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Scarlet Heart Ryeo Ending (Episodes 19 & 20) Recap – Eternity

Scarlet Heart Ryeo Ending (Episodes 19 & 20) Recap – Eternity

Scarlet Heart Ryeo Ending

Scarlet Heart Ryeo Ending Recap – Eternity

We made it! Fate and time-travel have never been benevolent or trustworthy things in Goryeo. A reckoning comes as the Scarlet Heart Ryeo ending reminds us that though life is brief, love never dies.


Hae-Soo is still heartbroken over Chae-Ryung’s death. She blames 9th Prince for using her friend and warns him he’ll pay for it one day.

Scarlet Heart Ryeo Ending

13th Prince cradles his lover, Woo-Hee

13th Prince’s lover, Woo-Hee, is troubled by the poverty and mistreatment of the people from Baekje, her former nation. The King (4th Prince) is forced to make 13th Prince prove his loyalty to the throne by leading soldiers to Baekje. 13th Prince remains optimistic despite his lack of military training and promises Woo-Hee to marry her when he returns. But before he leaves, Woo-Hee commits suicide by jumping off a castle wall in front of him. He and Hae-Soo, who was friends with Woo-Hee, are devastated. 13th Prince grows distant from the King.

RELATED | Scarlet Heart Ryeo Episode 17 & 18 – Madness

Elsewhere, 8th Prince gives the King a hawk for a gift. But when the cover is lifted, he’s shocked to see the caged bird is dead. The King smiles. He has framed him. He orders 8th Prince’s execution for giving him a symbol of treason.

Scarlet Heart Ryeo Ending

Hae-Soo begs the King for 8th Prince’s life. He reluctantly agrees to exile him to his house. Yeon-Hwa, who decided to not help her brother in hopes of having 4th Prince’s heir, blames Hae-Soo for turning 8th Prince into what he is. She swears that he changed after Hae-Soo warned him not to trust 4th Prince.

RELATED | Scarlet Heart Ryeo Episode 16 – Inseparable

Meanwhile, 14th Prince gives the King a document from the previous (evil 3rd Prince) king that promised marriage for Hae-Soo and 14th Prince. The King is irate. Later on, Hae-Soo tells the King that she wants it – simply because she can’t stand the constant death in the palace anymore.

Yeon-Hwa gets 8th Prince to tell the King about his and Hae-Soo’s former relationship, in hope that the King will get rid of her. Enraged, the King accuses Hae-Soo of deceiving him and tells her to leave the palace with 14th Prince. 13th Prince and 8th Prince are the only ones to see her off.


In 14th Prince’s house, Hae-Soo lives quietly. A doctor tells her she’s growing weaker because she’s pregnant. The King spies on the couple and mistakes their laughter for marital joy. He orders the palace to keep out any news of the couple.

Scarlet Heart Ryeo Ending

14th Prince smiles through his tears as Hae-Soo dies in his arms.

After Hae-Soo’s daughter is born, her health worsens. She writes several letters to the King, but he thinks the letters are from 14th Prince and he tosses them aside. Hae-Soo is saddened, thinking that the King no longer loves her. Hae-Soo pleads with 14th Prince to protect her daughter and keep her away from palace life. She peacefully dies in 14th Prince’s arms while sitting in the garden.

RELATED | Scarlet Heart Ryeo Episode 14 & 15 – Honest Love

The King learns of her death and realizes the letters were from her. He’s beside himself and shows up at 14th Prince’s house, crying her name. He takes her ashes away from 14th Prince. 13th Prince realizes that 14th Prince was in love with Hae-Soo and weeps as he hugs him.

The Scarlet Heart Ryeo Ending

The Scarlet Heart Ryeo ending finally comes. First up, the 9th Prince is executed. Meanwhile,the King remains distant from the queen, Yeon-Hwa, and their son. A few years later, the King sees 14th Prince with his daughter. He demands to know who she is and then sees Hae-Soo’s hairpin in the girl’s hair. 14th Prince begs the King not to take her to the palace as this was Hae-Soo’s last wish. The King surprises 14th Prince by instead asking him to visit the palace often with the girl.

More years roll by. 8th Prince passes away. The astrologer Ji-Mong is the last to leave the King. He tells him that he believes Hae-Soo was from a different world.

RELATED | Scarlet Heart Ryeo Episode 12 & 13 Recap – Uprising

Hae-Soo wakes up in the present time in her house. She wonders at her dream and the tears on her face. We learn that she was in a coma for a year from almost drowning.

Scarlet Heart Ryeo Ending

While selling make-up, Hae-Soo has intense memories of her “dream”. Later on, she visits a museum and sees a bunch of paintings – all from her dream. Weeping, she realizes it was all real. She cries over a portrait of 4th Prince.

Scarlet Heart Ryeo Ending

I’ll find you…

In the past, 4th Prince, now fully without friends in the palace, stares at an eclipse in the sky. He thinks to himself: “If we’re not from the same world, I’ll find you. My Soo.”

RELATED | Scarlet Heart Ryeo Episode 10 & 11 Recap – Betrayal

The last scene is a flashback to when Hae-Soo and 4th Prince were together in the palace. They happily stroll about in nature together and 4th Prince gives a tired Hae-Soo a piggyback ride home.

Thoughts and Feels:

Man, that was heartbreaking.

I have to admit that I knew it was coming… but honestly, I had held out hope that with a new version, we would’ve had a different, ahem happier, ending. Understandably, the heart of the novel and original C-drama is a tragedy. A separation of a couple that loved each other dearly but couldn’t be together.

But why was the ending so rushed? This show was pre-produced and they had plenty of time to edit. And by rushed, I don’t mean they tried to cover so many topics… but rather they covered them so briefly and even confusingly to the point where I had no idea why anything was happening. Many of the big climatic points of the show seemed like the writer hastily crossed off a checklist of plot points from the novel. There were no smooth transitions, rather just jumping from here to there, with confusing flashbacks and a lack of fluidity.

RELATED | Scarlet Heart Ryeo Episode 8 & 9 – Unavoidable Fate

Again, this has been a problem that Scarlet Heart Ryeo has struggled with since the beginning. I don’t know whether to blame the directing or the editing, though I feel both are at fault for the constant time jumps, flashbacks, lack of fluidity, and an insane amount of close up shots. I’m still laughing over the fact that the director had no idea how to use the zoom on a camera.

RELATED | Scarlet Heart Ryeo Episode 6 & 7 Recap – Trapped in the Palace

The episode’s confusion is perhaps best summed up with my bewilderment over 13th Prince and his lover, Woo-Hee. Why the director didn’t think to show a buildup of Woo-Hee’s suicidal thoughts is beyond me! Literally, in one scene she’s happy with Baek-Ah and talking about marriage, and then the next scene she’s killing herself because her people are suffering. The logic is missing, though.

Why does she want to die? How will that help her people? If she’s ashamed of loving a Goryeo prince (since her people are suffering from the Goryeo people)… then why doesn’t she just leave him? And why did she tell him that she didn’t want him to see her die like this – if she was going to jump off the castle wall where he was watching?!! If she seriously didn’t want him to see her death, she could’ve waited for him to leave for Baekje! There are so many unanswered questions in these last few episodes. And that’s just about the side characters.

Scarlet Heart Ryeo Ending

Thinking about the fallout between Hae-Soo and 4th Prince, I admit that, initially, I understood why Hae-Soo wanted to leave 4th Prince. Not because he was evil for executing Chae-Ryung (though Hae-Soo seemed to also imply that, sigh), but there would be no peace in the palace – and she couldn’t stand to see people die and suffer all the time. Not to mention, she was now having to contend with another woman for 4th Prince and her health was deteriorating.

Sadly, Hae-Soo didn’t verbally stress those things as much as the audience probably needed to hear. So it felt like she left him because he killed Chae-Ryung, who was technically a killer. Heck, she could’ve been angry that he hadn’t told her about it before killing Chae-Ryung, yet she never mentions that either. On top of that, Hae-Soo didn’t seem consistent on even Chae-Ryung’s death. After all, she blamed 9th Prince for her friend’s death, but teased and smiled at 8th Prince at their final parting, totally forgetting that he also caused her death and the Crown Prince’s death.

Then there was 4th Prince’s rage over Hae-Soo and 8th Prince’s former romance. I wish they would’ve clarified more of his feelings on the matter because I was so confused! Was he angry because she never told him? Or because 8th Prince was his archenemy? Did he truly think she still loved 8th Prince? A scene with him really explaining why he was so angry that he threw her out of the palace would’ve helped.

RELATED | Scarlet Heart Ryeo Episode 4 & 5 Recap – Forbidden Love

Furthermore, Hae-Soo’s daughter could’ve been a big part of the story, but instead was tacked on almost as an afterthought. It was distracting knowing that her daughter would grow up motherless (and probably never knowing 4th Prince was her real dad). It also confused me about the ending, since Hae-Soo wept over the paintings (which hilariously were of scenes that no one would’ve known about much less painted) yet never mentioned her daughter. I mean, yes, it was only a minute-long scene and she was most likely thinking of her daughter but still! This is also a confusing twist from the original story where Hae-Soo has a miscarriage in the palace, which leads to further (and a more believable) emotional separation between Hae-Soo and 4th Prince.

Also, the original story doesn’t leave a poor child out in limbo land with no parents. At least 14th Prince clearly loved her as a father so I’m not too angry. But I was a little annoyed to see that 4th Prince refused to see his son that he had with Yeon-Hwa! I know that he has no love for Yeon-Hwa, but it’s still his son! Did he forget what it felt like to be abandoned his whole life by his mother? I think the writers were afraid of showing that 4th Prince had moved on from Hae-Soo, but I think they could’ve found a way to balance it.

RELATED | Scarlet Heart Ryeo Episode 2 & 3 Recap – Deadly Palace

Seriously, there are so many things that the ending could’ve done better. Personally, I thought the catalyst of Chae-Ryung’s death should’ve been darker. Instead of making Chae-Ryung some girl who loved 9th Prince and did whatever he bid without regrets (or so her letter says), she could’ve been forced to help him. I wouldn’t have considered 4th Prince super evil or without the right to execute her and this would’ve given Hae-Soo a stronger reason to be upset.

Scarlet Heart Ryeo Ending

Looking at the story as a whole, Scarlet Heart Ryeo was an unabashed romance with a hero that was difficult not to root for. Lee Joon-Ki was fabulous as the tortured, angsty and romantic 4th Prince. I honestly think his character would’ve been unlikable without Lee Joon-Ki’s natural acting and ability to make the pathos of 4th Prince seem bigger than his wolf-like violence and sometimes controlling attitude.

Hae-Soo was sometimes a contradiction to me; I loved her for her compassion, strength, and selflessness. Other times, I was wearied by her depressing stares, inability to take action, and forgiveness of one person’s evil only to detest someone else who had done the same thing. I enjoyed actress IU playing the heroine Hae-Soo, though, yes, she doesn’t have the acting ability that Lee Joon-Ki has. Still, she has a sweet little innocence that was fun to see onscreen.

RELATED | Scarlet Heart Ryeo Episode 1 Recap – 7 Princes and Romance

Though the Scarlet Heart Ryeo ending left us with no happy ending, I took 4th Prince’s last words to heart. In my own head canon, Hae-Soo and 4th Prince are like Prince Charming and Snow White in Once Upon A Time. Time, fate, circumstances can only separate them briefly. Like Scarlet O’Hara in Gone With The Wind, 4th Prince holds on to an impossible hope – that he’ll find Hae-Soo somewhere in the future.

Perhaps he did. Perhaps as the last scene ended, he raced into the museum where she was and embraced her. He had only happened to walk by but as soon as he saw her, it hit him. It wasn’t a dream. All of it had been real! Then they could have a daughter and son (reincarnations of their kids back from Goryeo) and live happily with Hae-Soo working as a make-up artist and 4th Prince working at a nature preserve where he takes cares of wolves. Yep. That’s how it ends in my book folks! I’m thankful I got to enjoy this wild, dramatic and sweeping story of time travel and romance in ancient Goryeo! May the next show we watch be just as sweeping and romantic… minus all the tragedy and confusion!

Scarlet Heart Ryeo is available to watch on Dramafever!

Photos: Dramafever and SBS

What did you think about the Scarlet Heart Ryeo Ending? Are you heartbroken over the finale as well? Sound off below…

About The Author

Faith White

Faith has always enjoyed movies and TV shows from swoon-worthy period dramas to heart-stopping action-adventure flicks. Her love of Korean dramas started a few years ago when she binge-watched a 62 episode period K-drama and fell in love. She also has a passion for writing stories. Even as a young teenager she entertained her sisters
with episodic superhero adventures. Now she spends her time working,
blogging, sewing, juggling several novels, and watching her favorite
shows, mainly K-dramas. You can visit her blog at:


  1. Jessica Nicole

    I agree with so many things. I just got the courage up to finish this show last night, and I think I cried for pretty much the entire two hours. I actually really enjoyed a lot of the direction, so it’s interesting to hear an opposing opinion on that. I agree that LJK’s acting was just exquisite; he’s a real talent. I really loved IU as Hae Soo as well; I’m still VERY new to KDrama so I was impressed when I heard she’s mainly a singer. I thought she did a great job.

    I COMPLETELY agree with the weirdness behind Woo Hee’s suicide. Like, that came completely out of left field! I think the writers were just like, hey Baek Ah has had it WAY too easy this entire show, we have to make him miserable before we end everything.

    I’m keeping my fingers crossed for a second season (or at least an extra episode or two to give us some closure) but I know that probably won’t happen. Even if it does, it’s likely they won’t end it as we all dream they will haha.

    There was so much rushed in the last two episodes that really frustrated me as well. Specifically all the motivation behind So and Soo’s conflict. It just seemed so petty, and I thought they had moved beyond all of that. They weren’t communicating at all, and weren’t the first 17 episodes about them learning to communicate lol? I just felt like they were back at square one by the end of episode 18. And the whole Chae Ryung conflict was obnoxious. SHE WAS SPYING ON YOU. HE PROTECTED YOU. Sure he maybe could have gone about it better, but cut the guy some slack.

    Obviously I have a lot of feels about this show haha.

    I just discovered your blog and I LOVE IT and I feel like we have a lot of similar interests 🙂 feel free to stop by my blog if you’re interested! I’ve started reviewing K-dramas recently, and of course, I review books and movies and such. Thanks for your thoughtful post on Scarlet Heart! I’ve been looking for a good discussion to vent on 🙂

    Jessica @

    • Faith

      Yay! Another SHR fan! Oh man, I kept trying to convince myself this ending was going to be different (i.e. happier, hehe) so I had to literally muster up the courage to finish the drama as well!

      Yes, LJK is brilliant!! He’s seriously wonderful in everything he does. IU is primarly an idol who turned to acting. I first saw her in Dream High and loved her in that show.

      Yes! I was totally confused and blindsided by Woo Hee’s suicide! It really does feel like they had to make sure every couple ended in tragedy. I suppose the reason they added it in was because in the original version, 8th Prince had another wife who committed suicide. Thus they tried to keep that plot point but with totally different characters and it just came off confusing, lol.

      I would really love a second season (i.e. my head-cannon where they reunite in the present). Sadly, I’m thinking it won’t as K-dramas very rarely have second seasons and also the ratings for the show weren’t very good until the end. 🙁

      Lack of communication drives me batty. I totally felt like we were at square one again with the OTP. Sadly, Hae-Soo’s character was set up so that it seemed that no matter how evil her friends became, she would never see the need for them to be punished/face consequences for their actions.

      Yes to feels!!! Oh my word, I’ve made my sister mad so many times by all my constant fangirling and ranting over this drama!

      Thank you!! Yay to similar interests! I’m already heading over to your blog to check it out! I love reading reviews of K-dramas so I’m definitely going to be reading yours!! Also welcome to the K-drama community! I’ve been watching them for probably five or six years now, but I still feel like such a newby hahah. Thank you for reading and commenting! I love to hear everyone’s thoughts on the show!! 😀

  2. Amirah Yasin

    Faith, ok so I watched this finally (thanks to your recaps always reminding me to start…honestly whatever you start to recap is what i’ll end up watching….tho I think goblin is next for me?!?!) and I am SUPER HEARTBROKEN. What am I supposed to do with my life right now? Even though objectively I understand the tragedy of their parting due to things deteriorating around them from the throne life/people being evil, I am sad that they didn’t meet before her end….like why would they do that to them? To us? and then WHY do a whole “i’ll find you” thing and then WE DON’T SEE HIM FIND HER. Lee Joon Ki was honestly everything. He was the best angsty romantic lead I’ve seen!!!! AHhhhh!!!! Thanks for writing them, they helped me get through episodes when I was too afraid to go on! ;( SOB

    • Faith

      Just re-reading the recaps was making me emotional, haha! Oh this show. I feel you on being super heartbroken! You should’ve heard my ranting to my sister, lol. YES – why the “I’ll find you” and then they don’t even show it to us??? What’s crazier is Lee Joon Ki told everyone that they actually filmed a scene where Hae Soo and 4th Prince met. BUT WE DIDN’T GET TO SEE IT!!!!! How could they do that to us?? Lee Joon-Ki is most definitely everything!! He’s gold. I mean, I WAS falling in love with him lol! So glad you liked the recaps! May your next drama be less heartbreaking but just as romantic and thrilling!!

      • Amirah Yasin

        also I just saw Goblin (loved it) and then I watched Coffee Prince because of Goblin and IT WAS SO GOOD OMY GOD. CHANGED MY LIFE. SO BEAUTIFUL LOVE TRANSCENDS ALL ;___; needed to fangirl with you about this….

        • Faith

          I KNOW! And to tease us about it! It’s like putting salt on a wound!!
          Aww nice!! Glad you loved Goblin and Coffee Prince too! I actually haven’t seen Coffee Prince. I’ve got a huge list of Very-Popular-And-Important-K-drama-Oldies I need to watch but I haven’t been getting around to it sadly.

  3. Melanie

    I finally finished Scarlet Heart Ryeo this evening and I wanted to thank you for your reviews. Every time I finished a few episodes I would look to see what you had to say about them. I absolutely loved the show and really enjoyed your blog.

    • Faith

      Thank you! Scarlet Heart Ryeo was such a wild, emotional and romantic ride for me! So glad you enjoyed the show and the recaps. 😀

  4. Erin Reeves

    Thank you so much for your lovely review! I just got through binging this show and omg all the feels, I feel like I’ve been put through the wringer! And theres no one to fangirl with – all my friends are like wtf are you even watching?? It was so compelling, and even though I’m hurting, I can’t really regret watching this. I did not know this was based on a novel, and honestly was no expecting the really tragic ending. My heart hurts so much right now, but I love your head canon! SO frustrated they didn’t let us see them meet up in modern times. URGH.


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The Silver Petticoat Review covers both classic and modern entertainment from around the world and specializes in Old-Fashioned Romance, Period Dramas, and Romantic Storytelling in Film, Literature, & TV. Our objective is to promote and bring back enthusiasm for swoon-worthy love stories and diverse storytelling steeped in or influenced by Romanticism without the excess of explicit content and unsentimental cynicism.




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