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Haechi: Episodes 21-22

This episode goes to some very dark place, both for Yi Geum personally and for the country as a whole. The Saheonbu is out of control, the only sane people are powerless to stop what’s happening, and the ministers refuse to follow the king’s orders. But there’s a light at the end of the tunnel if they just don’t give up, and support comes from the last place they’d ever expect.

(A heads-up for the tender-hearted — this episode contains a scene depicting violence against a child that can be difficult to watch.)

 
EPISODE 21: “The limp, the face with smallpox scars”

Yi Geum prepares to face the Saheonbu supreme court, but the proceedings are interrupted by Minister Min, who brings in the little girl who killed Chief Inspector Oh. At the same time, Moon-soo leads his Saheonbu friends to break down the gate to Ji-kwang’s gibang and arrest him for human trafficking, but Yi Tan shocks them by coming out and accusing them of abusing the people.

Yi Tan says that he and Ji-kwang are in business together, selling ginseng to the Qing Dynasty. Moon-soo draws his sword angrily and Jang-dal and Ah-bong remind him that Yi Tan is royal, but he snarls that he doesn’t care.

Byung-joo asks Yi Geum if he recognizes the girl, but Yi Geum can only stare at her in horror. Byung-joo offers to jog Yi Geum’s memory, and he rips the shirt from the girl’s shoulder to reveal her “murder the master” tattoo and accuses Yi Geum of knowing that she’s Chief Inspector Oh’s murderer.

Yi Geum removes his royal robes to cover the girl and tells the others to stop torturing a child. He admits that he saw her the day Chief Inspector Oh was killed, and asks if that’s what they need to hear to make this stop.

As a peasant man with a limp enters the capital, Vice Minister Lee tells the king that things have gotten much worse — Yi Geum is being accused of protecting the murderer. King Kyungjong orders him to send the Imperial Guards to bring the prince to the palace, making it a direct order despite the risk of making the situation much worse.

The building is empty when Moon-soo and the others arrive at the supreme court, so Moon-soo sends Yeo-ji and Jang-dal to the palace while he and Ah-bong head to the inspectors’ room. They find the inspectors planning to attack the camps where the children with “murder the master” tattoos are living, with permission from the chief inspector to kill anyone who gets in their way.

Despite his intense dislike for Moon-soo, Young-han tells him and Ah-bong to come with his team. Moon-soo is horrified at what’s about to happen, even though Hyuk says that the children are also criminals.

Yi Geum paces his cell until Minister Min comes to see him. He says that the children aren’t the only guilty ones, and Minister Min agrees exploitation, high taxes, poverty, and hunger has caused people to become desperate enough to sell their children, and for children to take up murder. He says this will happen as long as status and power exist, and calls Yi Geum naïve for thinking he can change it.

At the camp, Moon-soo and Ah-bong watch in horror as adults and children alike are brutally beaten. Moon-soo tries to scream at them to stop, but his voice is a weak whisper. He shoves an inspector who’s attacking and seriously injuring a young girl, yelling that they’re killing these children without even a trial.

Young-han kicks Moon-soo in the face, but Moon-soo throws his body over the half-conscious girl and takes the blows meant for her, and Ah-bong is also attacked by the officers when he tries to help Moon-soo. They’re overpowered, and Moon-soo screams in agony as the girl is pulled from his arms.

Dal-moon has already heard about Yi Geum by the time Yeo-ji finds him, and he tells her that Yi Geum will be taken to Hanseongbu, the agency in charge of the capital’s administration that’s run by Minister Min. Yeo-ji is shocked that the Saheonbu and Hanseongbu are working together, and Dal-moon confirms that they intend to insult Yi Geum in front of the people.

At the palace, the Soron ministers refuse the king’s order to send the Imperial Guards for Yi Geum. Queen Seonui barges in to say that he can’t give up his loyal officials for the life of one person, even the crown prince.

Byung-joo arrives to take Yi Geum to Hanseongbu without a horse or palanquin for him to ride, and Yi Geum snarls that they’ll also need some rope if they really want to insult him. The people gather to stare at the crown prince as he’s led through the streets on foot, and he can hear them murmuring that this is what they expected from the child of a peasant.

Yi Geum holds his head high, eyes straight ahead, until he sees Yeo-ji in the crowd. Dal-moon warns her not to speak to him or she’ll be arrested, but when she looks as if she might say something anyway, Yi Geum pleads with her to stay quiet.

They encounter the Saheonbu returning to town, and Yi Geum gapes at Moon-soo and Ah-bong who are tied up, bruised, and bleeding. Ah-bong asks why Yi Geum is being treated this way, and Moon-soo is beaten again when he struggles to go to Yi Geum. Byung-joo urges Yi Geum on, and he stumbles in his grief at his friends’ suffering on his behalf.

Yi Tan and Ji-kwang watch the processions, and Yi Tan muses that things are working out very strangely when he hasn’t even enacted his plans yet. Ji-kwang mentions seeing Yi Geum in “a beggar’s den,” and Yi Tan demands to know what he means by that.

News of the “murder the master” group has brought a lot of nobles seeking shelter in the capital, and one of the gate guards complains about it to a humbly-dressed man carrying a tiny kitten. When the man shows his ID naming him as Chief Justice Jo, leader of the Sorons (cameo by Sohn Byung-ho), the guard stammers an apology.

CCJ visits Minister Min, giving him the kitten as a gift. The two talk like old friends, and Chief Justice Jo marvels that Minister Min is still strong even when keeping to the shadows, asking when he plans to take back his position as Noron’s chief.

Minister Min says that their two parties used to be one, the Seoin Party, and he objects to the Sorons’ belief that the king should run the country because one bad king can ruin the kingdom. Chief Justice Jo counters that a group of people can ruin a kingdom just as effectively.

With a sigh, Minister Min admits that the Norons are corrupt, but he says he wants to save the roots of the Norons. Chief Justice Jo warns that if he targets the crown prince, the Sorons will accuse the Norons of treachery. Minister Min asks if the king can handle angry, opinionated nobles, and tells his friend that he should give up the crown prince or the king will be in danger.

In the morning, Chief Justice Jo joins the Soron ministers at the palace, and they’re thrilled to see him. He suggests that they dethrone Yi Geum, saying that it won’t solve all their problems, but if they give in now, it will calm things down and earn them the chance to win later.

The Sorons and Minister Min’s Noron followers arrange for an audience in order to talk with the king. When Minister Lee and his Norons see the two groups being friendly, they interpret it to mean that the Sorons plan to abandon Yi Geum.

Moon-soo’s first thought when he regains consciousness in jail is to ask Ah-bong what happened to Yi Geum. Meanwhile, Yeo-ji creeps around the Hanseongbu buildings trying to find where they locked up the crown prince.

The ministers are concerned when King Kyungjong doesn’t show up for the audience. It turns out, he sneaked out of the palace and went to see Yi Geum, and he grows angry when Yi Geum tells him to listen to the people and dethrone him. He asserts that he is the king, and says that responsibility can only be taken by the one with the right to do so.

EPISODE 22

King Kyungjong finally joins the ministers and states firmly that he will not allow any petitions to dethrone Yi Geum. Infuriated, Minister Min comes perilously close to accusing King Kyungjong of siding with murderers against the nobles, and even his friend Chief Justice Jo warns him to remember he’s speaking to the king.

King Kyungjong had told Yi Geum to defend his right to be crown prince, so while the king is addressing the ministers, Yi Geum stands in the center of town to talk to the nobles. He states that he discovered that the children who became “master murderers” were only trying to avoid being sold to Qing by human traffickers.

He says that the exploitation and high taxes imposed by the nobility is forcing families to sell their children, and that joining the murderers is the only way they can stay in the country. He asks why they’re imposing such high taxes when the people are already paying to work the nobles’ land, instead of taxing the rich who own the land.

The listening nobles laugh at the suggestion that they should pay taxes, since those people are using their land to make a living. Yi Geum counters that without those who farm the land, the nobles would have nothing to eat or wear. He swears that when he’s king, he’ll make the landowners pay the taxes. This doesn’t please the nobles, but the people listening are moved by his determination to set things right.

Chief Justice Jo asks King Kyungjong why he’s siding with Yi Geum. King Kyungjong reminds him that when he was crown prince, Chief Justice Jo taught him, “A wise man should be ashamed of having nothing to be ashamed of.” He says that politics should help the poor, not make the rich even richer, and that he won’t dethrone a man who knows shame and wants to help the weak.

When Minister Min hears about Yi Geum’s speech, he orders an announcement sent out to the lecture halls and schools — if the king won’t dethrone Yi Geum voluntarily, then they’ll just force him to do it. He nearly walks right into Yi Geum, who smirks that Minister Min should greet him with respect since he’s still the crown prince.

In private, King Kyungjong is angry with Yi Geum, thinking that he said whatever he wanted because he promised to protect him. Yi Geum says tearfully that he only wanted to say what he’s been wanting badly to say while he’s temporarily the crown prince, and that that moment was enough for him.

Young-han releases Moon-soo and Ah-bong, grumbling that the crown prince is finished so they have no reason to harass his friends. Moon-soo and Ah-bong head to the palace, where there’s a crowd of nobles crying out for the crown prince to be punished.

Yeo-ji is there, and she tells them that Yi Geum brought this on himself. She says she tried to stop him, but when she heard him speaking out on behalf of the people, she was overwhelmed and froze up.

The man with the limp that we saw entering the city sets up a stall in the market as vendors talk about what Yi Geum said, and how he should have kept his mouth shut since now he’ll definitely be dethroned. But the man with the limp says that Yi Geum was right about the nobles living lavishly because of them, while his leg is marred because of his master.

Elsewhere, a woman with smallpox scars who heard Yi Geum’s speech tells the women washing clothes at the river that her father had to sell her as a slave to pay his taxes, since her scars kept her from becoming a gisaeng. She cries at the thought of Yi Geum being dethroned and never helping people like her.

After dark, Vice Minister Lee and Minister Jo look at the complaints from nobles plastered all over the palace walls, and they predict that the king will be forced to dethrone Yi Geum after all. But one letter grabs Vice Minister Lee’s attention — it’s from a commoner, in support of the crown prince, and the writer even attached their ID plate.

By morning, hundreds of commoners are tossing their ID plates into a huge pile by the wall, showing their willingness to put their lives on the line for the first noble to ever speak up for them. Jang-dal and Ah-bong add their plates to the stack, and Moon-soo asks Dal-moon if he had anything to do with this.

Dal-moon breathes reverently, “This is something that cannot be manipulated by anyone. It’s the true thoughts of our people.” They both take our their ID plates and throw them on the pile.

Naturally, Byung-joo and the Saheonbu officials are beside themselves. Byung-joo asks why the Hanseongbu guards aren’t arresting people, and he’s told that the Imperial Guards are protecting them.

The pile of ID plates keeps growing, with people adding stones or pieces of wood with their names painted on them when they don’t have an ID plate. Yeo-ji brings Yi Geum a stone with the name “Kkot-nim” written on it — the girl who killed Chief Inspector Oh had asked her, from her jail cell, to add her name to the pile.

Awww, Kkot-nim had never seen her name in writing before. Yeo-ji had shown Kkot-nim a stone with her own name written on it, and had promised to put it on the pile next to hers. Kkot-nim had also asked Yeo-ji to thank Yi Geum for what he did for her, and he’s moved to tears at the show of support from Kkot-nim and all of the people.

Chief Justice Jo asks Minister Min what he thinks will happen if the people start protesting instead of just making piles of ID plates. Minister Min asks Chief Justice Jo if he’s decided to back Yi Geum because he has the people’s support, and Chief Justice Jo chuckles that at least the Sorons will win, even if it’s a short-lived victory.

He agrees to handle a few things for Minister Min and the Norons, just to keep things civil between the factions. Minister Min says that the crown prince is very unlucky, as this was his only chance to keep his life intact.

After dark, Minister Jo catches Vice Minister Lee putting his ID on top of the now-enormous pile, but he admits that his ID is in there too, and they laugh that at least they can’t report each other. Minister Jo asks permission to join the Prince School, the office in charge of education the crown prince, because he wants to know what kind of person Yi Geum is.

Alone in the palace, Yi Geum recites to himself names and descriptions that he read on stones and ID plates today: Ma-seon, who has a limp… a woman with smallpox scars… a guard with only nine fingers… students, peasants, slaves, and even nobles, all of them putting their hope in the only person who ever offered to help them.

Yoon-young is annoyed with Yi Tan for sitting around doing nothing while Yi Geum is gaining supporters. Yi Tan tells her that he’s trusting in karma these days, and that he prayed for Yi Geum not to be dethroned so that he can personally get rid of him and become king. (Yoon-young suddenly grows frightened, stammering something about Ji-kwang sending Dal-moon to “bring in the beggars,” but the scene is very disjointed and it’s unclear exactly what’s going on.)

Yi Geum leaves to visit Moon-soo, which worries Ja-dong, but Yi Geum assures him that he has the king’s permission. Moon-soo is still recovering from his injuries and apologizes for sitting oddly, but Yi Geum jokes that he’s always been impolite.

Moon-soo sighs in frustration that he thought his problems would be over once he became an inspector, but he gets blocked from all sides. He says that intentions alone don’t accomplish anything, but Yi Geum gently encourages him not to give up.

On his way out, Yi Geum runs into Yeo-ji, and they sit down to talk. Yeo-ji worries that Yi Geum’s life is in danger, and Yi Geum says that competent people often become targets, and after all, he’s smart and handsome as well as being the crown prince.

But Yeo-ji is frustrated that he’s not taking her seriously, and says she wants to become a court lady in the Crown Prince Palace. She thinks it’s just a lot of menial work, but she says she can handle it if it means being close enough to protect him.

Alarmed, Yi Geum says there’s a lot more involved in being a court lady than chores. He sits and takes Yeo-ji’s hands, intending to demonstrate what it means to be a court lady. He pulls her hands closer, saying that this kind of thing can happen, then slowly leans in as if to kiss her.

 
COMMENTS

Well, I wasn’t expecting that after such a wrenching episode, but I guess it was just a matter of time. Yi Geum has been fighting his feelings for Yeo-ji for a long time, and he’s just narrowly escaped losing his position and possibly even his life. It makes sense that he wouldn’t want to keep denying himself, and she left him the perfect opening to explain exactly what a her duties might be if she enters his palace as a court lady. And even though Yeo-ji hasn’t given much indication that she returns Yi Geum’s feelings, she was also leaning into him, so I doubt that she’ll object to this additional “duty.”

This episode was beyond difficult to watch. I knew that things would get very very bad for Yi Geum and his friends, but I wasn’t expecting to see children being beaten and our heroes so helpless to do anything about it. Jung Il-woo and Kwon Yul are so perfectly cast… I could barely even look at their expressions of horror, shock, and betrayal when they saw each other in the street and realized the torture they were each suffering. It’s episodes like these, and acting performances like these, that make me feel very inadequate as a recapper because there’s just no way to describe the visceral emotional reaction they evoke — you just have to see them for yourself.

Speaking of visceral reactions… initially, I felt that the scene at the children’s camp was unnecessarily violent. I even had to take a little break to calm down, and I’m not somebody who usually gets upset at things I know are staged and didn’t actually happen. But after seeing the rest of the episode, I believe it was necessary to show what exactly the common people are suffering at the hands of the noble class, and what exactly it is that Yi Geum and his friends are fighting for. In dramas, which are made for television, often these situations get softened to the point where it feels like the worst thing happening is the nobles sitting around while the peasants work really hard, but that’s not even close to the historical truth. These children are faced with a choice between slavery in another country, or selling themselves as assassins in exchange for a hovel to live in, just to stay in their own country. Seeing the stark truth of what they’re willing to risk (and I don’t fool myself that in reality, it would be much, much worse) really hits home why Yi Geum is so determined to help the common people.

But there was a lot of good in this episode too, and I continue to be impressed with King Kyungjong and how he’s turning into a strong, right-minded king. He sees in Yi Geum the same thing that their father saw — the heart of a man who knows what it is to be powerless, and who wants to use his privilege to help those who have no power of their own. He sees the injustices in the country and wants to fix them, and not, as Minister Min does, use his power to make the already-strong even stronger. Yi Geum still sometimes lacks the confidence in himself to speak out, which showed when he was speechless at the supreme court and again when the king told him to defend his position, and he was almost too afraid to do it. But once he realizes that there’s no other choice, Yi Geum is eloquent and sincere enough to change the minds of those who were previously against him. It almost doesn’t matter whether the Norons or the Sorons support him, because now he’s gained the loyalty of the people — the ones who really matter.

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What a powerful episode!
That first supporting letter for Yi Geum gave me goosebumps. And yet, I still didn't expect the amount of spontaneous, unmanipulated support he got later on. Yes, it probably started from lower class people who don't have much power to make the much-needed change, but it spread quickly to the higher class. And I don't see it stopping anytime soon.

I think the question is: How will the opposite party going to twist this event into something condemning Yi Geum? Because I'm pretty sure Min Jin-heon the manipulator isn't going to take this silently.

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Yes it was certainly very difficult to watch, but it was also so darn good. I was in tears too at the scene where Yi Geum and Moon Soo saw each other on the streets after they were both beaten up physically (for MS) and mentally (for YG). This show has gone up to one of my top favourite Sageuk ever. Jung il woo’s acting is so superb that it really moved me as a viewer. I could almost feel what he felt at that point of time.

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Hi @wernyz. I looked at your previous comments and although few they go way back! I am glad you are commenting and it is interesting how high you are praising HAECHI.
I have not been around the sageuk world that long but it is becoming a favorite genre of mine.
HAECHI is a wonderful drama with a top notch cast. I think because of the production style it does take more work for me at least to follow.
O/T. I just found about Go Ara's injury on the set and that she will be missing from episodes 27-32. We will have to see how that affects the story.

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Hi @bong-soo! Ya I haven’t commented in a long long time lol but have always been an avid reader of dramabeans. As you can see from my last comments, since years and years ago when it was just javabeans and girlfriday who were the only recappers then. I am so glad we have so many others now so there are more shows covered !
Sageuk has always been one of my fav genre. But I have always liked the fantasy sageuk like secret healer, scholar who walks the night etc as sometimes too much politics in the ‘serious’ sageuks really gives me a headache lol. The other reason I don’t comment much also cause I seldom watch airing dramas as i get really impatient waiting for the next episodes but for Haechi I really couldn’t hold back. So by the time I watched the dramas, it feels kinda redundant to comment cause the discussion was long
Over by then lol.
Am so happy there are viewers out there who enjoyed this series as much as I do.
I read bout Go Ara’s Injury too and saw that she will miss a few episodes. Am curious how they will write off her absence as and whether it will affect the storyline much. We shall have to wait and see :)

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"It’s episodes like these, and acting performances like these, that make me feel very inadequate as a recapper because there’s just no way to describe the visceral emotional reaction they evoke — you just have to see them for yourself"

Sweetheart, the fact that you even say these words prove just how awesome of a recapper and even more beautiful writer you are :)

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what a beautiful recap, Lollypip. i shared the same sentiment as you. the scene with the kids left me uneasy. kudos to the writer, pds and the cast for the acting and how they portrayed.

also, Jung Il woo is amazing in this role. seems like he's given everything. his acting choices are superb. and ofc, the rest of the cast dont disapointed.

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"(Yoon-young suddenly grows frightened, stammering something about Ji-kwang sending Dal-moon to “bring in the beggars,” but the scene is very disjointed and it’s unclear exactly what’s going on.)"
according to the characters' description, Yoon-young and Dal-moon have some history together.

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This is the best episode of Haechi so far IMO. The scene at the children camp was brutal, I had to look away, couldn't watch. Everything else was perfect: king KJ stood up to the court and gave YG a boost of trust and confidence, YG's speech at the bouquet moved people's heart (except for those greedy noble, ha), YG & MS's shared look of pain and the growing pile of IDs from common people to show support for YG. This is the best depiction of king KJ in Korean dramas to date (although I don't know how truthful to history it is). And JIW is awesome in this role, I finally feel like he is acting with fire in his heart after all those years hibernating.

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Part 1 of 2

I’ve nearly caught up with the show. Yee haw!

Thank you so much for your recap of episodes 21-22, @lollypip. I agree that this hour was uncomfortable to watch because of the police brutality, not to mention the vociferous verbal abuse heaped on the King and Seja by the nobles. Please be assured that you’re doing a wonderful job on the recaps. This drama is not an easy watch, but it is a rewarding one. Thank you for continuing to write recaps for a small but dedicated viewership. Your grace is immeasurable! Manseh!

Politics are convoluted to the point that there doesn’t seem to be much practical difference between the Norons and the Sorons when they’re both attacking the King. The Sorons are merely lacking the gumption balls and bloodlust of the Norons, for which they have substituted a querulously-insufferable holier-than-thou philosophical attitude. I’ve come to loathe Vice Minister of Taxation Lee, the Soron leader, almost as much as former Personnel Minister Min, who is now heading up the municipal office in charge of the capital.

With the return of Lord Min and born-again loose cannon Yi Tan, who is now a certified sutra-thumper, and the rancid “gentlemen’s agreement” between the Noron and Soron bigwigs, the outlook for Yi Geum grows increasingly uncertain. Send in the “Morons.”

I am thoroughly disgusted that [/sarcasm on] that paragon of apolitical rectitude, Haseonbu Executive Investigator Wi, [/sarcasm off] is now conspiring with Min to frame Seja. (I cannot wait for his manslaughter of Inspector Han to be revealed. GRRR.) Min’s default operating mode is “bare-faced lying,” as demonstrated by his private statement to Seja in the royal holding cell that the “murder the master” kiddie criminals result from the class distinctions and power imbalances that are simply part of human nature. I don’t believe for one second that the accused young children or their frail grandpa of a chaperone are capable of organizing this obvious false-flag operation – let alone tattooing themselves with their treasonous motto. They’re illiterate. Min is spewing his trademark half-truths again.

- Continued -

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"Haseonbu Saheonbu Executive Investigator Wi"

Dang, at least I'm consistent with the Kdrama dyslexia -- although technically it's misspelling, not misreading.

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Part 2 of 2

The fact that Minister Min had the little assassin girl dragged into the Saheonbu Supreme Court confirmed my suspicion that he’s the one behind the killings. I’m convinced that he’s getting rid of government officials so he can place his own people in the vacated offices – and maybe settling old scores in the process. If it walks like a duck, quacks like a duck, and looks like a duck, it’s probably a duck.

Seja is truly a class act. At first I didn’t realize what he was doing as he unbuckled his belt in the courtroom. When he draped his royal outer robe around her exposed shoulders, it was an eloquent statement of his intention to protect the downtrodden commoners and slaves of the realm. So much for the “womanizer” of common gossip. He was the only person in that room abiding by Confucian modesty.

Meanwhile, at the gibang, Yi Tan’s statement to Moon-soo & Friends that he and Ji-kwang are partners in exporting “ginseng” to China sounds like hogwash to me. I bet “ginseng” is their code for “Joseon slaves.”

As @lollypip has noted, HAECHI has understated the brutal realities of the time period. One of them is the Middle Kingdom’s longstanding demand for eunuchs – a fate that probably awaits male Joseon slaves sent there.

Consider the fact that some Korean men volunteered to be castrated so they could work in the palace. How horrible must life have been to submit to that? Others had no recourse, and were eunuchized as children. According to one of the articles I read in Wikipedia, the mortality rate was about 90% for African eunuchs supplied to the Ottoman Empire. I have no reason to believe it would be any lower elsewhere. For hair-raising historical background, consider the case of China’s last eunuch. The following links are not for the faint of heart:

Sun’s impoverished family set him on this painful, risky path in hopes that he might one day be able to crush a bullying village landlord who stole their fields and burned their house... His desperate father performed the castration... with no anesthetic... He was unconscious for three days and could barely move for two months.

source: http://www.dramabeans.com/members/pakalanapikake/activity/745741/

The Death of the Last [Chinese] Emperor’s Last Eunuch (1996)
http://www.dramabeans.com/members/pakalanapikake/activity/745715/

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Post 2, Part 1 of 2

I bet a dollar to doughnuts that Yi Geum’s walk of shame through the streets is foreshadowing of what is to come when Haseonbu Executive Inspector Wi’s murder (technically, manslaughter) of Inspector Han is finally revealed.

It is a blast to see Yi Geum come out swinging in this episode even as Lord Min and his Soron counterpart gang up on him. Yay for Son Byung-ho as Soron honcho and Chief Justice Hagok [pen name] Jo Tae-koo. He played Traitorous Uncle, Prince Yangan, in GRAND PRINCE. Although he and Lord Min appear to be rather chummy, I cannot help but wonder if he’s going to double-cross the Norons – now that he’s already decided to throw the King’s appointed Seja under the Oxcart Of Doom.

And what the heck was that all about when Chief Justice Jo gives that poor little kitten to Lord Min?! Is there something symbolic about it? (A mouser to go after a rat?) I feel like calling the Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals.

With a sigh, Minister Min admits that the Norons are corrupt, but he says he wants to save the roots of the Norons.

What a hypocrite! During a scene in his garden in an earlier episode, Min instructs his gardener to tear out a tree with rotten roots lest it compromise the plantings around it. But when it comes to his political party, he does nothing to combat the dry rot because that would mean betraying his yangban brethren. Arrrg! Perhaps it will be the Sorons who clean house for him in the upcoming literati purges.

This is one of my favorite lines. King Kyungjong comes through with bells on, and reminds his old teacher that he used to teach a very different lesson from what he is currently espousing:

Chief Justice Jo asks King Kyungjong why he’s siding with Yi Geum. King Kyungjong reminds him that when he was crown prince, Chief Justice Jo taught him, “A wise man should be ashamed of having nothing to be ashamed of.” He says that politics should help the poor, not make the rich even richer, and that he won’t dethrone a man who knows shame and wants to help the weak.

Yi Geum has already experienced a lifetime of shame, which has given him humility and groundedness that is completely missing from Lord Min’s personality. Min’s ego and shamelessness are monumental. When he hollered at the King and practically accused him of hobnobbing with the “murder the master” faction that I am convinced he has ginned up himself, I got the impression that the Sorons – and perhaps other rivals – may seize upon it to knock him off his high horse.

- Continued -

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"Haseonbu" = my version of sleep-deprived Kdrama dyslexia. Saheonbu, already! Now I'm naming public offices after a fictional CROWNED CLOWN. ;-)

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Post 2, Part 2 of 2

Then it occurred to me that Yi Tan said something cryptic while watching Yi Geum’s walk of shame along with slave broker Do Ji-gwang. The spurned prince mused that something felt odd, and he hadn’t even put his own plan into action yet. Hmmm. Perhaps I’ve jumped to conclusions, and Yi Tan is not really behind the “murder the master” group. I kind of wish it is really a trap for Lord Min, who reneged on his promise to make Yi Tan seja. It’s only a matter of time before he attacks Min. It’s amazing that his crummy impulse control has kept him from murdering the double-crosser before now.

The steepness of those two piles of hopae boggled my mind. Weird physics aside, it was truly inspiring to see the little people express their solidarity with Yeoning Seja. All via homemade ID tags, women’s names painted on rocks – and the spiffy plaques of the yangban. It was all so warm and fuzzy. Which makes me feel paranoid. #toogoodtobetrue

When Yoon-young freaked out at Do Ji-gwang’s mention of Dal-moon’s name, I interpreted it to mean that she was unaware that he resided in the capital. I don’t know where in the boonies they may have originally been from. I got the impression that she still had feelings for him, or regretted dumping him.

Re: Go Ara’s ankle injury, I couldn’t help but wonder if it happened when she jumped over the wall in this episode. After that scene, I caught a glimpse of her eyes that made me think she was working through pain. From what I’ve read, she had continued filming for over a week before finally being sent away to rest. I hope she’s recovering well. I cannot imagine how this will affect her role in the show, and can only suspect that it will prevent her from going into the palace as a court maid. (Why can’t she be a bodyguard?)

With the latest glacial lead-up to a smooch hovering in mid-air at the end of the episode, I’ve got to weigh in on the romance that seems to be developing between Yi Geum and Yeo-ji. She’s still pretty oblivious. I think his earlier flusteration with her had to do more with the novelty of her treating him as a human being. Considering how much his shrewish wife loathed him for his low birth status when he returned from his travels, methinks he was floored to be regarded as just another normal person and not a low-born half-blood freak. I like that he’s got scruples and is trying to warn Yeo-ji about the realities of court life for servants. Is there any reason why she couldn’t be his bodyguard? Everyone already knows that she’s a damo, so it’s not as if she has a secret identity to protect.

-30-

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