Home > The Tale of Nokdu > The Tale of Nokdu: Episode 12 (23 – 24) Live Recap

The Tale of Nokdu: Episode 12 (23 – 24) Live Recap

So excited to find out what happens today! How is everyone going to get out of that situation they found them in? Especially Dongju! When will Nokdu have a tearful reunion with his mama? Argh, I want to know!

Our recap starts at 8 CST!

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Caution: Be wary of typos

Original Soundtracks: Part 1 | Part 2

Character Chart: The Tale of Nokdu Shorthand Character Chart

How we do this: We update the post around every 10 minutes. Sometimes sooner, sometimes later depending on the scene. There will be typos which we have fantasies of fixing once the episode finishes airing. Also, there might be lovely updates at the bottom, so check back in!

Recap Countdown: starts at 8:00 CST….check Twitter for updates!




Dongju crouches around a corner and holds her wooden box as she looks at the door guards at the gate. Then the King comes in and someone yells, WHO ARE YOU!

A guard runs up to her and puts a sword to her neck. The King walks up on her and they see each other. She asks, inspector? The music kicks in as she is stunned to see him. Her eyes grow teary.

Then the Queen runs in and kneels at the Kings knees and tells him that it is not true! Tell me it is not true! He tells her to go back. But she wants him to tell her! It is not true!

He says that there is no truth that she has to now! The Queen asks, where is he, I have to see what you did not finish. The king says to bring the sinner! No one can come in or out of this jail. The Queen yells that she has to know!

The King tells them to take her to the palace. She is pulled away. Nokdu bows as she passes. The other guard still has his sword to her neck and asks, who are you!

Nokdu kneels next to Dongju and says that he is here by his order. The King says that he knows her and then asks, are you lost? He excuses her. But the guard sees her box and asks, what is this!

The King looks at her and says, open it.

So the guard opens it and sees women’s things inside. The King tells him to give it back to her. Then he walks off with all his guards following.

Dongju is so nervous that she collapses. Nokdu holds her.


Nokdu and Dongju sit and talk. He asks if she is surprised? he should have told her. He knew when he was appointed. The King told me not to tell you, just in case you would be too shocked. Sorry.

Dongju says that they ate together. They talked and laughed…

Nokdu says it is okay, he won’t do anything to you, eating and laughing together. 

Dongju ask what kind of person he is.

Nokdu thinks back to the King telling his guard to find Yoon-jeo. Bring his body to me! He also remembers him in bed telling Nokdu that he hopes he does not find out what kind of person he is.

So nokdu says he pities him and is curious about him. He sees a different side of him for work. But you are fine. The King likes you  so he will not be upset for something like that.

She falls into Nokdu’s side. he tells her that she is timid. But, what were you doing there this late? Did something happen? 

She says no. Nothing.

He holds her by the shoulder and says okay. They sit like that.


The King asks Yoon-jeo were he hid him. I know you will not tell me easily. Yoon asks if him saying where he is is difficult or you stopping all these crazy things and getting out of your fear?

The King asks, fear?!

Yoon says yes, you even believe that Heo Yoon wanted to put my son as King and tried to take over the country. What are you so afraid of?

The King asks him if he wants him to show him what an afraid thing is? 

Yoon says, yes, throw me outside as a cold body!

The King grabs a hot torture device and holds it to Yoon, but Yoon-jeo looks like Heo-Yoon suddenly and the King hesitates. he starts to quiver and step back, he drops the device.

Yoon tells him that if he can get out of those crazy hallucinations, then I can die many many times for you!

The King tells him that he can kill him! The two friends can go to hell happily! He grabs another torture device, but Yoon turns into Heo-Yoon once again. The King collapses and a man yells to call the doctor.


The King’s eunuch tells Nokdu that he will not be able to see the King tonight. He called him to have a drink with the King, but…~. Nokdu understands and asks what happened. The eunuch says that it is not something that he can tell him. Nokdu excuses himself.


Meanwhile, Dongju looks at her box and pulls out her crossbow that was hiding under her sewing items. She loads it and aims and imagines the King when he was coming towards her. But she lowers it when she hears Nokdu says that the King likes her a lot, he will not misunderstand you for that. She drops her crossbow and sighs. But she picks it back up again.


Nokdu goes to the Queens room and tells her guards that he has to return something to her. But they tell him no, just leave. So he walks away with arguing. But he pauses and pulls out the amulet, his broken piece and the Queens broken piece, and looks at it. Then he turns back and looks at the Queens room.

In the Kings room, the doctor is applying the medicine incense all over his body as the King sleeps.



Yool-moo finds DOngju as she is walking and tells her that now she knows how dangerous the thing she wanted to do it. You could have died. She says that she was prepared for it. Yool-moo asks her if he knows that she lives like this? Dongju tells Yoolmoo that she is sick and tired of telling him that this is none of his business.

Yoolmoo tells her not to do anything or ask him anything until next month. She asks, what are you going to do? Are you going to do something to Nokdu!

He angrily asks why she is worrying about him in front of someone that worries about her! If you are wondering, then stay alive until next month. She holds Yoolmoo’s arm, but he pulls his arm away. He then asks her, I wonder if you can like him, after you know who he is. he walks away.

In the city, Nokdu follows Yool-moo and watches him. Yool-moo goes inside the gisaeng house and talks to Ssook. 

Sook tells Yool Moo that the Queen was already out to meet that person. YM asks if that means that she knew about Yoon-jeo, but she has no one to connect them together. Who do you think helped her?

Ssook asks if he wants her to find it out? he says that the important thing is how much the Queen knows. Is there anything else? She says nothing in particular. He tells her to find out anything new that she can. But then he looks at her quizzically and asks if she has something else to tell him?

She says that the coup will happen soon, but are you sure that there is a place for us in the new world? he says of course, I will keep my promise, do not worry. Ssook tells him that she needs evidence that what he says is true.

Flashback to Nokdu telling Ssook that they should help each other. he says that Yoolmoo has evidence that keeps people from not being able to retract from him. They do not trust him 100% so they should have something, like with their names. For them it is a loyalty book, but if I have it then it is a corruption book.

In the present, Ssook contiues looking at Yoolmoo while Nokdu’s voice is in her head saying that he wants the evidence that they are planning the coup. Yool-moo tells her, okay, I will take it that you will trust me and go with me until the end. He touches the beads on his hat and says that he will call her later. You may go outside.

Ssook leaves and meets with Nokdu secretly. She tells him that he was right. There is a loyalty book with signatures.  Nokdu asks where it it.

Flashback to Ssook putting her finger print in the book. Yool-moo watched her closely as she did it. But then we see her going to a library in the ouse and finding a special case behind the books.

In the present, Ssook says that she thinks he carries it with him all the time. How do we take it out? Nokdu says that the person who stole the elephant from Mr. Park was me. Ssook tells him to come in person at night when they close. It would be better if you had a plan. He says okay, see you. She leaves.


The old man and woman slaves see Dongju and thinks that it is true. What we saw is true. How can she be in the palace? If they know then we are all dead, us and the young lady.

Dongju walks off and meets with Nokdu. They smile and go to the swing were he pushes her and they smile as they faces grow close with each swing. he holds the swing so he can look at her closely and then pushes the swing off again. They both smile.

He tells her that she only knows about this swing even though she is from Hanyang. You are a Hanyang country girls (born in hanyang but does not know anything about hanyang). She calls him a country boy. He grew up swimming all day. He says he could ride a wave, you should have seen me riding a house sized wave.

She tells him that he is lying, how can a wave be as big as a house. And even if it is, how can you ride it? Are you the King of the sea? Nokdu sighs and says that he can’t show it to her now. She tells him, lets go see the ocean. Is it far away?

They go to the market and walk around. She says that either he can’t ride a wave or he does not love her anymore. He is all like, why say it that way? it is neither, I just have something important to do right now. She pouts and says okay, it is something more important than me. 

He says that is not it. She tells him that she is joking. The ocean is not the neighborhood well, I have to go back as well anyway. But he holds her hand and says that they should eat together and see their family since you are already late. Let’s go to the ocean next time, okay?

He picks her up and starts running off with her. But then he drops his medallion. Dongju asks if it is his. he picks it up. She asks why is it only half? He says he does not know, lets go. She says that she knows. This is the evidence of love. Who is this person. you really had a widow right! 

He says, no no. She asks, are you embarrassed! Did you really have one? You seem suspicious. She tsks and walks off. He follows her yelling, no it’s not!

Back at home, Nokdu sits with master Hwang outside  near their house. He checks Nokdu and says that he has no fever (but he says it in a way that you would say it to a prince). Nokdu tells him that he knows that he does not beleive it. 

Hwang asks, so you are going to stop the coup and you are the song of the King? YOU? Nokdu says yes, I think so. Master hwang starts to clear his throat and thinks he is going crazy. You are not a guy that would joke about something like this. He starts to talk properly in front of Nokdu.

Nokdu tells him not to do that! The master tells him that he cannot help it. Nokdu asks him to help him, so master Hwang agrees, he says of course he has to, as your master.


Meanwhile, Dongju and Aengdoo look at the pretty grown chicks. There laid an egg so Dongu thinks that another chicken will come. But Aengdoo eats it. She tells Dongju that Nokdu will hide the egg in her rice again. Eunnie, this time I am not that easy.

Nokdu coems inside and tells Dongju that he will take her back. Can i give you a piggy back ride? She smiles and tells him no.

But then they hear a commotion outside. Aengdoo touched the maeju that you make dwenjang out of so Yeon Geun is all upset. But then they realized that Yeon Geun and Bok Nyeo must have been together for Aengdoo to be in there. Aengdoo says that she saw themholding hands.

So everyone is all like, you two, what did you do in front of a little girl. Aengdoo tells him that she thinks it is what he did in the room with DOngju-u-u-u. She starts to make kissing sounds so Nokdu has to hurry and give her something more to eat. Then he awkwardly looks around. 

Dongju just starts walking. Nokdu is super embarrassed, though everyone else smiles and chuckles.

Nokdu holds the dwenjang mold and looks like he has an idea. Then he hurries off and catches up with Dongju.

Dongju and Nokdu continue walking off together. Dongju asks what happened with him and Nokdu before. He asks why she is talking about Yool-moo now. She tells him to be careful, he is a dangerous guy.


Nokdu says that he will not get hurt. whatever he does to him, it is not about you. And I will do that thing first. She asks what he is going to do. He sys it is something that he has to do, but it is not dangerous so don’t worry about it. 

She looks at him so he asks, if you look at me like that, why don’t we kiss? She sighs and rolls her eyes as we walks off.


Dongju goes into the palace. A guard is at the Queens house and tells her that she cannot go out. But she tells them that her jewel fell, she has to find it! Let me go! if I lose it then I will not forgive you! Go away!

The maid pleads with the Queen to not do this. The Queen starts to cry about her missing jewel in her maids arms. Then she sees Dongju. Dongu bows immediately and spologizes. the other maid says that she asked her to bring her clothing becuase she cannot go back to her room anymore.

The Queen runs to her and tells her that she is free to go in and out, can you find one thing for me?

Cut to Dongju looking around the palace for the Queens jewel. The Queen told her that it is half of a jewel, so you should be able to notice it easily. It is very important to me, please find it. Dongju wonders how she can find that thing.

But then she remembers that Nokdu had something like it. She goes to Nokdu and asks why he had that jewel, did you pick it up in the palace? Nokdu says no, it was his mothers. So Dongju sighs an then asks why he is there. He says that he is there to tell her to come to the swing. Or, if you want to see the ocean, then lets go. If we walk overnight then we can see the sunrise. It is so pretty.

He holds her hand and tells her, just come out and we can go together. he tells her that she should come. See you. He touches her cheek and walks away.


Elsewhere, Yool-moo meets with the other main conspirators. They ask what he said? yool moo tells them that he told them that he is the abandoned prince. The conspirators wonder how he can abandon his own son?

Yool-moo says that he was not the King when they were in war against Japan.  We don’t have to know the reason. The important thing is that the King tried to kill his newborn son, but he is still alive. They ask if that is what he talked about with the new reasons for the coup?

Yool moo say that he is still looking for his son and trying to kill him. One of the men says that is so cruel. If people know about this, then it would be big damage for the King. Do you have a good plan? Yool Moo says he thinks he has a good plan.

Cut to Nokdu telling Ssook that he came up with a good plan. She asks if it is clever? He says yes and hands over the dwenjang. Then we flash to Nokdu taking the dwenjang to locksmith and asking if it would be difficult? The locksmith says that they can try it. it is super smelly though you still want to use it? Nokdu says yes and tells him to go to a pottery place.

In the present, Ssook tells Nokdu that his meeting will end soon. So Nokdu say that he will do it right away. he has a way to do it and someone who can help. DO you think that you will be okay? Ssook says that she did not plan on working for him anyway since she knew the type of person he is now.

Nokdu asks if they need a hideout? Ssook tells him that they can take care of themselves, please finish it up nicely. She hurries off.



Yool-moo starts to discuss his plan and as he says it, we see a visual representation of it. Yoolmoo says that he will take Nokdu in fornt of the King. How surprised will he be knowing that the son that he was looking for has actually been in front of him this entire time? He will be happy, finally he can kill the prince properly.

He comes out of his thoughts and tells his conspirators that the King will kill his own son twice for his dirty greed. No one can be on his side. Someone asks how he is going to arrest him? Yoolmoo smiles and sys that everyone has their weaknesses.

Yool-moo leaves the meeting and tells his assassin that he needs to kidnap the girl and the father. But then a man runs up to him and tells him that their horse ran away. The assassin tells Yool-moo to please wait there, then he hurries off to find the horse.

Ssook sees them leaving and throws out the water. Then she goes back inside. She bows to Yool Moo as she comes in, but then she nods to another man.

That man has an argument with anotehr man about which person the gisaeng likes more. Fists are thrown near Yoolmoo and then kimchi soup is thrown on him. Ssook comes out quickly and tells Yoolmoo that she will bring water and a change of clothing for him!

She pulls him into another room. While doing this, she sees where the keys are.

Yoolmoo can’t really open his eyes and tells her that he can take care of his clothing, can you bring me cold water? So she leaves to get the water and walks slowly back. While walking back, Nokdu is walking behind her in womens attire with the shall over his head.

In the room, Yool moo washes his face with the water. Ssook tries to grab the key. But Yool Moo grabs her hand and stares at her. He asks if anyone else is there? She says no, no one else is there but me.

He walks around her. She hides a piece of the mold that fell on the floor with her dress. He grabs his clothing that is right next to her, and leaves.

Outside, Nokdu has changed back into his regular clothing and threw the clothes away. Flashback to Nokdu walking into the room with Yoolmoo and Ssook! He snuck in and got a mold of the key and left.

Yool-moo heads out with his guard wondering why his horse ran away, it is a quiet horse.

Then they go to Nokdu’s family house. He has at least a dozen guards with him.


In the city, Yeon and maaster hwang go to a house. The guards ask who they are? Hwang asks, do you really not know who he is? They ask who Yeon is but hwang covers his mouth and tells them that they don’t have to know who he is. Just tell that a-hole with the pale face to come out.

The guards pull their swords so Hwang tells them that they are looking for a person, not swords! Calm down.

Hwang-tae comes walking up right then so Yeon grabs him by the collar and says, you are the guy! You broke my important crystal ring. That is importnat. That is my crustal chain! 

Hwangtae isa ll like, you said ring and now you are saying chain?

Yeon realizes his mistake and tries to do a judo throw to Hwangtae but fails.  Hwangtae tries to walk away, but Yeon trips him and then Yeon punches himself several times and yells for them to call the police! Hwangtae is all like, what are you doing?

Meanwhile, Hwang fights with all the guards and wonders why this is taking so long. Then Nokdu comes in with several guards. He tells them that he had a report that something was going on ehre.

Yeon points to his bloody nose and says to arrest him! he points to Hwangtae. The guard says that this is the princes second house, this is his friend. Nokdu asks, is that so? So does that mean that you sin disappears? Arrest him.

The guards take Hwangtae out and put him in jail. Hwangtae tells Nokdu that it is too late, it won’t work. Nokdu tells him that this is the safest place for him here. Tonight, the prince will die and you will be released tomorrow.  When things are quiet, then you can find a place to go later.

Nokdu leaves. 

Yool-moo goes to his home and sees the disturbance and his knocked out guards. H emotions for the other guards to look around.



The King asks his eunuch how the Queen is. He says that the Queen is quiet now. The King asks if there is anything else? The eunuch says there is nothing. But then he says that the young inspector visits frequently. The King asks if he had something to report? The eunuch says it was not that.

Cut to Dongju waiting at the swing for Nokdu. She wonders if she came too early? Perhaps I should go surprise him? She hops off the swing and heads off.

Cut back to the King, he asks the eunuch if Nokdu worried about him? the eunuch says yes, he wondered if you were okay and how you felt and if you ate anything today. This makes the King happy. He asks, even if it is late, can you call him. Tell him, as soon as you come to the palace, come visit me. 

Then he asks how the criminal is in jail. The eunuch says that he does not eat or drink anything. The King grows cold and asks, is he trying to kill himself while I am not there? No. I have to see him now! he stands to leave.


Nokdu meets Ssook and is given the key. He goes inside teo the library room and move the shefl away to put the key inside the chest. It is tight, but it works! he opens it and takes out the notebook. He flips it open and rips out a few pages. She tells him to go so he cautiously heads out. She straightens up.

In the city, Dongju gets to the palace police area. YoolMoo is waling up right then too so hey both wonder why they are there. 

Yool Moo takes Dongju to the side and tells her that everyone that stayed with Nokdu has disappeared. Do you really not know what happened? Sh says no and asks why he is looking for them? What are you trying to do? Yool Moo asks if she worried about him that much? Dongju says yes, because you act this violent often.

He asks, violent?

Dongju pleads with him not to do this to Nokdu. Please. Nokdu is – please. He asks, what is he to you? Do you want me to tell you? he takes a closer step to her.

Cut to Nokdu walking into the palace with the notebook. he tucks it into his clothing. 

The King is in jail. He pulls hiw sword and tells everyone to leave. hen he walks into Yoon-Jeo’s cell.

The King sits and asks, what should I do, I came her before you died. You still look fearless like before. 20 years ago after the coup, do you remember that time? 

YJ – You were smart and brave.

King – I had to be. I was tired of being the hated son.  After the war, I became the Grand Prince. But my position was insecure. Actually, I was afraid. Unlike you who is always confident. I was so scared. That fear kept me going in that war. The fear of wondering, what if I can’t be the King.

YJ – You are already the King, so why still…

King – I am still standing right at the wall with all the arrows and blood. The previous King who did not give me the Kingdom until the last moment. All the subjects who wanted to kill me. All those citizens who were yelling and complaining. And, you and Heo Yoon, who abandoned me.

YJ – Your highness

King – Do you think I can die as the King?


Nokdu goes to the Eunuch and tells him that he heard he was looking for him. He bows and says that he has an urgent matter to tell the King. Can you let me go in?


Nokdu goes inside to the dungeon and overhears the King. 

King – So, I have to kill that boy.

Yoon-Jeo has the Kings sword to his neck. Nokdu sees this.

YJ – Your highness, he is your son! Your son who was killed by you and is still alive. HE IS YOU SON!



King – I do not need the romance of a son or blood.

Nokdu starts to tear up outside.

King – In this position. That is the King! Where is he! You cannot die before you tell me.

Nokdu looks at the notebook that is now in his hands. Then he looks up at the King and tries to smile, but it falls and he walks away. The violin kicks back in.

Cut back to Yool-moo and Dongju.

DJ – What did you just say? Nokdu?

YM – Who killed you family and destroyed your life. The King that you really wanted to kill. He is….the son of the King.

Dongju remembers Nokdu with the half jewel and the Queen asking her to find a half jewel. She remembers him saying that he got it from his mother.

Dongju gasps.

YM – So tell me, do you still worry about him! Do you still love him! TELL ME!

Dongju is gasping and backing away slowly. Then she turns and runs. Yool-moo watches her go.

Then Yool Moo returns to his home. His assassin tells him that he ordered to find the hideout. He will remain with him and take him there tomorrow.

Yool Moo wonders why he arrested his own brother who will be released tomorrow anyway? Only for one night? But then his eyes grow big and he runs to the library where the notebook is.

He throws the bookshelf out of the way and opens it. The notebook is gone.


Dongju walks back to the swing looking lost. But then she sees Nokdu standing there waiting for her. She smiles.

He is looking away from her. She is still happy to see him. But her face starts to grow sad. She thinks about all the things he did for her abck when they were in the widow village. He lit lights for her and warmed her feet for her and told her that seh does not have to like him, just use him and don’t disappear. She also remembers him showing her how to dance like a giseang and changing his dressings around his waste.

She remembers their kiss as well and asking him why he is so fearless, you dont’ know what will happen tomorrow. He says that is why he wants to tell her she is pretty and why he wants to walk her home. She also remembers him wiping her tears and pushing her on the swing for the first time.

She remembers holding his hand ask they walked through the field of flowers and starts to cry.

Then seh runs up to him and give s him a big hug from behind. He is also pretty sad. A tear rolls from his eyes as he holds her hands on him. She cries into his back and he softly cries as he holds her hands closely to him.

Fade Out


This show is so wonderfully done. Why do I get chills whenever that violin piece kicks in to add even more emotion to an already emotionally stressful and impactful scene! I love how everything is building! It really feels like we are going to get to a point where everyone is about to die or at least could die. If that is the ending then I need to go on and take this drama of my happy fun drama list but add it to a love list because I think I would actually be fine with a Hamlet style ending IF IT MAKES SENSE. Which is the big caveot.

We have Dongju who will happily trade her life to Kill the King, the King that wants to find and kill his son (again), the son who wants to rescue one father and punish the other, the Queen that is holding on to the last piece of remembrance of her son, and the palace that is about to get overrun with a coup. It is all happening! Talk about building to the finale, goodness!


HT – Are you going to beg your father?

YJ – What are you trying to do!

ND – *dressing his fathers wounds* I am going to make him draw blood tears.

YJ – He is your father!

Woman – My poor young lady

Man – We should leave! if anyone knows that you are alive, then we are all dead.

King – I am going to promote you to my guard.

DJ – What? That is the one whom is serving right next to the King?

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  1. shann
    November 11, 2019 / 10:04 am

    Thanks for the recap!! I’m seriously obsessed with this show, I keep refreshing your page to check for the next part! The ending together brought all the tears with it. I can’t believe we are only left 4 episodes, but I’m so looking forward to NokDu and DongJoo staying together til the end! It’s a romcom, there shall be no more tragedies!

    • V
      November 11, 2019 / 10:12 am

      You and me both, Shann! Super obsessed, I love this show so much.

  2. Rose
    November 11, 2019 / 11:01 am

    I knew it! I knew YoolMoo will do that “he-is-the-kings-son-” card to DongJoo….argh!!! I hate him!

    And im sad for Nokdu, for him to hear what the King said after all he has to go through to just finally meet him. Its really heartbreaking 😢

    Thanks V for the recap! ☺

    • V
      November 11, 2019 / 3:39 pm

      I know! Poor Nokdu. he really wanted to get to know the King and it looked like he really cared about him.

  3. Jessica Lopes
    November 11, 2019 / 11:27 am

    That was heartbreaking. I feel so sad for both, Dong Joo and Nok Du. I don’t know is they are going to share their real histories with each other, but It looks now they want the same – revenge.

    And Thanks for recap!

    • V
      November 11, 2019 / 3:39 pm

      Oh, yes, the revenge is heating up! Poor things!

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