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Hwarang: Episode 16

As the political strife gains momentum, things are starting to spin out of Sun-woo and Ji-dwi’s control. When everyone’s wants begin to clash, they realize that they no longer have the luxury of planning their futures, and that it’s time to grow up. They will each have to make a decision that will change not only the course of their lives, but the future of Silla as well.

 
EPISODE 16 RECAP

Sun-woo confesses his love to Ah Ro and kisses her as Ji-dwi watches them from a short distance away. He goes to shoot arrows the next day, but images of the two kissing, as well as memories of Sun-woo stepping forward and claiming to be the king run wildly through his head until he loses his temper and drops his bow, furiously slamming his sword into the target instead.

Ah Ro takes the little boy who was orphaned in Crown Prince Chang’s “hunt” to shopkeeper Joo-ki. Joo-ki whines that he can’t take care of a child because he’s never even been married (“I am pure from head to toe!” hee), but Ah Ro sends the boy to sit next to him. A touch of a tiny hand and a pair of puppy-dog eyes, and Joo-ki is putty in the adorable cherub’s hands.

Ah Ro’s friend Soo-yeon is feeling morose these days because Ban-ryu hasn’t contacted her since they all came home from Baekje. Ah Ro tells her that relationships have their ups and downs and advises her to wait for him to come around.

Speaking of Ban-ryu, he’s stopped by nasty piece of work Kang Sung, who asks if he’s deliberately ignoring Minister Park. Kang Sung hands over a note, which says that Ban-ryu worked hard for nothing. Kang Sung taunts that his adoptive father has abandoned him, and laughs when Ban-ryu shouts at him to shut up.

Sun-woo flails adorably when he tries to sneak up on Ah Ro, but Su-ho beats him to it. He grows jealous when the two go into the infirmary, knowing that Ah Ro is about to see another man with his shirt off.

Ah Ro shows Su-ho the arrow that nearly killed him, and fusses at him gently for throwing himself in front of the arrow meant for Sun-woo. Su-ho flinches as she dabs medicine onto his healing wound (why is he bandaged everywhere BUT where he was shot?), and he casually asks if they’ve really never dated, since he thought he’d dated all of Soo-yeon’s friends.

Sun-woo sneaks into the room, and Su-ho awkwardly switches to formal speech, still under the impression that Sun-woo is the hidden king. Sun-woo calls him on it and he switches back to banmal, ha.

On pretense of checking out Su-ho’s wound, Sun-woo grabs Ah Ro’s hand and takes the ointment from her, and they’re so busy gazing into each other’s eyes that Sun-woo accidentally presses too hard on Su-ho’s back. Sun-woo thanks Ah Ro, but Su-ho assumes he’s thanking him and asks why, but Sun-woo just answers vaguely.

Later, the lovebirds stroll through the Hwarang grounds, and Ah Ro confesses how happy she is that there’s someone who would be willing to sacrifice his life for her. Sun-woo is touched, and he tells Ah Ro that if she dies, he dies too. He promises to always put her first, so he asks her to help him out and think of herself first, and they pinky-swear on it.

Han-sung witnesses this conversation and squints at the two suspiciously. He tells Yeo-wool that he doesn’t think they’re really siblings — they can’t be, if Sun-woo really is the king.

Sun-woo takes Ah Ro to the river, and pretends there’s something in her eye to sneak in a kiss on her cheek. He takes her face in his hands and gives her a more serious kiss, enjoying their bit of alone time.

Princess Sookmyung updates her mother, Queen Regent Jiso, on the events in Baekje, including how Sun-woo claimed to be the king. The queen regent asks what Sookmyung thinks of Sun-woo, and though Sookmyung’s memories are pretty swoony, she has the foresight to keep her answer neutral.

She says that Sun-woo is fair and fearless, and a good leader. The queen regent asks if the princess has feelings for him, and Sookmyung denies it, which seems to please her mother. She says that her daughter is a lot like her, though it makes her nervous.

She expresses concern that the Hwarang have gotten too strong and that she’s losing her grip on them. She tells Sookmyung that she’s making her a Wonhwa (female spiritual leader of the Hwarang), reminding her of the two historical female Wonhwa who fought and were both put to death.

The Hwarang resume classes, and Hwa-gong present a poem for them to study, explaining that poetry can offer a glimpse into the lives of the people and how they feel about their king. He asks Ji-dwi to stand and read it, which he does:

Rat, rat, large rat. Don’t eat my barley.
I cared for you for a long time, but you do not care for me.
Surely I will leave you, and go to that happy nation.
Happy, land, happy land,
I will find righteousness there.

Ji-dwi grows emotional as he reads the poem, understanding that the rat is the king, hiding and eating the people’s grain. Hwa-gong explains that if the rat eats the people’s livelihood, the people will leave, all the while glaring at Ji-dwi. He concludes with, “A king without his people is no longer a king.”

Ji-gong is still in the low-born village, despairing that there’s nothing he can do to help all of the sick people. Woo-reuk tells him that knows a way to get his hands on some medicine, but sighs that there’s no way they could get it and bring it to the village.

When Ji-gong asks why, Woo-reuk asks if he knows why low-borns are banned from coming into the capital. Ji-gong says it’s to preserve the bone rank system, but Woo-reuk laughs at him. He says that all of the gold in the city comes from the village, where they pan it from the river. The law is to prevent the low-borns from knowing the true value of that gold.

Ji-gong is horrified that the village is being kept separate out of greed, but Woo-reuk tells him that he can’t change anything. Or, he says, Ji-gong could get the medicine.

The entire delegation heads to the palace where Queen Regent Jiso has summoned them to be recognized, and Sun-woo is taken to speak to the queen regent first. She tells him that before the Hwarang, there were the Wonhwa, who were youths who trained in martial arts and maintained order in society. Their leaders were a pair of women, Nam-mo and Joon-jeong.

The queen regent tells Sun-woo that she heard of Ah Ro’s role in keeping the peasants hopeful, and that she plans to make Ah Ro a Wonhwa. Sun-woo controls his expression, but he asks darkly, “Am I not enough?” The queen regent admits that she’s doing this to control Sun-woo, and orders him to continue acting as though he’s the king in order to protect her son.

Ah Ro paces and worries why Sun-woo is taking so long, but Ban-ryu is even more morose than usual. Su-ho asks him what’s wrong, but Ban-ryu just tells him to mind his own business.

Ji-dwi walks the grounds and finds a small courtyard with a decorative statue. He reaches into a hole in the statue and pulls out a small wooden horse, something he must have stashed there when he lived in the palace as a boy.

As Ji-dwi is lost in his memories, Princess Sookmyung finds him and demands to know what he’s doing here. He quickly stashes the toy in his shirt and says he was lost. The princess doesn’t believe him, since it’s a pretty secluded spot that even the court ladies don’t know of.

Ji-dwi starts to leave, but he stops short when the princess calls out, “Oraboni!” Ji-dwi says she’s mistaken, but she stops him with her sword this time. She steps close and studies his face, and asks in a small voice how long he’s lived this way (hiding his true identity). He says that she can’t imagine how long it’s been.

Later, Ji-dwi, Su-ho, and Ban-ryu leave, as Su-ho complains that they didn’t even get to see the queen regent. They look up and spot her watching them, and she silently thinks to Ji-dwi, “Are you safe? Are you hurt?” He telegraphs back that he’s safe for now, and his mother thinks that the more he disobeys her, the harder things will be for him.

She turns to leave, and Su-ho follows her excitedly. He unthinkingly grabs her arm and she flings out a hand, cutting a shallow groove into his cheek with her ring. Su-ho suddenly realizes he was being disrespectful, so he kneels and introduces himself.

The queen regent remembers him from when she asked him to look after Sun-woo, and she seems to feel guilty when she notices his arm in a sling. But she turns away without acknowledging him, leaving Su-ho confused.

In a different part of the palace, Sun-woo reels at the queen regent’s command to continue behaving as the hidden king. She’d told him that he was to be bait, to face any danger that her son would otherwise face. He lets out a scream of frustration, feeling trapped and afraid.

The other three Hwarang are lost in their own thoughts back in their barracks. Ban-ryu thinks about the note from Minister Park, and how Kang Sung had said he’d given up on him. Su-ho wonders why the queen regent pretended not to know him. And Ji-dwi looks at his toy horse and thinks about his conversation with Sookmyung.

Hwa-gong recalls how Crown Prince Chang called Sun-woo “Jinheung,” and when his assistant Bu-jae asks what’s wrong, he just says this place won’t be the same anymore. He goes fishing to work through his thoughts.

Soo-yeon is waiting when Ban-ryu arrives home for a visit. She says that she’s been waiting to see him since he came back, but Ban-ryu just tells her not to like a guy like him. He says he’s not going to see her again, and goes inside. Soo-yeon calls out to him tearfully, but the door is shut in her face.

Inside, Ban-ryu bows to the floor in front of Minister Park and begs him not to abandon him. He asks for another chance, but Minister Park says he’s changed his mind about making Ban-ryu king. He’s decided to make himself king, and Ban-ryu offers to help him, no matter what it takes.

Hwi-kyung finds Sun-woo still in the palace and offers him a glass of wine. Sun-woo is surly and suspicious and tells Hwi-kyung to get lost, but Hwi-kyung chuckles at him. He says the people are overjoyed and excited that the world will change now that the king finally showed up.

But he warns that if Sun-woo isn’t the real king, their disappointment will be just as great. He asks if Sun-woo might think about really becoming the king, if he could change the world. He offers to make Sun-woo into the king, but we don’t hear Sun-woo’s answer.

Ji-dwi stands in the classroom, staring at the poem about the people’s feelings for the king. He thinks about how Sun-woo stood up to declare himself king in his place and put his own life on the line to save the imprisoned peasants. Tears of shame fill his eyes, and he quickly wipes them away when Hwa-gong joins him.

Hwa-gong talks about the “rat” who couldn’t speak up and declare himself king in front of the enemy prince, and Ji-dwi agrees that he’s too scared to be the king. He calls himself a coward, always hiding.

Hwa-gong says that there are many cowardly kings in the world, but not many who would call themselves a coward. He says that’s its own act of bravery, but Ji-dwi asks if a person like that can really become king. Hwa-gong tells him that wherever he is, if there’s something he needs to do as king, then he should do it.

Ji-gong goes to see Minister Park and confronts him about the rumors of plague medicine being hoarded. Minister Park plays innocent, but when Ji-gong asks him to donate his stores of herbs, he scoffs at the idea of giving it away.

He says he’s waiting until people’s fear is high enough that they’ll spend their live savings on medicine — when that happens, he’ll distribute the herbs. Ji-gong is astounded that Minister Park would allow the plague to spread to make a profit.

Ji-gong leaves, and Ho Gong brings in Han-sung and Dan-se’s grandfather, Minister Seok. Minister Park asks how many true bone are left in the Seok family (answer: not enough), and Minister Seok reminds him of his promise to link their families through marriage.

Speaking of the boys, Dan-se is still helping Han-sung train, though it doesn’t look as though his brother is getting any better. Han-sung is drenched in sweat while Dan-se barely moves a muscle parrying his attacks, and he easily knocks Han-sung to the ground.

Han-sung has a little tantrum, wailing that Dan-se is skilled while he doesn’t even like swordsmanship. Dan-se says that if he can’t beat him in a thousand tries (of which he’s already used 991), then he’ll leave their household. He tells Han-sung to stop whining and man up, and Han-sung picks up his practice sword and starts again.

After sitting up all night thinking, Queen Regent Jiso calls for Minister Park. She takes him by surprise by telling him that she plans to step down, since King Jinheung proved his readiness to rule by defeating the Baekje crown prince. Minister Park wonders what she’s planning as she gloats that she’s won and he’s lost.

Later, her guard Hyun Chu argues that her son isn’t ready. But the queen regent says there will be no abdication — she just needs Minister Park to believe that Sun-woo is the king. She still sees Ji-dwi as a child who isn’t ready to assume his throne. Hyun Chu is worried about how Sun-woo will take all this, but the queen regent says he’ll have no choice in the matter.

Ah Ro asks her father what will happen to the people if he can’t get the medicine, and he says he just has to get it. He says he’s glad she came home safe, and Ah Ro tells him that she’s worried about Sun-woo now that everyone thinks he’s the king.

He’s at the Hwarang grounds now, and he joins Ji-dwi as he looks out over the courtyard. Ji-dwi jokes that he’s more handsome than Sun-woo expected the king to be, but instead of being angry, Sun-woo just asks softly if Ji-dwi has lived this way all his life. He then amends his comment to say “that king.”

He says “that king” must always be worried about the people around him and must be too anxious to sleep, because that’s the way he feels now. Sun-woo wonders if the king also thinks about overturning the world, but Ji-dwi says a king who was never treated as a king wouldn’t think that way.

Sun-woo asks if the king knows how the people feel, and Ji-dwi says that he lived as one of the people. Sun-woo finally gets angry on behalf of Mak Mun and snarls that the king who lives as a citizen kills anyone who sees his face. Ji-dwi seems equally angry as he agrees that it’s true, and that the king probably doesn’t even know how many people died because of him.

Ji-dwi spits that the king is stupid and foolish, and too weak to make the killings stop. Sun-woo asks if that king can save the world, or if he even needs to be alive. Ji-dwi says that if Sun-woo wants to kill that king, “…then kill him.”

Ah Ro hears footsteps behind her in the infirmary and, thinking it’s Sun-woo, she asks if he missed her. But she stands to find Ji-dwi instead, looking gloomy and serious. He asks her if she would run away with him and live an ordinary life with him. He says he has nothing he can offer her, but he’d be willing to exchange Silla’s throne for her.

Ji-dwi adds that it’s okay if she likes Sun-woo, who he guesses isn’t really her brother. He asks one last time if she’ll come to him instead, and he’ll live not as a king, but as her Jinheung.

Ah Ro doesn’t answer his question, but asks one of her own: “Are you using me as an excuse to run away?” She says that he’s always asking himself why he has to be king, but that he already knows why, and what he needs to do.

Ji-dwi asks what she knows about it, and Ah Ro tells him that if you look into the eyes of a person who’s given up, then you know. She says that he’s never given up.

That night, Sun-woo stays up, staring at the stars. Ban-ryu looks over at Sun-woo’s empty bed and leaves, and Su-ho sees him go but doesn’t stir.

In his manor, Minister Park takes off the dragon-head bracelet he’s been wearing and says, “Your Majesty, you’ve lived too long.” He regards the dragon-head bracelet with an evil smirk.

A group of black-clad assassins jump the wall into the Hwarang grounds, where Ban-ryu meets them. He’s seen Sun-woo by the pond and quietly tells them where to find him.

As Minister Park sleeps, another black-clad man picks up the dragon-head bracelet and pockets it. He takes off his mask to reveal that he’s Ji-dwi, and he pulls a large knife and wakes Minister Park by aiming it at his face.

Minister Park asks who he is, and he says coolly that he’s the owner of the bracelet — the faceless king. Minister Park squeaks that he thought Sun-woo was the king, and Ji-dwi corrects him: “No, it’s me. I am your lord, Jinheung.”

The assassins surround Sun-woo, who staggers back, unprepared. Just as the leader calls the attack, an arrow lands in his arm, and Sun-woo looks up to see Dan-se aiming his bow at the attackers while Su-ho and Yeo-wool run to his side. They toss him a sword and Su-ho draws his own, then they rush the assassins as one.

As they fight, Sun-woo and Su-ho argue over whether the others should even be there, since its Sun-woo they want. Dan-se sees Sun-woo suddenly begin to stagger, and he drops the bow and enters the fight with his own sword. Su-ho also witnesses Sun-woo looking dizzy and flailing wildly, and he rushes to his friend’s side.

Su-ho re-enters the fight, and without anyone supporting him, Sun-woo falls to he ground. His eyes roll back in his head, as he succumbs to his mysterious illness.

 
COMMENTS

I don’t blame Ji-dwi for asking Ah Ro one last time to be with him — I think he knew her answer, but he’s on the edge of a precipice and he just wanted to confirm, once and for all, that a life with her isn’t going to happen. I don’t even think he really would have given it all up if she’d said yes. I believe that he knows what he has to do now, that it’s time to take his throne even before his mother is ready to give it up. I think Ji-dwi must know that if he waits for her to make the decision, he’ll never really be the king he wants to be, so he must take his throne now rather than wait for his mommy to give it to him.

I also loved that push that Hwa-gong gave him with the poem, reminding Ji-dwi that the longer people think Sun-woo is the king, the harder time Ji-dwi will have when he reveals his true identity. If Sun-woo gains enough momentum as “king,” wanted or not, the people will rally behind him and revolt when they discover that Ji-dwi is really King Jinheung. Ji-dwi may not feel ready to rule, but he may not have a choice anymore if he doesn’t want to have a rebellion on his hands the moment he takes his throne.

One of this show’s greatest weaknesses is how it rarely tells us why the characters do what they do, other than to show them thinking very hard about it. The queen’s decision to form the Hwarang but her refusal to let the king be the king, Ji-dwi’s hesitation in taking his throne, even Sun-woo’s feelings for Ah Ro are thinly explained, if explained at all. But for me, the worst example of this is Ban-ryu’s behavior in this episode — why did he suddenly decide to embrace Minister Park’s plans to take over the throne? We can guess why, as with any of the other similar situations, and try to piece together a reason based on what we know of the character’s personality.

But it would be nice if just once, a character told us why they’re doing what they’re doing. I can guess that Ban-ryu’s decision has something to do with his need for fatherly approval, since we know he’s said before that even with two fathers, he feels as if neither of them is truly a father. And possibly he’s still carrying some resentment towards Sun-woo left over from when they first joined Hwarang and fought a few times. But it just doesn’t seem enough to explain why he’d be willing to betray all of the Hwarang and tell the Baekje crown prince about the king in the Hwarang, or why he’d let assassins into the Hwarang school to kill the king and probably several more of this friends. I don’t just want to continually guess why the characters in this show do the things they do — I want to know.

That said, it’s confusing because the writer can create scenes with a lot of emotional connection. I really loved the moment when Princess Sookmyung finally discovered that Ji-dwi is the king and her brother. They were both so relieved and glad to have found each other after so many years, and I could really feel how happy they were to have at least one person who understands what they’ve each been through. It’s one of the few moments when I felt that the actors were so good, we didn’t need a lot of dialogue to tell us what they were feeling — it was all there in their eyes. I wish we’d seen more of this throughout the drama, and it’s not as though the talent isn’t there. It’s just that something about the writing has kept us from these sorts of moments, which is a real shame. The writer is clearly capable of producing scenes with a lot of emotional depth and meaning, so it’s my hope that over time, she’ll be able to improve and produce dramas that do this more consistently, rather than it being a surprise when those moments happen.

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It was funny, I was just wondering what ever happened to Sun Woo's fainting spells - was this gonna be a forgotten plot point? Happens often enough. But nope. They slipped it in right at the end.

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I didn't get why Ji Dwi sneaks in like a thief to show himself to Park Young Shil. Anyone have any ideas?

And I don't get Ban Ryu, either. So basically this was a confusing episode. They spent a lot of time on the romance when I really only wanted explanations.

Hopefully it'll get better next week.

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Of ALL the people out there he decided to tell he is the king to his biggest enemy lol hopefully they would explain in next episode? May be because he hated the idea of someone else (in this case sunwoo) dying because of him,and he knew youngsil is behind all this?

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This is what I was thinking too - by revealing himself to his enemy, he redirects the focus and danger to himself, rather than on the innocent folks around him. And also because he needed that bracelet?

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Forcing his mother to reveal him as the king putting a stop to all the killing on his behalf. Not a bad Sammaekjong.

I love Lord Wi-hwa. He would make a great adviser to King Jinheung.
I think his character/name is a nod to the very first leader of the Hwarang, Wihwarang.

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Forcing his mother to reveal him as the king and putting a stop to all the killing on his behalf.
Not a bad Sammaekjong.

I like Lord Wi-hwa. He would make a great adviser to King Jinheung.
I think his character/name is a nod to the very first leader of the Hwarang, Wihwarang.

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errr plan

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oops sorry for the double post.

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I think he knows all along that Park Young Shil is strongly against the Queen Regent and wanted the throne for himself.

He knows Park is the grandest schemer. Perhaps, he wanted to divert the attention away from Sun Woo since everyone including Park thought that he is Jinheung. There is no point revealing his identity to a meager minion. With Park having the information first hand, all his grand scheme and action would be shifted to Ji Dwi and probably, he told him to serve him a warning and to show the people especially his mom that he is more than ready to claim his throne by tackling the biggest snake of all, and at the same time, put a stop to the killing of others on his behalf.

I hope there is a grand plan the writer has for Ji Dwi. He really needs one big grand moment and action to show the public that he is their true and much deserving king since everyone hailed Sun Woo as the heroic king.

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I think he just wants to force the hand of his Dearest Mom to introduce him and how better than this...Baryu thinks of his survival and of his father,he is too weak to even imagine standing against that evil man so he goes with him

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@kiara,@Del,@Miky
You guys are clearly the JiDwis (smart strategists) here and I am the (impulsive, short-sighted) Sun Woo because I really was hoping JD would plunge the knife into Minister Park's neck. I guess we can't really start off with a killer king, can we?

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well according to history Yong shil would be his future father-in-law so a knife in the neck would make things pretty awkward, no? xD

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Awww, in this show we don't know Yong Shil even has a daughter, so what the heck! And what a good way to make peace with the family after offing him, by marrying into it and making them Royal, no? No? I guess not ? Have I seen too many sageuks?

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Park Yong Shil is from the Park royal lineage who first ruled Shilla. The 2nd clan to rule Shilla was the Seok. Han Sung and Dan Se's grandfather who is currently in cahoot with Park Yong Sil to take down Queen Regent Jiso and her son Jinheung of the Kim clan to return the throne to the Parks.

(Historically, the Park clan provides queens for the kings just like the Min clan did for the Joseon kings. Two of King Jinheung's consorts were from the Park clan).

It's interesting to see how all 3 of these clans' heirs are roommates and comrades at the Hwarang house. It's up to them to break this rivalry.

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I thought this was an unexpectedly well-balanced episode between romance, friendships, and political maneuverings.

However, Ji Dwi and Ban Ryu's actions came out of left field. Ban Ryu, WHAT THE HELL, MAN?! Suddenly kissing up to your adopted dad and sending assassins to kill your roommate- the one who saved your butt. Seems like a moment that should have been in a much earlier episode. Ji Dwi - how did you know Park Young Shil had his bracelet? I didn't even know he had any inkling that Park Young Shil was an enemy - otherwise, why wouldn't he keep a closer eye on Ban Ryu?

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I do believe that there is a greater plot here, since no one is supposed to know the bracelet's location but Master We Hwa will have deduced it.

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I'm hoping against hope whatever banryu did wasn't his true intentions and we will get to know of his true motives in next episodes but his meeting with kang sung isn't really helping my delusional state, he was clearly scared at the thought of his father abandoning him. But I 100% agree with you I want to KNOW why he did what he did not just GUESS. Was it because he was afraid of being abandoned? Does he wants power? I'm a bit disappointed tbh we saw his character development in the past episodes (except when he gave the letter to the CR) and it seems like we are back to point 0 with only 4 episodes left, there are so many things to be resolved in just 4 episodes the first 16 episodes are wasted I don't even know where. P.S The breakup wasn't what I was expecting I literally yelled at my screen WHY BANRYU WHY? meanwhile I will just assume banryu is secretly helping hwarangs :D I mean who told jidwi the bracelet is at master youngshil's place and how come the boys were ready when assassins attacked (ok maybe because suho knew banryu is up to something yikes)

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I hope you're right about your assumption with Banryu secretly helping the Hwarangs. That would surely lift my trampled spirit ? How can the writer do this to us? Make Banryu adorkable and lovable as the series progressed and boom, this episode. Pffft.

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The writer is too mean! All I asked from her was banryu x sooyeon lovey dovey scene and I got disapointment every other week lol , first he ignored her (that was covered up by that kiss scene :*) hahha and then he broke up with her like WRITER I WANT ADORKABLE BANRYU MAKING OUT WITH SOOYEON PLZ. I wait whole one week not to see them crying and all :(

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The only way for us Banryu-Sooyeon shippers to get over this travesty of an episode is if they give us a wedding-happily ever after scene, lol...On top of your making out suggestion of course, ha!

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We are on the same page today Birdy! I, too, am desperately hoping Ban Ryu is setting a trap for the bad guys, although it is difficult to imagine putting his friends in harm's way without them knowing about it. If he's not already working for goo, I'm hoping he will have a 180 degree turn around and realize he doesn't need anything from these awful "fathers" and gets behind Ji Dwi as king. Because adorkable Ban Ryu is just too cute to be evil through and through.

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I don't want to bash the writer because I think it's too early for that we need to see what happens first, as much as I want to see banryu a loyal person to hwarangs I do sometimes feel it's a bit forced like he became loyal for what reason? just because they spent some time together? just because he is a good person inside? and if he turned evil then for what reason? fear ? power? there are too many things and I can't pin point exact reason,like stated in the review I don't want to guess I want to know :/ If he really is evil and not working with hwarangs I would be too disappointed because his whole character development just crashed right in front of our eyes in just one episode AND he will have a 180 degree turn around in just one episode? I guess I would be satisfied if something big does happen for him to take a u-turn. I just want my shy adorkable banryu back who gets calm just at the sight of sunshine sooyeon and who couldn't even look straight in her eyes LOL

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I want it to be a trap, but I don't have much hope. You're right that it's difficult to imagine a trap that involves putting
Sunwoo in harm's way without Sunwoo, Suho, or Yeowool knowing about it. I also thought he was going to switch out that letter to the Baekje prince and he didn't. I know he's not BFFs with his roommates and haven't bonded with the others as well, but still, he's technically spending a ton of time with these guys off-screen. They sleep, shower, eat, shovel manure, and go to school together.

(so many easy opportunities that I wish the writer had taken)

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True that! I just wish the writer had shown a turning point in banryu's life that opened his eyes and made him realize that his friends are more loyal to him then his evil father who doesn't give a damn about him. For some reason I was sure he won't destroy the drums because he didn't know the results of what will happen if he didn't accept his stepdad's orders and I was sure he will deliver the letter since we have seen his father warning him of the consequences. His new move of betraying hwarangs and helping his evil step dad is really not making sense to me, at one time it looks like he is too scared to go against his father and at some other time it looks like he is so pissed off that he is practically helping in the downfall of youngshil.

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I think you are deluding yourself. Ban Ryu is a snake I really cannot forgive his treachery. I only dislike Park Young Shil and the Queen Regent more! I even like Princess Sookmyung somewhat.

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Finally! I've been dying for Ji-dwi to take charge of his life.

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+1000

Hope this won't happened only for the cliffhanger.

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This drama's saving grace is it's actors, seriously. They have such little to work with but they work with it so well that I just... Can't. Drop. It.
That being said, I just want all the "adults" in this drama to go die. Can't there be like some sorta virus that affects anyone with a gray hair?
(Admittedly, Wehwa dying would make me cry, but like, at this point, I don't care. Just put me out of my misery. Where's the Karma Truck/Cancer Cell when you need em?)

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I kind of wish the epidemic would wipe out useless characters like Ah Ro's dad who stand around looking stunned and don't tell us who Sun Woo is. #bahhumbug

The script of this drama must be really something:

Sun Woo: I am the king of Silla!!
CUT
Ji Dwi: Thinks about Sun Woo yelling 'I am the king'
CUT
Ah Ro: Thinks about seeing Ji Dwi thinking about Sun Woo saying 'I am the king'
CUT
Dan-se: Fight me little brother!
Han-sung runs... and
CUT
Queen looks around the throne room from different angles.

Me: WHAT

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hooooomg butILovethisshowwhyamilaughingsohard???

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Thank you for almost making me fell out of my chair.

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LMAOOO that's pretty much what happened XD

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I got this feeling it's the person who did the edit is the one that CUTs, not the director. Otherwise how to explain some scenes were so well done but somehow the story just doesn't flow.

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Interesting point. I don't know much about the behind-the-scene work on dramas, but I thought directors generally have control of the story? I'd say one reason it doesn't flow is due to excessive flashbacks and merely showing people thinking/staring pensively. If it is the editor recycling scenes for flashbacks, it's a poor decision.

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OMG YOU NAILED IT

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Just have to get this off my chest -- Sunwoo looks SO MUCH BETTER with the headband than without. Whew.

I am also confused about Banryu, and Jidwi at the end of this ep (and why was that knife not blurred out? lol) but overall I am enjoying this much much much more than previous episodes where the pointless love triangle shenanigans were happening. At least things are happening now, even if we're left to guess why or how they come about.

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he looks best in his shorter, messy Dog Bird hair in the earlier eps imo

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In hwarang special or something, PSJ told that he went through some hairstyle changes because the pd or something couldn't find what suits him best. Like he couldn't work it or something. LOL.

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Seo Ye-Ji as Princess Sookmyung is probably my favorite from this show. She stands out as an actor and the way she plays her character.
I see that her experience from her previous sageuk movie "The Throne" as Queen Jungsoon is showing. I would love to see her in another sageuk.

Her looks here reminds me of Oliver Hussey's Juliet (1968). She is beautiful and I love how they are styling her hair.

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This actress has a natural long hair, I remember her beautiful hair from Moorim School she stands out with her long hair like JJH, I didn't like her acting in MS maybe it was the character.

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Moorim was terrible imo, apologies to fans of the drama.

I think she did some sageuk training for "The Throne."
I really like her here.

That scene with Sammaekjong at the palace felt sincere.

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Yes it was terrible, it was the first time I've known about SYJ I've never heard of her before, I didn't watch The Throne.

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I liked her acting too.

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I have been looking on several sites to watch Sado/The Throne, but I can't find it legally available. Dang it!!! It's been on my search list for a while. *goes back to the search* That said, I like the turn this show is taking with Ji-dwi finally stepping up/out to be king. Woo!

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Unfortunately I think it's only available on the non legal sites. I did watch it at the theatre though.

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Ooooh, lucky! I need to search. I got sidetracked...

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Not too fond of Sookmyung (though she grew on me during the Baekje trip), but Seo Ye Ji really needs to be in a real sageuk. She sounded more royal and commanding than the actress who plays the queen.

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THIS.
She has screen presence and charisma of a princess (or even a queen). Remind me a bit of Jang Hee-jin.

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Pretty much why I'm liking her acting here.

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oliver? or olivia?

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Olivia sorry.

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100% Agree That R & J was Franco Zeferelli I think, it (she) was wonderful.

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Thank you for the recap LollyPip.

Can anyone explain to me how the Princess is the King's half sister by the Queen and not the former King.

Thank you.

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If you read the comment section you'd find out all the answers to your questions about the historical background even under the last recap.

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I'm really wondering about Sun Woo's identity...I can't help but wonder if that stunned look on Ahn-Ji Gong's face in the village in episode 15 was more than just from being overwhelmed by the epidemic...perhaps he had just learnt of Moo Myung's identity... Am mentioning this here because it's been a long time since we saw Sun Woo doing his fainting thing, and earlier in this episode we were also reminded that the Princess also had a body-weakness attack...related much? Here's a thought - Ahn Ji-Gong's shocked face -> because he learnt that the Queen Dowager (in disguise of course) was the one who left Moo Myung in the village -> and from doing some math realises that Moo Myung might have been his love child with her (since it seems to imply that they used to have a thing)...And with this, it suddenly seems that it might not be too far-fetched to argue that Sun Woo might have a claim for the throne, and would seem less treasonous for him to have proclaimed to be the king of Silla when at Baekje. I don't know where this might leave Ji Dwi, but an identity switcheroo where Sun Woo - the one with the leadership qualities and whom everyone already believes to be the king - becomes King Jinheung instead isn't all that ridiculous from having us believe that in the next 4 episodes, Ji Dwi would successfully gain leadership skills, take back his throne (i.e. convincing his people that it's him and not Sun Woo that is the king, but the problem is that the only person who can truly verify his identity is the same person whom he has to remove from his throne) and go on to establish himself as a respectable king that the court officials are willing to recognise and serve......

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I have a feeling Sun Woo is the son of the ousted limp brother/king. Thats my theory.

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I agree with you. Which means we're probably both wrong, as I've never guessed right. :-)

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Ok but that hot moment when Sun Woo and Ji Dwi were talking about 'the king' THERE WAS SO MUCH CHEMISTRY! Was I the only one secretly hoping for a kiss?
I mean who needs SunWooxAhRo when we have SunWooxJiDwi. I will ship this forbidden romance so hard! :D

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That's so funny, yet I now kinda want this, too...

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@zunairaghazal
right behind you with the idea...

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Totally with you on this! SunWoo and Jidwhi seem more like a couple than SunWoo and Ahro! I do like Ahro and SunWoo together... but it is true there is just more intensity between SunWoo and Jidwhi! They are like a couple going through tough times together! I love them both and their relationship! They communicate well and are there for each other even if they have obstacles between them! Their exchanges are full of fireworks! Love them both!

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I've said this other times before, but I think Park Seo Joon's chemistry with guys is incredible (even though in one of the cases I'm thinking of, he's interacting with Ji Sung's high school girl personality). Not in a romantic chemistry sort of way, but he just really clicks with them. Though there were even times when it felt like the Baekje Crown prince was really into him and I thought he may be in danger of becoming his concubine. <3

There are some guys I've met who just exude this special blend of "guy's guy" without being macho and misogynistic. The type of guy guys want to be friends with and play video games with. The guy who can also get along platonically with girls too so you don't have to worry about him seducing the women in your life. Park Seo Joon/Sunwoo is that guy.

I loved that scene. Emotion, dialogue, filming, acting, and music - all perfect. It felt much more genuine than their other bromantic scenes. You can have bromance without splashing in the water!

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http://dramatroll.net/post/155617899199

A contender for goblin+reaper ^_^

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OMG, that was the best thing I've seen all year. Thanks!!!

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I think whoever manages to get the medicine from Mr. Evil will gain people's trust and therefore be King or something. I have my own preferences but as long as the ending person makes sense, I'm perfectly fine with it.

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That scene between the princess & King was indeed beautifully done. (One of the best in the episode & I dare say entire drama) Both actors were spectacular in showing how much that moment meant without using words.
This is why I love PHS in this drama.

This is what chemistry looks like. Immediately the weight of their shared pain in being hidden was palpable, the connection was immediate.

I love that Jidwi went after minister Park. Talk about being proactive & letting the old man know that you can indeed be dangerous when you want to be!

In other news:
Why is Aro's dad even part of the cast of this show? His screen time amounts to nothing that moves the plot forward. If anything, he holds it back.

Soo Banryu is definitely the bad Hwarang? This is confirmation right?

I love that Su-ho explained to SunWo basically it's not just about him. The boys have learnt teamwork.

Yaaaaay only 2 weeks to go. So excited for it to be over.

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The way they acted was so in sync they actually looked and felt like siblings in that scene. Great casting!

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The scene between JI Dwi and the Princess was so emotional, as was the scene on the balcony between him and Sun Woo. I was quite moved as he shot the arrows and finally threw his sword at the target board in his frustration at the beginning, well done PSH.
As much as I love and adore PSJ, even I am giggling a bit at the flashback overuse of him yelling "I am Silla's King!" with the view down his throat. And seriously, none of them actually saw that from the front - it's pretty funny that their memories would be from that angle.

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Hahaha now that you mention it, I see how funny that is ?

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LOL! especially since I think about the filmed pov of flashbacks sometimes - like, why would the flashback from X person's perspective be the same exact flashback from Y person's perspective who was standing all the way over there?

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I normally hate flashbacks and this show somewhat is excessive of flashbacks especially episode 9 (the Aro's mopping episode).

But this is the one episode which I clearly appreciate the flashbacks. If the writer intended to tell us that this is the push that Ji Dwi needs to finally step up and claim his throne, then the flashbacks are adequate to lead us to believe that Sun Woo's proclamation being a king that sent Ji Dwi into overdrive. No talking needed. Those flashbacks somehow tell me that at that juncture, Ji Dwi felt himself severely robbed by Sun Woo - for the rights to claim himself the true king of Silla and for the heart of the woman he loves.

And again Park Hyung Sik....those eyes can shed tears so well and so damn expressive. His eyes really did all those inner talking.

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that scene also with ji dwi and hwa-gong when they were alone in the classroom...Hwa-gong giving ji dwi a push so that he would do what he should do to be able to claim his throne...PHS has such expressive eyes that can convey a lot of emotions: happiness, sadness, frustration, anger...he cries beautifully even without bawling by just using his eyes...such a good actor...and he is so cute at any angle...everytime he has scenes, i couldd not stop staring at his face...sorry for the long message....just a new PHS fan here hahha

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I am still confused what the queen's plan is. Does she want to be queen because she likes power and doesn't want her son to be king? Or is she really worried about her son getting assassinated and just trying to protect him? Is her long term plan to get her son to be king and using Sun woo as a decoy to protect he real king?

If she wants her son to be king then why is she delaying so much? What is she waiting for? They keep talking about how the king is scared that he will be targeted and killed but what needs to happen for the Ji Dwi to safely become king? Why doesn't Ji Dwi just become king now? Why did Ji Dwi go and tell Minsiter Park who he is? I feel like I am missing something.

Anyways, I enjoyed the last couple episodes. Some good dramatic scenes between the 3 lead characters.

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Me too! In the beginning, it looked like she was hoping to use Hwarang to build a loyal organization to protect and support her son, but she hasn't done anything with it. Like, shouldn't you try to turn Park Young Shil's son onto your side somehow? Turn some of the neutral families like Yeo wool's family onto your side.

I'm conflicted about the queen. I cheer for her when she opposes Park Young Shil, but when she does something like screw with An Ji Gong's family, I hate her. I know she thinks Sunwoo is An Ji Gong's son...and what a slap in the face for Sunwoo to be commanded to serve as bait in order to protect a king whose existence caused his friend's death. And for her to use Aro, his dead friend's sister as bait for the bait. Stop making that family suffer!

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I am puzzled too. Like LollyPips mentioned, we may need to piece together the puzzles ourselves.

I predicted that her rationale is greed-driven. She's been in power for a long time and she feels her son is not ready and not capable. And if an incapable king is to rule, the throne may ended up in someone's else hand. She certainly feels that she is stronger in tackling the snakey Minister Park than Sammaekjong whom she still regards as a child. But at the same time, she acknowledges that her son has the potential and since she could see that he is rather rebellious towards her, there is no way she could just install him there as the puppet king, alas she would be in no position power at all.

Even then, I don't understand the motivation of her greed.

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i think she views herself as a victim of the system. she was in love with an ji gong, but was forced to marry her old uncle instead. from that point on she probably vowed never to let anyone hold that power over her again, thus her greed for power.

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My heart hurts so much seeing SunWoo being so tortured by the Queen...I'm anticipating his birth secret to come out in the open the most so he can finally break the chains that evil women has on him...

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Ooooo I forgot to mention the conversation between Jidwi & SW wow! Another example of the guys doing so well with their acting skills.

I also love how Jidwi didn't try to hide this time.
"If you want to kill him, Kill him!"
His posture and everything said he was ready for a fight.
Our king is slowly emerging from the shadows & I love it.

PHS has such great charisma as the king. I love that the character is starting to take charge.

Gimme more!

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Agree.

This is where I feel Sun Woo is not "king" material. He screamed too often. LOL.

Imagining my boss screaming to get things off his chest? LOL

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I don't agree with you Del, I have a lot of reasons that make Sun woo have a "king" material ?

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So the princess decides Ji-dwi is her brother and the king, and the first thing she does is draw a sword on him. Gotta love Shilla family :)

Tip of the day, for Su-ho: Never tell a girl you can't remember if you've gone out with her.

The broken leg on the toy horse was probably symbolic of something -- broken system, crippled king, something.

I don't think there's any such thing as a place in the palace that the court ladies don't know about. Who does the sweeping & cleaning? And in kdrama land, there's no such thing as a place you can't get to by making a wrong turn, just like there's no such thing as a letter that someone snoopy won't open and read.

Sun-woo accidentally presses too hard on Su-ho’s back

I'm not so sure it was accidentally. It's not like any of those guys are ever jealous or childish, or anything :)

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Sun-woo accidentally presses too hard on Su-ho’s back.

Puzzling indeed, what was that about..?? (Scratch head)

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Surprisingly, I actually like that scene between Ah-ro and Ji-dwi. It's almost like a goodbye for his life as a faceless king. Now that Ah-ro shot down his excuse (just like what he must have predicted before) and told him that he never really gave up even when he didn't have any power, it seemed to strengthen his resolve to finally claim the throne.

With the big misunderstanding between Sun-woo and Ji-dwi finally got clear up and as an unexpected bonus, Sunwoo even kind of understand what was it like to live as a king without throne in Silla, I really hope we can move past all those filler scenes. Please make it great for the last 4 eps, Hwarang.

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I also really liked Aro and Ji Dwi's scene too. At least, I was rolling my eyes at Ji Dwi's confession. Like, "dude, THIS again? don't you have more important things to do?" And then the writing turned this scene around and have Aro be like "look, don't use me to run away. I know you don't want to give up". They make really good friends.

This episode was really good at building up Team Ji Dwi - with Hwagong (whom i hated for a second because I thought he was turning his back on JD with the mouse metaphor, but was in fact, encouraging him), Aro, and Sunwoo. This was where we should have been 4-6 episodes ago.

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it was probably my fave scene with Aro in it out of all the drama lol. still don't like her acting but my goodness PHS' just shines in that scene. i love that Ji Dwi's burning old bridges and building new ones

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I was initially pissed when he offered to elope with her until I read the recap and I agree with LollyPips. She explained the rationale behind this scene so well.

And for once, I am thankful that Aro spoken out everything that could make the perfect sense for Ji Dwi. After all, she is the only person that he could truly open himself up to - letting his guard down and she knows his true identity. With her, being the one soul who could truly connect to him emotionally, I strongly believe her words are the one that genuinely cast an impact on him.

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i think of it as a closure of that chapter in his life, one last attempt before leaving it for good. i thought it was a nice touch because with everything out of the way they could stay as friends instead of having that barrier of an old flame between them. JD sure could use as many friends/confidante as he could get

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I loved the Aro-JD scene so much. When she said "you're using me to run away", my jaw dropped while I thought, who said that? Wait, she's really been thinking all this time? Damnnn! And his part of of that conversation - that last attempt at going down the fork in the road that you think you want to take but, nope, it isn't yours - well, I really felt for him. Like lollypip I also think that even if Aro had agreed, JD would have realized he had to be King, and without her, but man that was brutal.

That scene, the Rat King Poem with HG and the JD-SW King metaphor scene on the balcony - those are reasons why I'll be glad I watched Hwarang. There's plenty that's crazy silly to make fun of but when it's good, it's really good.

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thank you for the recap!! ^__^
finally Son Woo and Meak Jong adressed what happened to Mak Moon even if undirectly!! now Sun Woo can have a better understanding of the King/Maek Jong and even though he's still angry nderstandably he knows his friend died because of the weak king not by him!! that was a great moment and we can see he's not that eager to kill him as he used to couple episodes ago!! phew

and I loved how Sun Woo wanted to keep Soo Ho, Yeo Wool and Dan Se from getting into the fight because of him, for him those assassins are after him thinking he's the King which is a danger he agreed to face but doesn't want them getting into that danger zone! but they won't listen to him and they are there for him helping him and protecting him as a friend before being the King!! my bromance!! ^__^

and I WON'T BELIEVE Ban Ryu betrayed his friends AGAIN!! maybe he's only pretending so he can know his evil step father's plans and worn the boys before hand?!! I CAN'T BELIEVE IT!!

and Meak Jong finally has started acting on his real identity!! yeah

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Hwarang, the drama where the guys fall in love with their friends' younger sisters.

Anyways, I like Go Ara and her character (I know, unpopular opinion!), but it's very telling that her numerous crying scenes made me roll my eyes in exasperation while Sooyeon tearfully calling for Banryu actually made me tear up, too. See, drama writers, instead of pressuring poor actresses into crying in every other scene they're in, have them cry sparingly like male characters so we actually feel something.

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I think the actress who plays Sooyun -Lee Da In- has a natural feel for comedy and has a twinkle in her eye that reminds me of lee da hae in my girl. She doesn't have enough scenes for me to really judge her acting.

Apparently she is Lee Yoo Bi's younger sister, so she is also a daughter of an actress. I can see a similar charm between the two sisters.

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Thanks for the recap. My thoughts on this episode.
Ah Ro & Sunwoo- I've been shipping them from the start so yes for the development. Keep those kisses coming.
The queen- I guess her plan is to use people & discard them. No planning whatsoever. Did it not occur to her that Suho is the son of one of her loyal supporters?
Attempted assasination- My theory is that Banryu & JD planned the whole thing. I'm convinced that Banryu is a good guy but he will probably die to atone for his earlier sins. I think even the rest of the gang are aware of the plan. Only Sunwoo is kept in the dark because he wouldn't be brooding by the pond, defenseless if he knew what was going down.

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Yeah, I think you're right on this one - Banryu and JD planning the whole thing.

That's the thing about JD that might make him better king material than SW, I think. From the beginning, he was told to strategize in the football match and he did. A king doesn't have to be the best warrior; he needs to be the most strategic. And if what we learn of real Jinheung's reign is true, Jinheung and his advisors were master strategizers.

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I so hope you are right about them all planning it! But if so, why would Ban Ryu break up with Soo Yeon and why would Ji Dwi ask to run away with Ah Ro? And, that would have been a great reveal for the end of the episode.

But really - if it was a strategic plan by the boys (and the biggest hint for this is Ji Dwi knowing where the bracelet was), then that will go a long way for me for this show to redeem itself!

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I think Banryu doesn't want to cause Sooyeon heart ache since he knows that he'll be doing some dirty work. As for JD, Ah Ro rejecting him actually pushed him to act. Their conversation happened earlier so I'm guessing it contributed to him deciding to finally do something. Unlike lollypip, I believe that JD was willing to give up the throne for AR but she rejected him & encouraged him to not give up.
Also Jooki appa. Loving it?

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Re: Banryu. He's been diagnosed with one of kdrama land's perpetual illness-noble idiocy. 'I'm going to break up with you for your own good' although in this case, his actions maybe justifiable since he will be playing a dangerous games with his dad & the queen.

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If he's going to commit treason, he really should break up with sooyun. If he makes his adopted dad king, all those who were loyal to the queen, like Sooyun's dad (and probably Sooyun and Suho too), would be punished.

BanRyu and Sooyun were cute together, but she deserves a lot more.

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I am super excited for Ahro to be Wonhwa. Sunwoo will the leader of Hwarang and she of Wonhwa; it's going to be awesome.

I also think that Ji dwi will finally let the ghost of Ahro go. This really was his last ditch effort. Even though I am fully onboard the sunwoo/ahro ship, for the first time, I actually felt for him during that speech. I think he is scared and wants an escape, but even if Ahro had agreed to his request, he would never have been completely happy. He is meant to be king and now that sunwoo's has shown him what a king should be like, he can emulate that strength and conviction.

I have no idea how this show will wrap up stuff in the next four episodes. So much needs to be done: we STILL don't know sunwoo's true identity.

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I am starting to really like Suho! He has such great qualities, i think of all the Hwarangs he seems the most together....except for his unrequited crush on the Queen he seems like he doesn't have any issues...so I like that he is the one always supporting SunWoo! If SunWoo is the leader, Suho is the perfect 2nd in command. He has shown loyalty and ability! I like that he doesn't stray--except for girls--and can really be the one we can rely upon. He doesn't overthink/complicate things and is easy going.

Poor Banryu just has too many issues. I think he did choose the dark side in forsaking his love and his friendships. Hopefully something will happen to redirect him on a better path...I believe he will redeem himself, he is a Hwarang!

Can't wait to see Jidwhi claim his throne! I think what he did was a great way to introduce himself as the King! Took his bracelet back and showed his enemy he can disturb them in their sleep. Love it!

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Re: Soo Ho, I just discovered something new to this non-Korean speaker while reading an article about the Pyeongchang Olympics (a year away!) and its mascot:

"The Games' mascot is a white tiger named Soohorang. Sooho means protection in Korean; rang comes from the middle letter of ho-rang-i, the Korean word for tiger, and is also the last letter of “Jeong-seon A-ri-rang,” a traditional folk song of Gangwon province, where the competition will take place."

SooHo means protection, how about that.

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Very cool! Thanks for sharing! Non-korean speaker here too! Hence I can never spell names correctly! You'd think after reading subtitles and recaps I'd remember but I don't know why I have a hard time .. oh well.
Protection/protector, that is totally Suho! About his sister, Hwarang, the King...he protects them dutifully! Even the Queen, when he tried to warn her about the thorns. And Banryu, he is also always concerned about him. Maybe because he doesn't have issues, his character has been consistent... it seems the main change for him is that he is no longer a player ... I wonder who he would choose though between the Queen and the King if it comes to that... will he protect his Queen or his King? Or even SunWoo? Hopefully they all just work together for a better Silla!

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Princess Sookmyung going from "Oraboni!" to "Stop right there or I'll slit your throat." Silla royalty's way of greeting siblings.

How did Ji Dwi know where the bracelet was? And when did he go to Master Young Shil's house? We see Ban Ryu leave their dorm room, while Ji Dwi is still in bed, albeit wide awake. It probably takes five minutes or less for Ban Ryu to get where he needs to go to show in the assassins...and boom, Ji Dwi appears in Master Young Shil's room.

Like some of the other comments, I hope the Hwarang planned it together (Soo Ho's extra sword could be a hint). It was hard to read Ban Ryu's face, but there did seem to be a hint of reluctance when he was begging his stepfather not to abandon him.

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This was a great episode for relationships and friendships (Ban Ryu aside). The interactions just felt a lot more natural.

1. The Aro and JiDwi friendship and her encouragement.
2. The Aro and Sunwoo romance. I'd rather they just make out and hold hands all the time than do any talking.
3. Aro and Suho - they finally had a conversation. It always bugged me that even though she and Sooyun are friends, it seems like he's never met her. Liked how they addressed she wasn't his type. It makes Aro better integrated into the group.
4. Ji Dwi and Sunwoo - that conversation! Organic. cerebral. full of understanding.
5. Sunwoo and Suho and Yeowool, with Suho and Yeowool protecting "Dog-Bird". And wow, Yeowool gets to do something manly like fight. This "rescue" looks a lot more natural than the rescue in the previous episode.
6. Ji Dwi and Hwagong. When he told Ji Dwi that admitting his cowardice was a brave act. *tears*
7. Pi Joo Ki and the little boy he adopts.
8. An Aro and dad scene - Glad he addressed he was glad she was back safely.
9. Dan Se and Hansung - Hansung, please get better at fighting so Dan Se doesn't leave.
10. Ji Dwi and the princess. An emotional sibling reunion. Sookmyung was concerned for Ji Dwi, but this scene highlighted how lonely Sookmyung was without her bro.

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In the Dan-se/Han-sung department, I think we're in for a couple of heart wrenching episodes soon. I have tissues ready; do you?

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I think so too... Especially cause the director (Or PD-nim or writer? Idk) mentioned that Taehyung's shining moment is gonna be in ep 17 and 18 and that we should all look out for him in those two episodes.

With a warning like that, holy shit, I'm prepared for either one of them to die protecting each other (Like can you imagine the heartbreak either Danse or Hansung would have if the other one dies because of the other?? I CAN'T)

Having said that, I really wish Hansung would survive to the end... I really love him and no matter how hard I prepare myself, I don't think I can handle the death of the little fluffball of sunshine ;_;

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I know the ship has sailed. But still I can't ship Sunwoo and Ahro. Instead I ship him really hard with princess Sookmyung.
Well I guess I'll only write my own fanfics..

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"I like you. Let's farm."

why Ji Dwi, you sure know the way to a woman's heart XD

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LOL. Although if he looked like Jidwi, I might fall for it.

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??‍? ??? Green Acres is the place for me!

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I already have horses and other critters! Farm? Gotcha! Let's go. Ka ja!

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+1000! Lol!

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Lol, suddenly farming is so sexy & appealing.. heh.

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Argh. This episode frustrated me quite a bit, probably because I binge watched 10 episodes in 2 days to catch up for the final few episodes. I think most of my frustrations however came from a combination of a few factors: the episode seemed painfully slow to me; as LollyPip mentions, I have no clue why some of these people are doing what they are doing; they are stretching this ignorance and/or lack of resolution surrounding Mak Mun's death for far too long now; can't we get at least a tiny bit of information on Sun Woo mysterious lineage? What annoys be to no end about many K-Dramas is the tendency to cram way too much in the final episode or two which makes me feel cheated in a way. With four episodes to go, I sure hope they start addressing things in the next episode.

I'm pretty new to historical dramas. This might be my fourth one I think. I like them for the most part, mainly due to the art and set designs, wardrobes, and the politics--sometimes. What I'm really beginning to hate is that the monarch and their partner never seems to be truly happy in the end. MDbC was so close yet so far away on this. MLSHR just gutted me. I have a feeling that this will be much of the same. I think its more that I'm disappointed in that I was hoping that this drama would be different and break the mould. Why not have Sun Woo actually try to be her brother and show how they could come to love each other platonically? Throw the poor King a bone and let him succeed in getting the girl he wants for once! In this way this show reminds me of my disappointment with The Man Living in Our House. I don't want to "spoil" it for those who haven't watch that show, but for those who have, I hope you can see the connection I'm trying to make here.

I have to say though this this and the previous episode's recap helped me understand a few things better, and also helped in coming to terms with a few things as well. This is one of the reasons I love to read these recaps. Thanks LollyPip et. al.

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Thank you, thank you THANK YOU!!! i haven't seen many other people wanting a platonic relationship between Ahro and Sun Woo but I agree with you that it would have made their relationship so much better and it would really have been quite refreshing. It took me a while to get on board with their ship as there was just so much wasted potential, kinda like the Goblin theory with the fatherly love instead of the romantic love.

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writer-nim, i am putting my last nugget of faith in you that the whole ambush was actually an elaborate setup by the boys. sunwoo was too conveniently standing alone by the pond, suho was too conveniently there at the right time (with an extra sword to boot), and JD magically knew where the bracelet was. please use that brain, writer-nim!

i'm still on the fence whether JD outing himself to yongshil was a very smart move or a very dumb one. in one side, it would take the target off of sunwoo, and a surefire way of forcing his mom to finally reveal him. on another, it's putting the target on himself when he's still alone and defenseless.. yongshil could just kill him then and there and none would be the wiser

anyway, i loove all the scenes with PHS this ep. they really showcased his fine acting. i agree with people who called him a young jisung- they both have that sensitivity in their acting, and they even resemble each other. definitely will be following all his works in the future

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Finally, our king has a backbone but was it necessary to use rejected love as a catalyst for his growth? O well, whatever works. I need him to become more savage and ruthless to his enemies to makeup for all that cowardice. Anyone lol when the king said 'I want to farm with you' ?( reference to living a simple life).

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It wasn't rejected love. It was Sun-woo declaring himself as king. It was Master We-hwa talking about cowardice.

And if the last scene is not a dream, I think he is slowly becoming ruthless.

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Agree! By showing his face to his worst enemy he is showing that he is no longer afraid. He is no longer hiding from his enemies but will face them head on! In their own home/bed! I don't think it's Ahro who gave him/triggered that strength but as you said he has been building up to that since the beginning of the show... everything has happened to lead him to where/what/who he needs to be. I think Ahro was just used for him to reassert himself of what he needs to do, he can't run away. And he won't give up. It was probably just his last moment of weakness. He's become stronger even though he's struggling.

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I had forgotten about the fainting spells and thought maybe a sword had struck him with a poisoned blade.

With Ban Ryu I thought perhaps he felt a.need to d I something so his father wasn't so beholden to his.grandfather. Like you said, it would be nice if we got some information as to whyba character does something.

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Sun Woo looked like he was filming Drunken Master during that ambush when he waved his sword around while on the verge of fainting haha

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OK so Ban Ryu is betraying them, of course he is. Yes, it's true this drama has suffered from faulty writing. While we had several unnecessary flashbacks characters could have been fleshed out more fully. Plot holes filled in. Still I think it's been entertaining. The young actors have been working hard. Most of them have been engaging. The cast may be a bit too large, the writer just didn't know how to write them all into the story line well.

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your fascination with the actors should not limit your judgment about the drama. you must have not watched a lot of high quality dramas for you to be satisfied with this. lol

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Thanks for the recap, LP!

A lot of great moments in this ep. I like how JD is being challenged to step forward and do what a king ought to do. The poem really made an impact and got him thinking. I hope he will step up and go against his mom for once so that he can be the king and do what he wants for his people.

Also love the bromance with SH, YW, DS protecting SW. I wanna see more of this bromance. And I hope we will get to find out why SW is always fainting.

I'm glad the princess finally realized who her brother is. That was one of my fave scenes for this ep. These two understand each other and I hope they can be on the same team.

JD's confession to AR was touching, but like you said, I don't think he would've given up his throne and his people even if she had agreed. But it was good to get that confirmation anyway. No more excuses for putting things off or running away.

Love the cute, sweet scenes with SW and AR. SH is such a warm, sunny guy. Would love to be his friend.

I'm surprised JD decided to show his face to Minister Park. Is he not afraid that he will now be the target? I kinda thought he'd wait till he's strong enough to take down an old evil enemy like Park.

BR is kinda lost to me right now. I don't quite get why he's doing what he's doing. Maybe he doesn't either and is taking the easy way out by blindly obeying orders. Poor SY. Hope your heartache is only temporary.

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Maybe it's just me... The very last scene when sun woo drop on the floor and roll his eyes inside... He looks so beautiful and i love the sound of his breath he he #shy

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? gaaah! You are not alone ?

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I think I've figured out why I'm failing to care about what actually happens in this show, despite really wanting to for the sake of PHS & PSJ.

The pacing of this show is frustrating. Honestly, it's just so weird that I can't really say what I feel is so off except that I guess that the episodes fail to follow through in an emotionally appropriate way. I guess the clearest example would be way back when Aro learned that her real brother actually died, she didn't actually mourn his death till the next episode. The delay was unnecessary to build suspense, so I never understood why the writer chose to pause certain emotional plotlines in ways that made no sense. I get that you have to have something that leads into the next episode so you leave some loose ends, but honestly it feels like the writer doesn't follow through on anything.

Also, from the beginning I thought they dwelled a bit too long on things without giving them much substance, so it began to feel gratuitous. Like Mak Moon's death, honestly, when I was watching it I just felt like it was way too long - like unnecessarily long. I get that it was supposed to color Sun Woo's motivation for the entire show, but I feel like the writer didn't add enough meat behind the entire scene, which might be why I felt it was unnecessarily long.

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I think the word "uneven" was made for this show. It's the only way I can explain to myself how I can love it while finding it so darn full of faults. Most shows I like because they fall solidly on the 'good' side of my scales but every once in a while one comes along that keeps plopping down big weights on both 'good' and 'bad' sides. This is one of those shows. ⚖️

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no way, is that true? LOLOL and I thought hardly anyone was watching this show! Amazeballs ?

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My fav scene is definitely SW and SMJ talking about the "King". That is chemistry! PSJ and PHS can act. If they are given more scenes together to show their bromance, this scene will be even more impactful. Honestly, I don't even know when SW/SMJ started to think of each other as good friend before the splashing water scene. But luckily, these two still delivered and make this a very powerful moment.

The princess has great chemistry with SMJ. I want to see more scenes of them together.

The confession breaks my heart but I am glad SMJ will finally let go and set his eyes on his throne only.

I hope BR has reason for doing what he is doing.

I like Danse but so far, I find his scenes with Hansung doesn't really add anything to the story. Same goes for An Ji-Gong. Yeo Wool Rang is an interesting guy but he is so underdeveloped that he adds nothing to the main plot too.
The writer should be less ambition and try to focus on a few characters rather than introduce a bunch of interesting secondary characters and failing to tell the stories properly.

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Despite the lacking clarity in the writing, I really appreciate Jinheung's trajectory here. I mean PHS makes me believe that whatever fears the King has to take the throne, even if unexplained, it works to squeeze my heart. Obviously it's his insecurity talking, but (existential comment next lol) who hasn't had that feeling of inadequacy when the approval you wanted the most is the hardest to get? Doesn't help that criticisms rain down on him all his life. It's hard to walk away from all that and assert yourself. But now Jinheung is finally fighting to take the reins in his life and I'm super psyched for episode 17, if only for him. Haha.

Also, it does make sense that Sunwoo appears to be the better leader that raises his hackles, because despite not having the title, Sunwoo had to live his entire life grabbing whatever he can to live. He's quick on his toes because he's lived desperately, as opposed to Jinheung who had all the power but was forbidden to use it, so he's practically rendered not understanding how he can wield his authority. So I'm also glad that as far as these two characters go, they need each other to grow.

I love Sookmyung and Jinheung's scene even if half the time I don't get Sookmyung at all. Lol.

Anyway it feels like the writer just lets us figure these people out which kind of weirds me out, but Imma stick to it till PHS's next drama airs ?

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My opinions are the same with you guys. It has been guess-work all along, no explaination. However, I would like to add that we missing someone here. It's Yeowool. He is in the poster for main cast right? So he's supposed to have some significant contribution in the drama. But up until now, no right? I was hoping that Yeowool be like Song Joongki in Sungkyunkwan Scandal. A person who can flirt anyone to get what he wants. I would love it if Hwarang was given assignment that needs undercover or something like Mission Impossible where each has their own role. Yeowool can be seducer. Even in Scarlet Heart, Won also has a bit of significant contribution in the drama though minimal. Everything was fighting scenes. Do they intend to make Park Seojun an action hero here? Though i must say that Sunwoo calmly analysing the prison cell (finally something rational from him) is another type of conflict. But i like it to be more clever. Something like sleeping powder or sleeping arrow. Shoot at all guards & even the commander. It's just the repeating of fighting scenes earlier, the cause of Hwarang delegation got locked up. With new conflict (the disease) towards the end, how can it be solved? I think it will be solved quickly. I do think the possibility of Sunwoo is Jinheung. But if this twist is true, i think audience will be very disappointed. Hyungsik really pulls it off. The ratings is quite saddening though. I do kinda understand if the story was poorly written, audience just dropped it.

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I love hyungsik but i dont like that his character is so slow moving

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Remember in ep 12 during that day of sparring between hwarangs queen jiso said on her thoughts that the king is not in here. Still not knowing about moo-myung birth origin but only as ah ji gong lost son

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I thought this episode would be a lot vetter tha 15 ep.
Hope the 17 ep would be pretty good..
But I realky miss the good Sun Woo , cute Ah Ro and the funny Ji Dwi!!!

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Hansung grandfather told about marriage...is that han sung who is going to get marry??:(

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He is the Seok family's heir so yes.

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To be quite honest, I like the flirting scenes between Ji Dwi (is the scriptwriter a fan of G-Dragon in Big Bang??) and Ah Ro is more fun to watch than Ah Ro and Sun Woo....

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Is it just me or has a love triangle never been THIS boring and dragged out? I mean I can't help but imagine if Jinheung had not fallen for Aro things being so different and maybe he couldn't gotten his shit together earlier lol.

Also I totally agree with the comments about the characters not explaning why they do things....I hope that if the writers are good enough they'll let Banyru have his moment later to explain what the heck actually happened with him in this episode.

Overall I think this drama's really meh and I've resorted to reading these recaps sigh. Was excited at first bc PSJ and Taehyung's first drama, but they just dragged out every element of the story for too many episodes it seems

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What is the possibility that Ji Dwi and Sun Woo were switched at birth? Now that would be a plot twist.

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Dunno why but I feel that Ji Dwi breaking into Yong Shil's place and Ban Ryu saying that to his father and letting the assassins in is somehow connected and part of a plan they'll reveal later? Otherwise I can't figure out these characters taking all these dramatic steps...

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unfreeking believable!! 45 mins of flashbacks instead of people having the conversations they need to have.

i wanna stop watching now but i wanna know how it ends. and of course i wanna see Suho until the last.

omg tho! will there be 45 mins of flashbacks when Dog bird finds out who he is?
This show is called Hwarang but it should be called Thinking or Brooding. There's very little Hwarang, as I understand it or expected it to be, involved.

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