Secret Door Ep 5: Joseon’s Nancy Drew and The Hardy Boys

Beware of the naked man who offers you his shirt

– Navjot Singh Sidhu

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LS creates a scene in the Pavilion when he refuses to pour a drink for Captain Hong. YJ is shocked at the display of violence from his usually obedient and idealistic Prince. And LS’ festering has reached its breaking point.

… And it’s a FAKE OUT o_O . As the saying goes, “I may smile at you but in my head I’ve punched you 6 times and high kicked your arse.”

LS has learned the art of masking his inner feelings in front of his father and offers to even write the *Gyoji (*Royal Order) himself so that Captain Hong can become a Byungpan (Minister). LS leaves the party with a smile on his face, only after a safe distance does he wipe off the mask for he knows YJ has been watching him like a hawk and will continue to do so.

LS meets JG and asks if he had begun his investigations. Yes.

Tea House

A coterie of Noron ministers are enjoying a special meeting with KT when Captain Hong joins them. They congratulate him on his promotion. KT sees this as his personal means to create or abolish laws as he likes, for instance, abolishing the *Gyunyukbup (*Law created to protect powerless civilian military service) .

Minister Hong reminds KT it is the King’s rule and one cannot simply change to suit one’s needs. But KT sees it as them helping the King fix his mistakes.

I knew Captain Hong was not at all comfortable with the promotion nor spending more time with men who are constantly manipulating others. He is a stickler of principles, but because of that one mistake he made in the past, he finds himself mired in the sludge of Noron politics.

And KT has given Minister Hong his first task to tackle. Strengthen the class system for a clear demarcation between the haves and have nots.

MS

He is one Minister who is livid at the thought of abolishing Gyunyukbup. He visits YJ to tell him the news.

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YJ asks MS to think ahead what KT might really be after: The Authority over Joseon Human Resources. But YJ remains calm over this matter, he will give them what they ask. MS does not want a nation to be ruled under the Noh party, but YJ has another vision of Joseon, and asserts that if the Maenge was destroyed 10 years ago, things would be very different that day.

10 years ago

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YJ wants a stable and secure court, but before that, rid of the shackles that are pinning him down (ie The Maenge).  YJ reveals to MS he was forced to sign the Maenge 20 years ago. He signed it purely for his survival, not to sit at the throne. YJ pleads with MS to hunt down the forsaken document and destroy it.

MS searched high and low for The Maenge, and finally finds its burial spot at Seungjungwon Library. However, MS did not agree to the destruction of the Maenge, and when he sees the library engulfed in first one night, he suspected YJ had a hand in it. But of course being YJ, he pleads the fifth, to which MS reminds him they have lost another two innocent lives 10 years on because of The Maenge. YJ looks intently at MS and asks him to find The Maenge again, AND destroy the darn document this time. MS still refuses.

YJ:  Do you think I should give my crown to the Prince? What do you think he can do as a child? He can’t even start a fight with those who are against us. Could you take responsibility if the prince ever lost his crown to the wrong person?

MS:  Your Highness, having a stable government now is much more important than protecting the crown.

YJ:  I NEED the crown if I want a stable government! The crown has to have the power.  That way, there will be hope and a future for Joseon.

The Opposition

They are not happy with the promotion of Captain Hong to Byungpan. That means the Gyunyukbup will be revoked and the King will lose his hard earned law on civilians paying taxes for avoiding military services. Has the king been in collusion with the Noh party from the beginning? Did they deliberately terminate the former king so that Lee Geum can step in, hence securing stronger influence over the nation?

Royal Library

[Aside: OH!! This is one of the locations shot in Goong!! 😀 ]

LS is checking for proof on JW’s statement. If he didn’t write it, then where did all the documents come from? Did someone even forge HB’s calligraphy? Oh? Light bulb moment for LS. The double agent bodyguard keeps an eye on LS and JG’s movements.

Report to KT

Apparently LS took away the letter and the suicide note from the library. KT worries that LS may glean more information, but bodyguard is confident that with JW’s death, the prince’s search would come to naught. What about that girl? Isn’t she considered a “loose end”?

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KT:  If there’s anyone in our way, no matter who they are… kill them.

LS enlists JD

LS brings JG to JD’s residence. He’s happy to see her. She’s not. LOL! XD

JD:  What are you doing here? I taught you the way here, sir. If my father finds out I won’t be able to help.

Enters dad. Timing is impeccable 😀

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LS and JD’s dad are in JD’s work room. LS asks his permission to allow JD be his Special Investigator, for she has talent in writing, but more importantly has innate investigative skills.

Dad:  Your Highness, I’m her father. Even though my child is very talented, and even though you need to use her… I can’t let her do something dangerous. However, as a man if I hold her back when she’s trying to do something good, I can’t call myself a parent or a human being. No… I can’t stop her.

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LS:  You don’t have to worry about your daughter’s safety. I will protect her myself.

This moment reminds me of YJ’s previous musings about being a normal citizen, and not King. He would have let his beautiful son paint for the rest of his life and simply be happy. JD’s father is letting go of his daughter from his sole protective care, allowing her the space to grow into her ownself.

What an amazing father ❤

Palace

Lady Hong inquires LS whereabouts, for she knows he has covertly left the palace grounds. Head eunuch hems and haws and without warning, another has joined in the conversation, SookHui Moon, YJ’s Royal Concubine. You can hear Lady Hong’s force field being activated 🙂

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She hears the prince goes off quite often, so she is naturally worried for his well-being. She suggests Lady Hong to directly report to the king if something bad happens to Crown Prince. Lady Hong says LS is just fine and she ought not to slander him with her assumptions. Lady Hong chastises SookHui Moon for not remembering the hierarchy in the palace and that being a Crown Princess outright puts her at the top of the ladder, “So, mind your language,” so to speak.

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Royal concubine complains to YJ about the cat fight that has just happened. He laughs. How could she pick a fight with the Crown Princess? She wants him to call for LS because he’s the only one who can summon the prince. If he doesn’t turn up immediately, then it would mean he is not within the Palace. She is childish like that, wanting to prove Crown Princess’ that she is “above” her since the King is her partner.

YJ tells her “Now, is not the right time” and you can see the gears moving all at once in his manipulative mind.

LH and Minister Hong

She tells him of her encounter with JD last night. Her father sternly tells her “Speculations are forbidden” Crown Prince is already 20, an age where he’s not recommended to take a royal concubine before becoming king. She’s not worried because of that, she knows JD was a stranger in the palace because she hand picks all the court ladies herself.

She doesn’t want to provide ammunition to SookHui Moon to shoot her down with so she asks her father to gather of a few trusted men to help her curb LS’ activities.

Ahjitoe

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JD inspects the letters/ notes LS brought along, and proclaims it is a fake.  LS is astounded such instances are not just in fiction. JD tells him her novels are based on facts (JG looks on admiringly at this no-nonsense young lady).

JG:  Then how do you explain this one? The forgery had to be made in a short period of time. How could they make it look so old?

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JD demonstrates to them a probable process:

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Needless to say both men are shocked at the results. JD explains that her process was a very rough guesstimate and a professional would’ve noticed her flaws. However, the note that they have was definitely done professionally, and there are only 3 persons who have the skills to pull off such work: Park Yoong Moo, So Chum Jae, Chun Seung Sae.

The last name triggers LS’ memory. He came across that name in the list of witnesses who made a statement. He said HB told him he was on his way to the Royal Tomb. They need to find this man.

CSS and Double Agent Bodyguard

A drunk CSS staggers to find a spot to relief himself. Bodyguard in civilian clothing saunters to his right and reminds him to cease drinking. SS spills secrets when he is sussed. He has been KT’s go-to man for 20 years, so he can’t possibly leak secrets easily. Bodyguard tells him to destroy any evidence and leave town. And stay out until he is called back.

CJ and Minister MS

One of CJ’s men finds out a swordsman from the West has been committing murders and CJ shares this with MS. Once they catch this “shadow” it wouldn’t be difficult to find the Mastermind. The only hurdle is that no one has seen the face of the “shadow killer,” except for one person: Chun Seung Sae. He may be a laborer in the day, but he is a chameleon when in disguise, and has superior forging skills. Dun! Dun! 😮

CSS’ House

Someone is diligent in getting rid of evidence in a bonfire. CJ and MS are on their way to CSS’ place, but the wanted man has already left and cautiously fleeing through the quiet city streets. Until, he gets cornered by the threesome:

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CSS takes his sickle out, willing to fight his way out of an increasingly sticky situation. He throws his bag towards LS, moves a few steps closer and begins to attack LS. However, he is easily disarmed, knocked to the ground..

LS:  LOOK OUT!!

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He grabs JD out of harms’ way, they both fall onto the ground and the arrow nicks LS’s left arm. CSS seizes the moment to run, but is hit by a second arrow. Someone is “taking care of loose ends”. The three of them knew the archer had to be behind them and they quickly move to safety. LS still tries to save the injured CSS who is groaning on the street.  He urges CSS to tell him who would want him dead. Okay, we know it’s not gonna happen.

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Fatal second arrow finds its mark on CSS. Minister MS and CJ who had arrived at the scene also witnessed CSS’ assassination. LS is still focused on reviving his dead lead, and archer prepares to strike on the huddled threesome. However, CJ “Hawkeye” thwarts his aim.

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LS picks up the stray arrow and asks JG to keep is as evidence. JG stops him before he LS could continue on, he needs treatment for his injury. JG suggests to hide the body in the nearest domicile and he will call for the doctor to take care of LS’ wound. After JG ties a tourniquet, LS instructs him to protect JD and runs after the archer anyway.

Swordsmen Showdown

Wearing black and fighting in the night with no street lights can be considered as close to being Jedi Masters o_O

There is a sudden break in the fighting rhythm, and the archer takes this cue as his means to escape. Some battles are just not worth fighting till the end. CJ gives chase and picks up a clue left behind by his opponent: A piece of blood-stained cloth. Good. He’s injured.

CJ and LS

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They meet at the crossroads. CJ says was passing by and saw the assassin, and only realized LS was attacked too. JG and JD joins them. CJ admits he couldn’t defeat the hired killer, and LS surmises that the person must be a professional. He was quite strong, but also injured in the fight, and should have a scar near his left eye.
Dun! Dun! There ain’t any industrial-strength concealers in Joseon times, y’all!

LS thanks CJ for his help, and continues on his journey with JG next to him. JD hangs around a bit longer wanting confirmation from CJ if it REALLY was a coincidence that he saw the attack. The area they were in is belongs to the West group after all.  CJ remains mum. JD wants to continue this discussion with him later, but for now she has to regroup with LS and JG.

Ahjitoe

JG scolds LS for putting himself in danger, and he should be in the palace getting treatment for his injury. LS counters that the Palace will know what he did if he allows the doctors to treat him.  JG is beside himself. The nation would have lost their Crown Prince moments ago!

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LS is thinking about the missing sketchbook and the Saechek book. They only found the connection to CSS earlier that day, and he is more angry that they lost yet another life that night and afraid he will lose even more.

What if they are right? What if HB and JW died because of the conspiracies and the people behind them can control everyone from peasants to the police chief.

JG:  It’s just a theory!

LS:  What if it’s not a theory and it’s really true?! They don’t care about people’s lives. They’re just sitting at the palace playing politics. We should serve our civilians like the sky? That’s NOT what I’m saying. But at the very least, their lives should be as precious as ours are. That’s the only way we’re qualified to rule the country.

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WOOOTT!!

JG:  Treatment. [looks to JD] Can you treat him without any mistakes? (I will do my best – JD)

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Let’s start…

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Reporting to KT

Double agent confirms JD’s identity during their impromptu meeting at night. KT says he should’ve gotten rid of her first before CSS. It was his plan, but someone interrupted him. Now he worries LS will connect CSS to the West gang and then hell’s gate will break loose. KT tells him to calm down. She may have witnessed the murder, but she didn’t see his face. They, on the other hand, know how She Looks like.

Ahjitoe

JD puts on the finishing touches to the dressing on LS’ injury. He tells her this is as far he allows her to be involved in the investigation. JD knows the enemy has an inkling of their plan and she is likely to be next on their list. She understands the need to sit out for her own safety, but not for the investigation. She offers to be the bait since they would logically go after her next, and that’s the best way to nab them –

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LS:  What is the limit of your bravery? (Well… I haven’t tested it yet – JD) Thank you. Thank you for coming all the way to the palace alone for the truth. and for your bravery and willingness to play bait, but I can’t accept your wishes. As much as I want to catch the criminal, I can’t put you in danger. Never again… never again. I don’t want to lose anyone ever again. [He holds her arms] You can support that, right?

LS meets JD’s dad outdoors and informs him he will find a place for JD as soon as her returns to the palace. Both men have JD’s safety on their minds.

"Stay safe."

“Stay safe.”

 

Palace

LH now has a runner to keep an eye on LS’ whereabouts…

"Don't lose him like you did today"

“Don’t ever lose the Prince like you did today. Follow his every move.”

 

LS’ Private Room in Palace

How did they figure out where they were that night so quickly? Is there a spy within? JG suggests they ought to be suspicious or Park Moon Soo as well because he’s the only other person who knows about their covert ops.

MS’ room

CJ and MS are discussing whether CSS forged only those two documents. If the criminal did something before delivering the Maenge…

Double Agent’s room

DRAT. HE has The Maenge now… or does he?

Flashback: CSS is forging a letter with the bodyguard looking on.

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"The real war starts Now..."

“The real war starts Now…”

LS’ quarters

It is deep into the night when LS finally steps into his private quarters. The room is dark, but there is a sound of flint being struck. Geez. It’s the King. He had been waiting for LS in the dark? o_O How creepy is that?! And darn it, his father is gonna notice the blood-stained sleeve too.

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Father demands to know who dared to hurt the Crown Prince.

LS:  I shouldn’t be the one answering that. It should be you. Father, who are the people threatening you? (Threatening? Who do you mean? – YJ) Is it the people who killed HB? (What are you talking about? – YJ) Why are they threatening you? (How are you still Not over that case? – YJ) If I’m wrong, why did Captain Hong become a Byungpan?

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The prince ain’t a child anymore and he’s growing up FAST.

YJ:  Are you curious?

Byungjopanso’s Office

Captain Hong is going through records like a fine-toothed comb. The other officers have given up scouring piles of records at a separate table. Despite the mess, Captain Hong knows exactly where the said records are. YJ and LS are standing just outside the office, listening to the Captain barking to his team. They enter the room, YJ spouts off the number of royal ships and ports they have. He demonstrates his depth of knowledge of the matter at hand. Captain Hong has found a discrepancy which highlights the issue of corruption in just the area of ship maintenance.

Back at YJ’s place, he explains to LS Captain Hong’s diligence in unearthing all those blind spots in the reports within just 4 days of becoming Byungpan. He asks if that is all true about HB. Yes, he was murdered at Soopogyo and there was a witness too.

YJ maintains he doesn’t know why or who, and even IF he did know, he’d ever give him up. So, what will LS do? He asks YJ to join him on the throne:

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YJ:  I hire the retainers that I need, rather than the retainers that who are perfect. That’s a reality that you need to learn. Do you want to dismiss Hong Gye Hee? Would you want him to lose his official title and leave his position? (Not just yet. I don’t have any evidence now. – LS)

Will continue to investigate? (Of course sir – LS) Until when?

LS:  Until I find the one who is pulling all the strings. After I find out who’s behind these murders. I’ll make him pay. Only then will this all be over.

YJ:  Of course you will. That’s what you should do… Son, this great plan should be confidential. You have to keep that in mind. *Binchung is a place (*Royal Conference Hall) full of wicked people, who don’t have loyalty at all. They’ll backstab their friends at any time. Those who wear the robes of loyalty are the toughest.

LS:  I’ll keep that in mind, Father.

LS bows to YJ and takes his leave…

YJ:  Son, inform me first if you find out anything new. Maybe there’s something I can do to help.

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END

YJ’s brain must be synapsing at the speed of light – being in up-to-date with current issues, dodging backstabbing Januses and reining in his Son who is developing his own stiffness in his royal spine.

Game on, dude 😮

 

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