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102

Six Flying Dragons: Episode 5

Ah, love. And murder. And arson. This hour gives us a proper introduction to our fifth and only female dragon, and though she may have spent the last six years (plus this hour) suffering, it turns out that giving up is the last thing on her mind. Little does she know that her old childhood friend has come to save her, though whether she really needed the saving or could’ve managed on her own is up for debate. What is certain is that Bang-won better hide the matches if he ever finds himself on her bad side, or woe be unto him.

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XIA – “꼭 어제 (Yesterday)” [ Download ]

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EPISODE 5 RECAP

After discovering the map of New Joseon in the cave, Bang-won sifts through endless reams of paper to find a manifesto he reads aloud, stating that the writers will create a new nation through a (theoretically) bloodless revolution. I think history might have something to say about that.

Meanwhile, Minister Hong finds out about Baek Yoon’s murder, at first suspecting Gil Tae-mi before he remembers how fervently Jung Do-jeon advocated for his death all those years ago. But he dismisses the thought just as easily.

Just as Jung Do-jeon predicted, Baek Yoon’s death causes a great deal of internal strife, mostly among those ministers wanting to pin the blame on Gil Tae-mi. Minister Hong remembers that Jung Do-jeon planned to use Baek Yoon’s death to cause discord in Lee In-gyeom’s group, and sees Jung’s plan unfolding in front of him.

Fortunately for Minister Hong, he’s given Lee In-gyeom’s blessing as well as the chance to take Baek Yoon’s recently vacated position if he can find a way to control the ministers’ infighting.

Lee In-gyeom, in turn, looks to gisaeng madam CHO-YOUNG for answers, in case any of her girls have heard something incriminating. Much to his chagrin, they haven’t any idea who actually murdered Baek Yoon.

Minister Hong goes to another well-known spy, a monk named JUKRYONG (who keeps giving these men eyeliner?!), for answers he simply doesn’t have. But by his “feel” of the situation, Jukryong plants the idea in Minister Hong’s mind that the killer may have had nothing to do with politics.

Even so, Hong wants him to tail Jung Do-jeon, now that he’s out of exile.

Having kept the wooden figurine and Bang-ji’s note from the cave, Bang-won seems to be transfixed on the idea of this “New Joseon,” mostly because he didn’t come up with the idea first. But now he’s determined to meet the originator of the idea, and though he doesn’t say the name, we know it’s Jung Do-jeon.

So Bang-won goes to Baek Yoon’s crime scene, where Gil Tae-mi is investigating. Just by hearing one scholar’s rendition of the way the swords sounded hitting each other on that fateful night, Gil Tae-mi’s able to tell that it was a skilled swordsman—though not as skilled as his twin brother, who would have done the job in two blows rather than the three the scholar recounts.

Gil Tae-mi goes down the list of possible swordsmen, checking off this name or that name if he’s already killed them. It’s only when someone brings up “The Viper” that he turns to his son for answers, and Gil Yoo only repeats the rumors he’s heard: The Viper seems to materialize at every battle amongst Japanese pirates, and kills dozens of them at a time. The rumors began at the market, he claims.

Remember poor little Gab-boon, who’d lost her mother? She’s all grown up now (played by Lee Cho-hee), and sings a simple tune at the marketplace that draws the attention of many men, but of a grown-up MOO-HYUL (Yoon Gyun-sang) in particular.

Gab-boon sings as part of a small play put on by commoners, for commoners. A masked man makes his entrance to tell a Viper story, which begins with how Lee Seong-gye squared off against the leader of the Japanese pirates while more surrounded a nearby town.

The people there had no choice but to fight to the death or starve, since all access to outside resources were cut off by the pirates. In the middle of the story, Gab-boon passes by the crowd with a basket on her back so that they can make contributions to hear the rest of the story. She tarries by Moo-hyul, hoping that he’ll toss in a coin or two, but moves on with a subtle roll of her eyes when he doesn’t.

While Bang-won watches from the audience, the storyteller goes on to say that just when things looked their bleakest for the townspeople, a savior arrived. He was a warrior in black robes with white trim (which Bang-won remembers Baek Yoon’s killer wearing that night), and in a flash, he killed the Japanese pirates. The people cheer.

Gab-boon takes her basket of meager earnings to a nearby eatery, only to be accosted by market thugs who demand that she pay her street tax. Moo-hyul watches the scene unfold, then decides to take action. A rock ballad plays as he begins drawing his wooden sword in slow motion…

…Only for him to slide it back into his belt just as quickly, because his teacher said he wasn’t ready for real battle yet. Haha.

Since Moo-hyul has the look of a warrior, Gab-boon runs and hides behind him as she pleads for him to do the gallant thing and protect her. In any other drama, if the bad guys told the gallant young man to stand down, he’d fight them instead. But here, they tell him to get lost and he bows at the waist (even with Gab-boon firmly attached to his back) in acquiescence.

Still, he manages to find some courage when Gab-boon begs him directly, since her beautiful face makes him weak in the knees. He may not be the most agile or bravest of warriors, but he is strong, able to throw his attackers down to the ground with relative ease.

But Moo-hyul’s in for it when an actual warrior arrives who hails from Maehwangsa, though Moo-hyul doesn’t know where or what that is. He charges at Moo-hyul with his sword raised, and even though Moo-hyul just has a wooden sword, he shatters it against the warrior’s head and knocks him clean out.

The other thugs start backing away from Moo-hyul while the commoners around him whisper to each other about his strength, but in a way that shows they’re fearful of him. At least Moo-hyul seems happy enough just picking up the wooden badge the defeated warrior left behind.

His teacher, Master Hong, isn’t so happy about his victory, claiming that warriors from Maehwangsa are at the bottom of the rung—Moo-hyul shouldn’t be bragging over such an easy win. He knows Moo-hyul must have been trying to impress a girl again, and impresses upon him that he must not use his massive strength until he gets his permission.

Bang-won uses bodyguard Young-kyu to question the painted man who told The Viper’s story in the square, though he claims to know no more about the figure who inspired their little play than anyone. All anyone knows about The Viper is that he appears wherever Japanese pirates are.

But as Bang-won and Young-kyu walk away, the storyteller washes the paint off his face… and it’s none other than The Viper himself, Bang-ji. Bang-won is certain he saw the man they call The Viper the night Baek Yoon was killed, and asks Young-kyu to find out where Japanese pirates have landed recently.

Minister Hong gathers those ministers formerly under Baek Yoon’s party leadership and offers them the right of soojogwon (forcible taxation) on their late leader’s vast quantities of land. In order to increase their profits, Minister Hong proposes that they raise taxes, even though some of the lands are already at the maximum taxation level of eighty percent.

However, since Minister Hong is now a heartless mercenary, he tells them to raise taxes to ninety percent, even if it means those being taxed won’t have enough to survive. He offers them this in exchange for their agreement to not hold Gil Tae-mi responsible for Baek Yoon’s death.

Minister Hong drops to his knees before the group to tell them the second reason they should agree to take the money is for the good of the nation. Now that Baek Yoon’s death has tipped the balance of power, Minister Hong asks for their endorsement of him to be their faction’s new leader. Cue a slo-mo walk of all those ministers acting like rockstars.

While Bang-won heads to the Western province when he hears that Japanese pirates have been spotted there, we finally catch up with BOON-YI (Shin Se-kyung), now the leader of a small group of villagers who’ve taken to farming at night, and on land no one would give a second thought about, in order to avoid having even that land taken away from them.

It’s all thanks to Boon-yi’s ingenuity, and it’s cute how the villagers refer to her like she’s royalty, because she is in their eyes. But she’s got another admirer who watches from far away—it’s her oppa, Ddang-sae/Bang-ji. Aww, I bet she doesn’t even know he’s alive.

She flashes back to meeting her “father” again when he came to find her after his exile. It’s adorable how Jung Do-jeon was all, “It’s me! Your father!” since she’d called him that all those years ago while he was being carted away.

After telling him that her brother and Yeon-hee both disappeared after their village was attacked, Boon-yi requested his advice on a letter she’d written after painstakingly learning how, planning to officially file a claim so that the villagers could get the land Lee In-gyeom stole for the “war effort” back. But it was when Jung Do-jeon told her not to turn it in and to just be patient that she became disappointed in him—she thought he was better than that.

But Jung Do-jeon had been worried about her, even though she would rather take risks than play it safe: “Living means taking action, right? But there’s nothing I can do. I’ve lost my way. Should I just die like this?” That’s when he’d shown her the land the villagers could farm without being noticed, and had given her a wooden figurine much like the one Bang-won found in the cave should she ever need him.

In the present, Boon-yi looks over the land that’s about to undergo its first harvest and thanks Jung Do-jeon: “I found my way, Ahjusshi.”

Yeon-hee’s rapist is still working as a government thug, and is all too happy to inform Boon-yi’s village that they’ll now be paying ninety percent tax on whatever they harvest. They all turn to Boon-yi on what to do next, and she tells them to proceed with the secret harvest as planned.

Unfortunately for them, Yeon-hee’s rapist suspected they were hiding something with their lack of reaction to the taxation news, and has brought all his thugs to their formerly secret fields. All their harvest belongs to the government, the rapist says, forcing one villager to take a torch to the collected wheat piles: “These are our crops. If we can’t eat them, I’ll burn them!”

The fire doesn’t catch, and Yeon-hee’s rapist slits the man’s throat for even trying. Boon-yi gets thrown to the ground while trying to protect the man’s young daughter from the rapist’s blade, leaving her on the sidelines with tears streaming down her face as her fellow defenseless villagers get bludgeoned by the marauding thugs.

She screams at the villagers to run away and survive so they can live to try again, but no sooner does she lead the ragged crew into the relative safety of the forest do they see Japanese pirates advancing in front of them. In the morning, Moo-hyul spots the pirates absconding with villagers caught in burlap sacks.

In the night (again), Bang-won finds his and Young-kyu’s horses missing, prompting the two to track them through the woods until they find them… and the contingent of Japanese pirates who stole them. They spot Moo-hyul trying to jump high enough to see into the shed they pirates are guarding and capture him for questioning.

Moo-hyul tells them he followed the pirates carrying sacks of Goryeo people into the shed, proving that he’s not in cahoots with them. But Bang-won is more concerned with how many pirates Moo-hyul saw, and after finding out there are just twenty, he all but dares Young-kyu to refuse taking the lot of them on.

When Young-kyu refuses to do it alone, Bang-won volunteers Moo-hyul’s help. When Moo-hyul tries to chicken out, Bang-won reminds him that he followed the screaming burlap sacks because he was worried for the people inside. Now he has a chance to do something about it.

After forcing Moo-hyul and Young-kyu to change clothes, he leads them up to the shed, and approaches the pirates claiming to be a merchant (dealing in slaves, of course). He speaks with the Goryeo men acting as go-betweens for the pirates, introducing Young-kyu as his servant and Moo-hyul as his bodyguard. Moo-hyul takes that as a compliment, which is pretty cute.

But Bang-won has a plan, and a pretty ingenious one too: he says he’ll give them one sack of rice per slave, even saying that they’d be worth two sacks of rice in the capital. The merchants balk, since they put the going rate at two-tenths a sack of rice, at best.

This makes them look like cheating thieves to the pirates, since Bang-won is offering way over what they were. The merchants are sent away, which is exactly what Bang-won wanted. He’s thinned their numbers, and claims he’ll pay them ten sacks of rice for the ten slaves they have. He’ll just need, say, five of them to go with him to collect the bags.

The plan is for Young-kyu to dispense of the five sent with him, and to take another five he’ll also do away with. Now that Moo-hyul has Young-kyu’s sword, it would just be him and Bang-won against the five remaining pirates.

Bang-won has the slaves shown to him so he can fake-inspect the goods, but the first burlap sack he tries to open comes with a set of teeth that clench down on his hand—it’s Boon-yi, and she’s not going without a fight.

She head-butts Moo-hyul when he tries to drag her off Bang-won, intent on choking the life out of him as she asks if he’s even human. How could he barter and sell off his own countrymen? That’s when she chomps down on his neck, leaving Bang-won screaming and writhing on the floor.

“He’s here to save all of you!” Moo-hyul says like the dork he is, before revealing the rest of Bang-won’s plan. Oops. Young-kyu hasn’t yet taken his other five, which means they’re surrounded by no less than ten Japanese pirates with swords.

Only they’re not Japanese at all—they’re from Goryeo, and have only disguised themselves as pirates so they can sell their own countrymen to Yuan. They’re ready to kill Bang-won and Moo-hyul for knowing too much, but Bang-won stays their hand by pulling a gold necklace from around his neck and throwing it on the ground.

They laugh at just that gold piece, until Bang-won declares that he’ll give just one of them a treasure worth a thousand gold necklaces. “Look at the person on your right,” he tells the pirates. “Kill that person.” Whoa, hold on now.

Bang-won promises that the last man standing after all the carnage will get one half of an enormous parcel of land, claiming (with great conviction) to be Lee In-gyeom’s son. Whoever lives to escort him back to his father’s house will be greatly rewarded. “An opportunity of a lifetime doesn’t come more than once,” he stresses.

To their hesitation, Bang-won goads them by reminding them that they kidnapped their countrymen for a living—why hesitate now? “You should live like beasts if you choose not to live like men!”

One of the men takes insult to that and slashes Bang-won’s arm, but he’s hardly fazed. Instead he points to Moo-hyul (Moo-hyul: “Me?”) and tells them that he’s the great swordsman Gil Tae-mi, which has them all quaking in fear. (Moo-hyul: “I am?”)

Bang-won orders Moo-hyul/Gil Tae-mi to just draw his sword, knowing that just that display will be enough. But he can’t tell Moo-hyul that, and Moo-hyul is shaking so hard he can’t do much of anything. Boon-yi plays into the ruse too, referring to Moo-hyul with the respect one would give Gil Tae-mi as she asks the great warrior to draw his sword.

It’s only when one of the fake-pirates holds a blade to Boon-yi’s throat that Moo-hyul springs into action, and with lightning speed, he slashes the man’s neck as he roars, “Warrior!”

Anyone else who jumps in to attack Moo-hyul gets cut down swiftly and efficiently, leaving the others running for their lives. One of the felled men sees the badge Moo-hyul picked up from the Maehwangsa warrior and thinks Moo-hyul is from that most elite group of swordsmen. Now Moo-hyul knows his master lied to him.

Young-kyu returns to the shed to find dead bodies of the not-pirates lying in pools of their own blood, while Boon-yi and the other villagers gather around the little girl who got cut by Yeon-hee’s rapist’s blade, after he’d killed her father. She dies in Boon-yi’s arms, and even Bang-won has trouble holding back tears.

Boon-yi and the remaining villagers bury their many dead, and Bang-won follows her from the gravesite to the fields where they planned to harvest their crops. Now they’ve been stripped bare by government cronies.

When asked where she plans on going, Boon-yi says she’s going to her local magistrate to report the crimes committed against her village. Bang-won tells her what a bad idea that is, considering that Minister Hong is likely the one who put the magistrate into office, and it’s his men who forcibly claimed their “taxes.”

She still intends on reporting to the magistrate anyway, so Bang-won reminds her that she’ll still be fighting a losing battle even if the magistrate is fair. In the eyes of the law, the farming she and her fellow villagers were doing was illegal. Boon-yi slaps him for that comment, however true it technically is.

“What would a mere nobleman like you know?” she spits back. Now it’s her turn to remind him what the law is, and that legally they’re supposed to give eighty sacks of rice out of the four hundred harvested to the local and national government from each harvest.

But for as long as she’s been alive, her village has had to give over three hundred sacks of rice, and since their land was taken over by Lee In-gyeom, they’ve had to give all but forty sacks of rice. All two-hundred of them had to live off those forty sacks for an entire year, which Boon-yi says is just two spoonfuls of rice a day.

Then again, she doubts a noble like him can even comprehend what hunger means, which is why they cultivated this land in secret for three years. And the little girl who died in her arms never got to eat a grain of all that they worked for before it was stolen for them. That’s why she can’t stand around and do nothing, “Because if I am alive, I must do something.”

Bang-won attempts to leave that night, but stops himself: “I think I must go to her.” When asked why, he says like a lovelorn boy, “Because I heard a sound coming from my heart.” They turn back toward the village to see the sky lit up by flames—someone’s set fire to the crop storage building.

Boon-yi, covered in blood and soot, comes shuffling toward them like a zombie. “Was it you?” Bang-won asks. Is this what she wanted to do for that little girl? A tear snakes down Boon-yi’s cheek as she says she was holding funeral rights for her. By burning all that grain as an offering, the little girl won’t be hungry in the afterlife.

Young-kyu tsks that she must be crazy, but Bang-won looks like he has stars in his eyes as he watches her walk away. “She is… so poetic,” Bang-won says, much to his bodyguard’s surprise.

Once she’s out of sight, Boon-yi pulls out the wooden figurine Jung Do-jeon gave her, remembering how he told her to use it to find him should she lose her way. “I have lost my way again.” she thinks. “Yes, I shall come find you. Right now.”

“The Fifth Dragon: Lee Bang-won’s beloved Boon-yi.”

 
COMMENTS

Characters in this show don’t just lightly flirt with their darker sides, they get to third base without even buying dinner first. I found myself forgetting that Bang-won had already murdered three people in his youth until he tried to incite a Saw-like scenario in getting the not-pirates to kill each other for him—though I have to give him props for that, because it takes an especially devious mind and an even quicker tongue to get a group of men holding swords against you to even consider turning on each other simply based on how intimidating you can make yourself sound.

It’s a testament to Bang-won’s quick thinking and ability to problem solve, even though there were times during that confrontation where he was flying by the seat of his pants, and he knew it. Moo-hyul’s not the greatest intellectual standard to use as a barometer, but he was much slower on the uptake than Boon-yi was, though I do like that Boon-yi seemed to realize that and said what she needed to in order to help him along. I’m really liking the dynamics among the younger (as compared to the much older politicians) characters in general, since they keep coming up against interesting and relevant problems only to solve them in even more surprising ways.

But it means something that the political figurehead our young idealists seem to look up to is the only one who seems to have any sort of beat on the actual population, so it’s easy to see why Jung Do-jeon has such appeal to people like Bang-won. And even to a lesser extent, to Boon-yi—who likely doesn’t know or care about his political ideals and only knows him based on the secret farming advice he gave her, which she then took and ran with.

As evidenced with her letter with Jung Do-jeon and her wanting to go to the magistrate with Bang-won, Boon-yi still has hope for her government, even though by all rights she shouldn’t. The government and its misuse of power is what caused her and her fellow villagers so much suffering, so why she still believes there’s anyone in a position of power that would give a crap about her—even if they had a bag of free craps to give—is a mystery. By all accounts she should be more jaded than Bang-won is, and in some ways she is, but she still chooses to believe that things might be better.

At first I thought that she and Bang-won were different in how they’d accomplish their individual goals, but setting fire to that storage building was no joke on Boon-yi’s part. It’s nice to see that she’s no wilting flower and will chew her enemies to death if given half the chance, which makes her quite like her younger iteration, only much more dangerous. When in doubt, scratch their eyes out, right?

 
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So is this show worth watching? Don't wanna commit to a 50ep sageuk unless it's really good ya know. Or still too early to tell?

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give it a try chingu. so far, this 5 episodes were super good ^^

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So far, so good! With 50 episode sageuks though, you never really know when it will go crazy on you. I've pretty much invested my heart on this by now so I'll just take the pain and the crazy if it ever comes. Still hoping for an overall awesome drama though.

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If you a fan of Kim Young-Hyun, Park Sang-Yeon and their earlier dramas (Queen Seon Deok and especially Tree With Deep Root), you will most likely end up loving this show. If you are a die hard fan of any actors in this show, you will probably endure the 50 eps for them.

If you a fan of the actual history, Jung Ha-Yeon and his historical dramas than this drama will make you very grumpy.

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Yes. Very, very grumpy.

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I'm so grumpy it's not even funny. I am trying really hard to make sense out of this drama but I can't get Shin Don out of my head lol.

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It's fun! Just watch it yourself, don't ask! :D

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It feels scary and I needed some time to put the pieces together and understand who's who, but if they have Kim Myung-Min in their show, it most probably will be good. With a very few exception *cough* A New Leaf *cough*, his dramas and films are (really) good.

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A New Leaf *cough**cough**cough. DITTO, Parsley, mate! :-D That was horrible lol

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i just finished watching a smart ancient C-drama called Nirvana In Fire and then.. watching 6 flying dragons are just a good idea. why?? BOTH ARE SMART DRAMAS!!

this is a worth watching drama.. but i learned from my experience watching saeguk that most of them got 'no point' on the half way.. so, dear drama God.. make this better than others!!! this started sooooo good and i love this so much.

not a fan of Shin Se Kyung, but she acted wise here. not bad, nor good but better than her previous dramas. more chemistry with YAI.

thank you HeadsNo2 :)

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"not a fan of Shin Se Kyung..."

I have about as much love for Shin Se Kyung as many of you have for Suzy. So that one screen cap of her at the v top is enough for me (instead of 50 eps of her).

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lols. btw are you watching it? i wish to see your comment here, i mean, you like to make your own review and i like reading it.. :D

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I love Yoo Ah In. His portrayal of the young genius musician in love w his married mentor made me weak in the knees, even when I've an aversion to adultery as a theme.

I also love saguek. But I can't stomach this one for its darkness. Yes, we know life was hard centuries ago, but somehow seeing all the gore and suffering on my screen isn't entertaining for me. Nor can I take this show seriously, for all the eyeshadow and eyeliner used. I mean, look at that 2nd full size screen cap, w just the 2 guys; doesn't the right one make u think of Alibaba and the 40 thieves?

If the female lead was sb else, I might be more motivated to try. Sorry, we all have our biases.

Oh, I didn't realize I make my own reviews. ? Being a rather jaded KD viewer of 12 years, I thought I was too lazy to post long comments anymore. But thanks for liking my posts. C U later alligator.

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HAHAHA AT "look at that 2nd full size screen cap, w just the 2 guys; doesn’t the right one make u think of Alibaba and the 40 thieves?" SERIOUSLY! oh my, i scrolled up to see which pic, and hahaha.. aiyo.. i laughed so hard, haha

i have my biases too and no one in this drama, but the storyline got my attention first haha..

c u in another recap then ^^

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I'd take it as a fantasy fictional fusion sageuk. I also have a hard time taking it seriously even when it's trying to be dark.
I want more Kim Myung Min, the rest of the actors are not doing anything for me beside some of the veterans.

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The make up in this drama is no joke. I wish I could understand WHY? Not only that the men wear make up, but they wear ugly make up. I find it very difficult to take Gil Tae-Mi and Monk Jukryong seriously as characters.
Was it fashionable and if it was WHY?
If the creators of the drama wanted to send some sot of message with them - both wannabe fabulous swordsmen, not a match for the Viper - then the show kind of lost me in translation.
Guyliner is sexy. ”I just wear make up, but I am a warrior, not a drag queen” is not.

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omg I'm currently watching Nirvana In Fire. It's so good!

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waaahh.. give me 5 hehe.. yups, so good and im sad it's over, haha.. how many episodes you've watched already?
*emm.. is it possible to talk it here, haha*

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I love Nirvana in Fire and I'm watching this too because the set up is going very strong (with hiccups) and TWDR was amazing

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haha, glad that many people who love kdrama also watch c-drama :)

NIF is really good since ep 1 until the last episode. it's an epic drama! i rarely find a drama with a great story, plot, chemistry and cast! and the most important thing is they let the viewers follow the track wisely.. so we wont get bored.. very nice one. so i hope, 6FD would do the same. :)

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This may have been a terrible age of war and suffering, but they had magnificent eyeliner.

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And don't forget Gil Tae Mi's eyeshadow! I just realized that he changes his make-up everytime to match his clothes.

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Really! To me he looks like Fu Manchu from American tv shows decades ago. lol

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Lol I don't get the need for a drag queen in this show.

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Actually Gil Tae Mi has made a big trend in Korea at the moment. Surprisingly Koreans love him and call him "unnie". They are rooting for his makeup and even wrote an eye makeup tutorial.

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I find it weird but not surprise when it comes to Korean viewers.

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I like his character because he's different. He proved himself to be a really good swordsman too. The actor playing both twins is seriously talented.

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It's so random and I'm talking mainly about his looks within the context of this era.

The only warriors that I can think of that wore make up were Shilla's Hwarang back in the 3 kingdoms era. They were known for their flower-boy image and their fighting skills. (Vaguely mentioned in Samguk Sagi).

The Hwarang Segi (it's authenticity is still being disbuted ) went into details about the Hwarang. On the day before the war they would would put on make up and hold a Nangjang ceremony. They were committed to their cause and were expected to fight to the death. (might as well die pretty while you are at it lol).

I think the Hwarangs ended with Shilla but their system and influence carried over to Goryeo as far as training young warriors. They also went by a different name in Goryeo.

The only thing that I've seen so far in this drama that somehow resembled this group was during the flash back to King Gongmin's assassination. Gongmin's young guards' fighting skills were said to be top notch. When Gil Tae Mi defeated Hong Ryoon (head of Gongmin's guard), only then he finally declared himself to be the best swordsman in Goryeo.

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Thanks for that! I learned something new. I'm thinking the make up is there to clearly distinguish the twins. Otherwise, it would be really hard to know since the same actor plays both.

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I was thinking the same thing too, that they went with the make-up for that reason.
I hope to see more of the other twin later because he might be the key to finding Bang-ji and his sister's mother.

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Yay! I was waiting for this the whole day. Thanks, Heads!

First of all, kyaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaa Musaaaaaaa Moohyullllllllllllll! Argh, makes me miss Jo Jin Woong so much! Moohyul is probably my ultimate kdrama crush (the ahjusshi and the young dork). I kinda don't want him to fall for Boon Yi though because it means he'll crash with Bang-won. I want some bromance too, you know!

I would never have imagined that the entertainer guy talking about The Viper was Ddang Sae! Like wow, Byun Yu-han, what an awesome actor. And by awesome actor, I still don't understand why some people just dismiss Shin Sekyung's acting. She's doing really well, imo (I cried during her scenes in this episode) and she was great in Tree.

In that note, I'm still not sold on Yoo Ah In's Bang-won. I don't know. He confuses me. I thought he'd be full blown blood thirsty guy by now but then we see him still being the soft-hearted kid he once was. Then he suddenly turns Jigsaw. lol. Well, I have plenty of episodes to warm up to Ah In so I don't really mind. Plus, he's romantic! ㅋㅋ Going to be a total running joke now.

Next episode will probably be a Moohyul episode and I'm so excited omg! Moohyul brings me life but he'll probably be the death of me too. Ugh kdrama.

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Your confusion about YAI's Bang-won is precisely the whole point of this drama. If you have ever watched Tree with Deep Roots, you will see that this writer uses a more folklore approach to subvert the stereotypical image of the famous Joseon rulers. For instance, Sejong the Great is often portrayed as a very reserved and careful king in text books or institutionalized historical narrative. However, in Tree with Deep Roots, Sejong, played by his highness Han Suk-kyu, defies all the preconceptions of the genius who invented Hangul. He is very human and humane: he curses nonstop, which you wouldn't expect from Sejong the Great. He can be cunning, unforgiving and yet he is also as vulnerable, childish and fun-loving as everyone of us. His relationship with Moo Hyul is absolutely adorable and moving to boot.

In SFD, it seems that the narrative arch focuses on the maturation and transformation of Bang-Won. Bang-won is always associated with being ruthless and cold-blooded. The story of SFD aims to shred a different light on this legendary figure in Joseon and weaves an unorthodox account of how he became the way he was most known for.

I've watched Veteran and Sado when I visited Korea during September. YAI is definitely capable of giving a chilling and commendable performance you imagine befitting for Bang Won. (Seriously. This guy is a chameleon...his acting in Sado not only left me speechless but in tears). I am convinced that a "naive" and even kind of clueless Bang-won is the intention of the writer/PD at this point. I will patiently behold with patience and see how the story unfolds. I have confidence in this writer/PD as well as the entire cast.

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I've seen Tree and yeah, I'm still waiting to warm up to Ah In. I haven't seen him in anything since SKKS. I'm just curious as to how he would go from this to the Lee Bang Won portrayed in Tree.

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My take.

We didn't see Bang-won physically kill those 3 bullies in earlier eps. He looks like he was only 12. I'm not convinced that he killed them all on his own so here is another way to look at it based on today's episode.

When out-numbered he uses his brain/strategy to split them up. Young-kyu would get rid of 5 then come back for another 5. Bang-won will then try and get the rest to kill each other or Moo-hyul will need to scare them off with his sword or fight them off.

I think he outsmart the other 3 guys in earlier episodes into either killing each other or maybe getting 2 of them to fight each other and then finished the last one his own.

Looks like he is developing some leadership strategy here that will be a critical ingredient to his success later.

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It'll take a while to get to where he is at in TWDR. Beside aiding his father during the war, he didn't start assassinating government officials who stood in way of the new government until he was in his early 20s.

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His transformation in Veteran as an evil guy and in Sado/The Throne as a young man who is eager to please his father to a lunatic desperate guy is so epic!

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I am not in to long episodes dramas, even i tried to watch i am giving up them half a way, the only korean drama with 51 episodes that i watched to the end was "empress Ki", but i cried buckets, but i have finished few Chinese dramas like "legend of ancient sward, Journey of flower"
I will try this one but not sure that i will watch to the end.

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There's really no ends to Yoo Ah In's talents! I love his facial expressions, his tone of expression and just basically everything about him! And can't believe that there's very little scene of Byun Yohan in this ep. I want to see more of him, please! Let the bromance commences!!!

and is there really nothing we can do about Shin Sekyung's contast blinking? (Does she usually blink so much in the prev dramas? I don't watch her dramas so I don't know) It's quite distrating and made it hard to me to grasp the "emotional" scene.

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"There’s really no ends to Yoo Ah In’s talents! I love his facial expressions, his tone of expression and just basically everything about him!" AGREED

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She does it quite a bit when she's crying, but that's about it.

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Yeah, I was going to say I'm pretty sure she only does it when she's trying to squeeze out some salt water.

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*constant

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The last episode had me worried, but with this one, the show seems to be hitting its stride. Yay!

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I love this episode to bits, this is fun! Finally all young dragons meet and have their adventures! Moohyul is such an adorable dork I wanna keep him in my pocket :D

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He's more dorky in the next episode! Look forward to it!!

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Pretty much in love with this drama - marathoned all the episodes up till now today despite exams and papers :( I'm desperately hoping that it's going to stay good for the whole 50 episodes this has because so far, it's been awesome. I love the humour in some scenes, especially when contrasted with how dark the drama is willing to go.

Also, Moo Hyul is adorable <3

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And am completely hooked to this show now!!

Moo-hyul<3

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HeadNo2, thank you very much for the recap! I had so much fun in this episode, I couldn't believe it. I watched it raw and subbed in full length both times because of how entertaining it was. I think my most favorite character will be the adorable and gullible Muhyul. OMG! He is so much fun! When Bang Won talk to him and Muhyul talks to himself in return with those facial expressions, also when he smiles, ooowwww!!! He is so charmingly naive but also insanely strong. I love him!

Is his master a fake master? Does he really know how to hold a blade let alone teach someone how to fight with swords? I don't think he used to teach the legendary Gil Tae Mi. Or is he purposely not teaching him agility? He looks as if he is afraid of Muhyul.

I wanted to find a character chart for this show. I guess there'll be love triangles, without them where would we be heading in Kdramas, right? Even in a saguk, I am expecting to have them, so here's my guess. Bang Ji (Ddang Sae) and Do Jeon will have a triangle of their own with Yoon Yi (the young seamstress girl in ep 4).

On the other hand, Ban Won, Muhyul and Boon Yi will have their own triangle, right? However, I remember from TWDR that Muhyul was Bang Won's fellow servant and bodyguard. Pitting them against each other as love rivals doesn't seem correct to me. Do you agree with these triangles? Of course, it is too early to tell but the wait is so long, I just want to speculate some as a pastime activity.

Also, the bromance between Bang Won and his bodyguard is so endearing. I totally like their trusting and joking relationship. I am sure he'll like it if he can have another bromance with Muhyul if their love for Boon Yi doesn't cause a strife between them.

Boon Yi as a character is so badass. I cherish her strength, hope and optimism, but also her ruthlessness when push comes to shove. Her holding funeral rites for the young girl was tear inducing and awe inspiring at the same time. I am happy that her feisty, sassy, no nonsense character from her childhood portion didn't get lost in the process of growing up. She sensed how dorky Muhyul will be, so she sprung into action and led him by her words, just like she was doing with her gullible brother when she was young. Talking of which, Ddang Sae doesn't have an ounce of naivete left in him.

Also, how awesome is that she has painstakingly learnt to read and write to help her fellow villagers. Being literate will help her going forward with political figures. I remember that in those times, only the nobles, the rich or politicians could afford to learn how to read and write. During some periods, it was even forbidden for commoners to become literate. That was the whole ordeal in TWDR.
I am so excited for the episodes to come. :D

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IKR! I was hoping for Moohyul-Gap Boon instead. She's has tons of aegyo and we all know who likes aegyo. I'd say that Ddang Sae is still quite like his younger self. He is badass and very strong now but to target Baek Yoon just because JDJ said Goryeo will end if Baek Yoon dies is pretty naive to me. Of course, it woun't end just like that. I do like how all of them are pretty much lost now and are all going towards Jung Do Jeon.

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thanx heads fast and great as usual

i wonder about the scene where all the peasants cried but BY
it reminded me that in many middle east and arab countries there used to be a Whaling Choir of women that were hired to cry loudly when burying the dead
and i see this kind of crying a lot in kdrama
i dont know how many of you experienced death - but usually you want to crawl somewhere and hide and cry alone and quietly so no one will hear

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I also thought about those women who were hired and payed to cry. they were present also in ancient greek and roman literature..it was the first thought that came to my mind after seeing that scene..
it was supposed to be a sad scene, but i was thinking about those hired mourners..

i guess some people mourn together.. i remember seeing a grown up daughter crying loudly at her father's funeral, followed by some of her sibilings while other sibilings were mourning in silence.

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i guess for some ppl its easier to cry let it all out in crowds
but i think it is unusual
bc the burial is immediately after the death and probably most ppl will feel shokced unless they are prepared bc of a long sickness or old age

but as in everything their are all types

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How nice is it that grown up Boon-yi is as spanky as when she was little.

Thank you for the recap HeadsNo2.
And yay for that new Junsu song! ^^

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Some of the scenes slipped into some absurd comedy. I endured through those for the dark and gritty parts.

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Well with SSK is the lead actress... With a heavy heart, i had to skip this drama.. Never like all her acting. Hope you get better acting in this drama..

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I've never watched a 50+ episode sageuk before, but I really liked Tree with Deep Roots. Love YAI and KMM too. So I'm trying this one out.

Is the language used in sageuks difficult to understand/sub? It seems like big chunks of dialogue aren't translated.

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Yep. They use older version of words and sometimes you would see sentences flashing in the screen, right? They state explanations of words that they used. In sites like viki where most of the subbers are not Korean, it does take a while to sub.

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I want to see Lee Bang-won killing more and more people. Well, even in history he's know for killing anyone including his supporters just for strengthen the royal authority...

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He was known to be a blood-thirsty tyrant but he wasn't a psycho killer when he was young. He took up a government position at an early age and was sent on a diplomatic mission to Ming representing his country.

I don't think it's necessary for him to kill a lot of people just to prove that he was capable of mass murder since he was a young boy. It's the injustice that he is seeing that drove him for power is what I'm seeing so far. (my 2 cents)

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He's not psycho but he did kill so many people even when he was young. He kill many powerful officials. He even kill his brothers.. He's know as the most controversial figure for killing so many people including his own supporters. That's how he got the crown. But I don't think that this drama going to center about that tho.

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"..but he did kill so many people even when he was young."

How young are you talking about here? I think you are totally missing my point. I wouldn't call him a bloodthirsty tyrant if I didn't know that he killed many people on his way to the throne.

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The age that they portray Lee Bongwon in the drama right now. Not the kid age but Yoo Ah In age. At that age he actually already working with his father building new country, killing powerful officials. But the drama are partly fiction, they are more focus on other things.

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The drama doesn't give any specific timeline because the events related to the actual history is all over the place. It is still in the introduction stage. Right now Bang-won is still a student at Sungkyunkwan so he is not even in his 20s yet. His father is still at Hamju so they have not worked together yet. They haven't gotten to the point of talking about creating a new country. Jung Do-jeon, their biggest ally is barely out of exile.They haven't met each other officially to discuss any plans to overthrow Goryeo.

The first one to fall was General Choi Young and he is very much alive and that means we still somewhere in the mid 1380s. So far he hasn't killed any official yet.
-Choi Young died in 1388. Bang-won was 21.
-Jung Mong-ju died in 1392. Assassinated by Bang-won (25).
-Goryeo was over-thrown shortly after. Bang-won (25).
He didn't start killing his brothers, in-laws,allies etc until he was in his 30s.

There is still a lot to cover and we are only at eps 5. My point is that he was not a psycho killer when he was young (before he turns 20). He helped his father during the war and he was doing diplomatic work for his country before he turn into an assassin to clear the way for his father and Jung Do-jeon to establish the new Joseon.

Wikipedia may give you some information about the history but they are not going to break it down for you.

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The drama can go light/dark/fantasy whatever I don't care as long as it make sense.

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Don't worry, they are getting there soon. The killing spree will likely to start at episode 30 or something unless this drama is more about building the new country with his father. The killing thingy kinda iconic for him, I think ofcoz they gonna include it. Right now they are building up his desire for absolute power...

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If he ends up killing more people at this point I won't complain as long as there is logic behind it. I'd take that over non-sensical childhood fate, destiny romance or whatever they call it. I'm kind of relieved that they didn't start off with one of those prophesies that they usually forgot about during the halfway point.

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I love Moo-hyul. He remindes me of Bidam in early days. I am glad for the actor since he got so much hate in The Time We whatever. SSK is not bad also and I think she has potential as good actress can play fun or serious role, and she is very pretty. I am enjoying this Jung Dojeon and four kids show so far.

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Thanks for the recap ! I'll absolutely wacth the newest episode, especially when there's Moohyul :3

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Love your insights, Head. Thank you for the recap. I really enjoy this episode, especially because each character is given a chance and room to shine and develop, not just being a background. I'm glad that all of the actors do their job well, including SSK. And I'm so excited to see BW & BY relationship coz he loves it rough!

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5 episodes in and so far so good!

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is ssk acting is ok/improving?

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Better than ok.

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Here's from a person who never liked her. I never liked SSK after FK and I only watched her decent performance in TWDR. In fairness, she's improved a lot in SFD. All she needs is a good project to hone her acting skills.

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"Cue a slo-mo walk of all those ministers acting like rockstars." I LOLed at this part! It was soooo random.

I'm absolutely hooked in for this show <3

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Three hot young actors what more could you want? Action, tears, I'm just a bit confused about how they'll all come together but we'll. See they boys are just gorgeous.

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I am trying to be patient as much as I could to wait until at least 10 episodes before start watching. This drama is 50 episodes, I seriously want to be loyal. ? normally for a long sageuk, I will wait until it completed than marathon it. But with Yoo Ah In here..... ? I don't know I have enough patience or not ??

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Better than ok.

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I just have so much love for this show and the ending scenes when they introduce each other the six dragons are just %$(#%*[email protected](

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urgh i don't know there are bits of the show that i found superb but they have to be viewed in isolation because tonally i felt it was all over the place???? like i'm no saguek purist but i flinched when they intro-ed moo hyul with some rock music like thing, and the glowy effects when he sees pretty girls- like are we in a modern rom com???

and the next thing we know we get full out dark character study, i.e. bang won making them all kill each other- but then it suddenly transits to comedy as moo hyul becomes a bumbling fool for not knowing to draw his sword- then it becomes an action scene where moo hyul becomes awesome (complete with rock music!!!). and it is a pity because i felt it made yoo ah in's 'saw' scene as Heads so aptly put it, seem like strange over-acting because it was so out of place with what has happening before (i.e. fun and smart heist planning scheme), even though if we were to look at that scene alone it would have been great.

but plus points. this episode showed i think how smart bang won is, which is really enjoy. talking your way out of the situation with that level of confidence was bad ass. it also showed that ssk's boon yi (while i must say is missing the precocious spark that her younger self had) is rather dark side as well. it was a little unfortunate that the crops idea had to be credited to sambong (and spoiler alert (!), another of her actions which would have showed her smartness was also instead attributed to sambong telling her in yet another flashback) but she's no idealistic spunky girl. yay for layers!!!

byun yo han is a stand out for me, his transitions between his adopted personas were SO FLAWLESS he is so greattttttt. i've never seen anything of his other than misaeng so i'm very impressed rn. lastly, moo hyul is like the ultimately dork like he is the most awkward piece of warrior ass ever. if King Sejong could travel back in time to see this fictional moo hyul he would be laughing so hard

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I'm confused with flashbacks. They just come without warning then shifts back and forth.

HAHAHAHA. I'd want to see King Sejong going back in time just to discover this young Moohyul. He's been dorky even as an ahjusshi but you know, girls, girls, girls.

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I completely agree about the tonality being all over the place...but I've thought that before now. There's random humor, fantasy (well at least, um, that martial arts expert kind of unrealistic), and a weird obsession with unrealistic pigs...followed by tons of revenge/anger/sadness.

I'm still enjoying this show though. It's just that with it being 50 episodes, you'd think it would feel a little less all thrown in.

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"and is there really nothing we can do about Shin Sekyung’s contast blinking? (Does she usually blink so much in the prev dramas? I don’t watch her dramas so I don’t know) It’s quite distrating and made it hard to me to grasp the “emotional” scene."

@apluszee: thanks God I'm not the only one who realize her annoying blinking habit.
YES. YES. She usually blink blink and blink in her dramas and I found it pretty annoying.
I dislike her acting in Iron Man and The Girl Who Sees Smell, mostly because of her monotone expression and that non-stop blinking.
But she was okay in Tree With Deep Roots.
I think she can do well enough in sageuk.
If only that annoying blinking stop..... she is okay in this drama so far ( still not good enough to me, but okay )

Thanks Headsno2 for the recap, and YAAAY for that Junsu song. :)

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i see some ppl talk about blinking so i watched again to see whats all this blinking is about
and of course YAI was blinking just as much and it was mostly done when they were in the sun
and it was in their eyes
what is this hate to SSK and why the need to state it so much?
there are a lot of actors i dont like and i dont go saying anything about them
and im sure there are even ppl who dont like the other actors in this drama they just dont need to vent their hate
what is it about SSK that makes those who hate her need to comment on a show they dont watch bc of her

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I think she gains massive haters/harsh commentators in her past works that now even her slight improvement is taken for granted...people will still witchunting her smallest mistake to make it like a massive sin (like blinking??duhhhhhh-haters are thirst of issues to downgrade her)...at least she is improving and working hard...

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well to go by her drama schedule she is a workaholic
she works very hard and seem to give her all

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WTF was that Ddddddang-Sae (ala Yi Bang Ji) when he was needed most? His own sister, Boon Yi, was in mortal danger and he was MIA. Typical of him, years ago his love interest, Yeon Hee, was raped and he just stood by helplessly.

Speaking of Yeon Hee, when is she going to reappear. There is an adult Yeon-Hee (played by 정유미) so she has to reappear sometime, sooner, I hope.

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Next week I think.

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i think Yeon Hee - jung Yoo Mi is supposed to appear on the seventh episode

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i also thought why he disappear when needed i guess he randomly check upon her so maybe he wasnt neer at the time
and since they parted in a bad way
he is not confident to confront her
i must say that i didnt like BY infusing such guilt in him
making him in a way the revenge seeker he is now
and probably afraid to meet her till he "redeems" himself

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I wouldn't call it hate, just nitpicking.

And this episode must have contained the scene in shown in the trailer which a previous commenter used to point out SSK'S lack of facial expression as proof that she needs to work on her acting skills. I haven't watched the show at all so I can't say, but the commenter most likely got the context wrong from what I can read from the recap.

As to the why for this sort of behaviour, simple. She's no hot young ACTOR.

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well i hope you do watch it i think youll enjoy it if you liked TWDR

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Oops, my comment above is in reply to nara's comment at #31.

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Oooh just watched ep 6. It's awesome!

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I needed this recap to help sort out and keep track of who's who, so thanks HeadsNo2 for walking through it so clearly.

The Slomo walk, ministers as rockstars, I'm pretty sure I saw Steven Tyler.

Yoo Ah In is really dreamy, isn't he? He's got that head back tilt eyes cast downward look down.

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I am so in love with 신세경 (Sin Se Gyeong). She had blossomed so much since Tree With Deep Roots where she played 소이 (So I).

My first love will always be 김태희 (Kim Tae Hui), though.

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i think we have the same taste these are my favorite too

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Shin Se Kyung is doing a fantastic job in my opinion. She has the right amount of fieriness and determination for her role. She got better in her last drama: The Girl Who Sees Smells, before that drama, I thought her acting sucked but now I can see she has much improved.

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then if you handt watched it - you should try Blade Man
shes doing great there
and its a very different tongue in cheek sort of humor
simply grea
(the end was a bit...but up to that great)

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Totally loving this show so far! I just hope it doesn't go to WTF-land towards the end. Please be goooòod, show! Fighting!

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This drama doesn't pull any punches. The end of Goryeo era pretty much sucked if you weren't a noble. Women and children got killed and raped by their own people not to talk of being raided by the Japanese. It's pretty depressing, but for a newbie like me, pretty enlightening. So far I am having a blast with this drama and loving it much more than I expected I would. If it keeps up its momentum I may end up watching all 50 episodes of it, though I hadn't originally planned on doing so.

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I love how Koreans revere their past by teaching a bit of history along with telling a great story. This is a wonderful show!

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So glad I'm starting out the New Year (today is January 4, 2016) by beginning to watch this excellent drama. SO GLAD I waited to start until 26 episodes are out. I'm a goner after marathoning 5 since yesterday. Guess I won't get anything done at all for the next 2-3 days. I don't care. This drama is LIFE!

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