As we approach the last few episodes of “The Last Empress,” our characters get closer and closer to the revenge, ambitions, and punishments that have long been building up. We can safely say that there are few things more gratifying than characters finding out long-kept secrets, or getting the payback they deserve — and with all the mysteries and grudges of this palace, there are a lot of discoveries to be made and revenges to be had, so let’s recap the 8 most satisfying scenes from this week’s episodes!

Warning: spoilers for Episodes 39-42 below!

1. The Empress Dowager’s community service

As the most evil character in the show, the Empress Dowager’s (Shin Eun Kyung) downfall has been a long time coming. And while 200 hours of community service seems like a pretty light punishment for orchestrating an attempt on the Empress’s life, watching the Empress Dowager’s journey through having to do ordinary cleaning work is not only satisfying but also such a mood board:

2. The Empress Dowager’s less-than-royal treatment

Equally amusing is watching Sunny (Jang Nara) ensure that the Empress Dowager gets treated like a regular person through her community service endeavors. The woman is used to getting everything she wants, and we can’t help but smile smugly when she’s forced to abide by everyday rules.

3. Yoo Ra’s discovery

After what has felt like ages, Yoo Ra (Lee Elijah) has finally, finally found out that Woo Bin (Choi Jin Hyuk) is none other than Na Wang Sik, her former boyfriend/adoptive brother. And it felt great to see the look of horrified shock on her face when she discovered that the man she and Hyuk have been seeking for so long has been next to them this whole time (and has also undergone a seriously impressive visual transformation).

4. Yoo Ra and Kang Joo Seung’s reunion

This week also saw another reunion we’ve been waiting for, ever since we found out that Yoo Ra’s former fiancé was none other than Kang Joo Seung, the imprisoned guard that was accused of having an affair with Empress So Hyun. And in classic Yoo Ra fashion, her response to seeing the love of her life once again is both unexpected and completely self-centered.

5. The interim emperor

Kang Hee has had the Prime Minister under her thumb for quite a while, so it was supremely satisfying to watch Sunny skillfully blackmail him with evidence of his affair with her.

What Sunny wants, of course, is for Kang Hee’s plan to put Ari on the throne to fail — which means that Yoon (Oh Seung Yoon) is able to take his rightful place as the interim Emperor (yes!), and look dapper in his royal outfit.

6. Kang Hee’s meltdown

Not knowing that Kang Hee (Yoon So Yi) is her real mother, Princess Ari (Oh Ah Rin) has treated the nanny like a servant for the entirety of the drama. We’ve watched Kang Hee slowly start to crack as she struggles with her inability to be a mother to her own daughter, and this week she completely broke, in a rare outburst of emotion that has been a long time coming. Despite the tears, we still don’t feel bad for Kang Hee — she did this to herself in prioritizing her ambitions.

7. Hello’s surprise

Hello (Stephanie Lee) chose the most hilarious way to reveal her relationship with Yoon to his family, by moving into the palace unannounced. And the Empress Dowager’s horror is delightful: not just one, but both of her sons are in love with members of the family she so detests!

8. Digging up the dirt on Kang Hee

Sunny and Yoon are starting to recognize both that something doesn’t add up about Empress So Hyun’s death, and that there’s something extremely suspicious about Kang Hee.

And Yoon finally found a key piece of evidence against Kang Hee in the form of an old video from the night of So Hyun’s death:

We were excited to see Yoon and Sunny finally start to piece things together, but, of course, thanks to the episode’s final plot twist, it looks like they might not be able to put the video to use. We’ll have to wait until next week to find out!

Hey Soompiers, what did you think about this week’s episodes? Let us know in the comments!

Don’t miss this week’s episodes of “The Last Empress”:

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hgordon stays up way too late on weeknights marathoning K-dramas and trying to keep up with the latest K-pop releases.

Currently watching: “The Last Empress,” “Clean with Passion for Now,” “My Strange Hero,” and “The Crowned Clown.”
All-time favorite dramas: “Scarlet Heart: Goryeo,” “Goblin,” and “Hwayugi.”
Looking forward to: “Asadal” and “Vagabond.”