We start episode 13 by reviewing a bit of what happened in episode 12. Dong Soo tries to get Ji Sun safely out of town to meet up with the Prince, and is waylaid by baddies. So he sends her ahead on a horse while he fights them in the street.
Ji Sun manages to evade her followers by ditching the horse, and then as she tries to sneak out, Jin Ju grabs her to help her. They meet up with Dong Soo, and try to sort out what happened. Dong Soo tells them that clearly there is a traitor in their midst somewhere. He suddenly remembers Un telling him that he might regret helping Un if it turns out that he was the one who harmed their friends. He can’t believe Un would be the traitor. Leaving Ji Sun in the care of Jin Ju, Dong Soo takes off to find the Prince.
Now we get back to the forest, where Un is apologizing to Commander Im as he stabs him to death. (excuse me a sec here – sniff, snuffle. Not IM!! I’m still traumatized.) Im dies, kneeling in the forest. The Prince picks up his pole weapon and starts to stalk off after Un and Chun.
Dong Soo runs through the forest to where the rendezvous should have been, trying to find the Prince and Im. He is horrified to find assassins cleaning up the bodies at the cart. He rushes in, takes out a few assassins, and checks whether the main guard is still alive. Although mortally wounded, the guard tells him that the Prince is in danger. Dong Soo asks him where Un is, and we can’t hear what the guard says with his final words, whispering something to Dong Soo just before he dies.
The Prince rushes after Chun and attacks him. Chun finally unwraps the sword he had told the Prince about, the one he would use on the Prince if he had to kill him. Chun asks him why he attacked, even knowing what would happen. The Prince replies that he is the foundation of the country and can’t be a traitor even if death is at hand.
Chun and the Prince fight, Chun calmly, and the Prince mightily pissed off. They each get in a hit, with the Prince wounded far more severely than Chun, who basically has a scratch. Chun pauses to say that he finally understands why Gwang Taek might be better than he is (ok, an interesting non sequitur in context, but not to Chun. Having now fought the Prince, he can see how Gwang Taek’s motivations may give him more of an edge than his own.) On the other hand, the Prince tells him to quit talking smack.
The fight continues, and Chun starts to really get the better of the Prince. In the end, Chun stabs the Prince. As he stands there, impaled, he tells Chun that although he may die, the dream of the Northern Expedition will not, no matter how many years it takes.
Chun tells him that he hopes the Prince can leave that dream here and go in peace. The Prince replies that everyone dies, so his life isn’t that important. But for him to be killed by a bastard like Chun is pitiful. He staggers back and collapses against a tree. He looks up and says that his dream for the Northern Expedition must not die. And then he dies.
At that moment, Ji Sun, who is following Jin Ju, clutches her heart.
Chun leaves Un to clean up the scene where the Prince has died. Un kneels before the Prince’s body and asks for forgiveness. He says there was no other way. With tears running down his face, he begs the Prince for forgiveness. (Un, I know that your options were limited, but killing people and asking them for forgiveness is a weird habit you are getting into.)
Dong Soo finds Commander Im’s body, still kneeling there in the forest (which just breaks my furry little heart). He looks up to see Un kneeling before the Prince. Dong Soo runs towards them and when he sees that the Prince is dead, he starts yelling his head off. Un, oddly enough, just stands there. He just waits for Dong Soo to confront him.
Dong Soo asks Un if he was the one who did this. Un doesn’t say anything as Dong Soo begs him to tell him why? Un continues to stand silent, and Dong Soo asks if Un’s going to kill him now. He grabs Un and tells him to say something. Did he go crazy? Is he really Un? Is he really the guy who went through everything with him?
Un finally says that this is just fate. Nothing can be done about fate. Even if he had tried to escape this fate, there was no way out. So it’s just fate.
Dong Soo yells at Un not to say nonsense and then slugs him. We get a series of flashbacks of Un and Dong Soo together: lighting the beacons; when they first met; Un asking him why he told Im a lie about the wound, and Dong Soo replying that he believes in Un. With each one, Dong Soo slugs Un, and Un just lets him.
Dong Soo finally turns and picks up a sword. Weeping, Dong Soo tells Un that he’s going to have to kill him.
Jin Ju and Ji Sun make their way through the woods, and come across Chun and his minion (the guy who survived the cart attack with Un). They duck behind a tree, but Chun heard them and asks who is there. Jin Ju motions for Ji Sun to hide while she ventures out. Jin Ju comes out and greets Chun, and then takes off, the minion following behind. Ji Sun turns and sneaks off in the other direction, but Chun is still lurking nearby.
Dong Soo attacks Un, who tells him to stop, or he’ll have to fight back. Dong Soo yells at him to fight back. Un begs him to stop, but Dong Soo screams that he’ll kill Un.
Ji Sun arrives just as Un is standing, and Dong Soo is recovering from having dirt thrown in his eyes. Dong Soo charges forward. As Un raises his sword to parry, Ji Sun grabs Un from behind to move him out of the way. The result, to his utter horror, is that Dong Soo ends up stabbing both Un AND Ji Sun.
Both Ji Sun and Un collapse, and as Dong Soo pleads with Ji Sun not to die, Un remarks on the irony of this result. Dong Soo tells Un not to die yet, he’ll be the one to kill him in the end.
Dong Soo lifts Ji Sun up to piggyback her away, and starts to run with her to safety.
As they cross a field, Ji Sun revives enough to ask to be taken back to the Prince. He tells her that he can’t do that, and she begs him to take her back. He stops and asks her, what if she dies? And she replies that she is fine.
He turns and they return to the Prince (at which point I start yelling at the screen – DONG SOO ARE YOU AN IDIOT OR WHAT!! – a sentiment that Un agrees with, actually).
As Dong Soo kneels before the Prince and Un is watching from underneath another tree, wounded, Ji Sun leans against the Prince and asks to go with him. She then turns to Dong Soo and apologizes. He asks her not to apologize and not to die. Un, on the other hand, is looking mightily frustrated. Ji Sun thanks Dong Soo. He asks her again not to die.
She collapses against the Prince. Dong Soo asks why can’t he carry her burdens for her. He starts crying and begging her to live (I am still saying IDIOT!!!).
Dong Soo starts screaming, which is not the brightest thing he’s ever done, because he can be heard all over the forest. He attracts the attention not only of Jin Ju, but of Chun.
Jin Ju is startled out of hiding and Chun’s minion sneaks up on her. Luckily for her, her father shows up to save her. The minion recognizes him as Hwang Jin Ki (uh oh! He’s supposed to make everyone think he’s dead!), and Jin Ju takes off running as the minion and Jin Ki fight.
Chun arrives to find Dong Soo in front of the Prince. As Chun asks Un why he didn’t take care of this, Dong Soo asks if Chun was the one who killed them all. Chun gives him a “and who are you?” Dong Soo picks up his sword and attacks Chun. Chun easily dodges the charge, and asks Dong Soo if he wants to die. Dong Soo charges him again, and Chun grabs him by the throat. He tells Dong Soo that if he really wants to die, he’ll kill him. As he starts to throttle Dong Soo, Chun suddenly recognizes him as the boy who stabbed him years earlier.
He asks if he’s Baek Dong Soo. Dong Soo, in turn, recognizes him and asks if he was behind all of this. Chun tells him no, this is fate. Dong Soo tells him that he’ll finish them all.
Chun laughs at him and says that he’s grown up, but he can’t fight them all. Chun releases him, and when Dong Soo attacks again, Chun sends him reeling with a blow. He tells him that if he attacks again, he really will kill him.
Chun looks at Un and Dong Soo and laughs. He tells them there is no telling where their fates will take them.
As Dong Soo writhes on the ground, unable to rise, Chun asks Un if Ji Sun is the child (as in, is she the girl with the map tattoo). He slings her over his shoulder and takes off, with Un trailing. As Un passes Dong Soo, he stops to tell Dong Soo that Dong Soo needs to live long enough to get revenge on Un.
Dong Soo gives a few more screams and then lapses into silence. Jin Ju arrives to find him there, silently kneeling. Jin Ki follows, and is horrified to find the dead Prince. Next Gwang Taek and Sa Mo arrive, shocked at the outcome and failure of the escape.
Gwang Taek finds Ji lurking nearby. He asks why she is there and she asks him to forgive her and kill her. She begs him to kill her. He shakes his head and says that her trading her life will not fix what happened. (And a black bead falls from her sleeve.) Ji says she will try to return “that child” to them, meaning Ji Sun.
Gwang Taek arrives at a destroyed house – which turns out to be where Gwang Taek had previously met up with a swordmaker who could take him to the Assassins – and Chun’s voice comes to him from another room. He says he waited there for Gwang Taek, but he doesn’t have the desire to fight today. Gwang Taek tells him that today he went too far. Now Gwang Taek does want to kill him.
Chun tells Gwang Taek that he’d rather meet him on a day when they are both at their best, not a day like today when Gwang Taek is upset. Gwang Taek asks if Chun is afraid of him. Chun (and I do love him for this) says that he is afraid, he laughs and says he knows his skills aren’t as deep as Gwang Taek’s, maybe he should just run away. Chun tells him they will meet and fight again.
Back at the palace, Im’s two lieutenants reopen the rice chest. Cho Rip is swapped with the body, and the King is presented with the Prince’s bloodied pole weapon, along with the news of how the escape failed. Cho Rip returns to Sa Mo’s, and finds that Dong Soo has collapsed.
At the palace, as the King sits in the courtyard, and the rice chest is opened, Sado’s son (who technically at this point I think is the Royal Successor but I’m going to call him Prince because it’s easier) rushes into the courtyard yelling for his father and is restrained by various nobles. In the next scene, we see the young Prince in town with some guards (quick explanation – after his father died, the Prince and his mother were expelled from the palace for some time).
We leap forward a month, and find Cho Rip reporting that Dong Soo has wandered off. All hands on deck are sent out to find him.
In the meantime, Gwang Taek is escorted to see the young Prince. However, he has also gone off. He’s wandering through the marketplace, looking around. He is spotted by Hong’s creepy bodyguard (man!!! I thought Chun had throttled him to death in the last episode! Dude! Stay dead already!).
Anyway, Dong Soo is also shuffling through the marketplace, vacantly bumping into people and things. He knocks over a merchant’s goods, and is being beaten when the Prince happens by. The Prince stops the beating and offers to pay. As the creepy bodyguard takes aim, the Prince realizes he doesn’t actually have money on him, and is accused of being in cahoots with Dong Soo. As the merchant starts to threaten the Prince, Dong Soo suddenly snatches the arrow out of the air, inches from the Prince.
Pretty much everyone else arrives on the scene and tries to sort out what happened. Sa Mo and Cho Rip haul Dong Soo back to the house, as the Prince asks if that was the Dong Soo he’d heard about. Back at the Prince’s rooms, Gwang Taek fills him in one the truth of what happened to his father, and explains why he also has to be careful.
Lord Hong hears the reports back from the creepy bodyguard, and is frustrated to hear that Gwang Taek is always around the Prince. He also gets a report on Dong Soo, and both the underling and creepy bodyguard agree that Dong Soo has gone bonko. Lord Hong gives the creepy bodyguard a book to take to the Assassins, and gets the underling to doublecheck on Dong Soo.
Jin Ju, on the other hand, is still trying to work out the puzzle of Ji. She found the black pearl bead at the scene of the Crown Prince’s death, and has one that her father has always had. She goes looking for her father, who has gone to contact Ji. Ji tells Jin Ki that Jin Ju has seen her. Jin Ju stops Jin Ki on his way back home and asks him what he’s been up to. He asks if there is news of Dong Soo, and she tells him what happened.
He asks if that’s why she’s upset, and she tells him no, that’s old news. No, what has her upset is the black pearl beads. He has some ‘splaining to do. He tap dances around it a little and she says “no, this one here is yours and this one is that lady’s…” He tells her that these are common beads, and leaves. Jin Ju hears a noise, and sees someone leaving and starts to follow.
Jin Ju stops and says she’s good at tracking, and when she scents the air, realizes that it’s a fragrance, and it’s likely Ji. Jin Ju assumes Ji can hear her and tells her she wants to know why her father has a pearl just like hers. Jin Ju finally stutters out “Perhaps, perhaps, you’re my mother?” (Ok, I resisted the obvious children’s book reference. Be proud of me.) Ji stays hidden and cries.
Back at the bandit hideout, Jin Ki ponders his pearl. We get a flashback to Ji leaving and Jin Ki rushing after her to ask her what to name the child. Ji just walks off, and Jin Ki stands holding the baby. He sees the pearl that Ji has left behind, and picks it up. He ponders the baby and the pearl and decides that she should be 진주 = Jin Ju = Pearl.
Creepy bodyguard delivers the book to Chun. It turns out to be Gwang Taek’s Martial Arts Handbook. Chun tosses it into the fire. Un comes in and Chun asks him if he has healed, and he says he has.
Back at Sa Mo’s, Lord Hong’s underling watches and concludes that Dong Soo really has gone nuts, and goes to report back to Hong. He tells him that the kid seems to be related to Sa Mo and Gwang Taek and really is nuts. Dae Ung (the former In) says that’s Baek Sa King’s kid, isn’t it? Lord Hong agrees and says that Dong Soo shouldn’t be left living. Dae Ung asks why should they bother, if he’s nuts? Hong gives him a nasty look, so Dae Ung says – ok, whatever, then we kill him.
Lord Hong goes to report into the Queen, who asks how the Prince is. Lord Hong advises her that attempting to assassinate the Prince would be foolish at this point. The Queen asks why they should waste the opportunity when the Prince is outside the palace. Hong replies that with Gwang Taek always by his side, the Prince is too well guarded. On the other hand, he thinks that if they can’t whack him outside the palace, perhaps they can bring him back into the palace, and get control of him and kill him more easily there. So, she goes to the King and persuades him to bring the Prince back.
Jin Ju goes to Sa Mo’s, where she finds Cho Rip daydreaming while babysitting Dong Soo. Jin Ju grabs Dong Soo and tells Cho Rip to follow her. Her theory is that a short sharp shock will bring Dong Soo back to his senses. She wants to toss him into the water. She figures that if he wants to live, he’ll swim. Cho Rip thinks this is a really bad idea. While trying to stop her from tossing Dong Soo in, Cho Rip manages to knock himself and Jin Ju into the water instead.
While they didn’t succeed in tossing him in, their splashing around did manage to get the first bit of attention from Dong Soo in a month. As they dry off and mess around, Dae Ung is lurking. They wander off for a minute, leaving Dong Soo by the water. Dae Ung simply walks up and addresses Dong Soo, who completely ignores him. When Dong Soo smiles at him, Dae Ung decides to see if he’s really crazy and swings his sword at Dong Soo’s neck. Dong Soo doesn’t even flinch. Dae Ung can’t bring himself to kill Dong Soo, which he notes is a first for him.
Later, Gwang Taek decides to try his own method of curing Dong Soo. This involves beating the daylights out of him. Jin Ju begs Sa Mo to stop the beating before Dong Soo is killed, but he says he can’t go against Gwang Taek. Dong Soo finally brings an arm up to block the staff, but otherwise doesn’t have much of a reaction.
Meanwhile back at the Assassins Headquarters, Un is installed as the new In. All of the assassins have to bow before him as he takes his place as the third Lord of the Hired Assassins.
And there we end episode 13!
Ok, that was long. Lots of stuff happened and we are at a crossroads. The Crown Prince is dead, and Un has become an Assassin with a big A. Poor Dong Soo has put his brain into time out while he tries dealing with the betrayal of his friend, the loss of Ji Sun (well, considering it was him that stabbed her), the death of the Prince, and general all around suckiness of things. He’s in there, as we can see at the end, but other than self-preservation, he’s just hiding inside his own mind.