So-wol in the book he found in the book store in Korea (this is why we’ve been hearing the poems read aloud by Lady Noh). Lee Gon says he must leave one more time, and tells her to live a good life.

Korea: Tae-eul wears the elegant necklace that Lee Gon gave her.

Corea: Riding Maximus, Lee Gon arrives in the forest to see Capt. Jo waiting for him. He will ride out with his king through the gate.

Breakdown:

Well, that escalated quickly. One quick observation about the show is that it abruptly shifts from episode 10 onwards. It feels like the great Kim Eun-sook had all the stuff in these last three episodes all planned out and just needed to get here but had to fill the space in between. That’s why there was a lot of interminable waiting and drawn out plot points in between.

In particular, this has to do with two things.

The first is character work. Now, Jo, Eun-sob and of course, Lee Jung-jin, Kim Go-eun and Lee Min-ho got good burn all throughout the series, particularly the last two who were basically in every scene. But think about the characters who were introduced very early or in very small roles and then basically forgotten: they all came to play here. You’re looking at the hardware shop’s wife, Ms. Baek, Jeong-hye, Park Ji-young, Seung-hun, Hwa-yeon, Min-shik’s wife and others. Luna is another got example of this.

The most obvious example of this Shin-jae, of course, who was just literally standing around for, count them, 12 episodes, and suddenly has the meatiest role of anyone in episodes 13-15. Think about it: Finds out he’s from Corea, his double is still alive, that his mother tried to kill him, gave him up to a megalomaniac psychopath, returns to his home world for the first time, decides to confess his love for Tae-eul, is rejected but still does the right thing. Whatever they were paying Kim Kyung-nam, they sure maximized it. Good work there, if a little late.

That’s how the series felt in general, it got really good, even great so late in the game. Episodes 5 to 10 felt like a bit of a romantic slog, but now you couldn’t wait to find out what happens next. This is also why the episodes feel so much longer—they’re not but just feel that way.

As for comeuppance, Koo got hers, but it’s not over yet. True be told, Jung Eun-chae feels quite underused here, and her angle of being a commoner who did good but now seeks power because of it, is a good one but again strangely unsheathed. Part of it was probably because Lee Lim needed the stage all to himself and it wouldn’t make sense for him to trust such a nakedly treacherous ally, but it would have been good to see her do more damage. Here’s to seeing more of Eun-chae in future K-dramas.

Like the shark in “Jaws,” Eun-sook has kept Lee Lim out of sight an awful lot in the aforementioned episodes 5-10, but wow, he is in a lot of these scenes. As Ruthie mentioned previously, he makes for a great villain because he is handsome, elegant and not your typical mustache-twirling thug. His motivation as the illegitimate son who wants the throne is a good one.

But the most interesting part of Lee Lim’s character is the one thing that really booby-traps these episodes for viewers: His manipulation of the doubles in the two worlds.

At the beginning, this was a small element as Lee Lim killed some counterparts seemingly for convenience, but then we now he was playing the long game, deploying the doubles in the right places tactically. He made one counterpart kill the other. He played them off each other (as Park Ji-young found out). It didn’t work in all cases because the counterparts simply didn’t follow him, as with Shin-jae (inherently good person) and Luna (didn’t care) but for the most part. In fact, we are still waiting to find out who else has been replaced in the finale. We can only rule out the ones we know already encountered their doubles or those who are dead. Everyone else is a suspect. Any of the Royal Guard. Secretary Mo. Heck, like Eun-sob we keep getting confused if its Luna or Tae-eul. It’s masterful.

The other thing that is interesting is the evolving physics of this universe. Throughout the show, Eun-sook has been dropping the different rules of travel between the worlds, coaching the parameters in science instead of the obvious magic of Manpashikjeok. We now know that you need at least one half of the flute to enter the other world, but only one half is a violent intrusion, causing the “crying,” and leading time to stop, and stop more and more each time. This was the threat introduced in the previous episodes, that continued use of the two halves would eventually lead time to stop in both worlds completely. This introduced an urgency, one that required either the two halves being reunited (by acquiring one) or for them just to not use the halves ever again (no way for Lee Lim and then Lee Gon or Tae-eul would have to make a painful choice). Now we know that together the two halves also allow you to travel through time, though in a limited fashion.

This all ties in to a more supernatural element: the “place” which was recorded on video that was somehow recorded on Jo’s phone when he was surveilling Tae-eul in Corea. The time stamp said “2022,” so it seemed to be in the future and it had both the kid with the yo-yo and Tae-eul in it.

This is significant because while the dialogue seemed to indicate the kid was Manpashikjeok (hence he has to be reunited with himself), it makes more sense he is a deity who seeks to repair the sundered heaven. And heaven this is, because who is there with him? The deceased Jeong-hye. Of course, that would mean trouble for Tae-eul who is in the video, but remember who has the terminal illness? Luna. That is Luna, not Tae-eul. Whew.

Speaking of time, this agonizing time travel trip that Lee Gon had to go on was actually quite epic as he did it partly out of duty but mostly for Tae-eul. It was very clever for Eun-sook to use this to just slightly change the context of scenes such as the opening interrogation and the encounter in the plaza. Kim Go-eun is excellent with the upside-down emotions here though her Luna persona seems a bit obvious. There are those who prefer Go-eun being the sunshiney Ji Eun-tak from “Goblin” (same here) but she wants challenges and this is a pretty good role for her. Look for her to keep trying something different as she gets older, too. Lee Min-ho does a pretty good job of being Lee Min-ho. I mean, you want him to succeed, but it’s basically an evolution of the same good guys he has been playing for a while. We look forward to how heroically he will end this series but also speculate on what kind of role he’ll look for next.

Since “Goblin” has been brought up already, we should state the obvious that this show really has a lot of “Goblin” DNA in its, and that’s not a bad thing. The most obvious sign is the music. Tell me that Kim Jong Wan’s “Gravity” and Yongzoo’s “Maze” literally don’t sound like deleted songs from the “Goblin” OST. The mythology works pretty well.

But what has to be pointed out is, obvious pacing problems aside, “The King” feels like an even more developed “Goblin,” particularly in how Eun-sook uses the show’s earlier scenes to circle into itself like an auroboros, but changing the context. It’s brilliant actually. She outdid herself.

Which brings us to an interesting point. Even though there remains the reveal of who the hidden baddies are—surely to be revealed when Tae-eul brings Lee Lim with her to Corea—and the whole time-and-space thing has to be settled, doesn’t the show feel like it’s actually already finished? It’s again a pacing problem, not a plotting one. At this point, the love story feels just a little bit inconsequential considering the fate of two worlds are at stake.

Of course, we will come back to see what really happens, but the show started strong, lost its way and then course-corrected and now seems to be headed to a fine finale.

That’s it! The finale of “The King: Eternal Monarch” drops on Friday, June 12 on Netflix. Till then, stay Super.

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