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Hwarang: Episode 9

As the Moon Festival draws closer, the Hwarang boys begin to worry as outside pressures close in on them. Their secrets are too big to stay secrets for long, and several relationships will be stressed to the breaking point. The Hwarang is a dangerous place to be, and they’re going to need to band together if they’re all going to come out of this alive.

 
EPISODE 9 RECAP

Sun-woo brings Ah Ro a bouquet of chrysanthemums, recalling that she once used them to make a medicinal tea for him. She says softly that she’s happy that he’s her brother, which makes Sun-woo smile.

Ah Ro thinks back on her conversation with Sun-woo’s first adoptive father Woo-reuk, where Woo-reuk had told her that Mak Mun always talked about her and dreamed of her, but now he’s dead. Now Ah Ro tells Sun-woo that she knows he’s not her brother. She drops the flowers and asks accusingly, “Who are you?”

Caught, Sun-woo doesn’t deny the truth. He says that he’s her brother’s friend, and Ah Ro asks through angry tears what happened to her real brother. Sun-woo says that he died, and Ah Ro asks tearfully why her brother had to die while Sun-woo lived.

Sun-woo barely holds it together as he explains that Mak Mun died because he came back to help him (after they snuck into the capital), and was struck down. He says that he doesn’t care whether Ah Ro believes he’s her brother, because he intends to live as if it’s the truth. Unable to bear it any longer, Ah Ro walks away from him.

Ji-dwi sees Ah Ro on her way out of the Hwarang school, and playfully jumps out to scare her before he realizes that she’s sobbing. She keeps going so he follows her out, staying a short distance behind her as she walks aimlessly and cries.

She can’t stop thinking of all the times Sun-woo pretended to be her real brother, and breaks down all over again. At the same time, Sun-woo beats a practice dummy savagely until he breaks his wooden sword and his hands bleed. It reminds him of when Ah Ro had bandaged his hand and asked him not to get hurt again, and he’d asked the same of her.

Ji-dwi covers his absence from the Hwarang school by making Pa Oh huddle in his bed with a “Do not disturb” sign next to him. Su-ho enters the room, balls up the sign, and asks the lump under the covers why nobody will tell him what happened the night they all went out over the wall. He says he feels like something weird happened, but he just can’t remember.

Pa Oh starts to moan loudly, pretending to be sick. Su-ho smacks him and warns “Ji-dwi” not to mess up their performance in front of the queen regent at the Moon Festival, and finally leaves Pa Oh alone.

Ji-dwi eventually approaches Ah Ro and tries to give her silver back (that she gave him to pay off her debt). She ignores him, so he offers to either hug her or kill whoever made her cry like this. He threatens dire consequences to anyone who’s bothering her, which is violent, but also kind of sweet.

Ah Ro looks up at him with big, tear-filled eyes, and says that she’s the reason she’s crying. Without revealing who she’s talking about, she admits that she feels so much anger toward him, but she’s also relieved, and she hates herself for being so torn.

She walks until after dark, and Ji-dwi stays right behind her. He vows that she can stop crying, because he’ll make her his.

Eventually Ah Ro makes her way home, and she stares at her father as he works, silently asking, “Why didn’t you tell me?” She wonders what his reason is for having Sun-woo pretend to be her brother, and what else Ji-gong is hiding from her.

Ji-dwi sneaks back over the Hwarang wall, and finds Sun-woo there waiting to ask about Ah Ro. Ji-dwi senses that Ah Ro’s tears are because of Sun-woo, and asks how “someone” could hurt her so badly that she’d cry like that. Sun-woo just grabs him by the collar and desperately demands to know if Ah Ro is okay.

Sun-woo and Ah Ro both sit up late that night thinking about each other. Ji-dwi is also awake, and he tells Ah Ro’s drawing of the birds in the tree (to represent the king and the queen dowager) that he pities her too, so he asks why she can’t look at him the way he looks at her.

The queen regent is still fuming over her argument with Hwa-gong, angry that he plans to have the Hwarang perform in front of the people. She asks an advisor what he thinks of Hwa-gong, and he says that while he’s the only person who can handle the Hwarang, he’s also not someone to trust completely.

PRINCESS SOOKMYUNG (Seo Ye-ji) causes a stir as she arrives in the city in a closed palanquin. She’s been away recuperating from an illness, and is finally well enough to come home.

Sookmyung formally greets her mother, Queen Regent Jiso, at the palace, and coolly thanks her for her concern over her health. The queen regent steps close to hug her, but the princess’s expression remains cold and distant.

The queen regent informs Hwa-gong that the princess has been highly trained in etiquette, music, and dance, and can be of help to him as he prepares the Hwarang for the Moon Festival performance. He jovially declines the offer, and the queen regent rounds on him and demands to know if Ji-dwi is really his nephew.

She tells Hwa-gong that although she let Ji-dwi into the Hwarang because of their agreement, he’d better not turn out to be a spy, and she asks for proof of his real identity. This worries Hwa-gong, as he knows nothing about the young man who calls himself Ji-dwi, other than that he wants to drag the queen regent down.

The queen regent tells Hwa-gong that if she decides to torture Ji-dwi, he’ll confess the truth before he dies. Hwa-gong asks if she’s making a bet with him, and tells her to do as she wants. He agrees to let Princes Sookmyung into the Hwarang school.

Ah Ro is still preoccupied as she brings Hwa-gong tea later that day, and he takes note of her distracted expression. She asks if Sun-woo will be a great Hwarang member, and if he’s someone trustworthy. Hwa-gong doesn’t answer, and Ah Ro takes the tray and leaves, dejected.

She grumbles to herself while she does laundry, and finds Ji-dwi lurking behind a hung sheet. He notices the disappointment in her eyes when she realizes he’s not Sun-woo, and she tells him to leave her alone.

He yanks her close, and Ah Ro asks if he’s planning to kiss her again. He says he could, and asks if she can really stand so close and not feel anything, when he’s standing there inwardly screaming that he likes her.

When Ah Ro stays silent, Ji-dwi asks again if she really feels nothing. She looks him in the eye and asks if Sun-woo is okay. Well, that answers that question.

She moves aside to sit down, and Ji-dwi sits beside her and shields her eyes from the sun with his hand. He says that he’s disappointed, but adds that at least they got a little closer.

Ah Ro looks past Ji-dwi, and sees Sun-woo watching them from a short distance away. When Ji-dwi also sees Sun-woo standing there, Sun-woo turns and walks away.

Hwa-gong greets Princess Sookmyung at the Hwarang gates and offers to show her around. She says curtly that she’d rather look around by herself, and Hwa-gong mutters that she’s just like her mother.

The boys watch Sookmyung from a distance, and Han-sung is impressed by his first look at a real princess. Su-ho wonders why she’s here, and Yeo-wool figures she came to the place where the best men in the capital are gathered, to find a husband.

Su-ho sneers that she looks nothing like her mother, and calls the princess’s expression cold. Han-sung says confusedly that the queen regent seems much colder, ha.

Ji-dwi and Pa Oh look on as the princess continues around the grounds, and Ji-dwi wonders what Sookmyung thinks about the things their mother is up to.

Sun-woo goes to mope by the river, still troubled by Ah Ro’s reaction to the truth that he’s not her real brother. He sees the princess a short ways downriver and watches as she looks around to make sure she’s alone before taking off her shoes to dangle her feet in the water.

A little while later, Sookmyung is half-dozing by the water, and she opens her eyes to see Sun-woo approaching. She reaches for her sword when he draws his practice sword, but he’s not attacking her — instead, he swipes a snake off of the tree branch just above her head.

Sookmyung draws her sword to kill the snake, but Sun-woo knocks her sword aside. He gently flips the snake to safety, and Sookmyung levels her sword at his throat and asks why he didn’t kill the venomous snake.

Sun-woo just knocks her sword aside again and asks why he should kill it when it’s not the snake’s fault it was born venomous. He leaves after telling Sookmyung to be more careful.

Back at the Hwarang school, Sun-woo silently takes a box of books from Ah Ro and carries it to the doctor’s room. She follows him in and asks what he’ll do if she can’t keep pretending he’s her brother. Sun-woo answers that he’ll live as her brother, no matter what she does.

Ah Ro calls him a liar, reminding him that he said he remembered their childhood, her voice faltering. In response, Sun-woo begins repeating things about her that Mak Mun probably told him a thousand times — that his sister was burned by a brazier, that she cried, and that she was pretty.

Fighting back tears, Ah Ro asks Sun-woo his real name. After a long pause, he says that Sun-woo is his only name, because he never had a name before (Moo-myung means “nameless”). Ah Ro says that when she looks at him, she feels ashamed and hates herself, and Sun-woo reaches out as if to touch her comfortingly.

But Ah Ro tells him to leave, and he pulls his hand back. He obeys and leaves, and Ah Ro collapses and gives in to her tears.

That evening, the sound of Woo-reuk’s gayageum echoes through the Hwarang grounds as Sun-woo watches Ah Ro head for home. Hwa-gong’s assistant asks why Hwa-gong agreed to let Princess Sookmyung come to Hwarang, and Hwa-gong just says it was to protect the Hwarang.

Princess Sookmyung stays up thinking about her encounter with Sun-woo by the river. Ban-ryu is also awake, recalling a conversation with his father, Ho Gong, who’d told him that he must prevent the Hwarang from performing at the Moon Festival.

The next day, Soo-yeon complains to a brooding Ah Ro that she’s worried about Ban-ryu’s safety if her brother doesn’t find out that she’s the one who grabbed him. Ah Ro complains that she found out her brother isn’t really her brother, and she wants him to be, but she hates him because he insists on being her brother. Yeah, that’s confusing.

The boys continue practicing their music and dance, and we get a hilarious glimpse of them helping each other stretch. Su-ho hikes Ban-ryu’s leg over his shoulder and takes great delight in making him cry out in pain, while Ji-dwi looks like he’s trying to split Sun-woo in half (and boldly admits that he’s doing it out of jealousy). Yeo-wool and Han-sung just get the giggles, failing to touch fingers over their outstretched legs.

Han-sung gets the okay from Hwa-gong to eat with the rest of the dancers, and Yeo-wool compliments Ban-ryu on his improved dancing. Still thinking that Ji-dwi is sick, Su-ho shares his rice with him, which is pretty sweet.

He warns everyone to do well at the festival because he intends to show the queen regent his loyalty. Yeo-wool snickers that it’s not loyalty Su-ho wants the queen regent to see, and Ji-dwi narrows his eyes at Su-ho.

The Moon Festival nears, and Hwa-gong reminds the Hwarang that they’ll pass or fail depending on the people’s reaction to their performance. Only Su-ho notices that Ban-ryu is nowhere to be found.

Ah Ro finds him brooding alone, but her main concern is Soo-yeon. She asks Ban-ryu if his feelings for Soo-yeon are genuine, and says that Soo-yeon likes him a lot. She holds up another letter from Soo-yeon, and when he sees it, Ban-ryu’s expression changes to something that almost looks like hope.

Ah Ro says that if Ban-ryu’s feelings are not sincere, then she’ll tear up the letter right now. We don’t hear Ban-ryu’s answer, but next thing we know, he’s reading Soo-yeon’s letter. Awww. He smiles as he reads that she’s looking forward to watching him dance at the Moon Festival, and says that she’ll always support him.

The boys gather that night for one last rehearsal, and they do seem to have improved by leaps and bounds. The princess’s arrival unnerves them, and Hwa-gong informs them that she’ll be staying here for a while to help. One drummer pipes up and asks what the princess is good at, and she confidently steps to the middle of the rehearsal space.

Princess Sookmyung draws her sword and executes a few precise acrobatic moves, all the while holding challenging eye contact with Sun-woo. Woo-reuk starts beating a simple rhythm on the drum as the princess continues her sword dance, ending with a flourish. She then levels her sword at the throat of the Hwarang who asked what she’s good at.

The princess addresses the entire Hwarang, and says that she heard this will be their first introduction to the public. She warns that they can’t make a single mistake, and behind her, Hwa-gong smiles.

As the town women pretty themselves up so as not to be outshone by the beautiful Hwarang men, Minister Park and Ho Gong also prepare for the Moon Festival. Ho Gong assures Minister Park that Ban-ryu will do as they instructed and ruin the performance.

Ji-dwi visits Ah Ro and attempts to cheer her up, and she sighs that he must be sleeping well lately. He asks if she’ll sleep with him if he isn’t, cheeky boy. Ah Ro whips out an acupuncture needle and warns him not to even try it.

He asks if she’s coming to the Moon Festival, and says that he wants to dance for her. He leaves, and Ah Ro sighs that she’s getting tired of hearing him say the same things over and over.

Ah Ro runs into Sun-woo outside later, and steps up to say that he’s not her brother. She says she’s only staying silent about this because it’s a crime to hide a low-born, and because she feels sorry for her father, who’s spent years looking for her lost brother.

Sun-woo stops her from walking away, and reaches up to smooth her tousled hair. He asks softly if she’s coming later, but Ah Ro slaps away his hand. With one last accusing glare, she leaves, muttering that he’s not her brother.

Queen Regent Jiso calls Ji-gong to the palace again to check her health before the Moon Festival. Refusing to look her in the eye, he tells her that she won’t be able to sit and watch the festivities for a long time. His expression hardens when her attendant brings her tea, and the queen regent notices and decides not to drink tea today.

Ji-gong starts to leave when Hyun Chu tells the queen regent it’s time to head to the festival, but she stops him and asks if he’s considered her suggestion that they start over. Ji-gong only tells her to dress warmly.

The Hwarang all dress in their performance uniforms — all but Ban-ryu, and Sun-woo notices that he’s unusually agitated. The crowds arrive, including the officials, all preparing to watch the show. Kang Sung, the troublemaker who beat up Mak Mun and nearly assaulted Ah Ro, stops to pay his respects to Minister Park, who comments that tonight should be interesting.

Ah Ro does show up, though she keeps hidden, alternately worrying about Sun-woo and berating herself for worrying about Sun-woo. She runs into Yeo-wool, who drags her back to the tent to help the boys get ready for the show.

There’s instant awkwardness, until Han-sung chirps that he needs help. Ha, he looks so pleased to have the pretty lady fastening his belt, though she’s busy trying not to get caught staring at Sun-woo.

Ji-dwi leaves, stating that he has an appointment, then Sun-woo leaves without any excuse at all. Yeo-wool notices that Ban-ryu is also missing.

Ban-ryu is in the tent where the instruments are stored, and he takes a knife from his sleeve. But he lowers the blade, seemingly unable to do it, then hides it again when Sun-woo spots him and asks what he’s doing. Ban-ryu levels a glare at Sun-woo and tells him to leave before he decides to pay attention to him again.

Hwa-gong addresses the Hwarang and asks if they’re ready, and the boys say they are. Yeo-wool raises his hand and tells Hwa-gong that two Hwarang have gone missing.

While Ban-ryu struggles with himself, Han-sung finds Ah Ro bandaging one of the drummers’ hands. He says that both Ji-dwi and Ban-ryu are missing, and that they’ll all fail if they don’t find them in time for the performance. Ah Ro overreacts, worried that Sun-woo might get a second fail, then says it has nothing to do with her.

Still, she goes looking for the boys, and she spots Ji-dwi joining the queen regent in her tent, where she’s gone to rest. Ah Ro hears Ji-dwi ask the queen regent why she brought Princess Sookmyung home, and she’s shocked to hear Ji-dwi call the queen regent “Mother.”

The queen regent sneers at Ji-dwi for lowering himself to dance in front of his people, but he says that it doesn’t matter, since nobody knows he’s the king. Just as Ah Ro realizes that Ji-dwi is the exiled King Jinheung, she’s grabbed from behind by Hyun Chu. He knocks her unconscious and carries her away.

The queen regent informs Ji-dwi that according to Silla tradition, Princess Sookmyung will be his queen. He refuses, stating that he’ll choose his own bride, but his mother tells him that his feelings have no bearing on the matter.

As they watch the dancing, Minister Park asks Ho Gong how his task went. Ho Gong says he thinks it went well. What are you two up to?

Just then, the drummers go to get their instruments, only to find that every single musical instrument has been destroyed. Drums are slashed to ribbons, gayageum strings cut, tambourines broken in half.

Ah Ro lies on the floor in front of Queen Regent Jiso, still unconscious. The queen regent confirms that she’s Ahn Ji-gong’s daughter and that she saw the king’s face. Furious, she draws a sword, and points it at Ah Ro’s throat.

 
COMMENTS

Well that’s just fantastic, now Ah Ro is going to die because she knows Ji-dwi is the king. Considering that several people have already met their ends just for accidentally seeing the king’s face, I really don’t see how she’s going to get out of this. Obviously she will, or we’d have no love story, and I’m actually pretty interested to see how the dynamic between her and Ji-dwi changes now that she knows he’s actually the king.

I’m glad to see Princess Sookmyung finally make her appearance, and not just because I really, really love Seo Ye-ji as an actress. The show does feel a little unbalanced with so many men and only two female characters, so introducing a new, strong woman into the mix is a breath of fresh air. I like the princess already, particularly how she feels like a female version of Ji-dwi — strong, capable, independent, yet stuck in her role and unhappy at being forced to live a life she doesn’t want. I’m very much looking forward to seeing how she fits into the Hwarang brotherhood, and what she can do to shake up the queen regent’s plans for Ji-dwi. (And to avoid confusion, Princess Sookmyung is the queen regent’s daughter, and Ji-dwi’s half-sister, who were married in real life. Silla royals married within their own families to keep the “sacred bone” bloodline pure. No judgments from me — it was a different world and a different time.)

Speaking of royal children, I’m about fed up with Ji-dwi right now. It’s one thing when a second lead gets mixed messages from their love interest and pursues them based on that, but there is nothing mixed about the messages Ah Ro repeatedly sends to Ji-dwi. She has made it crystal clear that she is not interested, not even a little bit, no really, she’s not interested. And yet he continues to hound her, pressing her to change her mind about him, when it’s obvious to anyone with half a brain where her heart lies. I’m not saying Ji-dwi is a bad guy, or that his wooing hasn’t become a lot more respectful, because it has. But the very fact that he’s still doing it when Ah Ro has told him no over and over is making me lose sympathy for him.

I was willing to give Ji-dwi a small pass for a little while based on the fact that he was probably raised being handed everything he ever wanted. But he’s shown in other ways that he’s intelligent, insightful, and mature, so I’m not really buying the spoiled young king explanation anymore. Nor do I excuse his behavior based on cultural norms at the time, that the king could have any woman he wanted. Yes, Ji-dwi could probably wait until he’s outed as king then order Ah Ro to become his concubine, but that’s not what he wants. He wants her heart, and that’s not something you can force just because you’re the guy in charge. It’s time for him to accept that, king or not, it’s not going to happen.

As much as I’m glad that the whole false-brother secret is out, seeing the pain that the truth caused both Ah Ro and Sun-woo is hard to watch. I do admit feeling a bit confused by Ah Ro’s anger being almost entirely aimed at Sun-woo, because while I understand that she feels betrayed by his lies, he’s not the only one lying to her (not to mention, where was the grief over the discovery that her real brother is dead?). I can’t help but wonder why she didn’t confront her father to ask why he’s going along with this, because he can afford to be more open about the true reason why he asked Sun-woo to take his son’s identity. I see Ji-gong as the more responsible party in the lie, because the whole thing was his idea. And Sun-woo didn’t have much of a choice if he wanted to find the person who killed Mak Mun and make them pay.

However, Sun-woo’s pain felt very real and very understandable to me. I do recognize that that’s in no small part due to the fact that Park Seo-joon’s performance resonates more with me than Go Ara’s, but I think that for me, it’s also because he’s just got so little in this world. His pact with Ah Ro to take care of each other, even aside from their growing feelings for each other, is pretty much the only good thing Sun-woo has in his life right now. He’s given up what little he had to avenge the death of his friend, her real brother, and he’s made it clear that he intends to see this through as far as he needs to in order to make things right. But the spark of happiness that was finally returning to his eyes has died again, and it’s difficult to see him walking around looking like he’s got nothing to truly live for, again.

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This episode was ummmm....boring. IDK but Ah Ro's crying and sadness did not feel authentic to me. Like I honestly felt nothing even though she's technically supposed to be devastated that her brother died. And imo, Ji Dwi continued to be annoying.

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Also the first 20 - 25 mins, contained so many flashbacks. Some of them didn't really need to be re-shown.

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I can't seem to feel anything for Ah Ro, I don't feel her pain or the lack of it. She just fills the time, I don't know how they can sell this loveline when there's nada between the two leads. Ah Ro's got the charm of a rock, Park Seo Joon can only do so much. Maybe the princess would have been a better choice, if only, it won't be deemed as something overly capricious on Sun Woo's part to aim for the moon, but it makes for a better romance than Ah Ro who sucks the life out of me. And there she goes knitting her eyebrows again, I wonder why she feels so hurt and crying like crazy when we all know she is just too happy knowing he isn't her real brother.

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I wrote this as a response to someone below, but I am going to re-post this because I completely agree with you.:

"I understand what she’s supposed to be feeling. I get the logic behind her self loathing and sense of betrayal, and even devastation, on not knowing who/what to believe. My issue with Ah Ro, and to be honest I have to say Go Ara, is that I don’t feel it. I am a very sensitive person, so it actually caught me off guard when I realized I just didn’t care about her pain, when usually I cry at even the slightest release of tears. It’s so weird for me. She cried so much and I have no problem with the crying per say, it’s the fact that I just couldn’t connect."

The character just feels so flat and one dimensional that I can't even feel the supposed love she feels for Sun Woo. I don't even know when Sun Woo started falling for Ah Ro. Like it's pretty good in terms of editing for a pre-produced drama, but its so flat. I need meat lol

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Her constant frowning makes me dislike her character.

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Unfortunately I have to agree with everything.

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Yessss. The endless frowning. Do they think it's cute or something?

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Absolutely agree. They've done this a lot in the series but the first half of this episode contained an inordinate amount of 'thinking' flashbacks to scenes we'd just seen real-time minutes before. My only real complaint about Hwarang is its pacing, leaving me bored every second episode even though I'm intrigued for the most part.

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Like literally SO many flashbacks in this episode, I counted so many just within the first 15 mins. If we took out all the flashback the episode would probably only be like half an hour of new footage. This episode was definitely a disappointment, here's to hoping the next one is better.

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Not to mention we're getting unusually long sequences from the end of the last episode at the beginning of each episode including this one. So much filler - did they run out of story, I wonder? Is this another pre-produced drama? I'm becoming increasingly discontented with them. Cheese and Moon Lovers were both preproduced and were crack for me aside from story logic in the last half of Cheese and the really horrendous editing/pacing issues in ML. Looks like Hwarang is repeating some of those flaws. Too bad - like the other two has great potential to be excellent. Oh well, I'm in it now. Still liking the majority of it. Birth secrets always keep me intrigued and meanwhile there's all that pretty.

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Ji Dwi is such a twit. I mean I understand how he was raised but how come he thing wooing a woman includes gorey descriptions of pulling off someones´ limbs? eww. it is not shexy at all. but I can see where that self confidence and cruel way of expression comes.

and Ah Ro cried wayyyyy too much. on the other hand she had to let all that out somewhere.
I dont really care for either of them though - especially now that we have that interesting princess.
now if only they told me it wasnt Ban Ryu who ruined the drums. I think it was someone else we might not suspect. can I hope it like that?

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Some people are just wired like that. Fierce, passionate or whatever you call it. When they love they love fiercely and when they hate they do so with the same intensity.

The crying yes, while we do understand that it's devastating she doesn't need to walk around town crying that river all day and the next. Less is more girl, this is not reality tv.

I'm so into Ban Ryu that I'm willing to believe that he is not going through with step-daddy's plan. I think that little jerk who beat up the real Sun-woo is going to mess with the drums since they showed him at the festival paying his respect to Minister Park.
Ban Ryu would not fail his girl. (I remember him dressing in red in one of the teasers so I think he'd be dancing for Soo-yeon.

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Ahh I'm glad you mentioned that little jerk! Hah! I almost forgot him. I think he will be a backup plan to Ban Ryu's order like maybe Minister Park didn't trust Ban Ryu to do his job.... Or like you said, he could be the true culprit.

I think the guys will still be able to put on a good show despite not having the instruments. :)

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I so agree. Ban Ryu is such a three dimensional character and I think the actor is doing a wonderful job portraying just how torn up he is. On the one hand he has to protect his dad from the evil step dad, but on the other hand he wants to be a good crush for the girl who grabbed his butt and flailed about it. I can see the battle within, but I want his slip to the hwarang to be a bit more gradual. this is the first time his step dad has asked him to do something for him, so i think he'd comply, but then slowly, gradually lean into his hwarang bros. Augh, such a sweetie! <3

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I'm rooting hard for Do Ji-han. He's got something to show. The prayer circles that was held for his last drama might work in his favor here lol.

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Lmao I agree about when Ji Dwi was describing how he would kill/ torture the person that made Ah Ro cry. I was cringing through out the whole thing. I feel like the writers are trying to hard to make it seem like Ji Dwi has this undying love for Ah Ro, but it's just not working for me. It's a little excess. I also hope that it wasn't really Ban Ryu that ruined the drums.

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more than undying love it is a kingly obsession to own someone. I am not sure if he is really even in love. He treats it like he is giving out a decree. he is totally wielding his authority and for a smart person his manner of speech is already a giveaway he is someone who is used to unlimited power. I am surprised Ah Ro actually had to learn it by listening in.

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You're actually right. That was the explanation I was looking for, but had trouble putting it into words. Thank you.

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Yes, he's repeatedly mentioned that people deserve to be boiled in oil or something when they irritate him. Like, I think that's a perk only reserved for the guy at the top!

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From a different point of view, I don't take what he said literally. He was trying to make her feel better after failing with the silver and the hug lol.

He has no kingly power. He doesn't know how to be a king yet let alone date a woman in the era of arranged marriage.

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@Kiara: he might not have real power now, but he certainly feels entitled to it, he talks and acts as if he has it already or it is a matter of perspective. and he thinks his power to be is for hurting and torturing people. he talks about those things with such ease like he is talking about chopping wood. I just think that´s a bit psycho

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@redfox

Yes I do agree. He is a spanking pure royalty to the highest and that comes with power and entitlement.
To me, it depends on the situation and who he is talking to. If he was serious about what he said, fake Sun-woo would've been dead instead he made him pay by hurting him while they were stretching.
He is clueless. Those royalties don't know how to court women. They are forced into an arranged marriage with their own half siblings, uncles etc.

I'm not disagreeing with you at all. I'm just looking at it from a different point of view.

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I feel embarrassed for JD now. I hope they try to turn his chasing after Aro into a running joke of him having no game instead of wanting the audience to feel sorry for the sexy man with the feelings. It's almost a drinking game now-every time Aro dismisses him, take a shot! Maybe have all the ladies not interested in him and have Paro be like his only fan girl.

He sort of reminds me of the second male lead Itazura Na Kiss/it started with a kiss/playful kiss. The guy who loves the main girl and chases after her (calling her dad "dad" and working in her college's cafeteria) even though she loves the main guy. She thinks of this guy like a friend, but is also embarrassed and annoyed by his antics

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I agree, kiara
I think his dogged pursuit of aro is part of his longing to have an emotional connection with someone. Regardless of the way the script is heading ever since the kiss, park hyung Shik makes the character likable... in the hands of another actor it would be worse..

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And not to mention the fact that Ah ro's tears were so, well, fake *rolls eyes*. I don't really have anything against Go Ara, but her acting in this just seems forced to me. And GET THE MESSAGE ALREADY, JI DWI !!

The only story arc I'm interested in is Ban ryu- how he's gonna overcome his hurdles as the step son, and how he's going to deal with falling in love with his arch enemy's sister.

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Just to point out the point in the recap..

no one with half a brain will think that Aro LOVES her own ( no half blood) brother.. NO ONE

So when there is a girl he likes and who has no one in life.. she is of marriageable age.. although she is not in love with him but she isn't bugged by his advances either ( yes a half hearted bored no.. but mostly she lets him be...someone she doesn't hate but then he is in those middle spheres).. he would pursue her no.. in hope that as interactions increase she will change her mind..

And the wooing is respectful..

PS: I gotta admit.. Go Ara is quite bad an actress.. or maybe its her voice..

when she is crying, i don't know if she is pouting like a 5 yr old when things don't go their way.. or is she really heartbroken ( barring today's crying after realizing SW is not her brother)

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Agree. Ji Dwi didnt know Aro is in love with someone else, let alone her brother. As far as he knows, no other man is making advances at her, so why not woo her.

Every time Go Ara cries, i will cringe. It s not heartbroken cry but more like kid temper crying. And the brow knitting and pursing lips need to stop. A bit dissappointed with her acting. The script is not helping either by turning her from a happy money grubbing erotic storyteller to crybaby with overly affection for brother.

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IA. even when asked point blank whether she doesn't feel anything at all, she didn't say 'NO' outright. she simply asked after her brother instead. so i'd say half the fault is on Ah Ro. i don't think she is as immune to his courting as it seems. as long as he stays respectful of the boundaries, i find his dogged persistence leaning towards sweet than ick.

he probably inherited that persistence from his mother, except the queen's advances towards ahn ji is a lot more ick since she'd actually harmed his family.

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Siesta + 1000000

I am a new fan of park hyung shik. So it's hard for me to dislike JD now. Yes his pursuit is A+ one sided crush but can't blame the man/king for his persistence when there's not many intelligent and pretty girls in the show...

And I recall aro was kind of considering him a little bit in the previous episode though 99 percent of the time she was much more into her brother. That's more icky especially before the late brother discovery.

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now if only they told me it wasnt Ban Ryu who ruined the drums

Maybe the guy whose hand A-ro was bandaging? His hand slipped down the knife when he was stabbing the drums?

(BTW, a lot of swords & knives in kdramas suck in the (missing) handguard department. Handguards are there to guard your hand against that kind of accident).

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Regarding Ji Dwi's gorey descriptions, I just noticed the Queen also spell out gorey descriptions. Just an observation.

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That's like the medieval era. It's hard to explain without sounding like I'm defending them.

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i think it was just his version of a dry humor, like when he was joking to Pa Oh about torturing the hwarang guys for 'mistreating' the king. he just laughed right after. in pa oh's case, they both know he won't actually do it (not that he even could at the time, since he's king in name only)

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I truly madly deeply agree. SO MUCH ANGST WITHOUT ANY REASON - so boring. -.-

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You know the acting/writing is a bit flat when a TPM quote is warranted. Thank you for the laugh!

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I feel like this show is moving soo slow. I wanted more action, them finally uniting and fighting whoever threatens Silla. That's the Hwarang I want

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Yeah, it's not often that I want more politics and less romance. But after the delightful angst-free (for the most part) romances of Shopping King Louis and Weightlifting Fairy, this is super not interesting, 1st and 2nd lead both.

If Sunwoo has a fling with the princess, that might be more interesting.

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I'm with you. At least they are not related (I hope).

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Yes, please!!! I ship Sun Woo with the princess :-)

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Honestly, Im disappointed by Goh Ara's acting. I feel there's enough to her story to make Ah Ro to be interesting and deep. But she plays the part so flat and without depth. Honestly the crying scene was terrible, I had no sympathy for the character and I usually do.

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I couldn't agree more! In fact, I think the drama as a whole is boring. 9 episodes and still couldn't capture my heart. I skipped most part and only stop when I see Ban Ryu, Su Hoo, Hansung and Yeo Wool. Ji Dwi's unrequited yet forceful love is suffocating, Aro constant frowning is loathful and Sun Woo i'm-in-love-with-you-but-i'm-just-going-to-pretend-to-be-your-brother is just plain boring! Seriously, I don't know if it is the storyline or the actors, everything just seems a mess and doesn't work well. I know I shouldn't compare and even though I hate the ending, the difference between this drama and Scarlet Heart Ryeo is that in SHR, they cast really good actors! The pain and suffering at least manage to reach the viewers. For this drama, only the part where Mak Mun died is really touching, but the others.. meh~

I hate Aro character, the constant damsel in distress is really getting on my nerves now. I feel like in this drama, I prefer the other two female actress, Soo Yeon and Princess Sook Myung. I think the princess did quite a good job playing a stoic and cold character. Even when she speaks, I found that her voice suits the Silla period setting.

I don't know, I would probably stop watching the drama now and just read the recap. Aro's character, coupled with the forceful Ji Dwi and Sun Woo naively stupid-but-holier-than-thou character just doesn't suit my taste.

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I wanted Ji Dwi to hug her but if he did, his character would be blasted again for being un-gentleman. Sigh.

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Actually I like how Ji-dwi already learned which boundary he couldn't crossed. He asked Ah ro whether she wants a hug and when he got no response, he just gave her space and followed her from behind. Not everyone need a hug when they are crying, imo.

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@gadis: same here! I love how he lingers and keeps her at close watch without disturbing her thoughts..that's some kind of love from a king!

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good he didn't hug her, else people wud be accusing him of groping

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I thought he was offering her a hankie, which would have been sweet albeit chiche, turned out it was a pouch of silver hehe!

At least he offered her a hug and shaded her face from the sun. Though overly persistent, I like Ji Dwi. Him and his sister. Can't it be JD-AR, SW-SM please?

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*cliche

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i wish for those pairings too.. but alas

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i lol'd when he gave her money to stop her crying coz they're her favorite things!

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I personally think this is the weakest episode as of yet. There was just too much angst, and A Ro crying just inheretly put me off. More than half the episode, she cried and cried and cried and just - I needed that to STOP.

Also, I do not like the princess character. It's a late introduction and I kind of see where the plot is going with her eventually pining for sun woo and - urgh nooo. It was already a love triangle; I DO NOT want it to be a square.

I just want me some bromance, some ban ryu and su oh moments and some soo yeon.

Here, dramabeans:

http://s1266.photobucket.com/user/zunairaghazal/media/Header%2022_zpsb24izgiq.jpg.html?o=0

http://s1266.photobucket.com/user/zunairaghazal/media/header_zpsfmawvjfn.jpg.html?o=1

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Whoa, those are so great! The one of Su Ho and Ban Ryu LOL!! It's a classic.

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LOL
Love Banryu-Suho header. The gate to a lifetime bromance is through piggybacking. ;-)

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I am almost addicted to this drama. I couldn't wait for the the next episode to be released.
I found this episode moving slower than the previous episodes but this slow movement is highly essential for the upcoming bigger story threads(I guess...)
I always tend to laugh at the way Ah-ro cries. But this episode she became a total cry baby...^_^
I donot know whether to hate Ji-dwi or to like him.
I hate himmmmm.....at the same time looooooove himmmm...
The most admirable character in this episode was the princess. I can't wait to see what mess she is gonna cause in Hwarang.
Another prime thing ... I kind of felt like punching in that evil, wicked, notorious, stingy, disrespectful, inhumane, heartless,... minister's ugly, demonic, mainac face for trying to turn my cute, handsome Ban-ryu into something like him. I wish Ban-ryu escapes that evil mini's clutches and lives happily with Su-ho....errr....Su-ho's sis:-)
I found Ji-dwi sort of annoying and stupid perhaps.
I also wished for some funny scenes but was slightly disappointed ...
Anyway Hwarang has found a special place in my heart. Hoping for many iiinntereestiinngg.. things to happen.
and the much awaited Hwarang performance ..
Plzzzzz... Don't disappoint me shhowwwwwww...

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I don't understand. Should the King just give up on his feelings for her? I understand she has given clear answer to him about how she feels ..but should he stop courting and give up so easily on someone he thinks he loves?

Do we all give up on love that easily?

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@sweet&sour That was not meant to offend anyone. Just wished to discuss a character in the drama. We can have different opinions as well. I hope you understand I wasn't being disrespectful in anyway.

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I did too...I don't find him annoying. And rather than see his attention towards Ah ro has annoying or too much, I see it has him being persistent. He clearly knows she has no feelings for him (she's said as much), but he still has that hope, which I think has a lot more to do with her view of the king, than anything else. That's when he began to like her.

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We are on the same team. I could not find him annoying at all. I don't know if I am looking passed on all those arguements over him being un-gentleman is because of Park Hyung Sik's wonderful portrayal.

There is just something sweet and earnest about his action. I will just say that he is being persistent. Yes, he pesters her for her heart, she's clearly not interested but he still tries to woo her in a more playful and honest way, hoping that she would eventually feel touched and accept him. I don't see anything wrong about it as long as he maintains the boundary of respect towards the girl. I feel so bad and my heart bleeds for his unrequited love.

I always like Aro but she bawled way too much and Go Ara is just not good at crying.

My complaint about this show is how unfairly Ji Dwi being treated. Aro likes Sun Woo and I foresee, the same with Princess Sookmyung. So, the girl that he loves and his bride to be is in love and will love Sun Woo. Hmm, then who the hell going to love Ji Dwi? And he will continue being criticized for wooing an uninterested love interest. This is so unfair.

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+1000 I'm seriously starting to resent Hwarang writers for torturing Hyungsik's character this way.

Pining over a girl who is not even remotely interested in you is not something I like/want to see Show! (most of the time in a love triangle, the girl would be torn between the two guys but it's not even the case here, she finds him obnoxious...that's so painful to watch, now I only wish he would get over her quickly and focus on what's more important at the moment : regaining his throne)...

Would it be possible for Ji Dwi to have another purpose in life other than clinging onto a girl who wouldn't give a shit even if he were to die? Something like bonding with the other hwarangs for example, earn their trust or working on reclaiming the throne. Give me that instead. I don't care about the main loveline, they are boring as hell and I don't feel any chemistry between them. I even prefer Ban Ryu/Sooyeon, their romance is more appealing. I want bromance, characters development, a bit of action, mind-blowing revelations............not unnecessary flashbacks, angst, crying....sigh/ Hope episode 10 will be better.

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I don't even need him to have successful loveline (and to be honest, if Sookmyung did fall for Ji-dwi, I would feel weird). I just need him to find true friends within Hwarang. And maybe, hopefully, some understanding between him and Sookmyung since both of them live with similar restriction and expectation of their social role.

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This is what we get from fusion sageuks. Useless romance with a king that would go nowhere. This is not King Sukjong and Cinderella Dong Yi from the Joseon era.

It would've been great to see how he is going to take the throne from his mother. He is nothing without her. The ones who are going to support him are the Hwarangs and his half sister. Maybe he should try and win them over instead.

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Yeonhwa has no problem falling for her half brother, Wang So. LOL

In a way, because I know this is fusion sageuk, so sometimes some other factors like romance would cloud my judgement. If I am in for something serious, I would watch "Jang Young Shil" or "Jumong" instead.

At this juncture, I just hope Ji Dwi would get passed his crush or whatever feelings for Aro. If he is to stay away from her and just love her from afar, I would have hurt less seeing him taking a step back instead of going all out, pursuing his unrequited feeling. I would love for her to miss him once in a while but that is close to impossible. But in a way, I adore Ji Dwi for still setting his goal regarding his position as the King and the direction of how he wanted to build his nation. I hope to see him and his journey of becoming that great king.

Anyway, I don't know if it's just me, but I found Park Seo Joon tend to be overshadowed by his second male lead. Choi Si Woon took the spotlight in "She Was Pretty" and now Park Hyung Sik seems to command more attention, and they both happened to be acting idols.

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I find him bland when doing serious roles / scenes. Not a bad actor per se but he just lacks that certain pull/punch... like you would feel that he's acting instead of giving life to the character.

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What I liked: the new princess in town. I am always a fan of sageuk women with deep voices (Honey Lee for instance). As Lollypip said, having another female character in a story of mainly men and boys, is refreshing.

What I'm concerned about: That cruel streak in Ji Dwi. In this he is very similar to his mother. I'd so far taken Ji Dwi's threats to tear people apart as jokes, but this time he was serious. 1) How would any girl fall in love with such killer courting? 2) Is this how you intend to run your country as king? Ji Dwi needs to grow up fast.

What I wanted to see: the Hwarang dance, lol! I hope next episode finds a way for us to see the complete dance. Would be a shame for all that practice to go to waste.

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Do not worry about Ji Dwi, as far as I know he was/is celebrated as a very good king of Shilla ^^

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So this episodes had fair share of crying and crying and some more crying. I got fed up and bored with it half way through. I like Ah Ro but she annoyed me a lot in this episode. Why did she not mourn her brother's death who loved her and longed for her so much. Instead she was wailing for Sun Woo's lies.

I wanted more Ban Ryu and his lady this week. More of them being sweet and romantic please ?

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I'm glad I'm not the only one who felt annoyed with how JiDwi approach AhRo. As much as I love ParkHyungShik (I mean just look at that preweeety face), I really really totally hates JiDwi right now. That is not the way to gain women heart bruh. I usually rooting for the the second lead but with JiDwi, I just cant. He just soo wrong with his moves. I liked him with PaOh, or with other Hwarang, even being the hidden king but loathe him when he with AhRo.

About BanRyu, I have a feeling (barely holding on a thin string) that he did not destroy the equipment. His dilemma is real, between saving his father who treated badly by sinister Minister Park and his newly found happiness and love towards SooYeon.

Finally .. the secret is out! I kind of understand AhRo being mad at the fact that Sunwoo is not her oraboni rather than the fact that her real oraboni is dead. Before Sunwoo arrived, she might have little faith her oraboni is still alive and have long settle with losing her oraboni for good. Then long lost oraboni was there, she was happy, then the person is not her oraboni. Betrayal is stronger than grief for her IMO.

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+1 He is just forcing his feelings onto her, although she is not one bit interested and stated as much at least 10th times through the course of this drama, added to the forceful kiss, the supposedly romantic scenes turn cheesy and uncomfortable..

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Ban Ryu didn't do it...its gotta be his "friend...the one who got his but kicked by Sunwoo for beating up Makmoon, tried to drag Ah Ro away and was angry because he didn't become a Hwa rang warrior. It has to be him. Why else would they show him talking to Minister Park? Or even the scene where Minister Park was in the place where all the rejected men that didn't make it into Hwa rang congregated (in a past episode)?

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Ah, but I kin of *do* want it to be Ban Ryu - at least for now. I want him to lose at least one struggle with himself before truly joining the hwarang team.

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That is not the way to gain women heart bruh

One way to win her heart might be to save her from her predicament at the end of the episode. He could probably do it just by speaking up, and saving her ought to make her dislike him a little less, right?

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This episode had too much filler. The plot didn’t move much. Too many flashbacks. I get that Ah Ro had to reflect about her feelings about Sun Woo and the truth about her brother, but Sun Woo’s flashbacks felt unnecessary.

I was really waiting for Hwarang’s dance performance and the aftermath of Ban Ryu’s task. AND the meeting between Ban Ryu and Soo Yeon.

I have not seen the actress playing Princess Sook Myung before. She looks so young, but her deep and mature voice threw me off. It’s kinda jarring. I am looking forward to seeing another strong female character though.

I started feeling it a bit more for Ji Dwi during the laundry scene when he confessed more of his feelings to Ah Ro and she completely ignored his question, asking about her brother instead. But then again, she has rejected him a few times already so I wish he’d get over her soon.

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I have seen the actress (Seo Ye Ji) who played the Princess only in films before: one as Queen Jeongsun (king yeongjo's 2nd queen) in the film Sado and as a noble woman in the film Seondal.

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I think Seo Ye-ji (the actress playing Sookmyung) purposefully deepened her voice a bit here. I watched her in Moorim and Potato Star before, and while she does have a deep voice, it's not to this extent.

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Since AR doesn't seem to have some birth secret a relationship with Ji Dwi can never be anyway. Non shippers dont need to worry.

The bone rank system was law in Silla. Marriage outside the system was illegal and Ji dwi has a lot to lose. She can never be Queen consort since she is not sacred bone or even a concubine since she is not pure true bone.

Even though Jinheung and Seondek were sympathetic to low ranks and were patrons of talent in arts, science and agriculture they never repealed the law since it secured their right to the throne.

When it comes to a choice between the girl and the throne I think we all know what choice Ji Dwi will make.

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I agree with you. We all know what his ultimate choice will be.

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Aware of that too. He is getting his heart broken and mend it by choosing his throne knowing that he could not get passed the bone rank system.

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I don't think marrying outside your bone rank was illegal at all. In history some married below their rank even the "sacred bone." Just like Lord Ahn-ji in this drama. He married a low class servant and that's why Ah-ro is a half breed.

The strict "sacred bone" class didn't last at all. It ended with Queen Jin-deok. King Muyeol aka Kim Chunchu a true bone, ascended the throne after Queen Jin-deok.

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but it was still very much in force in king jinheung's era, so if they're sticking with history in that aspect, SMJ would end up with the princess

even if it's not illegal, true bones marrying below their rank would 'fall from grace' and probably lose their status as in the case of ahn ji

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I didn't say it wasn't enforced. It was strict but that doesn't mean the "sacred bones" and "true bones" didn't marry below their ranks.
Sometimes they were forced to demote themselves to give up their status and power. That happened to
King Muyeol's father.
Lord Alcheon's father was a sacred bone but married a true bone so his son doesn't become a sacred bone and fight over the throne.

In this drama, Lord Ahn-ji probably married Ah-ro's mother for a couple reasons:
Maybe he was forced by the late king to marry someone else. Marrying his daughter would not produce an heir to the throne because he was just a true bone. Maybe he had a passion for medicine over politics. Maybe he wanted his children to be free to do what they want to do etc.

Of course Princess Sookmyung will end up with Jin-heung. She was his wife in history. I'd be surprised if they'll change it.

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@ Kiara - Illegal as in you would be down ranked, loss of status and assets etc.

Remember, Beopheung had promulgated it into law as opposed to just a societal practise.Silla remains the only country in the world to have legally enforced a caste system.

I agree the bone rank system was disentigrating this since there were very sacred bones and pure true bones left. BR and HS seem to also be the last pure true bone males of their families.

Cheonmyeong gave up her status and right to the throne by marrying a true bone.

The law did end feuding and secured the throne for the Kim family.

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@Moose
I get it thank you! You were talking about "illegal" and I was rambling about how the bone rank system was being strict.
I never thought of it as a law because it was something that the late king came up with. I just can't imagine the Hwabaek council agreeing to implement it knowing that it would make the royal family more powerful.

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"Silla remains the only country to have enforced a caste system by law." Are you sure? Somehow I don't think so.

Also, sacred bones did not lose their bone rank simply because they married someone below their rank. They must have committed some unpardonable act themselves to be demoted (like eloping, being a bad usurper king etc.). And if you lose your bone rank, that means everybody deriving their bone rank from yours (i.e. Your children) will lose their rank as well. But your spouse who do not derive their bone rank from yours will not lose it simply because they married you.

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Lollypip, I adore Sei Ye Ji as an actor too and I like her in reality even more. She is an exceptionally thoughtful, well spoken lady. By fangirling aside, I like how badass her character is. You're right about the unbalanced make female ratio in the show. But mostly, because she is clearly here to shake things up and she is no delicate flower.
I was also not convinced of Ahro's sorrow, it felt forced ant it didn't feel like her grief was authentic.

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my first thought at the princess´s sword dance was: "She is awesome. Can we just have everyone crushing on her instead?" But then I realized she would prob be super annoyed by that.

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But that super annoyed would be so entertaining. I can just see Han Sung leading them all, following her around like the puppy he is.

On a completely superficial note, I am totally jealous of her hair.

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That would be so much fun to watch! I also have hair envy. I have frizzy, curly hair, and I love it when it's flat-ironed. Too bad the Florida humidity destroys it in 3 seconds, lol!

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In the original Hwarang there were two female wonwha.
It's good to have more women inside the Hwarang camp.
Love Ah-ro friendship with Su-ho's sister and their conversations over the gate. They are just the best of friends but this princess will be the opposite.

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Can someone just ARRESt the musical director of Hwarang, and throw him into a Shilla jail until this drama is over ?!!! Or even better never release him!!!!!

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Oh, why?

There is one track that I particularly like, which they played when Sun Woo is sitting all miserable by the river.

I also like the cheerful track they played last episode when the boys are practicing their dance, even though it is completely modern. It seems to be the shows' theme song anyway.

This episode didn't have a lot going for it, honestly, so the music didn't have much to go by either.

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haha @wishfultoki xD Thats one way of seeing it!

I mean the directing is already horrible, the story lacking and the cherry on the cake is truly the music, even when a scene is finally good they have to ruin it with music. I even remember that in episode 2 or 3 when there was this intense and beautiful exchange between go ara and her fake brother about him being truly her brother, the music was so loud that I could barely hear what they were saying and it just ruined the intensity of the scene.

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YES PLEASE! ARREST THAT IMBECILE FOR RUINING THE MOOD WITH WRONG THEME MUSIC!

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Glad someone mentioned the music. They play the same song by a female vocalist( a weak one) when each episode ends. The song is so 80' or 70's song that we used to hear when we watched insipid J-melodrama. It was not good back then, it is not terrible in this modern time!

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I hate that particular song by a female singer, sounded like the one from My Girl as was mentioned somewhere by girlfriday(?) (I think).

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Mistake: not 'it is not terrible' but 'it is terrible'

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Started this show wanting to see how being in Hwarang would help all of them grow -- so far the only people I see with much change in their characters are the ones beyond the main three. Glad to see more exposure from the others though. And yassss another strong lady in the mix -- Ah Ro started strong but somehow this whole mess seems to have sucked the spunk out of her completely. Hopefully we get that spunky girl back. I wish and hope that the Princess will not be turned into a simpering mess as well seeing that she started out quite good.

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A lot of scenes in this episode dragged on way too long, like Ah Ro's crying...and crying...and crying. I didn't connect with it emotionally, and mostly I just wanted to yell at her to go and ask either Sun Woo or her father WHY they made up this lie. She was way more upset about the betrayal than anything, which makes sense I guess.

I want to like Ji Dwi (probably because of how charming he can be), but he irritates me. Back off, dude! She has told him in no uncertain terms that she isn't interested. Go work on your friendships with the boys! Then you'd have their loyalties when you have your big king reveal. Grrr...

Still love Ban Ryu and the other boys. Especially Ban Ryu. I don't think he destroyed the drums, the scene of the squirrely guy presenting himself to the stepfather made it seem like he was the one doing the dirty.

The next episode looks like it's going to be much more interesting. Please give Ah Ro something to do other than angst, cry, or be a damsel in distress.

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Every time I look at AhRo now I keep thinking "angry birds eyebrows. ..angry birds eyebrows" . Someone had commented on those eyebrows earlier. Spot on.
I do like Ban Ryu. The actor playing him does a great job. The main characters though. ...I wish I could like them more .

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For me it's the lower lip frown :( which she does both in serious and lighthearted moments. I hope she would just stop doing it.

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Yes i really dislike the brows!!! V annoying

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N the coloured contact lenses v artificial

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I think, this is why AhRo cries so much. Her brother is dead, the guy that she thought was her brother wasn't her brother and lied to her when she actually started to trust him, confusion over feeling more for the guy she thought was her brother, finds out brother isn't brother after all, but brother is dead, felt relieve that brother isn't brother after all, but looking at him reminds her about dead brother, she's relieve that he wasn't the one to die, but does that mean she's glad that her brother is dead instead of boy-not-brother?

I am impressed her brain hasn't exploded.

I totally get her self loathing and her sense of betrayal, AhRo doesn'5 have a lot of friends, nor people ahe trusts, she doesn't even lean on her father. I think while Ji Gong life is about ideals, being a doctor who rarely gets paid, she's the one who has to get her hands dirty. Her life has been about jobs and getting her debt paid, about survival, so when sunwoo showed up, she decided to trust him, even to lean on him a little bit, so his lies and betrayal hit her hard.

Am i the only one who thinks that something is wrong with the princess's feet? They emphasis alot on her feet, and i dunno, was that her 'illness'? Everytime she opened her socks it seems like she's grimacing in pain. And she seemed to touched when SW said 'it's not the snakes fault to be born venomous. Just something on her face when he said that, maybe something wrong with her feet and SW saying that makes her feel better somehow? I dunno, maybe i'm thinking too much

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I get Ah Ro's emotions. She just found out that her beloved brother is really dead and the guy she has been trying to convince herself she only has sisterly feelings for is really his friend. She is jumping from bereaved to relieved to guilty. Totally understandable. I understand what they are trying to show, but the acting just feels a bit off key. I'm not sure why. Perhaps because it reminds me of Jennifer Garner in Alias and how she had the same frown for almost every bad/difficult emotion. I've seen that expression for other situations, so I expected a different one for a more poignant/difficult one.

And yes, that feet thing was a bit odd. For a second, I thought Joss Whedon had taken over directing.

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Oh, Julia - you're right about her feet, I see that now but would have missed it without your comment. I wonder what it is.
Thanks also for your comments about AhRo and her mess of feelings. I was ready to write her off in this episode as bad writing plus poor acting but the way you put it changes my attitude. When she said about her father, what else are you hiding? I thought, now THAT is the right question, finally! Because it has seemed that she is responsible for a lot and he doesn't even really pay attention to what she's doing. Wouldn't it be odd that your daughter disappeared all day every day into the Hwarang compound? So her father has always seemed fishy to me.

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Maybe it's because of Answer Me 1994 and because it's a fusion sageuk with so many modern touches, I feel like Aro should have a close relationship with her dad as they're each other's only family. You'd think she'd be more precious to him after his son's gone, or has his grief over his wife and son left him too broken to truly care for Aro? Yeah it is weird that he never confronted her for working at Hwarang House. When the Queen sort of taunted him with that tidbit, he looked worried. but nothing happened after that.

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I felt the same way too I understand why she is so upset but she ended up crying at random times like in front of Master We Hwa which was a bit awkward to watch.

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About the princess's feet... Maybe she's splay-footed as the result of so much inbreeding?

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I think they were taking a close shot of her feet on purpose. Maybe that's the point?

I would think that General Isabu and Queen regent Jiso would not be as closely related like she was with Sammaek-jong's father.

Anyway, glad she knows how to wield a sword. since she is a daughter of a great general.

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Her father (i.e. King Beopheung) and General Kim Isabu are cousins.

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Her uncle would still be closer right? I guess Sammaekjong was lucky.

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Ji Dwi, really? You've just spent a day following a crying girl who told you the reason is that she's upset and angry at herself - and your best response to that is "I will make you mine?" Oh just BARF.

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I think the director intended to get us to "feel" Ah Ro's grief by overloading this episode with crying scenes. Goodness. I need more of the other boys, they balance out all this unnecessary angst going on.

Ah Ro has really become a huge liability now, she knows Sun Woos reality - which could get not only him killed, but her and her father. Im suprised Sun Woo didnt ask her how she found out and how many others know. But now she knows the King's secret. She's definitely going to blow it and put both boys in danger at some point.

Thank you for clarifying the whole inter-marriage thing. I was confused for a hot second why the Queen wants to marry the two - totally ick. As you said though, it was a different time and that's how things worked then.

Anyway, hoping the plot picks up next episode. I need more action!

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Wait, I haven't seen the episode yet, ugh real life why, but is Ji Dwi's father not the previous king? Or is the princess' father not the previous king? If not the who is her father?

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Off the top of my head, according to show canon, King Jinheung was the son of the previous king, King Beophung, and Beophung's niece, Queen Jiso. They married to produce a heir who would be sacred bone thus ensuring his right to the throne. Princess Sookmyung is the daughter of Queen Jiso and I think a general, though what general I couldn't tell you. He must have been sacred bone because Sookmyung is too. Therefore Sookmyung and Jinheung are half-siblings, who must marry in order to produce another heir who is sacred bone. It's difficult to figure out, but royal lineage is always a mess.

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King Jinheung (Sammaekjong) was the nephew and grandson of the previous king.
King Beopheung did not have any "sacred bone" heir to the throne so he ordered his own daughter (current queen regent Jiso) to marry her uncle, her father's younger brother.

Princess Sookmyung is the queen's daughter with General Yi-sabu aka Isabu.

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“belly rubbing” was mentioned by O_o :).

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Yes, and Queen Dowager Jiso loved princess Sookmyeong over her other daughter-in-law, Lady Sado (the annoying Duke Young shil's daughter whom Sammaekjong married at 7 and was very much in love with)--obviously b/c she was her own daughter-- and made her King Jinheung's official queen when she produced a son. However, she fell in love with someone else and eloped (as half-siblings I guess they just didn't love each other that way). She was demoted to a true bone and Lady Sado became King Jinheung's official Queen and her second son was the next king, King Jinji.

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I seriously have a hard time remembering who belongs to who lol.
Well, at least Sookmyeong's grandson ascended the throne as the rightful heir. Then the inbreeding continues with Kim Chunchu's parents....

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No, she had a couple of sons with her second husband and they are prominent hwarangs appearing later on, but her son with King Jinheung or any of his descendants did not become kings of Silla. King Jinpyeong (Queen Sundeok's father and King Jinheung's grandson) was the son of Prince Dongryun, the eldest son of King Jinheung by Queen Sado. Prince Dongryun died early before his father so Jinheung wanted to make his grandson the heir. But his second son (King Jinji) supposedly usurped the throne.

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I thought Dongryun was Sookmyeong son. Thanks for the correction.
I think it's time to go dig up my old notes from the attic lol. I'm going by memory here like SFD. It was until eps 40 that I decided to reread the translation of Taejo's annals.

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Btw is this the Hwarang Segi's geneology or Samguk Sagi?

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Queen Sado's descendants are confirmed history (in Samgook Sagi and Samgook Yusa) in that they were the future kings of Silla. On the other hand, Sookmyeong and her descendants only appear in Hwarang Segi.

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I figured that's probably why it didn't sound familiar. The detail of the family tree would be from Hwarang Segi.

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Kiara, do you have any further history references on this time period? I am a sucker for history but not much info I can get from google search on Silla and King Jinheung. Thanks!

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Hi celia, I'm not really using the internet for historical informations but to help me explain it in English because it's not my 1st or 2nd language.
I have a stack of history books collecting dust somewhere that I need to reread and I had an amazing history teacher from years ago.

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Wow, thanks for all the info, everyone! Does this mean Lady Sado will later appear as Sammaekjong's love interest?

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This eps is a bit slow for me, too much brooding-flashback moments and not enough bromance (or even some rivalry).

Sigh, Ban-ryu, you tragic boy. You would totally regret it and hate yourself for ruining that festival. Not that you care about the queen, but those 5 boys and that 1 special girl already stole too much space in your heart for you to disappoint them like that. It's okay, though, you can learn from that mistake. Baby steps.

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I really believe he didn´t do it. he had already made the decision when he hid the knife in the sleeve. I am glad they cant take his fingerprints at the time....then again, I am worried there´ll be a misunderstanding and everyone will blame him and he will become even more closed in. even if he screams or beats it into them or goes crazy, I just want him to just spill it instead of brewing on his own.

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After reading the recap, I realized that I forgot about Kang Sung and the possibility of him as a backup plan for Minister Park. I really hope it's not Ban-ryu who did that. And I also worried that he will just let them accused him for that incident, much like what happened between him and Soo-yeon.

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I think it makes sense for Ah Ro to be so upset with Sun Woo. Over the past few episodes we've seen her struggle over her feelings for him and whether or not he was really her brother. I think deep down she always knew but her want of having someone look after was what won over her doubts about him. When she said that she felt disgusting was really sad to me she had spent so much time calling him brother and finding out that her real brother is dead probably made her feel like she was hurting his memory.
The only thing I didn't like was how she didn't confront her father and is just taking out all her anger on Sun Woo. Although I wish Sun Woo would of apologized instead of just telling her to live with it, a heartfelt apology can go a long way.

The princess though! I did not expect her to be this type of strong character with a sword too! I want to see what more can happen with her in the hwarang house.

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I agree this eposide was slow...the first half with all the mopping/crying. I too did not feel their pain... both guys centered on crying AhRo...Sunwoo felt flat too. Jidwhi was a bit annoying but you could still feel his emotions/intensity... I like the princess but she was also kind of just thrown in there...the flow for this episode was off, as others have said..too many flashbacks...did they really need to kill time? If this was preproduced you'd think they would have more to fill the time no? Oh well...hoping tonight 's episode will be better. Thanks for the recap!

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I'm really dissapointed in this drama. Maybe it's just me but when I was reading the synopsis for this drama, I wasn't expecting a love hexagon with lots of crying, brooding faces and silla-pop.

At first, I was rooting for ah ro and the king, but I wish we would do away with the romance now and focus on the growth of these young men as the future of silla. That is the main story that surprisingly gets little attention.

Plus, I don't know how the writer want to push for a romance between sun woo and ah ro. Since he's determined to keep being her brother, and he'll most likely be seen as her brother by the whole world, what will they do? Sibling fights in the day and moon lovers at night? As if that is not enough, we now have another princess set to whine for sunwoo's attention, given her budding attraction to him in this episode. Jeez..

If nothing interesting happens by episode 10, i'm dropping this drama.

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Yup. Precisely all the reasons you stated.

I was enjoying it up until the romance angst began to take waaay too much screen time. I just can't get onboard with SunWoo and AhRo being lovers. I just can't help but feel grossed out by it given that he's determined to act as her brother, up until now she's made to believe he's her brother AND everyone thinks they are siblings.

I also wish they developed Bal Ryu's trajectory more. For someone who vehemently refused to be a Hwarang his loyalty is happening way too fast to be believable. Good thing JiHan is doing a good job showing his inner conflict but where is all this loyalty coming from? He was just recently bullying SunWoo. Why the sudden change of heart?

I'll watch one more episode next week but if no improvement, I think I'll just drop it

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OK I'm glad that it wasn't just me who was let down by this epsiode. First not enough SunWoo I feel like he talked more in the flash backs then the rest of the episode. And I get that AhRo is upset and it's understandable especially after she tells us why, but does she have to cry the whole epsiode??? Also I didn't laugh the whole time. Where is the balance that you were doing so well with?!? And Ji Dwi needs to back off some. I felt smothered by him for AhRo. And when you are that upset a girl just wants to be alone!

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I agree with everything you said, especially this: I didn't laugh once during this episode. I need more boy-bonding time. I like Ah Ro and understand her confusion, but she can't take up the whole episode with her crying. Do something about it girl! Ask your father, first of all. Or does she believe Sun Woo has deceived her father too?

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I'm fine with sam maek jong's courting. isn't love supposed to be nurtured?

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I'm fine with it too. But since she keeps rejecting him, he should get on with it already. I feel worse when she rejects him than when he courts her.

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The first half of the episode felt slow. I dunno, maybe the slow internet connection affected my patience in this one. So I'm pretty glad when the gayageum started playing and it will be about the performance preparations again. The stretching scene was gold! It seems like the actors are just playing on set.

At first, I thought Sookmyung will be the girly-girl type so I am surprised to hear her voice( which is pretty deep). Somehow, she felt like the mini-version of the Queen in the Hwarang.

The ending was good though.

P.S. Maybe it was Kang Sung who wrecked the instruments. Without them, well the Hwarang could just make music out of themselves.

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