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The Moon That Embraces the Sun: Episode 18

This episode takes some decisive steps forward, which, ironically enough, come with a few big steps back — backward into the past, that is. Key memories come back to confront the present with some unveiling of secrets, much-needed reminders of what’s truly important, and a satisfying dose of righteous anger.

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EPISODE 18 RECAP

Hwon lies in bed, smiling, and asks, “Isn’t it nice lying together in bed like this?” Yeon-woo, dressed in her nightclothes, agrees. This is a fakeout, isn’t it, you big drama tease? There’s no way you’d just give it to us that easy.

Pull back to reveal: Hyung-sun, blindfolded, literally sitting between their two beds. HA!

Hwon grumbles at Hyung-sun, asking if he doesn’t trust him. What, to keep your hormones in check now that your body won’t be interfering with any more consummation shenanigans? I’m pretty sure we’re all hoping you can’t be trusted, frankly.

Hyung-sun sighs heavily and says he has faith in the king’s intentions and all, but not in his “male instincts” which have been so long repressed. Hwon literally kicks his feet in frustration like a little boy, and Hyung-sun offers a compromise, if the king will make a promise. Hwon practically cuts him off in his hurry: “Promise? Whatkindofpromise?

Hyung-sun starts to say that the king must absolutely, positively, cross-his-heart-a-zillion-times promise not to lay a finger on her. Hwon is insulted and balks, but Yeon-woo takes over, saying that with the eight years of separation, it feels like they could look at each other all day and night and still not see each other enough. So can’t he please be understanding and let them be together?

See, kingboy, flattery and sweetness work better than griping. Hyung-sun relents and excuses himself, and Hwon actually scoffs that his man listened to her over himself. Hey, dude, you’re wasting precious alone time! He lies down in a huff, now provoked by pride to declare that he surely won’t lay a finger on her, oh no not at all… and she shuts him up by reaching for his hand.

She asks him teasingly if he’s going to kick her out for daring to touch the king, or “punish” her. Rawr. But we’re not playing that game now, are we?

They lay there side by side, holding hands, and fall asleep smiling.

Bo-kyung hears that her court spy was supposedly transferred to a different station, but can’t be found anywhere. Looks like the king caught on. Furthermore, he replaced all the court ladies in his personal quarters with new ones.

Bo-kyung deduces that he must be hiding something in his bedchambers. But what?

Princess Min-hwa races through the palace, excited to tell her mother some very good news. Yeom’s mother reminds her that she has to be careful with her body from now on — omo, so she’s pregnant? Strangely, I’m thinking simultaneously, “Whoa that’s fast” and “Took you long enough.” It’s also slightly terrifying imagining her as a mother. Will she react to tantrums with tantrums of her own?

Hong Kyu-tae reports to the king that the previous king had made repeated inquiries of a certain nature before eventually closing the investigation on Yeon-woo’s death. The subject of his questioning? Princess Min-hwa’s people.

Yeon-woo overhears this from her secret room, worried at where this line of reasoning is leading. Hong Kyu-tae adds that the queen dowager also sought out the same person in Min-hwa’s entourage, and that’s enough to get Hwon’s suspicions firing.

Hong Kyu-tae reports one more piece of info: Most spells use a straw man to represent the target, but in some cases, a person can be used. This intensifies the effect of the spell, especially if that person harbors strong desire.

Hwon thinks back to his grandmother’s words, implying that he should close this case to protect his loved ones, and how his father had similar reasons for remaining quiet. Suspicions fly through his head — the dots, are they connected yet? — and he asks himself, “Why would Min-hwa…? Why on earth?”

Min-hwa and her mother-in-law convey the good news to the queen mother, who’s thrilled that a baby’s on the way. Min-hwa asks to be excused early, saying she’s eager to return to tell her husband the news, but she has a second motive for leaving the party before granny gets there.

Hwon now makes sense of his father’s grave attitude when, eight years ago, he had apologized for being unable to protect his son’s bride. He had alluded to a day in the future when he’d understand why he was telling him this. He’d warned Hwon to remember that the king’s seat is a lonely place, surrounded by enemies, who can sometimes share the same bloodline.

He’d asked the prince to forgive his father when he understood what he meant — and also to protect, although he hadn’t specified a name. Now Hwon understands that it was an entreaty to cover it up, to not wage war on his family.

He runs to the king’s stateroom, encountering more memories. Like the time he had kneeled before his father and the court, asking him to rescind the decree to make Yeom the princess’s husband, calling it a waste of his life.

(Side note: It’s a sign that the drama’s done a strong job of connecting the two Hwons in your mind when you wonder about the split-screening between past and present, before realizing they didn’t need to, with young Hwon and adult Hwon not actually being played by the same person, heh.)

The king had railed on Hwon in private, who had defended his actions as merely protecting Yeom. The king had told him very clearly that Hwon had only exacerbated the situation, naming all the people he had endangered, including Yeom, the Heo family, and the king himself by acting on his emotions.

Hwon had fired back, “Are you telling me to simply sit by and watch? To do nothing, to change nothing, to protect nobody?! To follow the reasoning set by other people, powerless and feeble? Are you telling me to live like that? Is that what it means to be king?”

His father had replied that trying to protect would only lead to pain, and trying to gain would lead to loss: “That’s the fate of the king’s seat you will have to take.” Um, great pep talk, coach.

Also, I know this is a fantasy sageuk, but we’ve established that we are in the latter Yi dynasty of the Joseon era, which means: Your forbears were Sejong and Sejo. When did the Yis turn all weak and fatalistic?

Dad had added that politics means that gaining something requires losing something. Great — as it just so happens, he has a wife he’d like to lose, and another he’d like to gain… The king had thought to himself of his own trade-off: losing Yang-myung to protect Hwon, losing the princess bride to protect Min-hwa.

Hwon had declared that he would do differently, and do what’s right: “That will be my Joseon.”

That youthful Hwon storms out of the room, coming face to face with adult Hwon, confronting his memory. Young Hwon challenges him, asking if he’s forgotten his resolve and lost his way.

Hwon returns to his quarters to find Min-hwa there, and faces her with heavy heart. He asks if she desired Yeom that much for her to do such a cruel thing to his sister. Min-hwa is shaken but denies knowing what he’s talking about, until Hwon demands to know why she participated in the ritual against Yeon-woo. She breaks down, begging him not to tell her husband.

Hwon looks at her with eyes that’ll break your heart, ordering her to look him in the eye, and asks how she could do such a thing. She cries, “With those same eyes, that same voice, those same words… that is how Father also spoke to me.”

Flashback: Soon after the king had uncovered the truth, Young Min-hwa had sobbed to her furious father, saying she had no idea what she had done. Grandmother had merely told her to sit there, and Yeom would become hers. She had no idea Yeon-woo would die.

The king had grabbed her and told her intently that nobody must know — that she would have to keep her mouth shut till the day she died.

She sobs to Hwon that she truly hadn’t known, and hadn’t realized until later what she had done. Hwon tells her she committed an unforgivable sin against her father, against him, and against Yeon-woo as well. He screams at her, “How will you repay this? What will you make up for it?!”

And just as we’re possibly learning to accept Min-hwa’s deed, if not outright forgive her, she declares, “Even if I were to go back to that time, I would choose my husband.” Whaaaa? Okay, girly girl. I stuck with you for eighteen damn episodes, but a stupid childhood mistake versus willful murder? Dead to me now.

Hwon stares, heartbroken, as Min-hwa declares that she may be punished a thousand times over or fall to hell, “But I will not regret that choice.” Well, it’s a good thing you’re okay with hell then…

Hwon says he’ll punish her — that’s the only way he can hold grandma’s clan accountable for their crime. Min-hwa readily offers to accept his punishment, but begs for mercy for her husband’s child in her belly. What a way to deliver that bomb, and Hwon is stunned even further. He watches her leave, aghast, and sobs.

Min-hwa comes home with a long face, but Yeom is thrilled at her pregnancy news and takes her mood for concern. She tells him tearfully that she has something to tell him, but while she’s searching for the words, Yeom thanks her and apologizes for not being able to repay her many kindnesses. She sobs in his arms while he’s none the wiser at the true reason.

From the wall, Seol watches, as always. She comes home feeling gloomy, and Jan-shil takes one look at her and says in her deepened shaman’s voice that the child will be a boy, smart and handsome like his father.

Seol starts to sob, and Jan-shil looks at her in surprise, not realizing she’d made another of her eerie predictions. Seol cries for the injustice of Yeom having a child with the woman who killed his sister, lamenting the Heo siblings’ bad fortune.

Hwon is so shaken that when Yeon-woo — who has overheard everything — asks to join him, he denies her request, saying he can’t bear to see her now that he knows his own flesh and blood is responsible for those wrongs against her.

Yeon-woo emerges from her secret room anyway and tells him that this is what she had been afraid of. He says that the blood connection means that he’s also to blame for those wrongs, which makes me want to sit him down and explain that the transitive property of math does not apply to murder. Yeon-woo tells him not to think that, because it’ll make her blame herself for living, which, ARGH.

He asks what she would have him do, and she tells him to cover it up. Her brother wouldn’t be able to bear knowing the truth. He asks if that doesn’t make her angry about all the suffering she endured, but she says she doesn’t want her brother to share that with her. He asks in a heartbroken voice if this doesn’t make them both pitiable beings, and you’ll get no argument on that.

But he bucks up and puts the ol’ game face on to pays granny a visit, where he announces that she should move her residence to a different location, citing the favorable surroundings as beneficial for her health. Two can play this game of health-benefits-my-ass-I-just-want-you-out-of-my-hair, and he says it’s time she retired from politics.

Naturally the queen dowager isn’t about to let him have his way, so he frames it as a choice: Either she hie herself away, or she face a stern royal court. He lays out her crimes plainly — killing the princess, for using the other princess as accomplice — and granny just tells him to prove it. He shocks her, though, by warning that he won’t go easy on her just because they’re related, unlike his father. The extent of his filial loyalty is to offer her the option to retire and move: “I will return everything to its place.”

She growls that he can’t do this to her, screaming after him, “Do you not know whose power it was that gave you your seat? ME! It was I, your grandmother, who racked my brains and stained my hands with blood to protect that seat for you!”

She rages that he cannot send her away, and literally screams herself unconscious. I tell ya, it’s pretty satisfying. It’s not supposed to be funny, but for the fact that her eyes literally cross, Looney Tunes style.

The council of evil receives news of the queen’s eviction and decides the king must know everything. A political purge is inevitable, they fear, and with it they’ll all go. Minister Yoon declares that the only thing to do is to strike first.

Recovered from his wound, Yang-myung is ready to leave the temple. He walks with his mother, clocks her worry, and starts to rattle off a string of assurances of why he’ll be fine. She surprises him, though, by telling him to follow his heart and live the way he wants.

Mom tells him that time will pass, this sadness will eventually fade, and he’ll make a new connection with someone new. She trusts him to make the right choices, no matter what, and he looks bittersweet at that faith in him.

When he returns home, he finds the usual crowd of noblemen waiting outside his home. For once he doesn’t flee, and invites them inside. The men refer to Yang-myung being the first in line, with a king who is still childless. It’s dangerous talk but Yang-myung plays along, and they’re bolstered by his encouragement.

That confidence turns to nervousness when Yang-myung picks up his sword, examines the blade, then in a swift move points it at them. Whose neck will be cut first for this treasonous talk? They quickly backpedal, saying they meant nothing of the sort, and they realize they’ve misjudged his reaction. He leaves them with one last warning, that if they ever mention such a thing again, their heads will have to say bye-bye to their bodies.

The leader of these rebels reports back to their silent backer, who turns out to be — surprise surprise — the council of evil. Minister Yoon chuckles, figuring Yang-myung wouldn’t cave so easily. The leader has a message from Yang-myung, who’d instructed its delivery to their hidden supporter: If he has something to tell him, come in person.

One minister wonders why they’d gone for Yang-myung when it’s known that he’s faithful to the king. Another retorts that the girl came between them, though he concdeds that it won’t be easy to manipulate that friction into outright betrayal. Not in two episodes, it won’t be.

Minister Yoon still feels confident that they’ll be able to bring Yang-myung over to their side, and puts his scheming hat back on.

Bo-kyung brightens to see her mother arriving at the palace with a girl, Soo-hyang, in tow, but ducks out of sight when her father appears. Mom greets him with the niece she has brought to be a companion to Bo-kyung. Minister Yoon is pleased with Soo-hyang’s forthrightness as she expresses her admiration of the palace and declares that she’d like to live here.

Bo-kyung hears the eerie echo of her father asking her similar things years ago, and how he’d used her youthful desires to his own ends. But when her father sees Bo-kyung standing there, he silently turns away in disapproval, leaving his daughter looking crushed at his neglect.

Bo-kyung tells her mother that she thinks her father will abandon her. Her mother protests, but Bo-kyung says that he’s plenty capable of it, particularly if he deems her useless. Mom asks exasperatedly who would fill Bo-kyung’s spot as queen, and Bo-kyung looks pointedly at the young Soo-hyang. If Dad can’t control his daughter as the queen, why not replace her with a younger, more malleable version?

Mom removes the girl before continuing the conversation, saying the even if that were to happen, Soo-hyang would just be a concubine. And why would the king take in such a young girl anyway?

Bo-kyung replies that it’s not out of the question, if the throne were to fall to someone else: “If it’s Father, such a thing is more than possible.”

Yang-myung has another late-night visitor: It’s Minister Yoon, who gets right to the point by asking whether Yang-myung wants to become the sun. He proposes an alliance: One will become king, the other will back his claim.

Yang-myung declines, and says that if they let this subject die here, he’ll keep it from the king. Minister Yoon asks, “Will you live your entire life under the shadow of the king?” Yang-myung says that even if they were to do this — join forces and stage a coup — they would need a justification for the overthrow. Minister Yoon has no doubt they can rustle up reasons: He’s the irresponsible king who ignores his duty to secure the succession, who consorts with a shaman, whose immorality causes him to forsake filial duty.

Yang-myung points out that the shaman is no mere shaman, but the princess. Minister Yoon is surprised to find that Yang-myung knew all along, and asks how he remained loyal to the king anyway.

Hwon has another pressing matter to entrust to Hong Kyu-tae and gives him a letter detailing his duties. He knows that his enemies will be preparing to counterattack with slanderous propaganda and is preparing for the onslaught. Yeon-woo fears that she’s caused him more trouble, but he counters, “You didn’t think I would just sit here and be attacked, did you? Wait and see. Soon a very interesting tale will spread amongst the people.”

Hwon invites Yeon-woo out for a walk to Hidden Moon, then tells her he has hidden a present for her here. She replies, “I already have everything. What more could I want?” Barf. Look, lady, sometimes the polite thing to do is just accept the damn gift, okay?

Hwon directs her to find it, so she starts looking in the courtyard. He points out that she’s looking awfully hard for someone who just said she doesn’t want anything, ha. She wonders if it’s so small that she can’t see it, and he retorts, mock-insulted, “Small?! It’s not small!”

That gives her an idea, and she asks incredulously if he means to give her Hidden Moon. He bursts out laughing and says that’s too big, then builds up the moment of reveal by saying that his gift is something important, unique, that all women would want. You aren’t referring to yourself, are you?

She wonders, “You don’t mean…” and he confirms it. “Yes, I mean me.” Ha! You cocky bastard, how I’ve missed you.

He steps forward to hug her and says that she gave him her heart, so now he will give her all of himself.

Minister Yoon plays the part of shoulder-devil, telling Yang-myung that he cannot have already given up the battle, reminding him of how the previous king treated him so poorly.

Yang-myung laughs that Minister Yoon has played his hand entirely wrong, though there’s a forced quality to the laugh that makes me suspect he’s not entirely immune to the logic. He says, “Did you take me to be so small-minded that I would let resentment and jealousy drive me to usurp power? I’ve no interest in the throne. Restoration, honor, and power — I have no need for such things.”

Minister Yoon thinks to himself that he’s disappointed in Yang-myung’s lack of drive, and reaches for a hidden dagger. Like Bo-kyung said, he has no need for useless things, and he readies his hand.

Yang-myung says, “What I want are a place for my ancestral rites at Jongmyo Shrine, and Heo Yeon-woo. Just those two things.”

Uh-oh… did you just say you wanted a king’s burial and the current king’s woman? Are you turning to the dark side after all, Yang-myung?

 
COMMENTS

I don’t buy Yang-myung’s defection to the rebel forces for a minute, though part of that is due to the fact that we’ve got two episodes left, which is hardly enough time to delve into that conflict with any heft and then also resolve it. It’s something that could — and should — have come much earlier, so that we could actually worry for his potential shift in loyalties. It’s not like Yang-myung was busy fulfilling any important narrative duties, other than moping around.

Furthermore, there’s only so much mileage we can get out of the two-brothers-fighting-over-the-same-girl storyline, and I’ll go so far as to say we got our fill while they were still kids. But to double up that tension by adding political maneuvering — maybe some ideological sparring as well — could have really heightened the conflict in a way that simple romance can’t.

Plus, I’m intrigued by Bo-kyung’s newfound insecurity over her own place in the palace. She did a fantastic job showing fear over a ghost, but even more than that kind of terror, I would love to see her fear over a much more insidious danger — her own father. This shifting in political alliances could have even given the drama an excuse to put Bo-kyung and Yang-myung together — not romantically, I mean, but as an acting exercise, and why not? They’re both up to the task of playing wounded, suspicious, heartbroken, morally conflicted, and angsty. It makes me wonder why the drama stayed for so long in the same simple conflicts when it had all this potential stuff up its sleeves. And now that they’ve pulled them out, they tend to lack bite because there just isn’t the time to get worked up over these new complications. Sadness.

On the other hand, I loved older Hwon getting schooled by his younger angry self. It’s a bittersweet reminder of how awesome Hwon was in his youth — and I mean the character, not merely the actor — and how, as king, he has turned into a facsimile of his father: a puppet, frustrated and powerless. The adolescent prince may have been idealistic but the adult has gone too far in the other direction, giving up altogether, fuming at his lack of agency but at a loss to claim it.

I love that he gets the kick in the butt now, with his old self shaming him with the reminder of what he once held so dear. He doesn’t get the right to be angry at his father when he’s just done the same, does he? The conflict is pretty reminiscent of Tree With Deep Roots, but hey, why not take inspiration from a superior source? Yang-myung has on occasion thrown the same challenging words at Hwon, but I suppose that coming from the bitter mouth of a disappointed romantic rival, they read more as jealousy than wisdom. So most of all I love that the person to spur this self-actualization… is himself.

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When I was watching the scene from the past i was thinking how they put the young character with the older one, when they were the same.
Then I realized they were different characters hehhe

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So at least this explains why Min-hwa stubbornly refused to give up the truth all this time, even when she witnessed the Heo family's heartbreak the last time they visited the burial site of Yeon-woo's father. I was so hoping for some kind of revelation but nope. I mean, Min-hwa is twisted in her thinking and totally just-- wtf, but I can appreciate her characterization. I think they set this up really well. (Btw, am I the only one who was surely impressed with Nam Bora in that scene? When she switched tack and made her declaration of not regretting a thing, I was actually, legitimately creeped out. Powerhouse scene, for sure.)

On another note, WTF, Yeon-woo? I thought you'd become all witty and clever and ballsy again, what the hell is up with this "I have the sun already, don't need another light blah blah" stuff you're spewing? Yeah seriously, barf. And also what's with this stupid bland "cover it up" thing? I'm so mad. This whole time I've been urging her from behind my screen to help Hwon scheme and get revenge for herself, but nope, 8 years of exile and amnesia and subsequent imprisonment and torture aren't enough, huh. She's satisfied to stay in that closet for the rest of her life just because <he's near her? I guess she's JUST TOO GOOD, OR SOMETHING. WHATEVER, DRAMA. WHATEVER.

Yang-myung is way more compelling when he's all threatening and menacing (and hot). All that moping just wasn't doing it for me.

Best part of this episode was the flashback scenes. It really brought back the spirit and vitality of the earlier episodes, for at least a few minutes, and made me care about what was happening. I appreciated it.

I find the previous king's predicament really tragic, and I feel sorry for him more than I fault him for covering stuff up. He was protecting his daughter (too bad he didn't know she was going to turn out insane) and his family and I can't really find fault in that, except perhaps in his weakness. Hwon really needed that kick in the pants that he got.

Mragh. I guess I'll stick around for the sake of the last two episodes, but I'm already ready to shelf this one.

Thanks for the recap!

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You aren't the only one that's impressed with Nam Bora's acting in that scene. Netizens are apparently giving her great reviews in that scene.

http://www.newsway.kr/news/articleView.html?idxno=156448

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I agree, it is annoying from a viewer's point of view when Yeon woo is all serene and asks the King to leave it as it is.

But to be honest, I wouldn't have as much respect for her. She knows how much there is to lose - her brother and her mother's devastation and heartbreak, the king's over betrayal by his own family for their own selfish desires, even a challenge for the king to abdicate maybe. We know what's going to happen because we're just watching this, but in her scenario, there'd be a much higher chance of everything screwing up.

If she told the King to go out and make justice, it might be ideologically correct, but with a chance of failure and emotional guilt that would last their whole life. If she tells the King to do that, could we really elevate her to a better moral position that Minwha?

If only it was as easy as good versus evil.

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And actually I do agree with you, from the moral standpoint. What she did was indisputably morally correct and good, because she's basically sacrificing herself (...again) for the good of everyone else that she cares about. In that respect, her character is extremely selfless and good and that's been consistently established throughout the drama.

But my main issue is not with her level of morality, but with her whole character in general. I actually dislike that she's so good and selfless, and so willing to be, at the same time. I don't particularly fault her for making the choice, exactly, as much as how (to use your word) serene she is about everything. Again I bring up the fact that she went through agony over and over again by the same people and she's totally just prepared to let it go? If the drama was going to put her on that route, I just wish they'd done it better narratively and make her wrestle with herself for a while (in my opinion that would have been a far nobler decision, anyway). This is another dumb mistake the drama made, in dragging out that middle part for so long; they could have used all that time to flesh out actually interesting inner conflicts like this.

Another part of that quibble is that she's totally satisfied with her sacrifice, as long as she's with Hwon. IN HIDING. For the rest of her life! No power to you, girl.

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The revenge theme is very similar to Jewel in the Palace. The Jewel heroine also had her entire family ripped from her and murdered, and her subsequent loved ones, her two mentors, murdered as well. She vowed revenge and her hate for her enemies kept her alive through the years of humiliation and degradation. At the final moment, confronted with a vulnerable archenemy whose life lay in her hands, she let her live instead. But the difference between her and YW: the Jewel heroine wrestled with her hate and her inner conflict throughout the drama, and that was what made her pardoning of the evil villainess so REAL and human. I feel YW is being portrayed more like a character trait rather than a flesh-and-blood character; she is the personification of Moral Goodness, like a character from those English medieval morality plays. One-dimensional and utterly boring and insipid in her goodness.

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It's not revenge; it's about JUSTICE. What good does it do to "cover up"? That was exactly what Hwon's father did and look at how wonderfully it has turned out for Hwon who has basically been a useless puppet king like his father with no control/power to protect the innocent (like a king SHOULD be doing for his citizens). His father covered up everything from first- his own brother being murdered - thereby allowing AND encouraging the ones who carried out these horrendous deeds to CONTINUE on to now, COUNTLESS people being murdered and terrorized by the Dowager and Yoon.

To be quite frank, I was surprised that "Yeon-Woo" has been so passive and quite brainless to this point. The true Yeon-Woo would probably have responded to Hwon with an awesome Confucius saying/proverb on how to be a MAN with DIGNITY. The true Yeon-Woo would have CHALLENGED Hwon instead of succumbing to just the "easy" way out which is just "covering up" with no regards to her family or even others that can be harmed if Yoon and his people were not to be stopped in their place.

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I also thought Nam Bo-ra was great. Her and Kim Soo-hyun made me ball my eyes out in that scene. Non-stop tears were literally trailing down my face. The fact that I didn't know who I was trying for is a testament to her acting. She's so damn likable too (or maybe I'm just partial to her b/c of Sunny). I see leading roles in her future.

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lols at the transitive property of math - wahaha!!
i might want to review algebra now ^^

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cross eyed looney toons style - javabeans -- you're killing me - since i cant laugh out loud in the office

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shockk -- looney toons?? whattheheck remember spelling 101 ..

but this recap is way more awesome than the drama -- wahaha!! thumbs up to you girls .. great as ever!

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Concerning your 'side note', I know what you mean! When I first saw the scene (the pic beneath your side note and when the two Hwons confront each other), I actually thought it was the effects of CGI until I realized they were two different actors!

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I can't believe it that the King can remain a virgin... That's just some sort of shojo manga fantasy that really isn't romantic but ABnormal to the max! Errr, so what was he doing all this time, jacking off??? Sexy times with Hyung Sun ^_~???

One other thing which was disappointing was that they never showed YangMyung being his playboy self with a loadful of Gisaengs.

Yeah, the problem with the romantic focus is that the main OTP aren't convincing as a romantic couple. HGI is so freakin' boring that I totally have zero interest in Yeonwoo/Wol. For the romantic part to become the main theme, the couple needs to have crazy chemistry together.

Question is why is this drama rating so high in Korea despite the cracks in plot etc? From the ratings, this appears to be what close to half of the Korean public likes???

Finally, I miss Cha Chisoo:(

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I think it would've been more interesting if they made Yang Myung a little less ideal--show how being cruelly ignored all those years made him, you know, a bit twisted like how people with f'd up childhoods turn out to be normally.

Also, it ain't a love triangle if it's clear that the third party isn't even in the running. So what happens is that pining Yang Myung just doesn't make sense...like why Yeon Woo when she clearly never liked him that way before and never will...DOES NOT compute.

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sexy times with Woon

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I miss him, too! And likewise, I was SUPER disappointed with that discrepancy in what they told us he was going to be like and how he actually is. Instead he's just the perfect, tormented second lead with no vice...boooring. You go, drama.

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love the progression of the drama though i'm anxious to find out what could possibly unfold on its final week!

i'm also thinking, is it possible that yang-myung expressing his desire to take the thrown might have just been a way to spy? if he would be yoon's ace, then he'd know first hand what exactly the council of evil is planning. i'd like to believe this than believe that he might actually think he'd win yeon woo by betrayal!

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i lost interest 3 episodes ago.

the writer cpuld of ended this drama at 16 episodes instead of all the bs long drawn oln memory loss .

such great actresses and actors with poor writings

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dying because that's when it started moving along and having some damn powerful moments which actually had me shocked. or crying. or laughing.

17 and 18, at least, are worth it. very worth it.

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Thanks Javabeans for the recap!

Totally agree MH is a selfish brat! Didn't she realise that her one selfish desire has caused deaths and griefs to the family of her most desired?

May I suggest this to Hwon regarding the punishment to his sister ... after given birth, she will atone for her sin by staying in the monastery for the rest of her life, away from the Heo family, in particular Yeom. (Since Yeom is her desire, the greatest punishment for her would to be not being able to be with him.)

He could give her a choice like what he gave his grandmother:
a) she could lie to the Heo family that she has wanted a son for the family. Hence she had made a promise that she will live in the monastery to serve if the heaven grants her this wish; or
b) he will tell the truth to the Heo family, and let them decide her fate. Would Yeom and mom still be grateful and thankful to her after knowing this? How would they see her son then?

Hopefully she will then choose (a) so as to save Yeom and his mom the agony of realising that they have been living with the "enemy" for the past 8 years ....

Perhaps with her gone, Seol will return to the Heo family and help Yeom and his mom to look after the son. :)

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Once I saw the encounter between the two Hwon's, for just a moment, I wish I got a surprise early birthday present seeing a peep of the two Yeon-woo's too. Shucks! I guess the Universe has a different kind of present for me on my birthday.

HGI is very pretty, nothing new, I am mesmerized every time I see her in her adult Barbie dress up from head-to-toe of her young self with so much precision detail. I love you Show. Oh.Em.Gee~ I said the L word.

I've read a lot of buzz about Min-hwa, the netizens' hate no disgust of her eighteenth level down in hell confession. Hey, her love for her man is still admirable. It is the purest kind, if it didn't cause other people to get killed, but wait, no one did really die from this incident anyways. Gawd, Hwon, take some advice from m-flo loves Yoshika, "Let It Go." I really am a bit shaken in words of the ex-king, to gain is to lose, so if Min-hwa gains a son then what who will she lose to keep her child? Oh noeeesss~

Doggoneit, does this show have to end next week!!?!! I mean, I don't need to see e-vil grandma pop a vein shrilling her lungs out, but I kinda am giggling every time Hwon cries and screams while lifting his head up... makes me wanna toss a few movie butter popcorn in his wide open mouth.

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This is getting interesting and to great.

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...Whaha ok Princess Min-hwa did not or knew she killed the princess bride, she was greedy and uhm still.. but I really dislike the fact she got married and is now pregnant.. poor Seol she knows it's gonna be a boy.. I wonder what's gonna happen when the husband finds out.. he would be crushed to found the fact she was not an angel but the devil.. I hope Seol and Woon.. ow wait I didn't saw him this ep.. I hope Seol could be with Woon since they knew or saw each other when they where young..

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Min hwa! Seriously! When I watched the raw I hoped I misunderstood. But she said she would still make the choice again now that she knows the consequences.
I feel she is the one that gained the most with the whole betrayal (well, her, the grandmom and Yoon).
Even Bo-kyung gained less than her.
Min hwa has not yet suffered the consequences of her actions, even if she was just a child. Bo-kyung was a child too even if just 2-3 years older.
I fear her suffering will come and it will be in the form of Yeom dying when he finds out the truth (like commiting suicide).
That would be too painful though :(

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ugh this episodes shows what could have been and it's killing me. but i'm not as miffed as i could have been because these last two episodes were outstanding (in the way the last ... eight or so weren't ahem). yeon woo's got her spark back, which i love. han ga in is much better at the sulking business than the serious business, which helps.

kim soo hyun is just superb. and so is his eunuch ehehehe.

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One thing I have to get off my chest.. I freaking DISLIKE Min Hwa times 1000000000000000%!!!!!!!! She pisses me off so much! What a selfish stupid little bitch! At first I thought she didn't understand the full extent of her wish and wanted to forgive her because I felt so bad for Yeom and wanted him to have someone decent but not like she's a kid anymore, she knows what she done was wrong and would still do it again. Now she's pregnant with the poor guy's child and you know what even though he'll be angry at her when he finds out, I bet he will still stay with her. I kinda wish this drama had been longer cos I would've loved Yeom to at least show some interest in Seol.

Thanks for the recap though :) Great like always. I do like this drama but so sad that we have barely got many Seol, Jan Shil and Woon scenes.

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Thank you JB,

Min Hwa's pregnancy, that was a surprised plot script !
her hormone is much more active than before

for her to say those words to the king and also to protect her own interest and happiness.

She knows pretty well the king will not harm her during her pregnancy and later being a mother, she could be accused

as a "silent" accomplice but at that age still a child what punishment could the king execute ?.

Yang myung was smiling from her mom's advised so I don't think he will go to the "grey area",

but we know the scriptwriter will always give us a surprise
dosage of adrenalin, so lets watch it next week !

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I think Yang-Myung wants to revenge to Yoon in planning to kill YeonWoo.

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I have never watched this drama but I love the recap... I may watch this drama just because you used this sentence in the recap:

"which makes me want to sit him down and explain that the transitive property of math does not apply to murder"

Anyone who can add mathematical principles to a recap, in my humble opinion is a GENIUS!!!!!

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JB, thanks for the reap.

One of he better episodes. I liked the Hwon of the Past /Present Day Hwon scene too.

Princess Min-hwa is a cold heated beotch after all. I was hoping for Yeon-woo to come out and slap her.

Poor lonely Seol. Sob!

Yang Mung won't go to the dark side, ( crossing fingers and hoping) if he does, that's a plot fail.

Minister Yoon should be concerned about his crazy daughter. She was giving Soo-hyang a flaming-daggers-of-death stare. It scared me watching it. Kim Min Seo does a great job.

I think the Crazy Queen is the wild card that Minister Yoon overlooks. I think she'll do whatever she can to thwart her farther. Girl has some pent up rage and it's about to explode.

Looking forward to the next episode and recap.

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I feel so alone.... I'm still rooting for Princess MH. I know she's done horrible things, but I can't hate her for it. I really pity her.

She was thirteen, spoiled, and easily manipulated. At this point the mistakes and lies are now her own, but she’s had to build her whole adult life around her part in the death of an innocent girl. (Maybe it’s because I'm a psych major and I know the lengths people will go to in order to rationalize what they’ve done). To go back now would make all her guilt and pain meaningless, in order to keep living, to make it all worth it, she’s convinced herself that she did what she had to do. Objectively, it’s wrong and selfish, but that’s a part of human nature.

I have to commend the writers for developing such complex, accurate, and relatable character. I think her character is one of the most interesting on the show. I know she should pay for what she’s done, but as a sympathizer I want her to receive forgiveness. I think she really does love her husband; it’s just a childish possessive love because she was never able to develop or experience a deeper, more mature, love. She needs to repent… I hope it’s not with her life.

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I appreciate your side of things, a lot! I never really hated Min-hwa either, and though her refusal to change things had she had the choice really surprised me, I thought it was in keeping with her characterization. I agree, she was extremely spoiled as a child, and expected to get everything. And when she wasn't allowed Yeom, why wouldn't she have thrown the tantrum she did?

And sorry, but to everyone saying that she knew what she was doing, it doesn't matter how young she was, what?? It's not like her grandmother went up to her and was like, "Hey soo, if you want Yeom you can have him...just have to kill Yeon-woo first." She didn't tell her anything about the consequences. You could then say that she would have done the same choice again anyway, so that point is moot, but I like starfighter's explanation of her needing to rationalize what she did. She's not too bright or brave, she has to make do.

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I'm glad I'm not alone!

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In the 1994 movie "Disclosure", Michael Douglas stars as a computer specialist who is sued for sexual harassment by a former lover turned boss who initiated the act forcefully, which threatens both his career and his personal life. He is about to lose everything but Douglas gets a warning from an unknown person to "SOLVE THE PROBLEM." Hwon reminds me of this character in that he needs to stop getting distracted by Yeon Woo and her unjust treatment and "SOLVE THE PROBLEM" of the corrupt ministers and take the evidence to the people.

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"She replies, “I already have everything. What more could I want?” Barf. Look, lady, sometimes the polite thing to do is just accept the damn gift, okay?"

Ok seriously, cold chicken noodles came out of my nose when I read this, I kid you not. So worth it. Thanks for the laughs, Javabeans!

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Thank goodness it's almost over...it's been a donkey-pulling experience watching this drama dragged out to the finish line. There's been missed opportunities along the way in maintaining a heightened momentum in the storyline and now that it's 2 episodes to the end, there's been vomit of developments...it's about time.. Princess whine-y Min-hwa has proven to be the selfish numbskull from the get go... screen death to Minnie in child birth is warranted.
Yang Myung will prevail as a good guy, 'cause that's just him---self-suffering in unrequited love pulling on your heartstrings. Yeom should be with Seol. Woon and Jan-shil would make a cute opposites attract couple.

I'm sure Hwon and Yeon-woo will get busy under the sheets, but somehow these two don't have that certain sensual chemistry or intensity that screams to be quenched. Methinks Hwon might be better served by a concubine than chaste Yeon-woo who seems like she'd prefer reading a book than engaging in anything physical; she'd most likely be reading while having sex or looking like Thomas the Steam Engine during the act.

I've enjoyed all the recaps, as always.

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"...looking like Thomas the Steam Engine during the act"

ROFL ;P

Thank you for that side splitting image, Colleen.

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I saw that on soompi. I thought it was soooo mean, but I guess the fans are being endearing?

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I like the Minhwa part of the story. Is this the first time in drama history a GUY suffers because of his BEAUTY? Total infatuation zero love.

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Thank you for your funny recaps I love it when you mentioned that granny was screaming so hard that she crossed her eyes "Looney Tunes" style and fainted.Maybe she had a stroke and got paralyzed for good? LOL.

I was beginning to feel sorry for Min Hwa, but when she dropped the "baby bomb"to her brother,l I thought she was hopelessly selfish b**tch.When did that happen? Yeom hadn't touched her for so long. She has no conscience and was the one that caused the calamity for the Heo family. Even though Jan Shil predicted that Min Hwa would have a boy who would be as smart and handsome as his father, she did not say that Min Hwa would be around to see him grow up . Min Hwa is a younger version of the old battle axe granny.....

I don't think Yang Myung will betray his brother. He had his chance to kill him, but didn't. I have a horrible feeling Yang Myung will die protecting the King. Gosh! Only 2 more episodes.

Still not a fan of Ha ga In's acting. Awkward kissing scenes. Looks like brother and sister. Definitely not HOT!

Is Yeon Woo nuts? Cover up all the wrong doings of the Council of Evil, Battle axe granny, and the nuttier than a fruitcake queenie? Yeon Woo use to be intelligent, but someone should be held responsible!!!!

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My own conculsion will be "Poor Yeom... he is the victim in this treason..."

Loosing his sister, loosing his dream, loosing his father, then went into blackmailed wedding *thanks to carry for this term :p* and now when he start to open his heart and have a baby.. suddenly we are all understand that all his sadness and tragedy in his family it because of min hwa...

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thanks for all the recaps. I'm excited for the trial and the two living witnesses to convict the baddies.For Min-hwa let's just hope for the results and what the writers will do to her.Acting wise I guess they portray their role as what the script is asking for.So I don't have any complain all of them did their best to entertain us in their unique way.

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Thanks JB for yet another entertaining recap.

The opening scene in this episode is so cute. ;-)

At first, I too was shocked by Princess MHW not regretting her part in Princess YW's murder because of her "innocent" behavior thus far. But now I think it shouldn't be a shock to anyone because it could be a self-preservation act that she declared she did not regret and would make the same choice. She's confronted by her brother with the truth, and she is supposedly with child.

Speaking of her pregnancy, is it possible that she is lying? After visiting Yeom's father's grave, she was supposed to have gotten sick and stayed in her room, was she not? I do not recall since then a scene between her and Yeom. Her "sickness" then must be her gnawing guilty-conscience and to fight it she had to come up with a lie - pregnancy.

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But Jan-Shil already made her prophesy regarding the baby so it must be real. She told Seol it will be a boy and very smart and an important figure when he grows up.

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Han Ga In has been way too bland for me throughout the entire series. I really liked the child actress and I wished we could have kept her.

I really doubt Yang Myung has gone over to the dark side even though he said Yeon Woo is goal. He knows how she feels and I don't think he'd want to crush her by hurting Hwon especially after everything she's been through. He is pretty considerate of her. Then again, he did have that conversation with mommy dearest and you never know, we might see him put on a bucket and say "Hwon I am your brother" in that wheezy/raspy voice.

With Min Hwa, I was never sure sure until this episode if she deliberately wanted to harm Yeon Woo or not and it seems to me she didn't. But the moment said she would do it all over again and failed to regret her actions, I lost any miniscule amount of pity I was just starting to feel for her. I would love to see her repeat her words to her husband's face though. "Yes dear, I would go back and kill your sister and destroy your family and your future all over again just so I could stare at your pretty face every day."

Question: what do you think are the chances of a happy ending for the main couple? If they're gonna off someone, they should at least get rid of them together. That way there will be at least some meaning to all those episodes of angstiness.

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I totally agree with you about Min-hwa. I was like okay...I guess she didn't know about killing Yeon-woo. I don't like her, but I understand her, but after she said that she wouldn't regret her actions? Are you kidding me? She would be willing to kill Yeon-woo??? I just cannot accept that. It is downright evil. To covet someone that much, that you are willing to commit murder? It just blows my mind.

And I wish that Yeon-woo would get some oomph to her character, instead of all I don't want you to get hurt. I'm afraid that you will get hurt...

And how cute are Yeon-woo and Hwon!!!

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am i the only one who is upset that only 2 episodes left, and we haven't seen Seol in action, except for the teeny tiny encounter with Woon. i mean come on.. why would you make her a bad-ass when you don't use it at all!
i was expecting her to show up in epi 17 when the assassins came to kill them, but sadly she didn't!
*sigh* oh well what to do

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If there is any justice in dramaworld Princess Min-hwa will die during childbirth. Then Bo-kyung will kill herself after killing her father. And the dowager queen will finally pop a vein and die with the crazy looney tunes look in her face. Yang Myung will go off in his travels after helping his brother and eventually find a love of his own, wondering what the hell he saw in Wol in the first place.

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LMAO!!! what a way to tell someone to go to hell..."Pop a vein and DIE!!!"......LOL....Hilarious.. absolutely- Hilarious. >_<

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Haha, this is great.

I really do hope it's Bo-kyung who kills her father. It almost feels like they're building up to that. And I hope Prince Yang-myung ends up with the shaman girl.

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I always hated this bitch since she started to like yeom, because her away of like it wasn´t healthy it was sickness she doesn´t care if someone die to achive her own goal, she is a SELFISH BITCH! She just care about herself because if she cares about yeom she never says that she doesn´t regret, she would say that if she can back in time she never had done such a evil thing. I hate her more in this episode, I thout that hate more than I hated before it wasn´t possible but it is1 She should die or stay alone forever, and her husband should marry with another woman, and it is true that he once loved the SEUL (the girl that always remained lowyal to his sister) and then appear this bitch from nowhere to break everyone apart! How selfish she is, she is a portrait of many women that I know! DIE BITCH

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Hey what does Hwon mean that he is giving Yeon-woo, all of him? Is he going to give her little Hwon and the twins?

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I think he meant that he is going to set everything back as it should have been and make her his Queen. And also, little Hwon and the twins.....I hope the latter will be provided in episode 20 :)

I love how everything is building up. I can't wait for episodes 19 & 20.

In regards to the chemistry between HGI and KSH--I thought they really steamed things esp the beginning of episode 18--so cute and seductive :)

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BTW, this was one of the most romantic and memorable scene in episode 18. There were so many:
1. bed scene between H and YW.
2. Great confrontation b/w older and younger H.
3. OMG, the confrontation b/w MW and H. The heart, the expressions....loved every moment of it.
4. H and YW crying together--I love all their moments together.
5. The very best when H finally kicks the dowager Queen out. I loved how he took back his power but did not come off as a revengeful/hate filled authority figure.
6. The romantic scene where he said he will give all of himself to YW. Hopefully, my future boyfriend will reenact this scene for me :)
7. YM--the way he pulled out his sword. He too made strides and started to own up to what he could do in the situation he is in.

OH, I'm going to miss this drama when it finishes next week but I can't wait for the directors cut!!!

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I agree with you 110%!!! This episode is definitively on my Top 10 for this drama. I LOVED the part of him and Minhwa... his sad, sad eyes and ahhhh those TEARS... broke my heart in two. Very well acted.

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Man, if only this series gets at least another 2-4 episode extension, then maybe some of the overly anticipated story tie ups would be shown. I would really like to see Minwha punished after she gives birth to her son and have Yeom and Seol get together and raise it as their own. Also have Prince Yang Myung fall in love (and be loved back)with the the shaman girl he rescued when she was little, obviously she will love him the way he needs to be loved in return. Then as all these loose ends tie up...then and only then will my long anticipated devotion to this show be repaid in full. >_<

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Sigh...just thinking of the potential this drama could've been saddens me. If not for Jung Il Woo and Kim Soo Hyun, I would've been out a long time ago.

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my favorite part was the scene with young hwon. he was such a smart, awesome kid that it makes me sad thinking what he ended up to be. hwon really, really needed to be reminded of everything that he was.

lots of underdeveloped plot elements, twists pop out of nowhere and lessen their impact, like min hwa's absurdly twisted mind and eventual pregnancy, seol's love for yeom and potential with woon, yang myung's rebellion. even the romance was not developed as much as i would like. there are underdeveloped characters as well, and it's a waste because i was really interested in their stories.

nevertheless, i loved the show. i enjoyed anticipating the next teasers, then the new episodes and the joy of finally finding them with subtitles. and reading recaps on this site after. all in all a good and successful run. i hope it has a satisfying ending. and most probably it will become one of my favorite korean dramas.

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thanks for the recap javabeans!

i'm so excited for the last 2 episodes.gez YM is juz playing around the bush. for sure at the end of the day, he will be there to help the king.maybe he juz want to play for it so he will know what will be the next step of their enemies.

i found HGI good for the role as an adult YW, can't imagine anyone suited for it. i think the role is tailored made for her like KSH as Hwon.

i've watched The Princess Man, it's also a good sageuk drama but full of angst. i mean too much bloodshed, revenge & etc. unlike Moon/Sun, there is always this feeling of romance. you will end up either crying, laughing, in short very entertaining. plus the fact that i'm a KSH fan since Dream High.

Moon/Sun really ROCKS!

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The Princess's Man is much more romantic than Moon/Sun in my opinion. The love story in TPM felt more organic, more deep, more equally indispensable for both lovers. And because the political intrigue in TPM was much more compelling and was in exact and constant opposition to the love story, it made the OTPs separation felt even more dire, and thus, the final realization of their love story in spite of everything incredibly moving. It certainly helps that the chemistry of the OTP in TPM is the most intense I've seen in any sageuk.

Moon/Sun's romance and politics and character conflicts, and, pretty much everything is weak sauce compared to TPM's.

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I agree! TMETS has a much less compelling storyline, poorer writing, lots of drag time, and characters whose personalities didn't stay consistent from their childhood to adulthood (for the most part they seemed to wimp out.) Plus, as far as love stories go, there was so much more sizzle and chemistry in TPM with great cliffhangers to boot! I think I need to go watch that again.....

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hmm..it's getting interesting but it started a little too late. too many wasted episodes in between =(

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Princess minwha Stay FAAAAAR AWAY from that baby not only is she a spoiled brat, but also a professed murderer and should be burned at the stake, OFF WITH HER HEAD I SAY, STONE HER I SAY!!!! sorry for the violence, but as soon as she said "i would do it all over again" that was the time to stone her. Let her have the baby,Stone her , and then let seoul and yeom raise the child together that's how i would end it. Yeom RUN AWAY With your baby and Seoul, she can fight remember??? If the princess survives the stoning, she'll be coming for you. ( hide your kids , hide your wife!) ,

" baby i got a plan, runaway as fast as you can"

Kanye West

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i have wasted all my time watching this drama that i'm just going to finish it even if it's disappointing

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Am I the only one that likes Kim Soo Hyun's acting? I'm actually moved by it. LOL. The fact that he's an honorable king is also a plus for me. Of course they're not going to show much of the political side because he's a fictional king. Also, he went from DH to this. That's a pretty dramatic change, even though I never seen his acting from there. OF course he can improve his acting a lot more but I was still moved by him. I remember watching him in "Will It Snow At Christmas" and I thought he was a convincing actors.

I agree though that Yeon Woo's character is lacking something. I thought she was going to be more assertive, even if she's supposed to be this shy person. I think the writers are just trying to keep the reserved person that the child portrayed? I really don't understand how she is still so giving. I know that that is one of her traits but SERIOUSLY. Her father died because of the injustice that Princess MH caused AND she had the nerve to marry Yeon. LIKE FOOORRREALS THOUGH. I thought they didn't give enough justice for her father. I think they should have spent a little more time when they were children and make the time when they're trying to find out if Wol was really Yeon Woo shorter. They spent like what? a good 8 episodes going back and forth. LOLOL. Did any find the staring a bit too much too? Like it was half of the drama. Staring back and forth..... It's like the writers didn't know what to say and just told them to stare deeply into each other's eyes. HAHAH.

Princess MH being fucking crazy, I think Hwon is going to forgive her because his dad told him to forgive the people he is trying to protect. Of course he said he is not his father, but still. I feel like he'd have SOME sympathy for his (fucking crazy ass) little sister. I really feel sorry for Seol and Yeon.

I also agree with the people who said the character for JIW is SOOO LACKINGGGGGG. I was so excited to see him act in this one but seriously undeveloped character who ONLY loves this one girl who isn't even all that and clearly deserves more. My heart aches every time he sees Yeon Woo and Hwon :( He deserved a better character.

With two episodes left, I'm sure they are going to leave some loose ends. They're probably going to breeze over the army part..... I thought it was going to be a more significant role. Like, the Prime Minister won't go down without a fight but by then his plans are going to be foiled by Yang Myung. LOL.

I still have many complaints but I can still say.... I enjoyed the drama. LOL. I really enjoy the acting from the children and some of the older ones. Especially the Grandma Dowager and the Head Shaman. I've seen more than a handful of dramas with them in it and they never disappoint.

PS. Episode 18 is the best episode.

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the king will abdicate the throne..
why i ............have the feeling.....??????

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Uh, am I the only one bothered by the fact that YeonWoo hasn't met up with her brother and mom? Practically everyone knows she's alive now, except for her beloved older brother, and the mother that treasures her so much. I've been waiting for a family reunion since the moment the adult actors came into play. With two episodes left, I'm disappointed.

I thought that when Hwon took her to the Hidden Moon Palace, her mom would be waiting inside. That would have been quite an amazing surprise.

AND ALL THE ROMANCES THAT COULD HAVE BEEN.

Woon and Seol. This needed to happen. I was so excited for this one when they hinted at it with the child actors. But no.

Yang Myung and JanShil. They would be so cute. She'd be the perfect crazy companion for him on all his travels.

But once again, this show is just full of disappointments, isn't it?

Oh well.

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Honestly, I'm most disappointed about the way they developed the later Yeon-Woo. I get that she's a nice girl, but what I loved about her as a child was her fierceness and tenacity about doing what is just. The speech she made about how there should not be poor people suffering in Joseon ... it was a testament to her individual strength and even as she develops love for the King, she still dared to disagree with him and maintained her own opinions.

But the Yeon Woo now is just like some infatuated lover. She's all "nice and forgiving" and she's lost all her fierceness, stubborness, strong-will, and all these other qualities that made me love her as a child. I cannot stand that she's just going to let what is wrong remain wrong just because she's "protecting" those she loves. The young Yeon-Woo would have championed justice above all else, and the young Yeon-woo would have called those out who do evil, even if those who do evil are within her own family.

But I guess this isn't the kind of drama where strong and capable women are featured...sighhh. Oh well, it's a cute love story.

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The only thing I have to say is: IF i see another crying scene i think I might just explode! I swear it's one crying scene over another! I don't understand why they make the actors cry so much just to gain sympathy from the viewers. I'm pretty sure you learn in acting school other things than 'how to cry'. I feel like I could wring THEIR (not mine) clothes dry after an episode and get at least a puddle of tears on the ground LOL. PLEASE KOREAN DIRECTORS, STOP MAKING THEM CRY SO MUCH! Us viewers lose sympathy over a character if we see them moping all the time. I mean do you expect us to be crying the WHOLE episode?! No thank you.
*sigh*
.....sorry, i just had to let that out

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gah, you guys are totally wrong about minhwa!!! i love her, she's the best character in the whole drama. what's with all the hate? i feel like she's been unfortunately placed in that situation by fate just like yeon woo.

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the writer is friggin funny i love those side commentaries!!!!

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So when I was watching this episode for the first time, I had the same reaction as everybody here that Min-hwa had to be the worst character ever.

However, I watched it again recently... and I kinda get why the writers had to make Min-hwa this bad. They had to justify the King having to punish Min-hwa. There was really no getting around it. In order to have justice served, Min-hwa also had to be punished. It was the only thing blocking the King from carrying out justice.

On the other hand, I do have a radical theory that might just be wishful thinking but please hear this out.

What if Min-hwa said that so that the King WOULD punish her? Her father protected her and that's why everybody got away with it. She's been living with that thought almost all her life. Every day, she's in Yeon Woo's house and seeing all the suffering that her thoughtless actions wrought. As she grew, no matter how stupid she may be, she must have realized that the only reason that Yeon Woo's real killers could not be punished was because of her. Her personality had always been selfish and cowardly though so she just watched everyone's suffering in silence while understanding more and more the consequences of her actions (especially the part about Yeon Woo's father's suicide). After finally being confronted by her brother, she breaks down and confesses. However, knowing what the previous King, her father, did, she must have realized that her brother may do the same thing as her father. So what if she made herself one of the bad guys purposely so that her brother could stomach punishing her along with the rest of the baddies?

I know that this is a long shot because dramas tend to always make sure we know a character's motives and the drama has never hinted quite so clearly if this was Min-hwa's real intentions. However, I prefer it this way because

* SPOILER *

Min-hwa eventally ends up with Yeom in the end. It has always bothered me that someone as evil as Min-hwa could ever truly reform and be good enough for the almost saintly Heo Yeom.

*END SPOILER*

Incidentally, I rewatched this drama because I wanted to watch Im Si Wan's Heo Yeom again. That halo around his prettiness is still so hilarious! Then I remembered who he ended up with and had to refresh my memory why the writers had to make it that way.

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I think at the beginning Min Hwa didn't really understand that the spell will kill Yeon Woo. But she didn't regret her action coz if she didn't do it, she will never have her husband. We know that Yeom had bright future ahead and he as well as his family and the king would never consider marriage to Min Hwa. So, yeah, she might feel guilty but she would still do it all over again to secure her husband. I pity her husband actually. With Yeom's face and mind as well as good family background, he should have got pretty and wise girl as mother to his children....

Anyway, the previous King was so weak. He knew his mom was responsible in killing his own brother and then his daughter in law. But he still forgives her. Not to mention he's spoiling Min Hwa and made her who she is now.

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