My Sassy Girl: Episodes 27-28
At long last, the fragments of Gyun Woo’s recurring and cryptic nightmare come together, and we learn some surprising and heartbreaking truths that may end up tearing our sassy princess and wise scholar further apart. Gyun Woo’s reticence to disclose information — no matter how possibly damning it may be — just ends up making things worse, though it’s hard to blame him when he’s already so busy blaming himself.
EPISODE 27 RECAP
Ghost Mask eyes two lanterns floating in the night sky, and unbeknownst to him, Wol-myung throws a dagger from behind, but it misses Ghost Mask entirely because Gyun Woo suddenly tackles him, and the two end up tumbling down a hill. From a distance, Hyemyeong spots a motionless Gyun Woo sprawled on the ground and frantically runs to him while Ghost Mask quickly leaves the scene.
Joon-young captures Wol-myung in no time, but looks concerned as Hyemyeong cries for Gyun Woo to wake up.
We travel to the past when Gyun Woo was just a child, albeit a very bright little scholar who won the king over with his recitation of morals and values. Adorable! Outside, he overheard two women gossip about the queen’s alleged pregnancy and affair with Prince Chuseong, which made Little Gyun Woo shake his head in disapproval.
Little Gyun Woo entered a brush shop operated by a couple to purchase new brushes, and the calligrapher noted that the boy must be studying very hard since his brushes never last more than a month, to which Little Gyun Woo answered that studying is necessary in order to become a noble man.
He noticed the baby in the wife’s arms, and the man asked Little Gyun Woo if he could bestow a name upon the baby, since Little Gyun Woo is considered the treasure of Joseon.
The request made him smile, and that evening, Little Gyun Woo came up with the name “Ga-on,” in the hopes that the baby would become a beautiful and warmhearted person.
Little Gyun Woo eagerly returned to the brush shop, but was alarmed to find the place empty and in complete disarray. He spotted a flyer reading: “I can’t help loving you, Prince. I am willing to give up the title of Mother of the Country.” Puzzled by the flyer, Little Gyun Woo’s eyes grew wide in alarm when he spotted the calligrapher on the ground, wounded and bleeding.
With all the energy he could muster, the calligrapher offered Little Gyun Woo a brush and instructed him to “let the people know.” A blood-curdling scream by a woman outside prompted Little Gyun Woo to run out.
With the brush firmly gripped in his hand, he stopped a royal guard to tell him about the brush store incident, but the guard pushed him aside because he was already on his way there to extinguish the fire. Upon learning about the fire, Little Gyun Woo concluded that the calligrapher was murdered in order to cover up the adultery and that the shop was set ablaze to get rid of evidence, so Little Gyun Woo decided to let the people know about this and make this news public so no more people would be hurt. Uh oh.
In his room, Little Gyun Woo wrote a flyer: “The blind mother ruins everything. A foolish mother ruins the king, the people, and the government. The nation’s mother is ill-mannered and is bereft of every speck of shame. Who should the poor look up to? The truth must be disclosed to the world, and sinners must be punished.” After drafting it, he posted it on the public bulletin. Eek.
The next day, a slew of flyers were on the ground, and passersby were furious to learn that the queen was adulterous, abetted in murder, and plotted treason with Prince Chuseong, which was grounds for deposition.
Little Gyun Woo picked up a flyer and was startled to find the content identical to the one he wrote. He ran to the bulletin where he posted his flyer the night before and was shocked to find it removed.
He returned to his room, wondering who tampered with his writing. His eyes landed on his brush collection, and he held up the one from the calligrapher right before his death. Little Gyun Woo twisted it and found a tiny note rolled up inside, and was surprised by what he read.
He marched outside and told himself that things had gone terribly wrong and that the queen was innocent, planning to put a stop to all this.
He tried to enter the palace to speak to his father, but was not permitted entry because the queen had just been deposed.
As he struggled to leap over the palace walls, he watched a young girl (Hyemyeong as a child) carefully scale the roof and jump over to the other side right in front of him, and was surprised to learn that she was a princess.
In the forest (that appears in Gyun Woo’s nightmares), Little Hyemyeong wondered why he was following her, and he sheepishly admitted that he, too, needed to meet the queen. As they walked, they came upon a horrific sight: the murdered bodies of the queen’s retinue surrounding a palanquin.
The children were shaken, but after sensing Little Hyemyeong’s fright, Little Gyun Woo offered to take a closer look. He walked past the bodies, opened the flap of the palanquin, and found it empty save for a blood-stained cushion. He informed Little Hyemyeong that fortunately, it appeared as though her mother managed to escape.
The next day, the two wandered and shouted for the queen until nightfall. Little Hyemyeong faltered, but refused to return to the palace until she found her mother, so Little Gyun Woo offered to piggyback her.
He noticed her shivering when they stopped for a break, so he removed his vest and draped it over her shoulders before getting up to locate a nearby house that could shelter them. But during his search, he stumbled and fell unconscious.
Back in the present, Gyun Woo wakes with a start and finds Hyemyeong by his side, wondering if he’s all right.
Outside, Byul and Young-shin worry about Gyun Woo’s state, and Gyun Woo’s parents and sister arrive shortly thereafter, simultaneously concerned about Gyun Woo and disappointed that Hyemyeong is with him.
To Hyemyeong’s alarm, Gyun Woo is visibly shaken with eyes brimming with tears, unable to answer Hyemyeong’s question as to whether he’s hurting so much. Just then, his family bursts in, and Minister Gyun instructs Hyemyeong to return to the palace.
Meanwhile, the queen is enjoying her time with the prince until her attendant informs her that Wol-myung has been captured, which makes her panic.
And as we see, Wol-myung is bound to a chair, though he remains silent while Joon-young interrogates him.
Minister Lee advises Minister Jung to get rid of Wol-myung since he knows too much, but the latter warns against hasty action since that can put both of them in danger. He cryptically states another idea: borrow someone else’s knife.
Hyemyeong and Gyun Woo sit in their respective rooms with a lot on their mind. Gyun Woo reflects on how much Hyemyeong longed to see her mother before coming to the sad conclusion that everything is his fault. Poor thing.
The next morning, Hyemyeong patiently waits outside Gyun Woo’s residence, but the door doesn’t open until Young-shin repeatedly hollers and bangs on it. Finally, Gyun Hee and her mother appear, but they’re not eager to see Hyemyeong, who stopped by to check in on Gyun Woo and drop off medicine.
Mom coldly declines the medicine and requests that Hyemyeong no longer get close to Gyun Woo before closing the door.
Hyemyeong runs into Se-ho and Kwang-soo next, who suggest that she join them on their way to see Gyun Woo, unaware that she was turned away.
So instead, Se-ho and Kwang-soo deliver Hyemyeong’s medicine to Gyun Woo and ask if he’s hit a rough patch with Hyemyeong.
At the medical services bureau, Choon Poong happily greets Hyemyeong, but she appears depressed. He tries to guess why she’s feeling so down and correctly guesses that her lover is ill. He asks if he’s severely ill, and Hyemyeong dejectedly answers that she’s unsure.
In his room, Gyun Woo appears conflicted as he holds the medicine from Hyemyeong. He glances at the ornate bureau in his room and decides to open it, taking out a small wooden chest.
In flashback, we see Gyun Woo as a child, battered and bandaged, and unable to tell his parents why he went out because he doesn’t remember anything that happened that year. Minister Gyun had advised him to stay with his grandparents in Jeonju to recover.
Then we see him packing up his brushes into the wooden chest, pausing at one brush in particular (the one from the calligrapher), but with his memory wiped out, he merely adds it to the chest with the others.
Back in the present, Gyun Woo grows emotional and stares intensely at the wooden chest, but he’s unable to muster up the courage to open it.
Minister Gyun stops by and informs his son that he asked the king to approve of their resignation requests so that they can move to Jeonju together, but Gyun Woo replies with a question: “Have you heard of ‘the blind mother ruins everything?’ Do you know that I was the one who wrote it then? Is that why you told me not to get along with the princess?”
Minister Gyun is stunned into silence, and once he gathers himself, he asks if Gyun Woo’s memory has returned. In flashback, we see that Minister Gyun held up the only flyer that was handwritten, and the king asked him if he recognized the handwriting. Oh dear.
Back in the present, Minister Gyun answers, “How could I not recognize your handwriting as your father?” He says he wanted more than anyone to know what really happened, but after Gyun Woo lost his memory, he decided to bury it in the past so as not to ruin his son’s life. Still, he says, Gyun Woo can’t be with Hyemyeong.
Outside the room, Gyun Hee eavesdrops (ugh) and wonders what the significance is of “the blind mother ruins everything.”
Minister Jung unexpectedly pays the queen a visit and informs her that Wol-myung has been captured, though he’s surprised by her calm reaction. She explains that there’s little she can do but stay quiet and wait like he instructed, but her curiosity is piqued when he says he needs her help.
Da-yeon offers red ginseng to Gyun Woo’s mother after hearing about Gyun Woo, and Mom appreciates the gesture, even sympathizing with her when she assumes that Da-yeon fell ill because of Hyemyeong. Gyun Hee reminds Mom that that was supposed to remain a secret, but Mom says it’s okay since it’s just between them.
Gyun Hee takes Da-yeon to her brother’s room, but he’s not in. She finds the medicine from Hyemyeong on the table, and Da-yeon’s smile drops immediately, but Gyun Hee assures her that she has nothing to worry about since Hyemyeong and Gyun Hee can’t be together.
Da-yeon asks Gyun Hee where her certainty comes from, and Gyun Hee fills her in on a secret. Gyun Hee, you are a recipe for disaster.
EPISODE 28 RECAP
From across the river, Gyun Woo watches Hyemyeong leave the medical services bureau with Byul and Young-shin. His eyes never leave her as he matches her pace on the other side. Hyemyeong stops in her tracks as if she sensed his presence, but she takes a look around and resumes walking; he’s too far for her to notice.
While Gyun Woo drowns his sorrows in alcohol, over at the palace, an arrow flies right in front of Joon-young’s face before striking a post. Joon-young spots Ghost Mask atop the roof, but the elusive figure disappears seconds later. He reads the letter affixed to the arrow and appears uneasy.
The queen visits Wol-myung in prison, and with puppy dog eyes, she asks if he’s okay. He wonders if she came because Minister Jung sent her here, but she says she came because she was worried about him. She promises to get him out since she was the one that put him in this situation, and though Wol-myung interjects to say that he chose this path, the queen apologizes nonetheless before giving him his favorite porridge. Uh, I wouldn’t eat that if I were him.
When the queen returns to her quarters, she declares that he must die so she can live. Gah!
In his cell, Wol-myung sits before the porridge and picks up his spoon. I hope that spoon changes color or something…
Hyemyeong sadly touches the dried flowers from Gyun Woo as the young prince enters her room. He says that he wrote Gyun Woo a letter to cheer him up and asks her to deliver it to him on her way to work tomorrow.
Mom waits up for her son and is relieved when Gyun Woo finally comes home, although from his wobbly steps, it’s clear he’s been drinking. He tells Mom he’s fine before heading to his room, but it’s clear he’s still very much hurting.
The next day, Gyun Woo waits for Hyemyeong in the garden. She’s glad to hear that he’s feeling better, and Gyun Woo asks her to spare some time for him today.
They have some chrysanthemum tea over at the teahouse since it relaxes the mind and body, but Hyemyeong says Gyun Woo probably needs it more than her. He hands her a pouch of dried chrysanthemum and advises her to make tea whenever she needs some peace, which reminds Hyemyeong that she has something for Gyun Woo, too. She gives him the prince’s letter, and Gyun Woo reads it.
The prince wrote that Hyemyeong has been sighing all day long because of Gyun Woo and asks him to get well soon and return to the palace because he misses him. Hyemyeong asks to see the letter, but Gyun Woo says it’s a secret between the two guys.
She takes a gander and finally recognizes the teahouse, which makes Gyun Woo smile as he recalls their quarrelsome encounter in which she caused a scene and accused him of being a pervert. Hyemyeong remembers how funny his bewilderment was.
They move from the teahouse to a studio where an artist sketches the two sitting together. Hyemyeong asks for two drawings so they can each take one home, but Gyun Woo says just one will suffice, to Hyemyeong’s surprise. He takes her hand, and the two smile for the artist.
Afterward, Hyemyeong quips that Gyun Woo looks more handsome in the drawing while she’s more beautiful in person, but Gyun Woo agrees with her joke. She wonders why he gets to take home the drawing when he asked for just one, and Gyun Woo says it’s because he paid for it, heh.
Elsewhere, Minister Jung asks Da-yeon if she’s finally decided to listen to him, but she replies that she has something to share regarding Gyun Woo that he’ll be pleased to hear. Moments later, Minister Jung repeatedly utters the phrase, “The blind mother ruins everything,” as if to place a memory.
In flashback, we see that Minister Jung had seen the flyer on the bulletin and ordered Wol-myung to make copies of it to leave throughout the capital.
Back in the present, Minister Jung smirks as he realizes that Gyun Woo was the one who wrote the flyer on the bulletin.
Gyun Woo takes Hyemyeong out for dinner, and of course the main dish is fermented skate, her favorite. She eagerly reaches out to grab a piece of skate with her hands, but catches herself and resorts to chopsticks instead. Gyun Woo encourages her to eat comfortably, and she happily chews.
She takes away his glass since he’s not well enough to drink, but he surprises her when he takes both her glasses and lines up a third to pour a drink for her and the person sitting in front of her, with the third serving as the toast shot. He advises her not to drink more than three shots starting from today, and Hyemyeong says today, she’ll just drink one shot for him, since he cares so much for her and is unable to drink.
She happily downs the shot before they return to the garden. Hyemyeng wishes she can stay with him a little longer and eagerly suggests they eat raw octopus tomorrow (sans alcohol). Gyun Woo turns serious since he has something to say to her, but he changes his mind and looks on sadly as Hyemyeong bounces off, completely unaware of his anguish.
The “blind mother” line weighs heavily on Minister Gyun’s mind when Minister Jung unexpectedly arrives to share a drink with him. Minister Jung gleefully states that he has a story to tell about a poster that outlined the queen’s misdeeds and made her deposition a breeze.
He asks Minister Gyun if he knows who drafted the poster, and the ensuing silence confirms what he already knew. Minister Gyun asks Minister Jung what he wants, and the latter requests that Da-yeon marry Gyun Woo.
Minister Jung meets with Da-yeon afterward and informs her that Minister Gyun turned down the marriage offer, which means that she must give up on Gyun Woo as promised.
Meanwhile, Gyun Woo sadly gazes at the drawing of him and Hyemyeong and apologizes to the princess. He then opens up the wooden chest and holds up the black calligraphy brush. Twisting it, he removes the tiny scroll.
The next day, Da-yeon approaches Hyemyeong at the medical services bureau, and Gyun Woo pays a visit to the king. He removes the tiny scroll from the brush and hands it to the king to read. It reads (in the current queen’s voice): “Write up a love letter of the queen to Prince Chuseong. Write as if she lost her head over him. Refer to the enclosed letter for the queen’s handwriting.”
The king gravely asks Gyun Woo where he found this, and Gyun Woo vehemently apologizes, saying that everything stemmed from his negligence.
Back at the medical services bureau, Da-yeon tells Hyemyeong that there’s something she must know, although Hyemyeong replies that she doesn’t trust Da-yeon at all. Da-yeon suggests she listen first before deciding whether to believe her or not.
Moments later, Gyun Woo and Hyemyeong spot each other at the palace. She greets him calmly enough and says she heard something so weird and nonsensical that she believes it’s a lie, but asks if it’s true that Gyun Woo caused her mother’s dethronement.
Gyun Woo remains silent as Hyemyeong pleads with him to confirm her belief that it’s false and that she was lied to. She looks at him for answers, but he still doesn’t say a word and is unable to meet her eyes. Hyemyeong begins to cry and orders him to speak up and renounce the lie, but all he’s able to say is, “I apologize, Your Highness. I apologize.”
Up until this episode, I really didn’t think Joo-won was showing us his full capacity as an actor. After all, the role of Gyun Woo is rather straightforward and vanilla. However, I was surprised to find that I truly sensed the pain and the immense guilt that was eating away at him and making him physically ill as a result of a mistake he made ten years ago as a child. I never expected Gyun Woo to have been the one who sped up the deposition process by publicizing the damning rumors regarding Hyemyeong’s mother, nor did I entertain the idea that he and Hyemyeong’s paths crossed much earlier when they were both kids. I think the reveal was well done (visually, I loved how the magenta and royal blue hanboks of the kids stood out against the dark backdrop), but probably could’ve been more impactful had the lead-up to it been more compelling. In other words, if previous episodes were more focused and the tone less inconsistent; some well-executed suspense in order to heighten our anticipation would’ve done the trick.
I think it’s a bit of a stretch to say that Gyun Woo “caused” the queen’s deposition because the rumors of her alleged affair were already swirling before he drafted that poster; unfortunately, he unintentionally aided the bad guys when he thought he was doing the right thing. But I do understand why Gyun Woo feels entirely at fault, and I don’t think it’s unreasonable for him to be so guilt-ridden. It’s a heartbreaking and overwhelming realization that surfaced ten years later that Gyun Woo was involved in the queen’s deposition, the event that shattered Hyemyeong’s life forever. The fact that Gyun Woo made this mistake when he was just a child renders the whole situation significantly more tragic because he was just an innocent youth who jumped to conclusions, but sadly, that was all it took to bring about such tremendous devastation.
As duplicitous as Minister Jung is, I couldn’t help, but laugh when, out of the blue, he tried to blackmail Minister Gyun into approving the marriage between Gyun Woo and Da-yeon. And then moments later, he told Da-yeon to give up already, heh. There’s really not much Minister Jung actually does; he’s usually conspiring in his room or someone else’s room, and I’m growing less interested and less fearful of his machinations. As for Ghost Mask, I’m still not sure who he is, but it would be pretty awesome if Hyemyeong’s mother was behind the mask and the sharpshooting.
I hope Gyun Woo eventually speaks up and sorts matters out with Hyemyeong, and that Hyemyeong’s own memories (wherever they are) fill in the gaps of the puzzle so that they’re both on the same page and ready to work together to bring Minister Jung and his cronies to justice. I just hope Hyemyeong finds it within her to actually listen to Gyun Woo’s side of the story and that we don’t have a repeat of her bulldozing him with her stubborn beliefs. I still remember how persistent she was in accusing Gyun Woo of stealing her jade ring, and it was not fun to watch. Fingers crossed they quickly patch up their relationship come finale week.
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