My Sassy Girl: Episodes 13-14
Hyemyeong is so close to getting her questions answered, but her enemies have become very good at distancing her from anyone close to her. With the king dealing with the political strife regarding her lawbreaking behavior, he feels more distant than ever at a time when our princess needs him as a father. But the distance from the palace gives Hyemyeong a chance to bend more rules and find a true companion in Gyun Woo, who seems to be the only one willing to lend her a hand.
EPISODE 13 RECAP
At night, Min Yoo-hwan attempts to enter the city, lowering his hat to cover his face. The guard stops him and looks at his face, but after a moment, he’s allowed to pass. But the guard quickly finds Wol-myung to report that he’s let Min Yoo-hwan into the city, per his orders. We next find Min Yoo-hwan standing under the big tree — the meeting location for him and Hyemyeong — with a solemn expression.
We rewind to where we were at the end of the last episode, with Hyemyeong looking through Se-ho’s illustrations and books, though at the boys’ insistence, she’s unable to read through the scandalously titled book, The Princess’s Private Life.
As they walk out of the library, Hyemyeong tells Gyun Woo that her curiosity will keep her up at night and teases him for reading the supposedly scandalous book. Then she stops in her tracks, and her eyes flutter with recognition. Gyun Woo looks ahead, and they see a man taking off his hat and slowly revealing his face. It’s Min Yoo-hwan.
Before Hyemyeong can run to him, Gyun Woo holds her back. Further down the road, they both spot Wol-myung approaching Min Yoo-hwan. Wol-myung threatens Min with a knife placed at his side, quietly enough that bystanders don’t notice — and in a quick flashback, we see that Minister Jung ordered Wol-myung to keep Min alive, since he has many questions for the mysterious investigator.
Wol-myung tells Min to go with him, and Hyemyeong helplessly watches them pass by. She tries to follow them, but Gyun Woo holds her back again, warning her that it could be another trap. But Hyemyeong doesn’t care and insists that she must find him, and Gyun Woo ultimately decides to go with her since he’s unwilling to let her go alone. Hyemyeong and Gyun Woo push through the crowds to search for Min Yoo-hwan, but he’s nowhere in sight.
Meanwhile, Minister Jung plays a game of baduk with his daughter, Da-yeon. Their game strategies reflect their conversation, as Minister Jung ensures his daughter that he’s laying the groundwork for the princess’s demise. Da-yeon says that it’s no fun if the plan is too complicated, and adds that she’s becoming impatient. Her father smiles at his daughter’s deviousness, but their game is interrupted by Wol-myung, who announces the arrival of their “guest.”
We find loyal guard Joon-young protesting the release of the criminal butcher, but the minister he brings his pleas to argues that there was no evidence of the tabloid printmaking shop at his butchery. Joon-young can’t argue without evidence, but his instincts are right — we see the butcher welcoming Wol-myung and bowing to Minister Jung as he walks into the butchery. Then, the butcher lifts the floorboard to reveal the entrance to the secret basement.
Minister Jung approaches his guest, Min Yoo-hwan, who’s been tied to a chair in the basement. Min instantly recognizes Minister Jung and seethes his name.
Minister Jung thinks back to an old conversation with the queen, who suspected that the dethroned queen was still alive after seeing Hyemyeong with the jade ring. The deposed queen had the jade ring in her possession before being kicked out of the palace, leading the current queen to wonder if it may not have been the deposed queen’s body that they found torn apart by wild beasts.
The queen suspected that Hyemyeong’s occasional meetings with Min Yoo-hwan were about the deposed queen and thought that Hyemyeong was planning to bring her mother back to the throne. The queen was determined to get rid of Hyemyeong and Min Yoo-hwan, but Minister Jung seemed more concerned with who saved the deposed queen and why.
Back in the secret basement, Minister Jung tells Min Yoo-hwan that he should have returned earlier, since they have plenty to discuss. But Min responds by spitting on Minister Jung’s face. Minister Jung smirks as he wipes the spit off and looks to Wol-myung, who strikes Min unconscious with a hammer, spattering blood everywhere.
The queen enters King Hwijong’s quarters with tea to calm his worries and to help him sleep. But he responds coldly, saying that he’s had enough tea for the day. The queen presumes that he’s worried about the princess, and she claims that she’s extremely concerned about the princess as well, so much so that she suggests that they bring the princess back into the palace so that she, the queen, can take the wayward princess under her wing.
King Hwijong approaches the queen and tells her that she should drink the tea herself if she’s so anxious and worried. With that, he dismisses her. Brr, icy.
The queen paces in her room and frets about the king’s cold gaze. She’s convinced that her relationship with the king is ruined beyond repair, but her court lady reminds her of an event happening that night. Though we don’t know what she means, the reminder seems to calm the queen for the time being.
Hyemyeong and Gyun Woo continue to search for Min Yoo-hwan into the night, but they don’t find any trace of him. Gyun Woo tries to convince Hyemyeong to return to the Gyun residence since everyone will be worried, but Hyemyeong won’t give up. He then suggests that they report this to the police, but Hyemyeong refuses to put Min Yoo-hwan in danger, since he would be executed if he were caught.
Gyun Woo says that he doesn’t want Hyemyeong to put herself in danger because of a wanted criminal, and he pleads, “I wish that you will not be put in danger because of this person and that you will not hurt anymore.” They look at each other in silence as they share a moment, but they’re soon interrupted by bodyguard Byul, who’s come to retrieve Hyemyeong since the king has come to visit her at Gyun Woo’s house.
Disguised as a nobleman, King Hwijong walks into Hyemyeong’s empty room, and eunuch Young-shin explains that she went out with Gyun Woo for a trip to the library and didn’t want to attract attention with the guards following her. The king doesn’t look happy, but he doesn’t look too worried either.
On the other hand, Gyun Woo’s mother lies in hysteria as she worries about Gyun Woo’s absence. At her side, Gyun Hee voices her suspicions about something going on between her brother and the princess, and her mother jerks up to dismiss any possible suspicions.
She loudly declares that she doesn’t care that Hyemyeong’s the princess — she’ll kick that girl out of the house! Then, she flails back onto her pillow, worried sick about her precious son. Heh.
Minister Gyun apologizes to King Hwijong, but the king says that he’s actually the one indebted to the minister, what with his daughter staying at his place. Thinking back to Minister Jung’s warning about keeping the princess safe through marriage, the king wonders if keeping his daughter outside the palace is helping to keep her safe.
In the palace, the queen’s court ladies hide talismans all over the princess’s room. As the queen watches with a pleased smile, she remembers the shaman’s promise that placing one hundred of these talismans in the princess’s room will distance the relationship between the king and the princess and bring the king closer to her. She’s hopeful that she’ll be successful this time, especially with the king on an outing.
But the talisman party is interrupted by the prince and the queen dowager, who’ve come to Hyemyeong’s room because they miss her. The queen’s court ladies quickly hide away all of the talismans (one even stuffs the paper in her mouth), and the queen falsely claims that she also visited the princess’s room because she missed her. The queen dowager looks suspiciously at all the court ladies dispersed in the room but covers her suspicions with a gentle smile.
Just as the king is about the leave the Gyun residence, Gyun Woo and Hyemyeong run into the house. They bow to the king, and Gyun Woo claims responsibility for their late-night roaming, but the king just approaches his daughter and tells her to return to the palace. While Gyun Woo’s mother hides how delighted she is by this news, the king asks Minister Gyun to send Hyemyeong to the palace as soon as she’s prepared.
Minister Gyun asks Gyun Woo where they were, since they the guards couldn’t find them at the library. He demands to know what Gyun Woo is hiding, but Gyun Woo doesn’t tell his father anything.
Gyun Woo runs to Hyemyeong’s room, but Young-shin tells him that she wants to be alone. In her room, Hyemyeong holds her jade ring, wistfully lost in her thoughts. Gyun Woo also broods in his room, thinking about the rumors about Hyemyeong’s relationship with Min Yoo-hwan, the wanted criminal.
King Hwijong tells the queen dowager about Hyemyeong’s late outing and wonders what she could be doing. The queen dowager suggests that they set Hyemyeong up for marriage, but the king says that such a ceremony will not solve their problems, since they don’t know how their enemies will try to trap the princess again.
Minister Jung hears the news of Hyemyeong’s late-night outing and the king’s response. He smiles at the news and says that they must begin their newest schemes soon.
The next morning, Hyemyeong avoids the guards and tries to sneak out of the house, but Gyun Woo catches her in the act. She says that she must see Min Yoo-hwan today, since she may not be able to see him ever again once she returns to the palace. She asks Gyun Woo to let her go, and it almost sounds like a romantic plea to let her leave.
It doesn’t take much convincing, since Gyun Woo hops over the wall and helps Hyemyeong escape unnoticed, taking her hand as she crosses over. They share a moment over the touch before running hand-in-hand to find the captive.
King Hwijong announces to the ministers that he has ended the princess’s leave from the palace and that he plans to begin the selection for his son-in-law. Minister Jung says that the selection will not be necessary, since a marriage offer has been made by the Qing royal family.
Minister Jung’s supporters insist that this will be a great connection for the royal families, but Minister Gyun urges the king to be more thoughtful with his decision. The king ultimately decides that he cannot send his daughter to the faraway land of the Qing, and Minister Jung looks outraged.
Afterward, Minister Gyun and the king wonder what Minister Jung has up his sleeve, specifically in his pointed targeting of the princess. Meanwhile, Minister Jung meets with the queen, who seems doubtful of Minister Jung’s ability to execute his plan since he failed to convince the king to marry off the princess to the Qing royals.
But Minister Jung just says that this is only the beginning. It seems that the queen doesn’t know the full plan either, since she also wonders why Minister Jung wants to send the princess all the way to Qing.
EPISODE 14 RECAP
The bookseller tries to sell books to his lady customers and pulls out The Lady’s Fifty Shadows (alternatively, Joseon’s Fifty Shades of Grey, lol). The ladies respond with disgust but look slightly more interested when he mentions that Da-yeon borrowed the whole set of these novels.
Business is interrupted when the bookseller spots Gyun Woo and Hyemyeong approaching. The bookseller quickly leads them to their library hideout, but Hyemyeong hesitates. Gyun Woo assures her that his friends are trustworthy and proposes that they draw Scarface (Wol-myung), because if they find him, they’ll find Min Yoo-hwan without outing Min’s presence back in the capital.
In their library hideout, Gyun Woo asks his friends to keep their search a secret and to not tell the police that they came by the library. The bookseller draws the likeness of the scary Wol-myung for them to continue their now time-sensitive search.
Gyun Woo’s mother enters her son’s room with a morning tonic, but she finds his room empty and immediately worries that he’s left to meet the princess again.
Chang-hwi angrily stands guard outside Gyun Woo’s house, resentful that he needs to protect his enemy. He turns around to finds Da-yeon arriving at Gyun Woo’s house and tells her that he cannot let anyone in, though he seems curious to know if she’s come to see Gyun Woo. She’s offended that he considers her just anyone, and he’s mortified when Gyun Hee comes out to greet Da-yeon as her guest.
Da-yeon tells Gyun Hee that she wants to meet the princess to clear up any misunderstandings that may have accumulated between them, but they’re soon distracted by Gyun Woo’s mother, who’s busy arguing with Young-shin and Byul.
Gyun Woo’s mother threatens to tell the guards that the princess snuck out, but Young-shin begs her to let this slide. He finally gets to her with a warning that Gyun Woo may also be punished for accompanying the princess, but they notice too late that they’ve been overheard by Gyun Hee and Da-yeon.
Gyun Woo’s mother treats Da-yeon to tea and requests that she keep the argument she overheard a secret. Da-yeon assures her that she wouldn’t reveal anything that would trouble Gyun Woo, and Gyun Woo’s mother thanks her while Gyun Hee adds that Da-yeon has a very kind heart. It’s clear that she’s made a good impression, and Gyun Woo’s mother clearly approves of her.
Gyun Woo and Hyemyeong show the townspeople the picture of Wol-myung in an attempt to find him, and Choon Poong watches them search. In the meantime, Da-yeon tells Chang-hwi that the princess has escaped and tells him to find her before he gets in trouble. So much for keeping a secret.
Choon Poong approaches Gyun Woo and Hyemyeong, and he lightheartedly asks who they’re searching for. Seeing Hyemyeong, he looks to Gyun Woo and asks if they’re lovers, and while Gyun Woo denies it, Hyemyeong stares at Choon Poong’s face, possibly sensing some familiarity. But she’s reminded of the task at hand and asks him if he’s seen Scarface/Wol-myung. Choon Poong nods and says that indeed, he has.
Choon Poong enters the butchery and greets the familiar butcher with friendly chatter, talking like a frequent customer. The butcher chats with an amiable grin, but his smile drops momentarily when he spots Hyemyeong entering his shop. Hyemyeong shows him the picture of Wol-myung and asks if he recognizes the man, and Choon Poong adds that he’s seen the man at the butchery a couple of times during his previous visits.
The butcher pretends not to recognize Wol-myung, though his eyes nervously dart back and forth. He claims that he has too many patrons to recognize this man, and Choon Poong suddenly gets serious as he points out that this man’s face should be a memorable one. They all look at the butcher suspiciously, but Choon Poong breaks the tension by laughing and suggesting that they buy some meat to eat later.
Choon Poong walks around the butchery and into the shack, looking around for a good cut of meat. Just as Gyun Woo and Hyemyeong are about to leave, Choon Poong walks on top of the secret basement door and notices on the creaking floor. The butcher grows nervous, and we see Wol-myung looking a little worried in the basement.
When Choon Poong comments on the noise from the floor, the butcher slowly reaches for his knife. The butcher tries to veer the conversation away from the floor, but Choon Poong keeps coming back to the topic. Gyun Woo and Hyemyeong watch curiously from right outside, and suddenly, Choon Poong lifts the mat and reveals the site of the creaking floor. When he “innocently” discovers the broken floor, the butcher points a knife at his throat.
The butcher demands to know who Choon Poong is, but Choon Poong lifts his hands up and pouts in innocence. The butcher glances at Gyun Woo and Hyemyeong, and in that moment, Choon Poong smacks the butcher’s head with a piece of wood. Choon Poong expertly navigates the fight against the butcher, who’s kicked outside and knocked unconscious.
Gyun Woo and Hyemyeong rush to the secret door and cautiously enter the secret basement. As they slowly walk down, they notice something in the basement, and Hyemyeong’s eyes widen in shock.
Outside, Choon Poong ties the butcher onto the table legs and shows him the picture of Wol-myung again. He demands to know where Wol-myung went, but the butcher just laughs. They’ve just missed Wol-myung, who briskly walks away from the butchery with a low hat to obscure his face.
In the secret basement, Hyemyeong slowly walks toward the unmoving figure in the chair. She sees a knife piercing his chest and tries to approach Min Yoo-hwan’s body, but Gyun Woo pulls her back and turns her around. Facing away from her dead teacher, Hyemyeong cries.
Wol-myung reports to Minister Jung and tells him that he killed Min Yoo-hwan before retreating, and Minister Jung orders that he remain in hiding until further notice.
The criminal butchers are dragged away, and the investigators interrogate Choon Poong, who acts out his dramatic discovery of the body. Joon-young arrives to investigate the scene, and Choon Poong watches him intently as he passes by.
Joon-young enters the basement and uncovers the cloth over the dead body. His eyes tear up upon confirmation of Min Yoo-hwan’s dead body, and we get a flashback explaining Joon-young’s relationship to Min: When he was inducted as a royal guard, Min introduced Joon-young to Hyemyeong as a good friend.
Seeing Joon-young’s seriousness, Hyemyeong made funny faces at him and encouraged him to lighten up and laugh. Afterward, Min Yoo-hwan had told Joon-young that Hyemyeong was actually quite sorrowful despite her playful visage and asked him to take care of her.
Back in the present, Joon-young reports to the king that they found Min’s body at the tabloid printmaking site, and the king wonders why their enemies were pursuing Min. They’re interrupted by Chang-hwi, who reports to the king that the princess has gone missing with Gyun Woo. In light of recent events, the king is distraught.
Minister Jung is told by Minister Park, his cohort, that all of their butcher minions were arrested and that Wol-myung is now a wanted man. To make sure that they’re not discovered, Minister Jung quiets the arrested butchers by poisoning their prison food. One by one, they eat the poisoned food and die.
Minister Jung and his cronies celebrate the princess’s rebellious behavior with Gyun Woo, which makes their jobs easier. Unfortunately, it seems like their plan is just getting started.
Gyun Woo and Hyemyeong sit under the big tree, and Hyemyeong cries that this was her last chance to see her mother. Gyun Woo looks slightly confused, but he gives her space to let out her emotions. He tells her to cry as if he’s not there, and he comforts her by gently resting her head on his shoulder.
Night turns to morning, and Hyemyeong explains the jade ring to Gyun Woo, who assures her that there’s a way to find her mother. He says that he will help her now, but today, she has to return to the palace. Gyun Woo offers his hand, and Hyemyeong takes it.
As they walk around the tree, they spot a small stack of rocks, and Gyun Woo removes a couple to reveal a pouch with a letter. He hands it to Hyemyeong, and she reads the letter from Min Yoo-hwan:
“Princess, if you are reading this letter, then I will probably never be able to meet you again. Three years ago, when I went to retrieve the queen, she had disappeared. Although I wanted to come back to tell you, I was framed and had to run away. Now, I know who framed me: Jung Ki-joon. Beware of him.”
Hyemyeong thinks back to the night her mother was taken away and remembers Minister Jung provoking the king. She crumples the letter and cries angry tears, now aware of who her enemy really is. She runs back toward the palace, but Gyun Woo stops her. He tells her that this letter is not enough evidence to accuse Minister Jung, and she asks if she must do nothing, then. He says that if it’s necessary, then yes, she must do nothing.
Gyun Woo explains that if you know yourself and the enemy, the fight will not be dangerous, even if you fight it one hundred times. He says that even she can wield a knife after she finds out exactly what happened to her mother ten years ago — it won’t be too late for her to strike then.
At the palace, Minister Jung’s cohort leads a plea to the king for the princess’s deposal. The cohort decries the princess’s lawbreaking behavior and constant escapes, even during her stay outside the palace. Gyun Woo and Hyemyeong run into the palace as the minister continues to plead for her deposal.
As the echoes of the ministers’ pleas spill into the king’s quarters, Minister Jung enters the room. They stare at each other, facing a situation too similar to the one from ten years ago.
I like how this show has shifted from outlandish comedy into a more poignant and melancholy look into our princess’s story. Though I expected Min Yoo-hwan’s storyline to continue for a little longer, I was satisfied with how the character propelled this story forward and connected more of the pieces together. Min’s character bridged the gap between Hyemyeong’s bizarre behavior and her deep yearning for her mother, as he was the only one who truly understood the sorrow behind her playful and lighthearted nature. With this context, I can sympathize more with Hyemyeong’s character.
With the tonal shift in the storytelling, I also find the show more watchable and relatable, as it encourages Hyemyeong to be more visibly honest with her emotions. It’s wonderful to watch Hyemyeong learn to share her pain and be vulnerable, and I love that Gyun Woo’s on the receiving end of the sharing. Their budding feelings were put on pause, but I think there was plenty of growth in their relationship with each other. Considering that they started out as “pervert” and “obsessive stalker,” I’d say that these two have taken some big steps to grow as companions in this episode.
While this episode was mainly focused on Hyemyeong’s story, I found Gyun Woo’s emotional conflict more satisfying. Under the misunderstanding that Min Yoo-hwan was Hyemyeong’s lover, Gyun Woo decided to help her find him. Despite all the dangers and emotional disadvantages for himself, he still decided to help Hyemyeong. I love how simple the misunderstanding was, and I also love how simple the decision was for Gyun Woo. He ultimately always does what she wants without forcing his own opinions on her, unless it’s for her safety. Part of Gyun Woo’s obedience may have to do with the fact that Hyemyeong is the princess, but it wasn’t just loyalty, as seems to be the case with Joon-young. There was a more intentional sacrifice of his own feelings and a gentleness in his care for Hyemyeong that showed me that his heart was in the right place.
Outside of our leads, I don’t find many of the side characters too interesting or compelling. The bad guys are unarguably bad and the funny guys are pretty comical in a straightforward manner. I do wish Minister Jung had more to do than just sit in a dark room with his cronies, so hopefully he was telling the truth when he told Da-yeon that he was simply laying the groundwork. But unlike many of the side characters who have a clearer purpose, the purpose of Choon Poong’s character is still a mystery to me. Not that I’m complaining — I’m a fan Choon Poong’s character and I’m enjoying the gradual reveal of his real identity. But what explanation is there for how he literally knows everything? I hope that he’s from a Joseon equivalent of an intelligence agency, because at this rate, our two companions are going to need plenty of intel to know themselves and their enemies. And not get themselves killed in the process.
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