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Haechi: Episodes 3-4

With the prospective crown prince on a rampage and the ministers in power unwilling to stop him, someone needs to do something to make his crimes undeniable. Unfortunately, the one person with the ability to do that is too busy sulking to be of help. Something needs to snap him out of his belligerent mood, and someone eventually does, though who it is surprises even our pouty prince.

 
EPISODE 3: Your name is…

Yi Tan catches Yeo-ji after she steals a locked box from his tent. Yi Geum tells him to let Yeo-ji go and to fight him instead. Yi Tan accuses him of showing off, but Yi Geum says lazily that he’s just doing what any man would do — save the pretty lady.

Yi Tan scoffs at Yi Geum as he readies his bow and arrow, reminding him that he’s surrounded. Yi Geum takes aim at Yi Tan and says, “I only need to beat one person…” He lets his arrow fly, and Yi Tan screams like a little girl and hides behind one of his men.

When he realizes he wasn’t shot, he taunts Yi Geum that he missed, and even Yeo-ji yells at him for starting a fight when he can’t even shoot. Yi Geum just asks if she’s a good runner, and suddenly they hear a noise coming from the woods.

A wild boar comes barreling into the campsite, with Yi Geum’s arrow sticking out of its hide. Yi Geum calls to Yi Tan that he wins the prize for shooting the biggest beast, HA, then grabs Yeo-ji’s hand and they run into the trees. Yi Geum tells Yeo-ji to go on while he distracts the men. She asks if he’s able to handle the men all by himself after she hit him in a sensitive area, but he brushes it off, saying that she went easy on him. She’s all, Well, I saw you limping earlier, hee.

They make arrangements to meet up later, and Yi Geum leads Yi Tan’s men in one direction while Yeo-ji runs in another. Yi Geum fights the men single-handedly armed only with his bow, and when Yi Tan jumps in, Yi Geum hooks Yi Tan by the neck with his bow and shoves him to the ground.

Horrified by his own nosebleed, Yi Tan screams, “How dare you do this to the next king?!” Yi Geum just smirks, but his smile soon fades. King Sukjong rides up to them on his horse, and he quips that he was told he’d see something he’s never seen before on this hunt.

He shushes Yi Tan when he tries to stammer an explanation, then asks Yi Geum if he’s causing trouble again. Yi Geum wilts under his father’s disappointment.

A depressed Moon-soo tells Ah-bong that the guy he caught cheating on the civil service exam got the highest score, while he failed yet again. Ah-bong wonders if the guy is lowborn, since you don’t normally see intelligent nobles taking the test for others. Moon-soo is more interested in the fact that Noh Tae-pyung, who hired the guy to test for him, has suddenly disappeared.

Nearby, a scruffy-looking man eats while the restaurant owner pays what he can of his rent. The man complains that business is bad because the food is bad, and directs the owner to a nearby fish shop for some better anchovies. He leaves most of the paltry rent payment behind, saying that the owner won’t survive if he gives him all of his money.

The man, whose name is DAL-MOON (Park Hoon) overhears Moon-soo and Ah-bong on his way out. He asks a friend to find out more about them.

Magistrate Kim is called to the Saheonbu headquarters by Jung-seok, and he accuses Jung-seok of leading the night inspection at his house. Jung-seok explains that it’s because Magistrate Kim obstructed his murder investigation.

Meanwhile, Yi Geum is at the Department of Justice being questioned about his fight with Yi Tan. He’s asked about the disguised woman who stole from the prince, but Yi Geum advises them not to arrest her or she’ll talk, and what she says will embarrass the royal family.

He goes on and on about how he’s sick of women these days, so he’s “looking elsewhere.” He groans that he thought he would become attracted to that woman if he dressed her as a man, then notes that the ministry official looks awfully good in his uniform, eyeing him up and down lasciviously, PWAHAHA.

Prince Yoon-ryong (Yi Hwan) visits the Ministry of Justice looking for Yi Geum, and by the time Yi Geum is released, there’s a full-blown argument going on because the Minister of Personnel, Minister Min, accused Prince Yoon-ryong of using Yi Geum to harm Yi Tan, his primary rival for the throne. The prince neatly silences the argument and warns Minister Min not to use today’s incident against Yi Geum later.

Minister Min says it’s disappointing the way Yi Hwan always defends Yi Geum, but Yi Hwan fires back that he doesn’t care what Minister Min thinks of him. Minister Min just darkly warns Yi Hwan that a king can’t work alone.

Yi Hwan and Yi Geum go for a walk alone, and Yi Geum apologizes that Yi Hwan got blamed for his bad behavior. He tells Yi Hwan that he’s too nice and should blame others sometimes, and should probably get Minister Min on his side, because politics is about how many supporters you have.

Yi Hwan retorts that there’s already a crown prince, but Yi Geum says sadly that they both know he’ll be replaced, and that Yi Hwan will die if he doesn’t become the next crown prince. Yi Hwan says that he still can’t consent to the Norons ignoring the throne and pursuing one-party tyranny. Yi Geum mentions Yi Tan’s death ledger, saying that he may be able to get at Yi Tan’s weak spot with it.

At Saheonbu, Yeo-ji breaks into Yi Tan’s box, and she’s upset and confused when all it contains is dried flowers. She apologizes to Jung-seok, who sent her to the hunting camp for Yi Tan’s death ledger, but he says that if she couldn’t find it, it wasn’t there.

Ah-bong asks Yeo-ji to help him find the civil service exam cheater for Moon-soo. She recognizes Yi Geum from Moon-soo’s drawing, and upset, she demands to know where Moon-soo is right now.

She meets with Yi Geum at the place and time they arranged, and she shows him the dried flowers in Yi Tan’s box. He’s not as disappointed as she is, calling Yi Tan an unpredictable madman. Yeo-ji asks him his name and occupation, but he refuses to tell her, and says that he won’t ask who she is, either.

She says she’s a Saheonbu inspector, and correctly guesses that he’s Prince Yeoning. Yi Geum abruptly ends their meeting and leaves without another word. As soon as he steps outside, Moon-soo leaps at him, thanking Yeo-ji for helping him catch the exam cheater.

Yi Tan is currently having a screaming fit over Yi Geum being set free, threatening to kill Yi Geum himself as he destroys Magistrate Kim’s house. Minister Min says that it’s the royal court’s business, but Yi Tan growls that once he’s king, Yi Geum won’t be the only one to die, implying that he means Minister Min and his followers.

But Minister Min slaps Yi Tan so hard he hits the ground, and he tells Yi Tan that King Sukjong used the pretext of restoring order to excuse purging all opposition, replacing his servants often and wiping out the nobles. He says that such a king mustn’t come to power again.

Moon-soo is physically pushing around Yi Geum, who says this just makes him look dumb (Moon-soo: “Everyone already knows I’m dumb!” HA). A much calmer Yeo-ji asks Yi Geum who Noh Tae-pyung is and why he substituted for him, but Yi Geum pretends to have no idea what she’s talking about.

Moon-soo offers to beat a confession out of Yi Geum, but Yeo-ji explains that Noh Tae-pyung is the uncle of the widow who died after being raped by Yi Tan. Moon-soo hears how she addresses Yi Geum and asks why, and Yi Geum snaps, “That’s right, I’m a prince!” Poor Moon-soo looks ready to have a heart attack, and Yi Geum leaves angrily.

Moon-soo yells at Yeo-ji for not warning him that Yi Geum is a prince before he manhandled him, and she says absently that that’s why she told him to go easy. She’s more concerned with the fact that Yi Geum is trying to dig up Yi Tan’s secret than Moon-soo’s conviction that his life is over, ha.

Having learned about Noh Tae-pyung’s connection to Yi Tan’s victim, Yi Geum figures out that Yi Tan hired him to take the exam as payment for Noh Tae-pyung’s niece’s life. But even though he passed the exam for him, the man disappeared soon afterward.

As Yi Geum ponders over whether the answer is in Yi Tan’s death ledger, Dal-moon watches him from a nearby doorway.

Minister Min comments that King Sukjong takes his medicine more often lately, and King Sukjong notes that Minister Min is gloating that he’ll die soon. He asks if Minister Min really believes that Yi Tan will make a good king despite his uncontrollable temper, but Minister Min says that everyone has flaws.

King Sukjong chuckles that Minister Min doesn’t care who is king so long as he’s a Noron. Minister Min mentions all the people the king has killed, calling it simple retaliation and not “order.” He says that Yi Tan will be a wise ruler with the right encouragement, and when King Sukjong asks about Yi Tan’s death ledger, Minister Min says that nothing has been confirmed.

Maybe not, but Yi Tan is in the process of beating the horse trader who hired Yi Geum half to death at that very moment. He seems to be angry that the horse trader didn’t magically know ahead of time that he would kill Noh Tae-pyung . He orders the horse trader to kill the man who took the test and bring him his body by tonight.

Yi Geum learns that Noh Tae-pyung hasn’t been seen since the test, but before he can decide what to do, Moon-soo shows up at his house acting like they’re suddenly besties. LOL, I love this guy.

EPISODE 4

Yeo-ji takes what she’s learned to Jung-seok — that Yi Geum took the test for Noh Tae-pyung, and that Noh Tae-pyung was the uncle of the deceased widow. It’s not enough to give Jung-seok a reason to investigate Yi Geum, but he says that Moon-soo is out there hopefully gathering evidence.

Moon-soo tries his best to butter up Yi Geum, though he refuses to apologize since Yi Geum is still a big ol’ cheater. He says that a citizen would have been arrested while Yi Geum is free, and that if it were up to him, Yi Geum would be arrested regardless of who he is. Yi Geum disagrees before taking off on his horse, daring Moon-soo to follow.

He visits his horse trader friend, who wails that he’s supposed to kill Yi Geum. Yi Geum asks if Yi Tan killed Noh Tae-pyung, but the horse trader says he doesn’t want to know. He tells Yi Geum to hide until things quiet down and he’ll just give Yi Tan a dead beggar, but Yi Geum wonders if things will ever quiet down.

Yi Geum’s friend from the boat, Jo-hong, passes a story to a storyteller, then meets up with Yi Geum. She says that her story scared the storyteller, but he still takes it to Dal-moon, who instructs him to tell it everywhere that he can.

It’s about a woman who was raped and impregnated by a prince, who then killed her and made it look like a suicide. The story spreads among the peasants that the woman had an uncle who got the highest score in the civil service exam, and that the prince killed him, too.

Word gets back to Minister Min about the rumors, and he orders Yi Tan brought to him. The king also orders a full investigation, and summons Yi Geum to the palace that evening.

Yi Geum taunts Yi Tan again, asking him if he’s heard the rumors. He tells Yi Tan to make sure he properly disposed of Noh Tae-pyung’s body, because if it’s found, he’ll have no chance at the throne and may even be executed.

Yi Tan pulls a dagger on Yi Geum, angry that he’s not afraid of him like everyone else, but Yi Geum says he has nothing to lose. Yi Tan threatens to rip Yi Geum apart as soon as he’s king, but Yi Geum just laughs and twists the arm that’s holding the dagger, bringing Yi Tan to his knees.

Jung-seok and his people discuss the rumors — Yeo-ji believes that it’s about Yi Tan, and that he killed Noh Tae-pyung, and Jung-seok says that the only way to prove it is to find the body. His wife joins them and says that’s enough work on their day off.

She makes Yeo-ji help Jung-seok’s little son water the plants, and he reminds her that he’s just a kid when she wonders in gory detail how Yi Tan might have disposed of the body. She accidentally overwaters a very rare plant, but it gives her an idea.

Yeo-ji goes back to the box of dried flowers, and she recognizes some leaves as being from the same rare maple tree that the pregnant widow was hung from. She realizes that this isn’t just a box of dried flowers… it’s a box of trophies. She finds one leaf that’s not fully dried yet and guesses that it’s a trophy from Noh Tae-pyung’s murder.

That evening, Yi Geum takes his bow and follows Yi Tan’s men out to the woods. He gives himself away when he carelessly drops his bow and has to duck behind a rock, his bow still in plain sight. But the cry of a wild animal worries Yi Tan’s men so they leave, and just as Yi Geum grabs his bow, Moon-soo pops up out of nowhere.

Ha, he brags about his realistic animal noises, and that he won this round because he was able to follow Yi Geum. He asks what’s happening, but Yi Geum just says to keep following him and he’ll see what he’s been looking for.

Yi Tan’s men finally reach their destination and start digging. Yi Geum tells Moon-soo that he thinks they’re moving a corpse, and as they watch (and bicker loudly over whether Moon-soo is being too loud), Yeo-ji approaches the clearing carrying a torch. The men scatter and, oblivious, Yeo-ji inspects a tree whose leaves match the one she found in Yi Tan’s box.

She tries to dig the hole in the clearing deeper with her hands. One of the men sneaks up behind her, sword raised, but he takes an arrow in his sword arm. Yeo-ji tries to hold off the rest of the men with her torch, but it’s knocked from her hands.

Moon-soo runs in unarmed and screaming her name, and Yeo-ji fights the men with her iron flail while Moon-soo just bites anyone that gets close enough. Yi Geum wounds the men from a distance with his bow until they finally give up and retreat.

Once they’re gone, Yeo-ji goes back to digging in the dirt. She uncovers Noh Tae-pyung’s body, and Yi Geum rushes home excitedly, only to find the Chief Royal Secretary waiting to take him to his father.

King Sukjong assumes that Yi Geum is late answering his summons because he was out drinking again, and Yi Geum doesn’t correct him. They’re at the house where Yi Geum’s mother lived, and King Sukjong recalls that on the day he was born, Yi Geum didn’t cry. It had scared both of his parents, and King Sukjong admits that he thought he’d have felt better if Yi Geum died, because he worried Yi Geum would never live as a prince because of his peasant-class mother.

He asks angrily if Yi Geum is happy that he’s lived down to his father’s expectations with his reckless living, growling that he still could have lived a decent life despite his mother’s status. Yi Geum says furiously that he’s overqualified, and that he has too much confidence, but he’s not allowed to do anything.

King Sukjong agrees that Yi Geum is intelligent, and that it hurts him to know how qualified Yi Geum is to be king. He tells Yi Geum that he’ll die soon, and he begs him, before that happens, to show the world the good traits his father sees in him.

Byung-joo tells Jung-seok that he’s being appointed the new team leader, and Jung-seok thinks it’s great news. Byung-joo asks if Jung-seok has found a connection between Yi Tan and Noh Tae-pyung, but we don’t hear Jung-seok’s answer.

Still shaken by the news that his father is dying, Yi Geum rejoins Yeo-ji and Moon-soo. Jung-seok arrives to ask to Yi Geum if he’ll testify that Yi Tan hired him to substitute for Noh Tae-pyung, which would give them a reason to arrest Yi Tan and investigate him.

Yi Geum asks what Jung-seok will do if he refuses, sneering that Yi Tan’s crimes and his intent to become king have nothing to do with him. He argues that trying to prove Yi Tan guilty could backfire on him, but Jung-seok asks why he got involved, then. Yi Geum says he did it for fun and to get Yi Tan in trouble, nothing more.

Jung-seok, Yeo-ji, and Moon-soo are unceremoniously ushered from Yi Geum’s house, but Moon-soo yells at Yi Geum over the walls for treating them this way. He actually has tears in his eyes as he bellows that he thought Yi Geum was a decent man.

Inside, Yi Geum’s man, Ja-dong, tells Yi Geum that Jung-seok is an inspector with a strong sense of justice, who opposes the officials despite being a Noron. Yi Geum sighs that the Norons have taken over the Saheonbu, so there’s not much a lowly inspector could do there anyway. Ja-dong says pointedly that there’s someone who could do something, but Yi Geum, knowing he means him, says that’s a pipe dream.

In the morning, the Saheonbu chief inspector lets the old team leader go and appoints Byung-joo. He tells Byung-joo that Minister Min probably wants him to persuade Jung-seok since they’re close, but Byung-joo says it wouldn’t work. He suggests they use standard tactics and open the supreme court to judge Yi Tan’s crimes, in order to crush Jung-seok’s investigation for lack of evidence.

Yi Geum looks like he’s been up all night, and Jo-hong pours him a drink to relax him. He almost downs the drink, but he pauses when he remembers his father’s request that he show the world that he’s a decent man.

The supreme court proceeds, and Jung-seok presents his theory that Yi Tan killed Noh Tae-pyung because he was threatening Yi Tan with what he did to Noh Tae-pyung’s niece. The ministers ask for proof, and Jung-seok says that the man who was hired to substitute the civil service exam told him so. The chief inspector asks who it is, but Jung-seok recites the unwritten law that the Saheonbu do not reveal their source.

We see Moon-soo screaming and pounding on Yi Geum’s door to no avail, as Jung-seok tells the court, “The world used to call Saheonbu officials ‘haechi,’ because they believed the Saheonbu will judge good from evil and preserve justice. But what are we doing now? Everyone ignores the truth for his own safety. In times like these, people still look up to Saheonbu. They’re hoping that we’d still stand on their side. They’re hoping the Saheonbu will do their job as a judicial system.”

The chief inspector accuses Jung-seok of cobbling together information to make Yi Tan look guilty. He tells Jung-seok to prove otherwise by bringing the source he mentioned, but Jung-seok just stands in shock, looking betrayed. The ministers call for Jung-seok to be punished for lying, but behind Jung-seok, the doors fly open.

Yi Geum walks in, saying lazily, “Oh no, what a pity… that source is right here.”

 
COMMENTS

I’m not a huge fan of mysteries, but I do love a good smart whodunit story, especially when the killer is known and the investigators are just trying to make the evidence fit what they already know. Jung-seok and Yeo-ji are sure that Yi Tan is a killer, and all they need is the evidence to prove it before he’s declared crown prince and taken out of their reach. I thought that the box of dried leaves as trophies was clever, because it looked so innocent yet can probably lead Yeo-ji to multiple murder scenes. This is going to be a long drama, so I hope that it keeps up with the smart, unique clues.

One thing I really like about Haechi so far is how the characters are portrayed as complex and layered — there are no straight heroes or straight villains here. Yi Tan is a murderer, but he’s also a coward and a spoiled child, and more than once he’s been made to look ridiculous. Yeo-ji is smart and determined, but she also tends to charge into dangerous situations without fully thinking them through. Jung-seok is a good, morally upstanding man, but he’s so rigid that he risks being a danger to himself and probably those who follow him. King Sukjong is a harsh king but a loving father, even when he can’t show it to his son. Even Yi Geum, who comes as close to a hero as this show will allow, has a lot of faults, like his tendency to be flippant at the wrong times and get himself into even worse trouble. I love that there are no clear good or bad guys (well except Yi Tan, but as I mentioned, he’s also a joke), because it makes the show that much more interesting when you can see that these characters are just regular people who mostly think they’re doing the right thing.

The king especially surprised me in this episode, because until that scene with Yi Geum, he hasn’t really shown himself to be a man of softer emotions. But he really opened up to Yi Geum by telling him that he’s always knows he’s smart and a decent person, and worthy of being king, and that he wants the world to see it, too (and I do so love Kim Gap-soo in these kinds of roles). Yi Geum was really shaken up by his father’s words, and the realization that he’s dying, but I think that it was what he needed to wake up and stop living like a loser. Just because he’s stifled by his mother’s status doesn’t mean he doesn’t have anything to offer his country and his people, and even if we didn’t know that he goes on to become a great king, he could still use his intelligence and his sense of right and wrong to do a lot of good in the world.

I’m so happy that we already got to see Yi Geum, Yeo-ji, and Moon-soo working together, and it was every bit as hilariously magical as I’d hoped. Yi Geum deftly picking off attackers and Yeo-ji wading in with her iron flail and her badass attitude, while Moon-soo just bites and fights dirty and creates confusion and mayhem — I can definitely watch twenty-two more hours of that. Their personalities fit together really well too, or they will once they stop annoying the crap out of each other… though I hope that’s not for a long while. Yeo-ji is fiercely focused, whip-smart, and brave to a fault. Yi Geum is just as intelligent as Yeo-ji but knows when to hide it behind his slacker persona to throw off his enemies. And Moon-soo… well Moon-soo is cute and has a lot of enthusiasm! I can see how these three will make a formidable team once they get their shit together and learn to work as a team, and it’s going to be incredibly fun to watch.

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I'm most curious about Dal-moon for now. He seems to be too well-connected and well-respected for a supposedly low commoner. Plus, Park Hoon is giving his character a certain amount of smoldering charisma even when he didn't appear much. (MoTA must gave him lots of practice for that)

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He seems to be secretly watching over Yi Geum. I wonder if he tells the storyteller to spread the story because he guessed that the story is from Yi Geum.

By the way, I'm very curious about Jo-hong's relationship with Yi Geum now. Are they just...friends? Because the way she dresses now is like his concubine.

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Probably friends with benefits. She comes in and out of his bedroom freely.

He was in a political marriage before age 10 and he seems to have left home for a long period of time.

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On Running Man, Park Hoon said that his character is Joseon era influencer ;)

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It's a crime to be that good looking in rags.

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Question for the more historically knowledgeable: Were women allowed to join the Saheonbu, or is this a liberty taken by the drama for its female lead? From what little I know of the Joseon-era, it seems unlikely.

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I too am curious about this. Maybe @kiara would be able to help us. Is she a Damo?

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With all that Confucianism philosophy about woman role, I seriously doubt it.

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Maybe they were kind of a secret agent type?
They were maids in disguised and they were only given cases that involves women.

The drama is probably exaggerating her role in the Saheonbu for our enjoyment. A bad ass female cop kicking male criminals' butt. How cool is that?

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@kiara, @greenfields,
I figured that Yeo-ji is a damo (literally, "tea servant") as in the Kdrama of the same name (and the movie version, DUELIST) -- in both of which Ha Ji-won famously kicked butt. Now that I think of it, Namsoon did go undercover as a gisaeng in DUELIST -- but did not resort to tangerines to gild the lily. ;-)

Given the gender segregation of Joseon society, there would have had to have been female law enforcement officers to conduct investigations. At least that's how it appears to me.

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From my limited knowledge, I believe damos served in various departments, though they were very low ranked and could not be promoted like the make officers.

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edit: they helped investigate and cover areas that men couldn't, like entering [women's] residential areas.
This is a source wikipedia uses:
https://archive.is/20130411050929/http://koreajoongangdaily.joinsmsn.com/news/article/article.aspx?aid=2889370#selection-1021.55-1021.145

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Thank you @sparks121
I love historical articles from the KOREA JOONGANG DAILY. It's more updated since history is an ongoing interpretations of the past.

I used to religiously follow the the Korean History Journal until I couldn't find English translation any more.

History textbooks would say women were not allowed to work outside of the home but other articles from researches would say that even though that was the Confucian ideal or whatever they called it, some women had jobs outside of the home.
They had a female doctor like Dae Jang Geum and famous female artist like Sin Saimdang etc.

" Damo actually refers to a servant responsible for serving tea, a job which offers undercover detectives an interesting surveillance opportunity.

Confucian values at that time strictly separated the roles and public communication between men and women."

I've read this before. Thank you for sharing :).

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@sparks121,

Thanks for that link. Great article!

I love the employment criteria for lady coppers: at least 5 feet tall, capable of lifting an 88-pound bag of rice, and ability to down 3 bowls of makgeolli. It sounds as if there were no written exam. ;-)

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i may be remembering this wrong, but i thought they said she is Jungseok's tea maid. i figured she is a highly enthused servant who may have gotten into the pattern of helping out in cases, bc she's sharp and fast.

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You are right!

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They clarified her role in ep 3 (or at least in the trans version I had) - I don't think this counts as a spoiler so I'll just say it - she's a female inspector. Guess it IS a liberty taken by the drama then. Tagging @peony @sparks121 & @shach ^^

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Yes, I don't think they were given cases where she is out fighting male criminals.

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@sparks121 got you guys covered on this :).

Thanks for all your comments. We are learning together and hopefully we'll get all the characters and their roles figured out soon :).

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Thanks a lot for everybody who helped!
@greenfields @kiara @shach @sparks121 @dogemama

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Well that sentence is grammatically wrong but you get what I meant😅.
We're learning together, just like @kiara said!

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That's quite a cast featured on the header, right?
The plot sounds so complex with many many characters, it looks like simply catching up thru the recaps would be hard. This sounds like a 50 ep political sageuk!

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I have some interesting trivia to share with the history beanies. 
So this Haechi apparently is the mysterious "Guardian Dog" mentioned in Ms. Underwood's 15 Years among the TopKnots ? The book was a gem I found thanks to @bbstl during the Mr. Sunshine era!
Ms. Underwood who later became the trusted physician of Empress Myeongseong, freshly arrived at the Royal gates, states;
These entrances are approached by broad, stone steps and a platform with handsome, carved stone balustrade, which is surmounted as well as the lofty gates by crudely chiseled stone images of various mythological animals. Some ten or more paces in front of these steps, and on either side, are the great stone dogs, so called for want of a better name, for they no more resemble dogs than lions. The story of their origin is as follows: The fire god, it was said, had a special enmity against this palace, and repeatedly burned it down; various efforts had been made to propitiate or intimidate him with little success; at length an expensive dragon was brought from China and placed in a moat in the grounds. While he lived all was well, but one ill-fated day an enemy poisoned this faithful guardian, and that night the palace was again burned. Finally some fertile brain devised these animals, no poison could affect their stony digestion, no fear or cajoling could impress their hard hearts; so there they stand on their tall pedestals—fierce and uncompromising, facing the quarter whence the fire god comes, always on guard, never sleeping in their faithful watch, and, as might be expected, he has never been able to burn the buildings thus protected.

At the time, I thought it might've been a Quilin because I hadn't heard of a Haechi, nonetheless I felt so very sad at the state the Joseon Korea has put herself into, that a foreigner would not be impressed nor would she even bother try understanding the relics of the once-been-mighty kingdom. Of course it's not her fault, because when the whole country is in shambles...
If Joseon was in half the glory it used to be, the foreigner would at least be slightly interested with the architecture and stuff and care to ask a native; "Hey man, which animal does that statue represent? It's sort of cool."
Now(then) a bypasser would only spare a glance at the guardian Haechi and think; "Ah, that's just a dog!"
😪
Now reading that a whole cool drama is made about the importance of Haechi during the Yeongjo-Joseon....I suddenly recalled how its status fell very low during Gojong-Joseon; only a FEW kings later.
Fall of dynasties is always a sad thing..☹️☹️
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P.S.- If you want to compare the pics, I've posted 'em on my wall. The shot from Ms. Underwood's book, and the one from the drama.

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thank you for that info! i love learning about history and significance of buildings/sculptures/statues etc.

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*salutes.
You're welcome!

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@peony, cc: @bbstl,
What an excellent catch! You never know when background reading for another drama will come in handy. ;-)

Thanks for that pointer to Fifteen Years Among the Top-Knots or Life in Korea by L. H. (Lillias Horton) Underwood, M.D. (1904). I think it's worth noting that the author was a physician at a time when darned few American women were doctors.

https://ia902303.us.archive.org/5/items/fifteenyearsamon00undeiala/fifteenyearsamon00undeiala.pdf

The photographic plate labeled "Korean stone dog in front of palace gates. Page 21" is on page (53 of 368). Peony's transcription commences with the first full sentence on page 21 (55 of 368).

At the bottom of page 22/top of page 23, Doctor Underwood describes the "Mandarin square" rank badges on the front of Joseon court robes: "a stork for civil office, and a tiger for military rank." The birds are actually cranes. I've posted a couple of pointers to information on them on my fan wall:

Mandarin square
http://www.dramabeans.com/members/pakalanapikake/activity/735196/

Rank Badge with Pair of Cranes
http://www.dramabeans.com/members/pakalanapikake/activity/735201/

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Hi @peony! How fun to run into Mrs Dr Underwood's book again, I just loooooved that book and have read it now at least three times but forgot about her reference to the "stone dogs". I think I got the referral from another Beanie who got it from a Soompier? Kdrama, it's a wonderful world 😁

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When the king said he always saw potential in Yi Geum and begged him to show the world what he's capable of..the heart just screams 'why wait until you're dying to tell him this!!!'

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I believe this was his father's way of protecting him. Until now the king realized that the current crown prince's condition will limit his potential as a capable king.

As soon as those political factions realized that Yi Geum was talented and capable, they went after him. One faction supported him thinking that he would be their puppet king and the other faction tried to kill him.

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I was pleasantly surprised by the first 4 episodes! Been a while since I watched a proper saeguk, the last saeguk I watched was Dong Yi. Looking forward to the next few episodes. Also, does anybody know if Yi Tan is a fictional character or did he exist in real life? Can't seem to find any records about him.

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The answer to your question would be at the comment section of the previous episodes.

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Hi kimtaep. I finished episodes 1 and 2 yesterday and I asked the same question about Yi Tan.
You can follow the questions and responses here:
http://www.dramabeans.com/2019/02/haechi-episodes-1-2/#comment-3410389

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Loved the first week's episode- as not expecting big things after hwajung(hey, that gave me sageuk ptsd) but what a start. It's still early, but haechi is reminding me of what i do like about kim yi young's dramas. I love sageuks in general but her take on things makes it all lot more palatable than kbs-type "stuffy" sageuks(of which @kiara is an advocate) to most people, I think.

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I feel the same way @sparks121 even though I haven't seen eps 3 and 4 yet. This not going to be another Hwajung.
I love stuffy lol. The kind of stuffy that are written by Jung Hyun Min and Jung Ha Yeon.

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Stuffy FTW!
Speaking of which, mung bean flower looks amazing in every way, but I don't think I can handle the crippling depression which washes over me when it comes to post-jeongjo korean history...

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I'm already feeling overwhelmed. I just finished 73 episodes of MING LAN and loved every minute of it.
I go back and forth now between CROWNED CLOWN and HAECHI.
This show is pretty meaty and I need to focus or I'll get all confused easily even when most of the characters are familiar.

I hear you about MUNG BEAN but if there is a recap I'll hop on it right away.

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With the mention of Jung Hyun Min I really have to push on with JEONG DO JEON which I have enjoyed. I have watched 32 of 50 episodes. Now that I am down to the final 18 episodes I should think of it as just another drama. I would definitely like to be finished before JHM's MUNG BEAN FLOWER airs.

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Kwon Yul's portrayal of the affable scholar is quite a change from his previous roles. He must be relieved to be in a light-hearted show given that he played a baddie in his last three shows.

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I think a lot of people have been surprised by Kwon Yul's comic talent. I also knew him from his heavy roles in WHISPER and VOICE 2.
I am not surprised that he can do comedy because in May of 2018 I saw his light side in the film CHAMPION starring Ma Dong-seok. Frankly I was surprised at first to see KY in one of MDS's tough guy with a heart of gold films. I enjoyed it.

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I shall watch *cough* read recaps *cough* for our geeeenius lead with lots of hidden potential.
Also, I've learnt from dramas: do not trust anyone until the end.
So I'll be watching without emotionally depending too much on the "good" side characters, what if someone is a double agent.

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YES!! I knew nothing about this drama, but saw it featured on Viki, read the plot synopsis, and immediately put it on my “must watch” list. Finally got around to it last night, and YES!!!

I watched the explanatory opening scenes 4 times before moving on, just to get the players straight in my head. (I may have also watched the scenes showing a certain long, lean, bare back of a man lying in bed, then rising up to put on his shirt, 4 or 5 times, strictly for the, uhm, you know, historical context. It’s important to observe sleeping attire, or lack thereof, to fully understand the historical period!).

Then, shortly afterwards, upon seeing the gat-shaded, fur-framed handsome face of the owner of that long, lean back, I let out a yell of delight, realizing it was Jung Il-woo, with whom I fell in love when I saw him in my very first historical Kdrama, and one of my very first kdramas of any genre, Return of Iljimae, which I loved, because of his portrayal of Iljimae and the awesome fight scenes.

So, I was fated to love this show, with the fascinating political intrigue, based on dramatizations of historical figures/events, and staring the talented, sexy Jung Il-woo! Like Lollypip, I’m somewhat iffy about Go Ara (she greatly reduced my enjoyment of the eye candy treats that Hwarang offered), but so far I’ve enjoyed her in her role here.

I was immediately captivated by this drama, and binge-watched every available episode, unable to stop myself, and remained captivated every single second. Excellent start as far as I’m concerned. Love the Saheonbu officers and Moon-soo. Love the story. And did I mention I love Jung Il-woo?

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Your comments made me chuckle at multiple locations.

If you are truly into the historical genre, Six Flying Dragons is also a must-watch. It has become the standard by which I compare all other sageuks these days. All the actors pulled their weights to make the drama the success it is. So many memorable characters, protagonists or antagonists alike. Ass-kicking is done by BOTH male and female. Gorgeous, gorgeous fighting scenes. There was this one character who appeared in the second half of the series who made martial arts look like a dance performance. Please watch out for that one.

It's a whopping 50-episode production though, but to me they all went by in a blink of an eye, it seemed! I had serious withdrawal symptoms after completing it, and had to settle my disquiet by watching a light, fluffy rom-com for a week or so. Hehe.

Try it, whenever you can. But oh, you'll need to give yourself some time to acclimatize to the sheer number of characters involved. I settled down only after 3 episodes. But I'm ever so glad I I stuck to it.

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I love the historical dramas, and was very disappointed to see that Six Flying Dragons is not available for my "region" (Pacific Northwest, US), as I'd seen it recommended in several comments. Any idea where I might find it to watch?

I am really loving this drama. I'm a bit traumatized by the ending of the most recent episode of The Crowned Clown - I mean, SERIOUSLY, WTF is our clown doing there??? besides worrying and scaring me to death - and I'm not a big fan of romcoms (can't muster up interest in watching the Goblin second leads in their current romcom), so Haechi, with the fun cast and sexy Jung Il-woo (not sure what it is that makes him so attractive to me, but I think it's that he seems to look different in different scenes, he moves so gracefully, especially in the fight scenes, and he does snark so well!) is absolutely perfect.

I'm thankful that it's one of those "watch while it airs a few episodes a week" dramas, or else I would get nothing done.

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Hi again. I was looking at my list of “followed” shows on Viki, and it looks as if they have added Six Flying Dragons for my area. Yay!

Haechi is my favorite drama on TV right now. If it stays as good as it currently is, it’s going to shoot up to the top of my favorite Kdramas of all time list. I LOVE it!!

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Much better than the last two! Thanks for the recap!

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Part 1 of 2

Thanks for your recap, @lollypip! I'm liking our motley crew of sleuths, too. Their initial forays into teamwork have been entertaining as well as productive.

Moon-soo is like a rat terrier in pursuit of prey, but at the same time is a ditz who cannot take a hint. He's gifted at making animal noises and tracking and flitting around like a ninja. I cannot imagine how he's going to pass the doggone gwageo so he can finally become a fully-fledged member of the Saheonbu.

I'm floored to realize that Kwon Yool played Seo Hyun-jin's buttoned-down boss in LET'S EAT 2, and second lead in high school drama MACKEREL RUN with Lee Min-ho back in 2007. He looked vaguely familiar, but I couldn't place him. He's such a live wire in this show I didn't recognize him.

Damo Yeo-ji is growing on me. I admire her focus and persistence on the missing uncle case. She works methodically, and is adept at handling details. She's also very observant when it comes to evidence – and realizes that one of the leaves in Yi Tan's treasure box of murder trophies is still relatively fresh. Now if only she'd notice when the baddies are sneaking up on her. Damo does not suffer fools gladly, as Yi Geum's family jewels can attest, even if he won't admit it. Go Ara is off to a good start, which pleases me greatly.

Dear Inspector Han Jung-seok is too righteous for his own good. His persistence in following up leads on Yi Tan's alleged murder cases doth not bode well for his longevity. Since we've gotten to meet his wife and son, the invisible neon “red shirt” sign has started blinking above his head, dang it.

Minister of Personnel Min is a piece of work. The way he smacks around Yi Tan when he runs amok at Kim Chang-joong's house is mighty interesting. Like Yi Geum and Yi-hwan, he is one of the few characters who is not afraid of the homicidal royal. Lee Kyoung-young played a totally ruthless villain in ROOM NO. 9. Every time I hear his voice, I'm transported back to that show. I'm thanking my lucky stars that he doesn't have access to a metaphysically-possessed defibrillator in Joseon.

- Continued -

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Part 2 of 2

At the hunt, I cracked up at Yi Geum's insouciance as he flicks his wrist to toss aside his cup before challenging his cousin to fight him over the damo-sel in distress, then nocking his arrow and training it in Yi Tan's direction – only to shoot into the trees. His strategic use of a crashing boar to rout Yeo-ji's captors is a hoot. It's a great send-up of MONONOKE HIME and WELCOME TO DONGMAKGOL rolled into one. – Jung Il-woo is having a blast in this role. That wink he gives the interrogator at the Department of Justice after his lovestruck compliment about how great he looks in uniform – as the guy just about jumps out of his skin – is the bee's knees. His timing is great.

Too bad King Sukjong waited so long to have his heart-to-heart with his second son. If only he had given his half-blood prince this kind of encouragement when he was a little shaver. Or has King Dad been trying to keep his vulnerable son safe in the wall-to-wall snake pit of palace politics? Perhaps his approaching demise has lit a fire under him. It saddens me to consider what could have been.

Methinks Dal-moon serves as King Sukjong's eyes on his sons, including Yi Geum. On the other hand, it's possible that he could be an undercover informant for the Saheonbu. Or might he secretly be in cahoots with Yi Geum? He also seems to work as an ostler for horse trader Gae-dol, whom I confuse with Yi Geum's butler/steward/right-hand man, Ja-dong – despite that raisin on his forehead. Drat the gats! Whatever Dal-moon's story, he seems to have his finger on the pulse of the streets. He certainly comes across as a benign collection agent. Or is he perhaps the landlord? It's downright weird to see him helping the soup ajusshi's business by referring him to a supplier of high-quality anchovies. You could have knocked me over with a feather. What a refreshing switch.

I feel really bad for Hwiso Seja, Yi Yun. It sounds as if his mother maimed him. Yikes. And now the Disloyal Opposition are gunning for him.

HAECHI is off to a solid start. I like the humor. It is enough of a police procedural to be interesting and enjoyable.

-30-

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