The deciding point of Lee Bang Won's life happened after realizing that his fate would be to take the hard way. To live as he is who unfortunately would be someone who could never go back to being innocent. His hands had been stained with blood. Well, it was not something new, because he had been that way since young. He would go and proceed to be someone who faces challenges with tough decisions weak man could never be
Going separate ways....
Assassinating Po Eun Jo Mung Joo only made Sambong and his father Lee Seung Gye judged him as someone who would always take matters into his own hands. That he would always made them feel that he, Bang Won is always right and that it would not deter him to take actions even without consulting them or disregarding their opinions. Sambong knew him as Hong In Bang did. And this made Sambong realized Bang Won's recklessness, impatience, impulsiveness, and being stubborn would not be beneficial to the new government he is creating together with Lee Seung Gye.
Bang Won had always known or rather felt Sambong's wariness towards his decisions. He tried to obey, to listen but all went down the drain with the incident of Po Eun. No one stood up for him even if his decision was the last remaining action he had to take to save them all. And now, clearly, his ambition to be recognized for all his efforts to work along side them to fulfill his own dreams of making people happy will not materialize anymore, if Sambong's will is to be followed.
So this is the deciding point for Bang Won [Prince Jeongan]. To make it possible for him to be the crown prince. But I personally think according to this interpretation of the writer that although Bang Won wanted to be the successor. he would not stand in the way of his older brother Bang Soo [Prince Jinan] because he knew that being the oldest son he has the right to be the Crown Prince. I think at first Bang Won just wanted to be able to help through having his own place in this new government which sadly Sambong already blocked.
How you treat a person becomes what he is...
After all the ridicule, the name calling and disappointments, being called murderer, Bang Won starts to live by how people treats him and what people thinks or expects of him.
Who would resolve the scholars problems of running away and not participating in the palace's order of taking state examinations? Only Bang Won had the strength to face these scholars who are hiding while showing strength of opposition. It was surprising for Bang Won's follower like Moo Hyul and Ha Ryun to see the determination on Bang Won's face on dealing with the scholars. Ha Ryun was clearly surprised and felt fear at Bang Won's change of personality. Persuasion is not the key to win this fight for Bang Won. More of threatening them, to see how far will their principles stay intact. His plans according to him will show that in the end these scholars will go back to their places in the government and those who hated him will soon want power to make him pay. It was not a plan that impresses Ha Ryun but rather it was scary. But Bang Won was confident that they would also end up not his enemies but maybe his allies like what happened to them. Ha Ryun used to be Bang Won's enemy but now, he realized the potential of Bang Won and his intelligence that's why they became somewhat friends.
After the scholars fled from the burning fires, only 13 stayed and died, they were so mad at Bang Won. They were detained and instructed not to be fed for 3 days. On the 3rd day, food was given and after 2 hours, they were released. What Bang Won surmised happened. And the problem about the scholars was solved.
But his way was not what Sambong and Lee Seung Gye [King Taejo] accepted. What they see perhaps was the hideous way it was done. Thus they concluded Bang Won is not fit to be the successor. The irony of the situation for Sambong and Lee Seung Gye was that Prince Jinan [Bang Soo] does not want to be the crown prince. It was not surprising because even before the thought of his father going to be the next king was something he would not accept. For Bang Woo, he is a patriotic and his loyalty remains to Goryeo. The revolution that happened and how Po Eun was murdered were things he could not accept. He would rather disobey his father than be the crown prince. He even thought Bang Won was suitable for the position because he was the one who made the overthrowing of Goryeo possible. Bang Won contributed so much that even Bang Soo recognized it.
It was a situation Sambong did not anticipate for his "pure" government. Now the rights on becoming the successor has been broken. Any from the son has now the right and the chance to be the successor. Sambong made it clear to Lee Seung Gye it should not be Bang Won. It can be Bang Gwa [Prince Yeongan] the second son who was always a good son to Lee Seung Gye. Well I do like him but I think he is not born to be a leader. In previous episodes even Bang Won could manipulate him and he would be uncertain of what to do. He seemed really nice as a brother and a son. But for Lee Seung Gye Bang Gwa who went with him to all his fights was not pure because of the blood stains Bang Gwa also has in his hands.
However even Ji Ran, Jo Joon and Sambong's aide Lee Sin Jeok were impressed by Bang Won's capability and echoing that his actions be recognized. Jo Joon even sought Ji Ran to asked him to talk to Lee Seung Gye about Bang Won to be the Crown Prince. Sambong and Jo Joon had an argument about it because for Sambong, there is a right place for every discussion.
Who is right?
Both had good reasons but I think Jo Joon's view is more applicable to make Joseon a country that will survive and then policies can come later.
Moo Myung is once again meddling in the government. Unknown to some Moo Myung had been shaping the country since Goryeo days. Now they won't stand by and just let their agenda be washed away. Bang Won is showing his strength by facing them with authority and not an ounce of fear. He is confident in every way. As he had chosen the path where he must walk, he is now determined to let enemies know he is not someone who would be scared or be manipulated.
What I like about the relationship between Bang Won and Boon Yi is that it is true that Bang Won easily opens up with her and not lie to her. He can be truthful to her even if not sure if her loyalty would still be his. But I think he knew Boon Yi enough to remind her what started their fight against powerful and corrupt officials to make her stay by her side.
Bang Won learned that Bang Seok would be the successor and he felt mad about it. Of course, even Sambong knew the issues that would surface regarding Bang Seok [Prince Uian] being the crown prince. Bang Seok was not a son from first marriage. The legitimacy would be questioned. Not to add that he is only a child and has no contribution at all to the new government on how it was founded.
But it is true that desire and will that comes from Bang Won's personality can be dangerous...at least in the eyes of Sambong who will do anything to stop Bang Won to be the next ruler in this new society he has drawn and planned. That's why to proceed as the King's wishes to make Bang Seok the Crown Prince, Sambong asked that he be given full control of the military. A tactic that would make Joseon under his power. Bang Won of course had already realized this scenario.
Inevitably, they would be enemies. And this was their fate.