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89

Ruler–Master of the Mask: Episodes 21-22

Our second lead marches up to the plate in these episodes, using his newfound royal power to try to win the lady’s heart. Too bad that it’s so difficult to root for him, because the romance is a tough sell and the characters don’t always make the wisest choices. On the bright side, we’re officially into the second half of this show’s run, so… yay?

 
EPISODE 21 RECAP

The episode starts in flashback, with a young Prince Sun standing with his father before the throne. The king warns Sun that during his reign, numerous advisors will come to him with differing opinions of what he should do – but no one else can make his decisions for him. In those situations, the king says, he must trust his heart: “That’s what it means to be a king.”

Facing Woo Bo and the General Choi in the present, Sun asserts that he wishes to destroy Pyunsoohwe and avenge his parents. The general smiles triumphantly as Woo Bo sits back in defeat.

Meanwhile at the palace, the queen and the Minister of War revel at the thought of having all of the general’s 40,000 men at their disposal to take down Pyunsoohwe. It seems that no one can stop them now…

…But suddenly, we return to see Sun declare that, while he wishes he could destroy Pyunsoohwe now, he can’t. Summoning the forces at the border would likely win back the throne, he says, but thousands of civilians would lose their lives as a result.

Declaring that he wants to become a king who protects the people, Sun asks the general to return to the border and protect those civilians instead of him. Deeply moved, the general accepts his command with a deep bow, and Woo Bo gazes up at him with respect.

The next morning, General Choi reports to the queen that he will not be summoning his troops. The furious queen demands to know whose command could possibly mean more to him than hers, and to her shock, he replies that it’s the crown prince.

Hearing that her son is alive, the queen wells up with emotion, asking all sorts of questions about his health. To her surprise, however, the general informs her that she’s already been in contact with the prince – he is the chief peddler that has been aiding her efforts against Pyunsoohwe.

After the general leaves, the queen grimly recalls how she’d recognized the prince’s resemblance to a young king. Suddenly infuriated, she hurls a teacup across the room – just as the startled Minister of War walks in. When he rushes to her side in concern, the queen tells him that they must tread carefully from now on: “If things go wrong, our entire household will crumble.”

That night, the queen’s handmaiden orders Ga-eun to deliver some tea to the queen’s guest. When she arrives at the guest’s quarters, however, she’s shocked to find that the guest turns out to be Sun. Expressionless, she lays the tray before him and begins to turn away – but Sun begs her to stay just until he finishes his tea.

When it becomes clear that he’s just stalling for time with her, however, she bites that he still has the habit of harassing court ladies, and takes away his unfinished tea to the kitchens. She begins to weep in solitude when suddenly, she notes something suspicious in the teacup. Lifting it to her nose, she recognizes the odor in horror and rushes back to Sun’s room only to find a dozen men quietly kidnapping a now unconscious Sun on a stretcher.

Panicked, Ga-eun follows them until they reach a cliff overlooking a river. She watches in terror as the men tie Sun to a rock and throw him into the water, where he sinks to the bottom.

As soon as they leave, Ga-eun grabs her knife and jumps over the cliff without hesitation. Cutting away the ropes around his wrist, she grabs him by the arm and starts to swim to the surface… but loses consciousness at the last moment. The two begin to sink back down.

Meanwhile, the agitated queen waits impatiently in her room until the Minister of War drops by again. He tells her that he’s done as she’s ordered, and she finally smiles in satisfaction.

Somehow washed safely ashore, Sun regains consciousness to find Ga-eun passed out beside him. He shakes her awake in desperation, and she begins to weep in relief at the sight of his face. When he reproaches her for risking her life to save him, she cries back: “I was scared that I would never see you again. You are more important to me than life itself.”

At her words, Sun embraces her tightly. They share a long, lingering moment before he leans in to kiss her once, sweetly. He releases her… and then pulls her in for more, this time filled with passion. Omo, I’m blushing.

At the palace, Hyun-seok informs an agitated Lee Sun that Ga-eun has disappeared from the palace. Lee Sun sits in worry, knowing the palace gates will close soon.

Sun carries Ga-eun back to the palace on his back, both admiring the starry night sky. She apologizes for acting so coldly toward him recently, but he tells her that they can discuss the difficult things later.

When they reach the palace gates, Ga-eun and Sun share a long goodbye, telling each other to avoid danger and stay safe. Ga-eun tells him that she couldn’t bear to live if he’s hurt before informing him that Pyunsoohwe is watching him even inside the palace – they were the ones at his door before he was poisoned.

Sun finds this strange, especially since he knows that he was summoned to the palace by the queen. Ga-eun offers to look into it, but before Sun can stop her, they’re interrupted by a guard.

Meanwhile, Hyun-seok informs Lee Sun that Ga-eun still hasn’t returned. Lee Sun decides that she must be in trouble and starts to leave to search for her himself when they’re interrupted by some guards who have something to report.

Lee Sun goes outside, only to see a soaking wet Ga-eun and Sun kneeling before him. The head eunuch explains to Lee Sun that a patrol guard found them outside the palace gates. To everyone’s shock, the eunuch then informs Lee Sun that the punishment for a court lady to have an affair with anyone other than the king is death.

Sun insists that Ga-eun is innocent and begs to be punished in her stead. Ga-eun cuts in to say that Sun only saved her life when she fell into a river, and he’s the one who’s innocent. The back-and-forth only makes Lee Sun angrier, but he suddenly declares to his guards that there’s been a misunderstanding, and that Sun is a loyal servant whom he sent to look for Ga-eun.

They start to relax – until Lee Sun steps forward, wrapping his royal robes around Ga-eun’s shoulders. She turns to Sun in confusion, but Lee Sun only guides her away from him, ordering his eunuch to make sure she is uninjured. Ga-eun gives Sun one last look before following the eunuch away.

Next, Lee Sun turns to Sun, thanking him for helping his “most cherished court lady.” He declares that he will grant him a “reward” of twenty nyang, which Sun accepts with gritted teeth. But Lee Sun notes that if they are caught together again, they will both be punished before he orders the guards to keep silent on the events of the night.

As a shaken Sun leaves the palace, he realizes in shock that Lee Sun must be in love with Ga-eun as well. Chung-woon rushes to his side, and seeing Sun’s face, he wonders what happened.

Later that night, the eunuch assures Lee Sun that Ga-eun is safely recovering in a warm room. In return, Lee Sun tells the eunuch to remember that Ga-eun’s companion was not the chief peddler, but simply a simple patrol guard. Catching his drift, the eunuch agrees.

Alone together, Hyun-seok asks why Lee Sun gives the chief peddler such special treatment, and Lee Sun flashes back to when Prince Sun first protected him from Pyunsoohwe’s men. Lee Sun describes the chief peddler as a friend from back when he was a peasant.

Lee Sun then tells Hyun-seok that the only thing he wants is Ga-eun, not power nor the throne: “But if I can only make her mine by being on the throne, what should I do?” Hyun-seok reminds him that as a court lady, Ga-eun already belongs to him, and he has nothing to worry about. Lee Sun knows he’s correct – but, he thinks sadly to himself, if Sun returns to his rightful place on the throne, Ga-eun will belong to him. Wow, okay.

General Choi drops by the queen’s room to find her weeping beside the Minister of War. The minister informs the confused general that she is mourning the loss of an important servant: Dae-mok has murdered the chief peddler for interfering with his right to mint coins.

General Choi falls to the ground in sorrow, believing Sun to be dead, and the minister leaves to give her and the general a private moment. As the queen breaks down in sobs, a devastated general swears that he will summon his army from the border and take down Dae-mok himself.

 
EPISODE 22 RECAP

Moo-ha is hard at work at Woo Bo’s house when suddenly, the Inspector General barges in, sobbing and clutching a letter from the general. Moo-ha and Woo Bo read the letter, devastated to hear that the crown prince has died and that the general is heading to the border to gather his troops.

Just as they begin to weep in immediate mourning, Chung-woon and Sun arrive, confused at the news as well as horrified at the general’s sudden change of heart. As Moo-ha and Woo Bo celebrate Sun’s survival, Sun tries to bring the attention back to the real issue: The general is gathering his troops.

Meanwhile, we see General Choi racing to the border on horseback, swearing to avenge the death of the crown prince.

Once everyone has calmed down, Sun rereads the letter to find that the general plans to gather the troops in time for the queen’s birthday celebration.

The Inspector General notes that it’s too late to stop him; even if they reveal that Sun is still alive, the attempted assassination will be enough to convince the general to gather the troops anyway. To avoid war, their only hope is to stop the troops.

So Sun pays a visit to Hwa-goon to ask for her help. Hwa-goon is shocked to hear that Pyunsoohwe tried to kill him again, and further shocked when he informs her that the general is on his way to gather troops to wipe out Pyunsoohwe.

He asks her to help stop the general from attacking Pyunsoohwe, and when Hwa-goon asks why he wants to protect his enemy, Sun explains that he cannot allow innocent civilian lives to be lost. She agrees to help.

The next morning, Hwa-goon confronts Dae-mok for breaking his promise to never try to kill Sun again. He denies having any part in it, however, meaning that the prince must have other enemies.

Trusting him, Hwa-goon requests a Pyunsoohwe meeting to discuss General Choi’s impending attack. At the meeting, Dae-mok asks how she knows about the attack, noting the general’s infamy for never leaving any trails of evidence, and she explains that the merchants gave her the information.

To convince them further, however, Hwa-goon shares further evidence that General Choi secretly has been meeting with the queen in private and made a peace treaty with foreign forces, all pointing to the fact that he has plans to mobilize the troops in secret. The other Pyunsoohwe members agree with her deduction.

Hwa-goon then declares that she already has a plan to stop the forces from mobilizing: cut off the foreign food trade, which will make them feel threatened and belligerent, and will force General Choi to deal with them instead of moving toward the capital.

As Pyunsoohwe’s members whisper at the brilliant plan, Dae-mok grins, impressed and proud. Agreeing to act on Hwa-goon’s plan, Dae-mok orders the chief of the Water Bureau to head to the border and kill the general just in case Hwa-goon’s plan doesn’t work out.

Sun meets with Lee Sun at the palace, writing notes to each other for fear of spies and burning the evidence. Sun informs Lee Sun that he has made measures to stop General Choi from showing up tonight. Then, Sun writes Lee Sun a request to see Ga-eun, as well as a request to keep his identity as crown prince a secret. Lee Sun crumples the note in silent fury before he calls for a eunuch to send Ga-eun into the room.

As soon as Ga-eun arrives, she sees Sun and smiles lovingly before greeting the king. He tells her to take care of herself, reminding her that she must stay healthy in order to serve him properly. Without giving Sun a chance to speak to her, Lee Sun dismisses her before handing Sun another note, this time asking him to talk in private in the greenhouse. (Uh, why couldn’t they just have spoken there from the start?)

So they go to the greenhouse, where Lee Sun explodes at him for daring to ask to see her. Sun stays calm, asking him to take care of Ga-eun for him, but that only angers Lee Sun further. When he insists that his relationship with Ga-eun goes much deeper than his, Sun demands to know if he loves her.

In response, however, Lee Sun only says: “She hates me when I wear this mask. Do you know why? Because she thinks I’m you!” Ouch. Lee Sun pushes him to reveal his identity and the fact that he killed her father. He tells Sun that he will gladly give up the throne when the time comes, “But remember that Ga-eun is not yours.”

Dae-mok sits with Hwa-goon after the meeting, wondering why General Choi is suddenly showing his fangs. Hwa-goon notes that it must be the queen’s doing, but tells him that she has a plan to destroy the queen as well.

Mae-chang meets with the head eunuch to discuss Dae-mok’s attempts on Sun’s life, but he informs her that it was actually the queen who ordered the assassination; she wanted him out of the way in order to control General Choi’s forces. “But she crossed a line this time,” he notes, and decides to prepare a special birthday present for her, one that he wants the crown prince to see as well.

The palace comes alive the next day with preparations for the queen’s birthday celebration. When the queen goes to her room, however, she find an unexpected guest in her seat: Dae-mok, making himself at home. At her entrance, he makes room for her with a good-natured attitude, offering her own seat back to her. Dae-mok explains that he wanted to offer some delicious dishes for her birthday, and directs her attention to three platters before her.

As she watches tensely, he lifts the first platter to reveal a paper scroll. Trembling, the queen opens it to find a message regarding the troops at the border. She tries to laugh it off, but Dae-mok notes pointedly that it’s a shame that General Choi won’t make it in time for the festivities: “I considered making sure he never returned at all, but it might be useful to have a hawk up there.”

The next scroll has a single word: “Woman.” Dae-mok explains that it is natural for a grown man to take a wife, and that the older generation should make room for the younger – a thinly veiled suggestion.

Unlike the first two, however, the last platter holds a bowl of tiger’s blood. He looks down at her and tells her to remember the past before he strolls out.

The queen’s birthday celebration begins that night. Sitting beside her, Lee Sun tells her that a special guest wishes to present his gift to her himself. When she looks up to see who it is, however, she stares in shock to see Sun walking toward her with a box in his hands. The queen and the Minister of War stare at him in horror, which Woo Bo notes.

Shaking, the queen asks why he hasn’t visited recently, and he explains that he was waiting for her invitation. She tells him to visit whenever he wants in the future, and he accepts.

Dressed as a court lady, meanwhile, Mae-chang orders a group of men to be careful with their task so that they succeed.

Ga-eun brings a tray of food to the king, exchanging a secret smile with Sun as she passes by. Guiltily, he thinks to himself that he isn’t the man she believes he is, but her father’s killer. When she arrives at Lee Sun’s side, however, he gives Sun a pointed look before he orders her to stay beside him. She obeys without a choice. Sun watches, jaw tight.

Next, the festivities continue with a puppet show. To the queen’s horror, the story depicts a royal family who only finds an heir in the form of a concubine’s son. The queen becomes jealous that the concubine stole the king’s affections and hates the child. So when the royal family is told to bless the child by writing his name on his body with tiger’s blood, the jealous queen replaces the tiger’s blood with poison.

As the queen watches the show, trembling, we flash back to Sun’s birth. We see the same story unfold. The queen had ordered the Minister of War to exchange the tiger’s blood for poison, putting the prince’s life at risk.

Noting the trembling queen, Woo Bo realizes that this is a true story. He whispers to Sun that it’s true that he was nearly killed as a child, but now they know that it was the queen who tried to kill him. Sun spins around to stare at her in horror.

As the puppet show reaches its climax, the queen stands, panting and traumatized. Lee Sun orders a stop to the show, while the queen, deeply pained, looks up to make eye contact with Sun.

 
COMMENTS

Ugh. I’m trying my hardest to lessen my criticisms, but I cannot avoid talking about the most unfortunately prominent, abrasively offensive part this week’s episodes: the romantic subplot. As if it wasn’t bad enough to totally and unapologetically run Ga-eun’s agency into the ground – as the writers have been doing in the past several episodes – they’ve now made her into an object for trade between the two main male characters, who have come to talk about her as if she’s a cactus with eyelashes, or at least a really pretty rock.

They repeatedly talk about her like a friggin’ object for barter and possession, deciding who should “have” her without once consulting her opinion. I mean, sure, Dramaland has never been a pioneer of feminism – but seeing how subversive a character Ga-eun was in the pilot episodes, I find it mighty hard to believe that the writers don’t know how to write a good female character; they’re just choosing not to because it’s easier. It kind of feels like the show has run out of real conflict, or doesn’t know how to take advantage of them anymore, so it’s turning to tried-and-true methods of generating conflict: two handsome men fighting over an ordinary girl.

Maybe the show is actually trying to make us hate Lee Sun (I honestly can’t tell), but if it is, it should have chosen a more interesting way to do it. I mean, if telling us that “the only ‘thing’ Lee Sun cares about is winning Ga-eun’s heart” was supposed to be some beautifully tragic line to make me sympathize with him, it’s failed utterly. Not only is it riotously disrespectful to this girl he’s supposed to care about, but his desire for her is entirely selfish and inconsistent with his background. I mean… am I seriously supposed to accept that Lee Sun doesn’t give a crap about anything else?

I’m really supposed to accept that Lee Sun is an underdog from a lowly peasant background; has learned firsthand the injustice of the social system; is responsible for a beloved mother and sister whose lives are constantly threatened by an evil organization; and has witnessed his father’s unjust, unavenged murder… and the only thing he needs to be happy is the love of a girl he clearly doesn’t really know? At this point, it’s straight-up exhausting to hear him say anything about anything anymore because I don’t know where it’s going to lead, if anywhere at all. He has no real power to affect the plot, abuses what power he does have by being a petty and obstructive ass, and he treats Ga-eun as an object for possession. Argh!! (*pulls hair*)

But as I said, I’m tired of complaining about this show, so I want to end on a more positive note (or as positive as I can make it). Interestingly, I don’t (usually) hate where we are at the end of each episode – I just hate how we got there. If I think about the end of each episode, we’re always left somewhere interesting and filled with potential. The only problem is that the narrative path to get there is filled with plot holes, imbalanced pacing, and major and minor characters who act in unbelievably unintelligent or unrealistic ways.

Like in this episode: General Choi, who is supposedly famously smart enough to never leave evidence of his work, immediately mobilizes forty thousand men after reading a single dubious letter. Sun, whose entire character is based on his love for the people above all, doesn’t see the irony of a king throwing himself before his servant and begging for death to protect his girlfriend. Woo Bo, former Sungkyunkwan scholar and a master with actual pupils, can derive the history of the royal family by looking at a single expression from the queen, though we can at least give her bald reaction to the puppet show a little credit on that one.

I’m actually finding it harder to be angry at the showrunners as I am sad for them. Maybe they were so pressured by the hype that they were afraid to do anything daring. Maybe they outlined the story with only the big plot points, and made the interns fill in the minute-by-minute gaps. Maybe I’m just making excuses because I’m unwilling to admit defeat. Who knows? Probably not the writers.

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Dropping this drama already. As much as I love Kim So-hyun and Yoo Seung-ho, I cannot continue on with this show. This drama is a disservice to their incredible talents and really, there are better dramas with these two to watch.

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I would drop it as well but it really bugs me when I leave a drama unfinished... This is actually my first drama watching YSH and this wasn't a good introduction. I like his acting just the drama is bringing him down. Do you have any suggestions on what dramas I should watch that he's in?

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You should watch him in Warrior Baek Dong-soo if you want to see him in a saguek. Ji Chang-wook is also in that and they have the cutest sometimes-Bromance.

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I wouldn't mind getting a second dose of JCW every week. I love his acting so much and he's the cutest in Suspicious Partner. Thank you!

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imo warrior baek dong-soo is way worse than this drama. ppl just NEVER die inside there despite sustaining what would be fatal wounds to mere mortals.

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Agree. I like the bromance of Ji Chang Wook and Yoo Seung Ho in that show a lot, but that show is really crappy. Btw Yoo Seung Ho is super georgous as an assasin, but his acting was just so-so in that show. He showed great development in his next project Missing You as Harry Borrison (a fund manager who turned out to be a psychopath serial killer) which I consider his breakout role.

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@ptcv, agree,,.
i also love YSH in Missing you.. he is really great in playing the role as Harry borrinson.. ahhahaa...that's also the reason why i watch this show, because of his role in missing you, i expect to get to see his acting.. but what can i do, when the writer wasted his talent.. huff..

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Remember--Son's War and if you don't mind only seeing short scenes of him in every ep, Arang and the Magistrate.

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Thank you! With the time I spend on this drama, I can watch those.

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You're welcome! He's been in more, but I admit to not having seen them yet. I think Imaginary Cat was a cute, short little show. I love this boy, so I'll have to check out more of his projects, myself. He's got a couple of movies I was interested in--like The Magician with Go Ara.

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Kinda bummed to see so many negative comments on Ruler, though. I'm behind, so idk details, but it had a lot of potential and was the show to get me out of my drama slump.

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He was overshadowed by nearly everyone in Remember. Namgoong Min, stole the show and was even nominated for Baeksang Best Actor for playing the villain.

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I started liking him from Remember though. Baek Dong Soo just has terrible plot. The bromance is nice yes but the rest? In missing you I disliked the character, shady but not shady enough somehow, needy and pityful but also not enough to gain my pity, meh.

Still recommend remember. Nice plot, nice character for YSH, good acting and he looked quite good there too. Namgoong Min was good as a villian but that didn't really make him likeable. I wished he'd die all the time watching that Show...

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I Miss You. He's a psychopath fund manager with unrequited love. 1st half is good, 2nd half is meh, but still a heart wrenching show for melodrama fan to try. So Hyun played his lover's young version in that show.

Remember--Son's War. He suffers from hyperthymesia who becomes a genius lawyer to clean his farther's name. He loses all his memory in the end. This show is a well done melodrama, too, with bitter sweet ending that I really love. That way of ending reminds me of the film 50 First Dates starred Adam Sandler and Drew Barrymore. YSH played with Park Min Young in that show, and despite limited romantic scenes, their chemistry is no joke.

For light-hearted shows, try Imaginary Cat, Seon Dal - the man who sells the river. He is so hillarious in those stuffs.

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Not a drama but a movie. Loved him in Seondal: The Man who sells the river

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Well, the two main leads have top notch acting since the beginning, i wonder if you want a light storyline for YSH then watch God of Study. but for me the coolest appearance of him was in I Miss You. i dont really like that kind of storyline, and i'm not the fan of two main leads either. not because its badly written, just its so depressing drama, but Yoo Seung Ho acted as 2nd male lead, and have pyscho trait inside and rich and cool. so although he's antagonist, but i watch him there. top notch acting from him indeed. Kim So Hyun acted the younger counterpart of female lead in I Miss You. You can see her one of top acting there.

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I dropped it already myself, but I keep coming back to the recaps hoping that it gets better so I can pick it up again. I love Kim So-hyun and I started watching this drama for her since I couldn't enjoy LFG because of the huge age gap between her and Taec, I was disturbed by the romance, but this character and drama are an absolute mess.

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I agree that KSH's character is an absolute mess. She seems more of a plot device for the two men, or to push the story forward, but she doesn't effect things on her own. She makes her moves according to others' instructions. Why doesn't she think for herself?

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so many flaws ruler...so many flaws..(i could write an essay about it but i think @hanshimi has written most of them)but i'll watch you to the very end and write you down as the most ridiculous show i've watched so far this year...but the only good thing today was the double kiss...when he pulled her towards him for the second kiss..i screamed "omo"...altho i had to laugh at the position of ge eun's neck tho...it must have been uncomfortable..(i cant nail that sort of kiss scene coz my neck is stiff af)...but i thought the kiss was hot enough (considering kim so hyun is still not yet an adult), funny (coz i felt sorry towards her neck) and filled with passion....

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LOL the kiss scene. I feel bad for YSH, he gave his all efforts to make the kissing scene hot and beautiful, but his partner is still not an adult yet. I am not usually care about the kissing scene, but it could be the only thing that's interesting in the whole epi?

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@sera The ms temper, that is what i am talking about. Even KSH is trying to her best to emote, she is just not mature enough to have romance with YSH. Kiss actually showed it too. Still a only interesting and beautiful sight...

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She probably wanted to give her best, but she can't do more in this scene. I think it's still beautifully shot.

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The kiss scene was so beautifully shot, it reminded me of Gone with the Wind. I thought it was really romantic, even though I didn't actually feel anything, but I attribute that to all the flaws of the show, not Yoo Seung-Ho; he emotes like nobody's business.

At this point, I just let my mind float, so I thought it was the best episode.

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Yoo Seung ho's royal jawline is everything.

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Sigh! This show! I have run out of words to say how disappointed I am. Not even YSH can save it now. It seems like the show has deviated so much from its premise. The good guys don't even know who they are fighting against while Dae Mok just sits back and twirls his moustache. That last expression of Queen dowager was like the cherry on top to all the ridiculous plot.

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The show is indeed disappointing. In fact, there are too many plot holes and stupid moves made by supposedly intelligent people that I groan every time it happens. Now I spend my time admiring YSH's small face and boyish looks than focusing on the story line.

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I saw that kiss and I was horrified! I thought I would be okay since there isn't as big an age gap between the leads as there was in Let's Fight, Ghost but all I could think of was "no, what are you doing to a child who's not even legal yet?!" Sorry guys, I just needed to get that off my chest.

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I had the same feeling for the kiss scene in Moonlight =p

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Me too. I was so uncomfortable with it. I go into these shows thinking I could be cool, but nope I have a 16 year old sister and I find it incredibly gross.

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I think that's a bit unrealistic in this day and age.

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What is? Being grossed out by an underaged person being passionately kissed by an adult?

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I liked the Moonlight kiss better as it was in a sunlit garden with the air of awkward first love, KYJ closing her eyes and PBG smiling... squee! (Though yeah, the age gap is still !!)

The setup on this kiss scene is much more... adult though. The water, the moonlight. It's too grown up for my taste considering KSH is still a minor.

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I don't know if I'm the only one but I did not find the kiss scene disturbing. The kiss was really PG-13 lol we barely saw anything in the dark and she barely moved lol It was maybe Yoo Seung Ho that brought passion to the scene and I'm glad he did because I really don't like it when the kiss looks like 2 dead fishes smooch their lips together ! And Kim So Hyun does not look that young, she's 18 and considered an adult in my country ... Kim Yoo Jung in Moonlight looked much younger with her hair tucked in and her chubby cheeks ^^

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So-hyun is actually 17, so nope still jailbait.

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I don't have strong opinion either way re. the kiss scenes, but KSH actually turned 18, international age, on June 4th. She's now 19 years old Korean age. One can still argue that she's a minor, though.

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She just had her 18th birthday on June 4th so nope, she's already legally an adult in Korea and anywhere else.

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FYI: Legal age in South Korea is 19, international age.

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@Kim and @Bea, my bad. I thought it was 19 Korean age.

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i think we should stop arguing over kiss scene coz there might more coming and it is her job and her choice as a actress.

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Not disturbing no, but false, yes. Honestly kissing someone can represent many forms of human emotion; not just 'love' or necessarilly lust. But where there is a love interest the kisses should look real and be convincing or simple be left out. MLDBC was full of similar clumsy scenes.

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I didn't like the kiss, not because I find it gross or awkward, but because I've been following Kim Sohyun for years now and she's still a baby in my mind and heart. I don't think I'll ever get used to her in kissing scenes. It makes me want to protect her but I keep forgetting she's already an adult. T.T

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But guys koreans arent that innocent like dramas make them to be. They are already experienced and kissing is no problem for teenagers. I heard it from my friend who studied in korea. Still from the very start i thought she is too young to romance fully. I mean child portions of drama or school setup like Let's fight ghost is fine.

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I know this, I mean I live in America. That doesn't mean I still can't find it disturbing. I'm not saying she shouldn't kiss, that's her job and I have no rights over her. I'm just saying that if I have to see it, I will find it a little uncomfortable to watch.

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I felt like this show had so much potential, but yet this... sigh!

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Aw man, I was loving this show and have been really behind on it, so I don't really know why there's so many bad reviews on it now. I don't wanna be spoiled and read the recaps and too much of the comments, so I'll just have to continue watching to find out for myself.

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You don't have to be bothered by negative comments. Just con't to watch it. I admit it has flaws, but I'm still continue to watch it. I wonder now it's already epi 21-22, but I keep seeing similar negative comments from past few weeks already. For some shows with these kind of negativity, they would've stopped watching already. lol. Maybe some are loyal for either YSH /KSH.

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I don't think it's as bad as people here make it sound like, but to each their own. It's definitely not flawless, and I think the writing style is more dated than what is expected of recently. It is draggy and pointless at some points, but still watchable. Maybe if we have to recap it the flaws will be more glaring but hey, we're just viewers so just sit back and not analyze it so much yo.

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I think I'm gonna avoid the comments after this. I also think that this show has flaws, but other dramas have flaws too and I dont understand why this is the one that become the target of negative comments over and over again. I'll just enjoy this drama and have fun with it's ups and downs

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I really don't understand why Kim So Hyun (or her agency) chose this role. Maybe she was fooled by the premise like the rest of us, the plot looked pretty epic on paper.
I'm quite sad reading all the criticisms of her character even though I mostly agree to them. It's weird because I feel like she does not fully enjoy playing Ga Eun (and with good reasons), like I know by watching her others dramas that she is capable of conveying a wide range of emotions, but in Ruler I feel like she just restrains herself and does not show her full acting potential.
My biggest fear would be that she does not have the opportunity to play a better character soon, as the viewers often identify the character with the actress, and Ga Eun was definitely one of the most disappointing aspects of this show.
Please Kim So Hyun, come back as epic as you always were !

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Well...I mean...I think we'd all be hard-pressed to find anyone who'd enjoy acting/playing a character like Ga Eun. LMAO I don't even expect KSH to enjoy playing her at this point, but I'm glad she looks to be having fun behind the scenes at least. At this point it's more interesting watching those BTS scenes and see her be all cute and laughing at everything. I hope she steers clear of this writer in the future...hahaha...definitely didn't do her any favors.

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I'm definitely not excited by this show but lately I haven't been excited by any K-Drama much since 'Goblin'. I just want to get to the end and I've been keeping it on my screen-in-a-screen while I read. For some reason I'm pinning my hopes on 'Water God'.

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I think it has improved a bit and I have never been invested in the leads and their supposed love. I'm now wondering if this type of mix little vague history with liberties taken and little rom-com is just not reaaly my thing: visually stunning - like 7DQ but otherwise a disappointment with rubbish like pulling out a barbed arrow from a wound just to add insult to injury.

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I marvel that everyone is willing to overlook that MC cannot be the head eunuch's daughter - why do writers ask us to believe the impossible - and then that scene of saving CP and the two ending up high and dry on the river bank. I though it was very badly done and again unbelievable.

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I think a beanie offered an explanation to your complaint last episode which I find plausible. He simply didn't father her, he just adopted her when he rescued her, presumably as a child labourer like the kid who died before GE went into the palace (forgot her name, sorry). A child can still call her adopted father, 'father', which is not impossible at all.

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I don't think MC is his actual daughter, he could he adopted her when he saved her.

LOL I do agree the whole scene of saving CP was ridiculous. But I'm done picking on every single details on each scene lol.

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East Asian eunuchs do get "married" and adopt children to "continue" the family line. MC here is likely adopted by head eunuch, as explained by other replies here.

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Should we take bets on which episode Ga Eun finally (!!) remembers about that darn pot in the greenhouse?

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Let's do it, though luck isn't on my side most of the time, so I can only guess that GE will remember the darn pot after she has learned about CP's true identity and misunderstood him for the one who killed her father, causing a temporary rift between her and the CP. Ep 15 (old format), I think (though my heart says ep 17 or something)?

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I'm voting for the ending cliffhanger moment of Ep18 (new format, Ep36) so all can magically wrap up in the final two episodes ... although I genuinely hope we won't have to wait that long!

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I'm still baffled as to why Ga Eun's memory hasn't been triggered despite her having direct contact with ceramic ware almost on a daily basis ?

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I don't even understand how she can even forget about the jar because it supposed to contain The Truth about her dad.

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She will learn about his identity in Ep 15 (30), at 3/4 of the show I think

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I hope you're right!

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It'll be when her father's reputation is finally restored (if at all) Why was he beheaded anyway, it didn't protect either CP.

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Oh, while we're at it, let's guess what can possibly be inside that darn pot too -__-

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Something about the magical glowing poison scar?

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I'm thinking about another bamboo case, haha.

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The written order - it was shown at some point earl on though I don't remember exact scene.

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Episode 39, assuming this drama has 40 episodes

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My only question is: why korean still watching this, and the rating is actually increase.

Ga Eun just casually go out of the palace at night like that? With me the kiss was bad because I just dont buy it.

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It's not even a significant increase. And they're still stagnating on an average of 12% (average of the two ratings per night). There were also articles on Naver about how the youth sageuk genre is experiencing a slump post-Moonlight, even citing Ruler's unremarkable ratings, after all the mediaplay.

The 20-49 ratings of Ruler was also beaten by Suspicious Partner, again. https://www.soompi.com/2017/06/14/suspicious-partner-edges-competition-no-1-spot-2049-ratings/

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*Keep distracted by Yoo Seung ho's hands and arms.
I'm weird, I know.

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You are not alone. I'm distracted by not only his hands, his arms, but also his captivating eyes, his thick eyebrows, his mouth, etc etc ... I'm weird too, hahahaha

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I totally love that Joseon version of the legendary kiss from Gone With The Wind hahaha. Btw find it ridiculous when some people make a fuss about this kiss scene. Kim So Hyun had turned over 18 when this scene was shot!

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With such an amazing casts, i have to say this is the the worst saeguk among the currently airing ones. Knetzs are just too prideful to admit because of Yoo Seung ho and Kim So hyun

The premise was promising at the beginning. kim So Hyun's character was supposed to be a strong heroine, vengeful, but she influenced the king in ruling his country.
Yoo Seung Ho is s such an excellent actor but his choice in dramas Have been disappointing . The dramas were saved by his acting alone.. kim so hyun deserves better

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Disappointed with YSH's drama choices. KSH is so young i am not worried about her. But YSH needs to have daebak drama to shoot out like Kim Soo Hyun and Song Joong Ki.

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YSH is still so young though ('93 liner). I'm not really disappointed with his choices, but I hope he can branch out more. The more I see him, the more I doubt he can do well in romance drama. His performance in this drama so far is the best for me. Maybe he should do crime thriller drama for next project with less/no romance.
I also have no worry for KSH. She is so young, and has a long journey ahead.

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I think he needs a good PD, someone who knows how to reign in his acting rather than let him go over the top.

This PD is probably the worst type who make YSH and KSH give stock expressions.

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Watch "seondal the man who sells river" it's a movie,its was my first time noticing him and he was really good

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still watching this because of that gorgeous Yoo Seung Ho.

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By the way, I agree with hanshimi there, I thought Peasant Sun being all jealous was kind of badly done ... We all kind of expected him to turn bad, but it should have been mostly because of his father's death, his experience of the injustice of the social system, and how Dae Mok treated him during all these years, the growing relationship between Ga Eun and the prince only being the cherry on top. I feel like they did it too fast, one episode he was like begging Dae Mok for mercy and the next he's abusing his power to gain his crush's heart ...

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Oh this show. The first few eps were stellar. I am now simply reading recaps and watching clips. The show can still be redeemed, right? Or this that too much to hope? I sincerely wish better projects for YSH and KSH.

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I'm sorry Ruler, you lost me at episode 6 ... I'll be dreaming of what you could have been ... Farewell! ?

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It's my first time seeing a recap for this show. That is why, I'm quite surprised that a lot of negative comments are thrown in this drama. I have been following this show from the beginning, and I'm definitely hooked.

I read in the comments section that KSH's character has no back bone (just following others orders), unlike how it is shown in the beginning of the drama.
I totally disagree! She is not just following orders. She has a clear goal set - to clear her father's name and to defeat Pyunsoo group. So, when the opportunity presentled itself, she grabbed it. Even to the point of potentially never seeing the man she was madly in-love with. I think her move to the palace is instrumental to give her the chance to learn about her father's death and to help YSH get the throne back.

Unlike, other female characters, she chose to make a move by risking her life and even hurting the man she loves, just so she can help him attain their goal of defeating the villain.

I also love watching how YSH's character grew up from a foolish young crown prince to a mature 'king' thru his experience outside the palace. His adventures and misadventures is definitely fun to watch. Not to mention the chemistry between Him and KSH (omo. mmyyyy heeaaaaart?)

I'm not saying that the drama has no flaws. But I am definitely enjoying every second of it. It is the only drama that I keep going back to. Ha. Peace ?

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I wanted to but will not drop because I'll be reading reacaps to know what happened and will end up frustrating anyways so, at least this way I can share my thoughts.

Acting, now It isn't just L's but the queen too, maybe it was because she was more present and was the one who set the plot for these episodes, but come on, so lacking or maybe overacted is more accurate. YSH to me he's doing great and like I said before he's now the reason I am watching this.

I realized inmediatly what Lee Sun just did up till this moment. Obviously when Ga eun was turned into a court lady eventually she'll be one of the true king's, Sun, women. Did he not remember this when he was so happy by the queen's gift? When he said to him that Ga eun hated him, that was harsh. But again how long will they drag this from Ga eun. Not that she'll do anything but still

Kidnapping scene: Ok, I've said this before, although this time was the queen who set this up, but this people goes around just poisoning whoever cross their paths just like that. Wouldn't it be dubious to Sun that the queen calls him and doesn't shows up? I'll buy that Ga eun goes all the way to save him, but if she loses her conscience in the water how come they end on the ground and Sun just spits water without help? They were drowning. Rhey keep making Ga Eun useless, because everytime she tries to save the day or is given a task she fails. Even here, why didn't they let her save him properly? She could've.

I liked the kiss scene and that she let her feelings out, I would've prefer that the second kiss was a little bit more "active" but overall it was a cute kiss scene.

Now we have the queen as an enemy too. I don't think time will be enough to wrap up all this is in a decent way, even for this drama. And it had so much potential.

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abit late to the game but.....i loved that lil "play-within-a-drama" shadow puppet show going on. That's a dramatic device used in Shakespeare's Hamlet as well!!!!!!! in Hamlet, hamlet wanted to see if his uncle was guilty of the crime of killing hamlets father thru reenacting the event thru a play. Damn cool.

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She is 18,understandable. If they wanted to do a kiss scene the "passionate" second kiss was unnecessary,cuz 1 it looked annoying and nothing of passionate.if they couldn't actually kiss which I kinda support and due to the fact that it's a trad movie,they shdnt act annoying kiss roles

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