This episode had some aggravating scenes, which made me a little grumpy. But it also had some really beautiful scenes (GAYNESS!), and that pretty much balanced everything out. I will note, however, that I’m still waiting for a really stand-out episode from Painter, quality-wise. But good things come to those who wait, I suppose?
SONG OF THE DAY
Bobby Kim – “Weak Man.” Bobby Kim = coolness personified. [ Download ]
EPISODE 5 RECAP
Yoon-bok and Hong-do run like mad, and the painter sent by Byeok-soo to sabotage Yoon-bok’s painting follows them, all sneaky-like. Sneaky, sneaky.
That night, the two of them stop by a creek, and Yoon-bok tells Hong-do not to watch as she changes out of her women’s clothes. Hong-do promises not to, but he peeps at her anyway – he seems to have been really struck by the way she looked when she was “crossdressing”. Yoon-bok yells at him (don’t worry, he didn’t see anything important), and Hong-do tells her that with her bone structure, she could easily be mistaken for a woman. Yoon-bok’s all flustered, and it’s cute.
The outline for her painting’s all done, but she still needs a focus to hold it down – the person on the swing. She tells Hong-do that she knows where to go to find what – or who – to put in there, however.
Meanwhile, the rest of the students are working diligently on their own paintings, and Hyo-won in particular is doing well, garnering lots of praise from the supervisors. His sleazy friend mentions that, if Yoon-bok doesn’t show up, then Hyo-won is a shoe-in to be the one who’s promoted to official painter.
Hong-do meets with what looks like an old friend – Dok-bu, I think his name is – someone who seems to have known Yoon-bok’s dad as well. He tells Hong-do that Seo Jing’s daughter – in other words, Yoon-bok – is alive, but he doesn’t know where she is. He tells Hong-do that he’s still very afraid, and Hong-do reassures him that he’ll take care of everything.
The evil group we’re all friendly with by now – The Evil Quartet, I like to call them – are gathered with some other pals for Ye-pan’s birthday at the kisaeng house, and they’re all analyzing a certain painting the head kisaeng prepared for Ye-pan – “Cat in Fur of Shining Gold” by Kim Hong-do – and trying to guess who the painter is. When it’s Jo-nyeon’s turn to analyze it, he does it exceptionally well, as always. He even guesses that it was painted by Hong-do.
What I like about the characterization of Jo-nyeon is that, while he’s pretty evil in parts, he’s also very human. He’s intelligent, rich and shrewd, but due to his original low status in society, he’s looked down on by the nobles he consorts with, and he knows this well. He’s quite the outsider. It’s sorta sad.
Yoon-bok and Jeong-hyang are meeting at the kisaeng house at the same time as all this is going on. Jeong-hyang plays the gayageum for her for a bit, and then Yoon-bok spreads out her sketch, and asks her for a favour.
“Please enter this painting. Show me everything. Everything that is concealed underneath your clothes. Your heart, your spirit, your constancy, and…Concealed underneath all of that, your music.”
And so Jeong-hyang complies. BY TAKING OFF HER CLOTHES.
I ought to stop saying things like “This is the gayest scene so far”, because Painter just keeps topping itself. You thought the swing scene in the last episode was suggestive? That was nothing, and I mean NOTHING, compared to this. It is enough to make a lonely, hetero teenaged boy shed tears out of pure joy.
So, Jeong-hyang’s taking off her clothes, la di da, and Yoon-bok’s observing her. Fine. Artists do that. They draw people naked. I understand that Jeong-hyang is her muse, and that Yoon-bok’s attraction seems to mainly stem from the fact that Jeong-hyang inspires her, sets fire to her…creativity, if you will. (For the record, I was totally NOT thinking of writing something other than “creativity” just now.) I get it.
But seriously, people. Was it NECESSARY to interweave that supposedly “innocent” viewing with that whole fantasy sequence of Yoon-bok touching Jeong-hyang’s revealed body, and drawing her nekkid boobies? (Not that the Jeong-hyang we see is showing off her two little friends or anything…Mostly, I suspect, because the censors wouldn’t allow it. But that doesn’t stop ‘em from suggesting through the drawing that, logically, she IS nekkid here! Full-on Janet Jackson-esque boobage. Yee-haw!) This may be a muse-artist relationship, whatever. But just because someone’s your muse, it doesn’t mean that you can’t get all nice and cozy with them after the painting session’s over. Just sayin’.
And Jeong-hyang sure doesn’t seem to mind being touched!
All that being said, this is a really beautiful scene, quite tastefully and lovingly done, and, as Painter is wont to do, takes a very interesting approach to the blurring between reality and imagination.
Unfortunately for these two “non-lovers” (ha!), someone seems to have left the door to the room slightly ajar, and Jo-nyeon happens to glance in as he’s passing by. Stupefied by what he sees, he stops, opens the door a little wider, and does the whole Peeping Tom thing. His open look of lust as he stares at Jeong-hyang is more than a little creepy. Dude, how OLD are you?
Jeong-hyang gets the creepy vibes, and turns and sees him. Not at all taken aback or shocked (she is, after all, a kisaeng, and probably used to such grossness), she gently closes the door in his face.
The head kisaeng in charge of her has been watching Jo-nyeon watching Jeong-hyang for a while, and she takes this chance to go over and offer Jeong-hyang to him, if he wants her (for a price, of course). He acts like he doesn’t care, but we all know he’s a dirty little pervert at heart. He’s definitely coming back for her. Ewwwww.
In the meantime, Jeong-hyang is no longer nekkid (not that she technically ever was…), and asks Yoon-bok:
“Have I entered your painting now?”
Jeong-hyang: “Then, if you pass the exam, can I live in only your heart now?”
Yoon-bok: “In…my heart?”
She hesitates, and then leans over and helps Jeong-hyang put on her jeogori (the top outer garment). It’s veeeerrrrrryyyyy sexual.
Yoon-bok: “What man could resist you? And…what man could take you so easily?”
COP-OUT! Oh, the hidden meanings behind her words!
But whatever. Jeong-hyang’s pleased and touched, obviously thinking that Yoon-bok’s one man who isn’t in this just for her body. Oy vey. Does Yoon-bok not realize how flirty she’s being? Does she not realize how much she may potentially be hurting Jeong-hyang by acting this way? OH MAN.
Jeong-jo’s alone in his room, and he takes out a case, which contains a bow. And then we get a flashback to his younger days! Hurrah! I’ve been waiting for this.
We see the young Jeong-jo practising archery with his father, Prince Sado. And then we see him begging his grandfather to save his father’s life. Jeong-soo watches, looking a little guilty. And then we see him, dressed in funeral robes, in his father’s room, and taking his father’s bow off its stand. Which I suppose is the same bow that Jeong-jo’s looking at now. And he says, as though to his father: “Please wait just a little bit longer.” OH HELLZ YEAH.
Yoon-bok’s skipping away from the kisaeng house, all happy and satisfied, and remembering what it was like to swing with Jeong-hyang (GAY!). Only, her happiness gets a little marred by the fact that, the painter sent to sabotage her finally takes this chance to knock her out from behind, steal her painting, and drop her down a well. Real classy, dude.
Young-bok is working at the Danchongso, and he winds up accidentally breaking what looks like a bowl full of paint powder. Heo Ock, Heo Shim’s granddaughter (you remember, the freaky old guy we saw in episode two…or was it one?), is looking on. She starts making some moves on him, and tells him that she has the keys to the storage room, where they can replace the bowl without anyone knowing. He asks her what he can do for her, and she tells him that, since she knows a secret of his, they should create a secret for him to know about her as well. So she goes up and smacks a big, fat, wet one on his lips. Uh, okay. Young-bok pushes her away, but she’s completely unembarrassed, and leads him off to the storage room. Girl, if you think a guy’s hot, just tell him so! Don’t sexually harrass people. Then again, unfortunately, he is just not that into you, so it’s kind of a lost cause.
Hong-do’s visiting the old abandoned home of Yoon-bok’s father (Jing), and as he sits, he remembers a young Yoon-bok, whom he seems to have been on very good terms with. Her real name is Seo Yoon, so her first name is just “Yoon”, not “Yoon-bok”.
Then we’re back to the Hong-do in the present, reminiscing sadly on all this. And he wonders, “Where are you, Yoon?”. Um, go look in a well near the kisaeng house, and you’ll find her. Kthxbai.
Speaking of Yoon-bok, she wakes up in the well, understandably confused, and with a twisted ankle. But it’s really only once she realizes her painting’s gone that she starts panicking, and screams for help. She even throws her things up, hoping someone will see.
A couple of guards hear her, but, jumping to the conclusion that they heard a ghost, and not a young student painter trapped in a well, they scurry off, like the cowards that they are. SO FRUSTRATING.
The painter/sabotageur goes to Byeok-soo, and hands over the painting. Byeok-soo rips it up into pieces, and also sets it on fire. It was agony to watch this scene. To destroy such a precious piece of art!! I think my soul just broke a little.
Hong-do sets out to look for Yoon-bok, worried because she hasn’t gone back to the Dohwaseo yet. He asks Jeong-hyang where she is, but Jeong-hyang doesn’t know either, so he sets out searching in earnest, calling out Yoon-bok’s name.
Thus follows an over-long and teeth-grinding scene in which Hong-do passes by the well, Yoon-bok calls out to him (but he doesn’t hear), he goes around to other places looking for her, and then, FINALLY, goes back to the well, where he encounters the two frightened guards. It’s while he’s talking to them that the three of them hear Yoon-bok’s cries for help, and Hong-do goes over to the well and finds her. About time!
He climbs down into the well, and instructs her to get on his back. She does so, reluctantly – I’m thinking she might be a little worried that he’ll feel her boobies (I would be!), and also, she feels the sparks that come from being in such close proximity to him.
So the two of them get out of the well, with some difficulty. (Note: I find it funny that there’s a frog in the well…a reference to that old fable, perhaps?) Once they’re out, Yoon-bok tells Hong-do that the painting’s gone, and that there’s no point in going back to the Dohwaseo. Hong-do tells her to try to go back to that time, to remember the scene. Anything at all will do – the sounds, the smell, the tastes. Once she remembers one thing, everything else will follow. And so she does.
Hong-do piggybacks her all the way back to the Dohwaseo, with Yoon-bok clinging on to that memory the whole time. They burst in with little time to spare. It’s the morning, and the exam ends at noon.
Yoon-bok spreads out the paper, and gets to work. (I love the way she envisions what she’s going to paint, and it all appears before her eyes, on the paper – much like the statue hidden in the marble, a la Michelangelo.)
Everyone gathers around to watch as she paints, shocked by the way she paints the women naked – or, at least, she paints their breasts, anyway. Because we all know that nipples are sooooo scandalous. Byeok-soo, ever the ass, grabs her by the back of her shirt, and drags her away, telling her she has no right to paint such things – and, no doubt, hoping that she won’t be able to finish the painting. Yoon-bok protests that she’s simply painting living, breathing people, exactly as they are. Byeok-soo doesn’t listen, but Hong-do stops him, yelling at him that she should get her chance to finish. Byeok-soo agrees, thinking that she won’t have enough time anyway, and that the painting will never pass under the scrutiny of the conservative judges in the end.
So Yoon-bok continues work on her painting. It’s amusing how everyone holds their breath as she prepares to paint the nipples red – and, frankly, I’m surprised they were allowed to show that in the drama at all. Maybe it’s okay because it’s “just” a painting? Or because it’s “high art”? Pfft. Censors have such double standards.
Time’s almost up, but Yoon-bok feels like she needs to add one more thing. So, at the last minute, she draws a couple of Peeping Toms, watching the ladies below. And it’s to my thinking that they represent Yoon-bok and Hong-do. Very clever. And thus we see the completed painting: Shin Yoon-bok’s masterpiece, “Scenery of Dano Day”.
And she’s done, just as time is up! Everyone rejoices, with Yoon-bok and Hong-do even jumping into each other’s arms in an ecstatic (and, later, embarrassing) embrace.
The judges are all together, looking at the paintings, and Byeok-soo forcefully criticizes Yoon-bok’s painting, saying it’s sinful, and that there’s too much colour in it (WTF?). Hong-do arrives, clearly unable to keep himself away, and asks why it’s so wrong to have so much colour in a painting. Byeok-soo adds that this painting makes the viewer’s heart move, and that that’s wrong. Hong-do yells at him for his stupidity, the two of them fight really loudly, and the judges tell Hong-do to leave, since he himself isn’t a judge. As he leaves, he yells, “The Dohwaseo has gone completely rotten!”. Anger management issues, much?
Ugh, what an annoying scene. Byeok-soo and the conservative viewpoints of the judges are really annoying, but Park Shin Yang’s OTT, War of Money-esque acting is annoying, too. This is one scene that made me wonder if I should pause the drama and just stop watching. That was how annoyed I was.
Anyway, the judges announce their pick – Hyo-won has been chosen to be elevated to the status of official painter. Everyone congratulates him, but the celebration is interrupted by the announcer adding that Yoon-bok, too, has passed the exam, for special reasons – a secret, 12th judge has approved her painting. Yoon-bok tears up, overjoyed, and everyone demands who this secret judge is who passed her. It is announced that that person was none other than King Jeong-jo himself. Shock! End episode.
This was definitely not my favourite episode (too many conventional story twists), but it was a nice one all the same, as all of Painter’s episodes have been, so far. We finally got to see a flashback regarding Jeong-jo’s past, and I admit I salivated the entire time. I want more scenes with Jeong-jo and Jeong-soon, dammit!
As for Park Shin Yang, as I mentioned earlier in this recap, his acting still bothers me at times. It’s like he doesn’t understand that acting like you’re in a cartoon simply doesn’t work for a drama like this one. Still, he can be charming in his own little way at times, and I like the way Hong-do and Yoon-bok’s relationship is developing. They have a believable chemistry to them. I just hope they don’t kiss or anything, because that would be a little grody. And I would be SO jealous of Park Shin Yang. (Kidding! I…think.)
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