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Recap: Queen In-Hyun’s Man Episode 16

QIHM

“A chance meeting that started at a gap in time. That meeting already ended a year ago…”

It’s a busy day in Seoul, ONE YEAR LATER.

Hee-Jin’s house is a mess and Soo-Kyung is on the phone with the movers. She hangs up and promptly receives a call from Hee-Jin. Hee-Jin wants to make sure that Soo-Kyung didn’t throw away tea set. Soo-Kyung complains that Hee-Jin never used it anyway but Hee-Jin claims she was just saving it until they moved to a nicer house. Hee-Jin makes Soo-Kyung swear and Soo-Kyung just tells Hee-Jin to worry about the photo shoot.

When Soo-Kyung hangs up, the hair stylist asks Hee-Jin if she is moving. Hee-Jin confirms. It’s the first time she has bought a house and moved. The hair stylist exclaims that Hee-Jin must have earned a lot of money, considering the number of commercials she has done in the past year. Hee-Jin clarifies that she actually didn’t make that much money since her appearance fee was so low.

The hair stylist gets a phone call and leaves. Right after, Hee-Jin gets a phone call from the director of the drama, “New Jang Hee Bin.” He is calling on behalf of his colleague, a director in the educational programming department who wants Hee-Jin to narrate a documentary for him. Hee-Jin agrees to do it since the director is asking her for a favor.

Hee-Jin meets with the documentary director and she asks why he wants her to narrate. The director explains that they are starting to film the next part of a documentary series called “The Untold Stories of History.” The series generally highlights hidden figures in history. The title for the next part is called “Queen In-Hyun’s Man.” Hee-Jin asks what the title means. The director replies that there was a rumored unofficial history of Queen In-Hyun having a lover. Hee-Jin is surprised. The drama she filmed didn’t mention anything of that. The director explains that because it was such a small event, it was probably taken out of the script. It was also only given a brief mention in the Annals. But last month, some very interesting evidence was discovered so the director hopes make an interesting story out of it. (Is it the letter?! Omg, it’s the letter!).

Hee-Jin is one her way to another job when she takes out the script for the documentary. She reads. “In 1694, on the twentieth year of the reign of King Sukjong, if you look at the Annals for the fifth month, you will find a interesting passage. Kim Boong-Do, who was a royal scholar, was rumored among the citizens to have frequently visited the Queen during the time she was stripped of her status.”

Hee-Jin repeats the name. “Kim Boong-Do? It’s my first time hearing that name. It wasn’t in the script for the drama. Kim…Boong…Do.” (My heart. Every time she says his name like that with no recognition, I bleed.)

Soo-Kyung has come home after a long day and Hee-Jin is still reading the script. Soo-Kyung asks why Hee-Jin agreed to do it when she doesn’t have that much time. Hee-Jin thinks it will be fun. “It’s called Queen In-Hyun’s man, not Jang Hee Bin’s Man. It’s strange, isn’t it?” Soo-Kyung asks, “Isn’t Queen In-Hyun’s man Sukjong?”

“Nope,” Hee-Jin explains. “Listen. At that time there was scholar named Kim Boong-Do and he is the ‘Queen In-Hyun’s Man.’ There were rumors that at the time when Queen In-Hyun was stripped of her status, Kim Boong-Do was her lover. This rumor reached the King. So the King brought Kim Boong-Do in for questioning and he died in the process. It was later revealed that the rumor was untrue. So eventually it was recorded in the Annals that he died an undeserved death. But this documentary is about what happened after that…” (Heart. Stopped. Beating.)

Hee-Jin continues. “It’s interesting starting from here. It was written in the Annals that this man died but records of him alive have been discovered recently. The descendants of Nam Goong Man Prime Minister revealed the minister’s journal last month (Nam Goong Man is the man with the daughter who the King wanted Boong-Do to marry). In the journal, the minister wrote that he saw Kim Boong-Do alive. Nam Goong Man saw Kim Boong-Do coincidentally one day while he was taking a survey of the country. This was a year after it was written in the Annals that Kim Boong-Do died.”

(I want to see Kim Boong-Do’s face so badly, guys. Only five minutes into the show but it feels like forever!)

It is Joseon and the subtitles read, “1695, fifth month, Pyeong-An province, Eui Ju.” The Prime Minister is walking the streets with his men and takes a break to eat. He wants to go wash his hands first so he heads out into the back alleyway where he bumps into a tall man, his face covered by a large hat. The minister asks if the man is alright but the man remains silent and tries to pass on. But the minister stops him, saying, “You look like someone I know.” Kim Boong-Do hurriedly pushes the minister away and runs. Soldiers come to the minister and ask him what’s wrong. The minister says, “What is this? I saw a dead man. Chase that man. Find out who he is!”

The soldiers chase after Boong-Do through the streets. (I want to see your face, Boong-Do! I want to hear your voice!) Boong-Do manages to find his way back the guesthouse and starts to pack his things. He hears the soldiers outside, however, asking for a tall man with short hair. The owner replies that a man of that description is here; he’s been hear about five days. Boong-Do steps out and the soldiers ask him if he knows that he just bumped into the Prime Minister. The Prime Minister wants to see him. While it first looks like Boong-Do will go with the men, he then quickly pushes them away and starts to run. The soldiers try to chase him.

The soldiers eventually just bring the only thing left from Boong-Do’s room to the Prime Minister. He looks it over, noting it is not a book that can be read by commoners. He flips the pages and sees a white document. He opens it and exclaims that the handwriting belongs to Kim Boong-Do. “How can this be?”

Boong-Do is once again running away on a horse. He comes across a divided road and asks his horse, “Where should we go? Where do you want to go?” (Why does it break my heart to hear him say this?!) The horse picks the left road and Boong-Do says, “This way? Okay, let’s go.” (Ugh, making a choice when it doesn’t make any difference. My poor Boong-Do.)

The Prime Minister reports to the King that country seems to be in a good state. The King asks if there was anything else and the minister answers that one strange thing happened. He saw someone who looked like Kim Boong-Do. It wasn’t just the physical appearance but also the handwriting and his writing style. He thought that perhaps Kim Boong-Do was alive so he wanted to question the man but the man ran away.

The King asks with a sad smile, “Did he look like he suffered?” The Prime Minister is surprised by the King’s reaction. The King continues, “I have a debt to Kim Boong-Do.” The Prime Minister tries to question the King but the eunuch interrupts him. The King warns the Prime Minister to not say anything about this to anyone. “That man is already a dead person.” The Prime Minister complies.

The Prime Minister later writes in his journal, “I don’t know what happened between the King and Kim Boong-Do, but I am sure that he is alive and that he is traveling around the country in order to not be caught. Because I know that due to the scholar’s sacrifice, the country has regained stability, my heart is saddened to think about his difficult life. But the fact that he lives must forever be kept a secret.”

Soo-Kyung asks Hee-Jin why she is not sleeping but Hee-Jin is too absorbed with the script. Hee-Jin feels bad for the man, Kim Boong-Do. Seeing that the King didn’t kill him but just secretly chased him away means that it wasn’t an actual affair but a one-sided love story. “I mean, how did a man from a well-known family, who passed the civil examination with top score at the age of nineteen and received the respect of the King, come to fall in love with the Queen? Tsk, tsk, tsk. This is totally a case of a life ruined because of a woman.” (That woman is you, Hee-Jin! You!!!!!!!!! My poor Boong-Do! Please remember him Hee-Jin. Please!)

Boong-Do is refilling his water container at a temple. He quietly passes the ladle to a couple behind him and walks away. The man thinks he recognizes Boong-Do.

Boong-Do is getting his horse ready to leave when a monk approaches him. It is the same monk that told Boong-Do about Sook Myung monk’s death. They bow to each other and the monk asks why Boong-Do is here. Boong-Do replies, “I thought Joseon was fairly large but after traveling for a year, I have passed the same places many times.”

The monk asks, “Until when will you keep running away? Aren’t you tired?” Boong-Do replies, “I am tired. But funnily enough, it has become the reason for living. Being chased is not bad. If I didn’t even have the goal of running away, I don’t know how I would have lived each day.” (I am weeping blood for this man.)

The monk looks on sadly. “If you have committed a crime, isn’t it right that you pay the price of the crime?” Boong-Do replies, “I want to do that too but getting caught is actually a larger crime.” The monk does not understand Boong-Do’s words. Boong-Do simply says, “I think I have stayed too long. I don’t want to bring trouble here too.”

Right at that moment, soldiers with the man who recognized him come for Boong-Do. Boong-Do tells the monk to say that he doesn’t know him. Boong-Do tries to run away but soldiers surround him. The head officer comes and proclaims that Boong-Do is to be arrested on the charges of murder. Boong-Do, without any weapons of his own and only using a rope, takes down a few men. He is then able to steal a weapon from one of the soldiers and holds it a point. He looks around his surroundings, however, and sees the  soldiers all around and regular citizens watching in fear. Boong-Do drops his weapon.

It is the recording studio. Hee-Jin is in the sound booth, recording the narration. “Last month, the Prime Minister’s journal was revealed. In it was written the surprise meeting with the “dead” Kim Boong-Do and his conversation with the King. Kim Boong-Do’s letter that was found along with the journal is also drawing attention. In this letter, written in the sixth month of 1694- a month after his recorded death- we can feel a deep affection and the sadness of a separation towards a nameless person. Scholars speculate that this letter is addressed to Queen In-Hyun, the rumored receiver of his affection.”

Another narrator reads the letter. (OMG, nice deep voice but Boong-Do was not that old!) “This letter is written to both me and you. I may forget that I wrote this letter or this letter itself might disappear. But this letter is written for me and you, either one of us who may live on holding onto memories… My final wish is that I want to remember you. Not even having those memories in an aimless life will be hell. And you…I hope that even if you read this letter in the future, you won’t know who it is for.” Hee-Jin is watching and listening to this in the studio. (Ha! So this how Hee-Jin doesn’t need to know to read the Hanja. Brilliant, writer, brilliant.)

Hee-Jin continues her narration. “A man who wanted his love to forget him. It is probably because she was out of his reach. How about the man? Was he able to keep his memories? It seems that he didn’t forget. The woman is mentioned a few times in other documents found along with the letter.” (Aw, Boong-Do kept on writing about her.)

The director calls cut. They are done for the first episode. The actor who narrated Boong-Do’s letter is going out for a drink. Hee-Jin looks on wistfully at the screen in front of her, portraying “Kim Boong-Do” writing the letter.

The director comes into the sound booth, followed by Dong-Min. He winks at her and calls her out.

Dong-Min and Hee-Jin sit drinking coffee. Dong-Min comments that Hee-Jin seems to be doing all sorts of stuff these days. Hee-Jin replies that since the director asked for a favor, she couldn’t decline. Hee-Jin asks, “I read you were shooting overseas. When did you come back?” Dong-Min is happy her question. “So you were curious about me? You must have missed me in order to read news about me.” Hee-Jin clarifies. “I don’t want to say this because you’ll act even more superior but whenever I go on the internet, your news is everywhere.” Dong-Min replies, “It isn’t acting. I am just really superior. Only you call it acting.”

Hee-Jin asks, “Why are you here?” Dong-Min answers Hee-Jin with his own question. “You don’t have anyone these days, right? I’m so lonely. Let’s date again. Do you just want to work until you die? What the point of making all that money? I’m lonely and you’re lonely.”

It looks like this isn’t the first time that Dong-Min has asked within the past year. Hee-Jin says, “I read that you are dating someone in a girl group who is ten years younger.” Dong-Min whispers into Hee-Jin’s ear that the girl was too immature. “No matter where I look or how much I think about it, there is no other woman like Choi Hee-Jin.”

Hee-Jin just says, “Do I look that easy to you?” Dong-Min pulls out the aegyo. “What about a drink tonight?” Hee-Jin looks over to the other side of the lobby to see Na-Jeong walking. She says to Dong-Min, “How about her? I think you guys are perfect for each other.” Dong-Min yells to Na-Jeong. “Do you want to go out with me? Hee-Jin claims we are perfect for each other.” Na-Jeong can’t believe what she is hearing. Dong-Min continues, “If you want to date me, I will comply. Since I’m so lonely, I can’t be picky.” (Wow. Now that’s a proposal a woman can’t refuse. *Snort*)

Hee-Jin whispers, “You’re crazy,” and Na-Jeong denies the man with a very clear “X.”

Dong-Min turns to Hee-Jin. “See, there is no hope for her.” Hee-Jin asks, “When will you grow up?” Dong-Min answers, “I don’t want to.”

Chun-Soo calls Dong-Min away but when it looks like he is going to leave with Dong-Min, Chun-Soo comes back and quietly asks Hee-Jin, “What is Soo-Kyung up to these days? Is she meeting someone?” Hee-Jin asks, “Why do you want to know?” Chun-Soo answers, “Because I’m lonely these days.” Hee-Jin tries to save Soo-Kyung from Chun-Soo. “She hasn’t said anything but it looks like she has a boyfriend.” Chun-Soo is disappointed.

Soo-Kyung and Hee-Jin are in the van together. Soo-Kyung exclaims, “If he can’t sleep at night, he should take a sleeping pill. Why is he asking about me? Why are those two so similar to each other and why us? Do we look that easy to them? Are we their plaything?” Still, Soo-Kyung can’t help but feel a little flattered as she brushes out her eyelashes. “That old man does have a good eye for people though. So what did you say?” Hee-Jin tells her that she told Chun-Soo Soo-Kyung has a boyfriend. This is not what Soo-Kyung wanted to hear, however. She cries, “When did I have a boyfriend?” Hee-Jin explains, “I told him that so he would give up and not bother you.” Soo-Kyung’s expression shows that she wants to chew Hee-Jin up and feed her to the dogs. Hee-Jin asks, “Did I say something wrong?” Soo-Kyung pretends that nothing is wrong. “You did well.” Soo-Kyung whispers to herself, “She is no help to my life.”

Hee-Jin scolds the driver. “We’re going to be late.” Soo-Kyung yells at Hee-Jin, her bitterness finding an outlet. “I told you to not do this documentary! Why the heck are they doing an outdoor shooting when it’s just a few lines of narration? Are they trying to milk you for everything they can?!”

The documentary production team is at the palace courtyard and the director explains to Hee-Jin that she is to walk down the path and narrate. Hee-Jin tells her stylist that she used to come here every day when she was filming the drama but it’s been a year since she last came. Hee-Jin slowly looks around the palace courtyard as we see Boong-Do, back in Joseon time, being led into the palace by soldiers.

Boong-Do is stopped at the same place that Hee-Jin stands in the future. Boong-Do looks around with a wistful smile on his face. The soldier asks, “What are you looking at?” Boong-Do replies, “It’s been a while since I was last here.” The soldier laughs. How can someone like him have been to the palace before? Right at that moment, the Prime Minister and other officials enter the courtyard. Boong-Do quickly turns his head.

Hee-Jin starts to film. “The battle between the Western faction and Southern faction. The entangle destiny of In-Hyun Wang Hoo and Jang Ok Jeong. We are familiar with their story that has been retold many times in dramas. In the recorded bloodbath in the spring of 1694, there is a record of an interesting figure. Because of a scandal with Queen In-Hyun, the man had to prove his innocence through death. Kim Boong-Do, a member of the Western faction, a royal scholar, and 27 years of age. He is today’s main figure- Queen In-Hyun’s Man.” As Hee-Jin narrates, she walks through Kim Boong-Do and stands back-to-back to him. We also see the buildings of Seoul rising in Hee-Jin’s time.

Hee-Jin continues, “Did that man really love Queen In-Hyun? Or as it is written in the Annals, was it just a false charge?” As the screen color fades back and forth to signify the thinning veil between the two time periods, Hee-Jin suddenly starts to feel pain in her chest. She looks around a bit but composes herself. She starts to narrate again.

“Kim Boong-Do. A figure recorded in history as man from a great family who passed the civil examination with top score, received respect from the King, and died after loving the Queen.” Tears start to fall from Hee-Jin’s eyes while at the same time, tears form in Boong-Do’s eyes. “Starting from now, we will take a look at his short life.”

The director calls cut. “What’s wrong?” Hee-Jin tries to explain but can’t stop from crying.

Boong-Do is led to prison to wait for his questioning tomorrow. The director comes over to Hee-Jin and Hee-Jin explains that it was just dust in her eye. But Hee-Jin can’t shake away the strange feeling so she once again looks around.

Boong-Do sits in prison, waiting. The prison guard throws Boong-Do his satchel and informs him that the questioning will start early tomorrow. Boong-Do asks who will question him and learns that it will be the head investigator, Yoon Sung-Moon. Yoon Sung-Moon is the man who was with Boong-Do on the day he disappeared from the city streets after being shot by arrows.

Boong-Do remembers what he said to the King. “Asking you to kill me is in order for me to live. I will live. I want to live. So please let me die honorably. Then I will never reappear in this land again.”

Boong-Do repeat the words, “I will never reappear in this land again. I will never reappear in this land again”

Hee-Jin is driving home and gets a call from Soo-Kyung. Soo-Kyung heard from the director that Hee-Jin cried while filming the opening of the documentary. She asks why. She heard Hee-Jin cried very sadly. Hee-Jin replies that she doesn’t know herself the reason for her tears. “Tears just suddenly started to fall and I was surprised myself. Suddenly, I was so sad without any reason.” Soo-Kyung asks, “Did you drink? What is so sad?” (There are different levels of “sad” in the Korean language and the word being used here describes a sadness that really comes from within.) Hee-Jin thinks she needs a beer when she gets home. She hangs up but she is still finding it hard to breathe. She turns on the music to distract herself.

Boong-Do opens his satchel and sees his cellphone and necktie. Boong-Do carefully holds the necktie and remembers Hee-Jin putting it on for him, teaching him that the purpose of the necktie was for kissing. Boong-Do repeats, “The purpose of the necktie.” He starts to tie the necktie from the ceiling, standing on a barrel. (What the $%#&*!)

It starts to rain in Seoul and Hee-Jin sits at the red light. She says to herself, “Why does it rain so frequently.?”

Boong-Do tearfully places the necktie around his neck. The pain in Hee-Jin’s chest worsens and tears pour out from her eyes. Back and forth we go between the two people until Boong-Do, with finality, drops his hand from the necktie and prepares to step off the barrel. Hee-Jin cries uncontrollably, “What is this? What is this?”

Boong-Do pushes away the barrel. He hangs. Hee-Jin holds her head and chest, sobbing, “What is this?”

Suddenly, Hee-Jin remembers typing “sun soo” into a cellphone. “Who is sun-soo?” She looks up the contact list on her phone but can’t find the name. She remembers the number, though, and dials it.

On the floor near Boong-Do’s dangling legs, his phone lights up. The screen shows Hee-Jin’s face with the title, “The World’s Most Beautiful Woman.”

Hee-Jin’s phone rings but no one picks up. Hee-Jin drops her phone because she is hyperventilating. She has to get out of the car and as she stands in the rain, memories flood back to her. “You’re a player over there too, right?” “Mr. Player calls ‘The World’s Most Beautiful Woman’.” Boong-Do’s voice- “I will definitely return after solving everything.”

Hee-Jin breaks down.

Hee-Jin is back at the television station, dripping wet. She runs into the director of the documentary. He asks her why she is here. She asks to see the footage of “Queen In-Hyun’s Man.”

The director leads her to a theater to watch it. (It’s a room where audiences pre-watch a show and they record the audiences’ reaction for the background soundtrack.) The director shows her how to work the equipment. He looks on curiously at Hee-Jin but turns the lights off for her.

Hee-Jin starts to watch the documentary. She sees herself in the opening of the documentary, at the palace. Hee-Jin fast-forwards to where the she is talking about the letter. “Kim Boong-Do’s letter that was found along with the journal is also drawing attention. In this letter, written in the sixth month of 1694- a month after his recorded death- we can feel a deep affection and the sadness of a separation towards a nameless person. Scholars speculate that this letter is addressed to Queen In-Hyun, the rumored receiver of his affection.” Hee-Jin hears Boong-Do’s words, now knowing whom the letter was addressed to.

“This is letter written both to me and you. I may forget that I even wrote this letter, or this letter itself might disappear. This letter is for me and you, either one of us who may live on holding onto memories. When I obtained this amulet by chance, I wanted to know what the cause and effect/reason was. First, I thought the reason was so that I would be able to fulfill my dream. Then I thought perhaps the reason was for our fateful meeting. Then I thought it must be for me to live in a new world. But now I have belatedly realized the real cause and effect. In order to save my own life, I would have to lose everything. My future, my name, my values… my people…and also you.”

Outside in Hee-Jin’s car, her phone lights up. The screen shows Boong-Do’s number.

“I don’t know what will happen now. Will we forget each other or will we suffer forever, unable to let go of our memories? My final wish is to be able to remember you. To not have even those memories in an aimless life will be hell. And you.. even if you read this in the future, I hope you won’t know who this letter is for.”

The letter ends and Hee-Jin’s narration is heard once again. “A man who wanted his love to forget him. It is probably because she was out of his reach. How about the man? Was he able to keep his memories? It seems that he didn’t forget. The woman is mentioned a few times in other documents found along with the letter.”

Hee-Jin cries softly in the theater. The door opens but Hee-Jin doesn’t look up. She says, “I’m sorry. Just a moment please.”

A familiar voice is heard- “Why won’t you pick up after calling me?” Hee-Jin turns around slowly.

Boong-Do is standing by the doorway, in his black suit. Hee-Jin freezes. She can’t believe her eyes. Boong-Do speaks first. “I had to search a long time. Didn’t you call me? One hour ago?” Boong-Do smiles as he holds up his phone. Hee-Jin is still a statue.

Flashback to Boong-Do hanging from the ceiling but in his final moments of consciousness, he hears the phone ringing. He opens his eyes and sees the phone lit up with Hee-Jin’s face on the screen. Boong-Do desperately pulls at the necktie and struggles to break free. Because of his long legs, he can brace himself on the prison doors while the necktie loosens. (There has never been a greater use of long legs. Never! And thank god the necktie material is silky!) Boong-Do falls to the ground and he struggles to answer. Just as he slides the call connection on, he transports to the future. He places the phone to the ear and struggles to say “Hello” but Hee-Jin at that time has just dropped the phone and run out of her car.

Boong-Do focuses his eyes and he sees Seoul bustling around him. He starts to laugh in joy and sits himself up. Boong-Do’s voice has found his strength again and he cries into the phone, “Hello? Answer please, ‘The World’s Most Beautiful Woman.” Boong-Do continues to laugh in joy despite the silence on the other side.

Hee-Jin is still in freeze frame while Boong-Do tries to hold back his tears. “Are you going to keep staring at me like that? If you called out someone who was living well, you have to take responsibility.” Hee-Jin finally unfreezes. She orders, “Close the door.” Boong-Do obeys. Hee-Jin then commands, “Come here.” Boong-Do obeys. Hee-Jin slowly walks toward Boong-Do and gently caresses his face. “You’re real. You’re really alive.”

Then Hee-Jin simply asks, “How have you been during the past year?” Boong-Do replies, “I traveled the country, leaving a lover in every province. The year went by really fast.” Hee-Jin laughs. “You’re lying. The evidence is all here.” Boong-Do looks at the screen that is now showing his letter. He pretends to not recognize the letter and just asks, “What is that?”

Hee-Jin brings Boong-Do’s face back to her. “What happened? The talisman?” Boong-Do answers. “I burned the talisman.” Hee-Jin asks, “How did you come here?” Boong-Do replies, “I said I came because you called.” Hee-Jin- “Me?” Boong-Do- “You.”

Boong-Do cups Hee-Jin’s face and memorizes every curve and every eyelash. He gives a long blink, like the one he gave at the red carpet, the blink that conveys more than words ever can. Hee-Jin blinks back.

Boong-Do speaks. “The purpose of the necktie. I missed the purpose that you taught me.  I almost used it for something else.” Hee-Jin asks, “You missed the purpose of the necktie?” Boong-Do answers, “So much that I could die.” Hee-Jin pulls at Boong-Do’s tie. “You mean this?” Hee-Jin start to pull Boong-Do in, but Boong-Do has waited too long and leans in quickly for a kiss. Hee-Jin holds on tightly to his tie.

Hee-Jin narrates, “A chance meeting that started at a gap in time. That meeting already ended a year ago. Right now, we did not meet because of a monk’s strange talisman but because of our very own link of memories. So we start this second meeting. Now I am his savior and the price for that is being by my side forever.”

Boong-Do stops kissing to look at the screen. It is showing his letter. “My letter still exists? How?” Hee-Jin explains that it was found with the Prime Minister’s belongings and his descendants revealed it last month. Boong-Do is indignant. “Why would they do that with someone’s private things? I have to get rid of it.” Hee-Jin informs Boong-Do that the letter is in a museum now. He can never get rid of it. Forever. “Or at least until the museum falls down.”

Boong-Do is angry. “I’m losing my taste.” (Meaning he is going to go crazy.) Hee-Jin laughs and they proceed to kiss again (heating up my screen).

On the theater screen we see poor Soo-Kyung sitting once again with Boong-Do. “I’m REALLY going crazy here. You just suddenly appear and say you are Hee-Jin’s boyfriend. I have never heard about you from Hee-Jin before.” Soo-Kyung sighs and folds her arms. “From now on, you have to tell me truth. Do you understand?” Boong-Do replies yes. Soo-Kyung starts the all-too-familiar line of questioning. “What school do you go too?” Boong-Do answers the first few but can’t help but laugh. Soo-Kyung asks him why he is laughing. Boong-Do just tells her what she wants to know. “My parents are both dead. I live alone. I have an inheritance.” Soo-Kyung says this time, “Oh my god, how perfect. You’re a perfect man.” (She is echoing the voices of fangirls all around the world.) Boong-Do continues, “My father worked for the country.” Soo-Kyung- “Wow, politics?” The fourth wall breaks and we see the actors start to laugh.

Comments:

Ah, love that transcends time and memories that are more powerful than a talisman.

Time is both the enemy and friend to this couple. Three hundred years separate them but it is also the time they have spent together, and the memories they have made, that creates a connection that can’t be severed, be it swords, assassins, death or fire.

The first time the talisman was torn, it was through no will of their own and Hee-Jin retained her memories as if it was a dream, while Boong-Do’s memories were suppressed. When the talisman was burned by Boong-Do for the sake of Hee-Jin, he was able to keep his memories while her memories were lost. But once again they came back to Hee-Jin, unable to be suppressed forever.

*EDIT- I have to add here, after reading the comments, my theory regarding time, memory, and the talisman.

My theory is that memories transcend power, time…everything. So even though the talisman burned and time was reset, Boong-Do and Hee-Jin remembered it (eventually) both times. The writer has shown through the first instance of the talisman breaking that memories are ultimately unaffected for Hee-Jin and Boong-Do, whether time is reset and the talisman torn apart. The second time when it is burned, memories still last even though once again, time is reset and the talisman is gone. It makes sense in this story that Boong-Do was able to retain his memories and that Hee-Jin’s came back to her.

*END EDIT

Boong-Do has been written as the active figure in this drama, while Hee-Jin is the reactive character. He is the one who gets to travel back and forth, fight villains, and risk life and death. So many decisions and the ability to choose rests in him, and in a lesser character or in a poorly written drama, we would have found this unfair and unequal.

The rules of time-travel were laid out by the writer and we could have blamed her for leaving Hee-Jin so helpless and powerless to do anything. This aspect of Hee-Jin would have been a glaring flaw in the drama if Hee-Jin was not such a functional human being. Yes, Hee-Jin waited at an empty park and cried, but she only went when she had time. She still continued filming and doing what she had to do in her daily life.

I have said this before but I love Hee-Jin’s reaction every time when Boong-Do returns to her. She never dramatically drops the phone or rushes over to Boong-Do. She always quietly asks after him, wanting to know what happened,

While Boong-Do can physically move back and forth through time, it is Hee-Jin that can spiritually (for the lack of a better word) connect with Boong-Do. She is the one that feels Boong-Do through time and not the other way around. Hee-Jin is doing what she can, opening up the gap in time so her phone call reaches Boong-Do and saves him from dying.

As for Boong-Do’s choice to die… Boong-Do is a man of his word and his promise to never appear in Joseon again has to be kept through his death. I am incredibly happy with this writer who has laid out our characters and their choices so carefully throughout the drama, so that an action never feels like it was a last-minute stunt to keep the drama going.

As you may be able to tell, I am happy with ending. While we didn’t get to see Boong-Do and Hee-Jin make a life together, we got a little bit of that in the previous episode and we also got some major kissing in this one. This episode was not as emotionally packed as the previous one (at least for me) but it was incredibly well-suited to the entire tone of the drama.

The verdict has come in and this drama is now my number one drama of all time. “Damo” has been my number one for nine years and while many dramas have come close, none have been able to topple her place. But here is “Queen In-Hyun’s Man,” a wonderful balance of comedy, romance, and thriller. The writing was subtle, the direction sure-handed, and the acting was tailored to the characters. “Damo” tore my heart out but “Queen In-Hyun’s Man” did that and piece it back together again.

Dramas are made for entertainment and many remain at that. But once in a while, a special gem comes along that will latch itself onto your heart and head, and remain there for a very long time. There is no doubt that my experience of the drama was enhanced by the readers of this blog. Thank you so much for reading through my uneven writing and inexperienced recapping. Thank you for sharing your thoughts and emotions. Thank you for sending me virtual hugs and cookies. I felt and ate them all. Thank you for loving this drama as much as I did, even if you perhaps didn’t as much. Thank you for sharing Boong-Do and Hee-Jin. I will keep them safe in a little corner of my heart.

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285 Comments Post a comment
  1. Usi #

    Good to hear, someone of the recapers like the ending. I was so satisfied I could have purred.
    It has become my favorite drama too :D.

    June 9, 2012
  2. madsu #

    I think this is an ending that will slowly grow on people as they re-watch the drama.
    Mostly the absence of emotional turbulence since get-go is what threw many people off. We had come to expect this drama to fling us viewers around mentally like laundry. The last episode was surprisingly mellow in tone in the beginning.

    The fact that our super smarty did not find a safe house in one year, actually ran into (WTH) the left prime minister, got chased by guards and then got caught, didn’t sit well with me personally. Even though this was probably the plot device for the survival of the letter, that could have been done in other, less contrived ways. Oh, and I was going WTH are you doing back in the capital where people actually know what you look like.

    The episode started to pick up for me with the palace and time interlocking scene. As many have mentioned, HJ feels his presence there, but not the other way around. I see the reason for this as BD was actually there in the past. HJ is in the future, not yet there, so BD cannot feel her. He can only remember her. HJ starts to cry as the memories start to push forward.
    In prison, BD fishes out that tie and my heart started a low heavy thump. (Boy, this kid is a pro at getting himself killed). So I guess HJ was on her way back from the palace shooting when he kicked himself off that barrel and turned several of my hairs gray.

    When the phone started ringing in the cell, I was already back to pleading with my screen.- Bye bye mellow-. Please, please, please get down and pick up. Take the pressure off of your neck. Long legs save the day. Fab! The tie that I loved to distraction in ep 15, I hate with vehemence, for holding on to him – break damn tie, break. Ok, slip off. Fine, whatever, answer the bloody phone. He does, he transports.. and she leaves the phone and is hyperventilating in the rain! I mean- really! He is laughing, and I am doing my best not to scare my neighbours with maniacal howls. My son is asking me what happened. I scream at him to go away. Poor thing, he gets that a lot now a days. Bear with me honey. This is the last ep.

    HJ is a soaking mess, memory back, looking carefully at the letter on the screen. Voice over is very useful, and it is BD’s voice reading it out now. BD finds her, they talk, they kiss and become kdrama history.

    This drama has never compressed emotions into a short time frame before. Here the emotional swing starts once he kicks off that barrel and roughly 15 minutes later, I am giggling at Su Kyung, and the drama is over. I am scratching my head. This episode is not balanced. Where is my sustained high? I couldn’t sympathize with BD in the beginning as he wasn’t trapped despite his best effort. So the elation of HJ getting her memory back, and him making his way back to her feels lopsided. I feel slightly disappointed at the ending.
    I will marathon the series once the subs are up, because overall the series is beautifully balanced. Our boy did go through A LOT before he found his happiness. We have to put it all together to see the full picture. Bravo drama team!

    With that long ramble, I thank Joonni for her courage and dedication in taking this project up and seeing it through. Thank you for your insights, feelings, mvs, transcripts and all the modern Korean lessons. Most of all, in keeping with this drama, thank you for your time. If I ever do make that time warp app, you’ll be the first to know ;)

    June 10, 2012
  3. britener #

    I wanted to write something long and meaningful, but everyone seems to have cover that. Instead, I just want to give hugs and thanks to this community esp. Joonni for bringing (A+) EXCELLENT recaps and an incredible journey for all of us. I know that if I just watched this drama without recaps or fanpage, I would’ve still enjoyed this show very much. The fact that you have a place for all of us to share and bond made this whole journey more memorable and touching for me. Joonni, I think you are the BEST recapper and I can’t wait to go on another drama journey with you and the fans here. *hugs* to everyone:D

    June 10, 2012
  4. britener #

    Hi, again. I looked through your older posts to see how far back it is and I wanted to see what other shows you have recapped. I am shocked to learn that this show is your first time recapping! You definitely are a great writer and recapper. Wow! You definitely picked an excellent show to start off hehe.

    June 10, 2012
    • joonni #

      Thanks for the compliment! I’m so happy that this is my first recap but also feel like the drama just ruined me for all others. It was just too much fun recapping this drama. Will I be able to find another one again??? I’ve been looking at the new dramas but none are really catching my attention. I AM looking forward to “Arang” and “Nice Guy” in the summer.

      June 10, 2012
      • britener #

        The 2 dramas you have mentioned…..hmmmm…I’m more of a rom-com gal. I’ve been watching kdramas for 6 or 7 years now and I steer clear of melodrama. They are too much for me to handle emotionally. I’m the type to pour my heart and soul into things and korean melodramas are great but I can’t handle it…so I do hope your future projects will include more rom-coms. Speaking of the current dramas (watching A Gentleman’s Dignity, I Do I Do, Ghost, Bridal Mask, Dr. Jin) though, I like some but I’m not attached to any yet esp. after the whole QIHM craziness. My heart still belongs to it and I need more time to adjust.

        June 10, 2012
  5. Fangie #

    I don’t normally comment or post anything here but I absolutely love QIHM <3 and omg ji hyun woo and yoo in na, love them together. I'm so glad he confessed despite the consequences of it. Its the first drama that I am seriously rooting for the leads to date in real life. Excellent recap btw :)

    June 10, 2012
  6. shl #

    Just wanted to thank Joonni and everyone here for weighing in on discussing QIHM. You’ve all discussed and explained areas of the drama that weren’t clear to me, and helped me think through the bits I was puzzling over. Thank you for all the time and effort you’ve taken in explaining your points of view, and so thoroughly! You’ve all truly enhanced my enjoyment of this QIHM, which is definitely going to be one of my favourites for a long time.

    June 10, 2012
  7. shl #

    Joonni, just had a thought – wouldn’t it be interesting if someone novellised the drama? Of course it wouldn’t be able to capture the lush cinematography or the music precisely, but it might have more leeway to reflect thoughts and emotions and explore deeper themes. I don’t know if it would work, really, but i’m a sucker for the written word :-) allows the imagination more scope. I’m imagining it to be like The English Patient’

    June 11, 2012
    • joonni #

      Oh, I would love that. I totally understand what you mean. Actually, my fingers just itch to type this out in novelization form. I’ve attempted this several times already, actually, but found it pretty daunting and could write past a few sentences.

      June 13, 2012
  8. lidy #

    been keeping up with the recaps of QIM and started marathoning it. the cell phone going through and boong-do making it back to modern seoul bothered most ppl and was seen as not as believable, but after QIM ending, it came to mind how that ending really was plausible. if you think about it:

    -boong-do and heejin met and was separated bc of the power of the talisman. now that the talisman is gone and both are suffering from its wrath/curse (though heejin is unaware bc her memories are gone), in the end, they were able to overcome/beat the power of the talisman

    -the talisman’s power was that boong-do lives when he dies. even w/o the talisman, the only thing left is boong-do’s life and when he tries to kill himself, heejin remembers him (and has the feeling of unease again from ep 13 when she fainted)and tries calling him. boong-do choosing death and heejin calling, created the miracle that allowed them to meet again

    -man proposes, god disposes. boong-do chose to end his life, and in doing so, heejin remembers him and calls him, allowing the path to return to modern seoul to happen

    -bc of the talisman, heejin is always left waiting for boong-do to return. this time she called for him, allowing him to come back. their meeting is inevitable, even w/ fate trying to get in the way

    -love conquers all

    *and how i love jo asking boong-do and getting all happy about how he’s rich and went to sungkwankun for the 3rd time :-D

    June 11, 2012
  9. microworm #

    Thanx for your recap. I watched the last episode last week and had been having trouble trying to find a satisfactory explanation for the ending i.e. the use of mobile phone to transport BD back to future. I don’t know Korean and thus, had been searching the web for recaps and see what others said about it. I am glad to find your recap and I think your comments and view on the ending fits in well with the drama. It was the memories of both Boong-do and Heejin that brought them back together. As for the mobile phone, I guess I just have to accept that it is a fantasy story and so it is possible that miracles do happen.

    June 11, 2012
  10. Tako #

    So what was the purpose of the opening sequence in the first episode?
    I would have loved to see this scene again. Maybe from a different perspective? It would have been a nice reference with the idea of modernity and past.
    Too bad they have decided not to include it again.

    June 11, 2012
  11. p7879 #

    Have you guys saw the director’s cut of the last kissing scene? Go watch it and prepare to be blown away!

    September 24, 2012
  12. pam lee #

    Hi, Joonnie. I know it’s been a few months since QIHM came out but I just finished watching it and I just wanted to thank you for suggesting it in your top 10 kdrama list of all time. Honestly, at first I didn’t really like it. It seemed slow and unevenly paced, but as the story progressed towards the end, it got so exceptionally good!!! I will definitely recommend it to all of my friends! Now, let’s hope our Imja couple gets a well-deserved ending too! I’m still rooting for them even though the forecast predicts a torrential downpour of tears, a lot of body-wracking sobs and dry heaving.

    October 15, 2012
    • joonni #

      You’re done! Wonderful drama, wasn’t it? Was absolutely obsessed making fanvids, recapping, writing, etc. I cried like a mad woman with this ending even though it was happy so let’s see how I do for Faith.

      October 15, 2012
  13. Aeyouline #

    I have to totally agree with you! This “Queen Inhyun’s Man” is officially my top favortie drama! But “Lovers In Paris” will always be in my heart and “The Greatest love” too!
    I really enjoyed this drama! It has all the elements that I am looking for. The first time that I love the lead actress more than the lead actor. But what I love about Ji hyun’s character is that, he made In-na’s character to shine! I just don’t know how to fully express my huge happiness in this drama. I was even successful in persuading my husband to watch this. My husband couldn’t stop himself watching after he started! He finished this in one sitting even though he had to work in the morning! And it is so nice to share the excitement and thrills that this drama gave me to my loving husband. I will soon watch Reply 1997! Cheers!

    January 21, 2013
    • The triumph of this drama shifts in a different level of writing skills..”no in-law..or demeaning family to deal with”.
      History meets modern time, and only the space time in between, is their only battle to look forward to!!

      January 21, 2013
  14. QIHMfan #

    hello all,

    i just finished watching this series and want to share some reviews IMHO..

    # overally i find this drama good.. light, entertaining and funny..

    # quite unique story.. instead of time travel, this one is kind of ‘time wrap’, means they ignore the ‘usual’ time travel rules.. the time come parallel in past and 2012 time.. means if you skip a hour, it’s skipped too in other period..

    # I feel like watching ‘Disney’ kind of movie.. (Disney style Kdrama) how they recite the story, how they put the mix of feeling like fun, sad, action, thriller, etc.. and how they explain everything (almost everthing are explained), how they add some miracles ‘spices’, and last but most important: happy ending (even it’s like a forced one)..

    # somehow i don’t really get their love chemistry.. perhaps need more character development? or I can’t find true reason why they ‘really’ love each other.. (see point below)

    # kiss scene is always nice. But this drama has a tad too many kissing scenes.. and too long.. so feel like a ‘lust’ rather than ‘showing love’ (can someone do the summation of how long they actually been kissing the whole show? is there any drama has longer couple kiss compared to this?)

    # their love ‘sacrifies’ two persons, one is Yoon Wol (which her fate is truly miserable for me) and Han Dong min (this one is lesser pain, but i think he really loves her — but talisman prevents him)

    – just before the end, i was actually guessing, don’t say he uses cellphone to time wrap.. but then, he really DID haha.. but it’s ok.. if talisman (a paper can do), why not phone.. just forget the battery issue.

    as conclusion, I will give 7 out of 10 for this one :)

    January 24, 2013
    • QIHMfan #

      a thought though, if we stick to ‘time travel rules’… when the first time talisman is torn.. the 2012 got affected.. all people lost memories.. as if nothing happens. so the questions is:

      1. does the talisman just fade away people memory in 2012 –including changing all the media/photo/news/etc which already publicly published (but actually BD did travel to the 2012 and all the moments we watch truly happened)

      2. or, the talisman canceled BD action in the 2012.. (means he never travels) but in this case, BD should instantly disappear in the past time, because he should have been killed by then.. (reversing the time travel effect)

      for me, the writer intention is more to the #1 one right? but for me a bit more make sense if #2.. because a bit strange if only removing the memories without removing the concequencies of his visit (say if BD is a bad guy, and kill president in 2012, if the talisman only removes the memory, what happened to the president by then??)

      AND one more: if the horse he’s been riding can travel to future (as horse is living creature too), why not try holding her hand while he’s about to come back to past? or otherway, why not bringing Yoon Wol to future (well this will extend the story to more love-complex situation hehe, but at least Yoon Wol didnt need to die)

      sorry if this has been discussed before, i just recently watched and still hot for me :p

      January 24, 2013
  15. PeterOZ #

    I love this this Kdrama, usually i watched other kdramas people often recommend. And often i screamed at the stupidity in which the writers insults the viewers intelligence. But not so here, whilst others may comment with their excessive analysis of time travel, if you really want to understand then i suggest you go back to School and study Physics and science. I grew up in Scifi/fantasy culture and I’ve seen lots of shows that depicts time travel. Being a trekkie fan enough said. So trust me when i say the writer’s perspective of time travel in QIHM is more plausible than the stupid writing of Faith, Rooftop Prince and Dr Jin, all these shows i watched and endured their idiocy. The writers for these shows specialized in overused korean drama gimicks and in my opinion should not be writing such drama themes when they HAVE NO experience in the Science Fiction Fantasy Genre. Like asking Baz Lurhmann to write Star Wars, its ridiculous. So stop bagging QIHM, when its the best Korean time travel drama EVER so far.

    March 1, 2013
  16. @PeterOZ: can you answer above questions from your point of view?

    March 10, 2013
  17. PeterOZ #

    Sorry may i know what question are you referring to?

    March 13, 2013
  18. PeterOZ #

    If you referring to my ranting, i apologize i just get excited at people’s nitpicking at the small details. I also get frustrated because their isn’t any good kdrama lately, there is only so many times i can watch QIHM over and over again :)

    March 13, 2013
  19. I know this if off topic but I’m looking into starting my own weblog and was curious what all is needed to get set up? I’m assuming
    having a blog like yours would cost a pretty penny?

    I’m not very internet smart so I’m not 100% certain. Any tips or advice would be greatly appreciated. Thanks

    March 14, 2013
  20. yanra #

    thanks for making this recap, all of my questions about this drama have been answered by your recap and other comments. Actually i’d been watching this Kdrama last year but i’m still enthusiastic to watch this again and again. i follow your another Kdrama Recap.

    April 28, 2013
  21. Celine #

    Love the drama what sony xperia phone was their using?

    May 27, 2013
  22. Claire PUA #

    I stumbled upon your recap and I must say, your writing is amazing–both form and content.

    I also enjoyed the comments of your readers–you have a very smart following c: I am now a fan.

    Your work is very inspired and I’d love to read more of it c: do you have a personal blog or any other creative outputs?
    ~Claire

    February 12, 2014

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