Bossam: Stealing Fate Episode 18 Recap

Dae-yeop closes his eyes, expecting to be killed for stealing the secret agreement that would expose his family’s treason. But instead of killing him, VP Lee kneels and presents his sword (rather, Tae-chul’s sword), calling him a prince. Not only that, but Dae-yeop is the son of Prince Imhae, the elder brother of Gwanghae, and thus in direct line for the throne.  

Dae-yeop runs to Lady Haeindang, hurt beyond words that the only person who was kind to him in that house lied to him all his life. Didn’t she ever think of calling him her son? Lady Haeindang says that she kept silent to save him, since he would have been killed like his father if his identity was revealed. She even tried to follow Prince Imhae in death, but VP Lee didn’t let her. Now she is watched every moment of the day. Still, despite her miserable existence, she was happy to be able to breastfeed Dae-yeop and live in the same house. Dae-yeop vows that he will never forgive her for deceiving him.

He stays up all night. VP Lee drops by, addressing him as a royal. Dae-yeop states plainly that he has no wish to be king. VP Lee tries to convince him that as the eldest son of the late king, Prince Imhae would have naturally inherited the throne had not the corrupt and treacherous Gwanghae killed him in 1609. Ming Empire also approved of Imhae. Dae-yeop replies that he thought King Seonjo had planned to hand the throne to his legitimate son Grand Prince Yeongchang, but VP Lee says the Western faction made that up. Besides, Yeongchang was a mere babe at the time.

[Historical note: VP Lee is leaving out the the important detail that Seonjo named Gwanghae Crown Prince in 1592 and fled with Imhae, leaving the more competent Gwanghae to deal with the Japanese invasions. Grand Prince Yeongchang was born in 1606].

Dae-yeop is still not convinced. Is there any proof of his identity? VP Lee explains that Prince Imhae’s wife is still alive, and even though she’s never heard of Dae-yeop, he is sure that she would vouch for him and seize the opportunity to become queen dowager. He stands up to leave, casually mentioning a final thought: “The king has no shame”. If Dae-yeop becomes king, he can even have the princess. Dae-yeop pulls out his sword in a rage. VP Lee seems pleased at his violent potential and leaves.

[Note: Historically Prince Imhae had a real son who became a Buddhist monk, Yi Tae-ung. Last episode I thought Dae-yeop was based on Yi Tae-eung but it seems he’s a fictional son from another consort. How in the world did Lady Haeindang get involved with Imhae? Also, royals cannot marry within the same Yi clan, so what VP Lee is suggesting is utterly scandalous].

Dae-yeop is in the stages of denial and grief. So, this is why Lady Haeindang kept telling him to stay away from the princess? Soo-kyung is his first cousin, so it would be unnatural and immoral for him to marry her. He blurts out that he will seize the throne, take the princess as his consort, and make his mother the Queen Dowager. After all, things don’t happen the way we want them to. He didn’t ask to be born her son and the son of a traitor. Lady Haeindang slaps him, crying that he knows nothing about his father or how he died. Dae-yeop wonders if there’s another secret he doesn’t know.

Lady Haeindang goes to VP Lee and directly accuses him of wanting a puppet king. VP Lee argues that the throne rightfully belongs to Dae-yeop, bla bla bla. Lady Haeindang can see through him: if Dae-yeop is not easily controlled, will he kill him too? She threatens to reveal the final secret which VP Lee has hidden from Dae-yeop: when Prince Imhae was in exile on Ganghwa Island, VP Lee sent assassins to kill him.

Meanwhile Dae-yeop cries over his collection of Soo-kyung’s drawings and burns them, together with his memories. (OST 9 makes this scene even more heartbreaking).

The next day Dae-yeop and Ba-woo are on palace duty. They talk at a quiet spot. Dae-yeop apologizes for failing to stop his father’s treacherous plot. Ba-woo doesn’t hold it against him. He says he dreamed they were friends who drank together, and who called each other “brother-in-law”. Dae-yeop says sadly that it might happen in their next life because his current life is a never-ending hell. “Why is a Confucian scholar talking about reincarnation?” asks Ba-woo.

Getting to the point, Dae-yeop says that Ba-woo’s status will probably be the first thing to be retracted (since they’ve failed to stop VP Lee). The princess will be targeted next. He advises them to leave Joseon. “But then you won’t see her ever again”, says Ba-woo. Dae-yeop replies that nothing matters if she can be happy. He rambles on that the princess was always bright and cheerful, and that he would love to swap bodies with Ba-woo… Hearing this, Ba-woo is concerned, but Dae-yeop can’t explain any more than that. Dae-yeop offers his help: “I may not be your friend, but I will be your comrade, at least”. He stops as he leaves and asks Ba-woo: “Was I happy in that dream of yours?”

Ba-woo keeps looking for the royal cook who helped poison the late king Seonjo. He asks his contacts, the gisaeng and his street friend, to look out for a man called “Kim Ik-su”, who should be around sixty years old now.

Chun-bae is happily smelling flowers when Ba-woo arrives at home. Chun-bae giggles that he’s doing well with Court Lady Jo, which the women happen to overhear. Court Lady Jo drops her basket and runs away.

Dae-yeop sits in his room brooding. Then he goes to VP Lee’s study and takes the upper seat. VP Lee is pleased as a pickle because that means that Dae-yeop has accepted his fate as someone higher in authority. Without wasting any time, Dae-yeop states that he wants to know VP Lee’s plans. VP Lee’s eyebrows go up. He replies that Dae-yeop doesn’t have to know.

Dae-yeop scoffs: “As I thought, all this time, you have raised me as a tool, not as your son.” VP Lee seems a bit perplexed. Dae-yeop continues, getting more agitated. He always wondered why his mother didn’t like him and why VP Lee wasn’t hard on him like on his brothers, who were always jealous of him. Even a nephew is treated as a child of the family, but he received no affection from anyone. He storms out. Somebody hug this boy before he does something crazy.

At the palace, Gwanghae is drinking, and he’s in a bad mood because no evidence of VP Lee’s treason can be found. He latches onto Kim Ja-jeom. Didn’t he deceive the king a while ago by saying the princess had died? Kim Ja-jeom replies with the classic “Jeonha, kill me!”. Gwanghae throws his goblet at Kim Ja-jeom and screams that he should find evidence ASAP if he doesn’t want to die. Losing it, the king then crawls towards Ba-woo. “You said it was all crap. I am the king, but I cannot even kill the man who tried to kill my daughter!”. Ba-woo replies with the formal expression “Your grace is immeasurable”. Gwanghae laughs at the empty expression and calls for more alcohol.

As they leave the palace, Kim Ja-jeom counsels Ba-woo to not put his trust completely in Gwanghae. He invites Ba-woo to join the Westerners in their gatherings at the home of Prince Neungyang, another of Seonjo’s grandsons. The prince wants to meet Ba-woo.

Lady Jeong is worried that things are not going well between Ba-woo and Soo-kyung because they use separate rooms. Very awkwardly, she asks Soo-kyung if they are a real couple. Soo-kyung affirms that she is her daughter-in-law and her son’s wife, not a princess. In that case, says Lady Jeong happily, she looks forward to seeing Cha-dol’s little brother soon.

That evening Soo-kyung embroiders while Ba-woo reads, which seems to be their usual routine. He gets up to leave but she tells him to stay. His eyes go wide. She wants to know if he dislikes her or if the king commanded him to behave in a certain way. He replies that he wants to protect her. Ba-woo steps outside for a moment.

When he calls her outside, Soo-kyung finds a straw mat and a bowl of water in a corner of the garden. Ba-woo says that he has nothing to offer her but his heart. He asks her to be his wife for real.

She’s so happy that she cries. She replies that she would like to live with him forever. They have the sweetest simplest wedding ever. He places a ring on her finger and a flower coronet on her head, and they bow at each other to complete the ceremony. Lady Jeong is ecstatic to see two pairs of shoes outside the room that night.

The next morning Ba-woo and Chun-bae stake out the street where the royal cook might show up. An old man sees them and darts off, looking very agile for his age. Ba-woo and Chun-bae chase him across the city only to end up at… a meeting of VP Lee and the Northerners. The royal cook cowers behind VP Lee’s back and Ba-woo and Chun-bae are forced to retreat. The conspirators set a date for the revolt: the next full moon. They have enough troops, so they only need to persuade the general of training (Lee Hong-rip) to not mobilize the capital forces that day.

At the palace, Kim Gae-si is doing the king’s nails when VP Lee arrives with his three main supporters and the royal cook in tow. Kim Gae-si recognizes the man immediately. She whispers into the king’s ear. The king roars to get the cook out of the room. He also orders the other ministers to leave. Tellingly, they don’t leave when Gwanghae tells them too, only when VP Lee clears his throat.

Gwanghae observes that the ministers are acting like VP Lee’s subjects. VP Lee protests.

Gwanghae: “You don’t even bother to say, Your grace is immeasurable anymore, do you?”

VP Lee: “Your grace is immeasurable, Your Majesty”.

Gwanghae understands that VP Lee is threatening him with the cook. He asks if he should just retract the restoration of status of Kim Je-nam’s family (Ba-woo’s family). VP Lee remains silent… he wants something else. Gwanghae begs him to forget about the princess. He will make sure that she never leaves the Jeong Eob Won (temple for widowed consorts). VP Lee tells him to let it go. The princess is already dead. Broken, Gwanghae agrees to retract the restoration of Kim Je-nam’s family and hand over the princess if VP Lee kills the cook. VP Lee thanks him: “Your grace is immeasurable, Your Majesty”. The king screams: “What exactly is immeasurable?”

He orders the Royal Secretariat to revoke the reinstatement of Kim Je-nam’s status. What is more, he orders that the corpses of those executed in 1613 be dug up and beheaded.

VP Lee’s ministers wonder if it’s necessary to go to so much trouble regarding Kim Je-nam’s family. After all, the coup will happen soon. VP Lee smirks and says it will distract the king and be a good warning to the Westerners as well.

Once again, VP Lee heads to the Kim household. And once again, he finds no one. Royal guard Jung Yeong has taken matters into his own hand and warned Ba-woo. Jung Yeong gets berated by Kim Gae-si on his return to the palace for going against the king’s will without consulting her. Ba-woo and family hide out at the gisaeng house. He convinces Lady Jeong and Yeon-ok to take Cha-dol to Sangwon Temple.

As for himself and Soo-kyung, they decide to hide where VP Lee would never imagine. Soo-kyung suggests the Western Palace, where Queen Dowager Inmok is confined. It’s heavily guarded though. Ba-woo meets up with Dae-yeop and tells him their plan.

That night four figures scale the walls of the Western Palace. Unfortunately they take a bit too long to decide who goes first. Court Lady Jo and Ba-woo manage to climb over the wall, but soldiers arrive. They beat Chun-bae and catch Soo-kyung as she desperately holds onto Ba-woo’s hand. Ba-woo staves off a pike with his other hand.

End of episode

The stress!!! I hope Ba-woo doesn’t join the Westerners, and I hope Dae-yeop doesn’t try something crazy by himself. I want our princess to live as a proud and free woman for more than one day. Am I hoping for too much?

33 thoughts on “Bossam: Stealing Fate Episode 18 Recap

    1. It reminded me of a scene in The Barber of Seville. The count has gone, together with his loyal Figaro, to abduct his beloved Rosina and the three of them sing “Silently and quietly, without any confusion, by the balcony ladder we will get away from here”. They repeat this endlessly in various formations (while the audience screams inwardly “Get your asses out of there instead of singing!), long enough for Rosina’s tutor to hear them and storm into the room.

      Liked by 3 people

      1. Spot on, @irmar! If Rosina, Figaro, and Count Almaviva did not get caught, there would be no grand finale. Just like opera, drama has its own rules, which do not always follow logic and common sense. We needed a dramatic cliffhanger to set up the endgame, and we got one.

        Liked by 1 person

  1. Oh dear, the stress! I gasped when I read your fan wall post. Guess I’ve been in denial but “this show is ending next week” makes me so sad. Very sincere gratitude for your time and effort on these recaps and to all who have deep knowledge and respect for Korean history for their contributions.
    It has been great fun to share the love of this beautiful drama with you and the rest of the Bossam Beanies. I feel that this writing team will allow us to imagine what we all wish for – our outlaw family able to live in peace and good health. Maybe on Je Ju Island?

    Liked by 3 people

  2. Ah the stress! At this point, I kind of hope for the Westerners to make a move. We know that such a move will lead to Gwanghae’s dethronement, but it will also remove VP Lee. Please writernim, give us a good ending, for Cha Dol’s sake!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Historical spoilers ahead!
      Unfortunately, the king and ministers who got the power after Gwanghee were even worse, and surely more incapable, since they caused the Later Jin (Manchu since 1635) invasions.
      Yes, the Sinister Minister and the Cunning Court Lady met a bad fate. Gwanghae, however, didn’t. He was exiled in Jeju island where he lived a long (for that time) life. I assume his headaches got much better or even stopped altogether.
      This drama sure shows us how stressful a king’s life was. Makes one wonder why on earth would one want that job.

      Liked by 2 people

      1. Poor Gwanghae did live a long life, but he was all alone on Jeju Island. The crown prince and his wife, and also the queen all died shortly after the coup…😭

        Liked by 1 person

      2. @Snow Flower,

        The saddest thing is that Gwanghae lived to see Joseon go through 2 devasted Manchu invasions that he could have prevented if the Westerners didn’t over-threw him. All his hard work to rebuild the country went down the trained.

        Like

      3. True, that. And not even the satisfaction of being able to say “I told you so ” to the relevant people.

        Like

  3. DY sure does a lot of brooding in this. I’m glad that he somehow worked through his grief and didn’t go to the dark side. “Was I happy in that dream of yours?”, oh my heart! And even BW and DY mourn the bromance that could have been…
    On a lighter note, when Lady Haeindang slapped DY, someone on Viki commented “She gave him a slap from the grave”. I propose we keep “slap from the grave” in our archives – together with seaweed slap 😂

    Liked by 4 people

    1. I wish we got more of Lady Haeindang’s backstory. I didn’t find much info on Prince Imhae, but what I read is that he was quite incompetent and violent. I wonder why she should defend him even with a “slap from the grave”.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Prince Imhae’s father, King Seonjo, was cruel (I want to call him the a-word) to bid his sons against each other. Of course, Prince Imhae would be bitter for being overshadowed by his little brother. Sadly, their mother died while they were so young. Imhae was 5, and Gwanghae was just 2 years old. They were left without a mother’s love and guidance.
        Even more devasting for Gwanghae was the lack of backing from his mother’s side. His grandfather died during the war, so he relied heavily on Lord Naean, VP Lee, and the Northerners.
        I think if Lord Naean was healthy and younger, he would have done a better job than VP Lee. As a war medic, he cared for the people.

        Like

      2. Ha ha, we finally got something, although not much, in episode 20. Including the fact (no major spoiler here) that Haeindang is the name of the building (an annex to her brother’s house) she lives in!
        But let’s wait to discuss all this in the proper place, when the last two recaps come.

        Like

  4. “Dae-yeop vows that he will never forgive her for deceiving him.”
    DY truly has no understanding of the world he lives in. Does he truly not get that Lady H opening her mouth would have meant his death? Is he incapable of understanding the life his mother has led?

    “Dae-yeop wonders if there’s another secret he doesn’t know.”
    Do you think? In the Royal court? Are you really that dumb?

    Shave your head and become a monk, DY.

    As you can tell, I don’t have much sympathy for DY right now. I also need to go off into a corner and contemplate. Sigh.

    Like

    1. 😂😂😂I do believe that was his grief and shock speaking. He looked much calmer the next day. But I don’t think he’d make a good king anyway. He’s too hot-headed. VP Lee would probably turn him into a tyrant.

      Liked by 2 people

      1. He is smart not to covet the throne for revenge. The capable Gwanghae couldn’t do much with VP Lee and the Northerners controlling his own court. This whole drama was about them going back and forth, trying to force each other to retire.

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    2. Da-yeop in his anger is being illogical, but I feel that because Lady Haeindang was the only one who showed him any genuine love, it makes the hurt all the more strong. At least what he saw from his other family members was what he got. He can’t freely (or rather, he doesn’t feel he can freely) vent his hurt and frustration to the others, so his mother serves as an easier target. At least, this is how I interpret his behavior.

      Liked by 2 people

    3. I do have sympathy for him for everything else, he’s been dealt a really harsh fate, for someone who looked so promising from the outside. But lashing out at his poor mother who has been through all this for his sake is really unfair. She did explain that it was to save his life but still he said he won’t forgive her. Pffff, ungrateful kids!

      Liked by 1 person

  5. Thank you, Toki!

    I really want to join the discussion, but it has been busy, and I need time to translate my thoughts. Hopefully, I’ll join you all this evening.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Dae-yeop, is he or is he not Yi Tae-ung?

    Since we only have 2 episodes left, I’m going to say that he is based “loosely” on Yi Tae-ung like Ba-woo/ Kim Dae-seok on Kim Cheon-seok. The fact is, Prince Imhae had only one son, and VP Lee’s sister was not his mother, nor he is related to VP Lee. Whatever the writers are doing with the background story, it’ll come back to basic.
    Also, as suspected, Kim Cheon-seok did not survive, so that Kim linage ended in 1613, so they’ll lose their status in the end because it wasn’t meant to be restored.

    Dae-yeop has never been on the same political mind as his uncle but with the king instead.
    Obviously, he studied Confucianism at Sungkyunkwan and Buddhism with the head monk (in that cave), so it sounds like becoming a monk is something he would prefer since he has no interest in being a king.
    There are also hints here and there.

    If he is not based on Yi Tae-ung, then he is his fictional older brother? I don’t think I have any brain cells left to speculate further since it’s useless at this point.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. If he’s not the monk guy, he may be a fictional unknown son. Since he was the fruit of a secret romance with the lady, maybe history books never bothered to mention him?
      Not being a king is understandable, who would want that shitty position? But being a monk, no women, no love, no children… Maybe a decision taken rashly because he is heartbroken over losing the princess? I’ve been heartbroken in my life (more than once), but never did I consider even for a fraction of a second to give up men forever.
      Oh well, I suppose we’ll learn soon enough.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Getting married and having children may not be the best option for Dae-yeop in a chaotic time like this. Even if he marries Lord Naeam’s granddaughter, he would not be safe either. In history, Lord Naeam was also executed together with VP Lee. As his son-in-law, he would be executed too.

        Children of the higher class are political pawns of their parents and faction. Fortunately for Soo-kyung, she found love through bossam; otherwise, she would have been dead already.
        Breaking away from being a political pawn and being part of something of his own choice (hopefully) would not be bad at all for Dae-yeop.

        Monks do play important roles in society and giving hope to those who seek. They even played a role in helping Gwanghae during the Imjin war with Japan. Before that, they were heavily suppressed by Confucianism.

        “One of the most important reasons for the restoration of Buddhism to a position of minimal acceptance was the role of Buddhist monks in repelling the Japanese invasions of Korea, which occurred between 1592 and 1598. At that time, the government was weak from internal squabbles, and was not initially able to muster strong resistance to the incursion. The plight of the country encouraged some leaders of the sangha to organize monks into guerrilla units, which enjoyed some instrumental successes. The “righteous monk” (義士; uisa) movement spread during this eight-year war, finally including several thousand monks, led by the aging Seosan Hyujeong (서산대사, 西山休靜; 1520–1604), a first-rate Seon master and the author of a number of important religious texts. The presence of the monks’ army was a critical factor in the eventual expulsion of the Japanese invaders.”

        https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Korean_Buddhism#Suppression_under_the_Joseon_Dynasty_(1392%E2%80%931910)
        I love the balance between Confucianism and Buddhism in this drama. Dae-yeop is a student of both, which I find interesting.
        Well, his fate is on the writers’ pen, so like you said, we’ll learn soon enough.

        Liked by 2 people

      2. @irmar and @kiara

        I’m going with fictional unknown son too. If he ends up a monk who helps people during the Manchu invasions, that will be a worthy ending for him.

        I’m working on my Episode 3 recap and picked up another clue about Imhae and Dae-yeop which I missed on a first watch. VP Lee quotes the idiom: “They say a Mandarin orange can change in the right circumstance into an orange tree. But I suppose an orange tree, even if planted elsewhere, will always produce oranges.”

        I asked a Korean for help translating this idiom, and the meaning is: “the environment where you grow up is more important than where you are born”. I think VP Lee was muttering that even though he raised Dae-yeop, he still tends to be like his father Imhae. I guess we’ll find out more tomorrow!

        Liked by 1 person

      3. Prince Imhae had 2 adopted sons too but the oldest is still Yi Tae-ung. If Dae-yeop is not based on Yi Tae-ung then he should be older to have a claim to the throne.
        I’m not keen on birth secrets especially when it’s this complicated. I just hope that it makes sense I’d hate a weak finale.

        Liked by 1 person

      4. Toki,

        The idiom ended up being a complement to Imhae. 😆 Thank goodness Dae-yeop didn’t turn out to be evil as the uncle who raised him.

        Like

  7. @wishfultoki,

    I like the idea of Dae-yeop taking part in the righteous monk army during the Manchu invasions. That would put his martial art skills to good use.

    I’m a bit nervous since eps 19 felt underwhelmed, but I watched it without subs.

    Liked by 1 person

      1. Thank you! I am currently in the middle of nowhere with no computer access. Will watch the last two episodes in a couple of days. I would not mind mildly spoilery comments in the meantime.

        Like

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