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My Sassy Girl: Episodes 17-18

I’ve been waiting for something (or someone) to come in and shake things up a bit, and while I really wasn’t sure what to make of this Qing prince character, by the end of the episode, I found myself wishing that he would’ve shown up sooner. There’s nothing like the looming possibility of an arranged marriage to kick things up a notch and force our sassy girl and her favorite scholar to be honest with each other, and more importantly, themselves.

 
EPISODE 17 RECAP

The prince from Qing, Prince Dalhan, arrives in all his princely glory and leads his entourage to Gyun Woo and the rest of the Joseon welcoming party. Minister Jung and his band of sleazy ministers grow nervous when it appears that Hyemyeong is a no-show, but their fears are allayed after the princess makes her grand entrance.

As Hyemyeong approaches, she catches sight of Gyun Woo immediately, and they share a longing gaze before both of them break it. Hyemyeong and Prince Dalhan bow to one another, and it’s clear that the Qing prince is immediately smitten with our resident sassy girl.

Sweetly, Prince Dalhan introduces himself in Hyemyeong’s language, and though Minister Jung compliments his language skills, the prince only learned how to say his greetings, so Gyun Woo takes over as translator.

Gyun Woo introduces himself, but he’s no stranger to Prince Dalhan, who says that he has heard of Gyun Woo before due to his popularity when he was living in Qing. Prince Dalhan requests Gyun Woo’s assistance in facilitating his marriage to Hyemyeong and expresses his high expectations of the scholar. At the comment, Gyun Woo’s gaze shifts over to Hyemyeong, who watches him with a troubled gaze.

The royals head to the throne room in order to be received by King Hwijong. Prince Dalhan thanks the king for his warm welcome, and he also thanks Hyemyeong for coming out to greet him personally.

In his mind, Gyun Woo flashes back to a meeting he had with the king, where he had asked to be excused from acting as Prince Dalhan’s interpreter and cultural guide. The king looked worn as he pleaded with Gyun Woo to accept the position, claiming that Gyun Woo was the only one he could trust.

So the king had instead framed his request as a favor instead of a royal command, and he’d held Gyun Woo’s hand tenderly. Back in the present, King Hwijong knowingly nods at Gyun Woo.

Meanwhile, in her quarters, the queen hears of Hyemyeong’s meeting with Prince Dalhan and is in stitches at the thought of Hyemyeong pretending to be a refined and elegant lady. She isn’t the only one amused by the idea: Minister Jung’s cohorts laugh loudly and praise Minister Jung for “taming” Hyemyeong, before proceeding to cheerfully discuss how well their plan to rid themselves of Hyemyeong is going.

Minister Gyun bursts into the room after hearing their impudent laughter from outside. He cryptically warns them not to count all their chickens just yet, and Minister Jung frowns at the threat.

Hyemyeong excuses herself so that Prince Dalhan can rest from his long journey, but their exchange is a bit uncomfortable, since Gyun Woo has to translate every word. She’s polite to the prince but curt with Gyun Woo, and as she leaves, Prince Dalhan watches her go, enchanted.

Prince Dalhan invites Gyun Woo to chat about Hyemyeong over some tea, and he immediately tries to understand Gyun Woo’s relationship with Hyemyeong. He’s disappointed when Gyun Woo plays down their relationship, if only because he was hoping that Gyun Woo could tell him all about Hyemyeong. He’s thoughtful about his intentions and understands that proposing marriage isn’t something to do lightly.

Wisely, the prince says that he wants to learn more about Hyemyeong as a perso — and by doing so, he wants to develop some feelings to serve as a foundation to their marriage. Aww, he’s sweet.

In the princess’s room, bodyguard Young-shin compliments Prince Dalhan’s good looks and manners, but all Hyemyeong can think about is Gyun Woo acting so helpful and friendly with Prince Dalhan. Angry now, she calls Gyun Woo a jerk.

At home, Mom prays for Gyun Woo, adding that she hopes his and Hyemyeong’s fates unravel and that his future career prospects remain bright. Gyun Hee bursts in and Mom panics by throwing her skirt over her prayer table out of fear that she’ll be rebuked by her husband.

Gyun Hee tells Mom that her prayers have been answered, because Hyemyeong is getting hitched. Mom starts celebrating and thanking the spirits until Gyun Hee mentions that Gyun Woo is in charge of Prince Dalhan’s reception.

Right on cue, Gyun Woo returns home from the palace, and Mom immediately begins grumbling to her son about his new gig. He sends her away without saying much on the topic, but when he’s alone, he looks troubled.

In the palace, Hyemyeong bugs her little brother with her hand puppet and tries to get him to eat dinner, but he just sulks instead. He’s upset about her marriage and the fact that she’ll live so far away in Qing. He begs her not to leave, and Hyemyeong touches his face, looking apologetic.

King Hwijong gives the deposed queen’s jade ring to the queen dowager and tells her that the deposed queen may be alive. He tearfully asks if it’s right to send Hyemyeong away under these circumstances.

The queen dowager sagely says that whether Hyemyeong’s mother is alive or not may not matter, and it may even endanger Hyemyeong and the prince if this knowledge is learned by their enemies. She advises the king to keep quiet about the matter.

Late into the night, Joon-young trails Minister Jung back to his house and recalls a conversation he had with Choon Poong about the shady butcher’s house. He had shown Choon Poong the portrait of Scarface/Wol-myung and had asked to know more about the man.

Choon Poong had played dumb as he usually does, but he’d taken an opportunity to study Joon-young’s face when he wasn’t looking before offering a little crumb to push Joon-young in the right direction: “It seemed like Minister Jung was another regular at that place.”

In the present, Minister Jung remembers Hyemyeong informing him of Min Yoo-hwan’s letter, as well as her threat that she wouldn’t leave the country before finding out the truth about her mother.

Looks like Hyemyeong is hard at work doing just that, but unfortunately, she hears from Byul that the servants who were loyal to her mother during her dethronement cannot be found. Mysteriously (or maybe not so mysteriously), all have gone missing or died.

The next morning, Prince Dalhan and his new buddy Gyun-woo greet Hyemyeong outside of her residence.

Things get awkward quickly after Gyun Woo has to translate to Hyemyeong that Prince Dalhan was unable to sleep the night before because he was thinking about her. Prince Dalhan senses her reticence and wonders aloud if he’s being too forward, but the sentiment isn’t translated to Hyemyeong because they’re interrupted by Minister Jung, his boisterous minister cronies, and the Qing ambassador making a loud entrance.

They’ve come to propose a feast to celebrate the new couple, but Prince Dalhan has had enough of majestic sights and wishes to see the “real” Joseon. Turning back to the princess, he asks Hyemyeong to show him around town. (I’m really feeling this prince character. He’s pretty swoony.)

The first order of business is dressing like the locals, so Gyun Woo and Hyemyeong get Prince Dalhan fitted in some new duds. Hyemyeong approves of the new look, and Prince Dalhan smiles brightly while Gyun Woo just sighs to himself.

The royal couple stroll through the market and sample some sweets, laughing together. But their attention is diverted when they come across an archery game where challengers can receive a prize (women’s hairpins and norigaes) if they hit the target.

Promising to win something for Hyemyeong, Prince Dalhan tries his hand at the game, and he calls for Gyun Woo to join him. Gyun Woo refuses at first, until Hyemyeong pointedly goads him into it. “Are you afraid you’ll lose?” she asks, leaving Gyun Woo with no option but to participate.

Prince Dalhan goes first, but he misses the target and frowns at Hyemyeong, disappointed. Seeking to cheer him on, Hyemyeong asks Gyun Woo for a translation, and then delivers her encouragement in Prince Dalhan’s language.

However, even with her encouragement, the prince is still unsuccessful for a second time. With only one arrow left each, both Prince Dalhan and Gyun Woo draw their arrows, but they pause to give each other a competitive look.

Eye on the prize, Prince Dalhan determinedly draws his arrow back just a little further and shoots. Gyun Woo does the same, and both hit their targets, though Gyun Woo’s victory is overshadowed by Dalhan, who holds his hand up for a high five. After a moment of hesitation, Hyemyeong obliges him, and Gyun Woo doesn’t look too happy about it.

Prince Dalhan presents Hyemyeong with a hairpin as his prize and asks for permission to place it in her hair. Gyun Woo delivers the translation to Hyemyeong, whose eyes are loaded with meaning as she gazes back at Gyun Woo. She recovers and lowers her head for the prince, while Gyun Woo clutches his own hairpin prize in his hand. Aww.

Minister Jung tells the queen about Min Yoo-hwan’s letter, and she flips out, shouting at Minister Jung for overlooking her suspicions regarding Hyemyeong’s odd behavior lately. Minister Jung reminds the queen of how she came into power in the first place and warns her to watch her words.

He orders the queen to search the princess’ quarters and discover the contents of the letter. She does as she’s told and mobilizes her court lady squad to rummage through the place when the room is empty. Soon, her pet court lady (the one that lied about the deposed queen) finds a letter.

 
EPISODE 18 RECAP

Hyemyeong and Prince Dalhan’s date continues into the night as they (and their third-wheeler) stroll through a night market. Hyemyeong stops at a stall selling beautiful shoes, and her mind drifts back to her memory of Gyun Woo buying her a pair. She smiles to herself as the boys watch on.

Prince Dalhan picks up on her longing look (this guy has sense) and offers to purchase her some shoes. He insists, but she declines and walks ahead to avoid the conversation.

Prince Dalhan looks back at the shoes and smiles before following after her.

The trio sit down for Hyemyeong’s favorite spicy chicken feet at Prince Dalhan’s suggestion. Dalhan eagerly takes a bite, and although it’s very spicy, he likes the taste and then pours everyone a drink. Hyemyeong, who is still acting like a prim and proper princess, refrains from drinking the soju while eyeing the plate of chicken feet.

This time, it’s Gyun Woo’s turn to reminisce as he recalls Hyemyeong’s hearty appetite as she eagerly drank soju, chomped down on chicken feet, and spat the bones from her mouth. In the present, he urges Hyemyeong to indulge in her favorite snack and promises that the prince will not mind, but she snaps at Gyun Woo to mind his own business. Oof.

Picking up on the mood, Dalhan asks what’s wrong, and Gyun Woo lies that he wanted to order something else for Hyemyeong since she can’t eat the chicken feet.

Prince Dalhan hurries to apologize for being inconsiderate and thinking only of himself, and once Gyun Woo translates Prince Dalhan’s words, Hyemyeong downs her soju and sighs to herself. She pours herself glass after glass and gets very drunk, until she finally exclaims, “Jerk!” to Gyun Woo.

The prince repeats the foreign word to Gyun Woo, seeking a translation, and Gyun Woo covers for her by lying that it means she’s just in a good mood. Ha.

Hyemyeong passes out after drinking, and Prince Dalhan carries her back to the palace on his back. Gyun Woo offers to carry Hyemyeong instead, but Prince Dalhan argues that since she will be his wife, he cannot let another man carry her. Gyun Woo just sighs as he watches them go.

In her room later, Hyemyeong sobers up, and Young-shin scolds her for inconveniencing the Qing prince, who carried her back all the way. Byul informs Hyemyeong that the fake letter they planted in her room has disappeared, adding that they know exactly who did it.

In the fake-letter version of events, Min Yoo-hwan writes that Hyemyeong’s mother died three years ago after he disappeared. The queen and Minister Jung read its contents, and while the queen acts like they have nothing to worry about anymore, Minister Jung only narrows his eyes.

Hyemyeong orders Byul and Young-shin to look for Minister Jung’s weakness now that he thinks Hyemyeong is holding an empty card in her hand, warning that time is of the essence.

At home, Gyun Woo remembers Prince Dalhan’s words about Hyemyeong being his woman and sighs deeply. That night, Gyun Woo has a nightmare about the deposed queen’s assassination (attempt?) by bandits, and we see what’s presumably a young Gyun Woo approach the lone palanquin in the forest, surrounded by lifeless bodies. In a fright, Gyun Woo wakes up from his dream in the middle of the night, panting and drenched in sweat.

In the morning, Hyemyeong awakes to a wide array of shoes set out on display for her — it’s a gift from the Qing prince. Young-shin explains that since Prince Dalhan didn’t know what pair she liked specifically, he just bought the whole lot and sent them over.

Speaking of, the prince meets a pale-looking Gyun-woo in his quarters. It’s enough for him to ask about Gyun Woo’s health, but Gyun Woo claims to be fine.

Around the breakfast table, Da-yeon announces to her father that she has someone she would like to marry: Gyun Woo. Minister Jung refuses her instantly, leaving Da-yeon startled and unwilling to accept his decision. “I want him,” she argues back. “Haven’t you given me everything I’ve wanted?” Err, girl, that’s a little… well whatever. You do you.

At another breakfast table, the royal couple-to-be eats with the entire royal family, and the queen comments on Prince Dalhan’s romantic shoe gesture. Prince Dalhan explains that Hyemyeong looked brightest when she saw those shoes, but since he didn’t know which pair she wanted, he got them all for her.

Hyemyeong looks toward Gyun Woo for a translation, but he’s lost in thought and needs to be prompted by the queen to do his job.

The young prince sulks at the table and takes a jab at Prince Dalhan for his extravagant gift. When Prince Dalhan asks for a translation, the young prince orders Gyun Woo not to soften his words, and Hyemyeong scolds her brother for his poor attitude.

Gyun Woo tells Prince Dalhan that the prince is upset about Hyemyeong leaving Joseon, and Prince Dalhan looks over to the young boy understandingly. Send me instead! I’ll marry him.

After breakfast, Prince Dalhan adorably worries to Gyun Woo about the crown prince not liking him very much. He’s determined to win the boy over, considering that they’ll soon be family.

Speaking of, it seems that the young prince has gone missing after breakfast, and so the entire palace breaks into an uproar looking for the boy. But it’s Gyun Woo finds him hiding amongst the onggi (earthenware storage containers). The boy tells Gyun Woo tearfully that he doesn’t want to send his sister away because he is afraid that he may never see her again.

Gyun Woo brings the prince back to his worried sister, and the siblings embrace tightly. Hyemyeong puts her brother to bed, and after she’s told where he was hiding, she thinks back to when she and her brother would play hide and seek amongst the onggi.

Later, as Gyun Woo bids Hyemyeong farewell for the evening, she stops him to express her sincere gratitude for finding her brother. She repeats it meaningfully several times, as if actually saying, “Thank you for everything.”

The queen complains to her right-hand court lady about the young prince’s tantrum and stresses about him causing trouble and disrupting their plans. The court lady simply reminds the queen that soon their troubles will be gone and on a ship headed for Qing.

Unable to shake his suspicions that there’s a bigger game at play, Minister Jung orders Wol-myung to tail Hyemyeong and report back on Gyun Woo as well. Afterward, Wol-myung walks the streets alone in the night, but he isn’t alone. Joon-young follows closely behind, but Wol-myung makes a break for it and manages to shake the officer off his tail.

At the smutty bookshop, writers Se-ho and Kwang-soo act out a scene from Lovers in Paris to get the creative juices running on a new piece, which they’ve clev “Lovers in Paju.” The storyline involves a couple who can’t acknowledge their love for each other due to their complicated circumstances, and Gyun Woo, who has been watching the theatrics, seems to find the theme resonant.

Da-yeon proceeds with her marital ambitions and gifts Mom a fancy new handbag. Mom is flustered and tries to turn down the gift, but Gyun Hee plays Da-yeon’s wingwoman and hypes up the handbag, proclaiming it to be way better than the one Gyun Woo gave Mom before.

Mom can’t ignore how pretty the bag is, but since feels a bit conflicted about accepting the large gesture, Da-yeon encourages her to accept it freely before cleverly using the gift as a opening to invite herself over more often.

Gyun Woo returns home just then, so he and Da-yeon relocate to the tea house. Gyun Woo reiterates his stance on wishing to maintain the distance between them, and when Da-yeon asks if it’s because of Hyemyeong, she can only be disappointed when Gyun Woo doesn’t deny it outright.

She tries to reason with him, explaining that Hyemyeong is as good as gone, especially since her brother’s fate (in being named the crown prince) is on the line. Shocked to hear this, Gyun Woo leaves without another word and hurries back to the palace.

On his way there he runs into Prince Dalhan, who guesses that Gyun Woo is on his way to see the princess. He invites himself along and thanks Gyun Woo for finding the young prince the day before. Smiling benevolently, Prince Dalhan mentions how much he’s enjoying his trip to Joseon since he met the princess and made a good friend like Gyun Woo.

He adds that he would have regretted turning down the “invitation,” and that word stops Gyun Woo in his tracks. Prince Dalhan confirms that he was invited to Joseon with a short nod before abruptly asking where the people of Joseon go to make a wish.

He, Gyun Woo, and Hyemyeong later stand before a lake and stare at the floating paper lotuses in the water. Prince Dalhan asks the princess what her wish is, and she answers that it’s a secret while looking over the water mournfully.

The Qing prince promises that he can make her wish come true and encourages her to tell him. But when Gyun Woo translates directly, it almost sounds as if he’s saying the words: “I could make your wish come true. Please tell me.”

At this, Hyemyeong turns and looks straight at Gyun Woo even as Prince Dalhan says behind her that his wish is to spend the rest of his life with her. Hyemyeong turns back toward Dalhan as he says this, and after a moment of silence, he looks over her shoulder to encourage Gyun Woo to translate.

With Hyemyeong once again staring straight at him, Gyun Woo suddenly shakes his head and says, “I cannot translate that.” He then turns to Prince Dalhan and repeats his refusal in his language, causing both Prince Dalhan and Hyemyeong to look at him with surprise.

 
COMMENTS

Okay, Prince Dalhan is my favorite character in this show. My second favorite is Young-shin, but it’s only because they give the poor man so little to do (I love his sass! As far as I’m concerned, he’s the Sassy Guy). Call me biased, but I really thought this show used the translation aspect really effectively in conveying Gyun Woo and Hyemyeong’s unspoken feelings for each other, while also allowing for Prince Dalhan to really express himself fully in his own language, which helped give us a deeper understanding of his personality. I was worried that it might become tiresome to keep repeating lines from language to language, but it was done so well and loaded with lots of meaning.

I love that they made Prince Dalhan so perceptive and in-tune with Hyemyeong’s moods and reactions, and also very sincere and kind. I was really into it! He read her so well despite not understanding what she was saying, and I thought that was a really smart decision. The whole scenario was setup in the just the right way, and I found it enjoyable, but not so much that I wished for him to end up with Hyemyeong instead. I was really caught off guard with how balanced and subtle everything was emotionally, especially since this show tends to be pretty in-your-face about what’s transpiring on screen.

Throughout this show, I’ve had such an issue with believing in the romance between Gyun Woo and Hyemyeong, since it often felt forced and lacking in chemistry. But after this episode, I’m starting to warm up to the idea, and I really hope we continue in this upward trajectory. No more vomiting, please!

I think my low expectations really helped me to find enjoyment in this episode. This show has taken a lot of missteps and is tonally all over the place; in fact, I think the actors are somewhat confused about what exactly the tone of this show is supposed to be, so they’re trying their best to be true to their characters instead of relating to each other and building a natural dynamic. The result is that some actors play their characters with more nuance, and others go over the top. It’s a sign of bad directing that the actors aren’t being reined in to convey the right mood of the story in any cohesive way, and that creates a really clunky viewing experience.

It’s also a problem of genre since the show started off so slapstick, and then it seemed to abandon that spirit (which isn’t a bad thing since their version of slapstick tended to overshoot its mark most of the time), so I felt like I could see the actors in this episode trying to calibrate to this new, more pensive atmosphere.

It helps that they brought in a new character that had such a big role in this episode, so that the tonal shift felt a little less bipolar when attributed to Prince Dalhan’s arrival. The actor played him with appealing gentleness and charisma that seemed to permeate throughout the episode (expect whenever the queen was around), and it was a welcome feeling. Obviously I want more Prince Dalhan, but story-wise, I think the character has pretty much fulfilled his purpose, and I could see him stepping back to give his new friends a shot at love.

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The ending scene made me squeal like crazy <3
joowon's acting in that scene was insane...

And more mystery to come with Gyun Woo occuring nightmare. I'm loving this!!!

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"I cannot translate that" ...
Enough said!

But seriously, I prefer this tone. I also agree with @murasakimi's view on how the translation aspect was handled. The dual meaning made all the difference! I'm hoping & cheering for a well directed, acted and thought-out remedy to this arranged marriage ... ツ

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Isn't the little Prince's tantrums the cutest? I just adore his relationship with his sister so much ? And Joowon broke my heart in this ep..
The last scene ??

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Little prince is so cute!!! I have this urge of wanting to pinch his cheek whenever he appears on screen.... LOL

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AND HIS FACE IS BRACKETED WITH DIMPLES. OMG. HE IS SO CUTE.

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This drama is full of dimples. Even that evil queen also shows her dimples with that evil grin

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and Minister Jung too. Chun Poong seems to have it as well. But I need obesrvebit a little bit more to be more sure lol

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Choi Ro-woon was such a scene stealer in THE KING'S DAUGHTER, SU BAEK HYANG playing a waif rescued by SBH's Dad, Kuchon. I remember reading at the time that the role was expanded because he was such a hit with viewers. I've been keeping an eye out for him ever since. This young fella will go far. ;-)

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Glad that the Qing prince wasn't a jerk who would use his status to force this arranged marriage. I in fact kinda feel bad, he likes the princess but he knew thather eyes are always on Gyun Woo so he will backed out on his own.

And need i say more about this drama making Joo Won do action scenes with the mask on. So cool!!!!! I hope more people give this drama a chance. It's so good!
To add on, i need more praises in Oh Yeon Seo poignant acting as the sassy princess who hides a huge pain . She can be so endearing, lovely, vulnerable and crazy , whule bringing comedic acting at the same time

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Surprised that Joowon's Chinese is decent lol. The ending scene when he said it two times with different languages makes it much more heart fluttering~~~~
Guess this week rating went down a bit because of the angsts going on buj we're going to have these 2 adorable puppies being giddy in love starting from next week.
I have to say the princess matured up a lot through Gyun Woo as well.
As an avid Oh Yeon Seo'a fan, i have to say this is one of my fave drama of hers.

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Does he speak Chinese well? I don't know Chinese so I wasn't sure.

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Chinese isn't my first language but i think he speaks really well . He got the intonation right without being awkward.. usually actors just memorise the script and it's cringe as hell

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I think still alright, some of the chinese that he spoke, I couldn't catch it nor understand it and I'm a chinese. But he did try his best and I'm ok with that.

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He must have practiced really hard. He has been studying Chinese since 2014.

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So much angst! So much longing! It hurts but it hurts so good! I had miss the comedy from the early part of the story in the latest string of episodes, and thought the shift from comedic to dramatic kinda weird, but then they gave me longing stares and confessions disguise as translations and the romantic in me SQUEEEE. This is a different kind of pain from the one i get in circle, but it still leave my heart pretty bruised (in a good way)

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Hihi.... let me scream!!!!!
This week was painful but painful in a good way. Both OYS and JW are so good in acting with their eyes. They both can emote so much emotions with a gaze. Especially their teary eyes are so beautiful.. so much pain.. so much longing.. so much love....
One of the best chemistry i've seen so far. I don't even remember that this drama comes from the first two eps full of ridiculous slaptick ....although i still miss the comedy so bady. The couple look so exhausted from this love sickness

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Why is the Qing prince wearing Ming clothes?

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His hair is very wrong, too. lazy production.

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It's not like the actor is willing to shave his head for just like 2 eps appearance and him being bald with the braid hair will be ridiculed as this is a Korean drama.
I still think it's good enough that they try to bring in a real chinese actor than just a Korean actor acting like one and speaki g gibberish Chinese

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'I didn't know which one you liked so I bought them all'. Now what drama was that from? And how does Prince Dalhan make it look so swoony and considerate?

I really enjoyed the use of Chinese and translations in this episode. Gradually Gyun Woo used the first person, going from 'He said to tell him your wish' to 'Tell me your wish' to 'I can't translate that'.

I am waiting for Dalhan to use 'jerk' at some point when he wants to say 'I feel good', preferably to the scheming ministers. XD

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@WishfulToki,

I really enjoyed the use of Chinese and translations in this episode. Gradually Gyun Woo used the first person, going from 'He said to tell him your wish' to 'Tell me your wish' to 'I can't translate that'.

That progression in the way Gyun Woo translated was subtle and touching. I was getting a bit cockeyed trying to watch everyones' facial expressions while reading the subtitles.

Hey, instead of "jerk," could someone teach Prince Dalhan "numbnuts" instead?! With a tip of the gat to MY ONLY LOVE SONG. ;-)

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I must confess I wanted to grab Joo Won in this episode and shake him out of his stupor. The man looked so dazed, tired and bored save for a few moments. Then I wondered - is he playing the part of a reluctant translator, love sick puppy to the tee? Let's see what happens to Gyun Woo in the coming week.

Pity about the Qing Prince's getup because it's such an obvious mistake that I won't be surprised if it is done deliberately. It can't be an oversight if they actually bothered to get a Chinese actor who can obviously deliver his lines well and *gulps* act! I cannot imagine if they had use a Korean actor to play Prince Dalhan. I would have skipped this entire episode and next. 99% of the Korean dramas I've watched where they used Korean actors play Chinese characters, it is always awful. Korean and Chinese are both Asian languages but Chinese is a tonal language and Mandarin has 4 tones. One can read the romanized characters or hanyu pinyin quite easily but tripping over the tones is the problem. Typically, there is no difference between say a westerner speaking Mandarin versus a Korean.

Another thing is the script or lines spoken by the Qing prince. In those saeguks I've seen, I was amused but not surprised that they use the modern form of speech. Just like how content and delivery differs between a modern kdrama vs a saeguk, the same applies to the Chinese. Here, I won't say the content is accurate but there's more effort put in especially Prince Dalhan's lines. There is actually a difference between the structure of the prince's lines versus Gyun Woo's. Makes me wonder if the Chinese actor wrote or improvise his own! That said, I applaud Joo Won for his Chinese. The burden is all on him to speak decent Mandarin and he's definitely better than most. I won't pick on the diction and such because that's something even Chinese actors can't deliver in their period dramas but just on the tonal accuracy, I'd give Joo Won 7/10.

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Agree. I personally feel like JW looks tired and bored sometimes. Which is so strange, because when he was doing Yong Pal, he got no proper sleep in 6 days and looked so intense on screen. Now in a pre-produced show, he just looks tired.

But I am still waiting as I want to think this is all intentional. Let's seeee!

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I find it's intentional . Both princess and him look so disheartened and lost their soul lol. Just 2 eps ago they bickering and being giddy...
I actually applause Joowon's acting cos his eyes said that he is in pain.. while the princess is just sacrificing herself. She is def not being herself... her real self is the part when she yelled "you jerk" to joowon

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I think that's the way he played it - because maybe the script required him to look daze & bored, or maybe he himself wasn't sure how to approach those scenes as a thirdwheel lol.

I am so agreeed on the Chinese language, I tried to study Mandarin but only God knows how difficult it is. I just wanted to study on my own, and learn some basics as it can be useful sometimes.

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The best way to learn is to live among Chinese and speak nothing but Mandarin, LOL.

There's beauty in the language and the characters but because they are logograms, it's a lot more challenging to write and recognize them than say English words which are made up of alphabets. Sometimes I wonder if China had a king like King Sejong, would a phonetic alphabet system succeed and what would the impact be?

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On one hand it'd definitely be easier for everybody to pick up, but on the other it just seems like such a waste, y'know? All these beautiful Chinese characters with such meaning in every single stroke... Subtract one and everything is entirely different. I personally would never want to see it replaced with a phonetic system haha.

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I know what you mean. Besides, I doubt a phonetic system could have replace it like how Hangul did to Hanja. I've read that there are too many homophones in the Chinese language. Imagine reading a sentence written fully in hanyu pinyin(romanization of Chinese characters with tone markings). It can easily lend itself to different meanings.

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@outofthisworld: Oh yeah so true. I guess the Chinese writing system is really representative of how writing one character another way is going to change its meaning completely.

I actually recall reading somewhere that the Simplified Chinese characters were just a first step of sorts in Mao Zedong's plan to ultimately simplify the Chinese writing system to romanised hanyu pinyin. I get the rationale (literacy goes hand-in-hand with class etc) but is burying thousands of years of culture for the sake of modern progress (in the eyes of whom?) really such a great tradeoff? I guess standing right here in the position that I am in the 21st century I can say no, but if I were in the 1950/60s in China... that would be absolutely different. Therefore I can't be super resolute for sure lol.

So yeah, progress/retainment of culture is always a circular argument of sorts. To me at least!

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I guess the proponents of simplified Chinese began to have louder voice in early 20th century because of China's decline. Traditional Chinese was seen as an obstacle to modernization.

I learnt Simplified Chinese and it was a struggle. I can't imagine having to learn Traditional Chinese. I can usually make out Traditional Chinese characters unless I have to read an entire passage in it. That's when my mind goes blank, hahaha. Overload of strokes.

As for the argument for retaining culture, how will it be useful if students dislike learning the language because they find it difficult in the first place. Without the language, you can't fully appreciate the culture.

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@kumoiwa yup it was the communist party's intention to improve literacy by simplifying Chinese. A little sad really but I guess it worked

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Aw I actually really like Prince Dalhan, he seems really kind and caring, it's too bad the Princess won't fall for him.

And duuuude, what's wrong with that girl Dayeon she's literally pushing the marriage regardless what Gyun Woo thinks. That guy doesn't even like you! I wonder when will Gyun Woo's sister and mother will warm up to the princess, especially the sister she's such a kiss ass to Dayeon lol

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Damn.. the prince is so swoony....

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The tonal shift is a tad jarring but since the drama improved, I don't mind at all.

The Chinese actor is Kris Sun. Very glad they got an actual Chinese to portray the prince. Boy, he is one swoony prince!

My take on the costume, I think they shouldn't have gone as far as to put him in full Ming getup. They could have hidden the supposedly shaved head with a hat and put in the queue (braid). Even his clothes are not quite right. I noticed they got it right for his entourage. So it's not like the production was completely clueless. Not sure why it turned out like that. Maybe they couldn't get past the hair styling when the prince is wearing the Korean costume?

Lastly, I think Joo Won's mandarin is very commendable. With pointers from the Chinese actor, it must have helped. He got 90% of it spot on. I'm impressed!

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oh thanks for the name! I couldn't find him on dramawiki or baidu! he's indeed swoony *_*

The outfit the Prince wore is completely wrong, he actually should be wearing the official Manchurian attire when he first met the princess... not to mention the hair, but I think maybe the Korean audiences might find it weird if a half bald guy with braided hair comes on. I wish they got the outfit right to be honest, Manchurian/Qing outfits are absolutely stunning

I'm really impressed Joo Won spoke so much Mandarin in this drama, props to him for working so hard!

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You're right. Pity about the manchurian clothes are quite beautiful. I suppose there was some compromise going on. I'm sure even Kris Sun knows it's not proper.

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When I saw his hair I was like aw and aw, mainly because 1) I don't like the Manchurian queue so a full head of hair is okay to me and 2) but the history nerd in me says NUUUOOOOUHNUUUOOOO.

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Am I the only one who loves the Manchurian hair hahaha

You know it's probably because the actor didn't want to shave his head for few episodes in a foreign drama

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There are other faux pas, like 20th century looking electric lamp on JW's desk in episodes 19-20. i've never seen a desk lamp from the era that looks like a modern day bulb desk lamp.

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Thanks for proving I'm not the only person who saw the anachronistic desk lamp. I was beginning to wonder if needed to get my eyes examined. ;-)

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@Small Birdy,

"Lastly, I think Joo Won's mandarin is very commendable. With pointers from the Chinese actor, it must have helped. He got 90% of it spot on. I'm impressed!"

Aw, I'm glad to know that Joo Won's Mandarin sounds so good. I really appreciate it when actors go the extra mile to learn new skills to draw upon. Very cool, even if I don't understand Mandarin myself. ;-)

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Thank you , @murasakimi.
I am following your recaps and enjoying it a lot because of it.
I can't actually watch my sassy girl now because of time conflicts. But your recaps help me a lot.

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Officially Prince Dalhan is the first Qing guy I be liked in a Sageuk!!! Let me have him!!! O am squealing here for him!!! Such a romantic he is!!!

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Me too! I thought he's the lead guy from Basketball ( yeah that drama) but I googled and he is actually a Chinese actor.. Kris Sun

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Oh!! I thought he was Korean!!!

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The actor who acted as the prince is quite good. He gives such nice impression.. it's a pity that the princess heart belongs to Gyun sabu. He should find another Joseon woman....
The drama is getting better and better. The leads chemistry are reslly good too... only Da Yeon is such a sore in the eyes. She can't do anything except looking ar the mirror and asking evil daddy for help...she and the narcissistic guy are match made in heaven

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I saw many complaints by some of JW's fans about his character has nothing much to do in this drama so far, but surprisingly I like him more here than other drama. I only started to warm up to him during Yong Pal although I have watched many of his drama before. I love that I saw there's balance on his acting here, and i love his subtle and nuance expressions which I didn't find it before. I must praise both him and Oh Yeon Seo because they are definitely great actors. They deserve better script than this but it's nothing wrong to have some fun in working, plus this drama is actually not bad. It's not award winning drama but it is still has good aspects, and I don't mind to rewatch it in the future just for some leisure watching.

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I think he has over time tone down his acting. Some actors can't bring on the intensity but that's not his problem. He needs to level up to the state where the intensity is simmering just below the surface. I see that in some of his scenes here where the pain is palpable but the face is stoic.

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Yes you are right. He keeps improving himself and I am glad I see different side of him this time. He tends to overact sometimes, not that I dislike it, but I prefer some balance between the intense and nuance performance. In this regard, Oh Yeon Seo probably better here and OYS handle sageuk better as well.

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Ah, but isn't this Joo Won's first sageuk? Practice makes perfect. Alas, we'll have to wait for him to get back from military service first. Waaaa!

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I don't find this drama bipolar at all?
I mean i'm used Korean dramas who claimed to be romantic comedy and become serious as the drama goes on. Especially in saeguk like Moonlight also changed its toned from comedy to heavy tone esp nearing the end.
This drama becomes heavier as the princess secret is out. It's all just her defense to hide her pain and not to be targeted by the evil side.
Gyun Woo and Haemyung chemistry is also awesome. It's quite rare for me to feel giddy from dramas but the slow burn and emotional acting without the need of skinship already shown so much love

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I was just half watching this episide the other night, whoa! That last scene. I replayed this part several times. You know you can really depend on Joowon with those kind of delivery. I remember being truly convinced when he delivered the line that he likes Yeo-jin in Yongpal, even though I think there's a little build up.

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Sigh. The prince seems like such a awesome guy. I hope he finds love! And I kept thinking that there's NO WAY someone as perceptive as him could have missed the longing looks and pained undercurrents between the princess and Gyun Woo. So I really hope he's not gonna go full force with a public proposal and get embarrassed. )=

And the young prince was so adorable I kept tearing up along with him. His beloved sister is really his world.

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Finally, Joo Won is now given something to act with. ? I loved the introduction of a new character. And how this is all making our OTP long for each other. They were around each other a lot this episode, but never with each other. ?

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I didn't think it was "bipolar". I think they struck a good balance between comic relief and romance bit. Some of the characters had to be buffoonish to balance out the more serious characters or else it wouldn't be a romcom it would be romance drama.

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What I don't get is why did the princess call the translater "jerk"? What did he do to her that made her so angry?

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I just finished watching latest episode 19 and 20. I'm hooked like a crackhead to this series! Oh damn you korean dramas, you did it to me again!

Now I'm craving the next episodes like an addict. I love the twists. I knew the princess and GW would get together but was wondering how the writers would make it happen. They do not disappoint. They leave you just enough to want more and hanging on. I can see how in the last episode what could tie it in to the original MSG by playing the liet motif from the original movie. That would be a sure tear jerker.

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Hey, is there another drama series that is similiar to this that you guys can recommend?

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Thanks for recapping, murasakimi!

Now we're getting somewhere. The arrival of Prince Dalhan from Qing has shifted the tone and dynamics of the show in a wonderful way, and not only in regard to the vibe between Princess and Gyun Woo. The graft and corruption running in the background in government circles is also coming into focus. This is going to be good. I can smell a juicy diplomatic incident brewing.

Kris Sun gives a lovely performance as the sweetly gallant Prince of Qing. Dang, he's fetching.

I can't wait to see how the scenario plays out with Gyun Woo as Dalhan's reluctant but honorable interpreter. I can almost hear Gyun Sabu (the man, not the dog) saying, "I cannot tell a lie. The Princess is in my heart." And the Prince responding, "So I've noticed." -- The fact that her kid brother is freaking out over her imminent departure is not lost on this kind and gentle man. I hope he can find a suitable Joseon lady who reminds him of his Mom (in a good way!).

IMHO, Joo Won's performance is pitch-perfect. His aura is appropriately subdued and bedraggled. If I were in his shoes, I'd be depressed as hell, too.

I love how Gyun Woo's buddies act out the dialogue for their trashy novels -- in drag. Their dedication to literary quality control is commendable. It cracks me up every time. "Fifty Shades of Romantic Crash-Test Dummies." ;-)

Minister Jung's obnoxious daughter continues to raise my hackles. She's a chip off the old entitled block. Grrrr.

Our hero's nightmare makes me wonder if there's a big fat birth secret -- or three -- staring us in the face.

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Thanks for the recap, murasakimi!

I'm really enjoying this show. The introduction of Prince Dalhan was a great way to bring our main couple together since it becomes harder and harder to deny their feelings for each other. The translations were intertwined in a way that evoke emotions in the main characters. This was especially poignant in the ending scene when GW translated to HM that he can make her dreams come true. I also loved how he told HM and the prince that he cannot translate that last line. My heart skipped a beat and I had to watch that scene a few times. Brilliantly acted. Not to mention, I like how they found an actual Chinese actor to play the Qing prince. Joowonnie did his best with the Mandarin lines as well.

The little prince is such a cutie pie. Just wanna squish his cheeks and hug him. What a special bond he has with his elder sis.

GW's incessant nightmares are alarming. They seem to indicate that he's seen HM when she was young and might have possibly witnessed the disposed queen's attempted murder. This is gonna be interesting once GW figures all this out and recollects what really happened.

I quite like Prince Dalhan. He seems to be a genuinely nice guy who's quite attuned to the princess and seems to sincerely like her. It's too bad he was just innocently strung along as part of Minister Jung's set-up. I do think he's a good guy and will likely let go of the princess when the time comes instead of forcing marriage on her.

DY sucks. Hate all her scenes.

JY needs more presence in this show. I wanna see him capture the bad dudes and join forces with GW to locate the disposed queen.

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I like movie isgod and I want to see ep14plese thank you

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