This was a excellently entertaining episode of Scholar Who Walks the Night, probably the one that gets closest to the feels I want from this drama. The vampire stuff feels like gaps are being filled in on the creation and backstory, the fusion stuff gets way racy and romantic thanks to a tub of hot water, and the sageuk elements delivered some methodical plotting that finally feels smart and not hotheaded. This is a great episode to cap off a mostly underwhelming first half run, setting the stage for the second half with real stakes being set properly.
Hye Ryung finally gets more than a millisecond of screen time, and while she’s still not all that sympathetic or likeable, at least her character now has her own backstory. Yoon is now biding his time along with the King, but he’s getting a taste of what his own grandfather had to endure for years by being misunderstood. Sung Yul finds the memoir and learns the secret trick inside to get rid of Gwi, which isn’t a magic formula as much as requiring the formation of the new dynamic duo working together. As much as Gwi had earlier bouts of brain dead posturing, he’s also starting to utilize his smarts and may prove to be way more than Sung Yul and Yoon can handle even if they combine forces.
Episode 10 recap:
Yang Sun grieves over the death of her adopted father, pleading with him to wake up so they can go home. Sung Yul can only watch her agony, as does Yoon when he arrives to take in the scene. He hears that Yang Sun’s fate after this is to become a slave at a government official’s residence.
Sung Yul is determined to rescue Yang Sun from that fate while Soo Hyang urges him to remain patient in case this is a trap by Gwi, and she will do her best to assist him in rescuing Yang Sun. Seriously, she is the best right hand woman ever. Soo Hyang asks about the memoir and hears that Sung Yul knows where it is, but Sung Yul’s mind remains on getting Yang Sun out of danger.
Sung Yul heads to the temple and finds the memoir hidden in a secret compartment under the altar. Yes! Finally we can get this Gwi-destroying business underway.
Sung Yul takes the memoir back home before opening it to peruse. He sees the handwriting of his best friend Prince Jonghyun, writing about how scared he is to go up against a bloodsucking monster and wondering if he can save the people of Joseon. Prince Jonghyun knows that he’ll be dead by the time the memoir is read, and knowing that he is dead worries him about leaving the burden for Sung Yul to carry. Prince Jonghyun thanks Sung Yul for being his one and only best friend and compatriot in life.
Sung Yul reads a list of names Choi Yong Kyo, Jung Geum Ok and more, leading him to wonder if these people are the secret manual to destroying Gwi?
The King is told that everyone who died willingly took the poison to save the royal grandson, and it’s a sacrifice that even the King finds hard to stomach. It reminds the King of when he first heard of Gwi from his father, he was determined to destroy the monster and save the world. But now he’s old and he still hasn’t been able to do it. He asks the Minister if they still have a hope of succeeding? The Minister points out the existence of another vampire, the one who awakened the consort, clearly he is helping them. They cannot give up hope now.
The King addresses the full court to close the Lecherous Scholar matter and give all the credit to the royal grandson Yoon. The King orders the continued effort to deal with the residuals traitors of that conspiracy by ordering a strong punishment and kick them out of court. He purposes asks Yoon for his opinion and Yoon loudly agrees with the King.
The Prime Minister still believes that Yoon is the Lecherous Scholar and asks Gwi for more time to prove it. Gwi screams at him to shut up, he’s more worried that the dead Lecherous Scholar who said he gave the memoir to someone else? What if it’s to Kim Sung Yul? The Prime Minister points out Yoon and the King may be in cahoots as the Lecherous Scholar conspiracy, and plotting against Gwi this whole time. Hye Ryung arrives per Gwi’s summons and her dad the Prime Minister is told to leave so Gwi can speak to her alone.
Gwi wants to discuss their plan to capture Kim Sung Yul, mentioning that he’s fallen for a human girl which is his weakness. He wants Hye Ryung to keep an eye on the daughter of the dead bookseller as Kim Sung Yul will stay near her.
Yang Sun is taken away with the rest of the family members of the Lecherous Scholar cohorts to be slaves.
Sung Yul discusses the findings in the memoir of the names listed. Ho Jin wonders if those people are stronger than Gwi – Lee Hyo Yong, Choi Yong Kyu, Jung Geum Ok, etc. Sung Yul assigns Ho Jin to find these names in the household registers from 120 years ago and then trace down their lineage to the current family. Sung Yul hears from Soo Hyang that Yoon has totally changed, siding with the old guard ministers and even personally stripping his good friend of his official position.
Yoon sits with the King and the Minister, discussing how he is willing to be patient and put on this docile act after learning the hard lesson. As Yoon heads to survey the guards, his friend stops to ask if it’s true that Yoon recommended that all the Sungkyunkwan scholars who criticized the government be exiled? Yoon coldly points out that he doesn’t need to explain himself to a former official who had his position stripped. He warns his friend not to do anything rash, and that he’s no longer the Lecherous Scholar that his friend used to serve. His friend still doesn’t believe Yoon has changed and discarded him while letting Yang Sun become a slave – so his friend will patiently wait for Yoon to come back. Awwwww, love this friendship. Yoon can barely hold it together and walks away.
Yoon goes to survey the troops at the residence where Yang Sun is now a slave, and he purposely looks around for her when he’s walking through the courtyard. He spots her shuffling through the courtyard while carrying a jug of salt. Yoon walks over and takes in Yang Sun’s injured and disheveled appearance while she asks if he feels bad? Yoon candidly says yes but Yang Sun won’t accept it even if he apologizes a hundred or thousand times.
Yang Sun almost calls him hyung but stops herself, telling Yoon that he’s committed an unforgiveable act against her. So he needs to atone for it by saving the people of the world, and finish what the Lecherous Scholar started. But she doesn’t want him to show up before her again, she doesn’t ever want to see him. Yoon agrees that he won’t show up before her again, he was just temporarily blinded but is happy that those who deserved to be punished have gotten their just ending.
As Yoon walks away, Yang Sun drops the jug of salt and the minister runs over to scream at her for ruining such an expensive product. Hye Ryung is watching from the distance and knows that Yang Sun doesn’t just have Kim Sung Yul watching over her, she also has the royal grandson. Hye Ryung wonders who Yang Sun is to have such strong backing.
Soo Hyang and Sung Yul bribe an official to purchase Yang Sun as a slave from her current household. Sung Yul asks about the Prime Minister and hears that he and his daughter hate each other. The Prime Minister’s rise to power is also a source of great gossip, originally he was a lowly official from a small province but rose quickly to power due to the gossip that he offered his daughter to a powerful person to achieve his rise. It’s also the reason why his wife fell ill.
Hye Ryung returns home to find her dad waiting in her room, demanding to know what Gwi said to her. When she turns to leave, he warns that she won’t be the Crown Princess anytime soon if she continues to oppose him. All he needs to do is remove the royal grandson as the Crown Prince and her Crown Princess dreams are over. He reveals that Yoon is the real Lecherous Scholar and soon he will offer hard evidence to Gwi, at which time the Crown Prince will have to kneel before him.
Sung Yul takes in the information that Hye Ryung may have been offered to Gwi in order for her father to attain his current powerful position. Hye Ryung pays a visit to the gisaeng house and runs into Sung Yul, who pointedly ignores her this time. He stops in his tracks when Hye Ryung mentions seeing Yang Sun as a slave now and looking very frail. Sung Yul asks about Yang Sun and Hye Ryung mentions seeing her with someone else. She was with the royal grandson and talking for some time. Hye Ryung ends at that and walks away.
Yang Sun is told to move all the hay bales by morning time as punishment for wasting all that expensive salt. Yang Sun gets to work moving the hay to the storage room but eventually her injuries take its toll and she collapses.
Hye Ryung goes home and runs into her mom on her hands and needs scouring the wall in the garden. She’s looking for the wild flowers she planted there for her daughter Hye Ryung but can’t find it anymore. She cries, wanting the flowers there when her Hye Ryung comes back. Hye Ryung coldly orders her maid to help the Madam back to her room. Hye Ryung’s mom stares right at Hye Ryung before asking the maid if she’s seen Hye Ryung. Clearly her mind is gone and she doesn’t know her daughter anymore.
Soo Hyang reports to Sung Yul that there are tens of people with the same names as listed in the memoir, so it would be over a hundred to find all the people with the same names as those written. Sung Yul is frustrated, especially since this isn’t like Prince Jonghyun to leave such a vague clue. He flips through the memoir again and realizes that the page after the names doesn’t have anything written.
Sung Yul finds a hidden page between the two pages and inside reads the secret manual – From the mother’s lineage, the ability to be King: a King’s ability is the true talent of becoming a King. He remembers what the Master said to him, that humans summoned Gwi so to get rid of Gwi requires the will of the human. That is why the Master won’t help the royal family get rid of Gwi, because the Gwi family is willing to submit to Gwi in order to maintain power. Sung Yul is now certain that Yoon and himself are the keys to destroying Gwi.
Ho Jin hands the slave acquisition letter to the minister owning Yang Sun and finds her near death in the stable. He’s allowed to take her away and Ho Jin quickly carries her back to Sung Yul.
Soo Hyang wonders what the “mother’s lineage” phrase means? He wonders if they need to find out who is the mother’s side of the royal family for the clue to get rid of Gwi.
Ho Jin tearfully brings Yang Sun back to Sung Yul and he quickly takes her away after ordering a tub of hot water. Ho Jin stops Soo Hyang from getting involved so that Sung Yul can do his thing. Sung Yul carries Yang Sun and climbs into a tub of hot water. Sung Yul removes Yang Sun’s jacket to expose her skin to the water. He then slices his palms and lets his blood spread in the water and cover Yang Sun.
Sung Yul is clearly suffering after losing blood and finds himself tempted by Yang Sun’s scent. He thinks to himself that he’s scared of Yang Sun because he’s scared of being around her, she makes him want to be a human again and live a life able to love another. Sung Yul scoops the bloody water over Yang Sun and watches as her cuts heal. He then pulls her into his arms tenderly, hugging her tight as she heals. Soo Hyang stands outside clearly suffering as she sees what is happening inside.
Hye Ryung is at the temple praying and Yoon finds her when he arrives to look for his mother. He sees her prayer to the plaque of the Lecherous Scholar. Yoon angrily chastises Hye Ryung when he hears that she’s praying for the deceased since it’s a dangerous position to take. Hye Ryung argues that she’s done nothing wrong to pray for the afterlife of those who died. Yoon demands to know who told her to do this and his mom announces that she asked Hye Ryung to do this.
Yoon sits with his mom and hears that those who died were carrying out the work of Crown Prince Sado so she wanted to pray for their afterlife. Yoon’s mom freaks out when Yoon lets slip that he wants to follow in the same footsteps. Yoon just asks to spend the night at the temple because he hasn’t slept well in a long time and wants a good night’s sleep. Hye Ryung stands outside the room and overhears this conversation, confirming that Yoon is the Lecherous Scholar.
Hye Ryung’s guard suggests that she was being too risky to stand outside, if Yoon’s mother saw then it would be clear that Hye Ryung was approaching her with ulterior motives. Hye Ryung coldly tells him that she did not give him permission to speak.
Sung Yul watches over Yang Sun as she regains consciousness. Yang Sun strokes Sung Yul’s face and he lets her as she sleepily wants to warm his face up. Sung Yul smiles and takes Yang Sun’s hand but she grabs tight and asks that he not leave. She asks him to just stay like this beside her.
Sung Yul takes Yang Sun’s hand tightly and leans in towards her face before promising that he won’t go anywhere. Yang Sun smiles and confesses that she really likes Sung Yul, she really really likes him. Sung Yul thinks to himself that he really likes her too but he lets his actions convey the confession. Sung Yul leans in to kiss Yang Sun on the forehead dropping his kiss to her lips. Yang Sun closes her eyes at the tender kiss and afterwards Sung Yul says “all I can do now is this, but I promise afterwards there will be no more incidents that will happen with me around.”
Sung Yul tells Yang Sun to go back to sleep since she’s clearly exhausted still but she asks him to not leave her side before falling asleep.
Sung Yul wants to still send Yang Sun and her family away to safety but Ho Jin dares to ask if Sung Yul really has to do it. Even dense Ho Jin can tell that Sung Yul likes Yang Sun and he’s been living the last hundred twenty years in lonely suffering, can’t he have some happiness now. Sung Yul is determined to disappear from this world after he destroys Gwi. Soo Hyang walks by and overhears this.
Yang Sun’s adopted mother goes to the temple to pray for her deceased husband and asks the monk to pray for her husband. She hears that her husband was praying her for the last ten years and finally figures out that Yang Sun is the child of Teacher Seo.
Yang Sun has a nightmare from the night her dad died, seeing her dad turn into a vampire and then attack her. She awakens to see little sister Dam beside her, so relieved that she’s back safe and sound. Yang Sun apologizes for coming back alone and not being able to save their dad. Dam knows her unni did nothing wrong and doesn’t need to apologize. Dam is ready to leave for Jeju and start a new life, mentioning that the Scholar has prepared for their departure.
Sung Yul discusses with Ho Jin about the secret in the memoir and how it requires the help of the royal grandson. He needs to confirm that Yoon also has the same goal of destroying Gwi. Ho Jin brings up Yang Sun leaving today with her family and how Sung Yul won’t see her again. Sung Yul doesn’t change his mind and order Ho Jin to ready the departure.
Yang Sun waits around to see Sung Yul but Ho Jin follows orders and lies that Sung Yul is out and somewhere fare away. After Yang Sun leaves is when Sung Yul opens the door to his study.
Yang Sun’s adopted mother asks Soo Hyang if the Teacher Seo that her husband has been praying for is a very powerful person. She hears that Teacher Seo served the Crown Prince ten years ago and died as a traitor along with him. Yang Sun’s adopted mom says that the child of a traitor must also be a traitor as well.
Yang Sun’s adopted mother goes back and slaps Yang Sun when she calls her mom. She declares that she is not Yang Sun’s mom and blames her for causing people around her to die. Yang Sun keeps apologizing to her but the mom coldly orders her to leave and never show up before her. She refuses to leave for Jeju if it means going with Yang Sun.
Ho Jin tries to salvage the situation and get everyone on the ship for Jeju. The mom screams that Yang Sun is not her daughter and also not the daughter of her husband. She tells Yang Sun that her real father is Teacher Seo Jung Do, a yangban who became a traitor. If she stays around them then they will all suffer for having the child of a traitor around.
Sung Yul pays a visit to Yoon in the palace, handing over Prince Jonghyun’s memoir and facing Yoon directly for the first time. Sung Yul admits he’s not a human and is a vampire. One hundred twenty years ago, he was Prince Jonghyun’s best friend and was turned into a vampire. Ten years ago he heard about the memoir from Yoon’s father and recently finally found it. Yoon asks why Sung Yul is giving him the memoir and hears that Sung Yul is here to confirm Yoon’s real intentions?
Sung Yul flips to the page with the secret message and asks if Yoon wants to destroy Gwi? If so then he needs to come to see Sung Yul and at that time Sung Yul will give him the memoir. Sung Yul takes back the memoir and vanishes. On his way back, Ho Jin finds Sung Yul and reveals the whole mess that just went down with Yang Sun’s adopted mother.
Soo Hyang keeps trying to get everyone to get on the ship for Jeju but the mother won’t budge. Yang Sun declares she won’t go and urges her mom and Dam to leave without her. Dam won’t leave without her unni. Yang Sun wishes her mother well and asks that if her mom is willing to see her one day then she will come see her. Yang Sun asks Soo Hyang to help send her mom and Dam on the cart for the port. Soo Hyang urges Yang Sun to go with them otherwise she might be taken back as a slave again.
Soo Hyang tells Sung Yul what happened, that Yang Sun is not the real daughter of the Jo family and is really the daughter of Teacher Seo Jung Do. From Sung Yul’s reaction it’s clear he already knew. He asks where Yang Sun went but Soo Hyang doesn’t know since she didn’t try to keep Yang Sun from leaving.
The King takes Yoon to tour the new palace being constructed, explaining that this palace will serve as the base for destroying Gwi. The King is going to battle Gwi is own way and that’s why he’s been so insistent on getting the new palace constructed.
Hye Ryung goes to see Gwi and asks if Yoon will be removed as the Crown Prince. She heard that he was the Lecherous Scholar? Gwi explains that if Yoon is indeed the real Lecherous Scholar then he won’t let Yoon take the throne. Hye Ryung doesn’t care who is the next King as long as the spot beside that King is reserved for her. Hye Ryung was given to Gwi by her dad so that he could achieve power, so all Hye Ryung wants is to one day have a position higher than her dad so that no one can control her or her mom.
Gwi likes Hye Ryung for this reason, for her intelligence. She reminds him of a woman he once knew who was also smart and ambitious. It was a woman he loved, the first time he fell for a human woman. Hye Ryung asks what became of that woman and hears that Gwi killed her. He had no choice because she carried his child without his position. Legend has it that if a vampire has a child with a human, the child will kill the vampire. Hye Ryung asks about that child and Gwi thinks the child died and this all went down over two hundred years ago.
Yang Sun leaves and wanders through the forest, thinking about all the happy moments with her adopted family. She finally arrives at a cliff. Sung Yul is vampire running through the forest to look for Yang Sun but he’s not in the best shape having lost so much blood to heal her. Yang Sun is about to jump off the cliff when Sung Yul grabs her by the wrist to stop her suicidal idiocy.
Thoughts of Mine:
Just as Yang Sun takes giant strides to growing up and thinking strategically in the last episode, she goes and ruins it at the end of this episode with her suicide attempt. Really? I know she’s suffering but her adopted mother’s rejection could NOT possibly be worse than what she went through in the last episode. Her adopted mother never liked her to begin with, and Dam remains forever on her side. Learning she was adopted is a big blow but she just lost her adopted dad who died to save her, I think that ought to be proof enough that she was wanted and loved. And if she feels guilty about causing the pain and suffering, then she ought to figure out that exactly is going on before jumping off a cliff. I’ve never liked her think first tendencies and seeing it again was a disappointment. Conversely I can’t connect with Hye Ryung for her think all the time with zero feelings dispassionate plotting. I’m not trying to be Goldilocks here but the drama writing is really hampering both female leads, it just so happens in diametrically opposite ways. Hye Ryung serves as plot filler and a Greek chorus of sorts, observing and repeating important information, but with no personality or agency of her own. And now, her plan to become the Crown Princess to rub her daddy under her feet isn’t enough to make her actions compelling to watch.
Thankfully the drama waited until now to drop the hot tub and bed kiss scenes on us. At the speed things were moving with Sung Yul and Yang Sun earlier on, I wouldn’t be surprised if it went there and everyone had a collective WTF. Now it’s better earned and I see why Sung Yul is finally willing to let down his guard with Yang Sun more. The tub scene was itself quite sexy but sadly that set up didn’t extend all the way to how the two leads sold it. Same with the bed kiss, both of which continues with the writing that makes it seem like a dream to Yang Sun and/or she’s unconscious when it happens. At this point I also think it makes sense to bring Yang Sun into the knowledge that Sung Yul is a vampire, she already knows about Gwi and it makes her seem way clueless to see all the special powers Sung Yul wields and not have questions about it. At least Yoon knows about Sung Yul, and the ball is in his court whether he wants to align with a vampire to off another vampire. I wonder what the King’s big plan is to destroy Gwi? Chances are he’ll bit it as well and leave Yoon an orphan and having a country to run. He’s already got major stakes, I can’t wait to see the stakes upped for his character. I love everything about Yoon, including his friendships and struggles, it’ll be interesting to see how he turns covert opposition into open confrontation, but with a game plan in place.
Learning about Gwi’s past, including his love of a human woman, came a bit late to fully resurrect my interest in his character. Doling out information has NOT been this drama’s forte. But hearing that he may have a child out there, and of course that kid survived and now had progeny that can be traced 200 years later to the present time line, is the stuff that makes this drama meaty finally. Who can it be? Who is the descendant of the vampire-human romance, the one that led to Gwi killing the woman he loved. No wonder he was extra keen on seeing Sung Yul kill Myung Hee, he may be sadistic but a lot of that is rooted in his own painful past and likely forced actions because he was a vampire. I am surprised he revealed such a huge tidbit of information to Rye Hyung, whatever she’s done to serve him up until this point doesn’t seem to warrant the trust he places in her. She’s as self-serving as her father, except he doesn’t have an excuse to sell out his own daughter other than selfishness, whereas she’s operating from revenge and for future security. If the drama wants Yoon to end up with her, since Yang Sun is clearly going with Sung Yul come hell or high water, then the writing better start developing that connection. Right now Hye Ryung is zero for zero in her attempts to get close to either Sung Yul or Yoon has been embarrassing to watch. It doesn’t help that she has no charisma, whereas Yang Sun may be birdbrained but is sweet and kind enough to explain why all the guys like her. At the end of the day, I guess the Candy girl really does have all the luck, even in a fantasy version of Joseon with vampires and princes who look like male models.
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