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The Crowned Clown: Episode 14

So much is happening so fast that I can hardly figure out where to look or what to worry about most. Our clown is running out of time to get justice for himself and his queen, and when he learns the truth about someone he thought he trusted, it could throw everything he believes into question. How he reacts will define the kind of man he is, and the kind of king he could be.

 
EPISODE 14 RECAP

Minister Lee leaves to bring Lord Yoo back to the palace, and Ha Sun tells Eunuch Jo that he wants to do something for the queen. They both dress in nobles’ clothing, and Ha Sun leads So-woon to a spot overlooking the ocean. So-woon says that she felt like she had no right to be with him or ability to protect him when she heard the infertility diagnosis from the royal physician.

She says that it hurt so badly that she forgot she has someone who cares for her more than she does for herself. Ha Sun takes her hand, and So-woon says that she’s going to remember this scenery so she can enjoy the memory of it after returning to the palace. Ha Sun adds that they’ll go together to look at the flowers in spring, get rained on in summer, and pick hazelnuts in autumn.

Next Ha Sun takes So-woon to see two trees that have have intertwined as they’ve grown. He says that according to legend, lovers who walk between the trees will be together forever. He asks So-woon to stay with him forever, and they walk under the trees hand-in-hand.

Ha Sun earnestly vows to live up to So-woon’s expectations and become a great king. He asks for her promise never to cry alone and share everything with him, and So-woon makes that promise. Ha Sun pulls her close and kisses her passionately.

When Minister Lee arrives at Lord Yoo’s hut, he finds a horrible scene — Lord Yoo dead on the floor, a knife in his heart. Minister Lee is back at the palace when Ha Sun and So-woon return home, and he tells them the awful news in a shaking voice. So-woon denies it, having recently seen him healthy and alive, and Ha Sun has to catch her from collapsing when Minister Lee says her father was murdered.

Of course, the queen dowager is behind this, and she tells Prince Jin-pyung that he did a good job. She can’t wait to go see how devastated Ha Sun and So-woon are, but Prince Jin-pyung warns her not to let the king catch on. The queen dowager says that Lord Yoo was doomed the moment the king killed her father and her son.

Minister Lee is confident that the queen dowager is behind Lord Yoo’s murder, since Lord Yoo’s return would have given Ha Sun more power. Ha Sun starts to swear to make the queen dowager and whoever carried out the murder pay, but he stops mid-sentence, remembering Prince Jin-pyung’s vehement argument against Lord Yoo’s reinstatement.

Minister Lee agrees that Prince Jin-pyung must be the murderer, but he warns Ha Sun not to arrest him without firm evidence. Eunuch Jo joins them to report that the queen dowager and Prince Jin-pyung have been talking for a while, and Ha Sun asks Moo-young about the arrows that were shot at him and So-woon. Moo-young has one on him, so Ha Sun tells him to search Prince Jin-pyung’s home for any that match it.

But Minister Lee stops Moo-young and tells Ha Sun that if nothing turns up, they’ll only tip off Prince Jin-pyung that they suspect him — or worse, he could be accused of framing Prince Jin-pyung. Ha Sun argues that if they hesitate, they’ll lose the evidence, and Moo-young leaves to do the search. Minister Lee follows Moo-young out and tells him that he if doesn’t find anything at Prince Jin-pyung’s home, to use the arrowhead he has and make evidence.

The arrows found in Prince Jin-pyung’s house don’t match the one used to try to assassinate Ha Sun. Following orders, Moo-young snaps the head off one arrow and replaces it with the assassin’s arrowhead. A short while later, guards try to corner Prince Jin-pyung, but he grabs a sword and holds it to the Minister of War’s neck, creating a standoff.

He makes it out of the palace, and learns from one of his men later that his house was raided, and one of the arrows they tried to kill the king with was found. He asks how, since he never kept those arrows at his house, and he guesses that this is a trap set by the king.

At court, the ministers who were there when Prince Jin-pyung escaped step forward to take the blame. Ha Sun says that if they truly want to support him, they’ll help him dethrone the queen dowager. But the Minister of War says they can’t, because they’re not sure that she’s responsible for Prince Jin-pyung’s actions.

So Ha Sun decides that he’ll just issue a royal command to dethrone the queen dowager. Minister Lee says that if he does that without cause, the scholars and officials will retaliate. Instead, he says they need to get a confession, then they can petition the ministers for dethronement.

In the morning, Minister Shin sends Ha Sun a message that he wishes to speak to him. He tells Ha Sun that if he uses Prince Jin-pyung to depose the queen dowager, he’ll only be doing what Prince Jin-pyung wants. Ha Sun is unimpressed that that’s all Minister Shin has to say, but when he turns to go, Minister Shin calls out, “Playing the king must be fun. Sitting on the throne will make you think you’re really the king.”

He tells Ha Sun that he’s only Minister Lee’s puppet, and that Minister Lee is the one running the country. Ha Sun says that Minister Lee isn’t like that, and Minister Shin says it’s no wonder Minister Lee killed Yi Heon and chose Ha Sun instead. Ha Sun is horrified by his claim that Minister Lee killed Yi Heon, and Minister Shin tells him that Minister Lee was the only witness to the king’s death.

He says that Minister Lee will treat him well as long as he does as Minister Lee wants, but that if Ha Sun goes against him, Minister Lee will probably kill him, too. He tells Ha Sun that he’s a puppet, but he doesn’t have to be Minister Lee’s puppet, and he offers Ha Sun incredible wealth and power to partner with him instead.

But Ha Sun tells him to shut up and remember that he’s in prison because he didn’t take him seriously, and assumed Minister Lee is as disloyal as he is. He calls Minister Shin pitiful for trying to play him against Minister Lee when he’s this close to death.

Moo-young finds Ha Sun on his way out of the prison and says he has urgent news. Minister Lee has gone to the queen dowager to ask if anything seems strange about Prince Jin-pyung, since he knows they’re close. The queen dowager says that Prince Jin-pyung is only her informant, and she hasn’t noticed anything.

Minister Lee says that Prince Jin-pyung made multiple attempts on the king’s life and even killed Lord Yoo, but that he wouldn’t have the guts to do that without assurance of gaining the throne himself. The queen dowager says that he must have wanted revenge for his father’s and brother’s murders.

That reminds Minister Lee that it’s almost the anniversary of Prince Yul’s death. The queen dowager stiffens as Minister Lee says he remembers how much the little prince enjoyed his dinner, not knowing it was his last meal on Earth. She flings her teacup, realizing now that Minister Lee killed the prince.

He twists the knife even further, telling the queen dowager that her son cried out for her with his final, bloody breath. She screams that she should have poisoned him, not Yi Heon, and when Minister Lee asks if that’s why she ordered Prince Jin-pyung to kill the king and queen, she screams, “YES!! I ordered Prince Jin-pyung to kill the king and queen, and Lord Yoo. I only punished those who had a hand in killing my own son. What did I do wrong??”

Calmly, Minister Lee simply stands to let Ha Sun enter the room — he heard every word. He says that now that he’s heard her confession, he’ll order her deposition, and she screams again. With all the dignity she can muster, she swears on her son’s grave to rip Ha Sun apart and make him suffer for eternity.

Minister Lee and Ha Sun leave, and Minister Lee admits that he was worried Ha Sun wouldn’t make it in time. Minister Lee offers to answer Ha Sun’s questions, so Ha Sun asks, “If you killed Prince Yul for His Majesty, then who did you kill for me?” He already knows the answer, admitting that Minister Shin told him, and that he also said Minister Lee would kill him when he outlives his usefulness. He asks if it’s true, and Minister Lee whispers, “Yes, I murdered the king.”

He takes the blame for Moo-young replacing the arrowhead at Prince Jin-pyung’s home, too, because they needed evidence to depose the queen dowager. He gives Ha Sun a letter of resignation, worried he might get in Ha Sun’s way now that both Minister Shin and the queen dowager know he killed Prince Yul and Yi Heon.

He says he’ll pay for his sin, but Ha Sun retorts that it’s the king’s sin. He begs Minister Lee to stop trying to bear these horrible sins alone, reminding Minister Lee that he once told him that the throne is a dreadful position that takes lives and sheds blood. He says that since Minister Lee was attempting to carry the guilt alone, it’s no wonder Minister Shin thinks Minister Lee was trying to play king.

But he says that even though he doesn’t know Minister Lee’s reasons (for the murders), it breaks his heart to think how lonely Minister Lee has been. Minister Lee can’t believe that Ha Sun isn’t afraid of him, but Ha Sun says that he could never fear Minister Lee because he trusts him.

He uses the arrowhead as an example of Minister Lee trying to help him out of a situation his own reckless behavior caused. He tears up Minister Lee’s resignation and tells him to protect the nation and its people by his side.

Incredulous, Minister Lee admits tearfully that he was scared the throne would corrupt Ha Sun. “But now I know,” he says, “You aren’t like him. I chose you because you were different, but I didn’t put my full trust in you. You’ve taught me how important it is to trust someone.”

Slowly, Minister Lee sinks to his knees. He says reverently, “Your Majesty, I wont be afraid anymore. As your loyal servant, I will trust and serve you. Please forgive all my misdeeds.” He performs a deep bow to Ha Sun, and Ha Sun returns his bow. Minister Lee is crying in earnest when they stand, and he says that he’s going to treat Ha Sun as the king from now on.

Ha Sun is finally presented with a petition to depose the queen dowager. Minister Lee says that the queen dowager admitted to plotting high treason with Prince Jin-pyung, and that she needs to be removed before she does something even worse. He says that she’s betrayed Ha Sun as a subject and as a mother, and most of the ministers agree that she needs to go. Ha Sun accepts the petition without hesitation.

Lord Yoo never got to wear the clothes that So-woon made, so she asks that they be buried with him. She hears that the queen dowager is being deposed and insists on going to see her, saying that if she’s dethroned, she’ll become an even bigger threat.

In her rooms, the queen dowager talks to the still-bloody clothing that Prince Yul died in. She says that she was going to kill them all and avenge him but got caught in their trap, but she promises never to give up.

When So-woon arrives, the queen dowager accuses her of coming to gloat. So-woon says she won’t mention the curses the queen dowager placed on her, or the flower tea that rendered her unable to have children, but she can’t forgive the queen dowager for killing her father. The queen dowager croons that she’s glad to see So-woon drop the sickening lies and fake niceness.

So-woon tells her to resign and move to a temple of her own accord. The queen dowager spits that So-woon should be stoned to death, and So-woon says she won’t hide her shortcomings — if the queen dowager admits her crimes and resigns, then she’ll do the same. The queen dowager refuses to beg a lowly clown for forgiveness and says she prefers to be deposed.

The queen dowager leaves the palace on foot, as her followers beg her not to go. As the palace gates close behind her, she only looks more determined.

Once she’s gone, Minister Lee brings up the subject of the impending war between Ming and Aisin Gurun. He asks to be allowed to resign as Chief Royal Secretary to go help on the borders, happy to take whatever new position Ha Sun bestows on him. Ha Sun is reluctant to let Minister Lee go, but Minister Lee says it’s crucial to stabilize the borders.

Moo-young notices that Minister Lee is suddenly addressing Ha Sun formally, but Minister Lee just says it took him too long to start. He tells Moo-young not to let his guard down regarding the queen dowager, and to start reporting to Ha Sun directly. He also summons Ho-geol to check on the status of the land survey for the rice payment law. Ho-geol sighs that his workers are distracted by the queen dowager’s deposement, but he’ll make sure things stay on schedule.

Woon-shim notices that evening that Minister Lee seems different, and he says he feels great, like he’s seen an old love. He asks why when Woon-shim doesn’t seem jealous, and she says she’s always wanted him to have someone to share his burden, even if it’s not her.

Minister Lee wilts and admits that her answer upsets him. He says he’s tried not to look back on mistakes he’s made, but that there’s something he’s always regretted — turning her down when she became a gisaeng and asked him to put her hair up (make her his concubine).

He says that sometimes, he wonders if they still have a chance. He asks if Woon-shim would go with him to the border, and she nods, too happy to speak. Minister Lee passes out with his head in Woon-shim’s lap, having had a lot to drink, and she tells him that she’s always wanted to hear him say that.

Having amassed an army of three thousand men, Prince Jin-pyung prepares to make a big move, but first there’s something in the capital that he needs to retrieve. At the prison, a guard tosses a rice ball to Minister Shin, and when he bites into it, he finds a note inside that says “jailbreak.”

Ha Sun and So-woon meet in the library after Lord Yoo’s funeral, and Ha Sun apologizes for not being able to keep his promise to share her sorrows and be there with her. So-woon says she understands he had urgent business, and she’s sorry she couldn’t share that burden with him.

Ha Sun admits that being king is a lot harder than he expected, and that it makes him scared. He says he’s even thought about going back to his old life, and So-woon doesn’t hesitate to offer to go with him if that’s what he wants to do, but Ha Sun refuses to run away.

He asks for So-woon’s help with something, and points accusingly at a pile of reports from the provinces. He asks if she’ll help him translate them, and So-woon is happy to be able to support him.

The peddler-slash-spy that Minister Lee sent a letter with previously returns to the gibang, badly injured. He says he was attacked and Minister Lee’s secret letter was taken, and Minister Lee goes into panic mode. The spy didn’t see his attacker’s faces, but he did hear one of them say that Minister Shin would be pleased.

After dark, Minister Lee visits Minister Shin in prison to ask where he hid the secret letter he stole from the spy. Minister Shin says that he doesn’t understand why someone like Minister Lee, born into a good family, would associate with peasants and live against the rules. He advises Minister Lee to enjoy what he has and pass it on to his children, but Minister Lee asks if Minister Shin truly thinks that’s right.

Minister Shin retorts that Minister Lee is the one using a puppet king to further his own agenda, and Minister Lee doesn’t deny it. He says he found a king who understands him, and that he won’t falter this time because he’s leaving. He asks again where the secret letter is, but instead Minister Shin says to just kill him.

Minister Lee seethes, so emotional that at first he doesn’t notice the sword at his own throat. He watches in horror as men break Minister Shin out of his cell, then he’s dragged outside and forced to his knees. Minister Shin takes a sword and tells Minister Lee that the heavens are on his side, and Minister Lee snarls that the heavens must reek of corruption. Minister Shin says that he doesn’t care so long as the heavens agree with him.

At the palace gate, a guard is taken out by an arrow, and his partner runs for help. He tells another guard that he thinks war has broken out, but before the guard can give an order, one of his own men runs him through. The gates are opened, and Prince Jin-pyung enters, followed by his army.

A frantic Eunuch Jo finds Ha Sun and So-woon still in the library, and he screams that there’s a rebellion. At first Ha Sun is shocked, then a look of determination comes over his face.

 
COMMENTS

This show’s cliffhangers never fail to leave me speechless. Every time I think that Ha Sun has finally got things under control, something even worse happens, and every time I’m convinced that this time there’s no way he’ll get out of it. What really stinks about all this, for Ha Sun, is that none of this is due to anything he’s done, it’s all fallout from Yi Heon’s days. Ha Sun is just trying to clean up his predecessor’s mess, make the kingdom a fair place to live, and maybe spend some time just being in love.

I was so impressed with Ha Sun and Minister Lee in this episode, they both had major breakthroughs. I’ve been so conflicted about Minister Lee, and I was worried that when Ha Sun found out how far Minister Lee has gone, he’d turn his back on him. But Ha Sun sees the good in Minister Lee and can tell that the murders weigh on him. It exactly mirrors how Minister Lee felt when he saw Ha Sun relishing Yi-geom’s punishment, but felt relieved to know that Ha Sun also felt bad about it. Those were rougher times, when drastic measures had to be taken, and many kings are considered great rulers despite the body counts that got them to the throne. Minister Lee and Ha Sun have had to do horrible things in the name of loyalty and justice, but those acts don’t define them or make them unilaterally bad people. It turns out that they’re very similar — wishing for a better world and grieving the things that must be done to accomplish it, but willing to do those things for the greater good. They understand that in each other and respect each other, and are even learning to trust each other.

I’ve been so scared that Minister Lee would turn on Ha Sun if he felt Ha Sun wasn’t meeting his expectations, but then they had that talk where Ha Sun said he still trusts Minister Lee. The look on Minister Lee’s face was so disbelieving that it really hit home, as Ha Sun said, how lonely Minister Lee has been as he shouldered all the responsibility himself. Back when Lord Gil was killed, Minister Lee lost the trust and respect of Lord Gil’s followers because he did as Lord Gil said, even though it made him look like a traitor. Then he’s spent years doing the king’s dirty work, sacrificing his own reputation. For Ha Sun to know everything and still say, “I trust you,” must be life-changing for Minister Lee. When he kneeled and called Ha Sun “Your Majesty” for the first time, I realized that Minister Lee sees him as a true king and would give his life for him. And I love that Ha Sun didn’t tell him not to bow, but returned the gesture, showing his deep respect for Minister Lee in return.

All of this hinges, of course, on Minister Lee somehow not getting killed by Minister Shin, which seemed very likely to happen there at the end and actually gave me a stomachache. I wouldn’t put it past the show to kill him off, especially now that he’s made peace with Ha Sun, told Woon-shim how he feels about her, and is ready to dedicate himself to his cause. I really hope he doesn’t die, but if he does, I don’t want it to be at the hands of his worst enemy. Come on Show, if you’re going to kill Minister Lee off, at least let him go out like a hero!

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I have a newfound respect for Ha Sun and Minister Lee. That conversation about trust was just awesome. Ha Sun saw what I didn't: M. Lee is a good man who had to do bad things and feels horrible about it. M. Lee was afraid to trust for fear of creating another Yi Heon, but Ha Sun proved just how different he and his lookalike truly are. And I realized the dowager does know Ha Sun is a fake. I wasn't sure if she knew because I don't recall it ever being expressly mentioned that she did know. I guess that's the info Court Lady Kim passed on to her. There couldn't be 2 worse people to have this info than M. Shin and the dowager queen. And why does it take so long to behead someone?! You can't give someone like Shin time to escape cause you know the weasel will find a way. The final 2 episodes are going to be nail-biting to say the least.
On a side note: I read in some article that the cartoon drawing of Eunuch Jo from several episodes ago was actually done by Yeo Jin-gu. Apparently he is artistic in more ways than one. :D

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and then YJG drew an adorable pic of Lee Se Young but accidentally ripped it XD

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The reaction of Lee Se Young was so funny :D

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And his flustered reaction to her dramatic CHEONAAA was adorable

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I love that they actually held a contest to draw Eunuch Jo and Jingoo actually won it. His drawing was a simple one but he really got the essence of Eunuch Jo's appearance and character.

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For anyone who missed @fanwho's dandy translation of an interview with Writer-nim Kim Sin-duk:
http://www.dramabeans.com/2019/03/open-thread-593/#comment-3417359

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The queen dowager says that Lord Yoo was doomed the moment the king killed her father and her son.

Machiavelli: "Men should be either treated generously or destroyed, because they take revenge for slight injuries - for heavy ones they cannot.”

Too bad he didn't say anything about women like the Queen Dowager.

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For me, this show is simply wasted potential. Realistic tension and conflict has been tossed out the window. A show that murdered a king halfway through donned and a pair of rose-colored glasses, with the result that is the equivalent of a limp noodle.

Culminating in this episode this show neutered all of its main characters. It turned a wonderfully grey and calculating Minister Lee into a suddenly sentimental "hero". It made Clown complicit in all of Lee's misdeeds yet still somehow also the most honorable man in the world. The Queen, who used to have a story of her own, is now only defined by her relationship with Ha Sun.

You're telling me Lee, an ultra-patriotic zealot who murdered his own monarch for country, is going to hand over the government to someone just because he's really nice? Lee knows better than anyone that nice just won't cut it. But we never get to see that. Because no matter what Ha Sun does, no matter how foolish, naive, or selfish he acts, everything turns out pretty much OK in the end. I'm sure this week's cliffhanger will also be wrapped up in a neat, unearned bow.

And is Ha Sun really better than King Cray, as Lee said? Has Ha Sun gone through any of the same trails, had any of the same struggles? No. It may seem like it, but when you really look at it, he's had no real consequences to any of his actions, never really had his moral groundwork tested.

The acting is fantastic, directing spot on, music great, all of those things. but the writing just isn't cutting it for me. There was a much better story to tell here, and I am sad we won't get to see it.

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Read my mind! Agree with everything. I couldn't have said it better myself.

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Thank you.
I have many words about this episode but they're mostly angry and end in defenestration, so thank you for saying what I cannot.

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Anyone who can casually slip in defenestrate has my respect.

Your entertaining live thoughts post helped me flesh out my thoughts, so the thanks are to you!

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I've been finding more and more ways to use it recently haha.

And your replies to it helped me flesh out MY thoughts! So drinks all around!

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Wow. For weeks I had been silent in this thread, for I've been unable to feel "connected" to this story for a while now but I wasn't sure of how to put my thoughts into words. I was scared that with one stray word I would hurt the enthusiastic beanie fans of this show.
So THANKS A LOT, for putting what was in my head into words. So on-point. You should write verdicts/reviews!
🎉🎊🎇
@sicarius
Message? Apparently none. Even MLSHR had SOME message to deliver than this one, I think.

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Oh Peony you should've shared! I've felt disconnected since episode 8 and have so many issues with it I don't even know where to start!!

Thanks haha- I am curious because I think what it's actually trying to say is something I will like not at all. But I want to see what others think, especially after this week.

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TBH when I wrote this I expected no one to like it and for people to tell me to go away. But then I thought, "The truth must win out!" I'm so pleased that there were so many others like me. You're so nice in your compliments, thank you.

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Haha, thank you for saying everything on my mind and writing it so much better than I would. Spared me 1000 words 😘

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I'm not watching this drama, but I love your analysis. And it's probably the reason I never bothered to start watching in the first place.

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Well said. This show has so many things going for it, I keep having high expectations. There are great moments, but I'm continually frustrated by the plot and character trajectories. If only the writing matched the rest of the show in nuance...

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I agree with you. The show has it's potential, but waste it. This drama needs 16+ episode to flash that out. I'm afraid the ending will left me unsatisfied. But I'm not regretting watching it. The acting is fantastic.

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Thank you! You spoke my mind more eloquently than I could have said it!

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Thanks for this analysis. The act of regicide by Secretary Lee has never sat well with me.
Is it too late to speculate?
There was a little discussion that perhaps Yi Heon was not really dead.
Secretary Lee confessed to Ha Sun that he killed Yi Heon. Was he telling the truth?
Is it beyond the realm of possibility that a Yi Heon is still alive with Monk Jung Saeng?
We never saw a cremation or burial?

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He wouldn't lie about killing Yi Heon and PD Nim said that the king would be killed so I don't think he is still alive.

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In one fo the alternate plotlines I wished for Yi Heon ends up not dying, loses his memory, joins the clown troupe in place of Ha Sun, gets his memory back after bonding with the troupe, has a change of heart, comes back and teams up with Ha Sun to take down all the baddies, and Minister Lee is executed at the end.

But yeah, he dead. Like, DEAD.

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Slowly, Minister Lee sinks to his knees. He says reverently, “Your Majesty, I wont be afraid anymore. As your loyal servant, I will trust and serve you. Please forgive all my misdeeds.”

As soon as Minister Lee went to his knees I knew he was screwed. You just can't jinx things like that in a kdrama.

Of course, if you checked the history, you have known all along.

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Did you mean ha sun was jinxed or lee kyu?! Sorry didn't get you. By history did you mean gwanghae? Was lee kyu also based on some historic figure?!

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Yi Kyu doesn't resemble any historical figures from Gwanghae's era. The Daedong tax law that he is advocating in this drama was implemented without any of this bloodshed and Gwanghae did care for his people as their "king" but that's history.

Yi Kyu act more like the king than a mere secretary of state. With one drugged king and a clown under his control, he gets to call the shots and used the king's seal to make it an official command from the king.

I get that this law is important for the common people but they went overboard by killing so many important characters even the king over it.
In the end I'd say thank goodness this is not how it happened in real life.

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Oh yea, don’t get me started on how he casually uses the king’s seal ALL THE TIME!

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Things that he does for his position is so unrealistic for that time period.

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Oh because he is basically the king! He can't sit on the seat but he has a puppet to do his bidding. Do you think the Clown has the guts to say no to him? No! Will he ever? I don't think so.

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Neither Yi Heon or Ha Sun can match Gwanghae’s competence so I’m glad they didn’t use his name in this drama. They can’t even handle the inner palace battles, while Gwanghae had to deal with war and balance diplomacy with 3 stronger countries.

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@geliguolu sph_7

I am pleased that they omitted his real name from this series.

Small part of his many achievements is spread out between Yi Kyu, Yi Heon and Ha Sun so we do have 3 characters that are kind of inspired by Gwanghae alone.

One reason why I'm not into our clown's character is because he is not inspired much by a real commoner but bits and pieces from Joseon's best kings so he doesn't bring anything new to the table.

Gwanghae, Sejong, Jeongjo, Yeongjo etc had the best interest of their people at heart and Sejong especially had talented commoners in his administration to help him run the country.
Yeongjo was known for leaving the palace many times to mingle among his people so he can find out first hand what they need and not from mouth of his own officials who cares only about their position.
Gwanghae was a book worm and he encouraged his people to learn by building libraries and distributing books among his people.
He was realistic diplomat who chose to remain neutral for the sake of his people. He saw first hand the devastated effect of the Japanese invasion so he seek peaceful relations even with the enemies.

Injo who ruled after Gwanghae went pro- Ming and the end result was two devastated Manchu invasions.

Anyway, I've gotten off track so I'll stop here.

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@kiara

One reason why I'm not into our clown's character is because he is not inspired much by a real commoner but bits and pieces from Joseon's best kings so he doesn't bring anything new to the table.

Yes, aside from his sister being raped and he had no power to punish the culprit, Ha Sun showed no interest to to make the country better. He had moments that injustice pissed him off more because he didn’t like the benefiting bad guys. But this drama really lacks a scene where he really truly SELFLESSLY felt he had a mission to fight for citizens of all classes. I felt it with Minister Lee’s mission through Lee’s words but unfortunately his actions contradicted his words.

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@geliguolu sph-7

They never gave us any back story to Yi Heon and how he ruled the country before he was consumed with opium. We only have Minister Yoo and Haksan's words that he was a good king and had big dreams for his country and people.
So basically we can't really compare Ha Sun to Yi Heon in terms of who was the better ruler because we were only shown Yi Heon in his worst state.

I wanted to root for a representative from the lowest class but just couldn't with this clown.

Taking the king's position was all about him falling in love with a married woman and revenge for his sister.

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Thanks @kiara. I always appreciate it when you work in a history lesson like the one here.

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I really love the development of Haseon and Yi Kyu's relationship in this story. They have really gone so far. From Yi Kyu forcefully kidnapping Haseon as a decoy to simply die for Yi Heon, to Yi Kyu slowly seeing Haseon's potential as a King, and finally recognizing Haseon as his true King and giving him his full respects.

The development their characters achieved in this episode really made me emotional. Shin Chi Soo thinks he can poison Haseon's mind by telling him of Yi Kyu's past deeds and asking Haseon to go to his side and he will give Haseon wealth and power, but failing to realize that Haseon went to the palace to seek justice from the people who abused their power, not to gain power to trample on more innocent people.

The look on Yi Kyu's face when Haseon says he still trusts him in spite of everything he has learned. Everything weighs so heavily on Yi Kyu with nobody he can lean on with his heavy burden. Until the previous episode, I still had my doubts whether Yi Kyu truly means when he said he'll protect Haseon with his life, especially with Haseon learning to become more independent. But this episode showed how Yi Kyu now truly means his words. The mutual bow they did is a very powerful scene. When Yi Kyu finally addresses Haseon as "Your Majesty," I truly felt it.

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I think Yi Kyu will only protect Ha Seon as long as Ha Seon works for the good of the people as defined by Yi Kyu. If Ha Seon becomes power hungry or takes away any rights of the lower classes then Yi Kyu will turn on him.

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But it seems Ha Sun has proven to him that he is not nor will he become ruthless or abusive which is why Yi Kyu realizes he can trust Ha Sun.

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So true 💐

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I have a question for everyone.
If this show has a message it is trying to tell, what, to you personally, is that message?

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That politics is messy and people aren't perfect? After working in several politically charges places it's the closest thing I've seen to real life politics. People often believe they have the high moral ground, when in reality they have an idea they want to bring in to reality and will do anything to see it happen.

I thought this drama was meant to bring hope? Somehow it's only confirmed my experiences of politics and human nature (without the death of anyone, but the death of many careers).

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Again, need an edit button.

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Regarding the reply above.
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Hehe thanks for your kind words. It's not that I don't know that DB is accepting of all opinions, but still something made me keep my mouth shut. Now, I don't have much to say anyway because Nam Joo-hyuk is tall said nearly everything!!
If I am to speak from a different (and slightly trivia-obsessed) perspective, I started feeling off from since the moment I noticed the drama's clothing department is slacking off. Now, there's no law saying that all good dramas should have coordinated and appropriate costumes, and it acts only as a bonus if an already great drama has great costumes. Most of the time we see crappy dramas with great wardrobes.
But here, you see one day the Queen wears a Uniform that is not worthy of her title. The next day she wears an utterly Queenly Hanbok. I thought; "Oh, they're probably symbolizing by that. They want to portray her insecure still-like-a-princess position transition into that of a proper Queen"
But noooo..The next day she went right back to her old lame clothes. In fact, she's STILL wearing those.
And some of the Blouse-skirt pairs are cotton-like with pleasant pastel colours, some are Satin-like with mismatched gaudy colours. That's when I realised they don't have any intent on using the costumes to symbolise ANYTHING about the character transitions and traits and stuff.
In another sageuk, you'd see the attention-seeking, power-hungry concubine and Queen Dowager wearing gaudy, regal colours, and the sweet Queen wearing subtle colors. You can ALWAYS use costumes and hair accessories to depict a person's inner self, and there's no better place for that than Historical dramas, where ALL the materials are about color and status.
Here, you can clearly see the Costume director has haphazardly collected hanboks of various materials from various other Sageuks and just clothed the Queen in whatever he/she got hands on, regardless whether they're matching or suitable.
And the PD or the writer hasn't apparently said anything against that.
Meaning: they don't have a proper grasp on the story they want to tell/direct, and all the potential is wasted, from the trivial things like costumes to the flow of the plot.
☹️☹️☹️☹️

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Interesting takeaway. I really haven’t noticed the difference but I do feel the queen’s clothes rather, shall I put it, dull? Like she fired the embroidery maid to save palace expenses or something.

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Yes. But if all her costumes were like that, I would've let it slip thinking it's just this drama's costume director's choice. After all, each Sageuk slightly differ in the way they portray Hanboks.
In classical Sageuks, you see them in satin dresses with HEAVY gold and silver leaf prints.
In fushion Sageuks like JOJ Live in Love, you see pastel colored cotton hanboks with delicate embroidery and attention to details.
But here, its inconsistent. She's wearing a simple and mute hanbok one day, the next day it's an ULTRA traditional heavily designed gaudy hanbok.
It's disorienting, like the costuming team of the drama doesn't have a voice of its own.

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@coffeprince4eva
But sometimes she goes and dresses heavily patterned tops like that of Dowager. That's what I meant by inconsistent.
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If this drama is anywhere close to portraying history, I'd say yes, it's probably consummated.
Once a young Crown Prince and Princess are of enough age, the astronomers give them an auspicious day, and they have to do it even though neither feels like it, I guess. But you don't get pregnant in one go, right? It was probably their only time, and So-woon rejected him after he rurned cray-cray.
I think either that's the case here, or they (and the astronomers) didn't have time for any of these because of the recent wars and stuff.
It could be that the astronomers are still calculating and Yi Heon was being impatient!😝

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Yes I noticed it too. But to me I thought they were trying to portray the queen as a 'timid, nice, lovely, righteous' queen who was 'tired of the political drama around her and wanted to live a quite life'. Basically stating she was on the 'good' side.

The Queen Dowager with her regal colours was 'evil'. Thats how I took it.

This actually brings me to another thing - was her marriage not consummated? I remember her rejecting the king but in her position as Queen, isn't she expected to, you know - do her job? I'd say the Cray King was righteous beyond measure if he respected her distance even when her duty suggested she didn't have to.

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@peony Right! Haha! Given that they were married from the time he was Crown Prince - he became king after his father died in ep 1 - it makes sense for them to consummate the marriage by then.

I wrote it on my wall the other day, I don’t understand why she is so heartbroken she will never have a baby! I mean her husband is dead. Does she really want to go as far as to have a baby with the imposter king?? Not so righteous after all I guess...

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A woman is heartbroken over the fact her fertility is destroyed against her will, THAT I understand.
But being distraught over the fact you mentioned (being unable to give an heir to the king)...yeah, it's definitely too early for that, because it makes us wonder that she jumped ships too fast. Perhaps she's sad about the lost future potential to have a baby when they both will be ready, even tho they are not right now?
Ugh I don't know. That whole issue is not written/directed correctly. That's all I can say. It's hard to understand what's going on inside her head.
At least Ha-sun's reaction is understandable. He was furious because he can't sire a baby with the woman he unintentionally tricked, he's sad FOR her.

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I thought it was explained pretty clearly. We know she was aware she had fallen in love with Haseon, and after Haseon stopped her from committing suicide (and getting shot in the process) she made a decision to love him and support him knowing full well the original king was dead. Even prior to her finding out he was a fake, she had wanted to support him by giving him a child - outside of modern day ideals of wanting to have a child together out of love, this was politically perhaps the best way she could support the king; by giving him an heir she would strengthen his position in court. Don't forget that it's also basically her entire reason for existence as Queen - to give the King an heir. What use is a Queen who cannot give the King an heir? So now the Dowager Queen has basically stripped away both her entire reason for existing (in the historical context) as well as her ability to support the King. Is it really so hard to understand?

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@hunneybunny In your explanation she’s still not the queen we thought she would be. If her dispair is over the fact she can’t give the real or fake king an heir for the power, why hold out to begin with? She hadn’t slept with him (regardless if she ever did) cuz she didn’t love him. Wasn’t that the whole ordeal? That she wanted to love her king but couldn’t? If she really thought her existence was to bear the future king, why the fuss? Why not have a baby, gain the power and make the real king cave? So now the king is dead and she has no problem making a baby to be a fake prince... that’s where she lost my sympathy.

I can understand she gave up her principles in weakness for Ha Sun’s sacrifice (don’t feel it, but can understand). What our always-so-wise queen clearly didn’t think about was that her child and Ha Sun will be in even greater danger since Ha Sun is fake and has high chances of being exposed in the future. She should consider it a blessing that she will not have child that may be killed prematurely or held hostage to control Ha Sun.

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@hunneybunny Peony has already replied with my own thoughts but I will add a few more. We need to be aware of the times. A dead kings wife cannot remarry which means she cannot reproduce. She could not love the mad King when he was alive and so rejected him multiple times BUT she is okay to LOVE a man who is sitting in her dead husbands position for what - for not killing her father? for being a puppet to the Secretary? Mad king or not this is not right! He was murdered. Love is great but in those times, in her position, I expected her to adhere to her duties as a Queen first than follow her fickle heart. Why is that so hard to understand?

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First, she doesn't know the king was murdered. She was told he collapsed and died.. She is probably thinking he died because of his illness and something inevitable in that case. You all feel upset because of the fake king part. Yes a fake king but a better king for the country and a better husband for so woon. That is the point. And what else she could do? expose ha sun and let him die? He saved her father and saved herself as well. Is saving your father from dying unjustly a small favor?! And least on joseon terms its a big deal and now too. I don't know about you guys but for me if someone saved my dad from death id feel forever in debt to that person. She got to observe both men very close and she ckearly knows the difference And now that she has chosen to love and support ha sun it makes sense she wants to strengthen his power. Royal blood or not if you sit on that throne then you are a king and as queen its her duty to support the king. She admitted wanting a baby to ha sun thinking he is yi heon, but after she got to know the truth it wasn't really in her head until ae young pointed it out to her. So woon felt ha suns identity must be kept safe and needs to protect him so she was trying to do what she can do.

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I haven’t noticed about the queen’s costume, but I am very bothered by the queen dowager’s after she is deposed. How is she still wears silk clothes like a noble lady?

There are a lot of the palace etiquettes and taboos that this show just doesn’t bother to follow. Chief Secretary has committed treason from Day 1 when he sits on the actual throne. Queen dowager likes to lean forward and cross her hands on the table like a modern CEO in negotiation. These may not be very important plot wise but they bothered me to no end.

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How is she still wears silk clothes like a noble lady?
That depends on the state of deposing I guess. I've seen various Royals being demoted and deposed to various statuses. She's still the Mother/Grandma of the nation, so even though she's a criminal you can't have her living like a poor woman. I think they got that part correct.
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On throne-sitting :- yes I guess you're correct. I too was astonished in that scene.
A lady, and a royal one at that having her hands on the table instead of under her dangui lapels is very unusual too. I haven't seen that in other sageuks. And I'm surprised because Jang Young-nam has expertise on Sageuks??

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"That depends on the state of deposing I guess. I've seen various Royals being demoted and deposed to various statuses. "
Can you give some examples? All the deposed queens/queen dowagers in the sageuks I've seen wear the plain white clothes.

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Let's see. In Yi San; Wind of the Palace, the Queen Dowager gets deposed but held within palace grounds in confinement, okay? I clearly remember that she was stripped from the Four Circular Dragon Emblems on her dangui, and the Double Gold Stripes on her skirt. She wore a plain, un-regal baby blue dangui and a black skirt while she sat in her plain confinement room. BUT, she was still allowed to wear her Golden Dragon hairpin, without any other hair accessories.
In short, Queen Mom is the second most important person in the nation after the king, perhaps even important than him because sometimes she can order the king around. She's the only person who doesn't stand up from her seat when the king enters wherever she is. Plus, she's an old lady and even if you depose her, you can't expect an elderly to go live in solitary, let alone being suddenly ordered to live in poverty. The King has to set an example, right?
So, most of the time she would be stripped of most of the decorations and titles and respect that hovered around her so far, but she'd be spared a LITTLE remnant of dignity. A.K.A. :- Her Dragon pin, silk clothes, a decent abode WITHIN the palace walls, and Decent food.
@pakalanapikake says below that the Daebi is still within the palace walls, so I guess what I explained above applies in this situation too.
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P.S.- When a Queen is deposed she won't have any of these luxuries, tho. You know Queen Inhyun in Dong-yi. :-(

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Ah, I guess that makes sense. I think all those I've seen were queens, not queen dowagers.

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Going to sound like a broken record here but can’t resist!

1. It is okay to murder the rightful heir to the throne, even if the heir is a child.
2. It is okay to squash anyone wanting to take revenge of said child/future king murder.
3. That it is okay to murder a King. For what, I still don’t know!
4. That adultery is ok.
5. That supporting the puppet of the Royal Secretary is a must.
6. That anyone remotely righteous in this drama is to be considered the enemy.
7. That we must feel sorry for the ‘good’ people.
8. That we are so so gullible.

I have a lot more. But getting tired of typing...

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But why are you watching sagueuk? Because historical dramas never are about justice. All the political game always was unfair and very bloody. It's more about surviving and try to do a little bit of good in all of this.

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Yeah? Please point me to the direction of another saguek where we are pushed to respect the immoral ‘good’ side! Please.

Clearly I haven’t seen much it seems...

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If you take the both dramas Dong Yi and Jang Ok-jung, Living by Love. They both told the same part of history but with very different visions. The question is what is the good side or the bad side ?

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Two different visions but still adhere to the custom and tradition of that time period and justice was served in the end.
Jang Ok Jung was ordered to take poison for her crimes.

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@kiara but we don't know for sure it was really fair. Three women suffered in the political game of this King.

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She committed a crime and it was a fair punishment in both Dong Yi and Jang Ok-jung.

Sukjong was kind and gentle in Dong Yi but was the opposite in Jang Ok-jung.

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I didn't really watch it but wasnt ok jung was framed by choi suk bin, in that live for love drama.

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@kiara What we know, it's she was killed by poison for a crime. So the both dramas are true about that. But historicaly, I read that the crime itself was not certain.
But I really pity those 3 women because their situation was really difficult.

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I’ve seen plenty of sageuk and know that playing by the rules won’t serve justice but this show does something different. It doesn’t even acknowledge the good guys being stealthy and cruel. They keep acting honorable and innocent while they enjoy the victories over their enemies — until another expected forcefully mouth-dropping cliffhanger. Meanwhile I don’t see the evil guys doing really evil things, besides acting all evil and laughing like they survived a stroke once in a while. You may say... they killed so and so... but didn’t the good side kill people too? ... they poisoned so and so ... no, the only poisonings that lead to death was done by the good side. So in conclusion, the same dynamic in other sageuks are displayed so raw and vicious that I can understand the bloody survival game.

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This drama is not black or white, it's why is good. Yeah, both sides killed people, the thing differs is the reason why they did it.
I like the fact that the main characters are not completely good. Because it's how life is like the villain not completely bad like parodies we can see in other dramas.

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@kurama No, this drama is magically black and white. Splatter any amount of black ink on the white board and it just disappears. Write in any color on the black board and it’s just absorbed into the blackness. That’s how I feel about it now.

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I think this drama is grey. Not black and white at all. Haha.

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This is what my daughter hates about "heroes". They can do all sorts of the same evil things the "bad guys" do but since they're the "good guys" it's all okay.

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Haha I agree with @shaRi.

It's more grey than white or black.

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@kiara i don't know if you meant it haha. 😅 But most dramas i see the good side only do good the bad side only do the bad. The left ministers only do bad the right ministers all are good or vise versa. (when it comes to right and left ministers it kind of happened in this one as well but haksan is a right minister i guess so he is not too bad and not too good, unless i mistook left and right lol) the protagonist never make a mistake and his mentor certainly doesn't. But this drama is quite different and quite close to reality. In reality almost all the people have a good side and a not so good side. They are defined good or bad based on what side is the most prominent one. Even with ha sun, him and so woon falling in love is actually the scenario that is close to reality. So woon was encouraging him thinking he was her husband and being already smitten by her he couldn't resist his feelings. Him being a noble idiot would be the normal k drama scenario.. So i like that change. Im anxious to see what happens tomorrow in the last episode

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Say no to drugs kids.

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Yes, it did show us that. Something maybe we can all agree on?

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This is what's interesting about Chinese dramas. Every C drama I've watched so far (not that many actually) there's a lesson about how drugs will ruin your life. Even in a fantasy like Oriental Odyssey there was a segment on opium addiction.

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Amen. Is it too late for Yi Heon to return home from rehab?

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I find it fascinating that people were impressed by and respect Ha Seon and Lee for that conversation, when for me I was left speechless at the mind boggling and horrific moral implications of it.

Namely this implication that Haksan is the product of his circumstances, and that somehow that excuses him.
To me this conversation was not about trust and forgiveness, it was about ignorance. To me, Ha Seon did not see what Haksan had done wrong, he simply forgave him because according to him, Haksan only did such things because of his circumstances. Because of the throne.
"It was not your sin", he said.
He is wrong. It is Haksan's sin. And if it were true forgiveness, Ha Seon would recognise that, instead of seemingly brushing it under the rug because he "understands" what the "throne" can do to a person.
The throne is an inanimate object, and a symbol of power. It cannot sin. It cannot corrupt an individual on its own. It has no soul or self awareness.
Haksan is every bit personally responsible for killing Yi Heon, as the Queen Dowager is for attempted murder, as Yi Geom is for rape, Shin for treason, Yi Heon for abuse and fratricide, and The Clown for adultery. And most of those people, their sins, could also be argued to be a product of their circumstances.

And yet Haksan, Haksan is the one that The Clown blindly trusts. And the show, wants me to believe that this is because the Clown understands, that the Clown, knows that Haksan will not be a threat to him, if he does this.
But the way in which the show went about doing this, puts me so on edge, delves into issues far greater than it has the expertise of handling, and wants me to support this relationship? This, this apparent friendship and trust?
No.
If you will try and pass off Haksan's sins, as simply the pressure of his position, and him trying to do the right thing, then you have to do so for all the other characters, and the Clown himself, OR EXPLAIN WHY NOT.
Or the morals of your story crumble because of the unstable ideas they are based on, and your story itself collapses subsequently, if it hadn't already, which I would argue it had.
I’m fine with redemption arcs. I love them in fact. But this was not a redemption arc.
It was not even grace. It was blindly ignoring someone’s fault for your own sake.

I didn't think it were possible, but somehow this show managed to kill its arguably most important character, three times. Once literally, twice through the actions of other characters that resorted him to nothing.

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So well said. This story could've gone so many different or more profound ways but kept turning into groundhog fizzle. I stopped watching when they killed Yi Heon, and tried glimpsing here and there to see if it got better to no avail.

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I totally get what you mean. I think what the show was trying to say is that yes, these characters did horrible things, but the difference between Shin and Haksan is intention. Haksan and Ha Sun want to help the people while Shin and his people only care about themselves. So in Haksan's mind he had to be evil to save the nation from an even greater evil. It's still wrong but I think that is the point of the conversation between Ha San and Ha Sun. Haksan has good intentions but the path to hell is paved with good intentions and it's clear that Haksan's life has been a living hell. Ha Sun was trying to lend a sympathetic shoulder to a man who became evil because he firmly believed it was the only way to protect the nation.

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Yes i agree. @mysterious

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I agree that's what the show is trying to say, but it hasn't made it's case effectively. Like @sicarius laid out, the ethicality of these often brutal actions committed in the name of the greater good are glossed over. Rather than exploring the complexities of the players, it presents a simplistic view which essentially boils down to "eh, as long as your heart is in the right place."

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Yes, I think most viewers who dislike the writing up to this point is the lack of effectiveness in showing the good characters’ complex inner struggles to act against their moral principles. The actors did great when you watch the scenes separately. Unfortunately when connected together it seems like they forgive each other, and themselves, too easily, to the point we wonder if they ever really questioned their misdeeds.

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(tagging people so I don't have to say this twice @ultramafic @ash27 @shaani @kurama @peony @geliguolu @kiara @coffeprince4eva )

Hmmm see for me, it always comes back to the same arguments around why Haksan killed the king.
I do not think one can excuse Haksan's actions simply because he had the "better" intent.
Whilst you could argue that Haksan killed Yi Heon out of pity, and the greater good, that it was a selfless move, to me it was selfless in the most selfish and arrogant way possible by someone who thinks only what he decides is right. Haksan thinks and believes with every inch of his being that his route for Joseon is the right one. Thus Haksan did not kill the king for these former reasons, nor did he kill the king, as was implied in this episode, because he was "corrupted by his position". No Haksan killed the king because doing so would give him what he wanted, which he can parade as the greater good all he wants, but it is only the greater good he believes in.
What I'm trying to say by this, is that it doesn't matter if the goal he has in mind IS the greater good or not, the way he is shown to go about doing it, is that there is no other possible way that would be viable. That this way of doing it, and his decisions are ultimately right.

On top of that, one sin, has never excused another.
This is applicable to both the Clown and Queen's adultery and Haksan committing regicide.
Just because Yi Heon so called "let" another man into his house, does not excuse the Clown's actions of adultery. That's on the Clown and the Clown alone. That was his choice.
Just because it may or may not serve the so called greater good (or in this case the greater good that a single faction idealizes) that does not excuse Haksan for his crime.
And it is not excusable because this is a "morally grey"
sageuk either. If sageuks have taught me anything, it's that any crime and any action has a consequence. These actions did not have consequences. And the writing was not set up in a way to give them a consequence through no consequence either. That is, the show has not developed the themes of forgiveness properly, to make this course of action as powerful or as heart wrenching as it could be. It just instead reads like we're supposed to believe solely in Haksan and Ha Seon's cause, and therefore because their cause is the so called "right" one, and is written as the only right one, thus the intentions of their actions are what is important, rather than the rest of their sins.
This is what some people struggle with in terms of this show being too black and white. It has the POTENTIAL to be a great grey drama, but it is constantly pushing one set of characters as the people who are "good" and the people we are supposed to support, even when their crimes are just as bad as the villains, and the villains crimes are punished because they are the villains and their motivations are not portrayed as "worthy" enough,...

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... their intentions not "righteous" enough. When in fact, the Queen Dowager and the Clown, had exactly the same motivation; revenge. The Queen Dowager wished revenge upon the people who KILLED her son. The Clown revenge upon Yi Geom who RAPED his sister.
The difference is, is that the Queen Dowager is written as a villain, so is never allowed any grace for her actions. Nor will remorse be written into her arc, for her attempted murders because the villains, all a million of them, in this drama, can only ever be portrayed as bad, no matter what their intentions are, selfish or otherwise.
Whereas, even when our heroes are supposedly morally grey, there are no consequences for that moral greyness, so it comes across as them simply being let off because they are the so called heroes.
That is why to some people this drama seems at its core, black and white.

And they have done a very poor job of showing the depth of this show's moral complexity so it comes across as this shaky badly cobbled together amoral story.

And if the show's intent IS to show a moral depth to its characters, to show that all humans fall short of grace, and have their own versions of right and wrong, even when it's "corrupt" right and "righteous" wrong, the execution of these ideas falls so off, even, as @peony said, the costumes seem to have little thought or meaning put into them.
On top of that, in my personal cynical opinion, most people do not have a sound enough worldview in real life to pull off a morally complex story such as this could've been, and arguably was trying to be, thus the likelihood that this show is actually that deep and not just a hackneyed arrangement of ideas, is not very high.

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This is what I reductively called the King Arthur paradigm. Where the heroes and the evil guys are decided by the writer rather than their actions. So the hero's actions become heroic because they do them rather than the other way around. This is why King Arthur can slaughter thousands and rape his own sister and still be the "hero" but the people who oppose him are evil - even if their opposition is probably justified.

It's the number one thing I hate about traditional us vs them narratives. What 'us' does is always right because 'we' did it. Any response by 'them' is wrong, even if it's justifiable self-defence.

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@leetennant
Yeahp. Exactly.
There has to me more reasoning behind a motivation, other than you just being the main character. That has to be more justification than "because it's me".
And this drama does not provide that.

On the same note, id est "things happen because the writer said they should and for no other reason", the plot is somewhat driven by motivating accidents and serendipity where characters, particularly the Clown, are essentially powerless and shuttled through circumstances beyond their control, only ever to react to things thrown at them.

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I agree SO SO much about Queen Dowager. Her adorable baby son was torn away from her and killed!!!! WHY are they portraying her as clear-cut villain!?!
And they shamelessly use that fact to force things out of her mouth, poking her wound, and ONLY the Queen Dowager is punished! What the heck? If Min.Lee used the "I'll take you down, even if it means sacrificing myself" tactic and accepted punishment for HIS confession too, after prying the needed one from QD....but nooo. My last ounce of respect for him dissapeared in that scene. I only feel disgust now.
You're right. The fault is in the execution. They "wanted" to tell a complex story where everyone is grey, but it fell flat and nearly everybody came out as black-white.

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I think we just disagree and don't have the same vision of things.

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I really liked the evolution of "My Majesty". Eunuch Jo said it when the Clown came back, the Queen when he was hurt and now Minister Lee. You really could feel their sincerity and how they saw Ha Sun as their King. He really won them by his actions, one by one. When for the King it was the opposite, he lost them one by one because his actions.

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I love the respect ha sun has for haksan. Haksan is his teacher and mentor. Ha sun was able to handle the political issues because of his advices and guidance. Ha sun knows haksan enough to not to get upset by haksan's sins. Its not blindly trusting. They went through so many things together. And i think a king needs someone who he can trust otherwise he will probably go crazy because of the uncertainty for his life and burden of the throne. Trust and loyalty is a two way thing. Just as much the one who gives his loyalty protects it the one who obtains it should work to keep it. In case of yi heon, many including lee kyu swore their loyalty to him. But yi heon could not keep it. The keeper should also be worthy of keeping others loyalty. People have their own limits and reapectable people like lee kyu would not want to bear being stomped on for too long.

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Respectable*

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Killing Yul is the sin i cannot forgive haksan for, but i do understand he wanted to relieve yi heon out of his paranoia. At one point haksan was ready to do anything for him and yi heon ordered him to kill yul. Otherwise the dowager queen will definitely run some plot to dethrone him and make her son the king and herself the real ruler behind the curtain. Many people call haksan a sinner for killing yi heon but choose to ignore the bloodbath yi heon caused and the terror he inflicted on people in the palace and his citizens. While murdering a person is still a crime, haksan probably saved many lives and let the rest to breath with more ease. Its evident under ha sun, palace people live a lot calmer lives. I dont think yi heon was redeemable. even today it takes a lot of counselling, medications and effort from both the addict and people around him to get out of drug addiction. Plus he was quite insane. Those days they only probably knew to tie up a person to prevent self harming and harming others. He was quite a lost case and him being king made things wore and more dangerous. He also wanted to make sure yi heon does not come back like ever dangering ha sun, him and everyone else. Probably was the hardest decision in haksan's life. I like the writing. Its not boring. Doesn't paint anyone as total angels but as humans with inner conflicts and weaknesses and also strengths unique to everyone. Some people want ha sun and so woon to face consequences for their forbidden love. They are aleady facing it with the upcoming rebel and even if they got through it somehow, not being able to have their own child seems like the price they will have to pay. And as a couple with genuine feelings, it is one of the saddest things that can happen to them. It is also something that will weaken ha sun's reign if he managed to reign further, unless they somehow have a child by some miracle.

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We were never told that Yi Heon ordered the death of Yul. See my comment below.

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He sent his brother to his death. It was obvious how he talked to him kindly and then how his face grew dark while yul was being taken away. Anyway if yi heon didn't like killing yul why he started trusting haksan more than ever after he killed yul? Its obvious thats what he wanted.

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*sighs*

This show is low-key terrible for my anxiety...

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And to think tomorrow is the last episode 😭

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It took me 3 nights to finish this 1 episode because it turned me off repeatedly. The moment Ha Sun expressed his respect and solidarity to a child murderer, I lost all my respect for him as the protagonist. I get it if he thinks killing the king is necessary for the benefit of the national. He may have thought about killing the king himself to save his love. But Minister Lee just described the way he poisoned a little kid and our all innocent and angelic protagonist is absolutely fine with it? Oh no, he’s not fine, he’s heartbroken, that Minister Lee had to commit such sins. Wtf?!

Let’s step back. We were never told that Yi Heon gave orders to kill his little brother. We all assumed that happened because he got all crazy paranoid after his brother died. In episode 8, Yi Heon only said, he trusted Minister Lee since he chose him over his brother. That was not admitting he gave orders, just acknowledging his brother died as a means to clear his obstructions. Since that dialogue, I’ve been skeptical whether Minister Lee did it on his own. So was Minister Lee “suffering” from the bruden of carrying out Yi Heon’s orders or did Yi Heon suffer the conscience backlash for something “his people” did for him? When Yi Heon spoke softly to his little brother, and just the fact his brother was not afraid of him yet rather clingy, it seems he wasn’t a bad brother begin with. When Minister Lee described the death of the child so cruelly to Daebi, I’m convinced he was NOT the one suffering from the murder.

My problem with this show is I’m not convinced Minister Lee is a good guy. He may have a more justifiable agenda and his greed is not pronounced by money or power, but he ain’t a good guy, nor is he loyal. So now I’ve confirmed our protagonist is selectively colorblind, and I’ve lost all interest in him as well.
I’d rather see him turn into an antihero than continue his cultish reliance on the Minister. Like, he could learn from Lee and keep the power he attained but give Lee the justice he deserves to pacify the empress dowager. After all, she’s only seeking revenge for her poor son whose death was not Ha Sun’s order. (Btw, she apparently only found out recently because of Lady Kim)

Do something Ha Sun! Anything but sitting around reading with your stolen wife under the protection of a promise-breaking guardian.🤦🏻‍♀️

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I'm not convinced anyone in this is a good guy.

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Surely this won't be a lesson in how power corrupts? I'll anxiously await everyone's comments about the ending (since I'm not watching).

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I wish I didn’t start with so much expectation. Seems like nobody on the “good” side will be corrupted, at least not in their dimension.

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I find starting with no expectations works best for me.

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@ndlessjoie Yes, but if you start with low expectations there's the possibility of being pleasantly surprised. Win/win.

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And a good drama doesn’t have to have a good guy. Just don’t shove that fake goodness down my throat, cuz I’ll gag loud and uncontrollably.

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Haksan is not a good guy. 😅 Not a good guy in the way we see good guys. He is like prof. Snape in harry potter. There are teams still debating whether snape is a good guy or a bad guy. To some he is good for others he is a baddie. But the truth is he had both qualities. The drama never tried to shove haksan as a good person or a virtuous, angelic man. Its not rocket science. If they wanted that they'll never make the actor playing haksan sit next to Yul as he died. It will be shin or some minion of him. He believes what he did was for greater good so he did what he did and in that way he may have no regrets. What drama definitely showed was that he is good at taking rational political decisions that serves the josen people well in that way he is good and he genuinely wanted to do good to people as well. Maybe they tried the virtuous way with lord gill which ended with gill getting killed. So he chose a different path maybe. The path he chose is not good. We understand that. He also knows that he has sinned he admitted it several times.. Yi heon tried to get haksan loyal to him by blackmailing him with his loved ones. He should have let haksan resign as he asked from him. He tested haksan's patience and ended up like that. Anyway if you watched ep 15 haksan actually paid for it as well i think. And he talked like that infront of the dowager queen was to get a reaction out of her. He wanted her to confess that she plotted to murder ha sun and the queen. If he went the sad, apologetic way that will not happen. It doesn't mean he feels good about killing a young boy.

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And haksan's loyalty to ha sun is also in ep 15. Unless they change anything in ep 16 lol.

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He is not loyal to any person. He is only loyal to his mission. Ha Sun just happens to be on the same boat.

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If that's the way you want to look at it i have no intention of changing that lol. I like this drama very much which is why i kept watching it. If i find a drama so unbearable i usually stop watching it and completely forgets about it. I think thats the very best thing to do stop being from frustrated by it. Haha.

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Some of us watch shows in order to pick them apart, especially when we don't like them. Because it provides fascinating discourse on the recaps and allows us to practice our critical thinking
... \o_O/

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At least its good some people found this drama fascinating enough to critisize. There's actually something to think about like whether it is good or bad etc. Some dramas are boring enough i would not waste a word of mine even to ctitisize it. I saw in other forums as well that a lot of people like this drama. And people who like this drama are not fools who cannot understand morality they just see it in a different way. People have different perspectives and the way they see things. Its interesting this drama was able to fuel it up.

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I’m shallow. I’m just watching for Jingoo.

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Just like you said @geliguolu, I came for Jin-gu and I'm staying for Jin-gu. Whatever the moral failings of this show may be, it was worth watching to see YJG's acting at its finest.

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To me it seems pretty clear he either ordered the killing, or did not specifically order Min. Lee not to kill him thereby signing his death warrant. Considering the political environment of those times, anyone who had a legitimate claim to the throne had potential to be a future competitor for it, the younger one even more so since his mother was the Queen Dowager who had considerable political backing. It would have been obvious to anyone that the threat had to be eliminated and Yi Heon was not so stupid as to be unaware of what would happen to his brother.

Yi Heon is responsible for the death of his brother, even if he wasn't the actual one getting his hands dirty. If someone orders another person assassinated, is the assassin the ultimate one responsible for the crime? No, the one who ordered it is responsible even if the assassin carries some blame. I think this is what Ha Seon understood and what he was trying to convey to Min. Lee - that Yi Heon also carries the responsibility of his brother's death, so the guilt is not entirely Lee's alone to bear.

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Part 1 of 4

Thank you for your episode 14 recap, @lollypip. If my comments come across as inconsistent and contradictory (and maybe even a little hypocritical), it's because I am of at least two minds when it comes to CROWNED CLOWN.

Thanks for those beautiful screencaps of Ha Sun and the Queen at the shore. Although the scenery of the seaside is serenely beautiful, I cannot help but be reminded of the rocky outcrop where Haksan stabbed Ha Sun to provide him with a scar, and the Cliff Of Non-Doom where the clown took an arrow in the back. On the surface, the sea is calm, but it is the calm before the storm. Or might this be a metaphor for the plot being at sea?

And then my left brain kicks in and questions how they could have ever traveled to the sea and back within a day, unless the queen galloped on horseback, and even then, the timing just doesn't work for me. (I had exactly the same reaction to Eugene Choi's and Ae-shin's romantic beach scene in MR. SUNSHINE. The logistics simply did not work, IMHO, and no amount of beautiful scenery or meaningful dialogue could change that. Even though Ae-shin herself was absolutely capable of riding for hours like a bat out of hell.) Not to mention the fact that Lord Shin and Prince Jinpyung have spies and minions all over the place who would have captured or assassinated the party in a heartbeat. I just cannot suspend my disbelief.

The scene of the two old intertwined black locust trees is romantically symbolic – but the nagging knowledge that the Queen is someone else's wife negates it. After reading the interview that @fanwho so kindly translated (see link above, and my comments thereon, including musings about Haksan), I think I understand what Writer-nim is trying to say about Ha Sun's falling in love for the first time. It's unfortunate that it has to be with the wife of the man he is impersonating. At the rate things are going, I hope he gets to fall in morally- and socially-acceptable love in the next life. Because, by the mores of his time, it cannot happen in this incarnation. Ever. Worse still, the formerly righteous Queen falls completely out of character and goes along with the romance after she finds out. Both parties end up morally compromised, and that failing sticks in my craw.

Now that I think of it, Writer-nim may have been shooting for Haksan to be akin to King Muryeong's ruthless advisor and first mate, Marshal Hae, in THE KING'S DAUGHTER, SU BAEK HYANG. He proactively did his boss's dirty work with zeal and efficiency in a manner similar to the Chief Royal Secretary's. The difference is that Hae never felt compunction for his deadly methods. Just as Muryeong served the crown and his people with unswerving devotion, Hae did everything in his power to serve, protect, and support his king.

- Continued -

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I too paused the drama to google the distance from Seoul to Incheon, the nearest coastline, and then to calculate how long it would take to a) walk there and b) get there on horseback.. neither are viable in a day

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I didn't do that much due diligence. But I'd seen maps before, and had a ballpark idea. Not to mention what passed for roads in those days. ;-)

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It's in my wall rant about this episode if you want stats hahaha

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If it's any consolation, I could never get over how quickly everyone whizzed from the capital of Buyeo down to the capital of Goguryeo in JUMONG and KINGDOM OF THE WINDS. Never is there a sense that various journeys would have taken days or weeks -- or longer in the case of mustering and deploying armies. LOL!

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It flitted briefly through my mind as I reminded myself to not overthink. Also flying through my mind - they seem to travel quite easily outside the palace without guards or horses.

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On the other hand, in current day dramas the characters could be driving at daytime and get an urgent phone call requesting their presence at some location and inevitably, they would arrive when the day had turned dark. How many hours of driving would it take to get from one end of the city to the other end?

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It takes an hr from Incheon to Seoul by TRAIN. So... I'd imagine drivng round Seoul is not fast... -.-

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@sicarius March 5, 2019 at 10:05 PM

I think that in Kdramas we often don't get a realistic view of traffic and gridlock. I bet that streets are closed off for filming, hence the sparse traffic that is often seen in what should be a crowded city.

I ran a few calculations on the Seoul Capital Area vs. NY-NJ-Connecticut-Pennsylvania metro area and was interested to see that in 2017 Seoul & environs had 3,425,000 more people crammed into 171 fewer km2 of land area than NYC & environs has. I'm no census expert, but these figures are hopefully in the ballpark. BTW, Washington, DC is no contest -- except for its legendary Beltway traffic. What's nuts about the NYC area is the long commutes by car because of the limited mass transit options in outlying areas. It's crazy how many people living in Pennsylvania routinely commuted clean across NJ to work in NYC, but during off hours, it would be only about an hour's drive, not counting backups at Hudson River crossings. That's where the jobs were, whereas real estate was cheaper in Pennsy -- until school taxes went through the roof to build more schools for the influx of kids.

Pop, S vs. NYC:
25,000,000 vs. 21,575,000

Land area, in km2:
11,704 vs. 11,875

References:
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_urban_areas_by_population

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Seoul_Capital_Area

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/New_York_metropolitan_area

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@pakalanapikake Oh 100% they close off roads for filming. Maybe even entire blocks lol. Must be a pain in the ass for normal people haha.
I often think about what scene must look like behind the scenes as it were... where the camera is, when they use the fake rain machine etc hehehe.

Yeahp, I thought it was bigger/denser hah.
Fascinating re. NYC but I live on an Island that has 1M people tops in a land area ten times that size. I really can't comprehend such numbers very well even though I've been to Seoul 😂😂

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@jeanchiew Terminator4Fun,
Ain't that the truth. That's urban gridlock for you. I don't know about Seoul, but suspect it's at least as bad as New York, or the Beltway around Washington, DC.

What cracks me up about modern dramas is the U-turns -- and the ready availability of convenient parking spaces. ;-)

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The Seoul Metropolitan Area is I THINK bigger than both of those, especially by population so probably worse lol

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Kid you not. I’ve seen several no-stopping U-turns and sloppy-speedy-stop-right-in-front-of-building parking (with suited men stepping out nonchalantly) firsthand on a leisurely weekday afternoon Seoul stroll. They do that irl!

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I'm all for the moral corruption in this one. The queen falling in love was too easy, but the rest of it makes sense to me.

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Part 2 of 4

I appreciate what I think Writer-nim is trying to accomplish with Haksan's and Ha Sun's conversation about trust. The scene is touching in what it has to say about trust and loyalty in general. Methinks it comes as too little, too late, however. For me, the bigger issue is that, based on their past actions, neither party's depth of character is truly capable of embodying those ideals. I hate to say it, but both characters are more like plot devices, because when I attempt to look into their depths, I do not see fully-formed, organic beings, but collections of characteristics. More on that below.

As for loyalty and trust, Show suffers from my having recently watched JUMONG, an epic tale of loyalty, sacrifice, and devotion to a higher cause. I am now in the midst of reading Nirvana in Fire in preparation for watching the Cdrama that Beanies raved about when it aired. Mei Changsu is the real deal when it comes to nobility of character and dogged, unswerving loyalty. He engineers the downfall of those responsible for faithlessly slandering and betraying 70,000 loyal souls, not out of vengeance, but to clear their names so their spirits can finally rest. The personal sacrifices he makes along the way... gulp.

Consider another drama that kept me riveted to my seat: REBEL: THIEF WHO STOLE THE PEOPLE. Former slave Amogae and his Noisy Hongs start out as crooks attempting to make a living in a land whose yangban treat its lower classes with immense cruelty. They are not white knights, and neither is younger son Gil-dong as he comes to seek revenge on those who persecuted his family. They're “grey knights” with their hearts in the right place. They know damned well that the BS trumpeted by 99% of the scholars is corrupt, and set out to do something about it on behalf of the little people. The drama has immense heart, and even minor characters are so well drawn that their presence elevates the entire production. REBEL knew from the start what it wanted to say, and never lost sight of it.

- Continued -

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And here I thought I was alone in thinking the characters are but caricatures used as plot devices. Ahem.

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@sicarius,
It took me a while to pass judgement on characters I've come to like, even if they are only partially formed. Just as I thought I was getting a handle on Writer-nim's intentions after reading @fanwho's interview translation. Call me a cockeyed optimist who hoped for the best.

When I sat down and carefully scrutinized the show, I sadly had to admit that it is less than the sum of its parts, many of which are nevertheless quite good. It's just that they aren't knit together into a cohesive whole. Some individual components look great on the outside, but really are insubstantial when you scratch the surface. What we have here is a Potemkin village. And the sad part is that it didn't have to be that way.

I love the cinematography and use of color. The music is lovely. The outdoor locations, particularly outside the palace and capital, are ruggedly stunning. The cast is acting their little hearts out.

And yet, something is missing. Heart? Soul? A central premise? A reason for being? What is Show trying to say? And why should it matter to me?

Aside from Ha Sun's stealing the Queen's heart, with all of the attendant moral implications, the biggest issue I have is with Haksan's murder of Yi Heon. We could have had all the same impersonator hijinks without murder if the King had simply upped and died of complications of addiction or withdrawal. But no, Haksan had to betray and kill him. His action was supposed to underscore Lee's devotion to Lord Gil's reforms -- the selfsame reforms that Yi Heon himself wanted to promulgate -- but instead it left us horrified that he committed regicide.

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Basically all my problems with the show boil down to the treatment of the King's character. Like all of my fundamental problems with it start and end with Yi Heon and how they went about treating his character from the very beginning. I'd say more on it now but I'm sort of saving that particular write up/essay/rant for the final recap.
In other news I basically agree with all that you wrote. Especially your second to last paragraph. That's what I've been struggling with myself this week. What is the show trying to say, if anything, and why should this matter to me?

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@sicarius,
Regarding Yi Heon, he never had a chance. His own father turned him over to the "care" of opium pusher Court Lady Kim. The poor bum didn't stand a chance. Through no fault of his own, he was doomed to addiction, a condition that corrodes the soul as well as body, mind, and heart. It's not a matter of how his character has been treated -- he's been mis-treated from the very beginning.

After watching ep. 1, I did some research on opium and other narcotics (but never got around to posting it). I kept in the back of my mind the thought that opium may not have been the only substance being administered to him. He could well have been slipped something else. Considering his chest wound, he may well have received the anesthetic mabisan / mafeisan, which is a combination of cannabis and Datura, a potent hallucinogen related to North
American locoweed. (Mr. X's subtitles for KINGDOM OF THE WINDS, which I watched around that time, had information on it.)

My sense is that, by the time we met Yi Heon, he was already a lost cause. If he could have conveniently and permanently lost his memory and been spirited out of the palace and into the safe confines of a monastery in the distant boonies, there to secretly live out his days as a monk, he might have had a shadow of a chance to detox and survive.

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Hmm see to me you're still treating him like a real person. Treating his scenario like that of a real person's, what could've been administered to a real person in that situation.
To me he's always been mistreated yes, but as a written character. As a created concept. Thus the fault lies with his creators, not with him
He never had a chance because the show never gave him a chance. Which doesn't mean it couldn't have.
My issues lie with him as a character, as a driving force of this show, thus my issues lie with the very fundamental premise of the show itself, thus it and I are never meant to be.

16 comes out tomorrow. I'll tag in you my wall post before the final recap if you like.

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@sicarius,

"I'll tag in you my wall post before the final recap if you like."

Yes, please tag me! Danke! ;-)

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Yes, the message about trust was wonderful. The actors played it well, the director made the scene moving, the dialogue had all the profoundness I hoped to see. And then I think back to what these characters did... it feels like something is not adding up correctly.

Btw, I loved Rebel and Nirvana in Fire because these 2 dramas made the characters so believability complex. I expected something of the same caliber after the first 2 episodes of TCC. My bad.

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@geliguolu sph_7,

If only Yi Heon had croaked on his own, we viewers wouldn't be in this mess of conflicted feelings and frustrated expectations. Haksan could still have been by his side to reassure the King that his wishes for tax reform would be carried out. And he wouldn't have had to betray him. That was the part that hurt the most. Along with Yi Heon's obliviousness to the fact that he was beyond help.

The lack of continuity between the Haksan who murdered his sovereign and the Haksan who was brought to tears by the empathy and trust of an unlettered impostor gave me whiplash. I cannot forget what he did to Yi Heon. I wonder whether this scene were from an early draft that should have been revised or dropped altogether.

As for comparisons with other shows, we don't watch dramas in a vacuum. Every show we've watched that makes a lasting impression becomes a basis of comparison for all future shows. This can be a blessing and a curse. Ultimately, I think it's a good thing to have at least a few touchstones in the backs of our minds.

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IKR? If they made Yi Heon die of overdose or something of his own fault, I would have accepted it and moved on.

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I recall (from one of @fanwho’ s translated interviews) iirc that when Kim Sang-kyung ask the PD why do a MASQUERADE remake the response was along the lines “we kill the king”.
I don’t think she said “the king dies”.

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@marcusnyc20 bong-soo,

This is what I get for not cruising by Open Thread every week. ;-)

Actually, this does ring a bell. I had wanted to see a version in which the clown stays on the throne, but hadn't considered how that might be effected. I must have missed the active vs. passive verb.

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Part 3 of 4

Yeo Jin-goo and Kim Sang-kyung have done a fantastic job with what they've been given to work with. It is a testimonial to their expertise and passion that they have breathed so much life into incompletely-drawn characters. Director-nim has likewise done such a great job that it has taken me this long to realize that the emperor is missing his heart, not his clothes. I further suspect that inadequate characterization and plotting has to do with Writer-nim's inexperience. I like what she is trying to accomplish, but have to admit that it is falling short in the execution. Methinks that starting out with a drama remake of such a beloved film was a daunting task for a maiden voyage. Her desire to give hope, by having champions for the little people, is laudable. But without a strong moral and ethical center, it becomes feel-good fluff deficient in spiritual nutrients.

That still leaves us with the scheming villains dogging the King. The Energizer Bunny of Evil, Lord Shin, has a “get thee behind me” moment with Ha Sun when he makes the King an offer the latter flatly refuses – despite the revelation of Yi Heon's fate at the hands of Chief Royal Secretary Lee. Then there's the whole message in a non-poisoned rice ball. The things are too small to fit a file into. LOL! Seriously, Lord Shin is like a bulldog with that underslung jaw of his. Once he clamps onto his prey, he never lets go. Which just ramps up my dismay that he is still breathing, and that his branded heir is now at large on the northern border.

I love the way Haksan goads Daebi into blowing her cool and admitting to putting out hits on the King, Queen, and Lord Yoo in retaliation for the deaths of her own father and son. (Does this make me a bad person?) He plays her like a fiddle. Her look of realization that Lord Shin and Yi Heon had nothing to do with Yul's death is priceless. (From his body language as he says farewell to Yul as the child headed off to exile, I had gotten the sense that the new King fears for his brother's future, but is afraid to say anything.)

- Continued -

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Her look of realization that Lord Shin and Yi Heon had nothing to do with Yul's death is priceless. (From his body language as he says farewell to Yul as the child headed off to exile, I had gotten the sense that the new King fears for his brother's future, but is afraid to say anything.)

Daebi (the actress) is amazing!

In hindsight it’s even sadder that Yi Heon spiraled uncontrollably because of Yul’s death. I think he didn’t order anything, but in his situation he had little sympathy to spare for his little brother — one of them had to be disposed. Since he may regret letting him live just as much as letting him die, he chose to be complicit. He survived multiple assassinations plotted by the misinformed Daebi and suffered overwhelming pains of guilt (more than the one who saw it firsthand). Essentially his paranoia exacerbated directly due to a murder that Haksan committed. Then Haksan singly judged him irreparable and murdered him. 😤

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It's laughable how one sided the politics is especially when Haksan cruelly admitted to murdering the dowager queen's son. She got deposed for attempted murder but no one cares about the murder that he just admitted to.

These new writers are not to be compared to the rookie writers from PRINCESS MAN, CONSPIRACY IN THE COURT, JOSEON X-FILES etc.

Ahhhh Pick a time period and stick with it.

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Daebi did have her old court lady poisoned with a Rice Ball Of Doom, but she was only a peon. On the other hand, she did have a henchcritter poison the
Queen, and also sicc'd her Prince Jinpyung and his hitmen on her stepson and his double.

I agree with you about the one-sidedness of the politics. Most of it was he-said, she-said evidence.

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My take for that scene of Yi Heon and his little bro is he knows kid is going to die because he ordered for it. I think Lee Kyu at that time is still strictly following the king's orders. His scene with Queen Dowager only revealed that he was at the scene of Yul's death, it's still not an outright admission that he killed Yul on his own accord. Just because years later he killed Heon doesn't mean he's been killing royal blood left right center.

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Of course. Its true haksan killes yi heon by his own decision. But remember the left side ministers including minister shin strongly suggested yul be killed and had his name on his traitor list. Yi heon was agreeing with them and had him killed. Min. Lee was just doing his bidding and the king started to trust him more than ever after realising lee would do anything for him.

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