Netflix’s “The King: Eternal Monarch” has begun its reign over K-drama streaming, with one episode dropping every Friday and Saturday. Super will devote itself to make sure you’re fully informed about each episode, so Super’s Ruel S. De Vera and Ruth L. Navarra will recap and break down every episode for you as soon as it comes out. Make way for the king!
Lee Lim is with Kyung-moo on the shore when he notices time stopping; he knows Lee Gon has used the door.
Eun-sop is about to drink iced milk tea from Na-ri’s coffee shop when he drops it because it is hot to the touch, much to their puzzlement.
It’s because Capt. Jo is drinking a hot drink and is surprised when he is informed that Prime Minster Koo has arrived at the palace on a helicopter. He is then informed they have found an intruder on the palace grounds: the king is back.
A distracted Tae-eul is walking around, reminiscing about Lee Gon. She is also trying to figure out the Lee Sang-do case.
The Prime Minister is trying to hurry into the palace as Lady Noh is trying to stop her. Koo is sure the king is missing and that Noh is hiding it. But when she bum-rushes into the king’s office, Lee Gon is there. He hurried into the palace just in time.
They have a rather passive-aggressive exchange, with him telling her every moment of his life is the history of the kingdom and thus he can never be indebted to her. Lady Noh chides him for making her worry. Now that the king is back, the security level for Prince Buyeong is lowered.
Lady Noh finds the following items in Lee Gon’s coat: a furry lion keychain, a BBQ chicken punch card and the Kim So-wol book; the coat is also missing its diamond buttons.
Tae-eul is still making a case for investigation to Moon-shik who gives her and Shin-jae two weeks to make headway.
Lee Gon asks for the items in the pockets returned. While being fitted for a new coat, he finds out the father of his superior in the army passed away and Noh wants him to attend the wake so the rumors about his disappearance will be corrected.
He goes to the wake and it turns out he was the last in combat talent in his class when he left the army. The captain invites Lee Gon to visit the bridge of the ship he’s commanding.
Tae-eul and Shin-jae are looking at security camera footage of a convenience store where someone had been victimized by a snatcher. They catch the pickpocket because she is selling a stolen wallet online. Shin-jae bumps into his psychiatrist whom he had been seeing for nightmares. Tae-eul and Shin-jae tease each other; but he has eyes only for her.
Capt. Jo puts a GPS tracker in Lee Gon’s phone. Koo finds out Congressman Park has been questioning her qualifications behind her back, so she decides to disseminate scandalous information so he would be disgraced.
Koo then meets with Buyeong, essentially trying to make it look like they are allied together. Lee Gon visits Buyeong and brings up the body that Buyeong had autopsied years ago. Lee Gon observes all the difficulties that Buyeong and his family have to endure because of him.
But Buyeong never told Lee Gon that the body that supposed to belong to Lee Lim had washed up on the shore already dead instead of being shot by the Royal Guard as was the story and now Lee Gon has figured this out. He visits the library thinking of Tae-eul.
Tae-eul is at the library reading up on parallel worlds. Shin-jae’s mother comes home late with money; she’s been gambling again. An angry Shin-jae goes to the gambling den and the cops raid it; he lets his mother be arrested.
Tae-eul is getting into her car when she notices the little stuffed toy attached to her key it’s the lion wearing a hoodie, the same one found in Lee Gon’s pockets. A kid accidentally runs into her on a bicycle and her ID and lanyard fall into a drain beyond her reach. She gets a call from forensics.
The money she got from Lee Gon is somehow real, down to the watermark, even though it has his face on it.
In Euso Bookstore, Lee Lim once again finds a note in a book: “The king returns to the palace.” He knows now how the time stopping reflects Lee Gon using the door. Lee Gon visits the chamber where his father was killed and unsheathes the Four Tiger Sword, remembering his father talking to him about it. He returns it to the case.
Looking at traffic camera footage, Tae-eul tries to track down Lee Gon and ends up in the bamboo forest. She’s starting to believe his story, just a little bit.
It’s raining, and Lee Gon is looking at the ID card. He notices time stopping for 2.71 seconds; Lee Lim has used the door again. He tries to convince Capt. Jo, but he isn’t having any of it.
Kyung-moo is asking Lee Lim if it’s better in the other world; he’s this world’s version of Kyung-moo, meaning both versions of him are working for Lee Lim because the Kyung-moo in Corea runs the Euso Bookstore.
It turns out Song Jeong-hye is being kept alive here in captivity by Lee Lim, though not by her will. He is keeping an old-fashioned darkroom where he has mysterious photographs. Buyeong is in one of them.
Buyeong ponders the autopsy report. Lee Gon is awaiting a phone call. Jo and the Royal Guard are keeping a close eye on him.
Tae-eul has a replacement ID photo taken; she has to wear a blue blazer and ties her hair up for it. She applies for her new ID card and lies about how she lost the card, saying she lost it “in a fierce scuffle with a suspect.” She is relieved to find out that she will not be issued the card on Nov. 11, 2019, as Lee Gon insisted, but earlier in late October.
Secretary Mo is warning the king that Prime Minister Koo is pretty but Lee Gon says he knows someone prettier. It rains and lightning strikes, causing the scars on his shoulder to burn. Jo is shocked. While Jo is getting the doctor, Lee Gon leaves through the window.
Tae-eul got the data from the burner phone, but it’s just three seemingly random recordings of news items being aired. Shin-jae arrives and drops her new ID card on the table; she had apparently lost track of time, and it is already indeed Nov. 11.
She had been accidentally been left out of the last batch and thus she only got her card now. She is flabbergasted. The phone rings. She answers it in a fluster. It is Lee Gon. She hangs up. He calls back. She can’t believe it and disbelievingly hurries home.
He is there, standing in the yard with Maximus. She still won’t believe him when he says he went back to his world. He said he came back to pay back money he borrowed and wanted to check if she was all right. Now he can go back.
He describes his palace. She asks: in the ID photo, is her down or tied up. He says, so it was issued today, and her hair was tied up—proceeding to tie up her hair. She asks if she was wearing her uniform in the photo and he correctly answers she was wearing the navy jacket. She’s really shaken now.
“Come with me to my world,” he says. She agrees as snow falls. They get on Maximus and they are soon at the forest. The door opens up. “Just trust me,” he says. They jump through.
They emerge on the other side. Tae-eul opens her eyes. They’re in a bamboo forest. But then people are running, and Jo is the first one there. She stares at the spitting image of her world’s Eun-sop—but just a little different. “Your majesty,” they say, and he commands them to take ten steps back.
They comply, even Jo. He confirms Jo is this world’s Eun-sop. “See, I was right, wasn’t I,” he says just a little smugly. “I’m the king of the Kingdom of Corea and my name, which you cannot say, is Lee Gon.”
Ruey: So, the episodes are starting to pick up narratively speaking. This is an action-packed episode that is meant to do four things 1) start to clue us in on what the heck Lee Lim is up o, 2) develop Shin-jae’s back story, 3) complete the Lee Gom/Tae-eul meet-cute and 4) got to the ling-awaited end of the episode. It does what feels like a very businesslike approach to get there, but a welcome one since I’m really looking forward to the next one. Ruthie, what did you think of the episode in general?
Ruthie: I agree that this is the first episode where finally get a clue to Lee Lim’s grand plans. Tae-eul getting the radio news that she can’t understand meant that it was from Corea, right? What does it mean for Korea?
Ruey: Off the major characters, Shin-jae is the one who is least developed in terms of back story and he haven’t met his counterpart on Corea. They’re developing him here with the introduction of her gambling-addict mom, his back story of having learned taekwondo so he wouldn’t become a gangster and the torch he carries for Tae-eul. Ruthie, what do you think of his development so far?
Ruthie: Yes, I agree that this is an episode to establish Shin-jae’s back story.
I am also looking forward to Prime Minister Koo’s back story. Are they going to show it in one episode like Shin-jae or will it be told in several episodes?
She is one determined woman. She overstepped her boundaries with the intention of catching Lee Gon red-handed. All I know about her at this point is that she is ambitious and that she wants to be the next Queen.
Is that really just her intention? She just wants more power? Or does she have a huge crush on Lee Gon growing up? Gon is tougher than he looks. He tears her down and puts her in place without even flinching.
Ruey: There’s a lot of little details thrown in her as a set-up for future episodes. This is the first time we hear about the possibility of a mole in the palace. The military part of Lee Gon’s role is brought up for all to see, commander in chief of the Kingdom of Corea. The wake he goes to is Catholic, a reflection of modern-day Korea.
But the thing I find most interesting is that both versions of Kyung-Moo are working for Lee Lim, meaning Lee Lim is now finding the versions of one person in one world in another world, part of some nefarious plan.
My favorite little detail is the criticism of Assemblyman Park says Prime Minister Koo’s nose is fake because it’s too perfect. Buyeong comments about the image Koo has cultivated, the low-born girl who did good, clearly implying it’s not real and he knows it. This is clearly a reference to the duplicity of Koo, who obviously wants to wield the power of the throne or usurp it altogether. Ruthie, what do you think of Koo so far?
Ruthie: Well, they made out her character to be unlikeable. K-dramas are often unforgiving to women who knows what they want. The Prime Minister strikes me as such. She knows what her goals are. That is to stay in power by marrying Lee Gon.
She’s doing her best to seduce him, but to no effect. I believe the reason why she wanted to catch Lee Gon is missing is because she wants to gain the upper hand over him. We know it’s not beneath her to blackmail someone to get what she wants. I think that’s what she wanted from him.
Ruey: Finally, we get to the moment I’ve been waiting for. The whole series was sort of premised of Tae-eul going to Corea and finding out Lee Gon isn’t crazy. They have already got to Corea through the doors and the next episode, which shows Tae-eul walking around Corea is the one I’ve been looking forward to the most. What do you expect of episode 5 Ruthie?
Ruthie: I’ve waited for Episode 5 excitedly. I want Tae-eul to be swept off her feet. It’s not every day that a suitor turns out to be a powerful king.
Ruey: Just some final bits of trivia: The ID photo we know is the one in the card that Lee Gon has, because of the way her hair is tied and her nazy blazer. Her older ID had her hair down. The product placement is funny, with the pomegranate drink showing up rather obviously several times.
Sojin, who plays Shin-jae’s psychiatrist, is a member of the extremely popular girl group Girl’s Day. I decided to title this breakdown “Intruder” because Lee Lim is an intruder every time he moves to either world; Lee Gon was identified as “an intruder” when he returned to the palace and Tae-eul is the ultimate intruder as she is in another world for the very first time. Any tidbit you’d like to add Ruthie?
Ruthie: No trivia. Just that the product placements in this drama are insane. I have never seen a drama blatantly endorsing so many products.
The first time Prime Minister Koo appeared, I immediately recognized her earrings as Swarovski’s Nice Earrings. It’s the same stud earrings that Son Ye-jin wore in “Crash Landing on You.” Lee Min-ho is also an endorser of Olive Chicken, which is why we always see them eat there.
That’s it for now. Don’t forget that new episodes of “The King: Eternal Monarch” streams on Netflix every Friday and Saturday night. Come back and see us break down every episode. Till then, stay Super.