Drama Recaps
Mandate of Heaven: Episode 2
by | April 28, 2013 | 75 Comments

Okay, we did a little reshuffling and negotiated a deal with the fourth dimension to put Mandate of Heaven on our regular recapping schedule. I can’t promise there were no threats and tears involved in the deal, but for now let’s just hope it’s worth it.

FYI, there are a couple other titles floating around, like Heaven’s Order and the slightly less accurate Heaven’s Will. As far as I can tell, however, nobody is subtitling this drama yet. I don’t know why, but it looks like more a question of access than interest.

This is purely speculation (so take with requisite grains of salt), but it seems like KBS is purposely withholding certain titles, which is baffling. And backward-thinking. Unless their goal is to kill the show, that is. Perhaps I’ve got it all wrong, but I’d really love to understand their rationale for the decisions to cut off all access to some shows and not others. Jeon Woo-chi was similarly made unavailable, therefore didn’t garner subtitling interest, disallowed interested fans from watching, and now has essentially no international audience. It wasn’t the best show, no, but more than anything it was killed by its handling. It would be a shame were the same fate to befall Mandate of Heaven.

For all that you can control the timing of a release, you can’t control the public reaction or engineer buzz. The international drama community is so up-to-speed on Korean releases that the access needs to be near-immediate to capitalize on buzz. If you try to freeze it, keep it in place for four to six weeks, and then release it in an unfriendly, limited fashion expecting the enthusiasm to be just as hearty as it was at the outset… well, you’d be a fool. Ultimately, you’re just shooting yourself in the foot.

You can’t spray your garden with weed-killer, plant your own seeds, and then wonder why nothing will grow. Have we learned nothing from scorched earth?


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Queen Munjeong confronts Crown Prince Lee Ho as his quarters burn around him and says he will have to die… only to add, “That is what people will think I would say, is it not? Is that what you also believe, Prince?”

Lee Ho answers that he doesn’t want to believe it… but it’s not like there’s compelling evidence to the contrary. And then a ceiling beam falls and nearly crushes them all.

It traps the queen, but she declares that she would die if that could save the prince, and orders Won to take him to safety. But now Lee Ho is determined to save her as well, and tries to get to his stepmother. It’s only when Won yells at him—dropping the royal formalities, to boot—that he stops fighting, as Won shouts that he’s not doing this for the prince’s good, but his selfish desire to save his daughter. “You must live for me to live.”

Thankfully for them all, royal guards burst inside in time to escort them to safety.

The queen awakens surrounded by medical staff with the prince at her bedside, who begs pardon for not trusting her and testing her sincerity. There’s nothing in her demeanor to suggest that she’s lying about her devotion to him, though she’s totally lying. The question is why.

Rang wakes up in the hospital wing as Da-in finishes treating her with acupuncture needles. Da-in tells her to swallow down all those memories of the fire like bitter medicine, which will put it past her and let her heal. She smiles at her warmly and pats her cheeks, the two of them taking an immediate liking to each other.

Won comes rushing in to make sure Rang is fine. She’s back to her cheeky self, grabbing Dad’s ear to loudly whisper (while Da-in leans in to hear), “I thought you said all the unnis here were ugly.” HA.

He tries to play dumb, but Rang reminds him of how Grandpa was pressuring him to pick a lady to marry, but he told him that they were all so terribly ugly that he couldn’t bear to. Pwahaha. I’m sure it was just to get his father off his back, but Won’s anxious reaction is hilarious as he tries to hush her.

Thus Da-in takes a jab at Won, suggesting he change into his clean clothes to get rid of that “old grandpa smell” he insists he doesn’t have. Lol. They do get serious for a second as he points out that Rang shouldn’t get treated by just anybody, and Da-in replies that he should get her better care, aside from his own poor healing skills.

Along with his change of clothing, Rang gives Dad an ornament he holds dear. By now she’s already calling Da-in “unni” and asks if Mom was as pretty as Da-in, or her embrace as warm. Won smiles to recall his beloved deceased wife, then frowns to realize this conversation’s taking a turn he’s not comfortable with.

Queen Munjeong shocks her younger brother, Minister Yoon, by declaring (in the presence of the crown prince) that she suspects he had a hand in the fire. She supposes he was misguidedly trying to protect her by attacking Lee Ho, thus paving the way for her own son. However, she urges Lee Ho to get to the bottom of the arson—and to punish the criminal even if it’s her brother—thus continuing to allay his suspicions of her. Crafty.

Minister Yoon howls to his sister that he’s been wrongly accused (though he’s guilty, as we know), then gets berated by his secret co-conspirators for bungling the mess. In another shadowy meeting of the evil triumvirate, Minister Yoon begs Minister Kim (vice premier, specifically) to save his neck, because the palace may trace the explosives back to him. Unfortunately for him, Vice Premier Kim isn’t inclined to extend a hand.

I would have pegged Vice Premier Kim as the mastermind, but the secret orders he conveys to Merchant Jang bear a distinctive design, much like the artwork Queen Munjeong paints. Ah, and providing motivation is her young son, the future King Myeongjong.

Currently he’s still Prince Gyeongwon, and as Munjeong paints with her dark reds he asks why she went into the fire. In response, she bites hard on her finger and lets the blood drop onto her painting. “It was so you would live, and so I would live.” She adds that even were the crown prince to come upon some “unfortunate accident”—yunno, hypothetically—the fire wasn’t the right time.

Proving her instinct right, Lee Ho decides not to pursue the arson case, fearing it would weaken his father’s health. Queen Munjeong asks her son if he understands now why she went into that fire. Prince Gyeongwon looks vaguely scared; I’d say he ought be counting his blessings that she’s on his side.

Won monitors Lee Ho’s health, finding no great injury from recent events, though he cautions him to rest. Lee Ho sighs in frustration that there’s absolutely nothing he can do other than patiently enduring—as he did when grandpa’s hand was cut off, or his palace burned down.

He turns to Won: “And therefore, I need you. I need you to protect me, as your grandfather once did.” He asks Won if he truly only saved him to save himself—was there no concern at all for his childhood friend?

Won replies flatly that he is in no position to dare consider a royal his friend, and that he has no desire to live out his grandfather’s fate. The rejection of friendship has Lee Ho looking stricken; it tears at my heart, it does.

As Won walks away, he hears the prince asking his guard if he’s found the thief who stole that medical book. The search has been unfruitful, but the prince urges him to do everything to recover it, as a life depends on it.

At home, Won watches over Rang as she sleeps, referencing the book as he tests out her pressure points and perhaps hopes for a miracle.

Time for a new character: LEE JUNG-HWAN (Song Jong-ho) is an investigator with the Euigeumbu, the investigative department handling state crimes. They’re akin to a royal police force and operate on the king’s orders. Jung-hwan is also a badass mofo who’s never failed to catch his prey, earning a nickname that means If He Catches You, You’re Dead.

Currently Jung-hwan is on the hunt for a particular map used for military operations, and the hunt takes him to a gisaeng house and then the village marketplace.

In a shop, a bored Rang waits around while her cosmetic-obsessed aunt Woo-young shops for yet more products. She’s dressed up in a gisaeng’s clothing with a large veil to cover her face… and she’s been pegged by You’re Dead as a link in the map case. It doesn’t help that she makes a suspicious hand-off with the shopkeep (she’s buying a rare perfume ingredient on the sly).

Jung-hwan pounces on top of Woo-young, demanding the map. Thinking she’s a male thief disguised as a woman, he freely feels her up and assumes the lump on her chest is the goods. GRAB! Haha. It’s kinda worth it for the hilarious dumb look that crosses his face when he encounters boob instead.

Jung-hwan realizes the mixup when a similarly dressed gisaeng walks by, and this time the man in drag fights right back. The two men slam each other around for a bit before the thief grabs his knife and turns it on an innocent bystander: Rang.

Everyone freezes, but Jung-hwan sizes up the situation. He makes a show of dropping his sword, relaxing the criminal’s guard, then kicks a shard of broken pottery straight at the man’s leg. The criminal drops Rang in surprise and Jung-hwan leaps to catch her.

Rang is unharmed but Woo-young needs to get some yelling out and blusters that he could’ve really hurt her. He bickers back that if she’s so concerned about her, why did she bring her to her backdoor deal? Touché.

Woo-young claps a hand over his mouth, and he complains about her getting handsy with his person. Heh. She argues that he got handsy with her too, and grabs her boobs as reminder. HA.

At home, Woo-young tells Rang not to breathe a word of today’s errant outing, and Rang readily agrees—she repeats Da-in’s words about swallowing bad memories, which suits Woo-young just fine. Won arrives and is thrilled to hear that Rang has decided to accept her treatment without complaint, celebrating the idea with finger-kisses. (So cute—they both kiss their five fingertips, then touch their thumbs together.)

Only, Rang asks to get her acupuncture from the pretty palace unni instead. Ha, does she prefer Da-in’s touch or is the little scamp playing matchmaker?

Prince Lee Ho spends some time gardening in the greenhouse, and a plant delivery disguises the conveyance of a secret letter. It’s a request for a secret meeting, so that night Lee Ho dons a mask and takes along a group of vassals to meet the letter-sender, a man named Chun-bong.

Chun-bong is an educated man with ties to a much-respected scholar and reformist (Jo Gwang-jo, put to death by the current king), and thus Lee Ho has been trying to contact him for a while, only to be avoided each time. But now Chun-bong urges Lee Ho to accept the throne, because his father has long gone astray and ignored the plight of the people. The crown prince is different, he argues, and wouldn’t turn a blind eye to his people.

Lee Ho bristles to hear his father maligned, but he doesn’t argue about the rest. “What are you afraid of?” Chun-bong asks. Revolt? Unrest? I’d say those are some compelling reasons.

Just then, arrows fly into their midst and scatter the secret gathering. Chun-bong leaps up to block the prince from an arrow, taking it in his own chest. Surrounding them is a contingent of royal officers, who are ordered to round up the traitors. Oh, crap.

The prince is urged to escape before he is discovered. The prince’s men rush forward to engage the fight, allowing for Lee Ho and Chun-bong to be ushered away.

Won has high hopes that the information in the medical text will cure Rang, as he assures her in their nightly acupuncture session. She pouts that “the pretty unni” doesn’t make it hurt, and they bicker back and forth adorably about how his needles don’t hurt either, oh yes they do, okay maybe just a little, et cetera.

He’s surprised by late-night visitors: the prince, his vassal, and an injured Chun-bong. Everything about this reads Bad Idea and Won is wary of getting involved, but he treats the wound while Chun-bong tsks at Won’s life choices. He says essentially what everyone else does about Won wasting his medical skills being a mediocre palace doc. Though one look at Rang clues him in: “Ah, the reason is right here.”

Lee Ho asks Won whether he thinks he’ll be able to ascend the throne, weighed down by doubts. There’s bound to be resistance and potential rebellion, and his right to the throne will be challenged. Despite Won trying to cut him off, Lee Ho needs a confidant and admits that part of his need for Won is in order to ascend, but it’s not the whole reason: “In the battleground that is the court, I needed at least one person on my side.”

He promises that Won won’t suffer the same fate as his grandfather: “Just as you have protected me, I will protect you.”

Aw. Then Rang joins them cheerily, and the prince introduces himself as “someone who wants to be your father’s friend.”

Do-saeng wrestles with his conscience, feeling the pressure from Vice Premier Kim, who simplifies the decision for him: either he kill the crown prince, or his sweetheart Wol-ha dies. Pick a death, any death.

Wol-ha urges him to take the truth to Lee Ho, but that would put both of them in mortal peril. He vows that all will work out, though neither looks at all convinced.

Won is beside himself with giddiness (as he literally braids Rang’s hair), because one session using the book already has Rang’s pulse beating healthier. He crows that it was worth risking his life to steal, and she gapes, “Father! You STOLE?” Won: “…no. Of course not.”

Da-in wraps up another late-night treatment with the sick palace girl, but tonight they’re spotted by the night watch. Da-in sends the girl away and runs for cover, and just before being spotted she’s jerked out of sight by Won.

He pulls her into the banned books library, using the pascode to get in and huddle until the guards give up. Unfortunately, they lock the door behind them, leaving our two docs stranded here for the night.

She blames him for dragging them inside, while he blames her for bringing the guards here in the first place. She huffs, and he goads her to come back with a retort. Da-in barks, “I…have nothing to say! You’re right!” I love that she admits it, however grudgingly.

After browsing the shelves, Da-in finds Won immersed in reading a medical book. Seeing the topic, she cautions against administering a needle in a particularly vulnerable spot (along the collarbone). He’s dismissive of her medical knowledge, which raises her hackles and makes her insist on proving she knows what she’s talking about. Da-in yanks down her neckline to point at the spot on her collar, which makes Won jerk back in embarrassment, all, Put that away!

With no trace of embarrassment, Da-in just keeps shoving her bare neck in his face, which is hilarious for the way he recoils like it’s a loaded weapon. He bumps into the bookshelf, sending a candle falling, and in her haste to grab it she lands right on top of Won. Mwrar. Why hello there.

Do-saeng finally caves to his inner demons and joins in the poison plot, spiking the prince’s medicine that evening. He and Vice Premier Kim drop by to deliver it, and are immediately unnerved to find (1) young Prince Gyeongwon in the room, along with (2) a stuffed bird, which they recognize from the poison they just concocted.

Do-saeng gulps nervously and lies that he doesn’t know what that bird is. A suspicious answer for a physician to be unaware that the bird, soaked in alcohol, produces a potent poison. Still, Do-saeng offers up the nightly tonic and Lee Ho moves to drink it—

But today, young Prince Gyeongwon pipes up that he’ll be his hyungnim’s taste-tester. An unexpected wrench in the works. The younger prince moves to drink while the others sweat bullets.

Finally Vice Premier Kim stops him, chiding that his thoughtful gesture could get twisted. What if people spread rumors that Lee Ho doesn’t trust his own doctors? What’s worse is that Lee Ho agrees; thanking his brother for the thought, he takes the bowl and drinks.

Sitting in the library, Won comments that Rang has taken a great liking to Da-in. She makes a pointed comment about her unbearably ugly face (his words), and he protests that it was just a little lie he told to evade remarriage. She repeats her advice that perhaps what’s best for Rang isn’t that he treat her solely himself.

He asks about her reasons for following medicine, and she wistfully recalls the doctor who had saved her life when she was younger. She wishes she could meet him just once, only she doesn’t know his name or his age, or even what he looks like—she’d been fading in and out of consciousness. But she does have one clue, and pulls out the half-ornament she carries around with her—eek! The same one he carries!—and starts to unwrap it…

…and then the drama cockblocks the moment by sending a library official to interrupt them. Boooo. In her surprise she drops the ornament, which falls under the bookshelf.

Unfortunately, this means they’re pegged as the thieves of the medical book. Won blurts that he acted alone, but has no explanation for Da-in’s presence. Until the official scoffs that there’s no reason unless they’re lovers…

Hee. Won grabs the excuse and “confesses” that they were looking for a place to, um, “share their affections” in. Lol. He prompts, “Were we not enjoying ourselves just until a moment ago?”

Da-in starts to protest but when he hisses at her to play along, she switches gears: “Yes, I was enjoying myself. A LOT!” Muahaha. This is great.

The official is still intent on reporting the offense but at least he seems to buy it. But on his way out, he starts choking and collapses. Why, isn’t this convenient. Okay, drama, I’ll give you a convenient medical rescue this once, but let’s not Dr. Jin this hizzy and make this a regular occurrence, mkay?

Da-in gets out her needle kit, but Won stops her from using it, overriding her diagnosis with a different one. She argues as he pulls out a scalpel and goes for the throat, but he works deftly and gets him breathing again. She’s shocked to realize he was right.

Won carries the official to the hospital ward and issues instructions for rest. Da-in asks if he’s the same doctor who’s notorious for his poor skills—but what explains what she just saw? Of all the practiced hands she’s witnessed, his was the surest and most skilled.

He cuts her off and asks her to ignore it, saying merely that he has his reasons for hiding his talents. She argues that a doctor who ignores patients by hiding his skills is little different from a killer. That’s being a little poetic, but point taken.

Won turns to her in affront: “Did you just call me a killer?” But he’s pulled away by a message sent by Do-saeng, who wants to meet in secret.

Da-in admits to head doctor Jang-geum that she called Won a murderer, but insists defiantly that she stands by her words. Jang-geum, on the other hand, chastens Da-in for ignoring palace law and secretly treating a servant girl, which she has known all along.

Da-in assumes that Won tattled on her and refuses to send the girl to her death, but Jang-geum gives her no choice: If Da-in doesn’t do it, Jang-geum will.

Do-saeng paces nervously in the dark library, waiting for Won. And yet, it’s in a different location that Won waits for hours, wondering when Do-saeng will show up. Oh no, is this what I think it is?

Won finally leaves in the morning, just in time to see a troop of officers racing by. One informs him that the prince’s doctor has been killed. OH NO. It wasn’t what I thought, but this is much, much worse. Make the patsy do your work, then shut him up forever?

Won races to the library and finds Do-saeng lying in a pool of blood with a knife in his neck. Curiously, there’s something written in blood, Do-saeng’s dying message: gu, the character for tortoise.

Won is dragged out while a royal officer stamps out the character. Oh no.

Euigeumbu leader Jung-won joins the scene, wondering at Won’s presence. Worse yet, Won realizes the knife in Do-saeng’s neck looks familiar… and one happens to be missing from his kit. Fuuuuck.

Moments later, Jung-hwan arrives at his door and holds out that missing knife, announcing Won’s arrest for Do-saeng’s murder.


Aw man, I knew that the crown prince was not long for this world—history had him dying in his first year of rule, so I thought he had a little more time, but not much—so I tried not to get too attached to him, but I didn’t realize Do-saeng would also be offered up as political sacrifice. In fact, I loved that Shakespearean moment in the prince’s chamber where Do-saeng has a private mini-freakout at the sight of the poisonous bird and was looking forward to him being plagued by future guilt-induced phantasms, a la Lady Macbeth.

It would have been effective enough to pin Lee Ho’s murder on Won, but I suppose there is a crafty neatness to forcing one doc to do it, then killing him and letting a second doc take the fall. Keeps the royals out the line of suspicion while the nobodies suffer.

I like how quickly this show moves—so much happens and each beat is working multiple narrative levels—and yet there are moments to breathe and relax and even laugh out loud. I anticipated that there’d be lots of court intrigue and thriller elements, but the show’s sense of humor has been the biggest, and most welcome, surprise. The teasing rapport between Dad and Rang is adorable, and the romance has a quick witted rhythm that I enjoy.

I’m sure some of that will scale back as the plot swings into Fugitive mode in earnest, but I do hope it hangs onto that sense of humor at least in part. So far the show has been able to juggle that balance effectively, and I hold out hope that it’ll continue.

I thought it an interesting choice to make Won a brilliant doctor who is believed to be essentially a quack. I figured he just didn’t care about the rumors because he was solely focused on his daughter, but his reaction to Da-in’s questions suggest that there’s more to it. Perhaps it’s nothing more complicated than not wanting to be coerced into higher service given his grandfather’s demise, or perhaps there’s more to it. As a bonus, the misunderstanding gave us some loaded interactions between him and Da-in, because she truly believed he was being dumb for treating Rang personally and thought he knew little of real medicine. Not unlike him assuming she’s all book learnin’ and no practical study.

So now we’ve got the premise fully set up, and this week’s new episodes will take us (I presume) on the run. I’m crossing my fingers that the show keeps up its mix of darkness and light, its deft directorial hand, and its quick-paced plot developments. And also that it manages to get some kind of subbing commitment, because it’s shaping up to be a compelling watch; I’d hate to have nobody to discuss it with!


75 Comments from the Beanut Gallery
  1. Mommai

    Thank you sooooooo much for recapping this! I was so sad when I couldn’t find subs, but am much happier now! Thanks a TON!

    • 1.1 Coconutjuice

      Guys! If you want to watch Mandate of Heaven with english subs, go to dramaholics.com and search for Fugitive of Joseon (aka Mandate of Heaven). They have episode 1 subbed for sure but I’m not sure if they have episode 2 subbed (didn’t check yet since I’m too busy). Anyways, have fun watching. I know I did.

      • 1.1.1 eny

        i see there too, it’s still 1 episode, find it in other site but nothing i found

      • 1.1.2 Heidi

        thank you! I was checking dramacrazy where usually they sub episodes by the next day but didn’t do it this time! Off to watch it!
        Thank for the recap JB 🙂

      • 1.1.3 Chizzy girl

        coconutjuice thanks a lot..i never knew about that site..haha..i have found another secret treasure….the more drama sites i know, the better

      • 1.1.4 LK

        OMG! Thank you so much for this! Finally I can watch Mandate of Heaven!

    • 1.2 cinephyl

      There are subs for this at darksmurfsub. The first ep is done, they are working on ep 2.

  2. Tenyin

    Wow thanks for the recap! Time to read it!

  3. Raine

    Dark Smurf is coming out with subs. The first is pretty much done they’re working on this episode!

  4. KimYoonmi

    KBS has been trying to sell it through Dramafever only and on a delay, which makes no sense at all. They should sell it to viki, get a quick turn around, because they are better equipped for worldwide deployment and thus you get product placement and international sales of goodies…

    But that’s just I M non-H O.

    I hope Korea doesn’t go the way of Japanese countries who are clueless how to deal with the international market.

    • 4.1 djes

      oh, I thought the reason was there will be KBS World subbed version in a few weeks that made the “international” & “free” subbers are hesitant to take this project..

      • 4.1.1 jubilantia

        Yeah, but if the KBS World release is behind, you still lose the audience you were trying to cater to in the first place.

      • 4.1.2 ck1Oz

        Viki didn’t have the license to sub it.
        And they didn’t even know till airing date.

        They, KBS are shooting themselves in the foot. The same reason why You’re the best, Lee Soon Shin is not subbed on viki.

        DSS subs are machine translated and it needs to have editing done. They are great to pick up dramas that needs subbing and I am so grateful.

        However both MBC and KBS subbing quality are uneven and not everything is translated. The less said about DF the better from me.

        So thank you GF and JB for recapping. I am a rabid LDW fan and am so disappointed viki didn’t get the license for it. Just how many countries have KBSWorld that they think it justifies it?

        • Ivoire

          Hi ck10z,

          I didn’t understand this, “DSS subs are machine translated and it needs to have editing done. They are great to pick up dramas that needs subbing…” What did you mean here, please? (and thank you, if you happen to read this and respond as well).
          Also, I have a question about subbing I would like to ask you. Where could I write to you, please? Thank you!

          • dokidoki-chan

            helping to answer about “DSS subs are machine translated” ^^
            so at DSS, they’re using some translator machine first, to translate, then the editors will works on it to edit all the subs until it’s qualified to be release.
            examples, while using google translate there’ll be lots of grammar or names mistakes, that’s the editors jobs, making sure it’s already the right translations.
            hope it’ll help! ^^v

          • Ivoire

            Hello dokidoki-chan,
            Your explanation totally helped, thank you so much! I was also wondering, what does DSS stand for/mean? I liked your example about google, it helped me understand better.

          • ck1Oz

            DSS darksmurf subs. The founder wrote the sofware to translate Chinese subs to English. Then fan translators change it from English and also listening to the Chinese.
            Then the editors check that the translation is actually accurate. Machine subs some of them makes no sense.

            Subbing questions- here? Or on viki Help center. Or my ID on viki- I am over at Shark… the drama. If you want to find my ID.

          • Ivoire

            Thanks ck10z for answering. I have to head out, so I will be back later to read your response, and comment, if I find it necessary. Thanks again.

        • Lizzy4e


          Thank you for the insight to the world of subbing.

          I am also a FAN OF LDW. Thankfully I am not afraid of the unpolished websites like dramacrazy and gooddrama, I have good virus software.

          I have questions that anyone is welcome to answer.

          First is How is revenue generated from the international internet distribution of a drama? Anthony did not teach us this.
          Is it a blanket type license that covers all viewing from a domain (dramafever.com) Is it a per-view license like $x amount per episode, per user, per access? Is it a combination of a blanket until a limit of viewings and then a charge per-view?

          2.What is the profit motive to delay International Internet release?

          3. Just how much is Dramafever paying for this drama? Does viki have less then polished negotiators? (we are all up-to-speed on Dramafever playing very serious hardball in the International Internet Drama Distribution world. Right?)

          4. is not a question. We, beanies, represent a strong voice for the International Internet Drama viewing community if we chose to become united and make our wishes and desires know we might be able to effect a change. Just a thought. (I would not mind just watching the next episode rather then get all riled up but if my next episode is difficult to come by then I become affected.)

          Please forgive for being a bit OT.

          • Ivoire

            Hi Lizzy4e, I just have a quick question (curious), does OT mean “Over the Top, please?” I will be back later to read your comment, thank you for your thoughts.

          • Lizzy4e


            Lol, okay it could mean over the top. What I meant by OT was off topic but I did long-winded and I was not terribly clear in what I wanted to say. so sure! sorry if I was Over the Top! :-))!

          • Ivoire

            Hi Lizzy4e,
            No I didn’t think you were long winded or over the top, glad to know that I was wrong. There are so many acronyms out there, it is hard to remember which ones mean what.
            Thanks for explaining, and for sharing your thoughts. Also I agree with this, “We, beanies, represent a strong voice for the International Internet Drama viewing community if we chose to become united and make our wishes and desires know we might be able to effect a change.” Good point… 🙂

          • KimYoonmi

            1. I get some of this since I’ve been in the trenches a little (to clarify, I have to know how copyright works for things like books as I’m a writer and you’re supposed to know those things and also because I’ve worked for second hand companies that translate. I also have a fandom I treasure, so I got into looking it up.)

            Copyright has several parts to it:
            Attribution, distribution, derivatives, and the ability to make a profit.

            Derivatives, such as fan fiction, or translations such as say, subs are covered.

            When selling to another country, you need what is called a “license” to distribute and also a license to make a derivative of a work. This is NOT selling the copyright.

            You pay money upfront for that, and the ability to make a profit. The company then takes a share of the profit you do make on top of that.

            However, in today’s modern market there are other ways companies can also make profits, which is why this gets a little hairy (also because global markets of this nature are not yet proven one way or another.)

            For example, for YAB, there was a pig rabbit as part of merchandising for the drama, this lead to profit as well. There are also DVD box sets of dramas, CDs, and other goods one can sell. The thing is that Korea, Japan, Taiwan and China don’t seem to have a clue on how to capitalize on this outside of the market and don’t quite yet grasp that you aren’t competing just with the legal, but also with the illegal markets.

            I would say that considering those things, they could seriously use some 101 on marketing overseas on merchandise, try for a quick turn around and then capitalize. (To give credit, US marketing doesn’t get this either, as evidenced by Hulu…) <– this dives into my other interests… so I'll cut it short.

            Anyway, that's a secondary profit they really should think about as evidenced by PSY's 2 hits.

            I'm kinda on the line, but I do think that companies need to rethink their strategies for this modern world. It's just not clear how to do it yet.

            2. Motive to delay it to market.

            Because they are thinking in the non-global system where delaying it to market and sometimes producing it yourself is profitable. (Think circa early 1990's)

            In the old system, you delay it to market, build the hype, have people build an audience to the sell date and then hit it big.

            In the new system, you try to get everyone in on you as fast and early as possible with a certain product on the internet (which is mostly art media) and then try to squeeze money out of them. (Guilt tripping works)

            The old system used to work. US is also stuck on the old system. But you need to understand that you can't tame the internet (see Dramafever) and the best way to tackle it is to have a better product than everyone else.

            The problem is that old system doesn't work off of the Internet, And the Internet works with the new system, so how do you marry the two? And that's what no one has mastered yet. (Internet is NOT a perfect marketing tool as it doesn't get full distribution of everyone on the planet, even in best case scenario)

            3. Viki negotiators:
            I think it's simply that though Viki is in another country from Dramafever, Dramafever simply has more money to throw around. I also think that Dramafever feels the heat of the competition and I heavily surmise that DF is saying to sell to only them, which explains the poor subbing quality on Answer Me 1997, and why Viki's license was deliberately delayed.

            Personally, though from how I've seen internet marketing work, because you're competing with fan subbers, you want the faster subbers, and then guilt trip the hell out of your viewers with pushing for merchandising overseas–such as the clip and the pig rabbit (which worked for me, as I have 3 pig rabbits and 2 clips, plus I bought another one. =P South Korea got a bunch of my money).

            Anyway, getting a bit more technical. Crowd sourcing things like subs, with some editors has only one draw back–if it's not popular it won't get subbed. But then by crowd sourcing, you know that it's not that popular overseas anyway… and it's probably not worth pouring marketing overseas into it in the first place. Since Viki is faster with subs, has better accuracy without resorting to machines, you just need to push some marketing with it and there is your profit.

            Sorry if it sounds too technical.

          • jane

            Kim Yoonmi has wrote a long answer, so I just keep my short and cover the things she did not mentioned.

            Broadcasters need to sell a drama to more countries to make money, this is the most basic of revenue generation besides in country (within korea) advertising revenue. For product placements and merchandising (such as pig rabbits), they are more feasible in modern dramas and less relevant in sagueks (period dramas).

            My guess is, probably they have not sell the drama to enuf countries or certain countries that have bought or are considering buying the show are sensitive to the drama being available online, so thats why they are not releasing to subbers yet.

            In terms of KBS world, this is a paid channel in many countries and usually will televise the dramas about 4-6weeks later from the initial launch date. But these shouldnt be the main source of delay since everyother kbs show gets the same treatment.

            To me the source of all these issues is the live shoot system of korea, if they can just finish all the dramas before broadcast, they would have more time to market the drama and get enough material to sent to everyone necessary.

            I really hope one day this live shoot system will be aborted.

    • 4.2 Ivoire

      Hi KimYoonmi, what does this mean, “But that’s just I M non-H O,” please?

      • 4.2.1 jubilantia

        Don’t know if she’ll get back to you, but I think it means “In My non-Humble Opinion.”

        • Ivoire

          Thank you, jubilantia!

      • 4.2.2 Peeps

        In My (non)-Humble Opinion

    • 4.3 bernie

      i’m assuming you meant “japanese companies” but i still lol-ed a little at “japanese countries” :p

      • 4.3.1 KimYoonmi

        Yeah, ^^;; I wrote and edited it too quickly. I started with countries, added Japan, added ese, meant to change countries, but saw a bigger mistake. –;;

  5. djes

    while am not into saeguk, I checked the 1st episode just because your recap, JB. It was interesting, and yes I just realized that no subbed version is available yet, which is kinda strange with high profile casts like Lee Dongwook and Song Jihyo.

    I watched “Happy Together” ( a talkshow with Yoo Jaesuk on KBS ) with Mandate of Heaven casts ( LDW, SJH & Im Seulong ) yesterday, and the chemistry between them is good, they get along very well ( I expect lots of bromance between Dongwook & Seulong! ), and it made me want to watch this drama regularly.

  6. austriandramalover

    I am still refusing to read your recaps (which I guess are as awesome as usual) because I am still hoping that there will be subs anytime soon so that I can actually watch it.

    Apparently it’s going to be released on KBS world on May 15th so I have faith that we will get the subbed versions online around that date as well. It sucks but I’ve been really looking forward to this drama so a little more waiting time is not going to kill me (I have enough other stuff to watch in the meantime anyway :D).

    • 6.1 DanyDanyBobany

      Same here. I’m torn between reading the recaps because I don’t want to get behind but I was really looking forward to this drama and there are no subs 🙁 . Well, i think im going to do what I did back then with Secret Garden: watch and read, watch and read. At least i will have an idea of whats going on and javabeans`s comments will make the episode better.

      • 6.1.1 eny

        actually i just read the comment here reading the recap first will make me lost interest to watch, but the sub is really hard to find, just watch episode 1

    • 6.2 Peridot

      I also do not want to read the recaps yet. I wish that this show would be subtitled already. I like participating in the discussion threads for dramas whenever an episode is recapped, but this becomes impossible when a show is not subtitled relatively quickly or when it takes a long time for episodes to be subtitled. This show looks so interesting. The first two episodes are available on dramacrazy, but they are still not fully subbed.

    • 6.3 JJ

      i agree, the other day i chkd one or two sites & it’s still raw – i’d luv to watch this coz of LDW & this child actress

  7. Ivoire

    Thank you!

  8. snow_white

    That’s great that you have decided to recap this show…..but yes, no subs yet…..so I can’t read the whole thing….just the introduction 🙁

  9. elle

    The subtitle for the first episode is already available on darksmurf.

  10. 10 snow_white

    For all of you who want the subs, Darksmurfsub has released subtitles for episode 1 🙂 Enjoy!!!

  11. 11 sunshower

    Same what others are saying. This was the TOP sageuk on my to-watch list of the three released recently!! I love it based on the trailers.

    Holding off on the recap because I want to watch the show first.

    Thank you very much for the recap JB. So excited you are recapping it, the mood is dampened by the fact there is no subtitles out yet.

    • 11.1 hmm

      yes, i just wanna say like you said.

      this drama is my TOP list beside You’re The Best Lee Soon-shin.

      i check everyday and couldn’t get the subs in gooddrama until NOW. i’m dissapointed.

      SO MUCH thank you for this recap.

      i’m really thank you.

  12. 12 j

    Thank you so much for your awesome recap <3

  13. 13 tha

    I wanna watch!

  14. 14 Peeps

    Aw! Wee widdle Yubin looks so cute with her pout in the first picture!

    I am loving the pictures. And only the pictures because I haven’t watched a single episode yet. Other than a lack of time, I’m guessing you know why too. Sigh.

    Aw man, I wish I could negotiate with time too! If only time didn’t keep zooming past me and not let me talk to it at all. *humph!*

    But thank you JB for your sacrifice and recaps! Your recaps are all I have about this show. (Why, KBS, why??)

    P.S. I am so inexplicably angered by in-court politics. Peace and love people, peace and love! Why are you always killing each other? Why do you keep wanting that power? Why kick out a perfectly good Crown Prince and insist in having an elementary kid be prince? And your stupid power play keeps harming the other innocent citizens.
    Power, so irrational and so stupid.
    And horrible people in power makes my blood boil more. Oh man, empress CiXi… if there was ever a woman I wanted to strangle…

  15. 15 jjangnisa

    Finally!! Thank You JB for recapping this.
    couldn’t find the subs anywhere T_T

    I love that every character has their own stories.
    and most curious abou Lee Jung Hwan Character..

  16. 16 themugen

    Jeon Woo-chi is available with English subs on dramacrazy. Mandate of Heaven is only RAW right now, though hopefully it gets subbed soon.

    • 16.1 themugen

      And I guess DS has ep 1 of MoH available, as others have pointed out. Yay!!

  17. 17 raindrops1

    Thanks, javabeans!!!! I’m so happy that the negotiations were successful and we will continue to enjoy your wonderful recaps. I hope that we will get access to subs soon as this show looks great. Until then I’m thankful that I have your recaps to read. Gracias!!! 🙂

  18. 18 acejihyo

    let me love you for these recaps, seriously.

  19. 19 fangirl98

    THANKS for the recaps! I was reluctant to start this one since I’m watching & reading two other dramas at the same time. But, the recap of ep 1 was so good that my interest was officially piqued. Thanks again!

    P.S. I’ll be happy to join the discussion -as soon as I can watch the subbed episodes. 🙂

  20. 20 KDaddict

    I watched eps 1 n 2, and am not fully on board yet.
    I love the little girl, n her rapport w the adult actors, which shows in her intimate moments w her dad n the nurse. I also love the main actress. But there is so much in ep 2 that doesn’t hook me.
    1. Mainly the power struggle between the queen’s faction and the crown prince fails to make me care. It’s just another run of the mill evil step-mom wanting her own son to be crown price.
    2. The actor who plays the crown prince is a light wt, (he’s not even an up n coming 2nd lead), so we know early on that he won’t be on screen for long. This clearly shows that screen presence makes a difference in audience interest in the char n what happens to him.
    3. The guy who plays the head of CID is n looks exactly the same as he did in The Princess Man. I liked him in TPM, but 2nd time around is less interesting.
    4. Don’t really care that Do-Saeng dies. After what he did for them, they’d have to silence him that way. Stupid n selfish of him to keep thinking that he’d get to live happily ever after w his GF. He’s done more than enough harm to the crown prince over the years.
    5. Da-in is pretty and virtuous, but seem quite naive in matters of live n death inside the palace. So Won saved her life once upon a time. We r all set for her to turn around n help him if it kills her. Now, why does that feel so predictable?
    Does Lee Doon Wok look thinner, n older w facial hair n in hanbok than without? He looks like an older ajussi, not that there’s anything wrong w that, of course, but in this case, it doesn’t make me drool.

    • 20.1 Kiara

      Same here, not fully on board. I will continue to read the recaps but not having full access to this show kind of kill the excitement.

      Thank you JB for the recaps :).

  21. 21 Caitlyn

    Woot, i’m so glad this is being recapped. If it doesn’t get subbed consistently, i’ll just read the recaps. I was going to watch it but i tend to forget about shows if i don’t watch them as they’re airing. The recaps are just as good as the show though, in most cases, so as long as I have the recaps, I won’t feel like i’m missing out on anything.

  22. 22 bishbash

    There’ always chinese subs, for those who can read it. Anyway, if the eng subbing communities are having a hard time having access, how did the chinese ones do it??

    • 22.1 Peeps

      I can only say that the Chinese are experienced in getting away with almost anything.


    • 22.2 topper

      Most are unlicensed fansubs. But they are darn quick (less than 8 hrs sometimes) Some are taken off when the copyright claims are filed, so it isn’t always that it isn’t acted on.

  23. 23 Stardust

    Thank you soooooo much for tapping into the 4th dimension to satisfy us, your greedy readers… hoohooo…

    I am really enjoying this series and I already love the dynamic between the female chars in this show, first , Da-in who is all, here’s my neckline… to Woo-young’s unabashed boob showing… LOL its so funny that the men are the prudes in a sageuk…

    Quite shocked that we are already in ep2 and after the brief setup and looks like Won has to be on the run soon… talk about fast…

    Lastly, who had the same idea as me, that Won should have photocopied ( recopied ) that banned book and sneak it back to the library? hello…why the risk of that ONE and ONLY book of secrets to be easily burnt/destroyed… make extra copies yo… hahahah

  24. 24 Penny

    YAY!! You’re recapping this baby!!! Ohmygod thank you! Thank you very much girls!! I was waiting for the subs to come out during the weekend and I was wondering why it’s taking so long. I thought that perhaps the show didn’t have a devoted and speedy group of fansubbers just yet, and it may not have its subtitles coming out as fast as those of other shows. But now that you have said the real reason… Well that just sucks. Guess we’ll have to live by your very very much needed recaps alone. You girls are heaven-sent!

  25. 25 nicefiffy

    DSS is subbing this drama under the name Heaven Orders and there’s someone ripping from KBSW but it will only available later…. for me…. as long as there’s sub available…. i’m happy….

    • 25.1 nicefiffy

      and i can also wait patiently for KBSW here in Malaysia…. ^-^

  26. 26 SistAr

    wow, the kid actress acts better than the two leads…… surprising

    • 26.1 Elia

      agree 🙂 the kid is awesome.

  27. 27 crosswire

    Where can I find eng sub video Nobody is subbing this drama I dont see it in viki

  28. 28 swui

    oHH…Glad you’re recapping it…I think it’s really really engaging for 2 episodes. So much happened and yet they managed to slip in some really lol moments to lighten the mood…and yet they never really felt jarring. I am more engaged after 2 episodes with MOH than I was with TPM which says a lot because I loved TPM. Now let’s hope the rest of the episodes can keep up the momentum…I wonder how the ratings do though…

  29. 29 sjkwifey

    Thank you ever so much, JB!! I’ve been watching it without subs but now that you’re recapping it, I can actually understand what is going on. I do love how fast paced the plot is but a part of me wish that they could stay in the palace a little longer just for more hilarious bickering between Won and Da-In. Thank you again and I look forward to the next recap.

  30. 30 latteholic

    Thanks for recapping this JB. I’ve only watched the first episode with sub, and still waiting patiently for the 2nd episode to be subbed.
    I have to say that based on the first episode, this could well be my fave sageuk of the currently running sageuks. GFB is awesome, but I guess I just really like conspiracy plot in my sageuk.

  31. 31 browncoat_78

    I am past go furious about this not being available anywhere subbed! I have been dying to watch this drama for months and now……. SO MAD!!!!!!! Shame on you, KBS!!!!

  32. 32 AnotherFan

    Thank you JB soooooo much! You are awesome!

  33. 33 fil

    this is so much more interesting than gu family book

  34. 34 Abbie

    Thank you so much for recapping this drama! I was so disappointed when I couldn’t find it anywhere. So thanks!

    I’m liking where this is going so far. I can’t wait for Won to be on the run. I hope this show handles all the political machinations well, and not the boring way of most dramas. I want Won and Rang to go on the run together and clear his name.

    If Lee Ho dies here, right after this, I’m gonna be mad. It makes me sad to learn that he died so young in real life, but I don’t want this character going anywhere anytime soon.

    I like the romance so far, and the investigator is pretty awesome, too.

    Thanks for the recap, JB!

  35. 35 yammy

    yay~~ thanks for the recaps 😀 I was refreshing dramabeans over and over again in hopes this would be recapped.

    I am too frustrated at the short-sightedness of most of the Korean broadcasting companies. How could they boast every second about hallyu and stuff and not provide quick & easy subs? /sigh/

    I think Korea media companies, broadcasting stations, etc are taking are leaning too much on the popularity of Korean shows/movies and are not investing enough to support their bouts of pride gimmickry and boasting. Or they do not understand how much “The international drama community is so up-to-speed on Korean releases” like JB mentions here. There is too much of patting their own backs on being popular and flaunting that same popularity and too little of legitimate work to reach out to watchers. Not only would this limit the potential customers, but blatant self-praise and not much investment can backfire and lose the Korean entertainment industry its fans.

    For example, I recently came across an unsubbed, very poorly made video that come up in a youtube search a bit after Psy’s Gentleman, explaining the inside joke in “Wet Psy” lyrics and introducing the member of Infinity Challenge (who were in the MV as well as Gangnam style). As many of the commenters wrote both in Korean and other languages, what good are such videos if they don’t are not made to be accessible to the audience they claim to be for? Equally frustrating are the unsubbed mv, lack of official youtube channels for artists, lists and lists of shows on MBC’s youtube channel that are not subbed, and no straight and easy way to purchase goods of shows, movies, & artists. Aren’t these the necessities of basic advertisement?

  36. 36 Heebummie

    Yayyyyyyy!! 🙂
    Loveya dramabeans!!

    Awesome show, LDW and SJH characters look good together! I like how they enjoy bickering with each other (LDW even asked SJH to fight back in one of the exchanges). I believe both of them are taking a liking of each other already (budding romance), but show is quick to cut them off, with LDW gg to jail next episode.. I just hope they can get together, although SJH never end up with the male lead in almost all her sajeuks.

  37. 37 JJ

    that child actress is sooooooooper cute she was also in princess’ man oh i luv this little girl let alone my LDW miss him since his last drama forgot title! i’d luv to watch this bcoz of both of them!

  38. 38 Marje

    Just wondering why it is that dramaholics was able to get Mandate of Heaven with English subs and no one else has…. am curious how this happens…..

    And, on another note, how is it that Korea produces such brilliant child actors …. Little Kim Yoo Bin is wonderful in Mandate of Heaven. She truly sparkles in her role.

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