No episode exemplified this drama’s title, The Tale of Nokdu, more than yesterday’s episode. What a tale! And it all affects Nokdu! Our poor baby is having a hard time of it, y’all. Yesterday we didn’t end with a big life threatening cliffhanger, but we did end with an emotionally devastating one. Nokdu really needed a good hug and Dongju was there to give it to him. But can Nokdu get his papa out of prison? Wait, let me rewind, can Nokdu keep his papa from killing his papa and get his papa out of prison? Not to mention, I don’t even think he knows that his father killed Dongju’s entire family, let alone that Dongju is seeking revenge. Nokdu, fighting…
Our recap starts at 8 CST!
Caution: Be wary of typos
Character Chart: The Tale of Nokdu Shorthand Character Chart
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KOREAN DRAMA THE TALE OF NOKDU EPISODE 13 (25 & 26) RECAP
Nokdu and Dongju sit on the ground next to the swing. He asks her what happened to her. She thinks about Yool Moo telling her that Nokdu is the Kings song. But she tells him that nothing happened. It was just difficult. She was just busy and tired, that is it.
So he softly touches her hair and asks if that was it. She asks about him. He says he is the same, it was work. So she softly touches his cheek as well and turns his face towards hers. She smiles to him and he rests his head on her shoulder.
Nokdu – The sea…
Dongju – Next time, next time…
He nods and they stay like that for a while. Then we cut to him walking her back. She tells him goodbye. But he holds her arm so she asks why. he tells her that next time, they should go to the ocean. She says yes, we promised. So he nods and tells her to go in. He watches her go inside and then turns to leave.
That is when Yool Moo walks up to him. They both go to talk inside somewhere. Yool Moo tells Nokdu that he heard that he went to see the King in jail, but you came out. Now you know who is in jail and why. But maybe you heard something that is worse than that. The King that killed his own son, you don’t want to give him that evidence since he tried to kill you then and now.
Nokdu tells Yool Moo that it is all up to his behavior. Don’t do anything with my brother and promise me that you will not follow us. If anyone gets hurt…
Yool Moo tells him that is easy. Nokdu tells him that they will see. He gets up to leave. Yool Moo tells him that they have an easier way, though. Why don’t you serve me? Then I don’t have to worry about you having the evidence. And you can get your revenge on the father that abandoned you. I will give you 2 days, think about it.
Nokdu thinks he is crazy and leaves. he heads to the dungeons again, but he is not let in. But the guards say that he can not go inside without the King. It is the Kings order.
The door opens and a flaming hot torture device comes out. Nokdu looks at the door.
Elsewhere, the King shoots archery at night. Nokdu is there at his side giving him the arrows one by one. The King shoots the arrows, but does not get a bullseye. The King tells everyone that they are excused except Yeon. So everyone leaves.
Then the King continues shooting and tells Yeon (Nokdu) that he heard that he wanted to tell him something.
Nokdu tells him that they don’t need it anymore. The King asks what he means. Nokdu says that he has evidence of the person they are following Jung Yoon-Jeo, I wanted to tell you.
The King says, so you saw that he was already caught and you turned back? Did you hear it?
Nokdu says he heard it. The King fires his arrow. But then Nokdu says that he did not hear it.
King – What?
Nokdu – I did not hear any of your past that you don’t want to reveal. I heard your loneliness.
The King holds his bow to Nokdu and asks if he wants to try it?
Nokdu pulls his arrow back. The King tells him that Yoon Jeo was the same. He new how difficult I was and understood. He was my good friend. But it was only a disguise. So Ii won’t forgive him. He won’t be able to trick me anymore. I will catch him and I will kill him (the son).
A tear trickles down Nokdu’s face, he starts to move the arrow to the back of the Kings head.
King – I will promote you to my guard. Can you protect me for a long time without changing your heart?
Nokdu moves the arrow back to the target and shoots. It is a bullseye. He bows and thanks the King for his mercy as he says that he will serve his order. The King smiles at him.
Dongju and another maid see Nokdu walking the yard. The maid asks when he became the Kings guard? He guards the King right next to him now. Did you not know about it?
They go to hang the sheets, but Dongju is in a bit of a daze. The other maid tells her that they have to work hard all day. Let’s get to work. But then she softens and asks Dongju if it is difficult? You worked so hard to get here, but is it too difficult? Is the head maid giving you too hard of a time?
Dongju says it is difficult, she wanted this so much and could not think of anything else. But she is not sure if she can quit it.
The maid says that it is just a maid job, you are doing a good job. Don’t think of anything else.
Elsewhere, Nokdu walks his brother out from the jail. The brother asks him what he is doing…last night…~. Nokdu tells him that he should be tired. I will explain it to you. But the brother tells him no, I will not do it, don’t call me hyung anymore. I have nothing to do with you. I want to recover our family name and live comfortably. Do you really not like that? Why are you stopping me!
Nokdu – Father is in jail at the palace.
HT – What?
Hwang-tae walks away angrily. Nokdu tells him that he knows that it is all because of him. HT asks him what he is going to do? Are you going to beg your father? Nokdu says that he will find a way. Ht asks him if he is going to spread the rumor that he was abandoned and how he lived. No, it is faster for Yool Moo to become the King and help us. I will make that happen and rescue father my own way.
HT walks off.
Nokdu puts posts up secretly. He is in black disguise from head to toe. He might have put several up. Around the city, there are secret flyers going around that say that the King not only abandoned his son, he also tried to kill his son.
This goes all around the city. Everyone has probably read it.
In the courtyard, the King angrily asks the eunuch who spread the rumor! Arrest that person and kill them! He turns around and sees Nokdu in front of him. Nokdu tells him not to respond to the rumor, it will die down by itself. A lot of people are watching so you shouldn’t go to the basement jail. if you have to watch the sinner, then I will take care of him.
The King agrees and tells Nokdu to do it.
Nokdu goes into the palace and sees his father there. He whispers, abogi. His father wakes up and tells him not to be here! It is too dangerous! Nokdu asks him why he saved someone like him and came to a place like this? Why did you make umma die like that… and hyung….I am nothing.
Yoon Jeo tells him not to say that. Nokdu tells him that he should have just died. His father yells at him, how can you say that in front of your own father! Nokdu tells him that he should have abandoned him. His father tells him that he was like that. At the last moment you cried. Your little tiny body was crying and telling me that you were not dead, you were alive. I was a human being. I could not let that happen.
Nokdu says that the result was this cruel. His father says that he would do it all again. So don’t misuse your life. Leave the palace. Nokdu tells him no, I will not turn away. I am sorry that you are staying here, I will make it so you can leave.
He bows to his father and leaves. His father calls his name, but Nokdu keeps walking out.
Dongju sees him walking in the yard. She has her sheets to wash. He says that he just wanted to see her so now he can leave. She smiles and tells him, let’s go to the ocean.
Cut to them sitting on a pier. He asks if she really wanted to go to the ocean? She tells him that she didn’t know that it was that far. He says that it does not matter if they go to the ocean or not, so long as you are next to me then I am happy. She tells him to stop being so cheesy and eat this. She gives him a rice ball.
He asks if she made it herself….why did you do that….~. It must not taste good. She tells him that he is so picky. I new that from the widow town. He tells her to try it and holds one up to her, ahhhh…ahhhhh. She tells him that she is not hungry and starts walking away on a tiny log bridge. He follows her.
Then we see them walking back on the log bridge. hen they walk the other way again. Finally he walks on the beach and she walks on the bridge. He tells her that he is not cranky, you are the one that is cranky. Since the first time we met, you dragged my collar and hit me and pushed me around. You gave me such a hard time.
Dongju tells him that he always said, give me water, give me clothes. You ordered me to do a lot. He says that he gave her medicine and gave her clothing and did a lot for her. She tells him that he is the strange one pretending to be a widow as a man.
He is quite a bit and says that he was strange. The reason he went there was because he had to find out who he was. he thought that the person who knew about it was int he widow village.
Dongju asks, did you find out who you are? Nokdu says yes, everything. So, I want to correct it all because I have to save my father.
Dongju stops walking and gasps for a moment. She blinks a few times and takes her hand away from Nokdu. Then she turns to him and smiles and tells him that they should go, its late. She starts to walk away.
He looks at her and then walks back up to her and holds her hand again and they walk away together.
PALACE, THRONE ROOM
In the throne room, the the politicians talk to the King about sending troops to help China in their war. But the King thinks that they just had war with japan, I don’t want to send more citizens to war. We will suffer.
One politician says that China helped them defeat the Japanese. The King says that they did not help them. They only came here because they did not want to fight in their own territory. They did not care about the war and just squeezed juice out of my people.
Another politician asks why he says that. Without the mercy from China…
The King asks, mercy? How can you be sure? I was in the middle of the war. Not you people who were busy running away! The politician tells him that he was always not honoring the common law. That is why they have that dirty rumor!
The King asks, what? Rumor?
Dongju gives a merchant some coins and gets medicine from him for the head maid. She leaves but is pulled to the side by the her old servants. They pull her to the alley and look at her warmly and longingly. The woman calls, agasshi.
It takes Dongju a moment, but she remembers her and hugs her.
In the palace, the King tells him to say that one more time? The politician bows all the way to the floor and tells the King to kill him. The King walks out and grabs a sword from Nokdu, stares Nokdu in the eyes with rage and then walks back inside the throne room. Nokdu follows him.
The servants lead Dongju to the field were they buried her family. So they did remember after all! They wait to the side as Dongju goes to the small mound and sits beside it. She starts to softly cry.
The man tells her that they should have buried them in a nice place and taken care of it well, but they could not. Sorry about that. But Dongju tells him no, you took care of them well. Thank you so much.
The woman tells her that she did a good job growing up in this cruel world. Thank you my lady. The man asks why she is in the palace in that scary place? Are you trying to do something? They tell her that the King dragged them in front of him and asked if there were any survivors. You have to leave. If he finds out that you are alive then we are all dead like before.
Dongju asks if he said that? He would kill us? They tell her to run away, far far away. Dongju breathes deeply and tells them that she will not run away.
The King killed that politician, wow. And starts to yell tat everyone and point the bloody sword at them all. He tells them, how dare you in front of me! I am still alive in this palace! What kind of rumors are around! Tell me!
Another man tells them to please excuse the King and take out the dead body. Nokdu walks to the King and holds his sword. The King looks at him and drops it. Nokdu helps him walk out. The King is barely able to stand, he is so upset.
The politicians all look at each other and says that they should not let this pass like this.
Dongju comes up and sees the dead politician on a wagon. Then she sees Nokdu walking with the King.
The son runs up to his father and cries. Then he runs up to the King and asks how he can do this? Nokdu pulls a sword and holds it to the mans neck. The King tells him to take him away.
Nokdu starts to help the King away again, but then sees Dongju looking on and continues to look at her as he walks away with the King.
END PART ONE
That night, Nokdu stands guard at the dungeon. He looks worried. The King is inside. the King walks into the cell and grips Yoon by the collar as he says that this is all because of you! If you did not save him! But Yoon says that it is not, your dirty truth would not change if I did not save him.
The King grabs a hot iron and puts it on Yoon. He starts screaming at the top of his lungs. Nokdu hears it and runs inside.
He takes the hot iron from the King and tells him that he should not do this. theKing says that he will force him to tell him where the boy is. Nokdu tells him, If you do this then the rumor will spread out of control. The King stumbles a bit so Nokdu helps him walk out.
In her room, Dongju sits and looks at her flower ring that is now all dried up. She thinks about what her old servants told her and looks at her wooden case. Then she thinks about Nokdu helping the King stand and looking at her. She does not know what to do.
Nokdu starts to apply balm to his fathers burn mark. His father wakes up and asks why he came back, what if someone sees you? Nokdu…~.
Nokdu tells him that he will make him regret that he did this to you. I will not forgive him. His father asks him what he is going to do? Nokdu says he will get revenge. He will make him step down from that dirty place. His father asks if he will be the same as him? Nokdu asks, why not? If I can return things to the way they were?
Yoon tells him that the King is his father. Nokdu stands and says that is why he can’t forgive him. Because he is my father. He starts to walk away, teary eyed. Yoon calls his name as he leaves.
The King overlooks the yard and asks Nokdu what happened to him, he does not look good. Nokdu says it is nothing. The King asks if he was disappointed in him? Nokdu says of course not. The King says that everyone is scared of him which is why they betray him. Why do you say that you are not? I even hate myself.
Nokdu looks at him and tells him, I am not going to leave you. The King smiles pleasantly to Nokdu and tells him that two days later he will have a memorial service. (He has to go to the old Kings tombs). So let’s get some fresh air together. Then everything will be fine.
Nokdu bows and says yes, your highness.
Then Yool Moo shows up and asks, where you looking for me? The King tells Yool Moo that he much have given him too much work since you go to the gisaeng jip to cook all the time. So the King says that he will have Nokdu help him after the ceremony. He knows everything and he is good at martial arts so find that person together.
Yool Moo nods, yes your highness.
Then the King walks up to Nokdu and looks strongly into his eyes as he tells Nokdu that they have to catch him. If he sneaks out, kill him. he walks off. Nokdu asks, your highness, what is the reason? Why do you do this to your own son. I just want to know about it in case I kill him.
The King takes in a deep breath and says that Nokdu has the fate of the King. if he is alive, even if I am the King, I wont be able to die as King. How did I get in this position.
Nokdu asks if that is everything? The King tells him, to me, that is enough reason, okay? Nokdu nods.
The King walks off with all his servants following him.
Yool Moo walks to Nokdu and says that he heard that the shaman was special, even though she had to die after she predicted that. So, why did you ask him? Do you think he had a special reason? Yool-Moo starts to walk away.
Nokdu holds Yool-Moo’s arm and stares at him.
Then we cut to Nokdu drinking.
In a flashback, we hear his conversation with Yool Moo.
YM – I did not know that you would accept the deal. Yeah it should be shocking to you, only because of what a shaman said, he tried to kill you.
ND – Maybe it is not bad to realize what he feels the most.
YM – If the coup is successful, he will not be able to die as the King
ND – Let me kill him.
In the present, Nokdu keeps drinking alone. Then he stumbles away.
Dongju is at his home looking at the front door, but she does not go inside. She turns away, but she sees Nokdu walking up right then.
They go sit.
DJ – Did you drink?
ND – Yes, to see you.
DJ – Why did you drink to see me?
ND – When I am drunk, I thought I can tell you.
DJ – What story?
ND – To leave me.
DJ – * deep breath* But why did you come here? Not to the palace?
ND – My drunk talk is the same as you, I thought I could tell you when I was drunk. that is what I thought. But after drinking, now I want to tell you what I really want to say, not that lie. that is why I didn’t go to see you.
DJ – Yes. As you said we~.
ND – What I really want to tell you is *holds her hand* don’t leave. I know I am irresponsible and selfish. It is okay if you tell me this is because I am drunk. But you are…
DJ – Nokdu….
He holds her face softly and puts his forehead to hers.
ND – Whatever I do, even if I am the bad guy at the bottom, I hope you stay next to me.
She starts to tear up. He kisses her softly.
DJ – I am the bad one. I shouldn’t have done it. At least while we were together, I was convinced that we could love each other while we were together. I really wanted to do that.
ND – What are you talking about?
DJ – Lets quit now. We have to do it.
She gets up to leave. But he holds her arm to stp her and stands.
ND – Why? Why?
DJ – Whatever happens, whatever I do, it has nothing to do with you. it is all me.
ND – Tell me so I can understand it!
DJ – I am sorry.
She runs off.
He runs to her and grabs her in the flower field. He tells her that he has to know why she is dumping him. Why are you behaving this strangely. Why are you doing this to me? Do I have to lose you also?
He pulls her into a big hug. But she doesn’t hug him. He holds on to her tightly and tells her, please don’t go.
DJ – I have nothing. I can do nothing for you. You all will die if I am next to you.
ND – What are you talking about?
DJ – I don’t want to do it, I have it. So just let me go.
He slowly lets go of her.
She quickly turns and walks away.
Cut to morning where Nokdu stands at the maids quarters waiting for her.
Another maid comes out and asks if he is looking for Dongju? She left the palace this morning because the head maid went to the temple with the Queen so she told us that we do not have to come for awhile.
Nokdu asks if she said where she is staying? The maid says that she did not.
Cut to Nokdu giving her former servants money. She apologizes to them for having a hard time because of her. They ask her what she is going to do and tell her not to do it. Don’t even think about it. The palace is a dangerous place. But Dongju tells them that she has to do this. Goodbye.
The conspirators talk around a table about how the King is going mad. Everyone is scared of him. Yool Moo watches them all talking about this. They wonder what happened? What is up with this rumor? If that prince spread this rumor by himself, then it is really too dangerous. And where are the women assassins?
Yool Moo tells them that they have a change in plans. then Nokdu is let in. the men wonder what is going on. Yool Moo tells them to say hello, this is the man in the rumor.
They ask if he is the prince? Yool Moo says that he is the abandoned prince, he is joining us. While we are taking over the palace, he will get the King.
One of the men asks how the head of the guards can do this~.
Yool Moo says that it would be more dramatic to have the King dragged by his own son. He smiles at Nokdu. Nokdu is just trying to keep himself composed. he signs the book.
Yool Moo tells him, if you change your mind because of your blood, then just remember that your brother is with me. He came back to me by himself so don’t blame me.
Nokdu leaves. Yool Moo tells the conspirators to watch him closely. One of them says that they have soldiers to watch him. Yool moo tells this man that while Nokdu is kidnapping the King, we should get the Kings stamp and leave no trace that the King left.
The mans ays that he takes care of the stamp so it is a piece of cake. Do not worry about it.
Yool Moo then watches Nokdu walk away. His guard asks Yool Moo if he is really working with Nokdu? YM says that Nokdu is blinded by his hatred, so he is useful. There will be a coup because the King killed his own son, so that means I cannot kill my uncle. But Nokdu is doing it for me so I am thankful. In the end, I will let you kill him.
Nokdu waits at the police station. His former boss comes out and tells him that he heard that he was promoted, congratulations. Nokdu thanks him. The inspector asks why he is here. Nokdu says that he heard that he goes to the temple with the Queen tomorrow, can you give this to her? I found it at the palace.
The Inspector says this is wonderful, she was looking for this. Nokdu asks him to please take care of the Queen. It must have been a strange request, because the inspector pauses a moment, but then the Inspector says that he will.
However, the servant man comes up to them and tells them that Dongju might have a coup. He did not know that she was still alive. She was so young back then. It looks like she barely survived in the Gisaeng jip.
the inspector asks where she is now? the man asks if they can keep the promise and the people that reported the coup can stay alive? he says yes. So the man tells them that she is at the tavern at the end of the street. The Inspector is about to go. But Nokdu stops him and says that he will go, can you report this to the King first? The inspector looks at him curiously, but says that he will do that.
Nokdu follows the servant out. The servant says that he heard that the gisaeng jip disappeared. She is a maid int he palace now. Nokdu starts to breath hard and thinks that this does not make sense, it shouldn’t be.
He starts running and asks if a short haired woman stayed there? The tavern lady says that she just left.
Nokdu runs off again.
Cut to Dongju walking to the swing. She looks at it for a moment and then walks past. But we see Nokdu running up in the distance. He gets to the swing and looks around, out of breath.
The inspector gets to the tavern and now Dongju is back at the tavern. He tells his men that it was the Kings orders, as soon as we find her, kill her.
But Dongju escapes through the window. The inspector yells for them to follow her!
Dongju takes off running up the street. The guards take off running after her.
Nokdu is also running around the street looking for her.
Dongju keeps running and looking back and running and looking back.
Nokdu keeps running and looking every which way for her.
Dongju runs around a building, she has her wooden box with her.
Nokdu runs up behind her.
She turns around and pulls her cross bow at him.
They both look at each other, stunned.
Then she quickly hides her crossbow.
He starts to slowly walk to her.
VO – I can’t tell you. Just like you can’t tell me why you were disguised as a widow in the widow town and now why you have a different identity in hanyang. It is the same to me, okay?
VO – Why are you so complicated? Why are you so afraid?
VO – Why are you so fearless? You don’t know what will happen to us tomorrow.
VO – I have to do something! That is the only thing that kept me alive! When it ends, after that, I will be happy to go back to my mom after finishing it! That is the only reason I stayed alive1
Nokdu looks at her pained.
ND – You…know who I am?
She doesn’t say anything, he starts to ball but tries to keep it together.
ND – Go. ….Go, Hurry!
She starts to back away from him. He tries to stay composed.
She turns and starts to run away with her cross bow in her hands. But she turns around to look at him one last time and then keeps running off.
He closes his eyes and starts to cry and cry and cry.
Ah-mazing! No noble idiocy in this show! This separation completely makes sense. If they stay together then the other will die. Especially with Dongju who only wants to kill the King. Everyone around her will die if she accomplishes this. So she needs to separate herself.
If Nokdu’s plan does not go well, then all the people around him will die as well. Plus, everyone is starting to find out that he is the King’s son that the King wants dead, so his life is not long for this world if the King stays alive anyway. The King basically has to die y’all. He is about to hunt Nokdu to the ends of the earth to find him.
Ah, what a tearful separation. Nokdu should really patent that pout cry because it gives me the poor baby feels whenever I see it. I love how the writer waited for this moment for that reveal and to have it come with pretty big stakes under life threatening conditions for both of them, but especially for Dongju. Love this show so much. Will we have a happy ending for our duo? Right now it really looks like it will be a Hamlet ending where everyone dies. Can’t Nokdu and Dongju and the Queen sneak out and live happily ever after?
ND – Go! Hurry!
DJ’s Mom – Survive, you must survive and…
DJ – Omoni…!
Ring flower – *blows away*
Queen – The guard? You mean that young inspector that I met before?
YJ – He is the Kings sone that I saved 20 years ago.
Queen – *absolutely shocked*
King – Yeon Soo is dead? (Nokdu’s secret identity)
Guard – He died a long time ago from disease.
King – So, my current bodyguard is….
King – Who is that bodyguard!
ND – *looks off in distance*