Rating:
Average user rating 3.6
62

Ruler–Master of the Mask: Episodes 23-24

Truths are revealed, new discoveries are made, and the battles begin! The plot takes a leap forward this episode as Sun gets one step closer to destroying Pyunsoohwe, but with so many different players interfering with his plans, some unforeseen events happen to our hero. Sun must face these new challenges as he continues to struggle to save his country and his loved ones.

 
EPISODE 23 RECAP

The queen dowager lies ill in her room suffering from sudden dizziness while Ga-eun waits anxiously outside with the rest of the palace staff. Though she asks the head court lady about the queen dowager’s health, Ga-eun is merely told to wait, and Lee Sun watches her the entire time.

Later that evening as Ga-eun helps the king undress, Lee Sun mentions how disappointed she must be since the queen dowager became ill before restoring her father’s honor. He promises to talk to the queen dowager about it, but Ga-eun doesn’t understand why he keeps helping her.

Lee Sun tells her that he isn’t her foe, and when Ga-eun tells him that she saw the prince kill her father with her own eyes, he asks if she saw the face behind the mask. His question stuns her, and Lee Sun tells her to keep this a secret until he reveals the whole truth to her later. As Ga-eun leaves, she wonders who could have killed her father, if it wasn’t the king.

The head court lady apologizes to the queen dowager since she was unable to uncover the mastermind behind the puppet show, and as she scurries out of the room, the queen dowager directs her anger at the Minister of War for failing to kill Sun. He offers to try again, but the queen dowager tells him to forget it since she has a new enemy she must fight first: Dae-mok.

Like the queen dowager, Moo-ha thinks that Dae-mok planned the puppet show, but Woo Bo points out that Dae-mok has no reason to reveal the secret in front of so many people. Regardless of who orchestrated the show, Moo-ha asks if they’ll attack the queen dowager or Dae-mok first.

The queen dowager meets with the Minister of War to discuss their plans to defeat Dae-mok. Thinking back to Dae-mok’s “gifts” for her birthday, she guesses his next course of action will be choosing a queen for the king. She orders the minister to stop Pyunsoohwe from doing so, but he stammers out an excuse, which only infuriates the queen dowager.

However, their meeting is interrupted by Sun’s unexpected appearance, and as the queen dowager lets him in, she silently calls him by his true identity. Once Sun enters, he goes on his knees and tells the queen dowager that Dae-mok tried to kill him. He expresses his wish for revenge and offers his knowledge to the queen dowager in order to bring down Dae-mok.

Seeming to test Sun, the queen dowager asks Sun if he can guess Dae-mok’s next move, and Sun confidently says that Dae-mok will try to pick a queen for the king. The queen dowager is shocked that he knows, but is further surprised when Sun suggests that the queen dowager take the lead.

Sun argues that the process for choosing a queen cannot be averted, so instead, he believes that the queen dowager should declare it first, which would then put her in charge of choosing the next queen. The queen dowager agrees with Sun and decides to keep him alive for now.

Outside, Sun also reveals his true colors as he looks back at the queen dowager’s place with a hardened look.

Hwa-goon discusses the plans of choosing the next queen with the members of Pyunsoohwe when suddenly, a guard barges in. He begs Hwa-goon’s father for a poppy pill, but he denies the man a pill since he lost a girl from the poppy fields.

Though talking to the guard, Hwa-goon’s father addresses the members of Pyunsoohwe as he indirectly reminds everyone how important his current position is. Seeing all their terrified faces, Hwa-goon’s father takes out a pill, but stops when Dae-mok arrives.

Seeing the writhing guard on the floor, Dae-mok quickly grasps the situation and puts out his hand towards his son. Dae-mok asks his son when they distribute the pills before reminding him that they don’t give out pills outside of the schedule—not even for the king.

Realizing his mistake, Hwa-goon’s father begs for mercy, and Dae-mok tells him that he’s lucky that he arrived before an irrevocable crime occurred. Then, to everyone’s horror, Dae-mok stomps on the pill—obliterating it—and the guard dies. As a final warning, Dae-mok asks him if he now understands how to manage the poppy pills, and Hwa-goon’s father lets out a meek, “Yes.”

The queen dowager meets with Ga-eun to apologize for breaking her promise to restore her father’s honor. She asks if Ga-eun can still trust her, and after a pause, Ga-eun says that she does. Assured that Ga-eun is still on her side, the queen dowager gives her a new mission: steal the bamboo case Pyunsoohwe gave the king.

Elsewhere, Hwa-goon excitedly walks up to Sun, who thanks her for helping him stop General Choi, but it’s Hwa-goon who secretly thanks him for saving her family. However, Sun didn’t call her to simply give his thanks, but to ask for a favor. Holding out a pill, he asks her if she’s seen this before, and when Hwa-goon feigns ignorance, he explains that it’s a poison.

In the palace, Ga-eun delivers tea to the king, and though she arouses the head eunuch’s suspicions, Lee Sun unquestioningly takes the drink. He asks her to stay with him until he finishes—the same thing Sun asked her before—and Ga-eun sits as Lee Sun drinks the tea.

Sun tells Hwa-goon everything he knows about the pill, including the fact that it’s a poison from Pyunsoohwe, and she offers to take the pill and ask the Japanese merchants if they might now of its properties. Grateful for her help, Sun hands over the pill without a second thought.

Having drugged the tea, Ga-eun starts searching for the bamboo case after Lee Sun falls asleep, and finds it tucked inside his book. She swipes the vial, but recalling the king’s question about seeing his true face, she hesitantly reaches out to unmask him. However, she jumps in surprise when he stirs, and she decides to leave before getting caught.

As Ga-eun hurries to meet the queen dowager, Mae-chang stops her and convinces Ga-eun to meet with her first (after mentioning that she knows where Ga-eun is headed). Thus, Mae-chang pours Ga-eun a cup of tea in her room, and then cryptically tells Ga-eun to be careful of what she drinks in the palace.

She asks Ga-eun if she’ll continue to risk her life for the queen dowager and warns her to not move carelessly if she doesn’t want to lose her life. Unnerved, Ga-eun wonders who she is, but Mae-chang only reveals herself as someone grateful to the chief peddler.

Ga-eun hands the bamboo case to the queen dowager, but it’s empty—Mae-chang switched out the real one for a fake during their meeting. Mae-chang hands over the real vial to the head eunuch, and when she tries to defend Ga-eun as innocent, the head eunuch rebukes her by saying that ignorance can kill people.

Meanwhile, Hyun-seok wakes Lee Sun from his sleep, and after noticing the spots starting to appear, he tells Lee Sun to take his pill. Groggily, Lee Sun reaches for the vial, but realizing it’s gone, he starts to panic. Hyun-seok suggests meeting Dae-mok, but Lee Sun knows it’ll be useless.

Sun arrives at the palace to meet with Lee Sun, but he realizes something must be wrong when Hyun-seok takes him to the greenhouse. Inside, Lee Sun thrashes around in pain and anger, and Sun rushes in to comfort his friend.

He recognizes Lee Sun’s symptoms, and Lee Sun admits that Dae-mok poisoned him. Finally releasing his frustrations, Lee Sun blames Sun for leaving him and causing him to suffer. Sun apologizes for failing to realize Lee Sun’s struggles sooner, and he promises to bring him a pill even if he has to go the underworld to get it.

Before Sun leaves, Lee Sun grabs onto the prince and tells him to take the mask and return to the throne if he dies. With a new mission, Sun runs to catch Hwa-goon before she leaves with the pill.

Ga-eun enters the king’s chamber and is startled to see him sick in bed. When she tries to get the royal physician, Hyun-seok tells her to simply stay by the king’s side, so she obliges.

Meanwhile, Sun and Chung-woon infiltrate Pyunsoohwe’s headquarters, but are discovered the moment they step in. The alarm rings, so Sun and Chung-woon quickly run into a nearby building, where they’re cornered by Gon. Hearing the ruckus, Hwa-goon comes out and comes face to face with Sun.

In the king’s chamber, Ga-eun recognizes the spots on Lee Sun’s arms as the same symptoms of a little girl she met. He asks what happened to her, and Ga-eun sadly tells him that she died. Bitterly, Lee Sun surmises that the same fate awaits him, so he wants to tell her something before he dies: “I love you.”

Back at Pyunsoohwe, Sun is confused by Hwa-goon’s presence and asks why she’s here. Before she can answer, Dae-mok calls out to her, and Hwa-goon quickly asks him for a moment, instinctively calling Dae-mok “Grandfather.” Finally understanding the connection, Sun stares at Hwa-goon in disbelief.

 
EPISODE 24 RECAP

Dae-mok visits Hwa-goon to make sure she’s safe, since an intruder alert was made. She reassures him that Gon is here, and Dae-mok tells the bodyguard to protect the head of Pyunsoohwe—which is even more shocking news to Sun, who’s listening from his hiding spot.

As Dae-mok starts to leave, he suddenly turns around and stares at the divider where Sun and Chung-woon are hiding, causing everyone to hold their breath. Dae-mok notes how bold the chief peddler is for breaking into his home, and with a smirk, he leaves without investigating further.

With the coast clear, Sun steps out from hiding, and Hwa-goon asks why he’s here. Holding back his emotions, Sun explains that he needs a pill, so Hwa-goon returns the one he gave her earlier today. She promises to explain things later and urges Sun to flee.

With the help of Gon, Sun and Chung-woon manage to successfully escape Dae-mok’s home, but before he goes, Gon reminds them that he only helped because Hwa-goon commanded him. If something like this happens again, he won’t forgive them a second time.

In the palace, Ga-eun rejects Lee Sun’s feelings, and he asks if it’s because she is in love with the chief peddler. When she doesn’t answer, he wonders why she would choose a peddler over a king, so Ga-eun explains that it’s because they share the same dream.

Lee Sun can’t believe that’s all there is to it and wistfully says that he had a dream once, too. Remembering back to when Ga-eun first gave him a name, Lee Sun admits that his dream was to live differently from what fate dictated.

As Lee Sun gets closer and closer to death, he regrets not confessing his feelings sooner, and slowly pulls open the curtain to see Ga-eun’s face. Just as the curtains are pulled apart enough for Ga-eun to see him, Sun arrives and rushes to the king’s side. Sun gives him the pill, and Lee Sun’s life is extended for another fifteen days.

Outside, Ga-eun shows the bamboo case to Sun, and he instantly recognizes it as the same one his father had, too. He realizes the purpose of the poppy pills, but is surprised when Ga-eun tells him that the case was empty.

He asks if she stole the vial, and it dawns on Ga-eun that she almost killed the king. Worried, Sun yells at her since she was nearly caught in a trap, finally asking why she became a court lady. Ga-eun finally admits the truth, and tells him that someone promised to restore her father’s honor and destroy Pyunsoohwe. But before he can hear who gave her that promise, the head eunuch interrupts and sends them away.

Meeting with Mae-chang, the head eunuch expresses his surprise about the real one saving the fake one. She wonders if he was going to just watch the king die, and the head eunuch coldly states that Pyunsoohwe would have just installed another fake king.

When Woo Bo hears of Sun’s reckless break-in, he scolds the prince for risking his life, even if it was for Lee Sun. However, Sun has no time to argue and tells Woo Bo to sit since he has important information to share.

He informs his teacher about the poppy pills, and takes out the map to explain how Pyunsoohwe is manufacturing these pills to manipulate the king and the court officials. Thus, while the peddlers continue to search for the field, Woo Bo must find an antidote.

During a court meeting, the queen dowager announces to all the officials about starting the queen selection process, declaring Woo Bo as the one in charge of selecting the candidates. Afterward, she meets with Sun, and the queen dowager offers to grant him a position so that he can freely enter the palace. He asks to be made a guard in order to avoid unwanted attention, and the queen dowager agrees.

In the king’s chamber, Ga-eun pours a cup of tea for Lee Sun, but as he drinks, her guilt overtakes her and she admits her sin. To her surprise, Lee Sun says that she’s innocent and adds that he’ll continue to drink whatever she pours him in the future.

Pyunsoohwe prepares for the queen selection process as two of the highest members’ daughters are presented to Dae-mok. He warmly greets the two candidates and tells them to pass the selection, promising to make one of them queen and the other the highest ranked concubine.

Unlike Dae-mok, the queen dowager faces an unforeseen roadblock, since the Minister of War’s daughter is afraid to become queen. To make matters worse, he argues against entering his daughter, but the queen dowager reminds him that more than the queen’s position is at stake.

The queen dowager suddenly gets an idea and meets with Lee Sun to tell him about entering Ga-eun into the queen selection process. He’s taken aback by the proposal, but the queen dowager threatens Lee Sun with kicking Ga-eun out of the palace instead.

She warns him to side with her when choosing the queen, and reminds Lee Sun that Ga-eun’s fate lies in his hands. Smiling, the queen dowager mentions how Ga-eun is still a daughter of a traitor, and could easily become a slave according to the law.

As Sun reads over the list of candidates, he notices another daughter listed under the queen dowager’s family. He’s unfamiliar with the name, and even Moo-ha is stumped by this mysterious addition.

Of course, the new entry is Ga-eun, who gets prepared for the selection process alongside the Minister of War’s daughter. Soon, the various candidates arrive at the palace gates where Woo Bo, Moo-ha, and Sun stand to check identifications.

When Ga-eun arrives with the minister’s daughter, Sun is stunned to see her. Ga-eun is also shocked to see Sun as a guard, but they can only share surprised glances before she silently passes through the gates.

The first test is a tea ceremony, and the candidates go up one by one to prepare tea for the queen dowager and three other judges. When it’s the Minister of War’s daughter’s turn, she is a nervous mess and spills tea everywhere, much to the queen dowager’s disapproval.

Following that horrible performance, Ga-eun is the last one to go and astounds everyone with her abilities. As the judges drink her tea, they nod in satisfaction, and Ga-eun brings the cup up to drink. However, Mae-chang’s warning about drinking tea in the palace rings in her ears as she sniffs the cup.

Ga-eun realizes the tea has been poisoned, but it’s too late—the queen dowager drops her cup and falls to the floor. Soon, everyone else succumbs to the poison, and only Ga-eun and Mae-chang (who only served the tea) are unharmed.

Before Ga-eun can call for help, Mae-chang grabs her and holds out a cup. Ga-eun will become the number one suspect if she isn’t poisoned like the rest, so Mae-chang offers her two options: drink, or become the culprit.

Thus, it’s Mae-chang who runs out of the room and tells Sun that the tea was poisoned. He rushes inside and quickly makes his way to an unconscious Ga-eun, desperately calling out her name as he cradles her in his arms.

 
COMMENTS

This episode was a marked improvement from last week in terms of progression of the plot. Sun finds out Hwa-goon’s true identity, discovers the poppy pill and how Dae-mok controls the court, and sets a new plan in motion by starting the queen selection process. One of the issues I had with moving the plot forward this episode was that everything felt slightly disjointed. Rather than build momentum and use the various subplots as building blocks, the poppy pill and Hwa-goon felt like a separate piece of the story in relation to the queen selection process. I liked how the first half (Episode 23) built up to the climax, but then I was disappointed in Episode 24 with how they brushed aside Sun’s reaction.

I’m assuming that the show is saving it for another time when Sun meets with Hwa-goon again to talk, but given the content of the discovery and the betrayal Sun probably felt, I thought it was a wasted opportunity for the show. They should have capitalized on the momentum and kept building the tension instead of suddenly switching gears. Or better yet, they could have intertwined the arcs together instead of compartmentalizing the two storylines. Regardless, I’m just glad that things are actually happening even if I’m not quite sure where all these different threads are heading.

Hanshimi has given some awesome commentary about Lee Sun’s character, and I completely agree that it’s hard to understand what direction the show is taking him. He’s pretty ineffectual as a villain or a friend, and rather than being an interesting character who straddles the line between good and evil, he’s become a wet blanket. I don’t understand his “love” for Ga-eun, and what he actually plans to do by keeping her by his side. For the most part, I think he’s acting impulsively and not considering the consequences of his obsessive and petty behavior—especially since he’s in such a precarious situation.

In general, Ruler isn’t necessarily a bad show, but it definitely isn’t anything amazing. I think part of the problem I’m having is that the show feels too juvenile lately. Instead of the epic stare downs and verbal sparring I was expecting from the beginning of the show’s run, Ruler fizzled out and became too much a love story cloaked in sageuk garb with a lackluster tale about a prince becoming a worthy king and reclaiming the throne. It’s not that love stories are inherently worse or inferior (The Princess’s Man and Ja Myung Go are both good examples of sageuks where the love lines were the heart of the show and were done well), but Ruler and its love story feels much more childish in comparison.

For the most part, I feel like the writers have gotten lazy and created one-dimensional characters. Just when I start to think a character could be interesting, the writers will either make them do something dumb or not give them anything to do. There definitely are potentially interesting characters, but the show doesn’t develop them enough. For example, I really liked Dae-mok in the beginning since he seemed like a smart, calm, and menacing villain, but he’s been pretty much discarded after the time skip. In addition, Mae-chang intrigued me for a while, but now she just feels like a convenient plot device, partly because I don’t really know her as a character. As for the leads, there hasn’t been a lot of development, and in some cases, I feel like the character development is actually going backwards.

In this episode, Ga-eun explains that she loves Sun because they share a dream, which is a nice reason and could be really poetic, but it seems forced because we haven’t actually seen them talk about their dreams. In addition, if Ga-eun supposedly loves Sun because of their shared dream, you would think they would communicate and work together for said dream. However, I don’t think Ga-eun is the only problem with this love story—I’m also not quite sold on Sun’s part, either. Why is he willing to risk almost everything for Ga-eun? And like Lee Sun, I think Sun occasionally falls into the trap of denying Ga-eun any agency and of treating her like an object that needs his protection or saving. Again, it’s the writing that is missing the mark, and it really goes to show how important solid writing is for a good show. But here’s hoping that things may still turn around while there’s still time.

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Hanging still for yoo seung ho and Kim so hyun at least there was a kiss in the last ep but it was too late that the half of the audience has lost there interest.I don't know what the script writers are doing . Such a waste of energy & talent of young talented actors and also actresses

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I actually love KSH in all of her projects even when she played the villain. At least she's more fleshed out than GE who decided to enter the palace but is so gullible and one- dimensional, im actually irritated by the herione. She's supposed to be clever right? She's just a tool to make problems worse for both YSH and L. I'm actually now rooting for Hwa-goon who have sacrificed many things and smart enough to work within the Pyunsoo group, all to help YSH.

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I was most interested in this show out of the 3 from the different broadcast stations because who could say no to Yoo SeungHo and Kim SoHyun ?? However, the show really didnt manage to get to me. What could have been a climax most of the time was always anti climax. Hopefully the next few eps will be better !

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I still can't believe how they are wasting such amazing talents on a really bad storyline.

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Looks like we all have the same complaint! Dont think I can stand to watch anymore even for YSH.. sigh

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And Ga-Eun still can't remember about the pot ... sigh...

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Did you expect the pot to wait patiently in the garden for 5 years doing nothing? Just as Ga Eun made it to the inner palace, I won't be surprised if the pot is now in someone's chamber...

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Yes. Considering it was someone's dying wish and it'll uncover her father's death (wc is the reason she came to the palace at all), it should be the most pressing mission. And to think she's been in the garden several times, i never saw her look it (or has she? I must have missed lol) the writers are saving it for later when they dunno how to fill another half-ep. Oh, how disjointed is this writing

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I'm still wondering about this.. When will she remember, now that she can freely roam the palace it can't be that hard to get into the garden. What's the in the pot? Will it be so important to the CP that it will immediately change the storyline already given to us so far?

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agree,,, i really want to throw something on the tv, everytime i watch this drama.. yes, KSH and YSH is cute.. but really the storyline and plot is sooo bad.. the scriptwriter really waste their talent..

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Considering the start of this show those episodes were really mind blowing. It was a nice plot, politics blend in a bright plot. Talking about politics "Tree with deep roots" is the best but it was a serious game. But ruler was cheerful showing the naive and handsome prince and I though it will be exciting ride. But thinking of it, ruler raised our expectations a lot with a perfect start and impressive characters (the cunning Dae-mok, sinister but impressive Hwa-gun I seriously love her more than Ga-eun, different sun's) but failed to meet it. Hope it will regain it's former glory.

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The Writer of this Drama ..... just Destroying the Chemistry of YSH and KSH.... It's OK if u r making difficult stuffs to progress the story line.. But at least Keep ur audience glued (may be Koreans love more dramatic plots) but a viewer need a simple Story line with some Cute and Funny Scenes ...if u r Doing a A Serious Historical drama with such Strong actors u should Take Advantage of The Sparkling Chemistry between The leads.... But as I Said they Already Destroyed Their Time And Talent... My Heart felt Sad For All Talented Leads... Of course I will watch the drama till the end Only For KSH.. But looks like The Writer Just Making Ga Eun character a fool... Day by day....why did They Choose Script like this..... ???

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Havent watched this drama. But a question to Beanies, is it really that bad like commenters claim?

I wanted to start it this week but the reviews here has been poor and this is a positive place in general with people being more forgiving than other sites. So should I skip or watch it??

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it depends. you can watch few episodes then decide. people had high expectation of the drama because of the cast.

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It's more disappointing than bad. The way the show was promoted, we were expecting a tale of a prince who finds a way to become a great king, a girl who goes to seek revenge for her father's unjust death, falls in love with the prince and helps him become a great king. The first few episodes laid down the plot nicely, we saw Dae-mok's spine-chilling evilness, Ga-eun's wisdom, and Prince Sun's naivete. It seemed like we were in a for an epic ride but the writer lost the plot after the time skip. We're disappointed because we know how good this drama could be but it doesn't want to be good.

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I feel the same way. Ruler isn't bad. It's just disappointing and what the recappers have mentioned before, it's painfully average when it has all the potential to be great.

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Ignore comment, watch some episodes, and decide on your own. When it comes to personal preferences, so many men, so many minds. There are tons of big hit shows (Descendants of the sun, Goblin...) was a big no to me, while lots of underdog ones (Weightlifter Kim Bok Joo) just made my day. Yes, this show does have flaws, but not as much as some people said. Much to my astonishment, some people consider the head eunuch having a daughter -Mae Chang as a flaw, while it is easy to figure out that she is just his adopted child. To my taste, Ruler is an interesting show to watch.

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Ahh i see.........
Thank you guys for explaining, i'll start watching probably since the first episodes are well done then see whether I should continue or not.

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It's not entirely bad, but it's disappointing because it had potential to be a good drama. Beanies are not always being forgiving, there's always honest remarks so sometimes discussion cam be heat and full of frustrations. I can understand why some beanies who might enjoying this drama don't actively commenting here. Anyway you should try it at least 2 epi to see how it goes if it suits you.

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Actually this drama is far from been bad, it is interesting but a little disappointing but not for me because my expectations were not high, even beanies expectations were not whithout flaws, why? Because the writer is a newbie, what does people expect from a newbie writer? I mean a "newbie" even the experienced ones struggle to write sageuks, so the possibility of a great writing from a newbie should have been loowww..
Ignore the comments and watch.
Soompi is a good forum where you'll see positive comments more than negative ones.
Thinking of adding 7 days Queen to my list since my sassy girl is cracking me up, "serious" is an overated word to describe that drama. It is emotionally a modern drama not sageuk..

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The villains in the show are my only love line and to keep me watching this drama.

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I swear Ga Eun is in peril every other freaking episode.

GE doesn't feel like a real fleshed out character at all. Just a plot device for the other characters to control or a love interest for the two guys to obsess/lust/ cry over.

Must say after this dumb drama I am so over YSH's crying scenes. They've lost all impact for me. I know he's a good crier but that doesn't mean the director has to overuse his tears so much. I just roll my eyes now when his face starts crumpling up and the waterworks start.

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He's not crying that much in this drama though, apart from 5-8 episodes, what did you expect from a 17 year old boy?
Ksh is the one who has been crying a lot in this drama.

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I agree in parts with you. I used to think that acting is the most important thing for a drama/movie, but now I have fully realized that it's the script and directing. Even for a good actor as YSH, having him act out a not very interesting character would even damage his good image even though his acting might have been as good as ever. It's a bit sad to think about this.

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I dropped the show after the first 2 episodes, but Lovepark's comment regarding Mae-chang makes me want to pick it up again just to see how character development retrograde works.

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It says it was based on the faceless king of Joseon whose name was Lee Sun..I guess Hwarang series was best rather than this drama based of Joseon faceless king n oll..I had seen Hwarang n continuing this series also..but M not glad with whole turns of the story and being stubborn characters of fake king, crown prince and Ga Eun..

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I guess m wasting my time now

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Can't someone just tells Gaeun about things rather than being vague. She gonna be so shook when she finds out about everything lol.

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Does anyone know what exactly the girls were stepping on as they entered through the gate for the first test? Just wondering about the meaning of it. Thanks.

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Looked like a shield.

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I want to know too... My first thought was that it could be a test or something, like the princess and the pea tale ? IDK

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Everything feels forced to me. What I am most disappointed about is Ga Eun's character. She started off strong and I thought she would develop into like a pillar for the crown prince but as the story progresses, she's become more of a liability. I had mixed feelings about Hwa Gun's character at first, but among all four of the main cast, she's become my favorite. Both Ga Eun and Hwa Gun have the same premise, same supposed conflicting emotions [Ga Eun conflicted regarding the CP and Hwa Gun conflicted regarding her family] but Hwa Gun's write affects me more than Ga Eun's. Everything about Ga Eun's storyline feels fargmented and incohesive. Will watch til the end though. This is my 2nd disappointment after Kim Yoo Jung's character in Her drama with Park Bo Gum. I suddenly miss Moon Geun Young's character in the Princess' Man.

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You know, I was wondering why I couldn't quite like Moonlight and I've finally figured it out. It's because like Ruler, I was more attracted to Chae Soo-bin's character than I was Kim Yoo-jung and I really like Kim Yoo-jung. Here as well, I started this drama for Kim So-hyun but Yoon So-hee's character is a lot more interesting.

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Correction haha Moon Chae Won's character in the princess' man

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Yes show improved and even offered to excite us, but then as so often in the past lazy, uninspiring writing lets it and us down.

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I am a bit disappointed about Ga Eun character because she was strong at the beginning, then became a damsel in distress in the middle. So I am so glad to see that she showed significant developments in ep 21-22 & 23-24. She is regaining her power (she risked her life to save CP's life!), and I hope she will be stronger and stronger toward the end. I just love the way how this show keep me on edge every episode.

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Beanies complaints on this drama has been too much for them to notice the developments in the episodes, it's just getting better and better sincerely

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True. Some lazy viewers just throws irresposible comments. I noticed some comments citing "flaws" which are not flaws at all, the commenters could figure it out on their own if they want to.

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So right.

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The downvotes for posters who says something negative about this drama is just ridiculous don't you think so?

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Typo, *positive*

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Thank you @lovepark for recapping this episode. I've been waiting for it to comment that this weeks 2 episodes (well 4..) have been at least better than the last few weeks...

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I actually enjoyed the previous episode more than this one. Maybe because I thoroughly enjoyed seeing the dowager queen get shaken up in front of Daemok and her horrified face after watching the shadow play.

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since the script writer make GE dumber in each episode, i found myself enjoy seeing the evil daemok play his role in this show.. i think, mostly the villains are make more sense than the protagonist character... they sure is shine brighter than the protagonist character... ahahahaha..

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We're finally moving forward with the story so I was happy about this week's episodes. The show still isn't great but this week's episodes were better than last week's and the week before that. So I just hope the show will get better and better. I don't know why I'm hopeful at this point but well what can I do. I just don't know what to expect anymore because the political plot isn't great and the love story isn't either. I just can't buy the love story between the 2 main characters. I just don't understand why they love one another that much especially Crown Prince who looks at Ga Eun as if she's some kind of Godess or something. Anyway I think this drama can't get any worse so I just hope they will salvage whatever's left of this drama

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Each week is a real struggle to watch new episodes, in spite of YSHo & KSH. I feel the writers wasted such a talented lead couple, by such characters especially KSH

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I'm seriously want to insert writer of Rebel to correct the mess in this drama, lol but it's too late as this is pre-produced drama and nothing can be done. (after this for sageuk especially instead of full pre-produced maybe should be half pre-produced so at least something can be done / correctes based on responds from viewers, i hope they've learned lesson well as we also had Saimdang & Moonlovers which were also... a mess). This should be consider seriously as I believe sageuk costs more. My Sassy Girl as another pre-produced sageuk so far delivers, and hopefully will remain until the end.

Speaking of this epi : Not only Chun Soo finally knows the truth about Queen Dowager, but he also finally knows the actual identity of Hwa Gun. It surely took longggg timeeee to go there but yeah whatever. Now I am counting how many episodes left until Ga Eun finally learn who is the real King etc. Second leads aka Lee Sun the fake king & Hwa Gun are not also interesting that can make me interested with them. I was slightly hoped something good will happen with Ga Eun's character but yeah whatever. I've done bitching on characters, plot and acting in this drama..I'm not totally disappointed but yes this show could've done better.

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I love the love line and kiss/hug scene in the series...keke. It's so lovely for stress sageuk series. I and my friends will support this till the end. Gaeun and Crown Prince chemistry is real!

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Am i the only one that felt like the real king should have left the fake king to die? Instead of going through danger for someone who doesn't appreciate his efforts. Lol i'm cruel..

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LOL i wanted the same too. But the fake king has going through much things as well for his life..

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Talking of mass poisonings does anyone remember a sageuk drama in the last six years which had a scene with royals drinking and suddenly falling down because they were poisoned and dramatic music started playing?

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wow Sun's reactionto Hwa Goon relationship with Dae mok Pyunwhatever, YSH's face, his look... Like you said they just wasted time by not making that confrontation happen right away.

I'm glad they took some elements out for Sun t know. But there are so many people conspiring and things that get put away for later or when the writer thinks it's useful.

By the way, this may sound pointless but seriously I am in love with Hwa Goon and Ga Eun's hanboks, those are so beautiful, and the colors. Love them. And Hwa Goon hair accesories are pretty too.

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btw, How weird was that love confession? Why doesn't Ga eun realize that he's telling her who he is? Were they really that close? because LS says that they learn to read and write and that they grew together so how come she doesn't recognizes even his voice, his eyes or something? they dumbed her that much or what?

I hope in the next chapters we get some of what we watched in these two, because they improved. And were a little exciting about the truths revealed. I would like to know whose side is eunuch and his daughter. I don't understand. They seem to be on Sun's side but I'm not sure.

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Don't think eunuch's are on anyone's side but their own. Originally eunuch's were seen as unlikely to be anything other than loyal but later some gained political ambitions and were anything but. That's why I'm dissapointed Mae Chang is Chief eunuch's so called daughter. I was hoping she was an external agency to the palace and Pyunsoohwe. Overall the recapper's summary of "childish" adequately sums up the plotline.

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I really did love this in its first episodes. I continue to watch it every week unlike the SP that I decided to just wait until its finished. The first episodes were intense,and the plot seems to be unique that's why I got hooked by it. But now,as story goes by,it became more lame. It's not that I'm against of the romantic scenes but I really don't like the relationship between Ga Eun and real prince Lee Sun. This was the first time that I ship the second lead female character to the male lead. They have more chemistry despite the ill-fated relationship because of Pyunsoo Group. People should come first,right?Whoever Lee Sun who sits on the throne,it's the people who were their priority!Puppet king Lee Sun also know that. Yeah,it's kinda lame that Pyunsoo got to rule the country by the pills. Ga Eun is an expert on medicine,I was expecting her to help the real king to find an antidote. But end up being a candidate to be a queen!Hays. I pity the puppet king Lee Sun,he was alone and finally he saw Ga Eun who love somebody elses. I'd be the happiest viewer if he became honest from the very start.

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Best actors and best actresses!What the hell you're doing with these stubborn characters. Only Hwa Gun's character is what I like.

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Am here after watching episodes 27/28. Nope, no spoilers, just need a space to vent...WHERE THE HECK IS THIS STORY GOING?!?! LIKE WHAT POSSIBLE OUTCOME CAN THIS DRAMA END ON THAT ISNT GOING TO BE SOME SORT OF PLANE WRECK?!?!?
okay okay. free world. I'll just drop the drama.

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Well @durianaddict I'm in the same boat. It's frustrating to have to wait so long for the recap but it must take a lot of work to do it justice. I thought 26/27, 27/28 really moved the plot along.It could hardly repair the one dimentinality of most of the character arks in previous episodes but it did make for an overall improvement. I feel sorry for the fake King he has had a really raw deal all the way through. I also don't feel very sympathetic for the CP who seems to think he deserves evrything, while much of the time he either makes bad decisions or is pathetic. The struggle with Dowager Queen is going nicely and HG is continuing to be true to her CP with just a little (understandable) jealousy toward GE which gives the main characters a chance to shine, though there is still a lot of tearfull staring. This drama is still keeping me interested in spite of everything. I also love the cinematography and costumes. There have been a few behind the scenes stills of the cast together (on Instagram) and they look to be enjoying themselves a lot!

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This show makes me sigh...in frustration.
I don't know where the story is going.
I find all the characters annoying.
The chemistry between the main leads fell flat to me as well.
I'm just so bored...

So disappointing. Especially since I was expecting to like this a lot because of Yoo Seungho and Kim Sohyun. I guess I have too high of an expectation. The writing for this show is absolutely terrible. What a waste.

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Sympathies. It's nice to see someone writing Yoo Seung ho when that's who they mean, rather than YSH (there's also Yoo So hee) she deserves just as much consideration as do the other actors. I don't know why I had not noticed it before but there seems to be a considerable number of benies who follow a given drama out of fandom for that actor, rather than any particular interest in that drama. Woe betide a writer who does not write a good part for that actor.

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Thanks for recap

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