Drama Recaps
Tree With Deep Roots: Episode 19
by | December 8, 2011 | 154 Comments

Wow. Just wow. This show really is a feast for the senses. Though it always manages to be an intellectual and emotional tour de force, it’s episodes like this that take your heart out, grind it up into little pieces, and return it to you by leaving it in a palanquin outside your door. Don’t know what I’m talking about? Read on, and keep some tissues handy. This episode will take you for one wild ride.

 
EPISODE 19 RECAP

Even though Mu-hyul is engaged in a standoff with the assassin Gae Pa-yi, Sejong decides to sit down and have a good old fashioned debate with his newly-revealed nemesis, Jung Ki-joon. So-yi is forced to stand on the sidelines as the two men verbally duke it out, and once again we’re watching a conversation that’s as thrilling as a battle sequence just because of the stakes involved. Seriously, when has dialogue been so engaging?

It all boils down to the alphabet, of course. Sejong’s first argument is that his alphabet is really in keeping with Jung Do-jun’s ideals, in opening communication between people and politicians so that politicians can be held accountable for their actions directly. Jung Ki-joon gives him that point – he’s not opposed to the alphabet solely because of the belief that they’re against Neo-Confucianism. Sejong asks him why he’s against them then… is it because they defy the long-established Chinese system of writing?

Jung Ki-joon once again says no, that this opposition isn’t because he has some great love of China. So what is it? Sejong asks if his opposition is because of the harm it would do to the vested interests of the aristocrats. This raises Jung Ki-joon’s hackles. It’s not vested interests or something so selfish as Sejong is implying – but order, harmony, and balance. Unlike their Goryeo counterparts, Jung Ki-joon explains, Joseon’s nobility have to work for their positions.

Next argument on Jung Ki-joon’s list: people can’t be trusted. Masses are frightening enough, but masses with power are something else entirely. Just as the Roman Empire used Christianity to govern in the West, just like Goryeo was ruled by Buddhism, even Confucianism… they’re all interchangeable methods used to govern the ambitions of the masses. Sejong, to Jung Ki-joon anyway, is opening a door to hell by empowering the people.

Once again we hear about the joy of writing, and once again Hidden Root is there to stamp out that joy – Jung Ki-joon claims that if the people gain wisdom from reading and writing, then they’ll use that wisdom for politics (cue gasp). And that they might even want to elect a ruler of their own (heaven forbid!). In the words of Jung Ki-joon, how can there be such an irresponsible system? Just as we had literary relevancy in last week’s episodes, this time we’re faced with political relevancy. History isn’t just for the textbooks.

Sejong doesn’t see how giving the people power is a problem, but Jung Ki-joon seems to know the reason why Sejong thinks that way. He proclaims that the King’s real intention isn’t to share authority with the people, but to share responsibility.

During the course of this conversation, Chae-yoon and Cho-tak have been busy exploring the tunnel system Hidden Root has created beneath the slave village of Ban Chon. They find themselves exiting one of the tunnels right into the Leader’s backyard. When they hear from a nearby slave (the Sound Man) that Ga Ri-on was called away with Sejong, Chae-yoon springs into action (literally) while Cho-tak goes to retrieve the royal guards. Hurry, Chae-yoon! Or don’t, because that debate could go on a while.

Sejong seemed to have had the upper hand for most of this powerhouse debate, but the tides have now turned. Jung Ki-joon has found his weak spot, and he’s unrelenting as he accuses Sejong of creating this alphabet because he’s tired of the people (we have a flashback where Sejong tells So-yi that the people are always badgering him, so this isn’t a non-truth), and that Sejong thinks that if he gives the people his alphabet the responsibility of saving people no longer lies solely on him because they will have tools to save themselves. Jung Ki-joon claims that he isn’t a monarch who loves the citizens, as everyone likes to say – instead he’s the guy that gives a girl he loves a sword and tells her to protect herself on her walk home instead of escorting her himself, which would be far too troublesome. Jung Ki-joon wonders if that’s love. I don’t know, but I really love the fact that he made an analogy like that.

The open-to-debate, amicable King is gone, and in his place Sejong shows his humanity as he grows angry at this kind of personal jabbing. Jung Ki-joon’s argument is gaining validity by the second, and I’m left amazed. I didn’t think Jung Ki-joon could have a tide-turning argument that wasn’t “oh it’s against Neo-Confucianism” or “oh it’s going to cause absolute chaos”. He hits the King right where it hurts – his sincerity.

But because Mu-hyul is otherwise occupied, Pyung crashes the debate with inhuman speed and all of a sudden he’s holding a sword to Sejong’s neck. Oh. My. Goodness. With no one there to defend him and his enemy grinning in front of him, Sejong is just a sitting duck.

The good King takes this all in stride, and doesn’t seem as bothered by the threat to his life as he is by the fact that he’s not done with this debate. Jung Ki-joon is almost giddy as he tells Sejong that there’s nothing to be done. This is what happens when the balance of power is skewed. Since he believes these are Sejong’s last moments, he informs him that he plans to kill everyone who knows the alphabet and burn everything related to it. With that, he bids the King farewell and gives the silent order for Pyung to deliver the killing blow…

…But then Chae-yoon arrives, holding a sword to Jung Ki-joon’s neck. He finds out that the man he once staked everything to save from prison is Jung Ki-joon, which he registers like the champion that he is. Even though Jung Ki-joon knows that he will be killed by Chae-yoon if Pyung kills the King, he purposefully goads Chae-yoon into striking first so Pyung will be free from his guilt in order to strike Sejong down… something that Pyung is refusing to do, because Jung Ki-joon’s safety is his first priority. Everyone is at a stalemate, and just as it looks like Chae-yoon is about to give into his anger and kill Jung Ki-joon, So-yi stops him.

I kind of love how So-yi turns into The Mom/The Voice of Reason for all the boys involved. It’s her words alone that allow both Pyung and Chae-yoon to discard their swords at the same time – something that makes Jung Ki-joon very, very unhappy. Once they’re taken care of, our heroine turns to Mu-hyul and Gae Pa-yi and orders them to do the same. Eventually, everyone disarms themselves and the standoff is (temporarily, at least) resolved. Everyone gets to go home for now (with parting promises of future alphabet-promulgation-blocking by Jung Ki-joon). How awesome is she?

Jung Ki-joon’s biting words about Sejong’s motives in creating the alphabet are weighing heavily on him, but he didn’t make it out of the debate without giving his nemesis food for thought either. When Han Ga goes to him with the message that Prince Gwangpyeong has gone to Gaeseong (located in modern-day North Korea, it was once the capital of the Goryeo Dynasty before it was moved to Hanyang when Joseon was established) on a secret printing mission and asks if he wants to send Pyung to take care of it, Jung Ki-joon seems distant even as he agrees. He’s caught up on something Sejong said in the debate.

If the ideal of Buddhism is for everyone to be Buddha, then the ideal of Neo-Confucianism is for everyone to be junzi (a term that was changed by Confucius from having a political connotation to a moral one, literally meaning someone worthy of high station by virtue of their moral achievement). So if the people were to learn writing, then would they better be able to achieve Neo-Confucian order? This is extra interesting, because Jung Ki-joon actually seems to be rethinking his stance.

With soldiers unable to enter Ban Chon without the explicit sanction of the King, Chae-yoon and Mu-hyul go to Sejong to ask for it. Like his nemesis Jung Ki-joon, Sejong seems preoccupied with his thoughts and gives only a half-hearted agreement. But this is all the agreement Chae-yoon and Mu-hyul need, and with that order Ban Chon devolves into pure chaos as royal troops infiltrate and tear everything apart, looking for any sign of Hidden Root.

Though the word reaches every corner of the palace, no one seems explicitly against the raid. Ban Chon may be off limits, but not when they’re harboring a secret society bent on killing the King.

Word reaches the Prime Minister, who wonders why Jo Mal-saeng is never around during times like these. They say something about his illness having relapsed (I know, news to me too), and that he didn’t report to the palace for work today.

But we find Jo Mal-saeng looking no worse for the wear as he enters his home, going on high alert the moment he hears a strange sound. He knocks down the folding screen in his room to find none other than Lee Bang-ji, who looks like he’s already got one foot in the next world. He collapses immediately, and Jo Mal-saeng attempts to revive him (shaking a man who’s near-death and injured by the shoulders is a surefire method).

The prison is experiencing overflow thanks to the Ban Chon raid, and Chae-yoon has called So-yi to the prison. She’s unhappy to meet there and tells him as much (presumably because of her previous bad experience in prison as a child), but he’s brought her there for a reason. The little girl who’d befriended Gae Pa-yi, YEON-DOO, just ends up crying if he asks her any questions. He wants So-yi to ask instead, because she’ll be less frightening.

So-yi agrees, but only on the condition that they release Yeon-doo from prison. She’ll be too scared to answer otherwise. Chae-yoon’s a big softie at heart, and he allows it – but not before asking So-yi how she’s doing. She replies that she’s apprehensive, because Sejong isn’t giving orders as fast as he should considering that Prince Gwangpyeong is fighting on his own right now.

Speaking of Gwangpyeong, we find him in Gaeseong discussing printing blocks. The man he’s meeting with has already made a copy of a book using printing blocks made with Hangul. And we finally get a mention of his brother, Prince Suyang (who’s apparently helping on the process, and who later becomes King Sejo, the seventh king of Joseon).

But all is not well, as Pyung arrives with some Hidden Root lackeys. They assassinate a man coming out of the office with the printing blocks, and Pyung swiftly kills the man Gwangpyeong was meeting with before turning his attention to the Prince. Uh oh. Oh no.

So-yi has taken Yeon-doo from the prison, and shows nothing but softness and concern for the little girl who probably reminds her of herself as a child. She asks about Gae Pa-yi, and Yeon-doo replies that he’s like a father to her. So-yi wipes her tears away with an embroidered cloth, and then offers to give it to Yeon-doo. It’s very sweet.

Yeon-doo finally offers up a key piece of information – that she and Gae Pa-yi used to play by a mountain, where there was a crumbling temple nearby.

Unlike the weirdly forced comedy of the Ban Chon interrogation scenes earlier, the very image of Chae-yoon being led by Yeon-doo into the mountains while he tries to be amicable and friendly is funny. It’s adorable that he’s trying to impress her, and doubly adorable that she’s having none of it. He even offers her a piggyback ride, but he feels the cold hard stab of rejection as she simply eyes him and keeps walking. Aww.

But Hidden Root isn’t without its own Joseon alarm system, which happens to be bells tied to a string that Yeon-doo unknowingly steps on. Pyung offers to take care of Chae-yoon, but Shim Jong-soo advises against it and only wants them to move the hostage (Prince Gwangpyeong). Thus, when Chae-yoon finally arrives at their hiding place, they’re already long gone with only a shoe left behind.

So-yi expresses her concerns to Chae-yoon – namely that Jung Ki-joon caught onto Sejong’s original intention. His decision to create letters didn’t come about from his love of the citizenry. The King is expected to act like a junzi (a paradigm of morality), and he would act on that moralism again and again. But the citizens wouldn’t accept him, and it developed into fear on Sejong’s part. It’s because of that fear that he developed the will to refuse to yield, but Jung Ki-joon has now unnerved that. She fears that Sejong must feel as though everything has collapsed.

Chae-yoon takes her by the hand to comfort her. Isn’t this the King she trusts the most, he asks? He’ll make the right decision. Awww. Look at you being awesome, Chae-yoon.

If Jung Ki-joon was ever rethinking his opposition to the letters based on the fact that they could help propagate Neo-Confucianism, it all ends when Pyung delivers the book that Gwangpyeong was attempting to publish. Instead of a book in Hangul teaching the tenants of Neo-Confucianism, it’s the story of Buddha instead. The following scenes with Sejong and Jung Ki-joon are intercut brilliantly, so that it seems like they’re having a conversation with each other when in fact they’re both thinking the same thing at the same time.

King Sejong: “Jung Ki-joon’s words are right. More than anything else, I put these letters on top. I did not want to think it was because of my affinity for something I created. Saying it was for the citizenry. I wanted to firmly believe in it. Hence, with my desire to have the people master them quickly, not the difficult doctrine of Neo-Confucianism, but the easy and interesting. The story of Buddha is what I had translated.”

Oh dear. This could not sit any worse with Jung Ki-joon. Sejong’s intentions were noble – he wanted to teach the citizens the alphabet first by giving them something more interesting to read – but Jung Ki-joon takes it as an insult and a direct affront, believing that Sejong lied to him about using the letters for Neo-Confucian ideals. Thus, all bets are off. Jung Ki-joon may have wavered, but he’s not wavering anymore.

He goes to the shed that Gwangpyeong is being held in, and the moment he offers the Prince a formal bow my heart sinks. He pays the Prince respect he didn’t bother to pay to his father, calling him by his formal title and addressing him properly. But Sejong has overstepped his bounds, and he has to pay for it. How else to get to him than through his beloved son?

Jung Ki-joon: “As a Confucian scholar of Joseon, even if I am to lay in the heinous seat in history, I don’t care. The King, just as he put everything down for the letters, I, for everything, shall block these letters. I will take that as my mandate from heaven. Hence, please forgive me for my misdoing. Furthermore I also, upon completion of my mandate, shall go to you, Prince Highness.”

Oh crap. Jung Ki-joon bows, again, and we know it’s over. Tears slip from Prince Gwangpyeong’s eyes as he musters up the courage to tell Jung Ki-joon that he’ll never succeed – because that Haerye he wants to burn so badly? Even Gwangpyeong has never seen it.

Our Prince smiles at his last triumph before he’s left alone with Pyung, the silent reaper.

Later that night, Park-po brings Cho-tak and Chae-yoon outside the palace gates to show them a suspicious palanquin that’s been there since his night shift. Oh no. Oh no. It’s the Prince, isn’t it?

Chae-yoon reads the note attached to the exterior, and with growing horror, he kneels down to pull back the curtain. He sees the feet of the dead body of Prince Gwangpyeong, missing one shoe that Chae-yoon had found earlier when he went to the Hidden Root hideout in the mountain. He’s lost in shock, and Cho-tak and Park-po run to the palace to sound the alarm.

Sejong is the last to know, and he begins a slow and horrifyingly unbearable walk to the palanquin. He looks at the outside of it with a mix of terror and apprehension, and folds back the curtain to see his dead son inside. His smile is disconcerting as he reaches forward to touch Gwangpyeong’s face. Oh god.

Gwangpyeong is taken from the palanquin, and his father holds him in his lap… and then heartbreakingly takes his hand and holds it to his own face, as though he’s trying to feel the touch of his son’s hand again. He repeats this again and again, as if he’s in denial of his son’s death, while everyone witnessing collapses in grief. I’m there with them, I can’t even process this, it’s too horrible.

The King has become lost in his grief, and is like a madman. When So-yi attempts to comfort him he turns on her in the blink of an eye, with an expression that can only be described as terrifying.

Sejong begins to rant, saying that everything was wrong in the first place. He started everything with an ulterior motive. He never loved his people, he loathed them. He only loved the letters that he made. By prioritizing his letters above everything, his son is now dead. He devolves further into his grief-induced insanity, laughing hysterically while crying. Yikes. He’s really lost it.

Everyone can hear what’s going on outside, and Chae-yoon doesn’t ask for permission before he enters. He goes straight to So-yi to drag her out, but she forcefully pulls her hand from his. What does he think he’s doing in front of His Majesty?

Chae-yoon replies, “His Majesty? Who is His Majesty?” He looks over to the King, who’s lost himself. “The one bullshitting over there?” Sejong’s laughter immediately stops, and he finally registers Chae-yoon’s presence. Chae-yoon continues relentlessly, “Is that man belittling himself and disgracing his dead son truly a King?” Ohhhh man. Chae-yoon is there to save the King, like he’d done once before as a child, albeit unwittingly. It’s just too good.

Chae-yoon is speaking to So-yi, but it’s clear that his words are meant for Sejong to hear. He reminds her (and thus Sejong) about how proud Prince Gwangpyeong was to be Sejong’s son, but that they were all deceived by the King, who can’t figure out whether his feelings are love or hate. What can they do now, when they didn’t know what kind of person Sejong was? Gwangpyeong even sacrificed his life for that kind of person.

Sejong, becoming consumed with misguided rage, grabs Mu-hyul’s sword and lifts it as if he’s about to strike and kill Chae-yoon… who doesn’t even flinch. Chae-yoon looks Sejong dead in the eye and begins to beat his own chest with his fist, right over his heart.

Chae-yoon: “Why? Does it hurt here? You, Your Majesty, have no right. Prince Gwangpyeong once said that because he believed in you so much, that he could die happily without a slightest doubt. Although you may not shed one tear, Prince Gwangpyeong, he… he said that it didn’t bother him. Your Majesty, you have no right to shed even one tear!”

This finally hits home for Sejong, and we see reason filter back into his gaze. He drops the sword and collapses to the ground, nearly rending his garments in grief. Instead, he begins to let out horrifying, gut-wrenching screams.

 
COMMENTS

I can’t even… I’m sitting here just blown away by this ending scene. This drama has been filled to the brim with powerhouse performances, and I’ve been blown away by the acting before, but this scene really frightened me with its raw emotions and sheer intensity. Everyone is playing a motive, and though Chae-yoon’s words were harsh, it was what Sejong needed to get out of his self-blaming hysteria. Chae-yoon unknowingly saved Sejong’s soul when he was a child, and he’s doing it once again. Once again, Chae-yoon proves to truly be Sejong’s other half. Where So-yi could not console him, Chae-yoon’s brilliant mind thought of a way to help him even if it meant hurting him as well.

And even with so many amazingly talented actors on screen, there’s such a harmony. No one steals scenes, because everyone contributes to the whole. Sejong’s emotions were real and raw, and Chae-yoon’s reaction was organic and just as raw. Amazing dialogue, like what we saw in the opening scene, is truly the bread and butter of this show. It’s not your typical sageuk political scheming, and the words are never empty. We care about these characters, and what they say resonates with us. Not to mention how the things they say resonate to the modern times we live in.

The initial debate between Sejong and Jung Ki-joon filled up the first twenty minutes of this episode. Yet, every piece of the conversation was riveting. Finally our two enemies meet and talk to one another, and I find it amazing that Jung Ki-joon came up with an argument to rattle Sejong – and that Sejong came up with the Neo-Confucianism argument to rattle Jung Ki-joon. I wish I could just go on forever about their differing ideals and the dynamics that have now changed because of their debate.

Thus, this is a perfect time to thank all of you. I’m always amazed at the wonderful level of intellectual discussion that goes on in the comments section. I’ve received such a warm welcome and thoroughly enjoy and appreciate the fact that things I can’t cover are covered so thoughtfully by everyone here. Who knew history could be so enjoyable?

 
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154 Comments from the Beanut Gallery
  1. Ani

    Wow. Just wow.

    You can totally say that again.

    • 1.1 dramabliss

      Make that WOW tenfold…a hundred fold…nay, a thousand fold!

    • 1.2 syer

      This episode is just wow… I don’t speak korean but I just couldn’t wait for sub and watch it raw.. And God!!! I even cried a river while watching without subs and this is the first. One doesn’t need to read the sub when there’s so many amazing actors that potray their character so sincere.. King sejong.. I can just cry by just looking at your eyes.. where are you all this while.. you deserve a best actor award….. tq for the great recap.. it helps me understand better.

      • 1.2.1 iLLusiOnEr

        You cried watching it without sub? I even tear up reading this. I watched ep19 without sub up to the end of the conversation at the beginning and can’t wait to read this anymore.

        HeadsNo2, you are wow too..

        TDR…. amazingly WOWWWW!

        • 1.2.1.1 MsGB

          Oooooooooo…. I did the same. Even reading about that grief and heartache made me want to cry…again.

          I haven’t seen many sageuk dramas but I will say that Han Suk Kyu plays the best king I ever saw, beside Jo Hie Bong playing King Crazy in Hong Gil Dong (I literally seen the craziness flow off that guy). HSK Ajusshi is the best!!!!

          P.S. The conversation part was sooo genius, I literally got chills!!!!!

      • 1.2.2 shishi

        Im so agree with you. OMG! I wait till morning to see the raw episode and so I cried watching the last scene. Geez! they’re good..I like this drama because it is not like the other drama. I just love how the writer could bring all of these arguments and human feeling and caste problems into one storyline..worth the watch and the tears..

    • 1.3 Jo

      At first, I thought Prince Gwanpyeong was the weakest character. He felt so one-dimensionally…good.
      BUT OH MY GOSH. That last scene, with tears in his eyes. He looked so beautiful and his acting was so dynamic.

      • 1.3.1 jjmm

        His character never really had much to do besides be totally loyal the King and the alphabet system, but I thought that actor always delivered and seemed so committed even to his limited role. The scenes in the hut with Chae Yoon and So Yi and then this last scene of his were some fine acting. Sad to see him go.

    • 1.4 Jomo

      I am not as smart as you, Heads, I wasn’t so sure he was dead Prince in there because I didn’t get the shoe thing.

      When the King approached the palanquin dry-eyed, I said, oh no…
      When he opened the curtain, all I could think was “Poor baby, poor baby,” meaning the King first then the Prince.

      I wailed along with the court ladies, god love them; they have experienced so much pain seeing all the other deaths in this series.

      This scene was un-effing-believable.

      • 1.4.1 Autumn

        I love how even the court ladies aren’t one dimensional. They’ve had previous scenes in the drama and were fleshed out as characters, so to see them wailing over the Prince’s death, I can only see their sincerity. Those ladies probably protected him and watched as he grew up. So sad have him gone :(

  2. tegami

    OMG I was crying when King Sejong walked towards the palanquin without his shoes on and then it became FULL OUT SOBBING when he held the Prince in his arms…

    I have never ever cried so terribly for any drama I’ve seen since I started kdramas.

    That look in King Sejong’s face as he tried to clasp the Prince’s lifeless hand to his cheek was nothing short of heartbreak.
    Han Seok-hyun deserves to get the friggin actor or the year award or I’m gonna throw a fit. He cannot be praised enough for how brilliantly he acted in these scenes.

    The Prince’s sacrifice will NOT BE IN VAIN!!!

    I will stand up and applaud when Jung Ki-joon (and the rest of Milbon) gets punished. Would it be too much to ask for a graphic end with them getting their heads chopped off and their limbs torn apart?????

    • 2.1 bd

      I’ve already been amazed by HSH’s acting up to this point (as good of a job SKJ did w/ the younger Lee Do, HSH’s portrayal was even more impressive), but his acting in this ep took it to another level.

      Simply, simply amazing.

      HSH should win every acting award for a drama this year – no question about it.

      • 2.1.1 mary

        Agree, HSH should get a best actor award — and not just from those scripted awards shows held by their own networks. :| He deserves the real thing!

        (Wouldn’t it be funny if Joong Ki gets a Best Child Actor award for playing the younger King Sejong? Hehe)

        • 2.1.1.1 Tha

          THAT WOULD BE SO AWESOME!!!

        • 2.1.1.2 Jomo

          How do they pick?
          There were three actors playing him as “Young King Sejong.”

      • 2.1.2 innuendo

        hm… Han seok-kyu(한 석규=Se jong)..

    • 2.2 Aste

      Sorry guys.. but it’s not Han Seok-Hyun. It’s Han Seok-Kyu or Han Seok Gyu.

  3. sophie k

    Thanks you too HeadsNo2! I’ve thoroughly enjoyed your thoughts and insights into the drama, picking out all the things i’ve missed.

    Tomorrow’s the last recap, but I really hope to see more of you around here, and that this won’t be the last drama that you’re covering.

    • 3.1 dramabliss

      Why would tomorrow’s recap be the last? I thought this drama runs for 24 episodes?

      • 3.1.1 kristi

        Yes, it’s 24 eps, will end on the 22nd. And on the 28th (Wed the week after), in the same timeslot, SBS is going to air a one-hour TwDR special. Not sure what format it’ll take, such as whether they’re going to interview the cast & crew separately, but it’s a possibility since the official twitter and site are taking questions from fans.

  4. momogi

    I was just realize that this drama recap never include a song or its soundtrack. Why is that headsno2?
    It would be lovely if you include a song in it, perhaps it’ll increase the dramatic tension..?

    • 4.1 Tha

      Nothing needed to add dramatic tension. The characters have accomplished that already. :)

  5. tegami

    Aaarrgh, after watching this episode, it only makes it even more of a travesty that Tree with Deep Roots was not represented as much as it should have in the Beanie Awards nominations.

    Javabeans, I know you and Girlfriday cannot watch every drama out there but you need to at least include the dramas being recapped in Dramabeans (the same thing applies to Me Too, Flower). Clearly, your biases are showing when the dramas you’ve watched/are watching are in almost all of the categories. I have nothing against City Hunter and Flower Boy Ramyun Shop, but compared to Tree with Deep Roots, they fall short. Really short.

    • 5.1 dramaaddict

      i agree.

      • 5.1.1 dramabliss

        Ditto.

        TWDR is definitely much more than your usual kdrama rom-com, or sageuk.

        • 5.1.1.1 bd

          TWDR has pushed aside the dramas at the top of my list.

          As sageuks go, the only one that comes somewhat close is “Secret Investigation Record” (Joseon X-Files) which had some mind-blowing eps – but the quality wasn’t as even (there were some lesser, but still good eps) and due to its largely separate story-lines wrapped up in each hour, doesn’t have quite the emotional impact that TWDR builds as each ep passes until it reaches its climax.

          And there is no rom-com that matches the overall quality of TWDR.

          This may very well be the best series that I have ever watched (Korean, American or Brit).

          • 5.1.1.1.1 Andrew

            I disagree.
            Joseon X Files is far ,far better than Deep-Rooted Tree . The quality WAS even – all twelve episodes were brilliant.
            Hmmm Deep Rooted Tree is just “another amazing korean drama”, while Joseon X Files is one of the best series ever made be it in Asia or States.

    • 5.2 obachan

      I cannot agree with you more. I love reading javabeans and girlfriday’s recap and appreciate the effort they put into. But it’s really a great pity that they seem to only review “trendy” dramas.(in all fairness, they actually watch more dramas than they are able to recap). I respect their personal preference but given that the stature and influence dramabeans already establishes, I do wish this website can let people outside Korea see that Korean dramas are NOT all “soapy”, and neither do all dramas rely simply on the appeal of popular stars. A drama like Tree with Deep Roots that fuses with history, politics, relationship, detective element is truly a gem. (But of course Tree with Deep Roots has star power unrivaled in other dramas. But the acting, the script and the directing are all excellent).

      For all the lovers of Tree of Deep Roots, just look at how 10-Asia chooses this drama as one of the best this year and Han Suk-kyu as the best actor of the year.
      http://10.asiae.co.kr/Articles/new_view.htm?a_id=2011120800242916297

      Han Suk-kyu’s acting in this episode is mind-blowing. All the netizens and news in Korea were raving about his performance. As a fan of him from 90s, I am all teary seeing his spectacular return through this unique drama.
      Han Suk-kuye is hands down a “national treasure” of Korea.

      • 5.2.1 kristi

        PD Jang Tae-Yu and writers Kim Young-Hyun & Park Sang-Yeon also got the most votes from the editorial team at 10 Asia.

      • 5.2.2 bd

        Javabean recapped “Secret Investigation Record” which wasn’t exactly “trendy” even tho it had that “Joseon X-Files” thing going on.

        JB loved SIR so TWDR should be right up her alley.

        Btw, I felt bad for the Mu-hyul for having to hold his sword up the whole time Sejong and KJK debated.

        • 5.2.2.1 anais

          I felt bad for the Mu-hyul for having to hold his sword up the whole time Sejong and KJK debated.

          I tried not to comment here, but every time I read this, I crack up laughing. Totally!!! Every time Muhyul glanced at Sejong, squirmed, or did anything other than focusing death glare at Gae Pa Yi, I kept wondering what exactly must have been the deal with Muhyul/Jo Jin Woong. bd – you crack me up.

          • 5.2.2.1.1 anais

            you crack me up so much that I’m now wiping away tears.

          • 5.2.2.1.2 bd

            When Sejong wanted to keep going w/ the debate, the thought of exasperated wifey Muhyul sighing deeply kept crossing my mind.

            Note – I didn’t include Gae Pa-yi, but he probably wasn’t bothered by it since it appears he has some mystical/supernatural powers/strength.

            (I’m sure the actors didn’t have to hold up the swords the entire time since much of the camera-work focused on Sejong and JKJ, not to mention separate takes, but still, I hope the wardrobe dept. gave the actors light prop swords for that scene.)

    • 5.3 queencircles

      I felt like it was underrepresented a little, but not really. It doesn’t really fit into most of those award categories. Maybe one it wasn’t in but could’ve been in was favorite character? Most of them are just silly and fun (did you read those descriptions lol) which TWDR doesn’t fit into as easily.

      If there were categories like best actor, or best writing, or direction, maybe, but those would have a lot to do with popularity of the show as well. It would totally win the best epic fight scene though, and best surprise evil character that you once thought was sweet and awesome and now you hate. (I guess I just contradicted myself, because there was a best villain category that TWDR wasn’t represented in, but alas)

      I’ll think you’ll feel much better once the year end reviews come out. I’m not sure if gf or jb are watching this show or not. They may be, just not recapping it because they recap like a billion shows at a time already. But at least one of the guest bloggers will write it up and it’ll get the credit it deserves.

      Because seriously, TWDR and City Hunter, definitely the best two shows of the year.

    • 5.4 Cha Eun Ae

      OMG! I saw that earlier and I thought the same thing.
      I too feel it is under-represented.

    • 5.5 mskololia

      Agreed.

      I was looking for it too because is exceptional and is being recapped here. ;)

    • 5.6 elise

      Couldn’t agree more….every part of TWDR is far superior in everyway to CH and FBRS. They were more on the lines of parking your brain at the door for mindless enjoyment. I just don’t have the luxury of spending/wasting hrs like that… very often.

      Oh….HeadNo2….your recaps are Seriously Engaging! ^^ Thank you.

    • 5.7 Jomo

      I voted for it!

  6. queencircles

    I’m about to watch this right now!!! Ahh can’t wait. Love this show. :)

  7. Marni

    Just speechless with the ending. Couldn’t watch it…..that cry…

    • 7.1 Giaxlove

      I know! It was so heart wrenching to see Sejong like that. But props to the actor– he’s really talented.

  8. dls

    Btw, in real history, did Prince Gwangpyeong really die?
    It was so sad…and I still can’t believe it.

    • 8.1 aramint

      correct me if i’m wrong, but if i’m not mistaken, his tomb is now one of the main attractions in gangnam..

      • 8.1.1 aramint

        eh..didn’t answer your question, sorry..yes, he died..at age 19, if i remember correctly..

        • 8.1.1.1 syer

          I thought he’s the king in Princess’s man that died and replaced by his young son and then Prince Suyang overthrone him… suddenly very excited with joseon history

          • 8.1.1.1.1 momosan

            No, the King in Princess’ Man is yet another brother – the crown prince who became King Munjong. King Sejong had something like 25 children, so there were a lot of princes running around.

          • 8.1.1.1.2 kristi

            As momsan said, the king (Munjong) in TPM was Sejong’s first son by the Queen Consort, the Crown Prince (briefly mentioned in TwDR). Sejong had four more sons with the Queen, and Prince Gwangpyung was one of the middle children, who died young at the age of 20, in 1444, ie. two years before the promulgation of hangul. That’s why from the moment of his appearance in TwDR, there was a lot of speculation he was going to get killed in the series. From what I understand, he wasn’t involved with the creation of the alphabet like his elder brothers (the future Munjong and Sejo) and one of his sisters (no shortage of brain power in that family). But that’s what makes it ‘easier’ for the writers to take some liberty in the drama, such as having him ‘kidnapped’ by Chae-Yoon or ‘using’ his death in relation to the fictional Milbon. His siblings are too well-known (even before TPM), and the writers couldn’t have used them w/o taking some heat. And I see Gwangpyung’s role TwDR as representative/symbolical of his family’s close involvement with their father’s project.

          • 8.1.1.1.3 Linda165

            I thought Prince Gwangpyeong was the uncle that came from the province and helped Princess Kyung Hye and Danjong latter on. Not Anpyeong, that died from poisoning, nor the loudmouthed one that was on Suyang’s posse (latter killed by Seung Yoo), but the one that was vanished at the same time that Danjong.
            Maybe the names are similar… Or the names used in both dramas because my limited Korean history knowledge come from dramas. *note to self: Read more Korean history in Wikipedia*

          • 8.1.1.1.4 kristi

            Haven’t seen TPM so had to check the cast list, but “the uncle that came from the province and helped Princess Kyung Hye and Danjong,” that’s (Great) Prince Geum-Sung 금성대군, Gwang-Pyung’s younger brother.

            “the loudmouthed one that was on Suyang’s posse (latter killed by Seung Yoo),” that’s Prince Ohn-Nyung, who wasn’t Sejong’s son but his half-brother (ie. Taejong’s son). I think his support of his nephew Sejo in TPM was made up, b/c I’m not seeing any such record in his profile.

    • 8.2 Adele

      I tried to but couldn’t find any factual historical reference whereby Prince Gwangpyeong died due to his involvement with King Sejong’s Hangul project.
      I think it’s one of those instances where the script writers took the liberty in creating a link between the two, making a fictitious event to give us a thrilling drama.

      I absolutely love the fact that Chae Yoon is the one person who seems to be able to ‘save’ the King with his bluntness and super harsh words. When we see a person that we care about is suffering, it’s natural for us to want to give consoling words & affection, to show that we care and that we are there for this person. But in this instance, the king’s grief at losing his beloved son was unbearably difficult to watch. It’s enough to make the king lose his own way and make him doubt his motives in creating Hangul.

      So.. tough love was needed, and that was exactly what Chae Yoon gave. In fact, he is the only person in the King’s vicinity who would dare to show insolent attitude & say such cruel words to the absolute ruler of Joseon, and not be afraid of the consequences.

      After lots of tissues & finally coming to terms with the shocking end of this episode, I gotta say that this drama is truly the best I have ever seen in my entire life. The story, the acting, all the people involved are top-notch and now I only hope that Han Suk Kyu wins best actor award for his portrayal of King Sejong.

      Thanks HeadsNo2 for this ep’s recaps. You’re the best as always.

      • 8.2.1 kristi

        I tried to but couldn’t find any factual historical reference whereby Prince Gwangpyeong died due to his involvement with King Sejong’s Hangul project.
        I think it’s one of those instances where the script writers took the liberty in creating a link between the two, making a fictitious event to give us a thrilling drama.

        Yup. Nobody died b/c of hangul. Just happens Gwangpyung’s death IRL occurred two years before the promulgation of the alphabet, which probably gave the writers some ideas. (And aroused speculations he was going to get killed in the series.)

        Here’s something rather interesting. The real Prince Gwangpyung died on the 7th of December, 1444, according to the lunar calendar.

        Ep. 19 was broadcast on the 7th of December.

        Of course, the date given in the annals is by the lunar calendar, and we’d have count the 7th day of the 12th month of the lunar calendar to find out the actual date of his death in 1444. But it’s a close enough coincidence in terms of TwDR trivia.

        • 8.2.1.1 anais

          Kristi, Kristi, Kristi, I’d love to have a TWDR review with you and HeadsNo2 having a conversation. The richness of that commentary would be so amazing.

          • 8.2.1.1.1 kristi

            Gah, I’m honored but I think the interactions and the commentaries here are just fine. :) And I’m not contributing much in terms of historical references, just relaying what I read on the Korean boards, the posters there are the ones who did/do all the hard work. Can’t wait for the review for ep. 20 to come up, btw, b/c the historical reference attached to the ending blew my mind. And made me quite emotional.

          • 8.2.1.1.2 Adele

            I agree with anais. Kristi is so knowledgable about TWDR trivia as well as historical facts in this Joseon era. Thanks for sharing all that with us.

          • 8.2.1.1.3 elise

            Ditto…appreciate and enjoy the info Kristi.

        • 8.2.1.2 fan

          You are so right.

          This ep-
          awesome debates!
          So yi – you are the master of all!
          Gwangpyung had honorable death!
          He is smiling big from the above at this honorable death.(He is said to have died from starvation because fish bone stuck on his throat and he could not eat).
          At least they made the exact matching passing date 12/7 at age 20 (http://news.jkn.co.kr/article/news/20111208/7120448.htm). wow for that!

          Lastly, Sejong got wild and CY to the rescue!

          • 8.2.1.2.1 mskololia

            When I was young I had a fish bone stuck in my throat once. My grandmother made me swallow a lot of sliced bread until it dislodged the bone in my throat….The bread cushioned the pain I felt and it only took about one or two slices for it to work.

            What a painful and sad way to die….

      • 8.2.2 Mj

        ditto to everything u just said!;)

  9. wonbinlover

    Thank you for the recap. I always enjoy reading them. Oh my gosh this episode just had me dripping with tears. It was heartbreaking to see the king discovered his son was murdered. The way he lifted up his arms to make sure just made me tear up like a baby. And i adored the guy who played the prince. He believed in his father so much and i am going to look forward to the guy in more roles. This drama continues to impress me with the acting and the story. The cliffhangers for each episode makes you look forward to the next one.

  10. 10 Giaxlove

    Thank you for the recap, HeadsNo2!!!
    Wow… Jung Ki joon really crossed the line by killing royalty, and not just royalty but the king’s son. Anyone who would’ve lend a hand is going have second thoughts now. Well, that’s just my opinion lol.

    Also, I wonder if the Sound guy made the owl hoots?

  11. 11 Tha

    So I cried…

    • 11.1 Linda165

      Me too TT^TT

  12. 12 momogi

    what a heartbreaking episode and wonderful recap HeadsNo2. Thank You.

    I found this sageuk very refreshing because of its amazing story that make it so different with any other sageuk drama. What make the other sageuk sometimes bored to watch is its never ending political intigues that younger viewers find not so very appealing. But with this sageuk drama, it still have the political intrigue but the theme is more focus on someone’s journey of becoming a king, his psychologycal struggle with his ownself and the people around him.
    This prove that you clearly still can get a great sageuk drama with less bloodshed and more epic battle of words.

    • 12.1 daniela

      So true, i did fast forwarded it TPM’ political scenes and from others dramas, but here i just watched them row, trying to understand maximum from the dialogs. I understand just a few of them, but the actors tell the story with their eyes, faces, hands, tears.

      And yes, a sageuk drama can have less fighting scenes to be really good. (I get so bored now to watch the same fighting scenes in most of the dramas, i almost recognize the action-actors :)))

  13. 13 Cat78

    Wow ! just wow…..

  14. 14 dramaaddict

    why is tomorrow the last recap?

    • 14.1 Linda165

      It’s not. They’re 24 episodes.

  15. 15 queencircles

    Oh man. I’ve been waiting for that to happen ever since I wikipedia’d all these people and found out what year he died. I was like, NOOOOO, why did I just spoil that for myself. I just got so interested in all the history. I started watching The Princess’s Man like a week or so ago, and I was like oh why isn’t gwangpyeong mentioned in any of this, I wonder if he died before this or something, only to find out, yea he died before the letters were published. Why did you look that up, so stupid. Anyway, yeah I was very angry at myself.

    That actor did a really good job though. It was so sad when he knew he was going to die.

  16. 16 Phil

    I watched the episode this morning and for the rest of the day I was so sad. It was as if one of my family members had died.

    I’ve watched many kdramas and seen hundreds of people die in them but I have never been as affected as I was today.

    Damo was very sad but this was much worse.

    • 16.1 ed

      same here, to a tee. It was so powerful that it should come with trigger warning. RIP gwangpyeong:(((

  17. 17 Whitetiger

    You konw What!!!! Prince Gwapyong died on 7th of December in 1444(in lunar callendar) exactly the same day the episode in which he died aired(in solar callendar).

    About the death of Gwapyong, as far as I know there are some historic facts. Some says he died of starvation because he swallowed fishbone and couldn’t eat at all. Others say his death was caused by a kind of skin disease. He died in the age of 20 and had one child.
    (I got this information in the encyclopedia of Naver.com)

  18. 18 Irene

    What did So-Yi tell them? It seems to me that Pyung has a crush on her! Hehe

    What a great episode, thank you for the recap!! Waiting for the next one! :-D

    • 18.1 Irene

      Maybe they just needed any reason to stop fighting?

    • 18.2 kristi

      They were stuck at a stalemate, and one wrong move & nobody was going to come out of it alive. That’s why Jung Ki-Joon (who didn’t care if he died if Sejong could follow him) kept goading Chae-Yoon. I can’t recall Soyi’s exact lines, but that’s pretty much what she laid on the table. Of the four people holding the swords, Yoon Pyung and Karpei/Gaepayi worked for Jung Ki-Joon/weren’t going to risk his life, and Muhyul and Chae-Yoon weren’t going to risk Sejong’s life (and in Chae-Yoon’s case, certainly not Soyi’s life). That evens out the score (‘helps’ that Muhyul & Karpei and Chae-Yoon & Pyung are more or less equally matched in their skills) and it gave her the leverage to convince them to drop their weapons at the same time.

    • 18.3 Linda165

      I’m still amazed that Pyung actually listened to So Yi’s plead, scratch that, command. So Yi Rules!!!

      Not that neither of them needed a sword to kill each other, but hey, when the girl talks, they listen.

  19. 19 Hans

    Thank you for your time and energy in recapping the episodes for us! I absolutely love this drama and this is the first time I’ve commented to say thank :)

  20. 20 bd

    JKJ’s being frightened by the masses w/ power is something that the elites/educated classes have been concerned about all over.

    The Founding Fathers were so concerned about “mob rule” that they set up the Electoral College system and allowed states to impose property qualifications on the right to vote.

    Fast forward over 200 years and we know that having a populace that can read and write is certainly no guarantee that people will be knowledgable about the issues and make wise choices.

    • 20.1 Vivien

      and by using internet, either…

    • 20.2 shepo

      yeah,,everytime i listen to jung ki joon’s ideology talk,,i just wonder,,if just he lives in this year,,where a billion of people can write and read,,what would he say?

      • 20.2.1 anais

        Who knows. Maybe he’d be among those who even now say that the world is going to pot because of the ignorant masses.

        I once knew a 3rd generation chaebol who said he would be fine with the reinstitution of “voluntary slavery.” His exact wording, not mine. I also remember him calling it “contractual slavery.” But then, he was also a Korean American who had only neo-Nazi white friends. Yeah, try adding all that up.

        • 20.2.1.1 kristi

          Was going to say JKJ’s arguments reminded me of the Ancient Greeks/Plato’s philosopher-kings (not that I’ve ever understood it well) but wow… *mouth hanging open at anais’ example*

          • 20.2.1.1.1 anais

            I can see the germ of validity in JKJ’s argument. There is truth to the saying, “A little knowledge is a dangerous thing.” I’m often guilty of it. I wish I could say that I am now a lot less guilty of it than when I was a teenager, but it’s likely that I’m only just sliiiiiiiiiiightly less guilty of it nowadays. And, as someone who works with budding minds, I regularly have to negotiate that fine line between empowering them and keeping them from acting prematurely.

            Even then, the world hasn’t entirely gone to pot. I worry, yes, constantly about the world I live in, but isn’t it most likely a universal truth for people to do so?

            Kristi, very apropos comparison between Neo-Confucian Joseon and Plato’s Republic of philosopher-kings. In fact, in college, that’s how I became introduced to Neo-Confucianism, via a comparative philosophy college course on Confucian/Neo-Confucian and Greco-Roman philosophies. :)

  21. 21 wonbinlover

    Just finished watching ep 20. This drama better be winning a lot of awards at the year end awards because i think its the best drama of the year. Han Suk Kyu better collect best actor or else i will be disappointed.

  22. 22 Cha Eun Ae

    Seriously THIS SHOW IS KILLING ME!!!!!!
    It is so compelling and intricate. The writing, the pacing, the music, the acting, the coloring, every detail is soooo on point, it is incredible. I find myself simply riveted by each scene, knowing something totally unexpected yet so organic to the narrative is coming at any moment. The last scene was incredible. I have not felt this wounded, heart pained, numbed and shocked at the death of a K-drama character in a long time. I really felt the Kings anguish as he cried out at the end. This whole episode was awesome.
    TWDR is truly Epic…..

  23. 23 bd

    Btw, since JKJ wants to kill everyone who has learned the hangul, wouldn’t that mean killing the little girl, Yeon-doo?

    I imagine her friend, Gae Pa-yi, wouldn’t be too happy about it (but since he also learned hangul, he probably needs to put himself to death).

    • 23.1 anais

      Right? I’m trying to figure out Gae Pa Yi. What is his deal that he’s with Milbon? I realize he’s from a different country (which the Show mentioned by name, but I didn’t quite catch). Does he bear a grudge against Sejong because his country was one of those that Sejong’s or Taejong’s Joseon defeated?

      It’s hard for me to fathom, but given how he took to spelling out his name with hangul and said it so proudly and defiantly to Jeong Ki Jun, I would have thought he’d have started transitioning to supporting the alphabet over Milbon.

  24. 24 Suzi Q

    Every week, the episodes get better and better and more suspenseful.

    This episode was amazing especially Han Seok-Hyun’s portrayal of King Sejong discovering his beloved son has been murdered.You feel like you know his heart got ripped out. So powerful and dramatically sad.

    I hope HSH wins a best acting award. He surely deserves it. Would that be supporting actor since Jang Hyuk is the lead?

    • 24.1 kristi

      No, they’re both leads, but Han Seok-Kyu’s the senior/first lead here. He’s 10+ years older than Jang Hyuk, and not only did he begin his career much earlier than most of the cast in TwDR, but he also rose to stardom sooner. His tv series in the early-mid 1990s were huge hits, his commercials (esp. with Shim Eun-Ha) are the stuff of legend, and by the end of the decade, he was Choongmuro’s biggest ticket-draw and most acclaimed actor. He might not have enjoyed as big a success in the 2000s, but he’s enormously well-respected throughout the industry. IOW, not only will he be nominated in the lead actor category (not only at SBS but most likely Baeksang next year), there’s little to no chance he won’t win the Grand Prize. Not when TwDR’s doing so well, with viewers and critics alike.

      I’m quite sure Jang Hyuk will be nominated and win an award in the lead actor category at SBS. But the Grand Prize… that’s all but certain it’ll go to Han Seok-Kyu sunbae. You’d have to bring back Lee Byung-Hun or Choi Min-Shik to television in successful projects to compete with HSK at awards.

      • 24.1.1 bd

        Even if Han Seok-Kyu and Jang Hyuk were to compete head to head, HSK should win.

        JH has been good in TWDR (better than in “Chuno” where his acting was more “one-note”), but HSK is on a whole ‘nother level.

        • 24.1.1.1 kristi

          Except that these awards are the broadcaster’s way of saying thanks, and SBS has a lot to thank the TwDR team for. Not just in terms of ratings, but because the drama raised the network’s profile in sageuks. (Prior to TwDR, their sageuks were often ridiculed vs the efforts at KBS and MBC, even if the old networks aren’t the powerhouses they used to be and it’s not as if sageuks are produced in-house these days, ie. most of them are all outsourced now, like TwDR which is produced by SidusHQ). There have been a lot of ‘I can’t believe TwDR is a SBS sageuk’ reactions, and you can bet the broadcaster’s rubbing hands with glee. So it’s highly unlikely they’re going to let Jang Hyuk go empty-handed at their year-end awards.

          As for his performance in Chuno, I never got around to watching the series, but from the little I’ve seen, it was the furthest thing from one-note.

          • 24.1.1.1.1 Gasenadi

            Please, please explain “outsourced” a bit. We “lost” our local TV drama industry in the Caribbean to globalization which was one reason why I – a recent Kdrama addict – was so enthusiastic about Korea’s industry.

            And, HeadNo2, you’ve had me hooked and laughing with your recaps. I never read the recaps before now. You and the commentators have made it worthwhile.

  25. 25 kristi

    Thus, this is a perfect time to thank all of you.

    Thank YOU for your superlative recaps and commentaries. Without your efforts and enthusiasm, there’d be no interaction and discussion in the first place. And it’s made watching TwDR so much more fun.

    And we finally get a mention of his brother, Prince Suyang (who’s apparently helping on the process, and who later becomes King Sejo, the seventh king of Joseon)

    Technically, he was mentioned before, in ep. 12, though that was only by caption. One of the two houses outside which the palanquins were stationed (to fake out the smuggle of the papers) at the end of the episode was Prince Sooyang’s. I got a kick out of some viewers joking afterwards that Jung Ki-Joon must have a death wish to kill Sejong’s men at Prince Sooyang’s doors. Lots of viewers just shivered from the mere mention of his name in the caption.

    And I’ll have to double-check (it’s hard to keep up with the historical discussions re: TwDR), but apparently IRL Prince Sooyang was involved with the publication of that translation of Buddha’s story.

    Unlike the weirdly forced comedy of the Ban Chon interrogation scenes earlier

    I’m not a big fan of comedy in sageuks (too often they feel forced), but I actually enjoyed those scenes. The editing, and the differences in the interrogations, made me burst out loud in the middle of a heavyweight episode.

    Speaking of editing, I thought the final scenes from the moment Jung Ki-Joon knelt before the Prince to deliver his judgment were well-cut for maximum impact. There was no unnecessary scene, eg. they didn’t show Chae-Yoon’s friends reacting to finding out who it was in the palanquin, dwelling instead on the look of horror and sinking feeling on Chae-Yoon’s face; they didn’t waste time showing the news being delivered to the palace people, immediately cutting instead to Jung Inji in tears rush to the King; and they saved the Prince’s final moment for his father to discover when he lifted the veil. The sight of Prince Gwangpyung sitting up, with his eyes closed and looking at peace, as if he’d fallen asleep or just having a moment to himself… no wonder he made his father smile, as if he couldn’t believe his son was no longer of this world.

    A fellow fan of TwDR I know is a huge of Suh Joon-Young who played the Prince, and this episode’s going to kill her, but she should be proud of his performance here. (And I have no doubt she will be.) I was profoundly moved by Gwangpyung’s reactions as he realized what was happening, crying silently at the thought of leaving his beloved father and family, but refusing to lose faith in the King’s project and defiant to the last as he struggled to control his emotions before his executioners. That’s what made the discovery of his body, the look of peace on his face, even more heartbreaking.

    This series has a truly fantastic team, in the cast, the writers, the directors, and the faceless crew working hard behind the scenes. Very glad their efforts are being rewarded with high ratings and much praise all around.

    • 25.1 mskololia

      I was surprised by the interrogation scenes too. They reminded me of Hitchcock’s “Rear Window” for a moment….The vignettes were a good way to give the audience a breather.

      • 25.1.1 anais

        I LOVE that a discussion of TWDR brought up Hitchcock! How awesome is this convo? This drama?

    • 25.2 Linda165

      I’ve been a fan of Suh Joon-Young since The Devil (well, since I watch it early this year ^,^) I really loved his short performance there.

    • 25.3 anais

      The smirk and tears on Gwangpyeong’s face as he told Jeong Ki Jun that even he, the Prince, hadn’t seen the haerye was heartbreaking. Even though I figured that the Show would take advantage of the fact that he died in 1444, I was still so saddened.

      I’m being lazy here so I won’t check who, but someone said earlier that the entire cast has been bringing it, not just Han Seok Kyu, and that the excellent ensemble work also raises TWDR. I can’t agree more, especially in light of Gwangpyeong.

      As for the editing of the final scenes, I wonder if the its effectiveness as a mode of storytelling will bring about a change in Kdrama sageuk storytelling, which tends toward the platudinous. Whereas lesser dramas may have aimed for poignancy and ended up with bathos, TWDR’s economy raised those scenes to truly cinematic levels.

      • 25.3.1 mskololia

        “As for the editing of the final scenes, I wonder if the its effectiveness as a mode of storytelling will bring about a change in Kdrama sageuk storytelling, which tends toward the platudinous….”

        Thanks for bringing this up @anais. I keeping thinking about this and am still impressed with the editing in this drama overall. It is truly far and above those I’ve seen in sageuks and I hope future Kdramas take their cue from the TWDR PD/scriptwriter.

      • 25.3.2 kristi

        I think PD Jang has his strengths and weaknesses, and with the constraints of ‘live’ filming and production in recent months, he’s become much more efficient. He can’t match someone like PD Kwak Jung-Hwan of Chuno fame in action sequences (haven’t watched Chuno properly, but some scenes are like poetry in motion), and I think they’ve become less flashier over time, which I think is wise–remove the excess and focus on your advantages.

        • 25.3.2.1 Jomo

          I think that is why I like his style, as you said, it is efficient.
          He wastes no screen time, no empty spaces on the screen, no wasted diaglog.

          Hats off to the casting director, too. Did they get every actor they wanted?

      • 25.3.3 Jomo

        Cinematic – exactly. That is what this series has been.

        Heads, you said:
        “And even with so many amazingly talented actors on screen, there’s such a harmony. No one steals scenes, because everyone contributes to the whole.”

        If there were a list, wherein you scored every drama you watched by every element:
        costumes, OST, cinematography, sound, lighting, pacing, editing, visual effects, emotional depth, appropriate use of flashbacks, interesting dialog, use of bad guys as conflict, sets, props, humor, tension, background actors, child actors, supporting actors, lead actors, etc, [deep breath]
        I feel like best of the other shows broadcast this and last year would score in the 80′s.
        TwDP, on the other hand, leaves them far behind, with a 110 – 120.
        Nothing comes close.

        And THIS episode was PERFECT. If I am not mistaken, every member of the cast made an appearance, as well.
        All of the threads of all of stories came together here.

        They make it look soooo easy. You forget that it’s historical characters.

        I know when I finished watching, I thought I was dumbfounded and speechless. But the more I think on it, the more amazed I become.

        Thanks to heads and the other very knowledgeable commenters who have made this show exceptional. I am always a few episodes behind because I only watch this when I can savor it. When I am wide awake. I don’t want to miss a thing!

      • 25.3.4 triniti

        so sorry, but what is this haerye thing that everyone’s talking about??

  26. 26 neener

    I’ve been waiting for this!!!

    I can’t wait to watch all the episodes and watch the intellectual battle!! I’ve always love these kinds of talk….it makes me think….

    thanks for the recap as always!! I also read the comments and it’s just fascinating at how people talk about this drama!

  27. 27 Linda165

    Episodes 19 and 20 are now 100% translated @ viki :)

    • 27.1 anais

      I checked out the Ep 19 subs today and was quite impressed at the quality, given that they churned it out in about 24 hours, no?

      Thanks to Viki, I’ve been able to get my sister to stay watching TWDR. In the process, she’s improving her Korean passively, since she actually commented on the quality of the translations.

      I echo everyone’s comments about the stellar quality of this show. The show has not missed a beat. When the time comes for them to do the DVD, I hope they put out a package full of goodies so I will find excuses to actually invest in a set.

      • 27.1.1 Linda165

        Yes, TWDR has a wonderful team at Viki. The main Kor-Eng translator is dramadramok and she REALLY knows her stuff.

    • 27.2 Linda165

      So this episode… just killed me. Me, laying in the floor, just… dead. Aarrgh!!! Just thinking about it… Aarghhh! I was devastated, one of my favorite characters, so idealistic, so proud of his father and his achievements… So cute, my prince.
      Then I felt so angry at JKJ, playing dirty and using the violence he once accused the king of using. Then the King broke the little pieces of my heart into even little ones when he had his dead son in his arms. Oh how sad the way he tried to clasp Gwanpyung’s hand to his face.
      Why is this show so freaking AWESOME??!!
      *SPOILER ALERT*

      Prince Gwangpyung’s dead took me by surprised. I’m a cry baby. I cry in almost every drama I watch. But I’ve never become this blubbering, incoherent mess before. And all this was at work! As far as I remember: the Scheduler’s goodbye date (well, really the last two episodes of 49 days), Jong’s death in TPM and Woon’s death in WBDS are the ones that come close.

    • 27.3 Linda165

      Oh look! SSH in a Mickey Mouse t-shirt! *giggles* Kyopta!

    • 27.4 anais

      I just got word from my sister, for whom TWDR is the first kdrama she’s watching (and to completion) voluntarily, that her non-Korean speaking, non-Korean fiance is now addicted to TWDP. It took him only one episode (18) to hook him. How awesome is that? So happies!!!

      Thank you, TWDR & Viki! It means the world to me to have this cultural gap in our family be bridged.

  28. 28 mskololia

    HeadsNo2, thanks for the riveting recap as usual.

    I am still processing this episode because it’s that good.

    To me, this drama asks you to come along on this journey, and in return does not deceive you with schizophrenic characterizations to move the storytelling along. It’s very sane…lol

  29. 29 ahjummabunny

    heads!
    thanks a lot for your time and effort.

  30. 30 cheonsa

    Thanks, HeadsNo2 for your speedy recap.

    “The initial debate between Sejong and Jung Ki-joon filled up the first twenty minutes of this episode. Yet, every piece of the conversation was riveting.”- my thoughts exactly! My eyes were literally glued to the screen all through this long-awaited conversation and the sparring was so much more intense than all that fancy swordfight we have seen thus far. seriously, wow.

    I was just telling my hubby that I think some of my brain cells died with the soapy kdramas I have been watching but with TwDR, I feel like my brain cells are reinvigorated after each gripping episode. Much like the pleasureable high you experience after a workout. This show has intelligent writing, brilliant actors and most importantly, like you so aptly pointed out, such a incredible feast for all senses. It’s definitely the best drama – not just of the year but of all the dramas I’ve watched! – the best of the best!

  31. 31 kiongna

    first time ever…after watching at least 100 kdramas in the last 6 years do i feel so frightened to watch the next episode….. i get the shivers right down to my bones… ahhh the preview to the next episode omo…..dear King Sejong succumbs to raw pain, anguish, pure super anger… and he needs someone to blame… OH my god help him and me….

    Thanks so much HeadsNo2, you are AWESOME!!

  32. 32 mskololia

    @kristi,
    you can tell we miss when you are not around! :)

    • 32.1 kristi

      Aw, that’s very sweet, thank you. :) I love the discussions too, though can’t remember why I wasn’t around last week.

  33. 33 kralj

    Im watching this with out subs,and i can say that this is best Korean drama ever ,amazing acting and script
    Really fascinating,i just love it:0
    Jang Hyuk best actor i have seen in a long time

  34. 34 Lizzie

    Hello everyone! First thanks HeadsNo2 for recapping this amazing drama. I can’t even…

    Thanks also everyone who make debates here. I don’t even need to look to wikipedia or go to google to try to find some info about korean history and all. Thanks a lot.

    I have a silly question, I don’t speak Korean and I have been interested to learn Hangul, lol this drama really made me learn it, but my silly question is-

    Can I really learn it in a week? Lol I know it’s a drama and all but I saw someone saying it took a week for her/him learn it and so I got curious… but of course knowing the language is much more easy to learn it, right?

    Also, when I realized Sejong is Sooyang’s father I can’t stop thinking, how Sooyang was such a cruel person when he had this kind of father?

    I know even though he was cruel and killed everyone to take the throne still his reign was a good one.

    • 34.1 Lizzie

      *** I meant I have a silly question, I don’t speak Korean and I have been interested in learning Hangul, lol this drama really made me want to learn it, but my silly question is-

    • 34.2 Jin

      If you are a native speaker then all it is matching up the sounds to the right letter and then memorizing the letters. For a non motive speaker you have to memorize the sound and the letter then you should be able sound out the word but because you have no vocabulary to match the word to it will be meaningless. For the non native speaker the challenge isn’t learning to read more learning the vocabulary with the right sentence structure.

    • 34.3 kristi

      when I realized Sejong is Sooyang’s father I can’t stop thinking, how Sooyang was such a cruel person when he had this kind of father?

      If you believe in family traits… Prince Sooyang’s grandfather, Taejong, was ruthless too, though if you put them side by side, Prince Sooyang/Sejo takes the cake. It’s said that when Sooyang was a child, his grandfather took him and his brothers on a stroll, when they came across a Buddhist priest who took a look at Sooyang and told Taejong that he was a lot like him. Taejong: “How alike?” Priest: “His destiny will look like yours.”

    • 34.4 anais

      I’m all for people taking baby steps to learn Korean, especially through hangul. Even if they stop at only the most rudimentary level.

      Here I share Jeong Ki Jun’s opinion that knowledge of hangul serves to whet the appetite for even more knowledge. There’s such an inherent logic, such clarity to hangul that it seem to get my non-Korean students keen on learning it, even if as a noncommittal hobby. I know that not all are for people treating hangul/Korean so lightly, but even a little bit of familiarity with another language, with another way of thinking, can broaden one’s understanding and appreciation of the world.

      Lizzie, go for it.

    • 34.5 lenrasoon

      this drama also made me interested in learning hangul, too bad my country doesn’t have places to teach the language, and i’m really skeptical on learning in the internet.

  35. 35 yammy

    Since I did some wiki-research on King Sejong while watching previous episodes, I was expecting Prince Gwangpyeong to die in the drama, but that doesn’t make his death any less heartbreaking to see. During the whole episode, I was clenching my fist and saying, “if they kill the prince, I’m going to kill them”

    Despite the wonderful recaps (thank you HeadsNo2) and the fact that I’m a native korean speaker, I still have questions about the episode:

    What is the “Haerye” that Prince Gwangpyeong talks about before he’s killed?

    And wasn’t Prince Gwangpyeong the heir to the throne? Isn’t that why he’s called “Dae goon”/ Prince highness? Or is that just a title for all of the princes?

    I don’t get how chae yoon’s words affected the king to get out of his sadness-induced craziness. What is that chae yoon said that got the King out of his craziness?

    • 35.1 Kgrl

      Let me give these a shot.

      1) The Haerye is the source of this “new” language. Think of it as a dictionary of root characters.

      2) King Sejong granted several of his more aspiring (aka bright) and beloved sons the title of Grand Princes, which are higher titles than regular princes. As briefly mentioned in this ep, Grand Prince GP’s older brother Su Yang (though he hasn’t appeared in the drama) was also involved in creating Hangul and was deemed a Grand Prince.

      3) JKJ’s words raised doubts within Sejong, then seeing his beloved son’s lifeless body brought all of the frustration, guilt, and doubt to culmination. In his moments of insanity he actually started to believe JKJ’s words, that it was out of hate and a reluctance (too bothersome) to lead the peasants that he started creating Hangul. In scolding Sejong that he isn’t worthy to shed a single tear for his son is not because all that Sejong has done wasn’t good, but SJ’s belief that all he has done wasn’t good. CY was reminding SJ it is always the belief that guides ppl. SJ’s son happily sacrificed himself b/c he believed his father’s work. So to honor his son, he must take that belief and honor his son by believing in the good of his work.

      • 35.1.1 kristi

        Just a couple of additional comments to Kgrl’s explanations:

        1) There’s a separate wiki entry for Haerye which should help with your question, yammy, but in a nutshell, it’s an extended commentary detailing how hangul was conceived, designed and created. So it’s fundamental to understanding the principles, science and philosophy behind the alphabet. There’s only one copy left of the original publication, which was discovered in 1940, and that discovery helped resolve some of the controversies surrounding the creation of hangul. It’s the kind of national treasure on which you can’t put a price (though if we did, it’d be in the range of billions of dollars, according to scholars).

        2) All princes born of the Queen Consort receive the title of Grand Prince/Dae-Gun (대군). The king’s offsprings with his concubines are ‘mere’ Princes aka —–Gun (군).

        Even if he hadn’t died young, it’d have been very difficult for (Grand) Prince Gwangpyung to become Sejong’s heir, because he had four (full) elder brothers–the Crown Prince (later Munjong), GP Soo-Yang (later Sejo), GP Ahn-Pyung (killed by Sejo for supporting his nephew and Munjong’s only son, Danjong), and GP Im-Young (who sided with Sejo).

        • 35.1.1.1 kristi

          apologies for the italics in the last paragraph, forgot to close the tag.

          • 35.1.1.1.1 yammy

            Kgrl and kristi thanks!!

      • 35.1.2 dramabliss

        Addendum to the answers given by kgrl and kristi:

        Hope I get this correctly:

        At this point in the drama, the “haerye” is all in So-Yi’s head (she with the photographic memory). This was based (I assume) on the notes of the 3rd scholar (?) who was killed by Pyung while attempting to escape to the mountains. So-Yi (who was being watched by Chae Yoon at the time), scanned all the pages then destroyed the notes.

        In a later episode, Sam Moon and the other scholar were asking to see these notes and King Sejong told them they are not yet ready.

        This shows how important So-Yi is to the Hangul Project. I just hope that she would not be targetted by Hidden Root in the upcoming episodes.

        • 35.1.2.1 mskololia

          Thats why CY is SY’s bodyguard. The other court maidens did not receive protection it looked like….The king sent them to the three or four corners of Joseon….

        • 35.1.2.2 kristi

          This was based (I assume) on the notes of the 3rd scholar (?) who was killed by Pyung while attempting to escape to the mountains. So-Yi (who was being watched by Chae Yoon at the time), scanned all the pages then destroyed the notes.

          I double-checked, and those weren’t notes from Haerye but one of the archaic language publications. (Not Sanskrit, but a script that doesn’t exist any more.) I don’t think they’ve ever shown Haerye, it may not even have been written yet, but if it has been, it’s something Soyi committed to memory, b/c when Sejong let her leave with Chae-Yoon in ep. 13, Prince Gwangpyung was aghast, asking his father ‘but what about Haerye?’.

      • 35.1.3 sm

        “SJ’s son happily sacrificed himself b/c he believed his father’s work. So to honor his son, he must take that belief and honor his son by believing in the good of his work.”

        So well said.

        Now I’m tearing up again.

    • 35.2 jin

      ge rar

      that was what chae screamed when he was a kid looked in the storage shed after the prison break.

      It’s the word that started King Sejong’s journey to figuring out what HIS Jeoson was going to be like.

      It’s probably the only word spoken by the only person that would have caused King Sejong to listen.

      • 35.2.1 anais

        yammy, if you’re a native speaker, you probably know what ge rar (지랄) means, but for non-Koreans, perhaps it’s worth an explanation. And actually, it would be great if someone who’s more familiar with Korean than I am could further elaborate, but I’ll make an attempt.

        Literally, 지 (what jin romanized as “ge” / “ji” per Revised Romanization) and 랄 (“rar”) is a purely Korean (versus Sino-Korean) word that means “madness, insanity.” It can be conjugated into a verb to mean “to go crazy, to behave rudely/outrageously.” But ultimately, it’s not something you’d utter in polite company. I’m not familiar enough with Korean profanity to say for certain, but my family would treat it as a profanity. And in my mind, the closest English colloquial equivalent would be “bullshit/ting” but much more profane. And so much worse since Chae Yun says it to his king.

        • 35.2.1.1 yammy

          Thank you for all who answered my questions! :D

          anais, I agree with your explanation of 지랄. To apply to the drama more, the deeds of the King (and other members of the elite class) are usually thought to be for a higher greater good. It’s because it is thought that a king (or an elite) should/and has the ability to discern what is the best/ the right for the society (what jang ki joon touched a bit about during the debate.)

          But in the eyes of the lower class members like chae yoon, all the “we are doing this for the higher good” is just an excuse, or to keep the crudeness of the word 지랄, just bullshit to do whatever pleases the king/elite.

          And my family would definitely see “지랄” profane too. ( my parents would stare at me and demand to know where I learned it if I use it) Actually, I think I can venture out and say that 지랄 is thought as profanity in general in korean (hence the gasps/flinches and the “please modify your speech” suggestions when the king uses it, especially in the earlier episodes.

          BTW, I wanted to say, it’s even hard for native korean speaker like me to completely understand what’s going on in the drama, especially with the old korean words. So those who don’t know korean, don’t feel discouraged! :D Reading these awesome recaps and watching it with subs (they have really good ones ( updated to ep 19 in dramafever.com in addition to other sites) really do help!

          • 35.2.1.1.1 yammy

            Actually, I wanted to add that dramafever demands that you sign up for premium ( aka pay) for episodes 16-19. I don’t know if this is temporary or they would remove the restrictions after newer episode come out.

          • 35.2.1.1.2 anais

            Yammy, your explanation is just soooooo good. So well put. I keep rereading it.

  36. 36 supah

    Wow! Just… Wow!
    Han Seok-kyu… I am rendered absolutely speechless. What. A. Powerhouse Performance!

  37. 37 jin

    BTW episode 20 is better then ep 19. This drama just doesn’t stop.

    • 37.1 supah

      I know… It’s insane.

  38. 38 Duh-duh

    I have EVERY SINGLE RIGHT to crown this drama the BEST DRAMA OF THE YEAR !! (I dare you to defy me)

    It’s been forever if none, since I actually turned off the light in the room and silently watch this drama, and cried with it.

    I love that this drama cuts the annoying Yeonha-crap speech to the level of human being. “Just cut the bullshit”

    And btw, f*ck you, Jeong Gi Joong.

    • 38.1 dramabliss

      Not a peep of defiance from me.

      My vote is with you, Duh-duh! Also, your handle makes me smile.

  39. 39 addictediAm

    I just love this show. I’ve watched many kdrama this year (cthunter, GloryJ, Duo, KGTG, Gyebaek, Secret Garden,etc) but twdr pushes them away from my favorite list. This show is truly Epic. Intelligent show and outstanding performance of actors and actresses. Hope they will get all the awards. Thank You Dramabeans. I watched episodes 1-15 with english subs and read episodes 16 – 19 recaps here since i can’t watch viki (region n/a in my country X.X). Anyways where to get english srt episodes 16 to 19 cause i just watched raw video while reading the recaps here. :P

    • 39.1 Linda165

      Hi :)
      You can watch it @ kimchidramas.net
      They have until episode 18

  40. 40 addictediAm

    Nevermind about the srt’s. It’s not appropriate to asked for srt’s. Why the other prince and princess of King SJ didn’t appear on the show? Since i thought GP was the fifth son and read King SJ wiki that he has 2 daughters and 3 sons. Correct me if i am wrong. Love the show. Fighting team SJ.

    • 40.1 Hannah25

      There is little reason to show the other Royal Children – on a practical level, saves costs of paying for the actors plus it’s not like they would add anything that GP cannot.

      Gah I need to see subbed 19 and 20 — drat ViiKii resolve your UK issues!

      • 40.1.1 mskololia

        Agreed. The use of only key characters in the script is what makes this drama so great.

        The drama is part fiction so it is not necessary to bring in the entire royal clan when they add nothing to the plot. The writers know what they are doing….:)

        • 40.1.1.1 kristi

          The KBS sageuk in 2008, Sejong the Great, is more faithful with its representation of Sejong’s family and royal court, his whole life really, but it ran over 80+ episodes.

          TwDR is taking a more liberal approach to concentrate on Sejong’s greatest achievement, and I generally have no issue with that. I wish we had seen more of the young scholars from Jiphyunjeon, but they’re the weak links in the cast (I like the characters, but I’m not keen on the actors, if that makes any sense), and I get the impression over time the powers that be decided not to give them too much screentime lest they weigh down the storylines.

  41. 41 Mia

    your wonderful recaps are a blessing, they capture the emotions in the drama, thank you

  42. 42 Jarul

    BEST DRAMA OF THE YEAR… GREAT ACTING.. AND THE
    SCRIPT REALLY GREAT…

  43. 43 Jomo

    Thanks HeadsNo2!
    Your writing is so fluid and natural as you recap, I know it didn’t just flow from your brain directly on to DB’s site. I appreciate the time, soul and effort you put into crafting these articles. I am sad that there are only 5 more.

    I said a lot up there tagging onto everyone else.

    I just want to be completely fan girly here, and point out that uri King looked mighty mighty [wang wang] in his mourning robes.

    Wasn’t that aubergine/back fabric with the silver crests the most beautiful thing you have ever seen? The red and gold is gorgeous, of course, too. I would definitely hang a framed print of that on my family room wall…now I have to go search the whole wide world web…after I watch Ep 20.

  44. 44 lenrasoon

    HeadsNo2 you’re doing an amazing job recapping this drama, thank you so much!

    About this episode, just WOW i think episode 19 sealed the deal with being the best drama of the year for me, i thought The Princess’s Man was amazing and i considered the best drama but Tree with deep roots is so powerful i can’t describe it.

    Amazing dialogs and acting is what makes this drama for me.

  45. 45 pam

    wow.. just…… wow..
    again and again this drama surprises me.

    and my heart break to thousand pieces for gwangpyung. and Sejong’s sreams…. just…

    haish…

    jung ki joon, you’ve finally the win the most hated, and shamed villain in my history of drama watching. i usually tried to find the reason behind the villain deeds, and thus, make them more ‘forgivable’. rarely I can not ‘forgive’ a villain, and very rarely i can hate a villain with so much passion like this. in TPM, I actually like Suyang better than Park Shi Hoo (gasp!). but this jung ki joon, I. Hate. You.

  46. 46 MsB

    History has always been a joy to me. Its even now to discover others history by watching adaptation/knowledge passed through the silver screen. I am really enjoying this saguek a lot. I thought both the King and Jung Ki Joon’s arguments for/against reading were on point. I guess because we all take advantage of the fact that we can read, we never in our wildest dreams would imagine why anyone would be against the populist learning. I thought the last scenes of this episode were magnificent. Again, as you said, it took Chae Yoon to bring the King back. Well done by all! And again, I am loving the powerful woman theme! You go girl, Dam/So-yi!

  47. 47 QueenSeondoek

    I have read quite a few comments taking ‘The root ‘ to be the villain and i completely disagree with this. I think the beauty of the drama is to show two different perspectives to politics and beliefs. I remember Dam/So-yi..in one episode points out that if she hadn’t been picked up by the queen on that night when her people were massacred, she may also, have ended up with the hidden root. I do believe the hidden root did offer solace to some masses that had been through extrenous pain in the king’s father’s era. This also reminds me of another great historical drama, Queen Seondeok ( that had some great dialogue as well and one of the greatest characters ever – Mishil) where the Queen thanks Mishil (her nemesis) for making her a better ruler, for as she tried to defeat Mishil, she came up with the best ideas. I therefore do think that having a great, smart enemy like ‘the root’, made the king a much better leader as he kept trying to outsmart his enemy and came up with all these great ideas. Having said that, I do have to give it to the king, for he was willing to have a dialogue with the root as opposed to killing him. Also when the root killed his son, he declared that he wouldn’t retaliate/resort to such tactics. Many a times I kept thinking, if both these two brilliant minds would come together, put their differences aside, can you imagine the great things they would have been able to achieve.Interestingly , they both have the same goals, what is for the good of the people? I think ‘ the root’ and the king admired each other as can be seen sometimes by how the root calls out his name….Lee..Do… The root also played his role brilliantly, I love how he drank from the cup at the table of the king; stating his equality to the king with such confidence. It is so funny for he played a not so bright character in Midas with the same Jang Hyuk.. Jang Hyuk once again, stellar performance…..So-Yi is one to look out for as well… I hope she chooses her future roles wisely and doesn’t dwelve too much into the wrong teen dramas.. like Moon Geun-young in Mary stayed out all night from a stellar performance in Painter of the Wind was a bit disappointing for me. I hope So-Yi chooses her roles well. Anyway in a nut shell the root and the king played each other well.

    • 47.1 GP

      2 years later and Soyi (Shin Se Kyung) chose wrong projects that didn’t do any good for her career (Fashion King, When a Man Loves), instead because of those dramas she’s been labeled as one of the ham actresses in her generation. Hopefully she’ll pick the right project next time that can showcase her acting prowess, she really held her own in this drama side by side with a lot of veteran actors.

      She and Prince Gwangpyung (Seo Jun Young) were really at their best here. They need to pick more worth projects like TWDR even if they won’t be the main lead or center of the story.

      They’re still young and they are definitely better that some overhyped actresses/actors in their generation.

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