Captivating the King Season 1 Finale Explained: A Surprisingly Happy Conclusion

Captivating the King ends with a surprisingly happy ending that provides closure for multiple characters and satisfaction for the audience.

The end of Captivating the King is surprisingly happy, which is not something I anticipated during season 1, as Lee In has been thrust into one impossible situation after another. But episode 16 is full of closure and earned moments between characters, all of whom have been put through the wringer of a dense political drama that pulled no punches throughout its run.

Captivating the King Season 1 Episode 16 Recap and Ending Explained

In Episode 15Even after dealing with the scheming Park, Lee In had been blindsided by another problem: the exposure of Hee-soo’s identity and Prince Rui’s wish for Hee-soo to be sent to the Qing Dynasty. There’s a lot to figure out in a single episode.

The king refuses to decide Hee-soo’s fate

The revelation that Hee-soo is a woman seems to suit the Dowager Queen, who assumes that Lee In will marry her and produce an heir. Anyway, that’s all she’s been pushing for all along, so for the King’s heart to suddenly belong to a viable woman is like hitting the jackpot.

However, Lee In doesn’t see it that way. He is genuinely and deeply in love with Hee-soo, and will not treat her like a concubine, any more than he will send her to Beijing for another ruler to enjoy. As expected, the dowager queen becomes angry at what she perceives as the king’s ingratitude and disrespect, but he is having none of the noise.

Why does Hee-soo decide to go to Beijing?

Despite his insistence, the King realizes that he can’t have his cake and eat it, and so does Hee-soo. Although he would prefer to be with her love, he decides to go to Beijing for two reasons: one, to maintain peace between Qing and Joseon, and two, to meet his father, who is also there.

Lee In is not happy about this, but he also understands the need, so he spends some time instructing Hee-soo on how to survive in a rival dynasty. For starters, he can’t win all of Baduk’s games. He should be careful with what he says and what he does and generally keep his nose clean. With all that, he might survive and return to Joseon.

What about Je-pyo and Hyun-bo?

Both Jong Je-pyo and Hyun-bo meet their fate in the finale of Captivating the King. The first, a double agent who had conspired with Prince Rui, tried his best to curry favor with Emperor Qing, but Lee In remained one step ahead of him the entire time. Finally, Emperor Qing asked that Je-pyo be detained, and despite his pleas, Lee In handed him over without any problem. The fate of a traitor is never pleasant.

Similarly, Hyun-bo received his comeuppance at the hands of Dal-ha before the latter left for Beijing with Hee-soo. Taking advantage of another violent situation, Dal-ha was able to kill Hyun-bo without incriminating himself.

How does Captivating the King season 1 end?

Hee-soo returns to Joseon after nine months in Beijing. While there, he achieved an impressive position and helped secure peace between the two dynasties.

After finally returning home, Hee-soo was finally able to be with Lee In honestly and openly, as her real self and with her real name. In the end, Lee In turned out to be a great ruler; he had set a political precedent, eradicated worthy enemies and won the love of his subjects. But he remained captivated by Hee-soo, and they eventually got their happy ending together.

What did you think about Captivating the King Season 1, Episode 16 and the finale? Let us know in the comments.