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Haechi: Episodes 7-8

This episode is much better in some ways (the editing) and much, much worse in others. Our prince-in-waiting is his own worse enemy, letting himself be manipulated from all sides regardless of his instinct to do the right thing. It shows that he does have the makings of a good king, but that he’s got a long, long way to go before he’s even close to ready to take the throne.

 
EPISODE 7: The night of fate

Minister Min tells Yi Geum to retract his testimony against Yi Tan and blame Jung-seok, and the Norons will back his brother Yi Hwan — but if he doesn’t, Yi Hwan will die. Yeo-ji finds him, and when he sees her worried expression, he bursts into tears.

We see a bit more of Yi Geum’s conversation with Minister Min… Minister Min had expressed surprise that Yi Geum was suddenly supporting Yi Hwan, but he guessed that he got vicarious satisfaction from helping his half-brother. Yi Geum had told Minister Min not to harm Jung-seok, but Minister Min had blamed Yi Geum for putting Jung-seok in this vulnerable position.

He’d called Yi Geum a powerless man, saying that he should have known he couldn’t do anything with a conscience but no power. Now Yi Geum tells Yeo-ji that Minister Min was right, he can’t do anything.

But at the same time, King Sukjong asks Chief Inspector Lee to help him make Yi Geum the next king, because Yi Geum is a prince of royal blood but no political party supports him. Chief Inspector Lee asks what he can do, and King Sukjong tells him that he’s aware Chief Inspector Lee’s standing among the Norons is unstable because he failed to protect Yi Tan. He says that if Chief Inspector Lee makes Yi Geum king, then with that power, he can become head of the Norons.

In the morning, Yeo-ji asks Jung-seok about a letter and box of silver ingots that arrived for him. Jung-seok says it’s a donation to the relief fund for the poor created by the inspectors, sent by a silk trader. He’s been donating for years, though this is the first time he’s sent the money to Jung-seok’s house instead of the Saheonbu.

Yi Geum had told Yeo-ji that, even if she hates him, she has to protect Jung-seok, but she has no idea what he meant by that. Yi Geum thinks about Minister Min’s threat to Yi Hwan’s life, and how Jung-seok told him that it’s easier to fight back than to back down. He picks up his brush with a shaking hand, and begins to write.

Only Moon-soo is in a good mood as he tells Yeo-ji that he and Yi Geum are brothers now, and that she’s part of their newly formed brotherhood. Yeo-ji says she’s not interested, and when Moon-soo asks about her closeness with Jung-seok’s family, she says she thinks of them as her family.

She asks Moon-soo if Yi Geum actually agree to be his hyung, and Moon-soo admits that Yi Geum acted like he was against it but he didn’t believe him. They spot Yi Geum nearby, and Moon-soo tries to drag him off to eat breakfast, but Yi Geum says he doesn’t want to and tries to leave.

Yeo-ji asks him why he told her to protect Jung-seok even if she hates him. Yi Geum just tells her to go to the Saheonbu and not talk to a shameless man like him. He heads to a gibang and pays them a huge sum, saying that he wants to drink with everyone in Hanyang today.

At first, Chief Inspector Lee is incensed at King Sukjong’s idea to make Yi Geum king. But the thought of gaining enough power to lead the Norons (and make Minister Min defer to him) is pretty seductive, so he gives it serious consideration.

Worried about what Yi Geum said last night, Yeo-ji sends Moon-soo to Jung-seok’s house while she goes to the Saheonbu. Byung-joo is leading an investigation into Jung-seok, and he shows Yeo-ji a letter that proves that Jung-seok instigated false testimony, written by Yi Geum. Oh Yi Geum, you didn’t.

Yeo-ji grabs the letter, unwilling to believe the slander against Jung-seok. Byung-joo sneers that he acts superior but he’s just another corrupt official. He also accuses Jung-seok of taking bribes, claiming the silk merchant’s donation was actually a payoff.

The Saheonbu senior inspector is at Jung-seok’s home to arrest him, and Jung-seok isn’t even surprised. The senior inspector says that he wants to trust Jung-seok but he has no choice, and Jung-seok doesn’t fight his arrest. Moon-soo tries to stop them from taking Jung-seok away, screaming that they’re the ones breaking the law.

Jung-seok tells him not to fight the Saheonbu or he’s no better than them, disrespecting the law. He tells Moon-soo that someday he’ll become a proud official of Saheonbu, and when he does, he must be someone who wins by the law, not by power. But Moon-soo is still devastated, after having been so certain they’d won this battle.

Chief Inspector Lee confronts Minister Min, knowing full well that Jung-seok was framed and accusing him of dishonoring the Saheonbu. Minister Min says that they were forced to abandon Yi Tan and support Yi Hwan, and that arresting only Yi Geum for false testimony alone wouldn’t have been effective.

He plans to make Jung-seok an example, to warn others that they can be cut down for “standing with a rotten tree.” Chief Inspector Lee says that he should have been notified ahead of time, but Minister Min asks why, since he wouldn’t have been able to do anything anyway.

Chief Inspector Lee returns to King Sukjong, who gives him some information to deliver to Yi Geum. After he leaves, King Sukjong instructs his eunuch to bring Yi Geum to him at dawn, and whispers to himself, “Geum-ah… please…”

Yi Geum drinks so much at the gibang that even the gisaeng tries to cut him off. He can barely walk, but when the gisaengs try to help him, he yells that they’re not the person he needs, then in the same breath swears that that’s not why he’s drinking so much.

Dal-moon learns through his grapevine that Yi Geum paid the gibang to serve anyone who wants to drink, and he’s glad to hear that none of his people are there. His man tells him that Yi Geum testified then retracted his testimony and blamed an innocent inspector, and that even the silk trader was made to send Jung-seok a bribe by the officials.

On his way home, Yi Geum falls off his horse and is found in the road by his servant. The servant wants to call the doctor to treat Yi Geum’s injuries, but Yi Geum says there’s no point because he’s so useless.

Moon-soo and Yeo-ji are at Yi Geum’s house asking to see him, but Jo-hong tells them that he hasn’t come home. Yeo-ji leaves a message that Yi Geum and Jung-seok will be questioned at the Saheonbu tomorrow, and that he needs to tell the truth. Moon-soo adds that they believe that Yi Geum had a valid reason to lie, and they trust him to do the right thing.

Jo-hong goes inside, where Yi Geum is sleeping off his wild night. She tells his sleeping form that it’s okay not to see or hear difficult things if it’s the only way he can live.

Yi Tan is released, and he thanks Prime Minister Kim and Yoon-young, his concubine, for their help. Yoon-young wants to feed Yi Tan, but Prime Minister Kim snaps that they already ate and to tell Yi Tan to leave. Minister Min joins them, having heard that Yi Tan stopped at his home first, and he says that if he’d been this courteous before there wouldn’t have been trouble in the first place.

He tells Yi Tan that the Norons are going to make Yi Hwan king, and Yi Tan rages that the kingdom rightfully belongs to him through his grandfather, Prince Sohyun. Minister Min makes it clear that the Norons run the kingdom, and that if he wanted to become king, Yi Tan should have taken care of his supporters.

He tells Yi Tan to leave with an envoy to the Qing Dynasty tomorrow, and that maybe he can save his life if he asks the next king for mercy. Yi Tan pitifully begs Minister Min not to abandon him, but Minister Min just says that people like him prove that status is only a construct, and most humans are just talking animals.

Yoon-young finds Yi Tan still on his knees and tells him to get up, but he whines that it’s all over. She angrily reminds him of his promise to make her queen, which is why she became Prime Minister Kim’s concubine. She asks if he’s going to let them take his kingdom from him, and urges him to show them what happens when someone takes what’s his.

His voice hardens as he growls, “Prince Yeoning. All of this is his fault. He ruined me.”

Yi Geum finds a document when he wakes and demands to know who left it in his room. Jo-hong says that a maid gave it to her to pass to him. It’s secret information about Yi Tan, including information on his death ledger, which we know the king had delivered to Yi Geum.

EPISODE 8

King Sukjong tells Yi Hwan that he wants to make Yi Geum the next king, but he wants Yi Hwan’s opinion first. Yi Hwan asks for a few days to think, since the Sorons who have supported him will resist, and he wants to persuade them to help Yi Geum instead.

Moon-soo catches Yi Geum on his way to the Saheonbu and asks if retracting his testimony was someone else’s idea, unwilling to believe that Yi Geum would betray Jung-seok. Yeo-ji says that Jung-seok still trusts Yi Geum, so Yi Geum says that there may still be something they can do.

Inside, Jung-seok ignores Byung-joo’s opening question and asks Yi Geum if Minister Min made him retract his testimony. Yi Geum mentions the day Jung-seok approached him about arresting Yi Tan, but he had no evidence on the murders. He claims that Jung-seok said he wanted to find Yi Tan’s death ledger.

Shocked, Jung-seok stammers that he never said that. But Yi Geum continues, looking directly into Jung-seok’s eyes and asking if he still believes the death ledger exists. He’s counting on Jung-seok trusting him enough to follow his lead, and it works — Jung-seok says that he still believes it.

Meanwhile, Yi Geum’s servant takes Moon-soo, Yeo-ji, Ah-bong, and Jang-dal to Yi Geum’s summer house, only one of about a dozen homes Yi Geum owns in Hanyang, and the guys’ jaws drop. Moon-soo asks how many houses Yi Geum owns total, and the servant says that Yi Geum doesn’t know exactly, since he’s not that interested in his wealth. Daaamn.

Yi Geum joins them later, and they study the secret information on Yi Tan to figure out where his death ledger could be hidden. Yi Geum says that as a Buddhist, Yi Tan would be scared and want to be forgiven of his crimes, so he probably hides the death ledger in Yongwonsa Temple.

After the guys leave, Yi Geum gives his servant a letter to take to Yi Hwan and asks him to tell Yi Hwan to be very careful until Yi Tan leaves for Qing, as he’s extremely dangerous. He goes inside where Yeo-ji is still working and says that if she’s afraid to walk home in the dark, he’ll escort her. But she says she’s not scared of the dark, and ha, Yi Geum looks disappointed.

She says she’s studying the terrain around the temple in case she needs to fight, since Yi Tan will have left some of his men to guard it. Yi Geum asks what she can do, and she says casually that she’s the best in the Saheonbu in martial arts and investigative skills.

Yi Geum accuses her of bragging and asks if she’s aware she’s a woman. She just mentions his new brotherly relationship with Moon-soo, and asks what her job is as maknae. She even offers to call him “hyung-nim,” since he probably doesn’t want to treat her as a little sister because that makes people uncomfortable. Yi Geum asks why, but she doesn’t know, and Yi Geum is all Really? You REALLY don’t know?? LOL

Yi Geum’s servant delivers the message to Yi Hwan, and Yi Hwan says that he wants to tell Yi Geum something face-to-face.

But it’s Yi Tan who stops by Yi Geum’s house on his way out of the country, smirking that he came to say goodbye since it’s Yi Geum’s fault he’s leaving. He asks if Yi Geum thinks he’s won, but Yi Geum says that he wasn’t competing in the first place. Yi Tan says it’s not a competition but a dirty fight, because dirty fights have no rules. He snarls, “My fights only end when I win, so you’d better wait for me.”

Yeo-ji gets a friend to let her visit Jung-seok in jail. She tells him that as he suspected, Yi Geum was implying that he knows where Yi Tan’s death ledger is hidden, and that they’re going to the temple to retrieve it tonight.

Jo-hong tells Yi Geum that she saw the storyteller talking to the leader of the homeless gang. Yi Geum realizes that none of the homeless gang were at the gibang the night he invited the whole town, which is strange, as he was offering free drinks and food.

He finds Dal-moon and asks why there weren’t any homeless people at his party, then answers his own question — their leader forbade it. He asks Dal-moon if he’s the one who spread the rumors about him, guessing that Dal-moon is backed by someone very powerful and very dirty, and Dal-moon says he doesn’t care so long as his family is fed.

Yi Geum asks if it’s Minister Min, saying that an innocent man could get hurt, but Dal-moon doesn’t care about anyone but his own people. Yi Geum offers Dal-moon everything he owns for his help, but Dal-moon says that what he needs is power, the kind of power that Yi Geum will never have, to keep his people safe.

Yi Geum is incredulous, then he wonders why he expects a homeless man to have a conscience. He gives up, but Dal-moon tells him that he doesn’t have much time, and should hurry to the Anguk area, where Yi Hwan lives. He offers Yi Geum one piece of information — that Yi Tan is still in Hanyang, and that he may be about to harm Yi Hwan.

Yi Hwan leaves his home to visit Yi Geum, deciding to give his servants a break and just walk. Yi Geum rides as fast as he can to Yi Hwan’s house, leaving the team waiting for him at the temple. Yeo-ji decides to wait for another half hour, then go in without him.

A guard at the jail lets Jung-seok out to stretch his legs, and while he’s walking around, he accidentally overhears someone tell Byung-joo that there’s a letter from Minister Min on his desk. Jung-seok makes it there first, and when Byung-joo arrives, Jung-seok holds up the letter and asks, “This is what you were planning?”

The letter is proof that Byung-joo helped Minister Min frame him for bribery. Byung-joo tries to deny it, but Jung-seok says it’s over for him and for Minister Min, shoving him aside and leaving with the letter. But Byung-joo manages to grab a weapon and knock Jung-seok out, then grows terrified when he realized that he hit Jung-seok too hard.

Yi Tan intercepts Yi Hwan, claiming that he forgot to say goodbye. He quickly grabs Yi Hwan and stabs him in the neck, and whispers that he’s dying because of Yi Geum. Yi Tan walks away singing Buddhist chants, leaving Yi Hwan bleeding in the road.

Yeo-ji ransacks the temple but she can’t find the death ledger. She and Moon-soo see a light in another building and decide to look there. They ignore the monks and search the room, and when Yeo-ji finds a familiar-looking box, she opens it gingerly… but it’s empty.

Yi Geum finds Yi Hwan, still alive but only barely. He cradles Yi Hwan in his arms, and Yi Hwan gasps, “Hyung-nim, it’s you. The kingdom’s…” He dies, and Yi Geum howls in grief and denial.

Word gets back to the king about Yi Hwan’s murder, and he roars a demand for answers, then suffers a collapse. Minister Min is also told the news, but for some reason, the doctor has ruled that there’s no explanation for Yi Hwan’s death.

At the Saheonbu, Byung-joo tells the other inspectors that Jung-seok tried to escape, attempted to climb the wall, and fell to his death. He says he sent Jung-seok’s body to his family, and when Yeo-ji and the guys arrive back at Jung-seok’s home, they find Jung-seok’s wife and son sobbing over a shrouded figure.

Moon-soo pulls the covering aside, and sure enough, it’s Jung-seok. What on earth is happening right now?? Ah-bong insists that Jung-seok wouldn’t have tried to escape, not when he was waiting for them to find the death ledger, and Jang-dal says that someone must have killed him.

A flashback shows that Yi Tan told Yoon-young that he was planning to kill Yi Hwan, for trying to take his throne and to punish Yi Geum, so he got his death ledger back from the temple monks in order to add Yi Hwan to it. He’d given it to Yoon-young for safekeeping, and she waits for him the following morning, crooning to Yi Hwan’s spirit not to become a vengeful ghost.

At the palace, Queen Inwon asks Crown Prince Yoon about the king’s condition and learns that he can’t speak. Suddenly, loud cries of, “Your Majesty! Your Majesty!!” ring out, heralding King Sukjong’s death. Queen Inwon rushes to her husband’s side, but Crown Prince Yoon freezes, unable to move.

Alone and grieving, Yi Geum wanders the streets, and he thinks about how his father asked him to show the world who he can be before he died. He sinks to his knees in the driving rain, then screams.

 
COMMENTS

That was… a lot of death to process. Three characters in one night. Show, was that really necessary?? Obviously the show is taking some dramatic license — the real Yi Hwan did die at a very young age, but in reality he died about nine months before King Sukjong himself passed away. Still, I approve of this slight historical alteration, as it gives Yi Geum a pretty massive reason to want to go after Yi Tan, when before he was only sort of interested in the political maneuverings, and while he didn’t condone murder, he also wasn’t ready to stick his own neck out to make sure Yi Tan was punished. But now he’s going to be a force, and I wouldn’t want to be Yi Tan when Yi Geum decides to make catching and punishing him his life goal. I haven’t quite processed that Jung-seok is truly dead, even though we saw the body (and the credits thank him for his cameo). But I can also see the necessity of removing his character so that Yi Geum will be obligated to step up, because with Jung-seok around, Yi Geum could have just sit back and let him do the hard work.

I’m so sad that King Sukjong died so early, because even though he admitted making terrible mistakes as king, he wasn’t a bad man. It’s obvious he loved his sons and saw them for the people they are, and judged them on their merit and not their mothers’ birth statuses. And he wanted to make Yi Geum king because, regardless of his status, he’s the smartest of the three, and King Sukjong knew that Yi Geum would make different, and hopefully better, choices as king. He wanted what’s best for his kingdom and his people, even if it means elevating his lowliest son and causes a rift in the government, and he regretted that he was going to die and leave his children with this mess. Sadly, he left then in an even worse situation since he didn’t get the chance to appoint a new crown prince, and now Crown Prince Yoon will have to deal with everyone trying to depose him.

Yi Geum’s biggest obstacle, as I mentioned before, is his own low self-esteem. It’s just as dangerous as Yi Tan’s unrealistically high self-esteem, because it can get Yi Geum into a lot of trouble if he sees himself as so useless that all he’s good for is doing what he’s told (even if it’s wrong), or taking himself out of the picture altogether. His former cheeky bravado now seems like nothing more than a cover for his complete lack of self-worth, and I want to see something happen where he’s forced to get a damn spine, stand up for himself, and realize that not only does he have a lot to offer, but he’s exactly what the country needs to get out from under the iron control of the Norons.

Of course, as soon as I complained about the editing in this drama, this episode got much better. I even thought the scene where three events were spliced together (Yi Tan stabbing Yi Hwan, Jung-seok confronting Byung-joo, and Yeo-ji and Moon-soo at the temple) was edited really well — the rapid-fire switching from scene to scene created a lot of really cool tension, but wasn’t confusing at all. And this episode didn’t contain any unnecessary foreshadowing of only slightly dramatic reveals, which was my main complaint, so the whole thing felt much more cohesive and coherent. Now if we can just get them to turn the lights up a bit, I can sit back and enjoy the actual story without getting a headache from all the squinting I’m doing!

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oof this episode had a lot of deaths but the dramaticness of it pulls me in even more. I really wish there were episodes as the transition of the story would be better to watch in one go rather than weekly as i forget half the events that happen. I'm surprised by how good Jung ill Woo's performance is because ive never seen him in anything serious. this show has been pretty unpredictable so far and i can't wait to see how it unfolds for the remaining episodes

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This is one of the rare occurence when my unfamiliarness with Korean history actually worked to my advantage. Because I certainly didn't expect the multiple deaths I've witnessed this eps. I never imagined that King Sukjong would died very closely behind Prince Yoonryeong, or that the weak Crown Prince Hwisoo will ascend the throne before King Sukjong could make his choice to support Yi Geum widely known. I can see how this will be a very turbulent time for Yi Geum who has to wrestle with his grief and stay sharp-minded while the ministers clamoring for power.

I found myself getting teary-eyed at that scene when Jo-hong watched Yi Geum sleeping and wistfully hoped that he can live ignorantly if that meant he get to be happy. Idk why, but her devotion felt like the simplest, most uncomplicated form of love he has received. While others have grand expectation from him, there she was, fully devoted just from a simple fact that she knows he wouldn't abandon her because of her low status.

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*It should be Crown Prince Yoon

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Given the fresh state of our serial killing prince's 'trophy' leaves, haven't we been watching multiple deaths in every episode?

Just because they weren't royal blood line does not erase the deed. In fact the collecting of trophies for each makes them equal in Yi Tan's eyes.

OMG...Have I just rationalised Yi Tan is a Revolutionary? If so, I wonder if the show actually has embedded the usual conservative KDrama tropes and his greatest Sageuk sin that he sees commoners and noble as equal.

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@gadis
Given the fresh state of our serial killing prince's 'trophy' leaves, haven't we been watching multiple deaths in every episode?

Just because they weren't royal blood line does not erase the deed. In fact the collecting of trophies for each makes them equal in Yi Tan's eyes.

OMG...Have I just rationalised Yi Tan is a Revolutionary? If so, I wonder if the show actually has embedded the usual conservative KDrama tropes and his greatest Sageuk sin that he sees commoners and noble as equal.

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I loved how the three deaths were sequenced. And that 상위복(announcing the king's death) scene in particular was incredible.

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This episode really reminded me how brutally painful (in a good way) sageuks can be.

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And that is why I enjoy them so much. Every emotion is felt to an extreme.

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Oh, Jung Il Woo's weeping scene always makes me want to cry with him, from High Kick when he was a teenager (I have been his fan ever since), to 49 Days to this drama. I'm so happy that he got this meaty role to work with. To some degree, knowing history definitely works to my advantage when watching this drama. Knowing that Yi Geum will go on becoming the great king Yeongjo with the longest reign among Joseon kings definitely sets my heart at ease to start this drama. I can't take another drama where he joked to hide his pain and sacrificed his life for nothing (Looking at you, TMWETS!!!!).
Back to the drama, I wonder what the relationship between YG and Jo-hong, and what her role is in this story? Are they friends? She's not his concubine, right (base on her clothes)? She seems loyal to him and provides some comfort for him.

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I can't tell if your reference to "joked to hide his pain and sacrificed his life for nothing" is to King Yeongjo or actor Jung Il-woo, because I have no idea what TMWETS is. (There's no drama listed under Jung Il-woo's films and TV series for which those letters are an acronym).

Either way, I don't really like tragic ending dramas, so please tell me the name so I avoid it! Especially if it's a drama with Jung-woo, as I really loved him in Return of Iljimae and this current drama, and will probably try to find more of his work.

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Of course it's not about King Yeongjo :)
I guess I should put the "SPOILER" tag here: TMWETS stands for "The Moon Which Embraces The Sun" and the part you quoted was what I describe his JIW's character in that drama. That drama had very high rating, but it wasn't my cup of tea, especially in the way they treated JIW's character.

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Thanks for the clarification. I have never heard that title with a “which” in it, as the drama is always listed as “Moon Embracing the Sun,” or occasionally The Moon Embracing the Sun. So the “W” threw me off.

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This episode was so painful. Yi Geum wasn't able to prove himself to his father, wasn't able to save his brother, wasn't able to rescue Inspector Han. He certainly has learned the lesson about needing power to protect his own. But he's also hit bottom from lack of that power. I hope from here on out his story will be one of taking power and putting in place the rest of the people who were there at the board game that night. I do think we saw that board game because his choices that night will turn out to be meaningful.

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@lindag latebloomer,

I liked the Joseon "Monopoly" game as a spiffy foreshadowing of the shape of things to come. Sadly, reality will be minus Prime Minister Han Jung-seok. :-(

But perhaps at some point Dal-moon will join the team in another game. ;-)

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I watched the first six episodes back to back (staying up waaaay too late for a "school night), because I loved this show so much. Sageuk based on a real (eventual) king who actually had a long rule, a Joseon legal investigative/prosecution body that sounds kind of like an FBI/CIA/DOJ rolled into one, interesting main characters, and Jung Il-woo as the main character. I mean, really, what's not to love?

Between this and TCC, both of which are so enthralling to watch, I can barely get through an episode of the Chinese series I'm following, I Will Never Let You Go, despite the oh-so-pretty charms of Zhang Binbin. Unless he or the intriguing androgynous actress, Xing In, are on the screen, I struggle to pay attention. I can't stand Ariel Lin's character, or the second male lead's character, so anytime it's the two of them, with the actors using quirky, weird and annoying facial expressions, and the stupid plot involving their familial contractual marriage agreement, I'm zzzzzzzzzzz.

I am really thankful for the recaps here, as they are both the best I've seen for Kdramas, and also provide an interesting, lively comment section, with knowledgeable comments offering a lot of background on Korean history, as well as thought provoking POVs, but I wish there was maybe some type of place-holder or discussion blog entry so that we could start commenting immediately after watching the drama. TCC episode endings generally leave me screaming, " OMG OMG WTF just happened!?" at my cats - who choose to remain silent re their opinions - and I'm dying to discuss what just happened. It kind of takes some of the zest out of it when I'm reading and commenting on an episode, but have already watched 1 to 3 additional episodes that I'm dying to discuss because they made my head - or heart, or both - explode. I am saying this not to be critical - hell, I would never have the time and patience to recap anything, and I am REALLY appreciative of the excellent recaps here - but I guess I was just wondering if there might be a way to have a place to comment while waiting for the recap?

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@vespertyne,

Although I'm still playing catch-up at the moment, I know what you mean about wanting to comment on the latest exciting plot twist. Many Beanies feel the same way. But because we have a sacred obligation to not reveal spoilers that would ruin the viewing experience for other Beanies, we do our darnedest to hold our peace until the next recap is published. Once it appears in the recap, it's fair game to discuss it. At least that's how I understand it.

What I do is write up my observations in my Kdrama log and later post them in the recap comments. That way I can organize my thoughts and impressions while they are still fresh -- and get them off my chest. I'm also less likely to overlook items that have me especially het up. ;-)

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Good idea. I suspect I have accidentally forgotten what episode I am commenting on, and mentioned something that happened in an episode that occurred after the one being recapped, especially one with a huge cliffhanger that is immediately resolved at the beginning of the next episode. (There is really no way to "un-ring the bell," so I tend to end up not even commenting on those highly dramatic episodes - which are the ones I most want to comment about and discuss with others - because by the time the recap comes up, it would just be too fake to write something pretending like I don't know how it is resolved). Writing something right after it happens, and then posting it on that episode recap, or maybe incorporating it into the comment on the next episodes, makes sense. However, it still prevents discussion and group speculation, which is a big part of the fun!

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@vespertyne,

I play dumb as a matter of course because I really want to avoid spilling the beans and ruining the episode for fellow live-watchers. Not to mention calling down the wrath of the Powers Who Be, who have zapped offending posts without a trace. Yep, I have inadvertently spoiled, and have experienced the mortification. And I've also been forgiven.

How well I know the confusion of trying to figure out in which of several episodes a scene occurred. To counter that, I often rewatch the episode right before reading the recap and writing my comments. (I normally first watch it raw so I can focus on facial expressions, body language, eye acting, tone of voice, etc., without the distraction of reading subtitles. In the case of challenging dramas, I have ended up watching each episode 3-4 times, which helps with comprehension and reinforces memory.

What I find most trying is preemptions. They ruin the one-two punch of weekly episodes, especially when what was intended to be an overnight cliffhanger stretches into the following week. Such delays have derailed the rhythm of a number of shows I've live-watched in the past three years. It is immensely frustrating, especially when a show's rhythm and flow is not that great to begin with. Schedule changes usually occur around major holidays, elections and political debates, sporting events, Olympic games, etc.

"However, it still prevents discussion and group speculation, which is a big part of the fun!"

I beg to disagree. There's nothing preventing discussion and speculation after posting one's thoughts and opinions. Granted, there is a time delay, so it's not instant gratification. (Surely Beanies have better impulse control than Yi Tan. It's all part of playing well with others.) Perhaps other readers have moved on and fewer participate. On the other hand, I've received responses to comments I wrote years ago, and it's quite a nice surprise when that happens. ;-)

So please post away. You may bring up a point that helps the rest of us understand the drama better. And that's one of the main reasons why I come to DB. Along with good company and intelligent, cordial conversation. ;-)

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Hi @pakalanapikake. I am going back through the recaps to read your comments and get your take on things.
Your line “playing well with others” struck a nostalgic cord. It reminded me of my grammar school report card. We were probably graded on “works well with others” but the again maybe it was “play well with others”. Lol who knows?

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Holy batwings, Batman. That was a rollercoaster ride of emotions! I can't believe it! Still processing....

Thanks for the recap!

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Thanks for your recap, @lollypip!

Noron defeat has been snatched from the jaws of victory. And then when it looks as if it couldn't possibly get any worse, what with Yi Geum's retraction of his testimony in support of Jung-seok's case against Yi Tan, and the murderous prince's release from the slammer, everything goes haywire. I suspected that Jung-seok wouldn't make it out of prison alive, but didn't expect him to die accidentally at his fellow officer's hand. I shouldn't be surprised that King Sukjong couldn't withstand the shock of his younger son's death, either. But this is just too much.

That scene of the King and Yi Hwan discussing changes in the succession was very interesting. King Dad calmly informs his son that he wants Yi Geum to become Seja, and he replies by simply asking for a few days to persuade his Soron supporters to back his elder brother. No threats. No tantrums. No sweat. It stands in such stark contrast to the histrionics that have gone down between Personnel Minister Min and the craven Yi Tan. And between Yi Tan and his extremely ambitious floozy, Cheon Yoon-young. She wears the pants, and has him as cowed as Minister Min does.

Burning Question: Will there be an autopsy that proves the Saheonbu inspector didn't fall while attempting to escape over the prison wall? The whole scenario stinks to high heavens. I sure hope CSI Joseon gathers some juicy evidence of Executive Inspector Wi Byung-joo's homicide and malfeasance.

Minister of Personnel Min is truly an evil dude, while his toadies are kings of CYA. (I'm looking at you, Prime Minister Kim, and Saheonbu Chief Inspector Lee, you sorry excuse for a lawman.) Although Min thinks he has the upper hand, he's in for a surprise when he learns that his alternate candidate for Seja has been murdered by the selfsame Yi Tan he has just abandoned. I kind of hope that the whacked-out prince bumps Min off at some point. It would serve him right.

Has Yi Geum really gotten divorced yet? Or will his wife become Queen?

I still don't have a handle on Dal-moon. I'm beginning to suspect that he himself might be a half-blood yangban like Yi Geum. He may claim to be a beggar born under a bridge, but I don't buy it. He probably has a juicy birth secret. I can understand how he might be the unofficial Mayor Of The Wrong Side Of The Tracks. But getting involved with ruthless Personnel Minister Min seems like a foolhardy idea – and a dangerous way to “protect” his people.

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Every time Personnel Minister Min and his imperious Minions open their mouths, I feel as if my head will explode. Having just finished watching the thoroughly awesome NIRVANA IN FIRE, which has a passel of truly despicable wastes of oxygen for villains, I can safely say that Min is their kissin' cousin from Joseon. Shoot, Min could well be the Emperor's long-lost cousin thrice removed. Sheesh. Every one of these weasels points the finger at the victims of their machinations, are maddeningly self-righteous, and are in complete denial of their warped ethics. To wit, a couple of doozies from Min:

"I'm not the one who made him [Inspector Han] fall into a trap."
You designed and set the trap. And you don't give a rat's petoot how many innocent people are hurt and killed because of your political ambition.

"A conscience with no power is very weak and feeble."
I don't know where he gets off using the C word. His seems to have been surgically removed at birth. Not to mention that a weak conscience with too much power is no conscience at all.

[At the end of ep. 6, in response to Yi Geum's question as to why Min is threatening Yi Hwan's life to force him to withdraw his testimony and frame Inspector Han] Because that is... how we win, Prince Yeoning. Do you want to know how we managed to keep our power? We must make everyone fear us. Once everyone sees what happens to anyone who questions us, no one will ever be able to step up like that. That is always the way to win, Prince Yeoning. We need to stomp on them and make them fear us so they never dare to even stand.
That's right, Min. Keep 'em on their knees, and they won't even be able to run away. Where is Gil-dong & his Noisy Hongs when we need them?!

I wonder if I could make a killing by selling Personnel Minister dart boards? Step right up and collect the entire set of Norons and Sorons...

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After he leaves, King Sukjong instructs his eunuch to bring Yi Geum to him at dawn
Should be: bring Yi Hwan to him at dawn
[you told us to tell you] (smile)

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agree with you that three deaths in one ep was basically too much. especially when all characters are good characters, ugh.

right now i feel pity for jo-hong. it feels like she gives yi geum everything yet he just come to her when he is on his lowest :(

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