recap: Jang Ok Jung, Live in love Episode 24 (finale)

And we have come to the end of the journey. And I’m proud to say I’m glad I stuck through with the drama despite the many hiccups. I actually found the ending satisfying. I started bawling from the moment DP handed OJ the bowl of poison, until the end with LS’s haunting soliloquy. I’m fine with an understated finale as long it touches me in the right places and gives the OTP their due. I don’t need endless wailing and a bucket of tears. Cue to Faith’s super simple but absolutely beautiful ending.

But back to JOJ’s last episode, it was the conversations rather than the action that were paramount. OJ asking LS to order her death, DP begging LS to spare OJ’s life, OJ asking CS to bring her back to the palace so that she can die in LS’s arms, OJ telling LS why she came back. So that their love will remain untarnished till the very end. So that no one would ever doubt they loved each other. So no one will ever doubt she loved him. And most importantly, it was so LS himself would never, ever doubt OJ loved him, even when she was no longer in the world. And from his last words to her that he loved her, he finally realised just how much she loved him.

And to Yoo Ah In and Kim Tae Hee….they were the reason why I kept to the drama. They were gorgeous as a pair and individually, and plain spectacular in most of their scenes together. KTH has my heart for her splendid portrayal of OJ, despite the crazy writing at times. YAI nailed LS, from the kingly swagger to the emotional gravitas required. And their chemistry is just off-the-charts. I mean this is the first time I’ve seen such palpable chemistry between an OTP in a death scene.

Here goes:
DY marches in all tiny and huffy and announces that she has proof that OJ was involved in black magic, which ultimately led to the death of the late queen. She produces the straw doll like a child showing off her latest toy. She continues that she found it in Chwi Seon Dang, and LS warns that DY has to bear responsibility for what she is saying. LS promises to get to the bottom of the matter, but he appears unsettled.

OJ and her court lady are clearing up the room. The court lady says she will make sure it is cleared properly and asks OJ to leave first. LS walks in, with DY beside him. DY declares that this is the evidence backing up her story. LS is shocked and ask OJ why she arranged for such a ritual. OJ replies she only did it in order to get Yoon healed and to cleanse the place of IK’s spirit. DY cuts in and says OJ is lying – she wasn’t trying to counter IK, but the late IH. LS watches the exchange, flustered. OJ demands why DY is accusing of her of such when Minister Kim says holding such rituals are against palace rules anyway, doesn’t matter the reason.

LS orders for all of OJ’s staff to be arrested and investigated. He also puts OJ under house arrest. OJ looks at him fearfully and for the first time, LS is helpless to defend her. He knows she is telling the truth about praying for Yoon, but the rituals are akin to committing treason. He has to openly investigate the matter. OJ’s maids are tortured, while Minister Kim and lackeys strategise how to use this event to their advantage.

OJ wants to seek an audience with LS, but HM says she isn’t allowed to leave Chwi Seon Dang. She pleads with him to help her pass a message to LS, but HM refuses. Just then, LS arrives. He asks her whether she was really just praying for the Yoon’s recovery and OJ promises that what all she was praying for. LS believes her, and says he will get her out of this and return her the position of being Yoon’s mother again (Yoon was officially given to IH to raise as her own).

The court ladies are searching the room where the ritual was held and find IH’s accessory, planted by DY, who declares it proof that OJ was out to harm IH. The ministers meet with LS. They condemn OJ guilty of the heinous crime and demand her execution. LS is aware all of this is a trap, but he can’t do anything. The scholars gather outside the gate and plead for the king to execute OJ. DP and LS are together and LS says Yoon will be pulled into this mess sooner or later.

OJ visits her court lady in jail and apologises for getting her into this fix. The scholars are still outside, demanding that for the sake of the country, LS cannot continue to protect Hee Bin and Seja. LS is drinking in his quarters, troubled and shattered. He later tells HM that he wants to see his OJ. They meet at their bridge and OJ is worried to see LS so drunk. LS holds her hand and says he just wants to remain like that, being with her, for a while. One of OJ’s maids cave under torture and falsely confesses that the ritual was held by OJ to get rid of IH. Minister Kim is pleased.

OJ sits in her room and thinks back about her time in the palace and all that she went through. She also thinks of what LS has done for her and the promise that he will never let go of her hand. She goes to find LS. They face each other tearfully for a moment, before OJ says she has a request. She implores LS to protect Yoon until the end. LS says making sure Yoon ascends to the throne is the reason of his being. OJ smiles and says he needs to do only that.

She asks for him to let her commit suicide, and let her death be documented as ordered by the king. She doesn’t want to be a shackle to him and Yoon, thus she pleads for him to issue the order. LS mulls over it, and says he will find a way for OJ to live. Even if there seems to be no way, he will create a way for her. Ah, so this is the full content of what this episode’s preview.

LS meets with the ministers and declares OJ guilty of the crime. He says he will order her to take her own life. The ministers are still not satisfied and want Yoon to be punished, too. LS is furious: he is ordering the death of the mother of the crown prince and the woman he loves.

DY and OJ meet and OJ says DY can go ahead and experience being in the queen’s position. She’ll know how scary it is. Plus, DY is lowborn like her, so she will encounter equal difficulty. DY says she will definitely sit in the position one day. OJ says DY’s dirty deed will be exposed one day and DY is defiant, saying she did nothing wrong. OJ counters that though no one knows what DY did, DY herself is aware of it. That shuts DY up and she leaves in a huff.

OJ’s mother visits with Yoon in tow. OJ’s mother blames herself for the whole mess, but OJ disagrees. She says Yoon recovered in the end, so she is not to be blamed. DP rushes to LS’s quarters and ask him to rescind his order for OJ’s suicide. He says LS can’t sincerely want this outcome, but LS counters it doesn’t matter whether he means it or not. It is a decision he is making as a king. DP reminds LS he once said OJ was someone he was willing to give up the throne for. Furthermore, she is the mother of his child. How can he ruthlessly go ahead with his order?

DP drops to his knees and says he is asking LS to spare OJ’s life for the LS’s sake. He knows LS: if OJ dies, LS’s heart will die with her. LS says OJ is his woman, was his queen. He will take care of the matter himself. DP refuses to give up. He says if OJ dies, LS will lose the person closest to him. Every day, every night, LS’s heart won’t be able to endure the pain of her gone.

DP begs him to take back the order and spare OJ’s life. For LS himself, for the love they shared. LS replies with that for himself, he has to kill that woman….a tear slips from LS’s eyes. Heartbreaking scene…YAI’s acting here is stellar. I don’t care he didn’t cry a river. All that choked swallows, watery eyes and that lone tear did the job for me.

CS is dead upset that LS has ordered OJ to kill herself – is the king not human? How can he order the death of his lover and the mother of his child? The gisaeng says LS is doing all this to protect Yoon. CS asks the gisaeng to make preparations – he is going to offer his wealth to Minister Kim. I guess he wants to bribe him in exchange for OJ’s life. CS meets Minister Kim, and offers him everything he posesses in Hanyang, saying it’s a gift of gratitude for helping him handle JH. But he has a dream: he wants to know what it is like having the king’s woman.

Minister Kim is affronted and asks CS what he takes Joseon for? It is not a place where a mere merchant can experience what a king has, even if it is a woman. Minister Kim tears up CS’s offer and barks at him to contempt to go back to China. The ministers discuss that LS seem to allowing OJ’s death too easily. They reason it is because of Yoon – the king is willing to abandon OJ for his son. Minister Kim says he suspects LS has other plans in mind.

HM arrives to escort OJ to a temple. YB informs LS OJ is leaving and he rushes out to see her. OJ looks around the palace fondly for the last time as she is being escorted away. LS stops the palanquin and she gets out. He says he won’t be able to see her when she commits suicide. He says he wasn’t able to protect her until the end in this palace and ask her not to forgive him.

He says in the end, he is the one who lets go of her hand. OJ smiles and says whatever he has done for her, it is enough for her. LS makes a move towards her but halts in his step. I think he is afraid if he allows himself to hug her, he wouldn’t be able to let her go. And as usual, OJ understands him without a need for words. He backs away and turns away, his eyes filled with tears.

CS is summoned by the king, and LS says he was right in suspecting that CS coveted OJ from the start, as a man. LS continues that though CS tried to bring down OJ, he is the only person who can save OJ now is CS. CS counters that LS is the one who ordered OJ’s death, but now he wants to save her? LS says Minister Kim and his faction will never let OJ off, so he rather she leaves the palace without the knowledge of the ministers. LS says he has considered giving up the throne, but he has to handle his own matters. He ask CS to take OJ far away and he says only HM knows of this plan.

The scene cuts to a flashback of OJ’s mother confessing that she was the one who instigated the ritual. LS says he knows OJ meant to cause no harm, but the world won’t accept that OJ was only sincerely praying for Yoon. He tells OJ’s mother he won’t take clear OJ’s name of cursing the late queen. Another flashback of OJ watching LS’s departing back, sobbing. Her mother watches quietly, knowing what LS has planned.

OJ goes to pray at the temple with her mother. While she is resting, someone comes to knock her out. HM puts his sword to CS’s throat and says he needs to keep OJ alive, no matter what. It is an order from the king. CS tells OJ’s mother he will bring OJ back to China and ensure she survives. OJ’s mother pretends to be OJ and gets into the palanquin. IH’s court lady sees the palanquin and informs DY that OJ is back at the palace. DY wonders why OJ didn’t run away.

DP is stumbling around like a madman and he arrives at the place where OJ is supposed to take her life, but she’s not there. DP goes to look for HM, who tells him that the king has sent OJ away. DP goes to find LS and realises it was all a ruse to save OJ from death. LS says how he could kill OJ? He definitely will not let go of her hand. That he swore to her. He is even thinking of giving up his throne to save her. DP is shocked and LS smiles that he is just a normal man after all.

OJ wakes up and finds out from CS that this is all the plan of LS. She asks CS to take her back to the palace. She knows if she disappears, LS and Yoon will be put in a difficult position. She says it is her turn to protect both of them. She says her place of death has to in the palace, with the king. This has been her reason for living. She begs CS to take her back to the king. This way, she can protect the love she shares with LS. CS finally agrees. He will take her back so that she can protect her love, and by he doing so, he can protect his own love for her.

The ministers are in uproar as there is news that OJ has disappeared from the palace. Minister Kim says they will have to go to Chwi Seon Dang to confirm this. The poison is being prepared and OJ returns to the palace. HM informs LS that OJ has returned to the palace and he is horrified. OJ is hugging Yoon in tearful farewell and Minister Kim and lackeys arrive to check on her. She steps out of her quarters and sees DP. She approaches the table where she is to drink the poison. LS sits in his room, knowing he can’t do anything.

The maid is going to give OJ the bowl of poison when DP offers to do it instead. I totally started bawling from here. DP crying, but yet smiling encouragingly at OJ. OJ pays her final respects to LS and downs the bowl of poison. LS finally snaps out of his stupor and rushes to find OJ. OJ starts choking as the poison takes effect and LS rushes in and goes to her side.

He pulls her into his arms and said she shouldn’t have returned. OJ says how could she not return? She wants to spend her last moments in his arms. She says she has being living for their love and she wants to protect their love till the end. She passes away and LS is devastated. No wails, but I felt his raw pain. The way he mumbled her name. YAI – love you here. He says that he loves her. He loved her. Tears are pouring down my cheeks at this point. The scene cuts to the lonely figure of LS on his throne.

LS goes to their bridge. In a soliloquy, he says she protected her love to the end. She lived her life like the bright fireworks. From now on, there will be no one in this world who LS can lean his lonely shoulders on and no one to wipe his tears. The only woman I, Lee Soon, ever loved, Jang Ok Jung, is no longer in this world. LS doubles over and grieves for the woman who loved, lived and died for him… and only him.

The scene cuts to show their tombs as of today, next to each other in death.

35 thoughts on “recap: Jang Ok Jung, Live in love Episode 24 (finale)

  1. OMG, I’m bawling just reading your recap. I can’t imagine what’ll happen when I watch the episode. What a beautiful, yet sad love story. Kudos to YAI and KTH for their gutwrenching portrayals. They have definitely gven the performances of their young lives. BRAVO!!!

  2. Thank you for recap. I wasan emotional wreck yesterday. Wtching without subs was very frustrating and drove me to make all kinds of conclusions. I feel a lot better now that I understand what was being said. What a love these two had. I can never ever forget the OTP in JOJ ever.

  3. Thank you so much for the recap! LS and OJ’s word at the last scene is to die for. I cannot bear the ending. =(

    They could have pulled a reincarnation scene at the end for fan service. =))

  4. Thank u so much dear…it was a sad ending but that’s the fact…the ending was really touched all JOJ fans including me…all the cast potrayed the drama like it is true story…and for u…good job…u have done a great job for recap on this drama…keep it up…KEEP CALM & LOVE JOJ. :) ^_^

  5. First, thank you so much for recapping till the end. I cried like for an hour during the show and half an hour after the show! And it was even without subs yet. Now off to read!

  6. Wait the last paragraph was misleading … the king wasnt place together with jang . He was placed together with the sec queen . Jang was placed at the other side … sad to knw this but it’s a true fact … everyones love happy ending but perhap that’s history … but however it was a great drama !!!

    Cheers

  7. Million thanks for the recap. It is a bit frustrated watching this drama without subtitle last night and this morning you really make my day by doing a fast recap for this last episode. Thumbs up to you!!! Hoping the producer will have another drama to continue the sequence for JOJ in modern era (reincanation for all the casts). The chemistry between KTH and YAI is superb! Hope to see them both again in next drama.

    • Mhh Not even close.. Actually Choi Suk Bin ( Dong YI) was Inwon (next Queen) favorite and she even adopted her son. (which was not required since he was not crown prince or first born) She was also favorite of Myong Bin (another concubine) and Park bin (yet another high rank concubine) It is said that in 1711 when Inwon was sick with pox Choi suk bin sent her ladies in waiting out of palace to look for remedies between the commoners to save the Queen. XD

  8. Ikr! I watched this without subs, but i alrdy was sobbing all night watching this. And i dont want to sob all over again just to see the subs-_- and i totally agree with u. I was like, okay so OJ is going to die, but then when DP started to cry, i was like… ㅠㅠㅠㅠㅠㅠ lol. And when LS said he loves OJ… Yeah. This drama is just…. the love they share is just…. i can’t. That was the most beautiful love. Ever. :’D

  9. I had been crying during the livestreaming, I was crying during my 2 re-watches and I’m crying right now reading those last paragraphs! You managed to put all my thoughts and emotions into words and I thank you for that! I thank you for all those amazing recaps you have written and sticking with this awesome drama despite all its flaws. It wasn’t a perfect series by any stretch of imagination but if was perfect for me.

    All things considered this kdrama will forever remain on my all time favourite list, it made me laugh, it made me cry, it made giddy, happy, desolated, frustrated, depressed, it gutted and tugged at my heart all at once. It’s difficult to find such a gem be it Asian or western series despite all the flaws and problems I WON’T EVER REGRET I SPEND OVER 24 HOURS OF MY LIFE LIVESTREAMING IT AND COUNTLESS TIMES MORE RE-WATCHING AND DISCUSSING IT, IT WAS WORTH IT AND IF SOMEONE COULD TURN BACK TIME I WOULD DO IT AGAIN.

  10. Thanks for the recap, I have yet watch the finalle but reading ur recap already broke my heart into pieces…Honestly, I haven’t mastered the courage to watch the final ep that is why I was still dillydallying…It seems I simply can’t bear to watch the tragic end of OJ and to see the cunning Choi…and if what she accused of OJ was true, then I will not think twice to do the same with her…that is, doing all sort of rituals to annihilate her,lol

  11. And the only reason I endured watching this drama is bcoz of KTH & YAI…their acting were far beyond excellent & had given justice to their roles with so much conviction as though they were not acting at all…They have superb chemistry! Also, must commend LSY for his great acting & JH who never disappoint me w/his acting ability no matter how short his role…Overall, this is a great drama worth watching for…Kudos!

  12. I’m satisfied with the ending. It’s a sad ending but it’s not down grading OJ natural character. Remember on episode 3 when she said she’d rather live short but leave a spark like a firework. And yes, she did live like a firework. She lived for love and she died for love. It’s ‘Jang Ok Jung, Lives In/For Love’ afterall! I would be mad if she chose to stay alive by hiding outside the palace like a coward. I’m so proud of OJ! And I’m so proud of LS as the king who love his woman till the end of her life. Thank you for your great recap Ms. Breathless Survival! ♡·♥·♡

    • My thought exactly. I heard many people complained about JOJ sad ending. But it would have been meh if the drama kept her alive in the end for the sake of Soonjung Couple romance-shippers. Because that’s not what this drama wanted to aim in the first place. At the press conference the director, actor, and writer have emphasized this would be a sad ending, and it just went down with that of written in the original novel.

  13. Your recap made the finale bearable for me. Sure I wanted a different ending with our favorite OTP, frolicking the meadows with rainbows and sunburts…but we can’t have everything! It’s enough that I have invested on a very good Korean drama, with fantastic acting from Tae hee, Yai, Queen In HYun and Prince DP. Will definitely look out for the next project of this awesome four as long as your recaps shadows each one of them. Thank you!

  14. I think the person that admitted the crime was the shaman? cause some say it’s the shaman and some say it’s the maid >.<
    Was sobbing like mad when I watch the streaming ytd with my limited korean and sobbing again when I watched it this morning with chinese subbed. Nvr have I cried so much in one episode of a drama.

  15. Thank you so very much for recapping JOJLIL! I check your recap first thing in the morning after the airing of the episode the day before. It has become a routine and I will miss JOJLIL with its ending. I will, nonetheless, drop by your blog from time to time to check what you have to say or recap. Keep up with the good works!

  16. still bawling my eyes out and i haven’t even watched it with subs yet!!!i would say…the interpretation of the legendary LS & JOJ is pretty logical considering the next queen bore no children..it’s like King never slept with her and again like IH, the next queen knows she is there for King’s sole purpose..to keep his promise to JOJ to make Yoon as the legitimate successor to the throne. History being recorded by JOJ’ s haters thus what’s written and read by us today. The people of Joseon only knows JOJ as a scary tramp not knowing what could and would have been going on in these people’s lives. JOJ is a woman who is passionate towards her loved ones…that her love could drive her to sheer happiness and cornered her to do the unimaginable in order to protect her loves (Mom,King & son). many congrats to all the main actors and the crews for such a fantastic job. i seriously love the costume part as well. the hanboks’ color combination is amazing. i’m having JOJ withdrawal effects now;(

    • MMm but KIng did have a last son in 1707 with (disputed) Choi Suk bin or another concubine of name Choi (his fourth son with her) who died young, and had another two concubines more, One in 1705 and last one in 1715. Also the king Lee Soon dissaproved his son with Jang Ok Jung and was trying to drive him out, There are letter between Soron Members (Jang hui bin party) where they expressed their concern about King planning to kick crown prince out plus the registers of Annals of Joseon. And that part of history was not written for Noron (JOJ enemies) but for Soron (her allies) there were on charge at the time of writing annals of Joseon Dinasty. By the way, Did you know the king killed 1700 supporters of Jang hui bin who were opposed to her execution and to many other he exiled them just to get her dead. Shocking isn’t it?

  17. Thanks for the recap! It’s been a great journey from ep1 to ep 24 as we see the writer creates magic at the start, went havoc in the middle and went back to magic at the end (following the original novel ending too)… Pity that they never mentioned that choi never ever get the queen position, becoz in history the king put down a law that prohibit concubines from being queen…although the ending was sad, but it’s truly to its title, JOJ Live in love…

    A magical and wonderful drama! DAEBAK!

  18. T H A N K S Ms Breathlesssurvival for the recap.
    Wish to read Jang Ok Jung, Live in Love the original novel and hope you’ll have time to translate it one day. :) /xxx

  19. I agree with you, this is a great drama, 24 episodes has tugged my heart, make me happy, sad, crying, irritated etc, so many emotions evoked. I think my favorite is the first part, where the attachment of the Kinh and JOJ developed, Overall I think the writer has done great work, creating a love story with real true feeling that we could all easily find ourselves immersed in.
    I do not understand why Kim tae hee acting was not comented, I think both she and YAI is excellent in this film. Their action and chemistry makes the story so true and we could easily related our own stories to theirs.

    Congratualtions the production team, for creating a visually stunning drama, with great music, strong and consistent story line. This will be amongst my top favorite k drama of this year.
    And finally thank you so much for the recap.

  20. Just want to say THANK YOU! For recapping JOJLIL. Dramabeans never picked this up, koalasplayground dropped it midway. I don’t know if you recapped it since it’s first episode, but it was nice i stumbled upon this site right after koala decided to stop recapping it (ep 15 i think).

    For those who were saying that it was becoming like a banjun drama in the middle of it’s run with all the shouting, glaring, and scheming; i say it’s inevitable. The writer had to write it that way so it would explain the image the public have of her.

    Overall, I love the drama. I love the retelling because it makes sense and it doesn’t stray far away from history. Like they always say, history is written by the victors, and there are probably lots of cover ups in the Annals of Joseon. There isn’t much about choi suk bin in it so we will never If she was ana angel or a bitch. Same goes for Jang Ok Jung. The negative accounts of her we have today may have been the works of her haters who made up exaggerated rumors for all we know. I love the drama (have i said that enough?!) and I would love to read the book. (*^_^*) does anybody know where i can find it?

  21. NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO! WHY DA HELL DID THEY DO THAT FOR THEY COULD HAVE SHOWED, OJ IN QUEEN CLOTHES. THIS WAS SO SAD ALL HER HARD TRIALS CAME TO KILLING HERSELF?

  22. Pingback: [PHOTOS & VIDEOS] Update On Yoo Ah In’s Drama Jang Ok Jung Week XII | Yoo Ah In SikSeekLand

  23. Your recap is excellent as usual. Thank so much for sharing. I love both KTH and YAI. It’s a good series although I find it so hard to watch the last few episodes. I have a few problems with the plot. First, why was Ok Jong sentenced to death for such a small crime? Although that was what happened in history, but it just didn’t make sense for me. The king must have been tired of Ok Jong to get rid of her so easily that way. In that case, he must not be such a good man after all! Second, the King seemed to dislike Dong Yi in this version, and yet we know he later fathered many children with her! Also she got promoted quickly. I find the story in this version not as believable. It’s interesting how this series depicted Dong Yi as a villain, whereas in the Dong Yi series, she’s such an adorable character.

  24. I think that this drama was overall really original and brought a new twist to the classic tale of Jang Ok Jung we all knew. The king is so cute in this drama (hehe) and Ok Jung is really pretty too. I still can’t get over the fact that they made Choi Suk-bin such a villainous character, though of course the protagonist here is Ok Jung instead of Suk-bin, who had always been portrayed to be on the good side. And of course this drama isn’t truly accurate according to historical records, but I can say even Dong Yi wasn’t as well. But all we knew is that Sukjong was a flirt in history (just look at the number of concubines he had) instead of just being devoted to one woman, like how this drama and Dong Yi portrayed him to be. Oh well.

  25. It is sad to know that some people hated this drama because they believed that Jang Hui Bin shouldn’t be shown as a good person at all because that is what is written in the history. For the most part I do agree with history but some of it I might not take into full account. I liked this drama not because I believe it was the truth but it did question what I thought happened/ give me a little inspiration to look at the characters in a new way. I wish we also knew how they felt and why they did some of the things they did. That would be so cool! hahaha:)

  26. its so confusing.. as in this drama OJ is kind and Dong yi is the bad one. then in Dong yi drama itself its the other way round…

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