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104

Three Musketeers: Episode 5

As if everything wasn’t already a test for Dal-hyang, now it’s his loyalty that gets put through the wringer when he’s faced with obeying his king, a prince he could probably do with seeing a little less of, or himself. But it’s as hard to know what he wants sometimes as it is to know what Sohyeon wants, probably because it’s never just one thing, is it? But if there’s a perk to jealous would-be heroes hashing it out in a sageuk, it’s that they get to settle things like men—even if they sometimes act like boys.

Note: I’ll be taking over for javabeans, who was awesome enough to recap Musketeers when I wasn’t able to. Talk about a hard act to follow, though. No pressure, no pressure… *repeats mantra*

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EPISODE 5: “A Duel”

Dal-hyang fights bravely against General Ingguldai, but finds himself in trouble when the general pins him down to the ground using a spear fashioned from a bamboo tree.

Luckily, Ingguldai is forced to flee when two more soldiers approach. Dal-hyang orders one to go with him to follow the general, and sends the other to alert the remaining forces as to where they’ve gone. The chase begins.

Sohyeon is shown which window the general jumped from by a soldier who assures him that they’ll catch Ingguldai. “That’s the problem,” Sohyeon murmurs under his breath. He doesn’t want his father’s soldiers catching Ingguldai, he wants to protect him.

Dal-hyang is just as relentless in following Ingguldai as the general is to run from him, being too evenly matched on foot in an open terrain where no one can hide.

That’s when Ingguldai spots a horse—which is, unfortunately, being ridden by a woman accompanied by only a few attendants. He mercilessly kills them all for the horse, inciting Dal-hyang to the point where he asks his fellow soldier if the king’s orders allowed for Ingguldai to be killed.

When the soldier replies yes, Dal-hyang takes his musket and aims for Ingguldai, who rushes to get on the horse and flee before the match cord ignites. But Dal-hyang is patient, and fires when Ingguldai is firmly in his sights.

Everyone hears the gunshot, including a very concerned Sohyeon. But when we return to Dal-hyang, we see the musket shot miss Ingguldai. By the time Dal-hyang realizes something was thrown at the barrel so he’d purposefully miss, it’s too late—his fellow soldier gets knocked out, and so does he.

It’s Min-seo, carrying out Sohyeon’s orders. He does feel bad about having to knock the resilient Dal-hyang out twice (so he wouldn’t be recognized), so he at least pats the blood away from Dal-hyang’s forehead before removing evidence that he was ever there.

He looks out to see a mounted Seung-po gaining on Ingguldai, and we see Seung-po fire at the general with an arrow… surely he just shot at his horse, right?

The court ministers are beside themselves that Ingguldai hasn’t yet been caught, but Minister Choi acts as the voice of dissent (and reason) as he tells the king that they’re in dire straits: The envoys know King Injo ordered Ingguldai’s beheading, but Ingguldai has disappeared.

Even if they were to catch him and kill him, Minister Choi argues, sending his head back to the Manchu emperor would incite a war. Similarly, if Ingguldai manages to make it back alive, he’ll tell the emperor everything and war would again be inevitable. His advice is to calm the envoys and capture Ingguldai alive, then decide from there.

While the ministers argue amongst themselves, Sohyeon is handed a secret missive from Seung-po. Hopefully it’s good news.

Dal-hyang wakes up in his quarters, being tended to by the ever-fretful Pan-swe. Dal-hyang’s face falls when he’s told that Ingguldai hasn’t been caught, while Pan-swe begins to wail about the possibility of war.

But then, Dal-hyang remembers being sabotaged in his attempt to shoot Ingguldai, even if he can’t remember who knocked him out. He knows there’s someone helping Ingguldai… but who?

Pan-swe curiously pulls out the needle he found in Dal-hyang’s garments, which Dal-hyang quickly swats from his hand for his own protection—it’s the poisoned needle he took from the deceased court lady’s neck.

When Yoon-seo hears her husband is heading out later that night, she rushes out to meet him… and ends up tripping over her hanbok into his arms. I love the look Sohyeon sends to her attendants, before he jokingly asks if Yoon-seo keeps falling on purpose (so everyone will think the makin’ babies talisman is working).

She chalks it up to her usual clumsiness, before telling Sohyeon that she has something personal to speak to him about—she’s been waiting all day for the chance. All their attendants step back to give them some privacy before Yoon-seo struggles to eke out that she made a mistake.

Sohyeon guesses it must be something big with how much she’s hesitating, but in the end, Yoon-seo loses her courage: “Actually… it’s… nothing.” Hah. Sohyeon tells her to just come out with it since she waited all day, but Yoon-seo keeps insisting that it really is nothing. She’s such a terrible liar.

On her way back, Yoon-seo spots Dal-hyang, who’s come to see the prince on an urgent matter. She’s disquieted when Dal-hyang won’t tell her what he wants from Sohyeon or why, and even more so when he asks her if she lost the letter.

Yoon-seo returns to her quarters in a panic before she orders all her attendants to leave—except for her head lady-in-waiting, who she sends to fetch Dal-hyang for a top secret meeting.

Separated by a screen, Yoon-seo asks Dal-hyang how he knew she lost the letter. Did he take it? Dal-hyang can only tell her half the truth: That he knows who has it now, even though he can’t say more. All he can do is warn her to be wary, since one of her attendants is most certainly a spy.

But then Dal-hyang asks, “Why… why didn’t you burn the letter?” Just the thought of it fills the both of them with emotion, which Yoon-seo does her best to hold back as she tells Dal-hyang not to misunderstand—she kept the letter only because it reminded her of her youth.

When she asks if Sohyeon knows, Dal-hyang says that’s why he came, but again, he’s forced to be cryptic about revealing anything further. He can only advise her to find the spy in her midst for her own safety, before he grows concerned when she doesn’t answer.

Dal-hyang makes a conscious decision to forego propriety by letting himself behind the screen, and doesn’t heed her initial shock as he asks, genuinely concerned, why she’s crying.

“I hate it here,” Yoon-seo admits, tears freely streaming down her face now. “It’s always been like this. I can’t trust anyone.” Poor thing. What she describes seems to be the universal downside of palace life, since she hates all the secrets and being closed in by so many walls.

“Are you not receiving love?” Dal-hyang broaches carefully, to which Yoon-seo replies bitterly, “Love? What is that?” But she doesn’t know what to do—if the letter is used against her and she’s ousted from the palace, her family will suffer… and so will Dal-hyang.

The only comfort Dal-hyang can give is for her to tackle one task at a time, which means finding the spy. He’ll take care of things outside the palace, and asks her to put her trust in him. They share a long moment of silence after, just staring at one another.

But then they both turn to hear Yoon-seo’s chief lady-in-waiting address the prince, who’s come for an unannounced visit. Eek! Her court lady stalls for as much time as she can before letting him in, only to find Yoon-seo alone. Dal-hyang must be hiding behind that screen… but she’s such a terrible liar! This is not going to end well.

Sohyeon can tell she’s been crying, a fact she quickly denies. But she doesn’t even have to be bad at lying, since Sohyeon asks aloud what could make her so flustered, noting that the tassel from her hanging screen is swinging ever so slightly. He wonders, could it be that she brought a man to her room? Cue Sohyeon throwing back the screen to reveal Dal-hyang. Yiiiiiiikes.

This only reinforces why Sohyeon hasn’t made Dal-hyang one of his people yet, and he has an I told you so moment about being right in his initial misgivings.

Then he turns to his wife to tell her that though he forgave her for the letter out of mercy, she wasn’t happy since he wasn’t being jealous like she expected him to. Now, he says, he’ll do what a husband should in a situation like this.

Her voice trembling, Yoon-seo admits the full truth of the situation: The reason she went to see him earlier that day is because she lost the letter, and that Dal-hyang came to tell her it had been stolen.

She can’t answer Sohyeon when he asks who stole it (since she doesn’t know), but Dal-hyang can. “It’s the woman you’ve been looking for,” he says, before adding that he hid only because he didn’t want to cause the princess trouble. Nothing else happened.

Yoon-seo asks who “that woman” is, but Sohyeon isn’t in a mood to answer as he orders Dal-hyang out with him. Before he goes, Dal-hyang reassures the princess that Sohyeon won’t turn this into an issue, because he bears more responsibility than she does.

Once they’re alone, Sohyeon orders Dal-hyang to tell him everything. He starts by telling the prince that Mi-ryung, who used her other name Hyang-sun, was smuggled in by Ingguldai disguised as a soldier’s concubine, but escaped soon after.

Dal-hyang also tells Sohyeon that Mi-ryung already knew he’d send someone before he even arrived, and that she knows about him and Yoon-seo because of the letter she stole. He was unable to find out more because she poisoned him, and produces the needle she used to kill the court lady as proof.

He also relays the message Mi-ryung gave him after he’d been paralyzed by the poison—that he should remember the feeling and tell Sohyeon, since she’s coming for him next. What he doesn’t add is the warning Mi-ryung gave him: “There’s no need to be so loyal to the prince. He’s not someone worth putting up your life for.”

After telling Sohyeon that Mi-ryung was copying Yoon-seo’s letter with the intent to use it against her, Dal-hyang finally asks who Mi-ryung really is—and more importantly, why did Sohyeon want her dead? What exactly happened five years ago?

Dal-hyang argues that he can’t continue on like this when he knows so little, especially since this concerns Yoon-seo’s safety as well. Sohyeon finally steps in to say that he’ll worry about her, so Dal-hyang needn’t concern himself.

“That letter is mine, so the fault is mine as well,” Dal-hyang replies. Sohyeon doesn’t like the sound of this, and says as much: The way Dal-hyang laid claim to the letter makes it sound like he’s trying to claim the princess, too.

But enough is enough—Sohyeon won’t tolerate Dal-hyang acting on his own anymore. Dal-hyang is to listen to whatever he says without question from now on, whether he’s being serious or joking. And though Sohyeon claims to have bigger concerns than Mi-ryung, he still orders his eunuch to investigate Yoon-seo’s servants to find the mole.

The first thing Yoon-seo does when Sohyeon visits her next is apologize for not burning the letter, but he attempts to ease her already rampant worries by telling her that he’ll handle it, because it’s his fault. He’ll be on her side if the letter becomes an issue, and promises to protect her. “Trust me,” he adds.

But then he turns around with his trademark half-serious/half-joking expression as he asks her if Dal-hyang told her the same thing. At her sudden silence, Sohyeon guesses that he must’ve, and clucks his tongue at Dal-hyang’s gumption.

There’s an awkward moment when Dal-hyang bumps into Seung-po and Min-seo, likely because one of the two gave him a minor concussion without his knowledge. I love how happy Seung-po is to hear that he came because of the princess, because he gets to take jabs at Dal-hyang for harboring a secret crush on her.

Dal-hyang happens upon a handkerchief Min-seo accidentally dropped, though he doesn’t know it’s the blood-stained handkerchief Min-seo used to wipe his forehead after hitting him. But it does get him thinking.

We finally learn the fate of General Ingguldai, who’s brought from one secret location to another by Seung-po and Min-seo to meet with Prince Sohyeon.

Ingguldai seems surprised when Sohyeon apologizes for the rough treatment in fluent Manchu, but bows his head in respect once he’s given back his sword. Sohyeon earns points by knowing his language, and when he adds that he studied it because he knew it would be of more use than the opposing Ming language.

At the same time, since King Injo’s alliances have been with Ming, Sohyeon knows that speaking in the Manchu tongue as a prince of Joseon could only mean trouble for him—so in that sense, he’s given Ingguldai a weapon to use against him as a sign of trust.

Sohyeon then explains that he had Ingguldai kidnapped in order to protect him, which should tell the general that he’s a much better ally than Kim Ja-jeom. He doesn’t want a war, and guesses that the reason Ingguldai met with Kim Ja-jeom is because he feels the same.

But when Ingguldai finally wonders where exactly he’s been brought, his expression turns to one of dawning horror when Sohyeon reveals he’s in his personal library… in the palace. It’s the safest place for Ingguldai right now, since it’s the only place they won’t search. The darkest place is under the candlestick, as they say.

Cue flashback to the secret missive Sohyeon received from Seung-po after he’d captured Ingguldai alive. Sohyeon had been as much a part of the plot to smuggle Ingguldai into the palace using his own palanquin as the two other musketeers, since he’d actually ridden in it (along with their captive) in order to fool the guards.

It has to look suspicious for Seung-po and Min-seo to be guarding the prince’s library this late at night, which is where Dal-hyang finds them. He gets right to the point: He knew whoever stopped him from killing Ingguldai was someone he knew, because he could feel them wiping the blood from his forehead after.

And now that he got a look at Min-seo’s bloodied handkerchief (with the way important things keep spilling out of hanboks, you’d think someone would have invented pockets), he’s got his suspicions.

Actually, it’s more than a suspicion—he knows something’s up with the two of them guarding a dark library, and wants to see for himself whether Ingguldai is inside.

Seung-po confirms it when he doesn’t let Dal-hyang pass, claiming that a very important conversation is happening inside that Dal-hyang can’t interrupt. Of course, this rankles Dal-hyang’s sense of justice, since the king’s orders were to kill Ingguldai—not to save him for a private chat with the prince.

But Dal-hyang won’t be swayed when Seung-po tries to make light of the situation because they’re all buddies (…right?), and claims he only fought with them against traitors to the country. To Dal-hyang at least, right now they’re no better than Kim Ja-jeom.

No matter the explanation Seung-po gives, Dal-hyang sees the situation in black-and-white terms: They’re disobeying the king’s orders, which means they’re committing treason. He draws his sword, convinced he’s acting on a higher authority by carrying out his duty to the king.

Inside the library, Ingguldai and Sohyeon realize their views are the same when the former admits that a war with Joseon would be a loss for both sides, even if his emperor wants to invade. He just wants an answer from King Injo on the whole going from a “brother state” to a subordinate one.

They’re interrupted by the sound of swords clanging outside, since Seung-po and Min-seo continue to block a very determined Dal-hyang from gaining entry. Sohyeon watches the ensuing fight for a hot second before ordering them to stop.

Dal-hyang sticks to his guns when he tells Sohyeon plainly that he’s only carrying out the king’s orders and that he must be allowed inside, since he’s sure Ingguldai is there.

Sohyeon is taken aback when Dal-hyang won’t stop his approach just because he tells him to, even when he orders him to. Looking straight at him and unafraid, Dal-hyang repeats the words Sohyeon once told him: The only order that trumps his is the king’s, and how it’s not his place to argue the motive, methods, or personal risk involved—his place is to obey.

Since Dal-hyang says he’s doing as he was told, he politely but firmly asks Sohyeon to step aside so he can carry through with his orders.

“If I don’t, are you going to attack me?” Sohyeon challenges. Judging by the look in Dal-hyang’s eyes, Sohyeon believes he would, and Dal-hyang doesn’t deny it. If Sohyeon is defying the king’s order, he’ll do what he must.

Sohyeon takes off his gat and draws his sword, telling Dal-hyang that he’ll have to defeat him first. Oh, it is on. “What arrogance,” Sohyeon scoffs. “You aren’t carrying out the king’s orders, but defying me.”

“I’m merely an officer carrying out the king’s orders,” Dal-hyang stiffly replies. Sohyeon: “No, you’re defying me using the excuse of the king’s orders. You lost your girl to me, and you’ve been angry with me from the start. Like a child, you throw caution to the wind. Isn’t that so?”

His accusation is the only thing that shakes Dal-hyang’s resolve, which means there’s truth to it.

So Sohyeon makes him a deal: If they fight and Dal-hyang wins, Sohyeon will hand Ingguldai (who he confirms is inside) over to him and that’ll be that. “But if I win, all the kindness I’ve bestowed upon you will be revoked. Your test results will also be revoked, and then you can return home right away. How about it? Isn’t this a bet worth wagering on for a young, energetic man like yourself?”

Dal-hyang says he can’t fight against the prince, but still orders him aside when that’s something Sohyeon simply can’t do. So he goads Dal-hyang into it, all, You don’t want to fight then?, which lends Dal-hyang the cojones to say that while Sohyeon may be good at fighting, he’s already lacking since he’s not a soldier who fights for a living. Oh. OH. (*grabs popcorn*)

Sohyeon takes the challenge and puts his sword to Dal-hyang’s neck, ordering Seung-po and Min-seo not to interrupt. Dal-hyang doesn’t want to strike directly at him, but when the prince swings, he has to draw his sword to defend himself.

Sohyeon asks again if Dal-hyang will accept the bet, and Dal-hyang replies that he will if Sohyeon says so. Then the real fight begins.

After blows are traded and parried, the two seem pretty evenly matched… at least until Dal-hyang sees Sohyeon’s wound from Eyepatch/No-soo begin to bleed through his sleeve. The distraction is momentary, but it’s enough for Sohyeon to push him out of their gridlock and slash Dal-hyang’s arm.

Sohyeon is still intent on seeing the fight through, so he doesn’t notice Dal-hyang reversing his sword in his grip so that the sharp side won’t be facing the prince.

Suddenly, Yoon-seo steps into the middle of their fight, and almost loses her head for it. Both men tell her to step aside for her own safety, but Yoon-seo refuses and yells for them to stop, locking eyes with Dal-hyang first before turning to her husband.

 
COMMENTS

This is the kind of fusion sageuk I’ve been missing lately, full of character depth, high stakes, and action. I especially like how Three Musketeers takes a balanced approach when it comes to the underlying political tensions serving as both a backdrop and driving force for the more nuanced character drama unfolding, because the politics become integrated by necessity as opposed to being overwhelming (our worst sageuk nightmare), or simply tacked on for legitimacy (our second worst sageuk nightmare).

In that way, Sohyeon’s struggle to do right by his country seems all the more real, and all the more dangerous because he’s a progressive thinker in a court that seems heavily skewed, well, against that. The only ally with political pull he has is Minister Choi, which leaves him to depend (in this version of events) on the loyalty of his closest friends/fellow musketeers. And if it weren’t for the girl trouble going on between them, I’m sure Dal-hyang would’ve already become a fellow devotee—though the way they’re playing their pseudo-rivalry now means that the character turns to come later will feel that much more earned.

But the developing love triangle is only growing more troubling by the episode, which isn’t at all a bad thing. It’s frustrating for the right reasons, even if the reason is that it’s such a visible dead end for Dal-hyang that it’s painful to watch for both him and Yoon-seo—and to a lesser extent Sohyeon, since his personal stake in his relationship with his wife is still one of the more compelling mysteries in the show. Well, that and who Sohyeon really is deep down, past all the walls and acts he puts on for others.

My heart broke a little more for Yoon-seo this hour, because her suffering really isn’t so overt that one can look at her and see the pain she’s in, and no one knows that better than her. She’s had to bear so much in silence without anyone to confide in or sympathize with her, being of her status and having a husband as emotionally impenetrable as Sohyeon, so to have someone like Dal-hyang hear her out and be concerned for her must’ve felt so overwhelming for her. Not only is he a friendly ear to rely on, but also a remnant of who Yoon-seo was before becoming a title greater than herself. Her outburst to him about feeling stifled in the palace went a long way toward making her character that much more tragic, if only because there’s nothing she can do to fix it.

Worse, there’s nothing Dal-hyang can really do for her, which would explain some of his latent animosity toward Sohyeon. As much as they’re fighting over a woman, their duel felt like more than a result of simple jealousy, because neither of them strike me as being that petty. Dal-hyang was a bit more dogged in playing the righteous officer than he would’ve been if Yoon-seo wasn’t involved, sure, but I like that the strain between him and Sohyeon doesn’t feel quite so shallow. Or who’s to say, really—if keeping their relationship status complicated makes for drama this good, I almost don’t want them to ever sort things out.

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Thanks for the recap! Loved this ep. for prince couple~ Wish there are more scenes with Yang DongGeun though.

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I LOVE the princess! There are so many men in this show, prince, musketeers, musketeer-in-training, king, eunuchs, ministers, man-servant, Ching generals and all; there are only 2 women, the princess, and Mi Ryung, who is absent in this ep. But my screen lights up when the princess is on. I rarely love 1 female char more than all the guys combined, esp. as that actress isn't one of my 2 K goddesses! Princess, pls stay in the frame. :D

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Right?! It's so wonderful because...I totally didn't expect it.

Like I TOTALLY did not expect it, as in I was only hoping to even like her at all before this aired because for some reason the preview had me worried about her character.

But now? She could just be my favorite. And I freakin' love when a character I totally didn't expect surprises me like this and now I can never wait until she shows up on screen.

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Exactly what I wanted to say! I love everything in this drama so far, Dal Hyang, Min Seo, the Prince(Lee Jin Wook is burning the screen with hotness) and his enunch! Every episode is getting better and better and I have smile on face when I'm watching it.

But there are two people who specially cheers me up when they are onscreen-The Princess and Seung-po! I love the energy these two characters are transferring into their every scene.

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I also like the man-servant and totally unexpectedly, Ingguldai! Hee hee. And the prince, of course. But in this ep, I find that the 3rd musketeer, the pretty guy that the maids were gawking at when he took a bath, can't act.

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Me too! Well, I really liked Inguldai until the moment he killed the two women and their servant... :'(

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She's kind of subtly stealing the show, isn't she? She really embodies the expression "Watch out for the quiet ones." It was unexpected, at least for me, to find her so touching and compelling. I'm really rooting for her.

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Yay for princess! I'm with the rest of you, totally didn't expect it. Coming here for Lee Jin Wook, but stolen by the princess. Her moment of vulnerability felt so real I wanted to hug her close.

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Yong Yong Yong Yong Yong Hwaaaaa...

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Thanks for the recap!

Ack! I want more...

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the tension between dal hyang and crown prince is hot
lol i keep chanting more! more! as the episode progressed

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LOL I think Kim Sung-min may be the only actor I've seen to actually look sexier with a mohawk. Is it bad that I totally want him to keep this look even after this is all over?

Thanks for the recap! Good to see you recapping this & to hear your thoughts :)

I loved this episode. Love what they're doing with the dynamic between Igguldai + Prince. And absolutely freakin' love the relationship between the Princess and him. Also like to see Dal-hyang take some action derived from his own will/questioning the Three Musketeers, mostly because I now think that their relationship will go many interesting places from here. Perhaps I'll return with more thoughts later when I have the time. Lol, for now the only thought I really needed to share was the first one...

Can't wait until next week!

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Is it bcos of the mohawk that I find the Manchu general interesting? He is actually a very versatile actor. I've watched him play a loser husband, a gambler, a bad guy, all convincingly, but I've never found him this interesting before. Good role for him to add to his long resume. Always happy to see hard-working supporting actors get their lime-light.

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Hear! Hear! My jaw actually dropped when he first showed up. So it's especially gratifying that he's hot and has a good dynamic in the plot. Sunday come faster!!

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i think the duel it's not about jealousy, it's like the prince scheme after dalhyang found out about Yong gol dae

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I agree that from what we have seen so far of the Prince, he doesn't seem to be the kind to go this far just because he is jealous. I also think he has some other calculated plan behind his action. However, I don't think it's purely political. I think there is presence of jealousy too at his part (Dla Hyan's is pretty obvious) though he might not be aware of it himself at this point.

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I actually do think that the prince is being irrational here. Dal-Hyang isn't being jealous to me, however he is angry at the pince because:
- the princess, who is someone he clearly still loves, is unhappy
- the prince scolded him when he asked questions about Mi Ryung, instead of explaining why he asked her to die. Maybe there is a reason behind this that he can't say to Dal-Hyang, but he should at least have told him that there is a reason, because it's only natural that Dal-Hyang would have doubts about him, especially when he discovers afterwards that he saved Inguldai. Let's not forget that Inguldai killed three unarmed persons (within them two women) in front of him.
- the prince doesn't even believe in the princess, he is accusing Dal-Hyang and her of things when it is obvious that they did nothing.
So to me, the way Dal-Hyang insisted on throwing the prince's words back to him (about the order of the king being more important than his) is a way to show him that he does not want to be treated like a mindless puppet. He wants answers. He wants the prince to treat people like people. He's not jealous because Sohyeon took the princess from him, he's angry because Sohyeon's not treating the princess well and because he's refusing Dal-hyang the right to think.

I think the prince doesn't have a plan. He is angry because Dal-hyang is simply not doing what he wants. The prince is used to people doing what he asks without questioning it, so here Dal-hyang refusing to do anything without qestions is hurting his pride.
Sohyeon may not be jealous because he doesn't seem to love the princess (yet), but he is definitly jealous because the princess is supposed to be his, so it's hurting his manly pride.

It's only how I see it though, so I can totally be wrong :)

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Crown princes is the person who hasmany burden, he educate to be the next king, what i see he always thinking deeply about his action n he should be not to trust people easily. He see Dalhyang is naif n innocent but there's always awareness in him not to trust people easily esp the one he just know, of course CP couldn't tell everything to DH.
I think CP didn't mad to DH

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I think you didn't understand what I said...sorry I probably wasn't clear, I tend to do bigass phrases... :(

"He see Dalhyang is naif n innocent but there’s always awareness in him not to trust people easily esp the one he just know, of course CP couldn’t tell everything to DH." Yes, I agree with you that he can't tell everything, but he has to at least tell something because in this particuliar case, he looked like the bad guy. How can you trust someone that tells you he asked someone to kill themselve with no reason? He's testing Dal-hyang to see if he can trust him, but he's been treating him so unfairely that there is no reason for Dal-hyang to trust him back.

It's not because he's a crown pince that he is perfect, even if he is educated. Sohyeon, as he is presented in this drama, is very smart and educated indeed, but he is not perfect at all: do you really think the way he treats the princess is fair?

He is right to test Dal-hyang since he doesn't know him, but we have to admit it: he's being a jerk because of the past story with the princess. That, and Dal-hyang is actually very different from the usual persons, since he comes from the country, far from the capital. I think the prince didnt expect Dal-hyang to be a thinking person. Look at his two other friends: they never question his orders. Nobody does, who would be crazy enough to question orders from the prince?. So Dal-hang is something new.

I hope I made more sense than I did before? :)

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I actually find it very unrealistic that a mere soldier dare talk back and challenge the Crown Prince like that--take up a sword to swing at him! It must be a crime punishable by death, not only to the offender, but also to offender's family! Even his 2 musketeers, who are so close to the CP know to treat him with much more respect.

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Yes, of course it is! Dal-hyang shouldn't be like this, it's unthinkable. That's why, to me, the prince is thrown off by this unusual person and gets angry and annoyed at him.

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I understand what you are trying to say but I think you are missing one important point here. It's a sageuk drama. You have to judge the actions of the character keeping the era in mind. Prince is not under any obligation to explain Anything to Dal Hyang. He is the Crown Prince and Dal Hyang a mere officer!
Yes he is upright and naive and I can understand when he wants to give priority to the King's order over the Prince. BUT we have seem him question the Princes motive even before this which is something unimaginable for that time! No matter how pure his intention is, he can't question the Prince nor even hesitate before him that way until and unless there is something absolutely wrong with his action. And this rule is applicable even in the modern day you know. If you are a military officer, you are bound to obey your superior without any question even when you are suspicious about his motive.
There are two reasons that drive Dal Hyang to act this way- His concern for the Princess and the friendly impression that was given to him by the Prince. I think he hasn't quite grasped yet the paramountcy of the position of the Crown Prince.

And the other two musketeers are not obeying him because they are puppets rather because they have complete faith on the Prince from their past experience.

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Remember Sueng Po said to Dal Hyang 'Politics is not that simple' so I'm sure he perfectly understand the Prince's position and thus is willing to obey him blindly.

And it's not unreasonable but very natural for the Crown Prince to be annoyed as he has shown plenty of leniency to Dal Hyang yet he is not willing to be patience enough to let time give him the answer he wants.

In any case, all we can do is guess right now and I think we will have some clearer idea about their motives in the next episode. So let's wait and see :)

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"And this rule is applicable even in the modern day you know. If you are a military officer, you are bound to obey your superior without any question even when you are suspicious about his motive." This actually isn't true, you know. I don't much about it, but you still have the right to have conscientious objections to military service. It's being a conscientious objector.

"And it’s not unreasonable but very natural for the Crown Prince to be annoyed as he has shown plenty of leniency to Dal Hyang" Nope it isn't...about the questioning, yes, it is true that the prince is not supposed to explain himself. But about the princess, he is overreacting and frankly, that's annoying.

Over than that, I agree with you on everything, Yuna! :)
To me part of the conflict between the prince and Dal-Hyang is precisely because Dal-hyang does not act as someone of his stature should. So yes, technically, Dal-hyang shouldn't be questioning the prince, but that doesn't mean it isn't wrong to not question him.
So considering the era, Dal-Hyang is in the wrong, but if you don't consider the era, the prince is. I understand both Dal-Hyang's and the prince's frustrations.

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The fight seemed to be a perfect storm of issues. On Dal-Hyang's part, it's about losing the Crown Princess; the setbacks he's already suffered at the hands of Ingulgae and Mi-Ryung; the way the Crown Prince has treated him; and even just following the king's order. For the Crown Prince, it's about the political pressures he's facing; having to deal with his father's mental issues; being challenged by an upstart like Dal-Hyang; ownership issues re the Crown Princess; and perhaps subconscious developing feelings for the Princess. It all came together in one out of control fight.

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I think the Crown Princess has already developed feelings for her inscrutable hubby, I find it touching how she's always so concerned for his safety. As for the Crown Prince, his "I'll protect you" in this ep is almost like another man's "I love you" because I think he realizes how he treat wifey and does feel a bit guilty about it but because of whatever back issues he has regarding love/woman/Mi Ryung, he has construct a wall against these pesky emotions. And I for one can't wait till our adorable Princess smash that wall into smithereens.

As you can see, I have a lot of feelings for these two! I just really SHIP! them together.

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I could be persuaded to root for them, but he's got to work for it :).

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I don't think it's exactly jealousy on the prince's part either. It's not about Yoon Seo herself it's more marking territory, a guard trying to lay claim on the Prince's wife and he needs to be put into his place. Aside from that he wants Dal Hyang to stand up to him because he needs to have people around him he can trust. As he said he's testing Dal Hyang right now.

While on Dal Hyang's part there's a bit of jealousy but there's also anger that this man isn't caring for Yoon Seo as she deserves. Mostly imo it's his sense of duty, in his eyes the prince is acting suspiciously and has forced Dal Hyang to be part of his schemes.

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Thanks for the recap, HeadsNo2! :)

Though I'll add that the causes of the duel to me isn't only because of the love triangle; to me, Dal Hyang is here to prove a point and/or demand answers to his questions. The way Sohyeon has been treating him is what caused part of the problem: Sohyeon said he can't give answers because he is not in a position where he can trust easily people, but what he asks from Dal Hyang is a bit too much, especially when he keeps showing him his irrtional, jealous side, so what he needs to realize is that Dal Hyang needs reasons to trust him, too. I hope they'll speak about this issue too, I really wouldn't like Sohyeon to be the good guy here: both of them are in the wrong here.

That drama is driving me mad! I love it and at the same time there are stuff which annoy the Hell out of me in it!

I mean, the directing for the action scenes is bad. Really bad. It may be only me, but I think it's really awful! There's too much close up, the camera moves too much, the switches between normal colors and black and white have no purpose, and the red flashes are just annoying as Hell (and hurt my eyes, too). Whenever there is an action scene, I can't focus on it anymore, because all I can see is "LOOK AT MY ARTISTIC AND COOL DIRECTING!" And that is bad. Happily, it wasn't like this at the end of the episode , both the 3-guys fight and the duel between Sohyeon and Dal-Hyang were pretty ok. I hope they'll stop doing their directing in that pseudo-artistic way.

Now the second thing which really annoys me is the writing of the princess. Don't take me wrong, I love her character. I love that she can't lie, that she's emotional, that she struggles with dealing with the exigency of her status. The scene where she admits to Dal-Hyang that she's unhappy was heart-breaking. BUT. There is a but.

BUT it's been overdone and in many aspects polluted by clichés about females. I hate those moments when her facial expression is so exagerated that it seems like she's copying Jin's "omg is that blood" expression from Time Slip Dr Jin (yes, we all know how awful that was). I get it that it's a drama so the characters' facial expressions will be exagerated for us to get what they are thinking, but here it is too much and she's the only one doing it. Not even Dal-Hyang is that exagerated. Even if she's a bad liar, even if she is bad at holding back her emotions, she can't be like this, nobody is like this. And I should know because I'm especially bad at holding in my emotions. Really, who makes big O-shaped mouths like this with those bulging eyes when they are trying not to let the other party know about their surprise or lies? The clumsiness, too, greatly annoys me. Yes, she can be a clumsy character, it won't annoy me as long as it doesn't go into the "females are clumsy so in need of being rescued by the male lead" territory. A good example would be Beo Jin in Tamra The Island and Kim Yoon Shik in...

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OMG I wrote too much, my comment got cropped! Here is the second part:

A good example would be Beo Jin in Tamra The Island and Kim Yoon Shik in Sungkyungkwan Scandal: Beo Jin is especially clumsy, but that's in her character, and she's clumsy in everything she does and in her whole stance, whereas Kim Yoon Shik never seemed clumsy until the moment she slipped on nothing, fell in water, and managed to drown in that one-meter deep water so as to the male lead to rescue her. Here, the princess tripping over her dress is ridiculous. If she was that clumsy that she wold trip over the kind of dress she's being wearing all her life, there is no way she would have been chosen as the princess.

That said, I LOVE the story, and I love the characters! Even if I think Sohyeon is being an annoying jerk, he's a smart interesting annoying jerk, and I love his struggle to help his father and Joseon. I think the actors are doing a great job, even Dal Hyang is pretty good in my eyes, I find him easy to sympathize with.

I've just started reading again Dumas' Les Trois Mousquetaires since I didn't remember much of it, and it's funny how even the intro is similar to the intro of the drama. I really love how well they adapted the book, both keeping the characters and the storyline very similar and at the same time making something entirely new. I have high hopes about Milady and I hope they won't screw her up like Dumas did in his book, where her backstory and ending were disappointing: I hope that drama gives her a better backstory and ending. For now, I really like the Milady they portrayed and I cant wait to know more about her.

Wow, I wrote a bigass comment. I won't do that again! :)

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i agree with everything you said about the princess, it may not be the actress' fault but her exaggerated expressions don't look natural at all. it's like.. over acting?

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I think the role of the Princess is intended to server some comical relief into the otherwise heavy plot besides being a romantic interest. And it's necessary to to be slightly over-expressive when one is playing a humorous role(Jang Hyuk in Fated to Love You for example). Plus she is also supposed to be complete opposite of her husband, cool Prince, so I think it's not only natural but also necessary for the actress to portray her character this way. That's is why I'm loving her and Seung Po. As I said previously, I'd rather be bored if she was submissive or calculated.

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I agree with you that we would be bored if she was submissive or calculated. :) I was not saying I didnt like her character, on the contary I really like it, it's just that I feel that it's done in a very exagerated and cliché way. I know it's for comical relief, but it's as if they suddenly switched the genre of the drama into burlesque. I don't feel like this when it comes to Seung Po, because the comedy is included naturally. Here with the princess I feel it's too much, it's like the action scenes, I feel like they are screaming in my face "LOOK IT'S FUNNY AND SHE'S AN ADORABLE FEMALE", which only makes it annoying to me... :(

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@Waca thank you for putting into words my feelings about the princess. Same here I like the character and feel sympathy but at the same times yea her expressions don't really fit the tone of everything else even in humor. Totally agree so its a bit annoying though I still like her. Hopefully its to allow a larger margin for growth in the coming episodes and subsequent seasons? She'll learn to be an asset to her hubby in court intrigue and he'll learn to love her and share his heart. Or something.

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Thank you museofmanymasks! I'm happy that I'm not the only one who feels that way towards the princess! :)

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(First of all, sorry for my bad english!)

I would like to desagree with your opinion about Dal-Hyang and the CP. I don't think the prince have to explain anything to DH, they are not in a buddies relationship, they are in a hierarchycal one in a time very problematic with many things at stake.

DH is a soldier in the lowest rank, who is in duty for less than a week. And the prince is the prince. In any place of the world no soldier in a position (like DH's position) would reply that they will only obey the orders if the, e.g. a general, explain to him what is behind it. In a normal military situation, DH behaviour will be seriously punished, will be considerated insubordination.

From a hierarchycal point of view, the prince has been very generous and simpathetic with DH, and furthermore isn't the prince who have to conquer DH's loyalty, it is DH, as a soldier, who ought to prove his loyalty to his superiors.

And I thought that the DH behaviour's in the Princess room was a bit sly and desloyal to the prince. The crown prince said to him that nobody, even his freinds, could know about the mission (aka catch the woman), but in front of the princess he purposely told about the woman - who the prince sent him to look for. The look the prince sent to DH was to me very telling (and awesome acted): he understood very well DH intentions. So, to me if there is anyone here taking the wrong path at this moment, this one is DH.

I agree with you that there are many flaws in the fight scenes consecution realm, but overall I'm enjoying this drama, so much that this is the first time I'm posting here after three years.

Bye!

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Hi Nina Lima, Thanks for commenting here :)

I couldn't help replying you when I noticed that I almost said the exactly same things above in my comment without reading yours!

Glad to know that you are enjoying this drama :)

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Hi Yuna!
I read your comment above. And I agree with you too :) .

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Thanks for your thoughts Nina Lima. I found them enlightening.

What I really want to comment on is your English. Wow! Please don't say it's bad...it's EXCELLENT! I know how frustrating and discouraging it can be to learn a 2nd language, but please have confidence. I'm serious. Your grammar is perfect. Other than a couple spelling errors that can easily be typos, and that native English speakers make all the time, I didn't see anything wrong.

I'm native English speaker with a college degree in English Literature, who has also tutored English. Trust me. Be brave! Have confidence. Your English is first-class.

Sincerely,
revlow

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PS - I HONESTLY would not have known your post didn't come from someone whose first language wasn't English unless you had said it. :-)

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Thank you very much!! You are very kind. I must confess I am shy and don't have enough confidence to speak and/or write in English. But I promise I will try harder! Thank you again :) .

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I agree you shouldn't be shy Nina Lima! Your post is well-written!
And I'm sure there are many people here whose first language isn't English (I'm one of those too ;) )

Though I do understand what you say, I still don't totally agree...I also realize I'm not being clear with my thoughts since everybody tries to correct me in every comments :'(

So what I think is (I'm sorry, I don't really know how to put words on it):
- on the official side, Dal-Hyang is in the wrong.
- on the human side, the prince is in the wrong (apart from his behaviour towards the princess which I still think is unacceptable).
I dunno if that makes sense? It makes sense to me.

So I do understand that considering the era the prince would never be considered as being in the wrong, but I wish the drama would show us that he is. Because while I understand the questioning is not acceptable for a soldier, the whole stuff about the princess is not handled well by the prince. He really is being jealous and overreacting.

That's only my opinion though... it's nice that we all have different opinions so we can discuss :)

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You are very welcome! Just being honest. :-)

I normally don't correct people unless asked, but I know you are working hard to build your confidence. I hope you'll consider my suggestions helpful, not critical. Here are the only things I found wrong--and again they are VERY common mistakes:

desagree -- disagree

hierarchycal -- hierarchical (I have to look this up EVERY time I use it! I'm not kidding--I do!)

simpathetic - sympathetic (Man, English is difficult! "sim" makes sense to me. How many other words start in "sim"? MANY!)

desloyal -- disloyal

freinds -- friends. Absolutely EVERYONE has made this mistake with friends! I've made it many times, too...and continue to make it! A rule we learn in school is "I before E, except after C" -- but there are many exceptions to this. This explains it, plus gives examples and exceptions:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/I_before_E_except_after_C

behaviour -- This isn't actually a correction--your spelling IS correct! Just an FYI in case you don't know. It is spelled behaviour everywhere in the world except in America, where it is spelled behavior, without the U.

considerated - considered, the past tense of consider. But gosh, I can easily understand that mistake! After all there is considerate and consideration. I can see adding a "d" at the end of considerate. But it's not a word.

Again, I hope you find this helpful and not critical. Your English is just shy of being perfect. Your grammar and punctuation ARE perfect! It's only these few misspellings.

I wish I hadn't lost my one second language, Spanish. I lived in Mexico many years ago, but hadn't kept it up and have forgotten most of it. It's a shame. But hey, I am learning some Korean from my KDrama addiction! :-)

Hang in there! As they say in Korea "Fighting!" You are doing GREAT!
revlow

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Waca and Nina Lima,

Boy, you both should be confident! I can't express my thoughts nearly as well. When I was in college I found that was often the case, that non-native speakers were more articulate and had a better grasp of the language. It's true! :)

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In case I wasn't clear: I'm not suggested you change "behaviour" to "behavior" here. After all, this is a multinational forum. ;-)

Again, I hope you'll take no offense at my comments. I know when I was learning Spanish I appreciated the help. One problem with English and Spanish are false cognates. For the longest time I went around saying "Estoy embarazada", thinking I was saying "I'm embarrassed". I was so grateful when someone pointed out this actually means "I'm pregnant". Imagine my embarrassment! :-)

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LOL! I caught my own error. "I’m not SUGGESTING..." I'm sure there are others. :-)

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OMG revlow, that must have been so embarrassing!!! But it's a funny story to tell people!!! :D

You should try Spanish again, a language you used to speak will never be completely forgotten, I'm sure that with a bit of practice you'll speak again :)

Thank you for your encouragement! I'm actually confident in my English since I'm bilingual, but I'm not confident in my thoughts. I've been having a sickness for a while now so I have big problems of focus (for example, when I read a book I fall asleep), and I'm pretty sure it shows when I comment because I have trouble expressing what I mean since it feels confusing in my own head (only things that are clear are LIKE and DON'T LIKE, lol). That's why I have been away from dramabeans for a while, I used to comment a lot during Dr Jin and Faith times (was that two years ago? God time flies fast). I'm getting better though, so yeah, I'm coming back so you people will have to bear my comments again lol! :D

Oh and you're right, I should have written "behavior" instead of "behaviour" since I usually write in US English rather than official English. I have no idea why I wrote it with an U! O_o

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It was both embarrassing and funny to me, even at the time. You have to laugh at yourself! :-)

I found when I was living in Mexico that the words someone taught me directly really stuck. I can still remember who taught me the word for smile, and where I was when they did. But this can also work in the opposite direction. I asked someone the word for peanut, but they mistook what I said. People again looked at me quizzically until I caught on that it was the word for penis. Ha!!!

Thanks for your encouragement, too. It's doubly shameful that I've forgotten Spanish. I live in California -- there is no lack of opportunities to speak it here. I'll try harder!

My Spanish was conversational -- I never was proficient at reading and writing, which is one of the reasons I'm so impressed by you. I understand it's a struggle putting your thoughts together, and being sick never helps. (I've had illnesses that have screwed up my focus, too. Not fun!) But from my end of it, your thoughts seem VERY articulate.

It's really amazing that any of us ever learns a language. So many nuances and different ways of thinking, which is what also makes it fun -- learning to think differently! But it's challenging. Plus there are so many dialects in any language. Here in the United States we'll often have problems understanding one another from region to region.

I think even learning a first language is remarkable. It kills me how we just sort of assume kids will pick up reading and writing without a lot of individual attention. It's a very complex process.

I personally don't think “behavior” versus “behaviour” is a big deal. "Color" vs. "colour", "theater" vs. "theatre", etc. -- I understand what they mean. But yes, if you are using US English “behavior” is right, and an English teacher in the States would correct you. (I have a quirk: unless I were writing a paper, I use "grey" instead of "gray". I'm sorry... I'm sticking to it! It just looks right to me.)

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Actually, in a normal military situation, the PRINCE is the one who will be accused of insubordination (or even treason). DH is merely following the KING's order though his own personal opinion of the prince is giving him the courage, and he probably relishes it too.

I agree with Waca that DH does not trust the prince at this point and the writer has done a great job building that up:
- Just that morning, he had been warned by Miryung, someone who had loved the Prince, that the prince was not worth his loyalty
- Seungpo, the Prince's best friend, told him the Prince is crazy and he pities the Crown Princess (and DH is too naive to see that he's egging him on)
- He just met the Crown Princess who was miserable as his wife
- The Prince himself joked that he may run off with Miryung once he finds her which must be awful for DH to hear as he cares for the Crown Princess

Despite this, he knows better than to truly harm the Prince hence turning his sword the other way.

Of course, we know that the Crown Prince is smart and whatever he's doing with Ingguldai is best for Joseon so he is justified in preventing Dal Hyang from entering. And better yet, I love that he went so far as to push DH into a personal duel because that shows he is not a stone-hearted cold-ass husband and is actually jealous, of a low ranking officer at that! (I clearly ship the Crown Prince and Princess!) He could have easily asked SP and MS to take him out (hello, MS and his metal balls)

So to me, the duel is a perfect culmination to all the complex emotions the writer has built up in these 2 characters. I can't wait to see how DH finally decides for himself that the Prince is someone he should trust. The higher the angst now, the better the bromance later!

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I think it's great that we all have such different perspectives and arguments about the actions and motives of the characters because it shows that none of the characters is one-dimensional and reflects how great the writing has been for this drama.
I, for one, am loving these discussions here each week :)

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@Yuna - Me too! It's really nice that we all have different interpretations the characters!

@ checkitout - Yeay, that's exactly what I was thinking! Thx for wording it so perfectly! :)

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This is my favorite current show but I am sad that it only airs once a week--and I'm nervous about it's airing schedule. Is it really going to be 3 seasons? Is it going to end on a cliffhanger and leave me for a long period of time? Please, I hope I read wrong.

I made the mistake of inviting my husband to watch this with me. He likes it too. (But keeps making unwanted comments, like, "they're obviously not on a horse," when the close ups came of horseback riding and the actors are not even rocking a bit. And "why right behind Injo in the first scene of the chase and then in the next shot he's 50 yards back.") We enjoyed the entire episode though, until the very last scene. HOW COULD the princess, physically get in between the 2 sword fighting men without getting slashed? I watch K-dramas knowing that they aren't real--that it's a story. But he wants realism, or at least the possibility of real life.

Side note: I mentioned before, but the actor who plays Injo was Billy, the bad husband in "Couple or Trouble" (hate that title, liked the comedy.) Quite the range.

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Yes, it took me three episodes here to stop hearing Han Ye Seul's voice yelling BILLEEEEEEE! every time we saw the General. He is killing this role, I would never have guessed he had it in him.

I should be watching with your husband, the bad riding is so annoying. It keeps you from being fully immersed in the story.

Does anyone know if the Manchu speakers are doing a good job with the language?

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In general I like this drama and there's a place in my heart for Thawing the Ice Queen/King type romances but I find the princess too exaggerated to be believed.

She's the head of the inner court how is she managing that job when she gets all bug eyes and O mouthed over the slightest thing?

I wish she was shown as calm and competent in everything but her interactions with the prince. He makes her nervous, clumsy when she's normally poised, she can't talk to him without becoming emotional and it frustrates the hell out of her!

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But do we really see her interactions in the inner court outside of those with the Prince tho? Genuine question cause bad memory is bad!

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I’m probably repeating myself, but I seriously can’t believe how suspenseful this show is. I found myself on the literal edge of my seat during certain points of the episode.

I also appreciate what the writers are doing with Dal-Hyang’s character. He’s not the typical swashbuckling perfect sageuk hero who wins all the fights and all the women. He’s also not the village idiot. He’s naïve and young, but skilled at the same time. He gets some things right, but then even when he’s doing them for the right reason, he gets some things spectacularly wrong. It’s entertaining and realistic. The writers are doing well by Yong-Hwa, and he’s doing a great job bringing the material to life.

Episode highlights:

• When Dal-Hyang first comes to speak with the princess, and that semi-sheer screen is between them. Not only were the dialogue and emotions well-done, but the visual symbolism was so beautiful. He can see her, but she’s separated by him, and by far more than just a screen.

• I like how the political story is paralleling and so closely intertwined with the personal ones. The political is driving/influencing and, in turn, is affected by the personal lives and relationships of the characters. For the first time in watching a sageuk, I find both equally compelling.

• I know some people don’t go for the Crown Princess, but she’s really winning me over. It’s not just the emotional/sad scenes as the little moments with her. When the Sohyeon asked her if Dal-Hyang had said the same thing (re trusting him), she kind of pursed her lips together as if she was almost literally trying to seal them, and was just very funny somehow.

• The Dal-Hyang-Crown Prince sword fight was so well done. I believe it really did start out as mainly about Dal-Hyang getting to the general, with maybe an undertone of the personal stuff, and then at some point it just all goes to hell and the men are completely violent, and it’s about the Crown Princess, too, and I’m all “What just happened here?!”

• I laughed out loud when the first started fighting, and Seung-po and Min-seo slam their swords right up against Dal-Hyang’s and get in his face, and he says “You want to keep doing this?” Best unintentional homoerotic K-drama moment since Young-Do and Tan in Heirs.

Great recap, @Heads2No! You are worthy of your successor.

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Eh, that should have been "You *are* a worthy successor."

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I totally agree about the Crown Princess, at first she seemed like a sageuk Candy but she clearly has layers - plus her circumstances (and the actress) make her distress absolutely believable, and very much a character to root for. Which is nice, because I initially didn't care for her at all.

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Great comments. ^^ I agree that the politics are very interesting in this drama for once and it's not a chore to go through the political scenes.

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I'm really loving this drama and each and every cast member. the writing style is awesome. the only one thing that bothers me is the action scenes, which might i add that it is not just this drama but korean dramas in general. It is always lacking as compared to chinese dramas... well.. maybe we can't compare because that's where all the kungfu masters are.

BUT i'm still madly in love with this drama !

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I love the pace of this show, it doesn't drag but allows for the richness of the scenery, the beauty of the era, and the story in the legend to develop.

The crown prince has the greatest smile - thing is, you don't always know what's behind it. I love that he was decent enough to return to the princess and let her know the mysterious goings on surrounding the letter (and more) is his fault, and for her not to be sorry.

Dal Hyang is fiercely loyal, something the 3 Musketeers knew before and that's why they liked him so much, but that loyalty is to the king first, and Dal Hyang has no idea why they appear to be disloyal to the king. Duel

Sometimes Dal-hyang's expressions are so Yong-hwa that I have to chuckle, like the way he cocks his head slightly and how he holds his mouth open - although I don't mind, it's cute.

Once a week is not enough!

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Very Yong Hwa. I find that I am watching Yong Hwa and not Dal Hyang. He has yet to fully immerse himself in the character in my opinion. I love him though. Truly for superficial reasons.

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In defence of the actor whom I understand is an extremely familiar face in the industry...it might be because everyone is So used to seeing him as him instead of the character. It's much like seeing a family member or close friend acting... you would probably feel weird watching them and can't shake of the feeling that they are still the person u are So used to and not the character that they are trying to portray.

I for one see dalyang as dalhyang since I am am New to the actor and I think He really suits this role.

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thats what i've been thinking the whole time if i read comments that they still see yong hwa and not dal hyang in the character...it's because he's a popular face in the korean music industry so its hard for people to forget that and could not help but see him as yong hwa once in a while, but if yuo are a newcomer or alien to the actor, i think one could definitely say "that dal hyang actor was soo good". I know jung yong hwa as a musician and i like his singing but i must say, though, i see him as dal hyang when watching this drama..hahhaa

by the way, i'm freaking loving this drama series, sooo addicting, can't wait for sunday always!

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I'm new to him as well so I don't know what he's like out of the drama. I find his acting good. I was surprised to know that he is not an actor but a singer. Anyways, I like his character along with crown prince and seungpo too ^^

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he's also an actor, but he's mostly a singer/rock star...so yeah..i love all the characters, too the prince and the musketeers and dal hyang...

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Thanks for the recap. Really feeling sorry for the princess. Really liking the show but the only aspects that touch my heart are the family issues. Son looking sadly at stressed-out mentally-fragile king, Or the emotional issues involving the princess. A good balance which makes the drama nicely emotional and action-packed at the same time.

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I love the princess. She is funny and cute, not in an annoying way, surprisingly. Her pain is heartbreaking yes. It is rather a lonely position, being a princess. Dal-Hyang's presence probably made the reality worse.

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yes. I really feel so much emotional suffering there. The prince is definitely intriguing in that powerful inscrutable sexy way. But to be on the receiving end in such a relationship. I can't call him cruel but still...

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"I’m merely an officer carrying out the king’s orders,” Dal-hyang stiffly replies. Sohyeon: “No, you’re defying me using the excuse of the king’s orders. You lost your girl to me, and you’ve been angry with me from the start. Like a child, you throw caution to the wind. Isn’t that so?”

His accusation is the only thing that shakes Dal-hyang’s resolve, which means there’s truth to it."------------------>I dont think there is any truth in what CP said in here..As what CP said to Dalhyang in their private conversatin eatrlier. "You have to listen to my words carefully..Whether I'm joking or not." I think CP is scheming something that is why he is making a ruckus...As what in the original Three Musketeers, they fake out D'Artagnan as their enemy so he can penetrate the enemies and be a spy..With Dalhyang's issues like his pass with the Princess makes it plausible for him to turn inyo an enemy so I think CP will make use of that..So its up to Dalhyang to think whether CP is serious or not with his words and to read between the lines...

I dont think there is jealousy on Dalhyang's part. If there is, that's an itsy bitsy part but more on Dalhyang feeling bad that the woman he live is not being love...

I love this drama. Writer is so good on how she is stiring the story..I hope this continue..

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I love this drama all much I'm begininng to worry If there is going to be a long break in between seasons? One week is long enough don't you think? Lol

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Good point. Is it going to be once season a year, or twice a year?

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Same here I'll be a basket case if its as long a break between seasons as OCN shows. At the same time if it means better quality programming I will wait. Le sigh.

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Just like anyone here I am truly loving this drama. I really like the pace and how the story is being presented. At first i decided to watch because of LJW, yet unknowingly cant help sympathizing with Dal hyang's character.. I agree that maybe Yong Hwa hasn't yet fully immerse in his character as Dal Hyang that we can sometimes see the real YH.. but He doesn't doing a bad job either in portraying the role.
and I guess his doing pretty descent job delivering the goods-:)

Every time the political tension got intense, there's the Princess & Dal Hyang to make the story lighter..

I'm quoting this from Faye's post above
"Episode highlights:

• When Dal-Hyang first comes to speak with the princess, and that semi-sheer screen is between them. Not only were the dialogue and emotions well-done, but the visual symbolism was so beautiful. He can see her, but she’s separated by him, and by far more than just a screen.

For me its also one of the highlight.. I

I'm crossing my fingers to dramagods to make this story good until season 3.

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aww sorry double post..don't know what happened i haven't done yet with my comment and then it automatically turns out like this

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yeah, Yonghwa's doing ok as Dal-hyang but there were definitely a couple of moments in this episode where I could 'feel' him acting rather than being Dal-hyang, so to speak.

Still, it's a huge, massive improvement from his early days (I never thought he was that bad, but he's stopped looking half asleep onscreen and it helps). And he's well cast as a naive young boy, it suits him.

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Just like anyone here I am truly loving this drama. I really like the pace and how the story is being presented. At first i decided to watch because of LJW, yet unknowingly cant help sympathizing with Dal hyang's character.. I agree that maybe Yong Hwa hasn't yet fully immerse in his character as Dal Hyang that we can sometimes see the real YH.. but He doesn't doing a bad job either in portraying the role.
and I guess his doing pretty descent job delivering the goods-:)

Every time the political tension got intense, there's the Princess & Dal Hyang to make the story lighter..

I'm quoting this from Faye's post above co'z i just simply love her insight as always..

"Episode highlights:

"• When Dal-Hyang first comes to speak with the princess, and that semi-sheer screen is between them. Not only were the dialogue and emotions well-done, but the visual symbolism was so beautiful. He can see her, but she’s separated by him, and by far more than just a screen."

For me its also one of the highlight.. I was teary- eyed watching this scene but then i suddenly burst out laughing when the maid announce that the Prince is coming..In the midst of political tension the writer make sure that it's still likeable to the viewers like me and i think that keeps the story balanced.

there's some little voices in me that made me root for the Princess & Dal hyang for their old tale's sake but i know its never gonna happened or else the story will get weird right?? -:)

Anyhow, I'm crossing my fingers to drama gods to make this story good until season 3.

Thanks for recapping>.<

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I love how opaque the Crown Prince is and how that is pitted against Dal Hyang's very black/white characteristic. But seeing only in black and white doesn't make DH necessarily stupid or simple because he obviously can think for himself and uses his own moral center to guide his actions. If there's only DH as the main character in this show, it will become bland pretty fast ala Joseon Gunman but with CP's character, a whole other ball game is at play.

I do get put off by the action sequences in this show though. Yeah, we know none of these guys are Lee Jun Ki but I feel that a good director should be able to mask some of their inadequacies when it comes to the action stuffs but instead with this director's penchant for slow-mo and artsy fartsy shots, their shortcomings are even more highlighted.

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I've said it before, Lee Jun-ki spoils us for watching any other k-actor doing action scenes lol.

I do agree that the lack of black/white on this drama makes it way more interesting than Joseon Gunman that way (and Seo Hyun-jin makes a way better lead than Nam Sang-mi, even if the latter is a bigger ''name'' as an actress - the Crown Princess has some unexpected depth despite being, on the surface, such a simple character)

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Exactly what I felt! The princess does have unexpected depth in spite of her simple character. I thought of the contrast pitched against the lead actress in Joseon Gunman whose name I have forgotten. Everything might go down the drain though but I am enjoying her character and her interactions with the prince while it lasts.

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Ive been itching to asked this, so Lee Jun Ki is doing all the action scene himself on the set? been watching most of his project but i can't tell if the action scene was done by the double or stunt.. im really bad at noticing those small details while watching-:)

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yeah, that's Lee Jun-ki himself in all his action scenes - he has black belts in three martial arts.

(no idea if Korea has insurance clauses forbidding top stars from doing certain stunts and requiring stunt doubles, but Lee Jun-ki does his own because he can, he's famous for it)

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aww! black belt in 3 martial arts... never known that thanks @pogo for the enlightment..no wonder most of his project is an action.. and i always loved him in a Saguek.. from Iljamae to JG but i enjoyed watching him as Sato in Arang..

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Yes indeed! Watching other actors in action dramas, it's hard not to realize/recognize how much Lee Jun-Ki has spoiled us with his moves and the awesomeness of his action scenes.

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I just want to ask, continuing from last week, is this all happening in one day?
Dal hyang saw miryung, get poisoned,jump into the bamboo forest, fought ingguldai,chased him down the mountain, gets knocked out by min seo, woke up in his room, at night goes to the palace to report to crown prince, met crown princess, duel with the musketeers.
Wow...isn't it just his first day on the job?

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Worst first day ever.

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This is exactly what I think. When I ended watching the episode I was like poor Dal Hyang this is the only first day of his career and the day is not even end yet, it will still continue in next episode.

I agree with some of the comment that DH is not just naive he have his own way of thinking he not obey to CP just because he is the CP. Don't forget the very beginning of the drama DH is the future Jeoseon's General. He supposed to passed an exam as the 1st place and now he showing his potential and qualifies to be General.

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I really like that this drama actually has two leading men in Dal-hyang and So-hyeon (ok, Dal-hyang is the POV character but So-hyeon is the one at the centre of the action in more ways than one), and I like the unpredictability of this narrative compared to your regular kdrama. Lee Jin-wook makes such a compelling central figure, too, I don't want So-hyeon to die.

And on the subject of Yoon-seo......her character is proof positive that a clumsy, constantly-crying girl doesn't always grate as a character. The trick is just to write her a life that would believably cause her constant distress and insecurity!

(and let's admit it, her stakes are waaayyyy higher - literally life and death - than some dude in a modern-day drama angsting about liking the housemaid's daughter while wearing ugly sweaters). Seo Hyun-jin is perfect in the role, too - there's just enough humour to make the Princess a character with some actual character, and at the same time she lives a really sad life.

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"(and let’s admit it, her stakes are waaayyyy higher – literally life and death – than some dude in a modern-day drama angsting about liking the housemaid’s daughter while wearing ugly sweaters)."...I see what you did thar and appreciate it!

It's such a Lee Jin Wook show to me, it's my first time watching him and my fangirling is like through the roof. It helps that the character is such an enigma and you're always on edge with him, not sure if he's entirely good. At the same time, I see him like a chess player, juggling multiple pieces at time, and like Head commented, the court intrigue here actually drives the plot and the character development. Usually I find court play in other dramas so laughably simplistic but here there are actually layers and don't make me want to ff those scenes.

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oh yes, Lee Jin-wook is the true leading man of this show in my eyes, too.

Yonghwa may be the D'Artagnan figure, but the weight of the plot falls entirely on the Prince, and Lee Jin-wook is doing a magnificent job of bearing it and being the most interesting figure in the entire story. And yes, the court intrigue is central to this story, not just background for whatever's happening. I feel like that's the major difference between this and most politics-heavy sageuks we've seen.

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"(and let’s admit it, her stakes are waaayyyy higher – literally life and death – than some dude in a modern-day drama angsting about liking the housemaid’s daughter while wearing ugly sweaters)."

Ha-Ha! A thinly veiled reference to Heirs right?

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haha, you caught me! But it was the thinnest of veils >_^

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Urghhhhhh I just want to be able to like and trust the prince! Every time he does something to the princess or talks down to her I just want to sock him. I'm sure his character will be redeemed to some end and maybe his misogyny will be at least somewhat touched upon, but for now all I'm doing is yelling "you little shit" into the screen whenever he pops up with the princess.
It'll be interesting to see what Mi Ryung did. Clearly she still feels betrayed, but so does Sohyeon.
ACK, I just want them to go all back in time so Dal Hyang gets the princess because she deserves so much more happiness than she's getting in the court. It's so sad to see how lonely and worthless she feels.

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.....I don't know about you guys, but a Joseon royal (please let that part sink in) who doesn't fly into a behead-her-now rage at the idea that his wife has been exchanging letters and having private meetings with another guy and even promises to protect her from the consequences, is quite progressive for his time.

I don't know why some people expect sageuk men to behave like perfectly trained modern-day feminist men, but I guess logic shouldn't get in the way of throwing buzzwords around.

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am i the only one who feel the chemistry between dalhyang and yoonseo? love this couple, it's so heart breaking to see them in situation like that.but yoonseo in already maried,poor me. thank for recap.

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Somehow I can sense that, in the future, the Prince will let the princess go for her safety and happiness...He may be even ask Dalhyang personally to take the princess away....

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Another great episode ^^ Everyone has different opinion about the reason behind cp/dh conflict at the end. I think the cp does have some plan which is why he was instigating dh but I also think that deep down he might be a bit jealous or angry because of his connection with yoonseo.

On the other hand, dh also has more than obe reason to act this way. He is mad at cp cuz the cp is defying the king's order. He also just saw how miserable the cps was and she even confessed her loneliness. Let's not forget about miryoungs advise about not trusting cp and seungpo calling him crazy.

I'm not taking anyone's side cuz I love them both :P They are both justified in their own ways. I'm interested in how its gonna play out in the next episodes!

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"Ingguldai spots a horse—which is, unfortunately, being ridden by a woman accompanied by only
a few attendants. He mercilessly kills them all for the horse...
"

This scene took me by surprise because the whole time I was expecting Ingguldai to just commandeer the horse. I didn't expect him to kill the woman and her attendants.

Thus far, a very good job by the writer Song Jae-Jung adapting the novel Three Musketeers (aka Les Trois Mousquetaires) and turning it into an engaging and entertaining kdrama. This episode (and past) was full of action and conveyed character dilemmas/internal conflict vs. duty (to the position and/or country). Also, the ramifications of failing at or succeeding diplomatically and tense political stakes were handled well.

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There was no reason to kill the unarmed ladies.
As bad ass as his character is supposed to be, he would have knocked them away, like annoying gnats and not bloodied his sword for them. They weren't going to hurt him. His pride as a soldier would have prevented him. Are we supposed to hate him for that, cause it wasn't at all believable. I am going to pretend it didn't happen.

This scene bothered me for a while. It seemed rather short sighted to shade a character so needlessly. They something to slow him down, I get it. It could have been ANYTHING! The horse could have been skittish - THEY ARE SKITTISH - and fought him off just so he could struggle for a while before almost being shot.

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I disagree. He was in a country that just declared a war against his and ordered his beheading. He didn't want to waste any time(though he did end up wasting some but at that time he didn't know that). The girl and the attendance were his enemy and he has no reason to show any mercy or consideration.

My country became independent through war. The reason of war was not mutual hostility but the domination by the powerful of the weak and make them subordinate by breaking the spirit of people.The military of the other country just invaded our country one day and conducted one of gruesomest massacres of history. Even before the local population turned to freedom fighters and started to fight back, and of course after that, this 'meaningless' killing continued. They didn't care whether the person before them was a child, women or elderly or whether it was necessary or not to take their lives to facilitate their movements. They killed because those people had the misfortune to run into them! As simple as that. Pride of a soldier?! There's no such thing!

Sorry for the rambling. I thought it was necessary to show that what I'm trying to say comes from personal experience and not just for the sake of the argument.

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And if he was really that evil and bloodthirsty as to kill them, he would have just whacked off the girl's foot rather than struggle to get it out of the stirrup. Inconsistent character but I guess necessary for suspense.

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I like that all the characters in this drama have been given time to develop. I enjoy watching all characters especially Park Dalhyang. It's really interesting how an innocent but smart country boy was unwittingly being drawn into the world of politics & more ... can really empathize with his encounters. I am looking forward to how he moves from a mere officer to be a general.

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Thanks for the recap, Heads!

Still loving the Princess. Her inability to lie convincingly makes her very bad at court intrigue. The Prince knows this. I don't believe for a moment he's concerned that she would be untrue with DH. Discovering a (handsome, single) former boyfriend behind a screen in his wife's bedroom, however, would bother him. All the people watching them could spread some serious gossip that he doesn't need right now.

DH's challenge to him seems almost laughable, if they didn't throw around words like treason. The TM could make him disappear if they wanted, nobody would question it if they reported a brand new soldier dead in a fight.

It seems DH's role is to put the Prince's motives - all of them inscrutable - in relief. LJW's character in Nine had every emotion flashing at the audience, while here, I can't seem to find any hints to what he is thinking. There is so much we don't know, and I like it.

DH's second role is to make the Prince consider the Princess as a woman of interest. We don't know if the Prince ever looked at his Princess as someone to love before DH showed up. That is why it was so heartbreaking to hear DH ask her, Are you not receiving love?” As in, "I'm fine with giving you up to a Prince if your life is measurably better because of him, but for crying out loud, I CAN DO A MUCH BETTER JOB LOVING YOU than that jerk." Which is true back on the beach in a more simpler time. Now? It is way more complicated, just like real life is for everyone. She is trapped;he is trapped, the King is trapped. The Prince is trapped. So sad.

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I watched all 5 episodes in 2 days. Loving this saguek drama and the intriguing plot. Can't wait till next week. Never saw Lee Jin-wook before, but I'm a fangirl now!

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