Drama Recaps
Scholar Who Walks the Night: Episode 1
by | July 8, 2015 | 145 Comments

It’s an intense first episode, with not a moment wasted—this is an hour jam-packed with action, plot, and emotion. My biggest worry heading into Scholar Who Walks the Night was that it would be a cheesy kind of vampire-fantasy, because vamps (and monsters and ghouls) are tricky that way: Well-handled, they can be the stuff of epic fantasy, but one wrong move (or a bad acting performance, or bad CG effects) could render the same material embarrassing and cringe-worthy.

So how did Scholar fare? I think remarkably well—I won’t deny that there is a lot of acting in this, and by that I mean Big, Emotional Acting, but in the hands of Lee Jun-ki and this director (PD Lee Sung-joon), it works with the story rather than against it. I was caught up in the emotions, twisted up by the conflict, and gripped by the hero’s plight. Fingers crossed that it continues.


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A dark night at the palace. A young man narrates the “frightful legend” passed down by the court ladies, which unfolds onscreen as he describes it: On the night of the full moon, on the night the king is to spend with his concubine, “He” appears.

A sinister cloaked man heads toward the concubine’s quarters, his eyes gleaming red. The king’s entourage makes its way to the building, but the intruder gets there first and enters her room. She’s no match for him as he attacks, drinking her blood just in time for the king to see her die.

It’s just a novel plot (or is it?), told from one friend to another as they browse the shelves of a bookshop. Prince JEONGHYEON (Lee Hyun-woo) is quite proud of his story, written under a pen name, but his scholar friend KIM SUNG-YEOL (Lee Jun-ki) teases him about it being nonsense.

The prince suggests a race where the winner is granted a wish, but as he heads off, Sung-yeol notices a strange figure slipping out of view. Then they’re chased by armed riders, and Sung-yeol stops to face off with them, showing off some impressive swordfighting skills despite being outnumbered four to one.

Prince Jeonghyeon turns back and interrupts the fray, ordering everyone to stand down. He recognizes that the attackers are palace soldiers, and deduces that he’s being followed. He asks who made the order.

An older man steps up to declare that it was the king himself. He wants the prince, who has been traveling incognito for the past three days, to return to the palace. He also rebukes Sung-yeol for helping him, but the prince puts on his most thunderous look and gets the man to back down.

The friends finish their race (Sung-yeol wins the bet and the favor), and Prince Jeonghyeon says that he’s thinking to make his next novel a love story. He takes great pleasure in teasing Sung-yeol about how the main character will be a literary scholar like him, setting the stage with a rainy encounter between a man and woman, longtime lovers who spent years apart who are now on the cusp of marriage.

Clearly he’s talking about Sung-yeol, who starts to say defensively that it was only because he had to get out of the rain, and absolutely nothing happened. But finally he concedes to what the prince has been angling for all along—he’ll read and review his book.

The prince lights up in pleasure, and as they return to the palace, he tells Sung-yeol to go ahead and see his sweetheart, Lady Myung-hee.

Myung-hee (Kim So-eun) is currently dealing with an upset pair of guardians, whom she calls Mother and Father; they’ve raised her as an adopted child since her parents died. Mother is bitter at the thought of her daughter becoming a daughter-in-law—because ah, these are Sung-yeol’s parents. Well, you can understand the awkwardness there.

Still, they’ve consented to the couple’s marriage, and when Sung-yeol comes home, the young lovers trade sweet smiles. Mother complains about the stray cat that keeps coming into the yard, and Sung-yeol hurriedly says he’ll handle that. Ha, are you the stray cat?

Outside Myung-hee’s quarters, she finds flowers on the ground and follows their path to where Sung-yeol meows at her from the wall. She warns that the “cat” with bad habits will be shooed away, and Sung-yeol asks suggestively just how bad those habits are. He presents her with a bouquet of flowers, then swoops around to hold and kiss her, asking if that’s what she means.

Myung-hee replies that the cat is worse than that, slipping into her room at night when her wedding is approaching. Sung-yeol is not at all repentant, just exclaiming loudly that he loves her.

At the palace, the mood is much grimmer. The king and Prince Jeonghyeon sit beside the bed of a white-faced concubine sporting two puncture marks in her neck. Dead. Hm, so his novel wasn’t fiction? The king tells Jeonghyeon somberly that he’s out of strength to hang on, and that “He” chose Jeonghyeon, who’ll be the next king.

Sung-yeol reads the prince’s novel that night, illustrated with macabre drawings. What he laughed at earlier in the day now has him looking worried.

“He” returns to the palace that night—he’s called simply GWI (Lee Soo-hyuk), and he hums to himself as he takes a leisurely seat on the king’s throne. Guards burst in to challenge him, but Gwi drawls at them to run while they can.

Jeonghyeon directs the burning of the concubine’s coffin in secret, just as Sung-yeol arrives unexpectedly. He’s guessed most of the story, having read the novel and seen the corpse being smuggled out of the palace bearing wounds in her neck.

Sung-yeol asks the prince to tell him why he’s been scouring bookshops looking for vampire books, and why he’s burning the corpse’s body. Jeonghyeon lies about just wanting to research vampires for his novel, but his tormented appearance is unconvincing.

He offers to tell Sung-yeol the truth after his wedding in a few days, but Sung-yeol presses for the answer now, calling in that favor he won earlier. Why did the prince write this book? Does a bloodsucking monster live in the palace?

The prince doesn’t answer.

The next day, Sung-yeol accompanies the prince as they walk through the forest, and senses an ominous presence. A flash of black zooms by, and Sung-yeol draws his sword to face off against the attacker—but every time he strikes, the sword just goes through the black blur. The man in black flies through the air, darting around tauntingly, and Sung-yeol thinks that there’s no way he could be human.

Sung-yeol closes his eyes, sharpens his senses, and when Man in Black flies at him again, he strikes swiftly. He gets a piece of him this time, but to his horror, the slash in the man’s cheek heals before his eyes. “He’s not human!” Sung-yeol thinks. “Is that what it looks like?” Man in Black asks aloud.

Sung-yeol turns back to collect the prince, urging escape. They run as fast as they can away from the attacker… who appears right in their path from the other side. Sung-yeol instructs the prince to escape first while he holds him off, urging him to be safe.

But then, Prince Jeonghyun shocks him by saying that this man will help him, and asks Sung-yeol to stand down.

In a dark cavern, royal soldiers hang upside-down from the ceiling, dripping their blood into a bowl. Gwi sits on a throne of his own, attended by a eunuch, and drinks from the bowl. Before him stands a scared king, whom Gwi warns that the prince will be his next meal, because it appears Jeonghyeon has no intention of serving him.

The king pleads for more time, saying that the prince will come around, but Gwi reminds the king that it was his ancestor who came to him 200 years ago as the Goryeo dynasty was coming to an end. That king had asked for Gwi’s help in founding a new nation, and promised that his descendants would forever serve Gwi in repayment.

I made this nation!” Gwi thunders. All those who refuse to serve him will die.

Prince Jeonghyeon and Sung-yeol sit down with the man in black, named Hae-seo, who explains that Gwi is behind the recent concubine deaths. This is something he does periodically when a successor to the throne has yet to be named; in order to assert his demands for obedience, he kills the king’s women before the king’s eyes.

Hae-seo is a vampire too, but not of the same variety as Gwi; he’s a guardian spirit who punishes those who break the rules. But as it was humans who called Gwi forth, Gwi cannot be put away without human cooperation. Thus Hae-seo could do nothing while the king was serving Gwi.

The prince explains that Hae-seo has been working on a secret plan for the past 200 years to defeat Gwi. Hae-seo tells them of the lunar eclipse that will weaken Gwi’s powers in two days, and tells them to return then to enact the plan.

As they head back, Prince Jeonghyeon says with heavy heart that he’s upset to have dumped this on Sung-yeol mere days before his wedding. But Sung-yeol merely repeats the prince’s own words back at him, from when he was nine: “Sung-yeol-ah, I want to create a world of hope for people. Will you do it with me?” Those words have never left him.

Jeonghyeon says that he wrote down the plan to defeat Gwi in his private diary, and that if something should happen to him, Sung-yeol will receive the book and must carry on the mission. Sung-yeol vows fiercely, “That will never happen. I will put my life on the line and protect you, no matter what.”

But as they move away, there Gwi stands, listening in on the conversation.

Gwi goes to vampire hunter Hae-seo next, ripping off an arm before recognizing, with some shock, his old teacher. He thought he’d killed Hae-soo 200 years ago, and is unmoved by his old teacher’s warning to come away with him, because the human realm isn’t for him. Neither are humans as weak as he thinks.

But no, Gwi fully intends to live in the human world, and pulls out his teacher’s special dagger, used to kill countless vampires. He stabs his teacher with it, right in the heart.

Sung-yeol slips into Myung-hee’s room again that night, watching her sleep for a while until she wakes. She notices that he seems heavy-hearted, and Sung-yeol worries that he may not be able to manage his mission for the prince. Myung-hee sweetly tells him to have faith in himself, since he has never failed at something he set out to do. He’s encouraged at her show of faith.

The prince reads alone that night, and Gwi comes upon him suddenly and flings him across the room. Gwi picks up the prince’s book and asks what the names have to do with the plan to eliminate him. When the prince vows to tell him nothing, Gwi all but shrugs, figuring he’ll just kill them all then. He orders his eunuch to start by finding the prince’s friend.

The next day, Sung-yeol overhears that eunuch giving the order to round up those men—as supposed traitors. Sung-yeol races off on his horse in a hurry, and arrives at Hae-seo’s that night. An invisible force grabs him by the ankle, dragging him inside the hut, where he finds a badly injured Hae-seo.

The vampire hunter gasps at Sung-yeol to come closer, and when he does, his fangs grow long and he seizes upon his neck, drinking his blood.

Sung-yeol manages to fight him off, but Hae-seo says with his dying breath that this is the only thing he can do for him—that he’s conferred some of his powers to Sung-yeol, who is the only one who can challenge Gwi now. He mumbles that black clothing will protect him from the light.

Sung-yeol starts to convulse uncontrollably, his body undergoing a change from within, until his eyes flash red. He passes out.

In the morning, Sung-yeol jolts awake painfully as he hears Myung-hee’s voice calling out to him. But she’s not here, and he looks around in horror at his surroundings—there’s a severed arm in the room and a pile of ashes where Hae-seo was lying last night.

He reaches out, but the sunbeam causes his hand to start smoking. He jerks back his arm in pain and tries to collect himself.

Sung-yeol puts his normal clothing on over the black layer and staggers painfully home, his vision blurry and red-tinged. People hurry out of his path in fear, and he hears that three days have passed since he was knocked out.

But worst of all is the news that Prince Jeonghyeon has been accused of conspiracy. Sung-yeol comes to the town square where a crowd has gathered and takes in the gallows, with severed heads mounted on pikes. Above them hang banners announcing their names and crimes.

But the prince isn’t the only one he’s lost: Sung-yeol reads his father’s name in horror and rages wildly. Guards hold him back but he shoves them aside with superhuman strength, howling in grief as his fangs start to grow. He collapses.

When he awakens, he’s prisoner in Gwi’s cave, bound by ropes. He sees children’s bodies littering the ground—royals.

Gwi comes up and examines his neck wound, wondering how it is Sung-yeol survived being bitten. He holds up the little prince’s body and says he must crave his blood. Sung-yeol realizes this must be Gwi and vows to tear him apart with his bare hands.

Gwi is astonished that Sung-yeol rejects blood, and wonders suspiciously if Hae-seo was the one to turn him. Even when Sung-yeol spits in his face, Gwi decides he quite likes Sung-yeol—he’s better than all those weak, puny humans he’s surrounded himself with. If Sung-yeol joins him, Gwi offers to make him king and give him everything.

Sung-yeol says scathingly that Gwi can’t face the sun openly and feeds off people’s blood, and that people may have served him out of necessity but were waiting for the chance to eliminate him. Angrily, Gwi grabs his throat and insists that nothing can destroy him—he’s eliminated all challengers, including the precious prince.

Sung-yeol fires back that it’s not over, and one day the world will be rid of Gwi. Humans will make sure of it. That enrages Gwi, who shoves him aside, knocking him out again.

Myung-hee’s voice wakes him again, but this time she’s here—Gwi has her, knife to throat, and asks, “How does it feel, watching your sweetheart turning into a bloodsucking monster?” He slashes Myung-hee’s arm, then stabs Sung-yeol in the gut.

They both fall, and Gwi addresses Sung-yeol: If he doesn’t drink her blood, he’ll die. He sneers that she won’t give up her life to save a man who’d become a monster, because people are weak. But to his shock, Myung-hee runs herself into the dagger, and Sung-yeol musters his strength to go to her, throwing Gwi against the wall in a burst of energy. The force causes a boulder to land on top of Gwi.

Sung-yeol cradles a dying Myung-hee, who tells him it’s not his fault. She urges him to drink her blood, begging, “You must live. Live, and accomplish your mission.” Crying, she tells him, “I love you.”

The scene fades into a happier one—it’s that rainy day the prince had teased him about. Sung-yeol asks why Myung-hee never says the words “I love you,” and she replies that the words aren’t sufficient to the feelings. She kisses him bashfully, and he kisses her back.

Now she repeats, “I love you.” With a sob, he bites into her neck and drinks her blood, clutching her close until she goes limp in his arms.

Then, we zoom forward 120 years.

The marketplace is bustling, and a young bookseller skips through the streets, saying hello to all the merchants. We know this is a young woman—she’s JO YANG-SUN (Lee Yubi)—but she’s masquerading as a young man, and the villagers are none the wiser.

Yang-sun crows to her hyungnim about finally receiving a message from the scholar she’s been dangling after for ages—they want the noted book-lover as a regular client—and a competitor whines about her monopolizing the customer base.

Yang-sun heads over to a rowdy gibang that night to meet the scholar, arriving outside the door just in time to hear the man inside urging a gisaeng to lift her skirt just a little more. She announces herself loudly and opens the door on a half-dressed young man sketching a half-dressed gisaeng. (We should recognize that he’s Changmin, but for now he’s left unintroduced.)

She’s told she has the wrong room, and Yang-sun excuses herself, saying she knew the scholar wouldn’t be engaged in such activities.

She finds a man waiting outside for her, and as he leads her to the right room, she asks if the rumors are true of the scholar’s interest in royal books; he’s been buying up books left and right. As she’s ushered into the room, she sees a glimpse of the scholar’s face, though it’s mostly covered by a fan, and then a privacy screen is lowered between them.

He’s Sung-yeol, and he asks if it’s true she can locate any book. He asks for Prince Jeonghyeon’s private diary, but she’s unfamiliar with that name. Just then, the injured rodent she’s been keeping in her sleeve escapes and darts under Sung-yeol’s desk. Yang-sun sees it climbing up his leg and accosts him, fumbling all over his body while he sits there stone-faced.

She manages to grab it, then looks up at Sung-yeol’s face. “It’s more beautiful than a woman’s face,” she marvels, staring openly. She laughs that her rodent must like him more than her, and then Sung-yeol realizes that his face is uncovered and throws up an arm to hide it. Confused, Yang-sun imitates his pose, wondering if she smells.

Then she winces in pain—the rodent has bitten her, and a drop of blood oozes from her finger. Sung-yeol’s eyes widen and he fights down his reaction as his fangs start to grow and his eyes turn red.


God, I love Lee Jun-ki. He’s just such a fireball of emotional commitment, which I admire no matter what the project, even when that commitment sometimes bleeds into excess. But he’s always willing to go there for a character, and when you manage that kind of performance smartly, you can wind up with something really very special—it’s intense and moving, and when the actor is that engaged with his role, as a viewer it’s that much more believable to go there with him. And certainly that helps when the “there” in question can sound kinda out there and ridiculous on paper.

I thought the first episode was perfectly paced, keeping us in the “past” timeline long enough to feel things for everyone but moving along so that we could also get a taste of the present-day storyline. I have to admit I’m still emotionally with the past and maybe another episode wouldn’t have hurt, but on the other hand that might have made it really hard to move on since I already really loved those characters and maybe it’s best we don’t get overly attached. The kind of friendship we see betwee Sung-yeol and Prince Jeonghyeon always gets me, and I’ll always cry for the tragic loss of a heartwarming bromance. I didn’t expect to like Myung-hee so much either, given that she was such a fleeting presence, but I suppose that’s why you’re smart and cast someone like Kim So-eun, who makes innocence and sweetness endearing (rather than boring).

For being so straightforward, I find Gwi an interesting villain in that there’s a backstory there, and he’s not just an evil dude who likes to perpetrate evil because it’s his nature. His motivations seem, oddly enough, pretty human (or relatable to human ones)—he wants to wield power and feels contempt for the weak, and despite his insistence on being unbeatable, the fact that he’s so keen to wipe out threats suggests to me that he does feel an underlying vulnerability. Plus, it’s a compelling tidbit to add that the humans brought him about in the first place, which weaves in a whole other thread of responsibility/culpability.

Above all, I knew I was hooked when, as I was watching, I wanted to cry, “Nooooo, stop! You can’t make him a vampire!” I so badly wanted Sung-yeol to have a different story than the one I knew would be the case from Day 1—it’s right there in the title, practically!—but I was half-wishing he could somehow avoid that vampire fate and save his loved ones and beat Gwi, all in the first hour. I kind of hate that he’s doomed to be a vampire, even though that’s totally the appeal of the character. In this world you don’t see vamps as sexy, glamorous alterna-humans who can enjoy perfectly full lives with just a little side condition that causes a few inconveniences.

Instead, I feel the wrench of what this means for him, and to know that he was made one in order to defeat the world’s greatest evil makes the sacrifice a little extra keen. It doesn’t get more epic than that, right?


145 Comments from the Beanut Gallery
  1. pxndx

    Wow so fast. I haven’t been able to find the episode subbed 🙁

    • 1.1 Lizzie

      It’s almost completely subbed on Viki..probably be done in an hour or so..

      • 1.1.1 pxndx

        I really hope so, I’ve been waiting for this drama since they announced they would produce it. One more hour won’t kill me, hopefully.

      • 1.1.2 Lilly

        Watched on viki. Was like watching a beautiful painting moving. Scary and lovely at the same time.

    • 1.2 Paper

      Lee Jun-ki should just wear Hanboks IRL too~ he is so damn good looking in traditional clothes its ugh… I can’t describe the feeling T_T

      Anyways I’m so darn excited for this show :c Its my new fix 😀 Forever a junki~~~

      • 1.2.1 yaya

        Totally agree… he is damn good looking in hanbok. Just like AATM … so handsome LOL !

        • ys

          Though he also looked very good in a 19th century suit with short-but-still-longish hair in Joseon Gunman as the Japanese businessman.

      • 1.2.2 Reena

        Yes… he def fits the fantasy sageuk genre… This reminds me a lot of Arang and the Magistrate.

        Idk.. when he wears casual clothes, he looks like a cutout from a handsome manga character… and when he wears a handbok, he looks more manly to me.

      • 1.2.3 Alessar

        Dude basically just looks great in hats. Something about how they frame his face just works. When I see him with uncovered hair it feels weird (even though he still looks very good).

  2. MeLiYasha

    Oh my God I’m shivering just by peeking a little into this. Don’t want to read too much because I will watch it later.

    • 2.1 prettysup

      Haha same here, i am not reading it yet!

  3. crazedlu

    Well… I watched the raw, then the subbed, then stalked all day for recaps… which rarely happens, so… definitely sticking around for this one!

    Fantastic casting. Great performances in this first episode. I’m pretty hooked. Really excited for Lee Jun-ki and Lee Yubi!!

    • 3.1 Kiara

      I did the same thing too lol.

  4. Amg1

    For a Vampire drama it is quite good, very pleasantly surprise! Thanks for the recap!!!!

    • 4.1 Lilly

      It looks like everyone can enjoy it I think, even those who usually do not watch any horror. It is not over the top gruesome and more about the story to me.

    • 4.2 Sharon

      LOL I think we’ve all watched Orange Marmalade, which is ruining our expectations of vampire dramas :3
      but at least this caused us to pleasantly enjoy this one 😀

  5. Christina

    I never found Lee Junki attractive till now 😍
    I’m glad this episode lived up to all the hype

  6. Patoi

    Thank you for fast recap. I really really enjoy the 1st episode. Hope the drama continue to deliver. Love Lee Joon Gi.

  7. exquisitemelody


    So excited to see how this story will pan out. Gwi seems like an amazing villain – I love it! And I love me some sageuk Lee Jun Ki!

  8. ty

    Oh, I like this show. It’s not my usual fare, but I like it a lot.
    Lee Junki was great, especially in the scene where he was being turned into a vampire, but I felt like he’s overacting just a TEENSY bit. He’s still amazing though.
    Lee Yubi’s really cute so far without being annoying, I really like her!
    And I just can’t take Lee Soo Hyuk seriously with that hair LOL.

  9. Alex

    Lee Jun Ki is really awesome in Scholar. The part where he started transforming after he was bitten gave me the shivers. So realistic. I could feel every muscle in my body spazzing with him.

    LJK and Kim So Eun totally sold the first love story. It was short, but i was surprised by how gutted i felt when she was dying (even though we knew she would). The emotions that played out between them…fantastic. I cried along with KSE when she cried. First time….

    I like how Lee Soo Hyuk played Gwi as the supposed evil-incarnate. He seems to enjoy playing the cold evil villain, yet i too felt that there was an undercurrent of invulnerability beneath that cool, brutal exterior.

    All in all, a totally riverting start for Scholar. I was gripping the edge of my seat the entire time. Looking forward to what the cast will bring in ep 2.

    • 9.1 AA

      Based on DBs cap, I can already feel the intense story and its characters including the back story between Sung Yeon and Myung Hee. I hope we will see more backlashes and the bromance seems intriguing, too.

      I am fighting the urge to watch the episode raw and I think reading DBs caps just made it ease a little bit but makes me want to watch it that much sooner! hahaha My patience is being tested!

      • 9.1.1 osmanthus tea

        Yep, that was a brief but quite convincing love story. That’s got my expectations high, so I’m going to need a lot more convincing from Yubi. It’s funny though – when the crowd prince first teased Sung Yeol about Myung Hee, he seemed shy, maybe even nerdy/reserved. Totally surprised that he was so cheeky and bold in their private moments!

        I quite liked everyone’s acting so far, and Gwi makes a pretty intriguing villain. I really enjoyed the bromance between Sung Yeol and the crown prince (even more than with Myung Hee) and I’d love more to see those flashbacks.

        Seems like Gwi used to be vampire who was a vampire hunter? That’s all kinds of crazy.

        And I am keeping my eyes on the gisaeng? who was in the room with Sung Yeol at the brothel. Is she some sorta undercover sidekick? Because her eyes widened, possibly because she knows of Sung Yeol’s secret, when she saw the blood on Yang-sun. She does look like she’ll make a quick-witted sidekick! (Thinking back to the brothen owner-cum-patriot in Gu Family Book)

        Thanks Javabeans for recapping so quickly!

        • redfox

          some scenes with Gwi I felt like I would rather watch it in theater without the screen in the way. I dunno, somehow I would want no filter, I would like to see it unfold before my eyes. and Soo Hyuk has a really strong and deep voice! I think he should try doing a play in theater sometimes

  10. 10 eve

    I try to stay away, coz I love to watch it stripping after it finish. But..Joon Gi temptation is too much. I try to hold…not want to go to you db..but my hand have their own mind…sigh…my ever lovely Joon Gi never vanished…

  11. 11 AA

    Now, I really can’t wait for the Eng subtitles to come out. I am cheering you on patiently, subbers worldwide! Like DB, I wouldn’t have opposed the past to last a little longer but it would be hard to move on to the present if you linger too long. But another episode would have sufficed.

    Cannot wait to get started on the Eng subs though. I need to learn hangul ASAP!

  12. 12 gadis

    Thank you, JB. Will you continue to recap this? Because no matter how much I love Junki, I just can’t stay focused whenever I watch saeguk. It would be great if you continue recapping this since the story is gripping so far.

  13. 13 jensredshoes

    Thanks did the recap, I can’t wait to see it subbed! LJK… /++\

  14. 14 Kiara

    Wow! this pilot episode was really good. I must admit I was scared to death that it would be cheesy but I am relieved. Whew…

    I was very curious about our Dark Lord Gwi’s background story and how he came to rule the palace. I’m liking our villain a lot. A very good match for our hero. Less politics more actions.

    Aww the sweet love story. I also wish it was longer because we all know that it would end in a tragic way.
    I also wanted Prince Jeonghyeon to hang around a little longer or at least write his romance novel before killing him off.

    I like the ending with the cheerful young Yang-sun because Myung-hee’s death was pretty depressing.

    Can’t wait for the 2nd episode. Excited for the little bookseller.

  15. 15 harmonyfb

    I thought the acting was pretty good, overall (Lee Joon-ki, of course, was awesome, but everyone else seemed perfectly competent.)

    However, the musical choices were terrible – they were so weird that several times they took me right out of the action (especially in the scene where he killed Myung Hee – what the hell was THAT terrible soundtrack doing there?)

    I’m hopeful that they’ll change up the music to something more fitting.

    • 15.1 dukdam

      Regarding the soundtrack, welcome to the world of Oh Joonseong, he who turns dramas into music videos.

      Sometimes he works wonders (Faith, City Hunter) but sometime he needs to reign it in a wee bit (Boys Before Flowers).

      • 15.1.1 juniper

        You might say the world of Oh Joonseong is allllmmooooost paaaaaraaaadise

        • harmonyfb


      • 15.1.2 harmonyfb

        Oh, no. Maybe I’ll watch it without the sound on.

      • 15.1.3 pogo

        I LOVED his soundtrack and OSTs for Master’s Sun and I think he is the perfect person to score an action-packed fantasy sageuk….

        but he and the PD really need to turn that background score in SWWTN down, sometimes.

      • 15.1.4 Shalini

        So that’s why the background music when Yangsun appears sounded exactly like Faith’s theme! I was wondering about that.

    • 15.2 dahlia

      I didn’t have much issue with the soundtrack until Myung Hee’s death–ugh, such a weird music choice!

      • 15.2.1 harmonyfb

        It bumped me right out of the scene – not appropriate at all (not to mention that the music should not be louder than the vocal track).

      • 15.2.2 pogo

        Myung-hee’s death and parts of episode 2 as well, I felt…they’re getting roundly criticised for it, I hope they take people’s opinion into account and pipe that music lower.

  16. 16 yayaya

    IKR? I cried along that scene. Lee Jun Ki was really good at playing viewers’ emotion. He looked really falling in love with Myunghee that made the dying scene even deeper. I felt broke with him when Myunghee died. And I give a big applause for KSE. Aside from being a fan of hers, I was somewhat nervous of her Myunghee character, but she played it well. Seems like acting with Junki gives so much power to her, doesn’t it? Really looking forward to seeing more of her. Hye Ryeong!!

    Lee Yu Bi looked cute though. Just praying they wouldnt make her character only a mere TYPICAL cutie seen in most k-dramas. PDnim, please do your job well.

    What make me disappointed the most are the CG and music. I do think they could have done it better!

    • 16.1 Kiara

      I watched it live this morning and I was crying along with Sung-yeol when Myunghee died. I had no idea what they were saying but their scene was heartbreaking.

      • 16.1.1 AA

        Still waiting for subs. 🙁 lol Maybe I should watch it RAW, too. What to do?????

        • Kiara

          Raw is a must for me because it’s all about the acting. I get the info later with subs :).

          Do it :).

    • 16.2 sera

      is the subs out? even Myung Hee just a small character, she played it well i guess.cant wait for Hye Rong.

      agreed with u. hope LYB’s character wudnt be a mere typical cutie, like PMY in Sungkuyunkwan Scandal. 🙁

  17. 17 katshirou

    I have found my new Wed-Thurs drama ♥♡♥♡ Fingers crossed that this drama will not go downhill. Loving my weekly lineup of The Time I’ve Loved You for Sat-Sun then I Remember You for Mon-Tues then this one for Wed- Thurs.

    HURRAH!! (≧∇≦)

    • 17.1 osmanthus tea

      Yes!!! I think this current ‘season’ is one of the best. But man, that’s gonna be a bitch with regard to doing anything over the week. That’s already 6 hours gone…

  18. 18 prettysup

    Wah this is a very fast recap! I thot it was just aired in Korea yesterday night?

  19. 19 Lovemesomedramas

    For the first episode I think they did a good job with the backstory but I didn’t feel much for the crown prince in the beginning. I liked the story– I had no Idea that the vamp teacher would turn him into an equally powerful vamp. The crown prince bit was hard to watch because I wasn’t completely invested but I liked the story anyway. Mr. evil vamp is great at his role. He is scary, powerful and hot LOL. I honestly can’t wait how it plays out now with the girl/boy book seller and the sexy vamp. Overall pretty good first episode.Thanks for the recap!

    • 19.1 Kiara

      There were 2 crown princes in the first episode. I was very much interested in Prince Jeonghyeon because he is the key to Gwi’s undoing. The 3rd novel seems like a documentary of the current state of the palace before he died and that is all that the good guys have ( I hope it didn’t get destroyed during that fake rain).
      The book that Sung-yeol is looking for contains the information on how to destroy Gwi. That is when Yang-sun comes in handy.

  20. 20 pigsnout

    Thank god it’s a good first ep, Lee Jun Ki is so great at making you feel Sung Yeol’s heartbreak and the tragedy of how he loses everyone he loves. I was ready to cry at the scene where Myung Hee dies (and Kim So Eun is so good, you actually feel sad for her)

    But can they please do something about that annoying music? And don’t make Lee Yubi too much of a cutesy candy who seems like she ate too much sugar. I like her and she can emote.

    And Lee Soo Hyuk looks HOTTTTT even as a scary monster.

  21. 21 mellina

    I love love love it(I watched it raw and understood nothing lol )
    reading recaps made it easier.
    what makes a good show?the ability of the actors to draw the audience or make the audience to fall for their character.so far the actors in this show have done justice.
    I especially loved the part where yang-sun’s pet got into SY clothes and him practically rolling his eyes lol.
    yang sun is strong for not fainting while looking at pretty SY..I would have if I had the opportunity.
    I watched this episode with an open heart and I hope it doesn’t suck along the way. *fingers crossed*

    • 21.1 Kiara

      I burst out laughing when Yang-sun was all over Sung Yeol surging for her injured pet. The look on Soo-Hyang face was pretty hilarious. Such an awkward moment.

      • 21.1.1 pogo

        I don’t know what cracked me up more, Soo-hyang’s ‘wtf’ expression or Sung-yeol’s poker face. Props to everyone involved in pulling that scene off, including Lee Yubi.

  22. 22 NahlaJW

    Omo finally it started Yesss. I’m gonna watch it then read recaps😍😍

  23. 23 Gyu

    I need more Prince Jeonghyeon

  24. 24 Angela

    I think I just found my K-drama crack! What a great pilot episode. Damn… Lee Jun Ki is a great actor!

  25. 25 redfox

    I am yet to find a way to watch it cause either it is not playing in my region or unsubbed. but based on the recap, my worries have dissolved – a little. Fighting, Teacher!

    I am curious: how would they have called a “vampire” during Joseon time, I mean, they must have called it differently than a straight translation. what would have been the joseon name for vampire?

    • 25.1 javabeans

      They call it literally blood-sucking-monster. But Sung-yeol does mention the word “vampire” as their Western name, since he’s well-read in Western texts.

      • 25.1.1 redfox

        oh, thank you!

      • 25.1.2 Kiara

        Thank you JB. I know he said it in Korean but didn’t know the actual English translation.

        Their conversation seems boring to some but I actual feel for Prince Jeonghyeon and his dream for his country to be run by humans instead of vampires. The current king is scared to death of Gwi. Prince Jeonghyeon was the only one who stood up to Gwi so I was sad that he died but our hero will carry out his wish.

  26. 26 dahlia

    Thank you for the recap! 🙂

    Some of the effects seemed a little low-budget, but it wasn’t *too* awful. At least the story seems to be alright and everyone’s doing an excellent job in their roles so far. I’m really excited to see more of our bookseller–and see Sung-yeol and Gwi meet up again.

    • 26.1 Sharon

      I actually thought the effects were a lot better than I was expecting to see.

      Like Twilight (which I admit is bad) is a big-budget production, and the effects were kind of similar, so it’s not the low-budgetness, but I agree it could’ve been better :3

      • 26.1.1 dahlia

        Oh, they definitely weren’t as bad as I initially feared too. There were just a couple of moments that I thought they seemed a little goofy. But I can handle some goofy special effects now and then as long as the story and acting are there. And in the first episode, they absolutely are. 🙂

      • 26.1.2 pogo

        Twilight was infamous for its cheap-looking special effects and they made a LOT more money than any Korean drama so they had no excuse. And the SWWTN special effects so far are not bad.

  27. 27 Mikanjjj

    Thanks javabeans for the fast recap !!! I thought it would take one more day for the recap to be out … But I’m so happy you did it so fast !!!

  28. 28 Kennedy Rose

    ok..this is not fair…have yet to find a subbed one. can’t watch on viki for some reason.. but just by reading the recap..i am crying! darn. LJK, i hate you!(just looking at those eyes..makes me sad! he lost his beloved, his BFF and his dad all in a short space of time…talk about tragedy!) it’ll be interesting to see how our tragic hero reacts to our heroine’s bubbly character!

    btw, javabeans, thanks for the superfast recap!

  29. 29 Oshim

    Thanks for the recap!
    If not for this recap, something would have nagged me…
    Knowing very little Korean can be bad too…
    When Myung-hee addressed Sung-yeol as “Orabeoni” while it was clear that hey were lovers living under the same house and supposedly sharing the same parents….I was quite disturbed and couldn’t enjoy the drama fully…. I knew a better explanation was somewhere there and thanks for the recap, I am clear about their relationship now. 🙂

    Agree, the background music sucked… at times I found the acting to be a bot too dramatic but I guess it is alright given that it is a costume drama after all…

    • 29.1 Jahnvi

      Not the same parents… His mother raised Myung Hee like her own daughter, she was not her biological daughter….

      And Orabeoni is the seguk form of Oppa.
      Honestly, where I saw the ep, “Orabeoni” was subbed as brother, which bothered me too. Brother may be accurate translation of Orabeoni , in my society calling brother means they share only brother-sister relationship, not man-woman

  30. 30 Danielle

    I love it! I already do and I hope that it doesn’t disappoint. This drama is really aiming for grandiose and it’s really my style. I hope it delivers.

    The music is driving me crazy though. It’s really grand… but SO cheesy.

  31. 31 dramagongju

    Even with just skimming and peeking at the screencaps, I know the performance will be fantastic because Lee Jun-ki!
    But as much as I’d like to watch it already, I think I might just let this finish airing first and watch it marathon-style later.
    Hope it turns out to be better and better with each episode!

  32. 32 Sajen

    Personally if Lee Yu-bi were to paw all over my body like that I wouldn’t be able to sit there stone-faced, I guess that’s why Lee Jun-ki is an actor and I’m not. Still bravo, Lee Jun-ki, bravo.

  33. 33 kyl

    I feel the same way after I watched the first episode: I wanted Sung Yeol to stay as human and get married to Myung Hee, I wanted him to defeat Hwi, I didn’t want Prince Jeonghyeon to die. Now I kinda wish Lee Hyun Woo is THE Crown Prince instead of a cameo.

    That aside, Lee Jun Ki’s awesome acting is preventing me from laughing at that teensy bit of cheesiness brought upon by the music, but he somehow managed to make me laugh at the last scene when he was suppressing his desire for blood – overacting. Cause it’s 120 years later and he appeared to have no control over it still, which I find it a bit weird no matter how ‘special’ her blood is.

    • 33.1 redfox

      yes, the music is the only disturbing element or should I say, an iffy element. It seems overdramatic.
      what I love is the tone and the costumes. for once, they have actually thought about thew costumes a bit.

      • 33.1.1 pogo

        The costume design is fantastic, I love that they’ve been a little creative with the standard hanbok and given it a few aesthetic twists, especially on the women. I loved the gown-like look of Soo-hyang’s hanbok especially, and the hair accessories and extra ruffle on the skirt for the girls in the posters. I like that the costume designers took a little licence with the look since this is a fantasy sageuk after all.

  34. 34 Jahnvi

    Well well well … The most anticipated drama in 2015 \m/ and did not disappoint, at least in the first episode. Lee Yu Bi’s short appearance in this ep is an indication that she is gonna nailed it 🙂 really this one may be 1st cross dressing, I really liked 🙂 …

    I just have a few complains, the 1st one is the BGM, it’s toooo dramatic, sometimes doesn’t feel like a tv drama but sitting in theatre. Specially on So Eun’s death , the bgm was so distracting that I couldn’t feel sad 😛 second is Lee Jun Ki’s vampire make up specially teeth, they could improve it. Lee Yu Bi’s make up is wonderful 🙂

    • 34.1 Redcat

      Of course because you like her lmao. I think the makeup looks fine. The acting is what counts, and I say so far all the actors are doing a superb job.

  35. 35 Susan

    Fabulous use of guyliner!

  36. 36 Twocents

    I’m loving this drama already. From the casts’ acting and the way the stroyline is laid out in the first episode. But I have to complaint about the music choice in this drama because it is SO BAD that it spoils crucial moments especially during the part where myung hee dies and seung yeol has to suck her blood and cries in agony urgh!

  37. 37 Ari

    I agree with some comments I wish lee hyun woo had changmin’s role. :/

  38. 38 S_C_S

    “God, I love Lee Jun-ki. He’s just such a fireball of emotional commitment, which I admire no matter what the project, even when that commitment sometimes bleeds into excess.”

    …not gonna lie–I laughed out loud a few times because sometimes Jun-ki WAS a little excessive. 1) when he was convulsing after he got bit. 2) when he was crying with Myung-hee as he was about to drink her blood, and 3) when Yubi got bit by that chipmunk and started to bleed–that dramatic look he gave her. LOL oh yeah, plus all the times when they played music in the background that confused the hell out of me 😕. (Really didn’t go with the scenes…)

    OVERALL, not a bad start. Exceeded my expectations…will wait ’til all episodes are out though.

    • 38.1 Kiara

      I think he has gotten a lot better control when it comes to emotional scenes. I do think that he is being himself and that is how he reacts to sorrow in real life.

      • 38.1.1 Lin_K


      • 38.1.2 Helena

        I think LJG has the ability to act such as PD wants him to do, nothing more

        • Kiara

          He’s one of those actors that doesn’t always rely on the PD to tell him what to do with his character compared to less experience actors.
          Towards the end of Arang Jun-ki and Shin Min-ah came up with the last scene on their own. He contributes a lot to how fight scenes should go because he does it on his own.

  39. 39 little-muffin

    A very good start! Not gonna deny that I’m excited about this show mostly bcos of Lee Jun-ki (how can I not when he looks so good in hanbok). But overall, I love the other casts too! I think they fit in their roles well.

    I’m sad that the bromance with the Prince ended so fast. I really like Lee Hyun-woo here.

    Despite the huge status difference, there’s equality and much sincerity in their friendship. Can’t help to do a slight comparison of their friendship with the two silly boys on ‘High Society’

    Anyway, hope that he’ll have a new bromance with the current prince (Changmin). So looking forward!

  40. 40 i can be human too

    I was wondering if any one knew…the royal children in Gwi’s Lair of Despair, are they Prince Jeonghyeon’s children or are they the kings?

    • 40.1 Maimee

      Thank God for recap. I keep refreshing forum waiting for info of english sub.
      I didn’t pay attention to the bgm until it pointed in comments here. They can learn from Arang & The Magistrate. The bgm was pretty good.

      • 40.1.1 Maimee

        Ah I replied at wrong comment

    • 40.2 Kiara

      I believe they are his children. He did say something like “what will I tell my son” after their visit with Hae-seo.

      • 40.2.1 pogo

        I wondered if he was talking about future sons he would expect to have, since there was no indication he had a wife or child. But then he does use the term ‘se-son’ which is apparently the word for the Crown Prince’s son, so he may well have been a father himself.

        • Kiara

          That’s what I thought at first but different sources referred to him as the grandson.
          Gwi killed them in his lair. Maybe for Sung-yeol to witness that he is the real ruler of Joseon and that Sung-yeol has no one left to serve?
          I thought of his age too. He is probably about the same age as Sung-yeol and he could have gotten married really young which is not unusual during that era.

          • Kiara

            I meant the little prince as grandson.

  41. 41 fantasy

    Beautiful 1st ep but horrible bgm !!!!

  42. 42 Suzi Q

    LJK looks great in traditional costume..and as hottie vampire. Loved him doing the scene where he’s transforming into a vampire. Scary and sexy!
    Kim So Eun always does a great job;however I thought she was a little too young to play LJK’s love interest. Kinda made me cringe at the kiss scenes.
    Aside from the cheesy bit of Hae Soo’s arm being ripped out and getting tossed. So fake rubber looking arm. I laughed when his hand was still moving…
    Lee Soo Hyuk got a bad hair day as a vampire. Can’t take him too seriously.
    I like vampire stories, and LJK is perfect in this role.It’s pretty interesting for a first episode so far.

    • 42.1 Redcat

      I think it fits perfectly because at that time era, young girls were suppose to marry fairly older man. It’s the whole innocent flower becoming the bride tradition. I love Kim Soeun’s acting. Kinda sad that their love plot was so short, hope there is more flash backs in the future.

    • 42.2 Kiara

      So-eun is gorgeous here and her hanbok is so pretty making her look like a young noble lady to a t. Maybe that made her look even younger to you but Myung-hee and Sung-yeol are probably only 3yrs apart. He is not a 144yrs old vampire yet.

  43. 43 Requiem

    If you think Kim so eun is too young to play Lee Jun ki’s love interest, I wonder what you’ll make of Lee Yu bi with him, since she’s almost a year younger than KSE.

    I really don’t get why a 25 year old would be too young to be the love interest of a 33 year old. Seems fine to me. Of course a 24 year old being the love interest of a 153 year old seems a little icky, but hey, it’s fantasy! 😉

  44. 44 june

    why does lee hyun woo had to die so early. I am enjoying his scene with LJK. Wished his role has been expanded to more episodes.

  45. 45 wildfly

    I myself also wonder why we were presented
    with one episode of characters who died 200
    years ago and who won’t play any role in the following events just to give our hero a backstory and show his pre-vampire state and the tragic circumstances (oh! should’ve stayed in bed on that fateful day i lost my bff, gf and humanity) that lead to his current sorry state (or overpowered and cool, matter of preferences). couln’t they just narrated the whole episode1 in short instead of creating a whole bunch of guys we won’t see again?

    • 45.1 pogo

      …except that we do see some of them again. Gwi, for starters. And the Myung-hee doppelganger.

    • 45.2 Jan

      Because those people and events in the past are relevant to the present. Besides Gwi and Myunghee (or her look-alike) who reappears in the future, what Prince Jeonghyeon did in the past is also important in the future.

      Because this is a drama and is supposed to show us what is happening in a visual form on the screen. That’s why many dramas have flashbacks or childhood versions of the leads in the first few episodes.

      Because narrations in dramas are boring, and it’s more interesting to watch real people act out the scenes. LOL.

  46. 46 singlelady

    Idk but the bgm didn’t really disturb me
    maybe because i was too focus to the drama so i didn’t hear it ,anyway looking forward to LYB in the next episode,
    (The thing that disturb me is the preview haha)

  47. 47 Aida

    Well well! That was a whole lot of to-do squeezed into one episode.I loved it! I know the acting will get smoother as the episodes go by, so I won’t comment on anyone’s excessive role playing…only thing is, the music is definitely off. Really shocking how bad it is, LOL. But that’s my only complaint. Supporting my angel Lee Join Gi all the way to the end with this. Shipper for life!! ( ͡o ͜ʖ ͡o)

  48. 48 yaya

    Slightly remind me of AATM … Well, 2 thumbs up … Junki the master of expression !

  49. 49 Browncoat_78

    YES! I’m in love! Don’t let me down, Scholar!

  50. 50 ummi nur dienni

    lee hyun woo!!!!! I like him arghhhh lee jun ki is indeed awesome, looking forward for changmin, wow you’re so fast for making the recap 🙂

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