Episode 18 of Hwarang: The Beginning devastated viewers with a series of dark events. There was Seok Han-sung's death at the hands of his elder half brother, to protect Moo-myung. Then there was Queen Jiso who makes Ah-ro a Wonhwa and tries to get Moo-myung killed after learning he has royal blood in his veins. She fails as Go Ara's character takes the arrow meant for him to her heart instead. In the preview for episode 19 we see both Kim Sun-woo and Kim Ji-dwi ready to become the King of Silla. Though they are technically Hwarang brothers, each are desperate for the throne and one of them may die.
In the preview for episode 19, we see Queen Jiso shouting at her son Ji-dwi for giving the royal officials a pretext to remove her as Queen of Silla. She screamed: "You gave them an excuse. It's because of you. It's all because of you."
She also tries to poison his mind further, as a last ditch effort, against Moo-myung. She tells Ji-dwi: "That kid also has the royal family blood. He is your enemy. You will regret this, for sure." To this Park Hyung-sik's character is heard replying: "And I will overcome that regret."
Though it is not sure what Ji-dwi's plans are when he defies his mother, it can be assumed that he becomes the King just to remove her mother and protect the Hwarang, following the untimely demise of Kim Tae-hyung's character. As for Moo-myung, he was more directly affected by the youngest Hwarang's death because Kim Tae-hyung's character died in his arms. But then he learned that Ah-ro has been forced to become a Wonhwa and he becomes concerned of her safety.
Lord Kim Hwi-kyung tells Moo-myung that he can only protect his sister and everyone else if he agrees to become the king of Silla. After all, he has royal blood in his bones. We see that preparations have been made to make him the king. He is also seen giving a gentle kiss on the lips of his love, Ah-ro who lies motionless on a bed. It is not certain whether she lives or has died. Actor Park Seo-joon is seen whispering "I really love you" to Go Ara's character.
On the other hand, Queen Jiso realizes she is losing the throne of Silla fast. In episode 18 she is seen remembering the day when she killed Moo-myung's mother, who was of low birth but pregnant with the child of a royal. Jiso didn't want another contender to the throne other than her own son. Now her past has come back to haunt her in the form of Moo-myung, who survived, hiding his identity as Kim Sun-woo.
In the preview, we are shown a scene where Jiso falls to the ground, either unconscious or dead, while her daughter princess Sukmyyeong sheds tears. She herself is a misguided selfish woman, taught to think that her royal blood is superior to others. The final shot in the preview is the most interesting. We see Ji-dwi seated on the Silla throne while Moo-myung arrives there with the officials. Both stare at each other. Will they fight for the throne, resulting in the death of one, or will Sammaekjong abdicate in favour of Dog-Bird?
Well, history teaches us that Jinheung became the King of Silla and that his half sister Sukmyeong became one of his consorts. But right at the beginning of the program, KBS2 tells us that "all characters and events are fiction." So, anything is possible that isn't properly recorded in history. There are so many exciting angles that the producers may have explored which will become clear when the final two episodes will air.
Episode 19 of 'Hwarang' airs is Singapore on February 21 at 8:50 p.m. on KBS World TV.