Rating:
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96

Ruler–Master of the Mask: Episodes 19-20

Sun faces a new challenge this episode, one that pushes him to question what exactly he wants and how he’ll get it. While our hero struggles about what move to make next, our heroine charges into action, ready to fight for the truth as she knows it. However, friends and foes are everywhere as all the different factions continue to scheme and fight for control of the throne.

 
EPISODE 19 RECAP

As two court ladies prepare Ga-eun for her initiation, she narrates how she finally understands why her father chose justice over life. Remembering the death of the little girl, Yang, Ga-eun claims to have also found something she wants more than life: to dethrone the king.

All dressed and ready, Ga-eun steps out of her home to join the court ladies, but suddenly stops when she finds Kko-mool standing behind her, tugging on her skirt. Kko-mool gives her a wistful look, and Ga-eun wraps her in a silent embrace before departing.

Ga-eun arrives at the palace entrance, but before she passes through the gates, Sun calls out her name. He runs towards her, but Ga-eun explains in voiceover that she will also fight against Pyunsoohwe. She turns away, and the guards block Sun from entering as the gates close between them.

Back at the house, Lee Sun’s mother passes along Ga-eun’s vague message about having something to do, and Sun asks if she left anything in particular to him. Lee Sun’s mother says that Ga-eun apologized to Sun, and then continues to cry, since she knows that court ladies can only leave the palace once they’re dead.

Sun marches out of the house determined to bring Ga-eun back, but Chung-woon stops him, reminding him that Ga-eun left voluntarily. However, Sun remains undeterred by Chung-woon’s pleas since he’s fixated on rescuing Ga-eun. He only pauses when Woo Bo comes out to scold him for being foolish.

Woo Bo asks how Sun will bring Ga-eun back, or if she’ll die if he doesn’t go to her right now. Angered, Sun wonders if Woo Bo is suggesting that they leave Ga-eun there, but he warns Sun that Ga-eun’s life may be endangered if he acts in haste. Instead, Woo Bo advises Sun to meet Lee Sun first and ask him for help.

The queen dowager introduces Ga-eun to Lee Sun as his new court lady, and Lee Sun fails to hide his amazement and love as he stares at Ga-eun throughout the whole meeting. The queen dismisses Ga-eun, and once outside, the queen’s court lady leads her away.

Now alone, the queen says that she kept her promise and tells him that she’ll soon make Ga-eun his concubine after she serves as his court lady. Lee Sun thanks the queen, and she asks him if he now knows who to join hands with.

However, Lee Sun remembers Dae-mok’s “gift” of seeing his family (aka threatening him with his mother and sister) and avoids answering the queen’s question. Noting his silence, the queen quickly broaches a new topic: General Choi Heon is returning.

In front of all the members of Pyunsoohwe, Dae-mok introduces Hwa-goon as their new leader, and she marches to the front to take her spot. Immediately, Dae-mok gives Hwa-goon her first task, which is to address a request from the assistant head (aka her demoted father).

Hwa-goon’s father asks for permission to manage the poppy field, but Hwa-goon resists at first, deeming the position beneath him. Swallowing his pride, her father politely argues that managing the fields is not insignificant, and Dae-mok agrees with his son for once, though he continues to belittle him as he mockingly asks if he’ll fail at this task, too.

In private, the chief state councilor expresses his doubts about Hwa-goon to Dae-mok, especially since his recent actions have been uncharacteristic of him. Dae-mok calmly explains how Hwa-goon ran away from him five years ago, saying that she hated her grandfather, only to return all of a sudden to be his successor. Thus, Dae-mok is allowing her to proceed in order to find out what she’s planning.

Elsewhere, Sun sets his plans in motion as he uses the peddlers’ networks to figure out where the mountains named on the map might be located. Once they’re alone, Chung-woon tells Sun that it’s the first of the month, which means that he’ll be going to the palace today. He then asks what he’ll do if he meets Ga-eun, but learns that she chose to enter the palace by her own will. Unable to respond, Sun looks away.

Ga-eun attends to the king, helping him get ready, and Lee Sun gazes at her all the while. Once she finishes, Lee Sun asks if her new job is not too tiring, but before he can say much more, the head eunuch interrupts him.

As Ga-eun leaves, she runs into Sun, but quickly averts her eyes as she tries to pass him. Sun stops her by grabbing her wrist, but Ga-eun breaks free of his grip, reminding him that she’s a court lady and, therefore, cannot be touched by a man in the palace.

Sun is left speechless, and Ga-eun is called away by the queen’s court lady for a meeting. Soon after, the head eunuch arrives to escort Sun, and the eunuch’s words to prepare his body and mind stir Sun’s memories of when he was the prince.

Sun walks into the hall and bows before the king. He introduces himself as the Chief Peddler Park Chun-soo, but both men recognize the other and know the truth. Holding back his emotions, Lee Sun cryptically tells a tale about his old eunuch named Chun-soo who he wished were still alive, and Sun replies back with his own story about how he almost died and woke up with all his loved ones taken from him.

Lee Sun asks how Sun became the chief peddler, and he says that he was following his teacher’s advice about looking for an answer. When Sun tells him that he found what he was looking for, Lee Sun admits that he’s envious of him, since he hasn’t been at peace inside the palace.

Sun apologizes, but Lee Sun brushes it aside since he isn’t at fault, and instead wishes to meet him again in a less formal setting. Sun agrees, and then asks one final question to the king about a rainbow that has entered the palace. Decoding his words, Lee Sun’s eyes widen as he realizes that Sun is asking about Ga-eun.

Meanwhile, Ga-eun sits with other court ladies waiting for their lesson, and it’s Mae-chang who enters as their instructor.

Back in the hall, Lee Sun recalls the queen’s promise to make Ga-eun his concubine, and so he lies to Sun, pretending to not know what he’s asking. Their meeting ends, and Lee Sun looks at the dejected Sun with a steely gaze.

Ga-eun’s lessons have also finished, and once everyone leaves, she approaches Mae-chang to ask about the map. She knows Yang didn’t know how to write and reasoned that the detailed map must have come from Mae-chang.

Mae-chang admits the truth and tells Ga-eun that she meant no harm to Sun, though she can’t promise the map will not bring any. When Ga-eun asks why she gave the map, Mae-chang explains that she had no choice, but stops talking after noticing a window slightly ajar. She suddenly acts aloof, but passes a note to Ga-eun as she leaves.

Mae-chang meets in secret with her “father,” who asks her if she knew Yang. Mae-chang tells him that the little girl merely reminded her of when she was young and almost died from poison if “father” had not saved her. She then thanks him, but he knows Mae-chang has something else to say.

She asks him if they could help the real crown prince, and her father swings open the door in anger, revealing his identity as the head eunuch. He warns her to not side with anyone since, for their security, no king exists to them.

Sun leaves the palace, bothered by Lee Sun’s word about his lack of peace, but before he leaves, Ga-eun meets him and leads him to a secluded area. She tells him the province of the map—something she learned from Mae-chang’s note—and turns to leave.

Sun holds Ga-eun back and asks her a barrage of questions. She doesn’t answer, so Sun wonders if this means they’re not meant to be together. She tells him that she’s a court lady and cannot turn back to undo their cut tie. However, Sun steps in front of her and says that he’ll turn it back. All he needs is for her to tell him that there is still a place for him in her heart, but Ga-eun just walks away.

From a few feet away, Lee Sun watches their exchange in disbelief, and once alone in his chambers, his anger swells. He finally bursts, shouting for the head eunuch, and makes plans to visit the queen dowager right now.

 
EPISODE 20 RECAP

Lee Sun meets with the queen dowager in the middle of the night and desperately asks her to make Ga-eun his concubine. She tells him to wait since the law dictates that Ga-eun be trained first, but Lee Sun yells at the queen for stalling.

Realizing his outburst, Lee Sun apologizes, and though taken aback, the queen dowager regains her composure. She poses a question to Lee Sun, asking which should come first: making Ga-eun his concubine or restoring her father’s honor.

Lee Sun admits that the latter should be prioritized, so the queen dowager asks who would likely oppose it. Under his breath, Lee Sun utters, “Dae-mok,” and then goes onto his knees. He knows the queen dowager thinks he’s pathetic, but he begs her to keep her promise to make Ga-eun his concubine.

In a different meeting, Dae-mok asks Hwa-goon why the chief peddler met the king, and she shares her thoughts about the chief peddler being the queen’s person. Dae-mok questions her reasoning since it doesn’t make sense that his granddaughter would become his successor just to protect a lackey of the queen.

He cautions Hwa-goon about secrets, since even the most capable person becomes a fool when hiding something. Laughing, he leaves the room as Hwa-goon grasps just how much she underestimated her grandfather.

Meanwhile, Sun shares what he learned from his trip to the palace, and Moo-ha carelessly asks him what Ga-eun said to him. Woo Bo slaps him in the face, but Moo-ha argues that Ga-eun will become Sun’s woman once he reclaims the throne. In response, Chung-woon calls him tactless, and even Woo Bo says that he wishes Moo-ha wasn’t here.

The next day, General Choi arrives and meets with the king. Lee Sun gifts him with twenty horses, but the general only wishes for a glass of wine from the king tonight. Surprised, Lee Sun explains that he’s busy tonight and promises to have the banquet in two days.

The chief state councilor interjects to explain how they planned his banquet later, but the general barks at the minister for interfering. Suddenly, Woo Bo starts to laugh, and offers to host the general for tonight.

The Minister of War informs the queen dowager of the general’s arrival, but she wants to know why the general suddenly appeared. The queen dowager worries about the sudden appearance since the general avoided the capital in the past because of his hate for Pyunsoohwe, but unlike the queen dowager, the minister believes this to be an opportunity to make a strong ally.

That evening, General Choi meets with the former Minister of War (who’s been reinstated to lead the Office of Inspector General), and asks why he called for him. Cutting to the chase, the minister tells him the shocking news: The current king is a puppet placed on the throne by Pyunsoohwe.

Lee Sun crosses paths with Woo Bo in the palace, and asks to speak with him. He tells Woo Bo how happy he was to see him walk into the hall that day, and restrains himself from acting too familiar with his old teacher.

Woo Bo asks if the king would allow him to speak comfortably for a moment and tells Lee Sun to ignore anyone who tells him to be a good king. He advises Lee Sun to take control and care of himself before trying to rule the country, and Lee Sun agrees to heed his words. In return, Lee Sun also gives some advice to Woo Bo: Don’t move, and stay quiet.

The queen dowager calls for Ga-eun, and assigns her with a difficult task. She orders her to find out what Pyunsoohwe delivers to the king every fifteen days, so Ga-eun spies on the head eunuch as he receives a chest from members of Pyunsoohwe.

Once the chest is delivered to the king’s chamber, Ga-eun sneaks in and opens it to reveal a vase and bamboo vial. She hears a door opening and quickly gets up to escape. However, she has nowhere to turn, but just as the head eunuch enters, Lee Sun grabs Ga-eun and shields her from view.

The head eunuch notices the opened chest, but he doesn’t press Lee Sun for an explanation. Once he leaves, Ga-eun notices the mask on the bed, and realizes the king is the one behind her. She immediately throws herself to the ground, and admits her crimes should warrant death.

To her surprise, the king has no plans to punish her, but before she goes, he asks her why she continues to do dangerous things. Ga-eun turns around to see the shrouded figure of the king, but doesn’t answer as she walks away.

Reporting back to the queen dowager, Ga-eun explains how the chest only had a vase and a bamboo decoration—unaware of the true nature of the vial—and the queen is stumped by the contents since the king is only obsessed with one thing. She thanks Ga-eun for her service, and as Ga-eun leaves, she wonders to herself why the king keeps helping her.

The queen dowager meets with General Choi, who asks her if she’s aware of the fake prince. Feigning ignorance, the queen dowager tells him that she had her suspicions, and the general shares his plans with the queen: He will bring his army to the capital and kill Dae-mok.

The general’s meeting with the queen dowager quickly reaches Dae-mok’s ears, and he orders Hwa-goon to figure out what they discussed at all cost. Handing over his whip, he permits Hwa-goon to use all their assassins and reminds her that the future of their group lies in her hands.

Woo Bo meets with the Minister of the Office of Inspector General, who passes along General Choi’s request to meet with Sun. Woo Bo agrees to deliver the message but asks why the general suddenly appeared. The minister tells him that he called the general here, but that he will explain everything later.

In the evening, a seemingly drunk General Choi wobbles down the street as assassins from Pyunsoohwe tail him. However, the general swiftly jumps over a wall and successfully escapes from the assassins.

Elsewhere, Sun and Chung-woon make their way to the minister’s house, and once they arrive, Sun is immediately greeted by General Choi, who falls on one knee and addresses him by his true title.

Inside, the general urges Sun to attack Pyunsoohwe since now is the opportune moment for him to move his army and help the crown prince. Before Sun can respond, Woo Bo interrupts from outside. Sun steps out to see his teacher, and Woo Bo goes on his knees to beg Sun to avoid war.

The general calls Woo Bo a coward and falls to his knees beside him to persuade Sun otherwise. Tired of waiting, Sun asks Woo Bo when this battle will end, but Woo Bo tells him that it will take Sun’s entire life to save his people and destroy Pyunsoohwe.

Remaining silent, Sun looks back and forth between Woo Bo and General Choi, debating which hand to choose.

 
COMMENTS

The show continues to go through all the motions, yet I can’t quite connect with the characters and their motivations. I said this before, but the writers have too many plates spinning at once. In this episode alone, we’re introduced to a new character and another faction inside the palace. However, the writing hasn’t found a way to be intricate and detailed. Most of the characters feel one-dimensional, and when most of the action is contained within meetings (so many meetings!), I feel like I’m forced to just accept character motivations and development as the writers tell me through words rather than action.

For example, I like the idea of the “eunuch faction” led by the head eunuch because it’s an interesting third party group that could potentially shake things up. Since they’re neutral yet hold so much power as gatekeepers and middle managers, they could turn the tide of a battle from one group to another. However, I don’t know the reasons behind their actions (besides the fact that the head eunuch conveniently explained his motivation aloud to Mae-chang) nor do I find them that interesting on screen as I do in my head. I don’t understand why Mae-chang helped Sun, and I don’t quite understand how they’ll fit into the bigger picture.

Likewise, General Choi isn’t a bad character since he serves as a nice foil to Woo Bo. But like my reservations with the head eunuch, I’m just not that interested in him as a character. He suddenly appears out of nowhere with all this power, and feels more like a plot device than anything else. He’s there to offer another option to Sun, but at this moment, I also wonder what the other option Woo Bo is talking about actually entails. It’s disappointing when a random character suddenly appears and stirs more action in an episode than the hero.

Besides the general, Ga-eun did the most this episode, but that was also frustrating, because she seemed to play a messenger role than anything else. In addition, in the grand scheme of things, Ga-eun didn’t really do much to push the plot forward herself and it was more about her presence that motivated different characters. The writers continue to fail in developing her character, and by now, I want more from Ga-eun if I’m to believe she raised an entire market from nothing in the span of five years and has been taught from a scholar even though she’s a girl in a patriarchal society. She should be more than a love interest, but so far, the writing hasn’t delivered.

Now that the copper arc has ended, the next one seems to be about the poppy field, but this episode was in an odd limbo. We haven’t really seen Sun taking initiative when it comes to taking down Pyunsoohwe. For the copper, it was more like Sun reacting to Dae-mok’s plan (which was five years in the making) and thwarting him. However, once that was over, we should have seen more development in Sun and in his battle against Dae-mok.

He had five years to prepare, but besides being the Chief Peddler, I get the impression that Sun hasn’t really thought of a plan to take down Dae-mok. This also makes me shake my head at the writers’ choice to introduce the general, because if General Choi didn’t miraculously appear, what was Sun even planning to do? He obviously wasn’t planning on starting a war, but when Woo Bo told him to fight his entire life, I feel a disconnect between his words and what we’ve seen so far. Granted, I’m with Woo Bo that war is bad, but since that’s the case, I want something else to happen besides all these meetings.

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Came here only because so Kim so hyun

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me too

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I had to catch up four episodes, and in the end realized there was still no plan.

Still hanging on for KSH.

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And I am hanging on for YSH. Yes, there is still no plan yet. Only the queen and MC seem to have a plan, but even then, they also seem to be improvising as they go along. Sigh.

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Still hanging on for both YSH and KSH

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I don't like this unnecessary angst between the real CP and GE, but arragh. I am now more interested in HG's "love line" with the real CP because it is more fascinating. However, LYH's acting is still putting me off a little. Did you guys see how she practically pranced her way into the ceremony where the grandfather introduced her as the head of the group to the elders? Why can't she walk the sageuk way, slow and solemn, especially when the scene requires it?

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I noticed her strange way of walking, and despite my limited command of Korean language, I am full awared of her weird way of delivering lines too. Hmmm. It is her acting that makes me feel no chemistry between CP and her t all.

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It's too bad, I will root for HG easily if she is a better actress. When we finally have interesting second female lead, it's ruined by bad acting.

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Officially halfway to the end and still no revenge arc. Not bothered though, because I've long accepted it's not gonna happen ever. Gaeun only exists as Yi Sun's love interest and to push the other characters' stories forward. She's just a plot device that the other leads are meant to react on. Actually, this story could still manage even without her. You could take Gaeun out this drama and it wouldn't change a thing. That's how irrelevant she is to the main story.

I said on the other thread that I'm tired of complaining and that I'm gonna drop it, but I can't help but comment again here because I still can't get over at how wasted Kim Sohyun is in this drama. I don't know her reasons on why she took this, but I'm praying that While You Were Sleeping will bring back her awesomeness the way Goblin did despite the short appearance. I need to erase Ruler and her tragic role (in every sense of the word) from my memory ASAP.

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I think we are fooled by the synopsis? There is no revenge arc at all. Everything GE does that is against the fake King is dictated by the Queen and others. How is that revenge?

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Totally. They probably just wrote the revenge arc in the promos to make her character seem more interesting to attract viewers and because Kim Sohyun is known to do well with anti-hero characters, fans and non-fans are easily fooled. The writers are probably going to remember the revenge part when we're just an episode or two away from the ending just to create more unnecessary angst and drama. And that... is bound to fail. Revenge doesn't happen in a day! For goodness' sake!

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It wasn't just someone getting "creative" with the synopsis either. Look at this trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Qgo0m33b_Zo

How awesome was it? So much tension and promise in a 40 second clip.

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To be honest, when I've heard of the synopsis, I've thought of many different scenes and dialogues and stories that could go really well with the revenge part (because apart from KSH, that's the only thing that got me interested in the drama). The synopsis said Gaeun was from a warrior family, so I pictured her fighting with swords and shooting arrows and how awesome it would have been if she had a sword fight with Yoo Seungho like he did with Maechang. And take a little form Mr and Mrs Smith were they hesitantly pointed guns at each other. Only this time, it would be a sword or something. Or they could make Gaeun a scheming court lady that plans to kill the prince after her father was executed. Or she could have plotted something to ascend in the ranks and become a queen so she could kill the prince/king. In short, I expected her to be badass, not this cookie-cutter Joseon candy Gaeun that we are being given.

This writer/director combo is so infuriating. Dramagods, get KSH away from them on her next project.

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How many episode is this? It is only 10 episodes in right? A episode is divided 30 min, 30 min. 20 means 10 episodes?

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@urnaa Yes, in a 1-hour 20-episode format, this would be the 10th episode.

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I think it is about to get interesting. I thought drama is 50 episodes ?

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It's 40 episodes per 30 minutes.

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One thing bother me is Ge Eun cries a lot. When decide to leave she cries behind CP. When talk to CP again, she cries. The way she cries just lots of tears. There are many ways to express feeling without crying a lot. Just the solution she choose for her thought. Overal lots of her reaction I was like WTF.

And now the CP starting to going no where. I really dont understand the later part of the episode, all of surrounding general choi storyline.

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King Sun is so damn sexy in his pajama. I got goosebumps when he gave Ga Eun a hug from behind. Now he is getting greedy and is about to turn evil, which is not a bad thing at all.

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Btw, his wide shoulders has such a strong hold on me. This makes Ga Eun look like a little doll standing by him. Even his sihouette is sexy hahaha.

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I think he looks really good in the Pajama, better than in his king's attire, made me wish he is in pajama all the time haha.

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I don't care about any f the negative comments or criticisms about this drama, I am loving the whole thing. It's not perfect but it's been the perfect sageuk to show my best friend who is finally getting into dramas. After showing her City Hunter, Healer, It's OK That's Love, and Chicago Typewriter I knew she was ready for k-history. We tried Moonlight Drawn by Clouds (which I loved) but seemed too silly for her so I stopped at episode one. Six Flying Dragons and Thief of the People both started out WAY too serious - but Ruler: Master of the Mask hit all the right notes for now. Don't ask me why but I am loving it and loving watching it side-by-side with Queen for Seven Days which is JUST now starting to get interesting.

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I am watching Ruler first, then Fight for my way, then Queen for seven days. I am enjoying as a happy fan because there are o many good dramas to watch now. i am also a big fan of ji Chang Wook, so yes, i watched Suspicious partner, too. But i dropped it from about ep 15-16 or so.

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This show doesn't meet my high expectation, but it is actually still a very good drama to watch. Yes, i love MDBC dearly in the firts half, but the second half is so meh. I finished that show just because of Bogum and Yoojung. Yoojung's talent was wasted in that show, too. It is totally the same issue that Sohyun is facing in Ruler now. They are both the CPs's love interests, nothing more or less. As for Ruler, there are about half of the show to watch, so i am still hoping that Ga Eun will not end up as a boring character like Ra On.

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Well, even though I didn't like that Raon was always in danger and that the prince had to save her every time, she was essential to the story. Up until the part where she pointed a dagger at Yeong (because noble idiocy never dies) I actually liked her. She has a principle and she had a part in the prince's growth and she was more than just a love interest. Her story is as important as the prince's. Plus, she had a personality, especially when she's fighting for what she thinks is right and when she's bickering with Yeong.

But Gaeun... sigh. I feel so sad... for myself and for Kim Sohyun.

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Agree. I may not like that Raon is always a damsel-in-distress (even though it was understandable due to her circumstances) but she is more alive and proactive than Gaeun. She has a job as an author in the beginning and the end of the story, she did the puppet show for the servants, she helped the mute princess, she danced... etc. Gaeun is just a wet towel. Ugh.

MDBC did go political at the end with all the sageuk tropes but MDBC is still a way tighter ship than this. They didn't sell it as a serious, revenge, political drama anyway so I was prepared that the politics would be "light" too. But Ruler was, and it just doesn't hold a candle to its next of kin SFD, Rebel and especially The Princess' Man.

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I actually thought that Raon is better than Gaeun honestly, she is a more fleshed out character than Gaeun and contributes more to the story. The four main character in Ruler has potentials to be much better characters than the ones in Moonlight, but the writing here kinda fails to explore more of its main characters. I agree that Moonlight is really good in the first part.

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i also bored midway in MDBC. But RaOn is more interesting than Ga Eun definitely and had essential to the story.

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Yoojung's talent wasn't actually as wasted as Sohyun's here. From the very start we all know Moonlight is a romance sageuk, means it's a romance story but because it happened in Joseon the political stuff couldn't be avoided. So personally, I was fine with foolish political plot in MDBC. But this one started as a great, great political sageuk only to turns out like this..... honestly if those characters are just a lil bit created with clear intention and way of thinking it wouldn't be as bad (omg idk what else to call this drama, i don't mean bad, that bad though) as now.

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My god then you'd be happy with just anything.

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this was meant to reply *lunatic4kd* this simply doesn't hold water against 7DQ

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I actually understand. I'm still watching this show, but I too notice the flaws here and there. On the other hand, my friend, who loves K-dramas more than I do, really enjoys it without paying attention to it's flaws.
So, yeah..some people genuinely enjoy this drama for entertainment purpose. Other dramas have flaws too, so it really depends whether u can accept them or not. From the dramas that u mentioned, I watched 2 of them and I felt that the setup was 'meh..seriously?', but I watched it anyway.

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*correction : I watched them anyway. Sorry, cant edit

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"Woo Bo tells him that it will take Sun’s entire life to save his people and destroy Pyunsoohwe."

I don't think a decision to go to war is easily made but hey, we are taking about Pyunsoohwe and its head Dae Mok who committed the highest treason! He murdered the King and Crown Prince(though not successful), installed a puppet on the throne, terrorize and kill people at will. Aren't these reasons to declare war on Pyunsoohwe?

I don't understand Woo Bo(not that I understand other characters too). Does he have a grand plan or helped Lee Sun or Sun in any way? I admit I am only reading recaps so I will appreciate if anyone can tell me what has Woo Bo contributed? I mean he is the only one who can connect Sun, Ga Eun and Lee Sun. Plus he also knows exactly who was the culprit behind Ga Eun's father's death and who Sun was all this while.
Now, he is telling Sun to use his entire lifetime to save his people and destroy Pyunsoohwe? At the rate of how well they are all scheming, it just might.

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WooBo is preventing CP Sun from becoming another DaeMok. His contributions are mostly advise on thwarting Pyunsoohwe from gaining more control. Although at times fly it seem that WooBo has a concrete plan himself. Would be different if they show he is in cahoots with someone powerful aside from the CP who doesnt look has equal power as DaeMok.

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Eh...Woo Bo sounds like Obi wan Kenobi with Dae Mok- Darth Vader and CP-Luke Skywalker ?

If his advise/plan is mainly to prevent Pyunsoohwe from gaining more control, I think it's lame. You don't leave an organization like Pyunsoohwe lying around. It needs to be burned to the ground.

There exists more urgent and bigger crisis than the fear of CP becoming another Dae Mok. The throne has been usurped, CP is a fugitive disguised as peddler and the people are suffering, why is Woo Bo's priority shaping CP's character?

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Woo Bo frustrates me whenever I think about his character too. He said he vowed to fight for the people but he doesnt really do anything except tell everyone vague things LOL. I'm surprised he's still telling everyone about becoming the owner/master as if it worked so well with Dae Mok the first time, pffft. I feel like he just waits for stuff to happen...so much wasted potential cause he literally has access to the 3 main characters but he doesnt do anything with them. It would have been cooler if he trained Ga Eun or something after what happened to her dad. He would have had the time since he relegated CP's 'training' to that other peddler guy.

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LOl vague things - typical wise old man action

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Thats what frustrates me with this show. Nothing concrete has been planned in taking over the
Crown and destroying pyunsoohwe. Yes the CP has some growing up to do but why hasnt they gained powerful allies in the process. Wouldnt it have been wiser to make him more than the chief peddler?

Taking back the crown from the usurper would take more than swapping places with Lee Sun. Or are they hinging on simply that? Talking to Lee Sun and swapping places with him.

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I also dont really understand WB's intention. Perhaps he wanted CP to be more careful considering how powerful Pyunsoo is? But how will Pyunsoo be defeated without physical war? By recruiting it's leaders? *perhaps that is the role of HG *

But I think CP choosed war, judging from the preview of next episode *lol*

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I think he won't. He is meant to become a thoughtful ruler, so he won't trigger a civil war.

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I can't say he's a thoughtful ruler. Rebellion from the people takes place because they are driven to the edge. They would rather fight to get a chance at a better life and die in the process than to live miserably under the reign of a tyrant or useless king.
This is not about glorifying Sun and putting a halo over him. War is the last resort but what has he done in the past 5 years? Show doesn't show us that either Sun or Woo Bo has some grand plan?
I think what I really miss are those brilliant strategies and schemes shown in good saeguks. Even Dae Mok disappoints. For someone with such power, he's not doing much, is he?

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The grand strategy for CP is to build his power/connection and find a chance to fight back. After he becomes Chief of Peddler, then he begind to see those chance. For DM, the grand strategy is to defeat the Queen by controlling money. He has been doing that by making chopper hard to find.

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I think it's his request for Lee Sun to think wisely about his decision for a war. A war can be unavoidable, but it must comes with good plan. If they just go to the war with the physical strength and no good plan, they will end up lose more. For now, they still don't know about Pyungsoo group's strength at whole.

I'm hoping Lee Sun knows about Hwa Gun's identity already. I am tired seeing him only trusting her like a stupid boy. Not that HG is really bad as a person but she's still coming from his enemy's family.

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That begs another question - why do they still not know more about Pyunsoohwe?

Is your "Lee Sun" in both paragraphs referring to Peasant Sun now Fake King or Real Sun now Peddler? It's the latter, right?
You know what? The characters in this show is very slow in knowing about anything or anyone. Look at Ga Eun, I can't believe she still doesn't know King is her childhood friend/study mate Peasant Sun. For all his networks and spies, Dae Mok still doesn't know Chief Peddler is the not so dead Crown Prince Lee Sun and I can go on forever.

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I can understand why GE couldnt recognize LS as her friend. Who would suspect that a peasant like him be the King? Even if she thought that the voice is similar, then she wouldnt think that.

Regarding DM knowing about CP, CP's identity is supposed to be known by several parties only (although the drama is having difficulties to show that). And the one who knows his face clearly (from the villain side) is only DM , while HG is protecting him. So it's still understandable of DM doesnt know. And I'm glad that the show hasnt make him-CP meet, then CP pretends to be someone else with that kinda face (like what happen in other dramas). Well ..at least it hasnt happened now *LOL* ..

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That begs another question - why do they still not know more about Pyunsoohwe?

LOL the answer was already there from so many epi before - weak writing and weak plot. Things are moving so slow and all characters are made slow and dumb. I'm continue watching but already bear in mind, there's no use in questioning about this and that because what more I can expect. I'll just following where this drama will bring me with no more expectation on the plot.

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I have ranted so much in private with my friends now I have nothing to say lol. In summary I just can't feel connected to most of the characters anymore and some of the angsts,
which felt very manufactured and driven by stupid motivations so they made me feel almost nothing. If there is one scene I really like, it's the scene between Wooboo and Fake King, it's one of the few scenes that made me feel something other than confusion and annoyance.

At least this episode and the preview for next week kinda confirms that the spoilers I read about the drama prior to it airing were right.

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*miscommunications, not motivations, though I guess that fits really well too

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In this spoilers..is there something to look forward?

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Well not sure if this is something to look for and I think some people are already expecting it anyway. There is a betrayal and some attempted murders I guess. Most of the spoilers have already happened, I just forgot about them because I brushed them off as fan theories haha.

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*look forward to?

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Its true that most of what CP Sun is doing is more of react/thwart what Pyunsoohwe is doing. despite that, i thought this was episode was better than the last. I liked that the setting has moved in the palace and the stakes seem to be higher.
though, i think that they shouldve introduced the character of the general early on and couldve been in secret contact with Sun for the past 5 years as they plot to overthrow Pyunsoohwe. This couldve been more compelling since we got a feel of this faction early on.
I so want them to redo GaEun's character since her character is just a prop/pawn at this point. They couldve incorporated some of MaeChang's backstory to GaEun to give her more agency to her actions.
This show looks good on paper but the execution of the storyline is subpar. They have such great actors onboard. ? i want to like this show so much but its hard.

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I think this week's episodes are better than last week's too, despite all of my annoyance. I think it's also because some of the key characters have finally meet so the plot is actually finally kinda moving forward too.

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CP was the one who put WB in the palace. WB was the one who contacted the former general, and the former general who contacted general Choi.

In relationship with the QD, CP was the one who made the 'alliance" with her . Eventhough he pretended that he was going to DM, but how could he went to DM while his face was already known?.

So, I dont think CP is merely reacting. He was like a chess player, who put his soldiers in place and let them working for himself. He made plans based on what chances that were opening in front of him, since you couldnt just make any strategies without knowing the real condition

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I totally agree. I find him so smart when he installed Woo Bo as Minister of Personnel (吏部).

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i just realized that i actually love kim so hyun enough to decide to watch this drama to the very end..

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Haha! Yep, that's love. Hopefully we'll be rewarded with a better drama for her next time where all the ingredients actually work well together.

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Is it dramabeans' Year End Review yet because I can't wait to give my opinion on Most wasted talent

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Sorry drama...although I love seungho and saeguk so much but this draggy plot no longer work on me...can someone take him in a modern romcom?? He deserves to be happy although he's really great in saeguk

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This episode completely lost me in terms of plot; at this point there are more plot holes and inconsistent character arcs than there is coherence. The queen dowager is a prime example of this.

Before today, I always assumed that she:

1) knew that Lee Sun on the throne is the fake king. There was clear indication of this at his crowning when he speaks and the Dowager immediately reflects back to the Crown Prince speaking to her before and notes the differences in voice and bearing between the two.

2) Had an inkling , if not more, of Pyunsoo group poisoning the King and thereby keeping him under their power. There was indication of this as well in the earlier episodes where she stresses on how weak and powerless the King used to be when it came to dealing with Pyunsoohwe.

Because of these two reasons, I always assumed her wish to dethrone the fake King came from her desire to remove any last traces of Pyunsoo's power from the throne. And her being the only royalty would then be the rightful ruler. This episode however, proved that the Dowager is completely ignorant not only about the poisoning but also about Lee Sun not being the actual Crown Prince?! Which wtf??? I thought we were beyond this weeks ago? Now we come to know that one of the only remaining royalty is in fact power hungry. I thought we were beyond these women in power are evil stereotypes? I am probably going to drop this drama after today. I can't watch a series where everyone is a cardboard cutout of a character type instead of actual fleshed out individuals.

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Quite so!

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I wondered about these too, especially about her knowing the CP is fake. But after she met the real CP I figured she didn't know this truth because she didn't recognized his voice. As for the poisoning, I'm not surprised she doesn't know because if she knew, wouldn't she have acted while the King was alive? Of course he was powerless but that doesn't mean he was poisoned. Maybe she assumed Dae Mok was threatening the King with something?
And I'm not surprised she wants to dethrone CP for her own purpose. I don't necessarily see this as being power hungry. Ok maybe a bit but I assume that during Joseon period in the Palace surviving was capital and equaled having power.
But I do agree about the non-fleshed out characters in general. A real pity

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i keep rewatch this drama,, and i thought the Queen Dowager knows, the king on the throne is fake, that's why she want to dethrone him.. but when she speaking with the general, i think she just pretending that she is shocked and just get to know the truth, when actually she already know..
doesn't it always happened in any historical drama? those who sit at a high position, always pretend doesn't know anything.. i still want to watch this show and let's see, if there is any improvement in the character and storyline..

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This drama... what a waste. They have good leads (the reason that got me interested was KSH but now I like YSH better) and in general good character potential but they're throwing it all out the window.

How come Ga eun go into the king's room at night and nobody noticed? is is believable? Idk too much about korean history and etiquette but I didn't buy it. And isn't she supposed to know about plants, how could she not noticed something weird in that bamboo stick?

I agree about Ga eun character being reduced. She's just there. And when tries to do something she fails.

I can't stand L's performance. Sometimes he does it, but most of the time he doesn't and it's painful to watch. So sad.

Sharing time slot with 7DQ I think should get hard, as this show by ep 4 is captivating and good plots being developed. Between those two and comparing the fails in this one are magnified.

Not all of it it's bad but a nice cast, scenery and wardrobe alone doesn't make a good drama

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During that scene I wondered about 2 things:
1) Why doesn't fake King tries to understand why she came into his room at night in the first place? I know he loves her but love doesn't make you stupid (at least most of the time)
2) Why isn't Ga Eun surprised she's still alive after what she did? Like it's normal to enter the King's room without his authorization and not get punished when you get found out

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I think he is not that silly to be unable to understand, but he just keeps it in his mind for the time being. As for Ga Eun, it is shown in the show that she was definitely surprised.

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This is just getting worse. Now instead of acting scenes we have voice over. The feel of this is that the writer is litterally making things up on the hoof without more than a vague idea of where she's headed. The narative flow is like a run-away cart careering down a bumpy slope. Mae chang is intent on destroying the opium field because she knows the evil it makes and was a victim just like Yang, but unlike Yang she was given the antidote. So DE is to bring about the (fake) King's dethronment. Does that place her and CP on opposing sides, or open the way to the latters enthronment? So HG's dad has placed himself in litteraly a 'field of danger' I dislike him only slightly less than DM. I hope they both get the chop very soon... or rather the poison but not the antidote. That would be the most fitting end to all the Pyunsoohwe, excepting HG providing she continues to favour CP.

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So now we are half way through this drama right? I really hope the plot picks up in the last half... I guess we will wait and see. It just seems like now the tables have turned. We don't know yet which path CP will choose, nor do we know anymore what the fake Kings intentions are with CP. I want to see the revenge that the synopsis promised, the one Ga-Eun is supposed to plot against the king (whether the fake King or if it ends up being CP), but at this point I'm not too hopeful of it. We'll just have to see what the writer had in mind, and hopefully it will play out to the audience's liking and interest.

*Fingers's crossed* still hopeful for this drama. I quite connect with Ga-Eun and CP's moments, despite what many other commenters have noticed. But I want to see more plot... like when will Ga-Eun find out that the fake King is her close friend Lee Sun? And when will she find out that Chun-Soo is the real CP?? That's what I'm waiting for...

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Yes, I think that this show will become more and more interesting towards the end.

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Aaack!
I'm worry Lee Sun will blind with power and greedy, now that he knows Crown Prince's alive, living with his family, and owns Ga eun's heart.
I'm reading elsewhere that YSH lost 5 kg while shooting this drama >,<
Please take care of your health too, Crown Prince.

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This drama seriously suck.
Nothing really happen. Ksh character is useless. What happened to finding pot in the garden, that was like someone dying message and the premise it will help her to clear her father name. If clearing her father name was her top priority i wil turn that garden upside down to find that pot. It was like the episode before the time skip never happen, the writer forgot her own plot.
If its not because of KSH and YSH nobody would even pay attention to this. Here i am pissed at myself for continuing watching this mess.

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the drama itself is not sucks.. but i also wondering, when will ga eun turn the garden upside down... i mean, is she really forget about that? but since this is a kdrama, anything can happen based on Writer's logic..

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"but i also wondering, when will ga eun turn the garden upside down..."
*LOL* yeah..I'm also waiting for that, and for her to discover CP's real identity

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when i saw the head eunuch, i thought they are " nameless" just like in SFD.. hahahaha... i'm not even think that the eunuch have such an " eunuch faction ".. hahahaha...since even in SFD, they didn't involved in government, but their existence also can turn the tide.

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What I want to know...and is the biggest plot hole of all...is how a eunuh manages to father a daughter!

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It is easy enough to figure out if you want to. That is because she was adopted by him.

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Sometimes I wonder why I'm still watching this drama... Still I think this week's episodes were better than last week's. At least stuff happened this time. I hope Ga Eun will be usefull as a palace maid, I really don't want this to be a plot device to build angts between her and Crown Prince! But right now she's only following the Queen Dowager's orders...
I was so frustrated when Crown Prince said he was going to tell Ga Eun the truth and then he did not. I guess they want to reveal this at the end but well.
And fake King Lee Sun should calm down and stop being so greedy. I felt he would become that way in previous episodes but I thought he would somehow stop upon knowing Crown Prince is alive.

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Yep. Still feeling the same problem with the plot, but I like these episodes more compared to EP 17-18. Finally there's more action in the palace and more things are happening. Finally Fake King Sun and Real King Sun have met. In general, I echo the sentiments of @lovepark. Thanks for the recap.

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This show is nowhere near Game of thrones like the director hope it to be, but still, it looks like a game to take power, which is quite ineresting to watch.
Now I can see there are at least 4 parties in the big picture of this show:

1/ Pyunsoo-hwe: They will continue to play the main villain.
2/ Dowager Queen (with Minister of Defense, chief court lady Han): She seems to have no ill feeling with CP Sun, but she doesn't like him either. All that she wants is to stay in power.
3/ Chief eunuch (with Mae Chang & maybe lots of other eunuchs & court ladies): He hasn't decided to side with any other parties yet, but he will be moved by CP Sun and end up siding with him I think.
4/ CP Sun (with tons of merchants, General Choi Hyun, Minister of Personnel... on his side)

Hwa Gun seems to be planning of taking advantage of Pyunsoo-hwe to "give" Sun the throne to gain his interest out of her obsessive crazy love.
King Sun is becoming greedy and he is about to choose either Pyunsoo-hwe or DQ to get rid of CP Sun. Maybe he will play double agent to gain interest from both sides.
As for Ga Eun, she is now on DQ's side, but I think as soon as she knows about CP Sun's identity, despite her resentment for him, she will become his strength (She's king Sun's weakness, and she is not blind with revenge). Wednesday, come quickly! (finger crossed)

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i'm quite agree.. this drama is not like game of throne, but game of power.. which is confusing enough.. it is already 10 episode, but hey..they keep add another new character.. can the writer just focus on storyline, and make the story more interesting? seems like the story is just stay in 1 place..

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I'm watching because of Yoo Seung Ho...love listening to his voice and watching his facial expressions! I'm letting the story line go where ever...just so I can watch YSH.

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The best character out of this entire Drama to me is peasant Lee Seon. I don't understand how some people think he's evil. Like what?? He thought the crown prince was dead for 5 YEARS and right when he found out he was alive the first thing he did was protect him from being caught by Daemok. I would've been so pissed to find out he was alive while I was suffering in the palace with my life in Daemok's hands for years. The real crown prince is honestly getting on my nerves. You'd think it wouldn't take 5 years to let your friend who is suffering in your place know that you were alive. Peasant Lee Seon becoming greedy for Gaeun is fine with me. I'm tired of watching him be used and abused. I just want him to start standing up for himself and gain confidence. He's the character I'm rooting for even though I doubt things will end well for him unfortunately...

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He is not born evil, but he is about to turn evil. Well, if it is the shortest way for him to stand up and fight for himself, I will wholeheartedly root for him. I can't stand seeing him to be abused either. Be strong & greedy, be cunning, Sun.

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Glad someone agrees with me! I don't think he'll turn evil, sure there'll be conflict between him and the crown prince now but I don't think that means he's going to be evil. If he does turn out to be evil though I honestly can't blame him. He's been through complete hell for five years so going through all that for so long could end up affecting him in a bad way. Heck I'd probably turn evil if I went through what he's going through right now.

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Actually, I'm in the middle. I dont mind LS becomes 'greedy' for GE. Afterall, she is his dream girl. But, I think his suffering in the palace is partly the result of his own choice of wanting to be CP's replacement. CP is suffering too, for having to run away from the palace, to loose his family and for feeling guilty of not being able to release his friend, LS.

I hate to see the fight between those boys for GE. I think both are pitiful, and I dont want either of them to be hurt. And I hope LS wont become evil, but if he does (coz that what I've been suspecting since I saw the promo pics), then I've prepared myself

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Crown Prince is suffering too, I know. All the four leads are. I'm just upset it took 5 years to let peasant Lee Sun know he was alive, it would've provided some hope and comfort to him if he knew that. He was so miserable to the point of wanting to kill himself and would've succeeded if that guy hadn't have stopped him. 5 years is just too long for me to get over, I just think it was unnecessary for it to take that long for peasant Lee Sun to know he was alive. I feel like he could've let him know sooner if he really tried. I don't know, that's just how I feel. It probably would've taken even longer than 5 years if they didn't accidentally meet. Another thing that annoys me is Gaeun not recognizing Peasant Lee Sun's voice. They supposedly grew up together but she doesn't recognize his voice? What?? Yet she recognized the crown prince's voice and she knew him for a short while lol that's just a cheap way the writers are using to get the audience to ship the crown prince and Gaeun. I ship peasant Lee Sun and Gaeun more than them since their relationship makes more sense to me. I'm still not convinced of the love the main couple has for each other because I just feel like the writers are trying to force it especially with the way they're going to make peasant Lee Sun the bad guy now. His love for Gaeun makes complete sense to me since he's known her for forever and she's like the only person who had treated him like a human being despite his low social class. I obviously know they aren't ending up together but that's not gonna stop me from preferring them over the main couple. I got a huge case of second lead syndrome as you can tell haha

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I like both boys, but I always root for the main leads. I never root for the 2nd/3rd/alternate pairings coz they usually wont end up well *lol*

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I know I'm being weird but I like HG x CP and LS x GE more but of course as we all know that's not gonna happen.

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I have to admit that the alternate pairings could work too, although I still prefer the normal pairing CP-GE. I actually wish for LS-HG. I heard that they were a couple in other drama (is that true?)

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Why am I still here?! It's about time I move on with so much more drama to see. KSH and YSH please have a better drama next time.

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Well I watched the next episode in the raw hoping to cheer myself up and all I can say is this show consistantly underperforms and the writer shows her weakneses. She is committig all the cliches and now she's copying devices from other dramas as far as I'm conserned and not very well. One scene reminds me of Twilight but at least there it was done convincingly. Finally looks like GE has something to do other than cry but I'm finding it the whole plotline a struggle to accept and I frankly don't buy the CP being a capable ruler.

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*committing* and *concerned*

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I don't hold a brief for either of the main leads in this drama but franky if they signed up to it not knowing how it would hobble them they are crazy. This drama has amazing cinematography but everything else is sub par.

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The plot line is absurd and I feel affronted. This drama is nonsence!

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Did Ga-Eun ever wondered what happened to her friend, peasant Lee Sun? Have Ga-eun forgotten to check for the truth behind her father's death in the greenhouse? Did these questions get answered, but I just missed it? ???

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