Jo Jung-Suk and Shin Se-Kyung from Captivating the King
Jo Jung-Suk and Shin Se-Kyung from Captivating the King (Photo Credit: tvN)

Captivating the King Ending Explained: Does Jo Jung-Suk’s K-Drama Have Happy or Sad Ending?

Netflix and tvN K-drama Captivating the King ended on Sunday, March 3, 2024. Starring Jo Jung-Suk as King Lee In and Shin Se-Kyung as Kang Hee-Soo/Mong-Woo, the series revolves around a misunderstood king who sets things right at the end.

In episode 15, King Lee In punishes his uncle, Principal Director Park Jong-Hwan, after the sacrifice of his court lady. The king finally brings justice to his late brother, who was poisoned by Jong-Hwan three years ago. With the same kind of poison, King Lee In gives the traitor a death sentence. 

Episode 16 begins with King Lee In’s mother finding out that his “gidaeryeong” baduk player is a woman. She tries to make her his concubine, but Lee In intervenes and bashes his mother. The couple goes through many obstacles in the finale episode. However, their story ends on a happy note.

Captivating the King episode 16 recap & spoilers: Shin Se-Kyung joins the Qing Emperor despite Jo Jung-Suk’s opposition

In Captivating the King episode 16, Shin Se-Kyung’s Hee-Soo learns that the Qing Emperor wants her to be his baduk player. But King Lee In (Jo Jung-Suk) will not send her to the enemy’s den. She is aware that if he rejects the emperor’s offer, then a war may follow.

After officials also fail to convince the king, Hee-Soo shares her opinion with him while playing baduk. She asks him to consider the offer again as she can help Lee In with the inside matters of the Qing dynasty. But he is scared that Hee-Soo may get caught and may get labeled as a spy. Finally, she reveals the actual reason for her accepting the Qing Emperor’s proposal.

She says, “There is another reason I must go. I wish to see my long-yearned father in Beijing.” For context, her father went to Beijing as a spy three years ago. Initially, she thought he sacrificed his life for King Lee In, and hence, she wanted to avenge his death by killing the king. But later, she learned that her father willingly didn’t return home. 

The finale episode further shows King Lee In giving his approval to Hee-Soo. Before leaving, the two spend a day as a normal couple in a cottage. They share some emotional and swoon-worthy moments. Although Lee In approves, he doesn’t feel confident to send her alone. Hence, he releases prisoner Chu Dal-Ha (Hee-Soo’s well-wisher) and commands him to follow her in order to protect her in Beijing.

After Hee-Soo leaves, King Lee In gives all his time to serve his kingdom better. After a few years, Myung-Ha spots Hee-Soo near the palace. When they meet, she requests him not to inform the king as she will leave the village again.

Captivating the King ending: Did Jo Jung-Suk & Shin Se-Kyung end up together?

Towards the Captivating the King ending, Jo Jung-Suk‘s King Lee In develops a cordial relationship with the Qing Emperor after the death of the prince. Boon-Young, who was sent to the Qing in place of Princess Jangryeong, returns and receives a warm welcome.

While everyone gets a happy ending, King Lee In and Hee-Soo are still apart. Before leaving the village again, Hee-Soo meets Myung-Ha. The latter insists she tells him where she is heading. The episode ends with Shin Se-Kyung’s character making a stop while leaving her hometown. At the stop, she finds King Lee In playing baduk. 

Surprised, she asks him how he found out that she would be here. He mentions that Myung-Ha informed him. The two have an emotional reunion, followed by a game of baduk. For context, they made a bet in the past that she would tell her real name if he beat her in the game. 

So, he finally wins, and she reveals her real name — Kang Hee-Soo. At the episode’s end, he says, “I will no longer be separated from you and spend the rest of my life with you.”

Viewers can stream Captivating the King on Netflix.

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