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Three Musketeers: Episode 4

Talk about your worst first day on the job ever. Something tells me that Dal-hyang’s about to face a lot of “worst firsts ever,” though, so he may as well get used to this feeling of constant disorientation. It’ll serve him well over the rest of his tenure serving the prince, who is, finally, outright called a nutjob. And by his best friend, no less. Hey, we were all wondering, but now we’ve got the word from a reliable firsthand source. Fine, reliable-ish.

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EPISODE 4: “Protect the neck of enemy general Ingguldai”

Prince Sohyeon tells Dal-hyang of the story of his almost-wife, Mi-ryung, whom he ordered to kill herself years ago. There’s got to be more to this story than what we’ve seen, but based on the recounting Sohyeon gives now, it’s shocking enough to have Dal-hyang gaping, not entirely sure that he’s not joking.

Sohyeon wraps up the story and issues the order to capture Mi-ryung. Dal-hyang has enough misgivings to call the prince back to ask if he absolutely must fulfill these instructions—the purpose of the order isn’t clear to him, and it’s not expressly for the sake of the nation, either.

Sohyeon says that as a soldier of the state, the only order that trumps his is the king’s—Dal-hyang has no place arguing with motive, methods, or personal risk. Chastened, Dal-hyang quietly accepts this.

The prince explains that while Seung-po and Min-seo consider Dal-hyang their friend (aw), he doesn’t yet trust him—he’s not in a position to trust anybody easily. “I am not entrusting you with this mission because I trust you,” Sohyeon says. “I am using this mission to confirm whether I can trust you or not.”

In the palace, Yoon-seo is visited by her mother, who gives her a talisman she is to hide in the prince’s bedchamber, to aid their begetting of heirs. Yoon-seo demurs, saying that the nation is undergoing a tumultuous period, but her mother says that it’s all the more reason to secure the succession and give the people more hope.

So when Sohyeon arrives home later that evening, Yoon-seo is given only a few seconds’ notice, which throws her into a panic because she’s about to be caught red-handed with a fertility talisman in plain sight. She rushes out of the room only to come face-to-face with the prince, and since she’s a terrible liar and Sohyeon is quick on the uptake, he’s not about to let this go easily.

He sees the paper in her hand, which she stuffs in her sleeve and baldly denies is anything. When he steps toward her, she shrinks back, so of course he keeps stepping toward her until she’s shuffling backward nervously. She trips and falls backward, and he lands, well, right on top of her.

The court ladies see them entangled thusly, trade knowing smiles, and quietly close the doors. A monarchy’s gotta have heirs, after all.

Sohyeon clocks their position, then leans closer and closer until Yoon-seo closes her eyes and puckers her lips. But instead of kissing, he takes the opportunity to snatch the talisman out of her hand, and Yoon-seo can only cringe in mortification. She admits to the talisman’s purpose and asks for it back to burn.

That’s when he reminds her that she’d accused him of having no interest in her and adds, “Truthfully, I have no interest in women. To be more precise, I dislike women as a whole.” Yoon-seo connects the dots, albeit wrongly: “Then… are you saying you like men?!”

Sohyeon laughs at her skewed interpretation, then says more sincerely that he means it’s not her fault, and therefore not something she should feel upset about. Then he adds that he can see why Dal-hyang treasured her letter for so long, because Dal-hyang has a discerning eye for good women. That’s sweet to say—and the least he could say, really, given how he’s usually picking at her fears in amusement rather than assuaging them.

Sohyeon returns the talisman, and then says he’ll have to think it over seriously, “whether I really do like men.” Heh. Well we can’t expect him to be serious through an entire conversation, could we? But he is considerate of her embarrassment and suggests that she stay a while here, so as not to disappoint the courtiers outside.

So when Yoon-seo’s court lady’s assumes that the talisman worked its magic, she doesn’t correct her. She opens her drawer to tuck the talisman away, but is stricken with panic over the sight—something is missing.

Our two musketeers sleep off the effects of a long night, and the maids sent to clean up pause to ogle Min-seo’s pretty face. When he asks about bathing, the girls not only perk up in excitement, they run to spread the news to the other women servants, who drop their duties then and there to steal a glimpse. Which means that Seung-po wakes up to find absolutely nobody around to heed his requests, as they are all in a race to witness the bathing.

Seung-po sidles up behind the looky-loos and offers, “Want me to take off his pants, too?” The women scream and scatter (though one turns back to touch Min-seo’s bare abs, LOL), and Min-seo hurriedly covers up.

Eager-to-please Pan-swe arrives to serve his master Seung-po, and still not believing that Seung-po was serious in sending him to Dal-hyang. Now realizing that he really did intend to transfer his ownership, Pan-swe freaks out and pleads with Seung-po not to send him away. It’s not only about loyalty, but also pride: “His room is smaller than the servants’ quarters here! Even servants have levels!”

So Seung-po delivers Pan-swe personally to his new master, and settles in for a friendly chat. Hearing that Dal-hyang has been stationed at the envoys’ residence instead of undergoing training, as per custom, Seung-po wonders whether somebody pulled any strings. Dal-hyang recalls the prince’s warning that his mission is a secret between the two of them, and plays dumb. Then he asks what kind of person the prince is, saying that he can’t figure him out.

Seung-po leans in close and confides, “He’s a wacko.” Saying that Sohyeon’s got a crazy person’s type of charm, he tells him not to try to understand him, because it’ll only give him a headache. He sighs that it’s a pity for the princess for getting stuck with a madman, and slyly notes Dal-hyang’s dismayed reaction at that.

News of Dal-hyang’s passage of the civil service exam finally reaches his parents, who are so thrilled that they’re reduced to sobs. The government messenger delivers them a gift of rice and notifies them of a village feast being thrown in Dal-hyang’s honor.

As they rejoice, Dal-hyang’s voice narrates another letter that he writes to them, informing them of what has transpired, as we see him preparing for his big first day on the job. He dresses in his fresh uniform as an apprentice official (he has yet to receive an appointment) and heads out, which is when we jump forward to the scene we’d glimpsed previously: Manchu general Ingguldai leads his envoys toward the city.

Their approach is greeted by a line of Joseon ministers and officers, but it’s a tentative welcome and tensions mount quickly as both sides regard each other with weapons drawn. That’s when Dal-hyang spots the woman seated in the carriage: Mi-ryung.

The Joseon ministers welcome Ingguldai, and for now the situation remains peaceful. However, the foreigners’ arrival has the court split, and ministers appeal to King Injo not to receive the enemy—they must fight back against the oppressive foreigners to free themselves from under their thumb. Especially in light of the Manchu emperor’s latest demand that Joseon change its status from being a “brother state” to one that would be subordinate to them.

(This drama takes place between the first and second Manchu invasions, with Joseon caught between the warring Ming and Manchu (soon to become Qing) forces. Injo had previously sided with the Ming, which was losing power by this point, and the Manchus did not take this lightly. The two political factions during this timeline were composed of (1) those who argue that Joseon must ally with Ming, and (2) those who argue to not shatter relations with Qing. Our forward-thinking good guys, aka Prince Sohyeon and his teacher, Minister Choi Myung-gil, belong to the latter group. But you can’t say the other group is entirely wrong in arguing the need to eliminate Ingguldai, because the general would become a leading figure in the second Manchu invasion.)

So now as ministers beg Injo to strike Ingguldai down, Injo sweats and trembles, afraid to take action. Sohyeon trades disturbed looks with Minister Choi, as this is not the course they want. Minister Choi speaks up to persuade the king to not reject the envoys out of hand without hearing what they have to say—they can reject the terms they object to after they’ve talked. They must tread carefully if they want to prevent war.

Under the prince’s direction, other ministers hesitantly back up Minister Choi. Finally the king concedes with their side, agreeing that it’s too early to strike. He will receive Ingguldai.

Which is why, you can imagine, it’s an outrage to hear that Ingguldai refuses to travel to the palace to see the king—the king must come here, to the envoys’ residence, to meet with Ingguldai. It’s an aggressive demand, but Ingguldai warns that refusal to comply will result in his immediate departure: “And what happens next, I cannot be responsible for.”

This throws the court into another tizzy, and Sohyeon is dismayed that his plan did not go as intended. The opposing ministers go off in a round of I told you so and urge the king to change course and strike after all. Fraught with indecision, Injo calls for a break and asks to speak with the prince, whereupon he breaks down into tears, calling this too hellish to endure.

Then his tone gets more angry and he starts sounding paranoid, saying that those ministers are just toying with him, and that they may be planning to replace him. They’d put Injo on the throne in a coup (overthrowing Gwanghaegun), so who’s to say they wouldn’t plan another one to overthrow him too?

Sohyeon tells him that this isn’t a battle with his officials: “This is a matter of decision.” He urges his father to think realistically, with a cool head. But he admits to being unable to press him because he’s aware of how much the king will suffer in the aftermath.

Injo calls himself foolish for being less assured than his son, crying, “If you were in my place, the country would be better off than now.” Hey, he read my mind. Then the king composes himself, wipes his tears, and grows resolute. He will go to Ingguldai.

Sohyeon cautions him against acting too swiftly, but the king would rather get this over with. Sohyeon looks uneasy, which is reason enough for me to be uneasy.

The decision comes so quickly that even Ingguldai is wary—he knew it was a pushy demand and thus expected more opposition. He puzzles it over, unaware that he’s got an eavesdropper listening from behind the screen: Dal-hyang.

When Ingguldai leaves the room, Dal-hyang rifles through through the papers on his desk and reads through the general’s journal. In it, he details what we’ve seen: arriving in Joseon, being approached by messengers sent by Kim Ja-jeom, and being wary of the woman who is fluent in both Manchu and Joseon languages. She’d introduced herself as Hyang-sun—a name the prince is also familiar with. Based on Mi-ryung’s behavior thus far, Ingguldai is suspicious enough to keep a close eye on her.

Ingguldai’s journal also tips Dal-hyang off on how Mi-ryung was smuggled into court, disguised as a soldier’s concubine on the official entrance roster. So Dal-hyang makes his way to her room here and decides that since she’s already recognized him, he may as well take the direct approach.

He knocks, and she invites him in. She also takes the direct approach, saying that she’d been wondering when he’d come to see her. Dal-hyang notices the burn scar on her bare shoulder, though he keeps his eyes averted since she’s only half-dressed, uncomfortably asking her to dress before they talk.

She laughs (it is cute of him) but does so, and he sees the letter out on her desk. Upon reading, the words are disturbingly familiar and ring an alarm bell in his mind: It’s the love letter Yoon-seo wrote him, which she’d said she burned, which is now missing from her desk. In fact, Yoon-seo is at this very minute tearing her room apart looking for that letter, regretting not having burned it after all.

Dal-hyang reads the letter with trembling hands, and Mi-ryung joins him, smoothly sticking a needle into his neck before he can even react. Gack, he’s been poisoned!

Woozy and in pain, Dal-hyang staggers, trying to fight but fading fast. Mi-ryung says she’d had the princess investigated and was surprised to see that such a proper young lady would have promised herself secretly.

She also looked into Dal-hyang’s background, and tsks-tsks in mock sympathy: “You experienced the same thing I did. You must have thought Yoon-seo’s feelings would be eternal. As I did.”

Dal-hyang collapses. Mi-ryung says that knowing they’ve suffered the same heartbreak has made her fond of him, which is why she didn’t dose him enough to kill. She removes the needle and leaves him with some advice: “There’s no need to be so loyal to the prince. He is not someone worth putting up your life for.”

Mi-ryung adds the instruction to remember exactly how it feels to have that poison moving through his body—he can tell the prince, who will feel its effects next. She picks up a tray, now dressed as a court lady, and joins the preparations for the king’s reception.

A short while later, the poison’s effect wears off and Dal-hyang regains movement… only to jerk back in horror to see a corpse lying nearby with a needle in her neck—ah, this must be the real court lady that Mi-ryung is impersonating. Dal-hyang takes the needle and wraps it, tucking it away just as a knock sounds at the door. Uh-oh.

Thinking fast, Dal-hyang leaps out the window to avoid being seen, though the Manchu officer notices the open window. But he’s distracted at the discovery of the dead woman’s body.

Ingguldai oversees the preparations for the king’s visit, and receives the report of the poisoned woman. For now, they suspect that it was the disguised court lady who escaped through the window.

King Injo’s procession makes its way from the palace to the foreign envoys’ residence, and he looks ill the whole way. Commoners bow down in the streets as they pass, but they wonder aloud why the king would do such a thing.

One old man even dares to kneel in the king’s direct path, talking about preserving honor and asking, “Are you not afraid of heaven?” The man is dragged away, but the people remaining begin crying and wailing.

Sohyeon sends Seung-po to check on his father’s condition through this ordeal, and the procession pauses as the king is asked whether he will stop and speak with the prince. But King Injo musters his determination and orders them to continue on, albeit with his palanquin’s shades drawn. So there he sits, alone in the dark, while his subjects sob around him. He starts to hear that old man’s recriminations, only they become distorted and accusatory, and suddenly blood sprays at him and douses his face. He hallucinates ghosts in the darkness, attacking him with words and threats, slowly driving him mad.

Then it’s that scene from his nightmare: Ingguldai shooting an arrow directly at him, which lands directly in his chest. He’s relieved when he arrives safe and sound, though now he’s also thoroughly rattled.

Ingguldai is called to the dead court lady’s quarters. She’s a Joseon woman and the king is due to arrive soon, making it potentially problematic, so he orders the body disposed of quietly. Ingguldai looks out of the window, but his officer states that it’s too high for a woman to have leapt from. Let’s hope their chauvinism keeps Dal-hyang safe for now.

Granted, it is a long, hard fall and Dal-hyang lies unconscious at the ground far below. Must have been painful, but he stirs awake and looks mostly fine, just achy.

The king is welcomed by the Manchu officials, but he is in no mood for peaceful talks—brimming over with impatience and rage, he does a complete turnaround. He declares that he will no longer sit back while their brother nation goes back on their promise in now trying to declare itself Joseon’s sovereign state. Thus he will take Ingguldai’s life here, in this place, and protect Joseon.

To that end, he orders all of his soldiers to go forth and capture Ingguldai. (There’s a hilarious pause while the Manchu official asks his translator what was just said, ha.) Meanwhile, the Joseon ministers are taken by surprise and wonder at what he means, and Sohyeon looks dismayed as fighting breaks out.

Ingguldai has about a ten-second heads-up from his officers before Joseon soldiers come upon his party. Ingguldai heads inside, collects his things, and grabs his sword. He knocks down those in his path easily, then heads out.

The fight outside is a very short affair, and the envoys are quickly subdued. Injo orders Ingguldai captured and brought to the palace, then gets into his palanquin to beat a hasty retreat. Sohyeon stops him to warn that this will backfire on them in a big way, pleading with him to cancel his order.

A trembling king says that what’s done is done, and that he has wanted to say these words for the past nine years. He cries that Ingguldai is their enemy, responsible for so many Joseon lives, and that his death is right.

“But it’s war,” Sohyeon presses. The king can only look at him tearfully, and his entourage leaves at that point. Sohyeon, on the other hand, remains behind to deal with this.

Inside the residence, Ingguldai evades the Joseon soldiers clamoring for his neck, then heads back to that one room. He throws open the window and leaps out—and lands almost directly on top of Dal-hyang.

Both men draw their swords, but when voices float down from the open window, Ingguldai darts off into the bamboo forest. Dal-hyang overhears the soldiers above declare Ingguldai an enemy of the state and give the king’s order to catch him dead or alive. He takes off running after him.

Dal-hyang manages to cut off his line of retreat and holds Ingguldai at swordpoint, and they both growl and mutter at each other, though neither can understand the other’s language. Maybe that’s not so important, since it’s mostly Dal-hyang grumbling about his first day of duty being a mess.

But one thing he does know is that the king’s order trumps everything, so he’s ready to fight him now. Bring it on.

Ingguldai draws his sword, and their fight begins.

Meanwhile, Sohyeon gives his instructions to Seung-po and Min-seo: They must get to the general before the others do. They must protect Ingguldai’s life.

 
COMMENTS

I have to get the quibble out first, before I can talk about all the stuff I thoroughly enjoyed, and that is: WTF with that title, man? You can’t name your episode that, flash the title in the first ten minutes, and then build the entire episode up contrary to the title, so that we totally expect the prince’s reversal at literally the last minute! I was puzzled enough over the title when it first showed up that it stuck with me as I was watching, and when Injo declared Ingguldai Public Enemy No. 1, I was completely unsurprised that there’d be a way to twist it back around. Boo. It could have been such a nice twist, too, if the drama hadn’t actively given away their punchline.

Okay, that aside, I had a lot of fun in this episode, which was a pretty eventful hour. That’s something I appreciate about this show—it doesn’t dither around much, and just gets to the action, because you can’t dally around when you’ve got so much ground to cover. This is the beauty of (well-written) shorter-run dramas, which I have frankly really missed—you have less running time, so you’re forced to be efficient with your storyline. And as it turns out, a lot of the time you can cover quite a lot of narrative ground if you are economical about your choices. And most of the time, your story is better off for it. (Yes, sometimes the once-a-week format can be less crack-levels-addictive because we’re so used to the two-a-week rhythm of build-up and payoff, and not all dramas benefit from this style. But this one is working well with it.)

You know, it feels like I’m just watching a lot of dramas about weak kings these days, but while I’ll admit that it’s frustrating to have somebody in a position of such power being such a spineless puppet, I really like how it works for our stories. In this drama, Injo may be indecisive and wracked with fear, but he’s wonderfully acted with nuance, and you can feel that father-son bond between the actors, which makes him a sympathetic character in my view. You want him to not be so ruled by his fears, but on the other hand, it makes for such rich development with Sohyeon, who is, as Injo himself admits, much more king material than the king himself.

That also hammers in the whole “What if” premise of Three Musketeers, which, aside from being a fun romp adaptation of a classic adventure story, also allows us to see what the country might have been like under a stronger, more progressive leader. We know how his story ends in history, but there’s no reason we can’t color in part of his life before that ending with a little creative liberty, right?

So as the tensions ratchet up and the country teeters ever closer to the brink of war, it’s ever more important to be thoughtful and shrewd, as Sohyeon is, and not prone to your emotions. Of course, there’s the question of whether Sohyeon has any human emotions… I mean, aside from teasing enigmatically and punking his new best friend at every turn.

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Firstly, Thanks Javabeans for the recaps. I’m enjoying reading them as much as I’m enjoying the drama.

After Tree With Deep Roots, this is the second saeguk drama where I was drawn into the world of political ploys and intrigued by the historical narratives instead of being bored to death *cough..Joeson Gunman….cough*
Kudos to the writer and the director for making the events unfold in such fascinating way as it’s pretty obvious by now that history is going to a major part of the story.

I felt really bad for the Crown Prince in this episode. I think we are slowly begining to understand how his character came to be so complicated. He is in a position where needs to plan his every word, calculate his every action and even manipulate his companions as he can trust no one. Not to mention shoulder the burden of his weak father and his inaccurate decisions.

The scenes with the Crown Princess were cute as always. I love how she’s so composed and collected in front of her subjects yet so childish before the Crown Prince! I’m quite confident that she will prove to be a worthy companion and a source of strong support of Sohyeon’s later.
I suspect Sohyeon’s hatred for women has something to do with his past experience with Mi-ryung. I hope he gets over whatever it is soon for the sake of the Princess!

And lastly, please keep being this good drama!

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I'm not sure the Crown prince hates or dislikes women, despite his claim. As you noted, he often has to say things he doesn't mean. That he is complicated makes him an interesting drama char. I'm liking his back story w his 1st love. She is not your typical innocent goodie-2-shoes First Love now. I like the Princess too. Would love to see him fall for her.

Yong Hwa's acting seems OK to me. It's improved a gt deal.

The King tho suffers from hallucinations like JY. Only he is the king and lots of poor folks suffer when he makes decision of lunacy.

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Poor king! They didn't have anti-anxiety meds back then.

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I wish this princess would stop crying and shaking before the Prince.

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I hope she continues to do whatever she damn well pleases, as is her right.

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That doesn't even make sense. Crying and shaking are physical reactions to emotions. They're not choices in the way they are shown here.

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I'd argue that sometimes they are. In my opinion the crying of Crown Princess is a sort of rebellion against the Prince.
Her position is different from other girls you see. Her husband is a Prince so she can't complain or fight with him like ordinary girls. So she chose to show her dissatisfaction through crying. For example, when she went to greet the King alone and the prince arrived at the last moment, I think her cry was just a reflection of her anger and the prince also understood that. But there were also times when she was just heartbroken.

As for the shaking, you must have noticed how strong and complicated the character of Sohyeon is. Even when he is smiling, he exudes a cold aura. Moreover he hasn't opened up his heart to the princess yet so I can't blame her if she shakes after she's caught by him doing something wrong.

In any case, I believe we will see her crying less and less in each episode form now on. She didn't cry in this episode btw....:)

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Whether you cry and shake is a choice. Crying and shaking are not mere emotions. They could be the result of allowing oneself more emotional expressiveness.

Just because someone cries doesn't mean that person lacks self-control.

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What is wrong with crying and shaking? You should realize that this is taking place in the olden days where women would swoon over little things and bow down to their husbands demands. Not like the stronger and opinionated women we have nowadays. Thus her crying and shaking, she cannot argue against her husband, who also happens to be the prince.

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I wish the Crown Prince would stop being a dick to the Princess.
I wish the King would stop being so ineffectual and weak-willed.
I wish Mi Ryung would stop being so vengeful and murderous.
I wish Seung Po would stop picking his nose.

Seriously, though... There's been a sentiment around lately as if "strong", cool, completely self-possessed women are the ideal/only kind of acceptable female characters. As if it's just not okay for women (and people in general, but I see the criticism especially for women) to cry, to be intimidated, to be vulnerable, to get upset. There are lots of different kind of people in the world, and they deal with situations differently. Some tremble, and some go around stabbing innocent serving girls in the neck. There's nothing that inherently makes one of those characterizations better than the other. Both kinds of women are just fine with me (in the context of a drama, that is; one is slightly less acceptable in real life).

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@BoC - I see and agree with your point. I think a lot of the preference for the cool/badass characters is a backlash to the years of Candy-like, seemingly weak, male-dependent female characters in K-dramas. So, to a point, I understand why people want to see women who are stronger and more self-contained. However, one can be overall strong but still have moments of vulnerability, especially in difficult situations. That's normal human emotions; that's real life as well as good drama. In the case of TTM we've seen her do plenty of not crying, so I don't think it detracts from her character to be upset in situations that would make any normal person feel unsettled.

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It's just as you say - she is given a personality that is more fleshed out than the crying moments, she has her own inner life that feels like an organic part of her character (and not just there for novelty/look-how-smart-I-am value, coughjoseongunmancough). Some of it is down to the actress too, she switches between those modes really well.

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"I think a lot of the preference for the cool/badass characters is a backlash to the years of Candy-like, seemingly weak, male-dependent female characters in K-dramas. "

Or the fact that a segment of readers have deeply bought into what's taught in their Women's Studies classes. The zeal that's expressed is sometimes akin a dogmatic religious fervor. As though their ideas will save the world and if you don't agree you're somehow evil. Or ignorant. Or both.

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@Gidget -Steady on, cowboy! I'm just relaying what I've seen others express. I think there is room for all types of personalities for women in K dramas.

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Really? I must have imagined all the love for Jang Nara as Kim Mi-young in Fated To Love You, then (a vulnerable, emotional, super-feminine character if there ever was one).

I've seen a lot of sentiments (and expressed some myself) to the effect that I cannot possibly respect a character - any character - who the story/other characters tells us is intelligent, but who acts like the opposite. This was a particular problem in Joseon Gunman, as I recall.

And I'm really insulted by the logical implication of this argument, which is that crying and general incompetence are intrinsically 'female' characteristics and I should respect a woman who behaves like that. Sorry, I don't buy that. That said, the princess' crying and inability to lie are not presented as anything inconsistent with her character here.

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I think you're reading more into what I'm saying that I meant. I said "a sentiment", not "the only sentiment", or even "the predominant sentiment". The Beanies aren't a monolith like the Borg, thank goodness, so there are a number of different perspectives floating around here at any given time, I think.

I never said anything about anyone needing to respect certain kinds of characters or character traits; what I was saying was that as far as the drama world goes, both strong and weak, steely and tearful characters have a place and are okay with me. (So are nosepickers and neurotic monarchs, by the way.) For me respect doesn't really factor into it.

And I certainly never said that these are intrinsically female characteristics. I did say that I've seen crying, etc. criticised in particular when it comes to female characters, but I also quite clearly said that it's okay for people in general to cry, be vulnerable, etc. and that people (not women specifically) have different ways of dealing with things, and that's okay.

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I love that she's actually pretty outspoken in front of the prince. It can't be helped that she's in a position all may envy without really knowing what it's like, taking the blame of having no children and having a husband that has never opened up to you. He's so cold with her and marrying him kinda stripped her from her free will. Despite that she came to a point where she tells him what she thinks, accept her situation and make the best out of it. I didn't like her in the first episode but episode 2 onward she showed growth and I like her for it. I find that she has the strength to handle whats to come.

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Given the times they lived in, I think her reactions are actually quite realistic. He almost owns her. She can be killed at his whim, and for any number of reasons -perceived disloyalty, inability to produce an heir, heck, even if he doesn't like what she's wearing that day. I think we've seen enough of her outside of interactions with him to know she's a real person with some spirit and her own personality. Being dependent on someone like him -so changeable, so unpredictable, at times so hostile -would make anyone teary.

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I think her crying and nervousness is adorable! She's bold without being brash, confident yet anxious and has a refreshingly transparent personality. Loving everything about this character so far.

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Exactly. Strong, reserved and calculated female royal characters are very common in sageuks. Compared to them, the Princess in this drama is very refreshing considering social arrangement of the era. Plus her character is supposed to be the pleasing and innocent type so I, for one, would get bored with her soon if she wasn't so expressive of her feelings.
So again, please keep behaving this way Princess!

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The thing I like about the princess is that even if she's vulnerable and less cunning than her counterparts, she's also not vindictive or petulant. She has such an emotional richness to her that she seems like a full-bodied person even if she's not someone I want to idolize. Maybe I'm also weak and innocent, but taken in a broad context her internal struggle just seems real. It's incredibly interesting to me and sets her apart.

Wanting women to always be strong, smart, etc. might be better than the reverse, but I don't think it's really culturally healthy either. It's just another box that society finds more acceptable today.

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Yeay!!!!Thank you javabeans..looking forward to this...want some insights regarding their history cause I'm so dizzy and this episode is quite intriguing..

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Is this show any good? I wasn't awed by the first episode, and ended up shelving it. However, I love sageuks and will tolerate moderately subpar ones.

Joseon Gunman is so dry that one is already a complete no go. And I wasn't really a fan of Tree with Deep Roots, so if this is along the same lines, I can see why it hasn't caught on with others as well.

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Tree With Deep Roots was really popular you know. Of course it wasn't for everyone but most of the people who love sageuk enjoyed that drama.

That being said, Three Musketeers is very different from TWDR for obvious reasons. I don't know why there aren't enough ravings here about it but in other places like Twitter or Soompi this drama is insanely popular. And I believe people will come to love it even more when it has finished airing...like it happened for the writer's previous drama Nine.

I'd suggest you watch a couple of episodes more before deciding if it suits your taste or not :)

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I too enjoy this drama. I think part of the non-buzz is the once a week airing. By now people would have seen 7-8 eps. and would have built the talk up, if were to continue on the path of being as good as it is.

It does appear that this drama is taking full advantage of the once a week airing, and doesn't feel rushed with the shooting/lighting etc. That may all change with future airing, since most dramas seem put together for the first 8 eps or so, the live shooting mistakes seem to creep in. Hopefully with the once a week pace this won't happen.

I also agree that once it has finished it's first run and people have the opportunity to marathon it, I believe the buzz will be there for the second part of the trilogy. (Again if it keeps up it's current standards)

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I tend to not watch too many sageuks b/c of too many complicated relationships (characters maps of how this person hates/loves/blackmails/revenges/secret birth secrets et al) and because of the old vocab/tone they sometimes employ. But I'm really liking this drama - it feels a bit fusion-y without being absolutely anachronic.

I think the pace to really good - there's no dragging out any plot points (well, so far) and the characters are all so likeable archetypes: the beyond cool and smart prince, his best friend who's the Fool (in the shakespearean sense?), the stoic devoted loyal bodyguard, the fresh faced ingenue, the "pure first love", even the weak king and the venge-faced first love are all classics being well-employed here.

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I have to say this show is something else!!! Really enjoying it so far and I'm quite surprised by Yonghwa's performance. He fits Dal Hyang very well and his acting is so energetic and fun which goes well with this kind of drama. Although he is uncomfortable in some scenes, I can see he is greatly improving. And LOL Sohyeon and Yoon seo are so hilarious :) Definitely loving this show so far, hope it's gonna continue to impress

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I also really really enjoy the woman assassin (too lazy to scroll up). I usually develop such a strong hatred towards the "evil doers" in dramas, but this one is so enigmatic I actually like her. Anyway, in short...I LOVE THIS DRAMA!! (and I'm not even a sageuk lover...though I'm currently also watching Chuno for missing JH after FTLY just finished)

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"I usually develop such a strong hatred towards the “evil doers” in dramas, but this one is so enigmatic I actually like her."

That's the thing I'm appreciating too. ALL the characters seem to have been given a layered, textured richness. Rather than putting them in the "purely evil" or "purely good" bucket, we're being shown characters that are a mix of both good and bad. It'll let the plot make twists and turns in an organic way.

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Is this me or Yonghwa totally looks like Kim Min-jong in the first pic?

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Thank goodness for the recap, javabeans, that helps someone who doesn't know Korean history to get a clue about what's going on, even in a historical fiction drama.

The king is pitiful, but his role is well acted and one can feel the desperation and knee-jerk reactions to his fears (unfortunately, as the king, it affects everyone else).

I really like the monk Musketeer. Dal-Hyang is charming and has a bit of country in him still, but he has risen to the occasion and fills his position well. I love him for that and apparently so does the crown prince. Even though the princess is young, she has a good head on her shoulders and doesn't simply retreat before the unpredictable and unconventional crown prince's weird ways.

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I really like the monk musketeer too :) Especially considering it could be hard to distinguish yourself against the likes of Lee Jin-Wook and Yang Dong-Geun and even the popular Jung Yong-hwa. The actor is doing a good job and I quite enjoyed his bit this episode/look forward to more of him.

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Thanks! Loved this episode! Luckily, I missed the episode title so it didn't affect my enjoyment lol!

Kim Myung-Soo really brought me into his performance as the King this episode and I really enjoyed the dynamic between him and Lee Jin-wook's Crown Prince. The drama did a really good job of portraying the psychology behind his weaknesses as a king and I truly appreciated seeing that. It was realistic to me how he seemed so resolved in his decision one moment, only to have his fears and doubts infect him to the point of making a rash decision that could mean war for his country. His mistakes seem so realistically realized that I can't help but feel sympathy for the guy, even as a want and expect more from a king.

As a whole, this drama is doing wonderfully and I'm enjoying every minute of it. I do hope that soon, once Dal-hyang begins to settle into his duties and the recent conflict continues to escalate, we'll see more of Dal-hyang and the Three Musketeers as a group. Because despite some wonderful and promising moments this episode, I find myself still wanting more from them as a whole.

Still, loving the moments between Dal-hyang & Mi-ryung and So-hyeon & Crown Princess this hour. Both have me very intrigued about the past of the characters/what steps they will continue to take in the future. I admit, I'm really enjoying the chemistry between the Crown Prince and Princess, but, first things first, I want more answers about him and what makes him tick so hopefully we'll find out more soon (next episode!).

Can't wait!

P.S. I'm in love with Yang Dong-Geun. Not even the nose-picking could deter me. Finally watching the much-praised Ruler of Your Own World because of this love and it does not disappoint.

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Yang Dong-Geun is funny in his own way. Something about the way he talks always makes me chuckle.

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Yang Dong Geun is hilarious. I've been watching him on the k-hiphop competition show Show Me The Money, and he is fantastic. None of the other people on the show know quite what to make of him. Marches to the beat of his own drum, and has a fantastic deadpan sense of humour.

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Lol and I'm not watching this yet, why?

*rushes to find ASAP*

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YES to the Yang Dong-geun love! (please let his character not get killed off :()

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So far i'm enjoying this drama so much..since i love history..
I'm wondering why the writer pick king injo era as background for adaptation the three musketeers..its really intriguiting me in some kind way..so inticipating what future plot might the writer will put in this drama..hoping it will continuously untll season 3.
And also im totally agree with javabeans regarding what will gonna be to the country if the prince crown will be the king instead of his brother..or myb history has doing some big mistakes for not choosing him as the king..but unfortunately he will die at the last..
Wonder if the crown prince' bro will be introduce in the later drama since we hav not seen yet the glimpse of him in this drama yet..

So far im enjoying every plot..kudos to the writer n producers..esp all the great actors in this drama..
Hoping for more surprise from this drama..

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*crossing fingers, shutting eyes...hoping the crown prince has an ending like 'Wicked'*

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The princess is adorable! Love that she makes the drama light and easy to watch amidst all the crazy politics.

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You forgot to mention AND screencap Yonghwa's back muscles!!! I think that was the highlight of the whole "changing into new uniform" scene. Teehee :D
Back muscles aside, I really am happy to see how much Yonghwa has improved in this drama because I watched a few of his previous dramas and I have always been a fan of his band, but wasn't that fond of the idea of him starring at this drama at the beginning. Now I regret saying that knowing that he could actually potray Dal-Hyang very well. I shall never doubt you again (maybe that depends on what drama he's gonna star in).

I am amazed at how well the story flows in this drama (and like JB said, the title kinda breaks the suspense a little) but otherwise, it was a good episode! Too bad that there's only one each week. :(

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Is it too much to ask for a broody bathing scene with Yonghwa? I'm sure someone can find him a pool of water to lounge in.

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I appreciate your muscles, Yong Hwa!

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I so like this drama! It doesn't matter that I don't know the history. The stories are well written and I'm thoroughly enjoying each and every episode. All the actors are doing their best and giving stellar performances.

The only one that I'm not liking is the actress that plays Mi Ryung but maybe that's good. It adds to her wicked character. :)

I didn't know that Jung Yong Hwa has a great body? I'm not complaining. Nice back muscles I must admit.

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Well, So Hyeon isn't really trying to convince me that he's /not/ a sociopath, is he? LOL I'm not really familiar with the book, but it seems like the prince's character is what sets this story apart from the original and also what grounds this version. I can't wait for Dal Hyang and him to develop an awesome bromance that overcomes the prince's aloofness and well....craziness. Bromance!

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I'm hoping that for the purposes of the story, Sohyeon's eventual 'death' will be similar to Mi-Ryung's i.e. a fake death so he can cast off his prince's robes and become a musketeer full time. Not sure how else we will get 2 more seasons otherwise.

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OMG, great Idea! I would really IN if it happen in season 2/3 :D

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Haha I'm sure it's the secret wish of all the fans of this drama. But we don't dare say it loud as the chance of it happening is really slim. Unlike Mi-Ryung, he is too important a person so faking his death won't be nearly as easy. We have to prepare our hearts in case the writer follows the history. But if something like you said does happen, that will the best thing in the history of dramas!...

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I'm hoping they will go the "Man in the Iron Mask" sort of deal cause ugh, you can't kill such a weird enigmatic character like the Crown Prince, show!

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the politic tension is up, so yeahhh. But Injo always portrayed as a weak king anyways, maybe that's explain Sohyeon behavior like always make his step carefully and calculating for every things he does.
The politic aside............aaaaawwww i really like Sohyeon and Yoonseo scene together. She's kinda thirsty for the prince affection but when she get it she's so flustered. Really love her looks when she ask the prince if he does like men XD.
I don't think Yoon seo stilll has deep feelings for Dalhyang.
I expect Dalhyang to has some short affair with Miryung (like D'artagnan in teh book).
Maybe we will have our Constance in the next season ?
here's praying.

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I think because Yoon Seo was really sincere about Dal Hyang - she was upset when her mom told her that suddenly she would become the crown princess. But since she's now married, she's being sincere about the Prince & doing her royal duty of making the babies.

Drama is painting her in that "good girl" light - where she's innocent and sincere - no hidden or ulterior motives but just do her best. So she very properly said good bye to Dal Hyang, and covers for the Prince when he's out musketeering, etc.

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I love this episode so much..It shows how high the stakes are. Each and every character in this drama is turning out to be well written and not just thrown out into..

Park Dal Hyang is such an adorable character. So young and so many to learn that makes you want to root for him. I want to see how he grows to be the general that he will be. Well given what all his misadventures and the circumstance he is thrown at, he will make one heck of a general.

Crown Prince or should I say CP's mind is such an interesting thing to read. Like the Princess, It seems he will constantly play riddles on our head. He will seem to be playing contrast with the maknae warrior Park Dal hyang so I'm wondering how they'd still keep their friendship despite all of this. And I love tosee how this cool dude breaks his defenses for the Princess.. :)

Seung Po well is Seung po..lol...To describe it in food, he is an important mix to balance all the seriousness. His scene with Pan Swe is hilarious..lol...

Min Seo doesnt have much screen time for me to comment but you can't deny his presence.

Princess is such a lovable young girl. I wonder what's her age gap with Prince. Is she same age as PDH?Then she is only 22??Anyways, I do hope she man's up and set her foot which I know she will...

Mi Ryung is once crazy lady. Her scene with Dal hyang is interesting. We definitely know circumstance made her like that so I can't wait to find out. Her line telling Dalhyang to not be too faithful to the Prince cause he will end up like her got meintigued. Will we see Dalhyang as conniving and as vengeful? I hope not cause with all this trouble and mature people trying to save their ass, I wish Dalhyang still give that innocent glow..

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Well, Mi-Ryung is my favorite character so far...as it was Milady in the Three Musketeers :D I like her strength and how she managed to survive in that tough world. And she turning out a wicked bitch makes her character even more interesting. I hope they give her enough screen time and include in the story some flirting with Dal-hyang. ;)

That aside, I'm liking the story and the rest of characters as well. Yong-hwa is doing a good job. I already noticed he was improving a lot in Mirae's choice, and here I'm liking his Dal-hyang a lot.

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Thanks for the recap - especially the Ming-Manchu-Qing explanation. I know they are not speaking Chinese, but didn't understand at all who was what and that Joseon was caught in the middle.

The jumpy editing when we finally caught up to DH on his firt mission - bothered me a little, although it may just be the copy I watched. I know this creative team usually has all their ducks in a row, so it seemed odd for music to be chopped, let alone the visuals.

All the performances are exceptional - which is true for this production team. There are no small actors in the small roles. The only weakness is YH, at least so far. Since he isn't exceptional but adequate, he stands out. He suffers from immobile face from time to time, and though they are making it work with the dialog and the circumstances, they can't paralyze him every episode. I like him a LOT doing the goofy, first time "I'm having the WORST day!" character; I hope that his growth as an actor continues.

My favorite favorite person to watch is Seo Hyun Jin as the Princess. I remember her first in The Duo and wasn't super impressed. She was a good bad guy in Feast of the Gods, but cried way too much. Her comic acting is fabulous - all the self-talk and double taking makes me laugh out loud. I like that she isn't intimidated by the Prince. She had a lot of nerve to break into his quarters and hide the talisman. Her growing crush on him is making her shy around him, but not a blushing flower. When LJW the Prince kisses her, it is going to rock her socks off...and mine. Bring on the accidental falling on top of each other!

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Dalhyang Dalhyang Dalhyang. i'm seriously drawn to this character. His facial expression in Javabean's first screencap on this page shows so many emotions in that one moment, anxiety, confusion, disorientation, "wtf now? expression" and ... do i see fear and nervousness in his eyes? Simply brilliant!

Princess? Meh, too much sobbing, crying and silly outbursts, but still well portrayed by the actress

Mi-ryung... this girl simply stands out as the badass sexy catty evil woman. i enjoy watching her!

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It's the first time I've ever believed Yonghwa's acting enough to think of the character as the character and not just him playing the character.Mi-Rae's choice apparently taught him something for all that it was confusing as fudge.

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He was already much better at MC, I was quite surprised. How did that happen? I know it must be impossible to talk about, after all the guy can't come out and say he sucked before, but wouldn't it be nice if he could? :) I want to know how he learned that and then maybe some other actors could take the hint.

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I did read or saw (since I'm limited to subtitles, that's reading too) an interview with him once before where he did kind of acknowledge that his acting was not all that. It was really cute, and kind of sad.

It was after You're Beautiful, and he said he'd worked really, really hard and was hoping that people would say, "Oh, wow, you're not just an idol, you can't even tell that you've never acted before," and then, he says, um, well, that's not what people said about his acting. He was disappointed, and it was obvious he knew his acting wasn't what he'd hoped it would be by a long shot.
It would be nice to hear what helped him the most.

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Loved this episode. My favorite scene was mommy and daddy in the country hear about their son's success. Such a sweet this-is-what-the common-folk-far-from-international-machinations scene. Such sweetness in the middle of all the national and international crises.

Thanks for the recap.

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Yes, that was really sweet. Had tears in my eyes. Love that they could show the impact DH entering into the military has, from all angles.

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Good point about that scene, Carole - it was a nice oasis of normality and goodness amidst all the politics, plotting, literal backstabbing, and violence.

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i love Park Dal Hyang!!! and the monk musketeer, i must say also :-)

i love the cute scenes of the royal couple, the childish, insane talks and all..

i was awed at the joyous reaction if DHs parents, they're so proud of him...i am too of course, im so proud YongHwa has been improving since ep1...

i like the Prince no matter what, his concern for his father, and his bonding with his men is cool...

it's just MirYung i dislike, the actress couldve been different...im sorry, im just not a fan of her, im wishing Nana could have been a better choice, younger and her strong face is beautiful enough to split any brotherhood in parts... this one's just a strong face, much like an evil queen dowager, not pretty enough :-(

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Another fun episode! I really like how the overall story is developing slowly, but things are still happening.

The highlights, for me:

• Sohyeon tripping and falling on top of the Crown Princess. I laughed out loud and said “Wow, the fertility amulet really *does* work!”

• Pan-swe not wanting to be Dal-Hyang’s servant because “servants have levels, too!” Reminds me of the protocols and maneuvering among the downstairs folk in Downton Abbey.

• As always, I am really enjoying Yong Hwa in this role; I think it’ll be his best yet. He’s doing a great job playing the “country bumpkin come to the city,” but he’s slowly becoming less naïve and more aware.

• The whole scenario with the king’s losing it is really kind of sad. I wonder if he’s legitimately going crazy, or could someone be poisoning him behind the scenes? Some of his visions seemed almost hallucinogenic.

• I love this show’s sly humor. That scene with the King telling his man to attack Ingguldai and the translator having to interpret was hilarious. Having done translation work myself, I really had a fit of the giggles trying to imagine the translator thinking “Well the hell do I explain *this?!*

• Mi-Ryung is bad, baaad news. You never know quite what she’s going to do – I gasped when she stabled Dal-Hyang with the needle. Of course he can’t say this, but you know he was thinking “Sohyeon, this little problem is aaaalll yours.”

Question: does anyone think there’s a Richelieu in this version? At first I thought it was Ingguldai, but he’s a general so that doesn’t seem to work.

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kim ja jeom is richelieu while ingguldae is based on the duke of buckingham

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Oh man, Lee Jin Wook is just giving me all sorts of feels!!! So damn charismatic and attractive and I know this is a comment without substance but just *swoon*

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Okay, I think we all need to take a moment and recognize the EXTREME hotness that is Ingguldai. He can invade my country anytime. He can Duke my Buckingham any day.
I'll stop now.

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Oh my lord. I think I lost a lung laughing.

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PFFFFFFFFFT. Oh yes. Kim Sung-min is so freakin' sexy in this role and it has me mourning all these years he's spent playing the weasily cheater in dramas. Who knew he could be so commanding!

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Really enjoying this show. I look forward to it every week.
It has action, suspense, humor, and heart. It doesn't drag and it's compelling throughout the hour.

It made me smile so much when I saw the ectastic reactions of Dal Hyang's parents when they got the news. ^^

I read the episode title, but then I was delayed before watching the actual episode. Thankfully I forgot about it so that part didn't hinder my experience. I hope the show does a better job with the titles in the future though.

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Om! IS THE FREAKING PRINCE GOING TO DIE!!!!!!!! I DON'T ANYTHING ABOUT HISTORY IF HE REALLY EXISTED! BUT SERIOUSLY?! IS HE GOING TO DIE! PLEASE NOOOOOOOOO! GOSH NO! I CAN'T WHEN IM SO INTO HIS RELATIONSHIP WITH THE PRINCESS AND BASICALL EVERYONE!! OMgeeee! So that's why they called it three musketeers. . .:((((((( OMYGOSH!!!!

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It's not called three musketeers cuz crown prince is gonna die lol. The drama is about the adventures of dalhyang with the three musketeers crown prince, seungpo and minseo. About whether crown prince's death, he did die before he could become a king according to history but ljw said that the drama will not end with his death. I guess they would do a time skip or something.

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I am totally rooting for the crown prince and princess, I just feel strongly about the two so i'm hoping that they give us something swoon worthy on the succeeding eps... There is just something electrifying about each and every encounter (OMGosh)!!!.... well, that's just me.

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