My Sassy Girl: Episodes 29-30
This journey has been about the nature of truth, and how that truth can be fragile and distorted quite easily. Or, sometimes, that truth can lose its memory in the woods, then resurface again ten years later in a world changed by its absence. Either way, for Hyemyeong the truth is a painful reality that cannot be undone, no matter how accidental, and so she must decide whether that truth is enough to break her heart.
EPISODE 29 RECAP
Gyun Woo delivers the queen’s written orders for a forged secret love letter to the king at long last. The king is rightfully bewildered and asks Gyun Woo how he came to acquire this evidence of the queen’s treachery. Without hesitation, Gyun Woo takes full blame for the former queen’s deposition, including the anonymous poster first accusing the queen of adultery, but he doesn’t explain his misunderstanding of the situation at the time.
The king can barely believe what he’s hearing, but when Gyun Woo begs to be punished for his unforgivable crime, the king explodes and screams at Gyun Woo to get out of his sight, his face crumpling in agony at the betrayal.
Hyemyeong returns from the medical services bureau after hearing that Gyun Woo was responsible for her mother’s deposition, and she seeks Gyun Woo out so he can confirm that Da-yeon’s words are untrue.
Hyemyeong recalls various examples of Gyun Woo’s unwavering commitment to helping her find her mother and uncovering the truth, deciding to trust her heart.
She finds Gyun Woo near the entrance of the palace and brightly calls out to him. She starts out confident, explaining the ridiculous thing she heard, but then grows agitated and desperate for him to refute the disturbing rumor, which he cannot do.
Instead, he remains silent even as tears fill Hyemyeong’s eyes. Her greatest fear confirmed, she hits him and shakes him by the arm as if she can force the answer she wants out of him. Finally, he offers a simple apology, and a tear falls from his eye.
She staggers away from him, her eyes wet with tears, but when he grabs her arm to steady her, Hyemyeong’s eyes clear with rage, and she callously rips her arm out of his grasp.
In the queen’s quarters, the young prince recites some Confucius teachings about obeying one’s parents, and the queen interrupts him to check that he understands the meaning of what he’s saying. The young prince confirms that as Confucius says, he shall follow the queen wherever she is, should she call for him.
He asks her to live long and stay healthy so that he can continue to be a filial son to her. The queen tears up at his sincerity and squeezes his arm tenderly. What a sweet little pumpkin. Outside her room, the king stands stone-faced in front of the door as the young prince continues his recitations.
After bumping into Gyun Woo as he was on his way back home, Mom tells Minister Gyun that she thinks Gyun Woo is acting strangely. Minister Gyun sighs deeply before telling his wife that Gyun Woo’s memories have returned.
It turns out that Mom was kept in dark about Gyun Woo’s involvement in the queen’s deposition, and is heartbroken by the news. She implies that Gyun Woo has been torturing himself all these years because of his unnameable guilt, and blames herself for not knowing about his pain.
The next morning, the king holds a surprised royal interrogation with all the ministers. No one knows what is going on until the queen is brought out kicking and screaming. She and Minister Jung lock eyes for a moment as they both start to realize what is happening.
The king reads the queen’s written orders for the forged love letter, which she denies outright, calling it a conspiracy. The king approaches the queen and tells her a little story of how a guard confessed to being paid by the queen to see Wol-myung the very same night that he died in his prison cell.
The queen continues to maintain her innocence even as the king rages at her for being the mastermind behind the events ten years ago. Ready to explode, the king grabs a sword and holds it against the queen’s neck, commanding her to confess.
The queen panics, and her eyes automatically drift sideways, just short of pointing at Minister Jung. Before she can even attempt to tell the truth, Minister Jung cuts in to convince the king to prosecute the queen through the proper institutional channels and give her the dignity that befits her title.
The king lowers the sword and seems to find reason, but suddenly, he swings the sword high over the queen’s head, which is when Hyemyeong runs in to witness the scene. The king doesn’t see his daughter, but he hesitates anyway, eventually throwing the sword aside.
Gyun Woo pays Joon-young a visit at the bureau of investigation to discuss Ghost Mask’s recent appearance. Joon-young seems a little wary to share tips, but after Gyun Woo explains that Ghost Mask may be the only person who knows what really happened ten years ago, Joon-young seems to consider it.
He thinks back to his encounter with Ghost Mask, and the letter which told Joon-young of how Wol-myung would be murdered that very night. We cut to Wol-myung as he thoughtfully spooned through his bowl of porridge from the queen. He slowly raised a spoonful to his mouth, but Joon-young entered in time to stop him.
Joon-young called Wol-myung by his name to confirm his identity before telling Wol-hyung that the porridge was probably poisoned. For a moment, Wol-myung looked shaken by the disclosure, but when one of the guards began to open his cell door, he suddenly shoved the spoonful of porridge into his mouth and started choking.
In the present, Joon-young takes Gyun Woo to see Wol-myung, who’s alive, but unconscious. They’ve hidden him away so that his backers can’t find him, and Gyun Woo comments on how Minister Jung and his flunkies like to use poison to get rid of their weaknesses and spare themselves.
The queen orders her court lady to bring the young prince to her, in a bid to help her survive the king’s wrath. The court lady argues that it won’t be easy since he’s with the queen dowager, so the queen shrieks at her to do whatever it takes to bring him.
Hyemyeong’s arrival cuts their conversation short, and the princess takes a jab at the queen’s shameless greed. Hyemyeong advises the queen to give up because they have gathered enough evidence to prosecute her, but the queen continues to proclaim her innocence.
Hyemyeong asks the queen if Minister Jung will let her live since he has a penchant for offing his allies after they are exposed, and the statement seems to shake the queen. She adds that the only way the queen can survive this ordeal is to confess and beg for forgiveness.
That night, Minister Jung and his cohorts figure out that Gyun Woo was the one who exposed the queen’s secret orders. Minister Jung gets a determined look in his eyes, and then later goes to visit the queen while disguised as a palace guard.
The queen looks at him fearfully as he approaches. With Hyemyeong’s prediction still fresh in her mind, the queen points a small dagger at him. She asks if he’s here to kill her, and warns that she won’t go down alone. He flips the script on her and points out that he’s the only person she can trust now, adding that he’s come to offer her one final chance.
Minister Jung explains that the prince currently thinks the queen is his birth mother so if the king should die… then her safety should be ensured, and she could rule as queen regent. He tells her to go into hiding while the deed is done, then return triumphant.
The queen seems a bit horrified by the idea, but Minister Jung reminds her that there is no other choice for her.
Minister Jung adds that he queen needs to do one last thing for him to put their plan into motion, and we cut to the queen kneeling before the king in the throne room, surrounded by ministers. She begins confessing all her crimes but adds that she had no choice because she was being threatened by Minister Gyun.
She paints Minister Gyun as the puppetmaster and says that she was framed for everything, and the only reason she did not speak up sooner is because she was afraid the king would abandon her for the things she’s done. Finally, she implores the king to punish Minister Gyun for his treasonous acts.
Some of the ministers on Minister Gyun’s side advise the king not to believe the queen, but suddenly the queen shouts out the “blind mother” quote from Gyun Woo’s poster, and everything clicks together. Uh oh. Thus, the king has no choice but to have Gyun Woo and Minister Gyun investigated for the matter.
EPISODE 30 RECAP
In his room, Gyun Woo reads over the flyers from Ghost Mask, but then hears Minister Park’s voice bellowing from out in the yard and runs outside.
He sees his father bound in ropes and being led out of the house as his mother cries out. His mother looks temporarily relieved to see Gyun Woo, until Minister Park orders Gyun Woo arrested as well.
Meanwhile, Hyemyeong learns of the arrest from Young-shin and immediately seeks out Joon-young to find out the facts. Joon-young tells her that Gyun Woo did indeed write the initial poster that eventually led to Hyemyeong’s mother’s deposition, but Hyemyeong points out that that isn’t evidence enough to prove that Minister Gyun was coercing the queen.
Joon-young replies that they are still investigating the connection, because as it stands, the queen claims the evidence incriminating her was fabricated by the Gyuns. This leads Hyemyeong to realize that Gyun Woo was the one who turned in the evidence of the queen’s treason in the first place.
In the interrogation room, Minister Park questions Gyun Woo and accuses him of falsifying the queen’s order letter, but Gyun Woo staunchly refuses to admit to any wrongdoing.
Minister Jung and Minister Park realize they’re going to need more ammo if they want to take down the righteous father and son pair, so they have the bookstore searched for flyers or any treasonous material. Chang-hui explains to an outraged Se-ho that they received a report that the Ghost Mask flyers were made at the bookstore.
Predictably, the guards find an ink press for one of the flyers, and despite Kwang-soo’s cries of denial, Chang-hui tells Kwang-soo to admit their crimes down at the bureau of investigation.
In their cells, Gyun Woo apologizes to his father, blaming himself for everything. Minister Gyun absolves Gyun Woo of fault since he was only a child at that time, and instead blames himself because he knew everything all these years, but chose to stay silent. Gyun Woo’s friends are then brought into the jail, much to Gyun Woo’s surprise.
Chang-hui reports to Minister Jung that he completed his task, and Minister Jung praises him before inviting him over for a drink sometime.
Hyemyeong rushes to meet with her father after she hears that even Gyun Woo’s friends were arrested. She tries to reason with the king, but the king is blinded by his feelings of betrayal and hurt, so she tells him that she hopes an innocent person will not be charged with a crime they did not commit yet again.
Feeling desperate, Mom and Gyun Hee go to Da-yeon in the hope that she can persuade her father to help Minister Gyun and Gyun Woo. Showing her true colors at last, Da-yeon rudely rebuffs them and tells them not to bother her for things like this again.
Inside her room, Da-yeon angrily clutches the norigae from Gyun Woo and finally gives up on her ambitions to marry him. She orders Mal-geum to burn the norigae and explains, “Destroy it so that no one else can have it.”
Gyun Woo is taken back to the interrogation room and is greeted by Minister Jung. He tries some psychological judo on Gyun Woo, asking him why he would make and distribute those flyers while also accusing Gyun Woo of killing Min Yoo-hwan and of fabricating the incident from ten years ago.
Gyun Woo shoots back meaningfully that he thinks “someone else” is behind everything, and warns that the truth will be revealed no matter what Minister Jung does to stop it. Sensing that he isn’t going to get Gyun Woo to crack so easily, Minister Jung tries another tactic and asks Gyun Woo warningly who he supposes the next person to be arrested will be.
He proposes Gyun Woo’s mother or sister… or perhaps Hyemyeong. Gyun Woo erupts at the threat. Minister Jung leans in closer and tells Gyun Woo, “There must be a sacrifice to protect something precious.”
In the garden, the queen dowager and Hyemyeong sit down for a talk. The queen dowager says, “Sometimes a truth turns into a lie and a lie turns into a truth.” She continues that even though it may take a long time, eventually the truth will be revealed.
Hyemyeong asks the queen dowager why Gyun Woo chose to reveal the letter now of all times, and not any earlier. The queen dowager fills Hyemyeong in about how Gyun Woo lost his memory in the woods, and his misunderstanding that led him to write the poster.
Hyemyeong is shocked by the information, but she says that even though she understands it was all a mistake, she still can’t help but hate Gyun Woo.
She bemoans that fact that Gyun Woo, of all people, is the one responsible for her mother’s deposition. The queen dowager wisely tells Hyemyeong that even though it is painful, she must stay strong until the full truth comes out.
The queen dowager’s words reach Hyemyeong, and afterward, she heads to the bureau of investigation to see Gyun Woo. She runs into Joon-young outside first, and since he knows why she’s there, he facilitates a meeting between the two lovebirds without saying a word.
The air is awkward between them, so Hyemyeong cuts to the chase and tells Gyun Woo all that she’s learned about his role in her mother’s deposition, and that he was the one to give the queen’s letter to the king. But she says that she still cannot forgive him.
Hyemyeong says that she knows Minister Gyun and Gyun Woo are not the ones behind the queen, and that she suspects Minister Jung, but she knows that Gyun Woo was still the impetus. She explains that she wants to see Minister Jung pay for his crimes and will try to expose him, but she wants Gyun Woo to know that her actions are not motivated by her desire to set him and his father free.
She coldly says that she came here tonight to tell him clearly what her intentions are so that he does not have false hope that her actions mean anything more. Aww.
As she speaks, Gyun Woo stays silent and cries, and when she’s done, she leaves without a second glance. But outside, she breaks down and cries as well. Alone, Gyun Woo falls to his knees and sobs.
In her room, Hyemyeong stares at the now dry-pressed flower she received from Gyun Woo. Finally, she closes the book and places it in a box (presumably for storage).
In his cell again, Gyun Woo asks one of the guards to call for Joon-young.
Given her status, the queen is locked in her room instead of thrown in jail. She hears from her court lady that the “preparations are complete,” but the court lady adds that she isn’t sure if they can trust Minister Jung to deliver on his promises. The queen replies defeatedly that she doesn’t really have a choice.
Meanwhile, Wol-myung finally wakes. He figures out his situation instantly and pretends to still be asleep, so when the lone guard comes over to check on him, he chokes the guard and breaks his neck. Geez.
The queen and her court lady escape the palace the next morning and head to the river where Minister Jung was supposed to arrange an escape boat for them. However, when they arrive, there is no boat waiting for them at the meeting spot.
Realizing she’s been had, the queen tries to go back to the palace, but is stopped by a group of masked men. The court lady is promptly killed by the masked men, and the queen makes a run for it, but she doesn’t get very far. She’s pushed to the edge of a cliff, and begins shouting about how they’ll pay with their lives if they dare to kill her, the queen.
Right before she can be sent her death, a man swoops in and fights off the masked men—it’s Wol-myung. (Really? Have more self-respect, man.)
He keeps the men at bay for a little while longer, but there really isn’t any place to run to, and eventually he and the queen are cornered again. He fights valiantly, taking several swords through the abdomen before finally falling. What a sad life.
Alone again, the queen grabs a stray sword and shouts her last words, which are a warning to Minister Jung that she will not die alone and will return as a ghost to drag him down. Seeming to realize it’s finally over, she lowers the sword, closes her eyes, then jumps off the cliff.
Minister Jung and his buddies celebrate another “cut-off tail” dealt with over some drinks with a couple of gisaengs, and Minister Park presents the next stage of their plan to rule the country. Minister Park shows Minister Jung an old-looking book which contains a made-up prophecy of how “a king from the Jung family appears.”
Their plan is to distribute copies of the book around the city to spread the legend and create a new hero for the people to romanticize. At first, Minister Jung doesn’t look completely convinced by the plan, but by the end, he breaks into a wide grin. The baddies toast to their new plan, and the gisaengs join in, but we see the smile on one of the girl’s faces fade. Oh, are you one of Choon Poong’s allies?
Curiously, the smile also fades from Minister Jung’s face, and he stares seriously out into the distance after finishing his drink. When he returns home for the night, he looks over the old book with the prophecy, looking pleased.
He’s interrupted by the sound of yet another arrow flying across the room and piercing through the rice-paper screens. Minister Jung grabs a sword and heads outside to investigate, right before another arrow lands right at his feet. He comes face-to-face with Ghost Mask once again.
Minister Jung addresses Ghost Mask directly, and interestingly, Ghost Mask replies this time. He issues a warning to Minister Jung, telling him that it’s over for him. Ah, I know that voice.
Ghost Mask jumps from the rooftop and charges at Minister Jung, but there’s a small army of henchmen waiting in ambush for him. It isn’t long before Ghost Mask is overpowered and brought to his knees. Minister Jung walks over to Ghost Mask and removes the white mask to reveal: Choon Poong.
Minister Jung is startled to see Choon Poong’s face, recognizing him as Prince EUNSEONG, otherwise known as Prince Chuseong’s younger brother.
We cut briefly back to Hyemyeong, who suddenly jumps to her feet and rushes out of her room, looking determined.
We return to Minister Jung as he figures out that Choon Poong escaped the purge ten years ago, comparing Choon Poong to an escaping rat. Choon Poong shoots back that Minister Jung is the rat for running away after framing the innocent Prince Chuseong.
Minister Jung cackles loudly at the description and tells Choon Poong ironically that it was nice to see him again. He raises the sword, but is shot in the chest by an arrow before he can strike.
Hyemyeong hurries to the holding cells to find Gyun Woo, but is alarmed to find him missing.
Meanwhile, Minister Jung looks up toward the roof and sees yet another Ghost Mask holding a bow in his hands.
Well, that Ghost Mask thing certainly ended in a whimper. Choon Poong practically had “Ghost Mask” written on his forehead since the day Ghost Mask appeared, so I was really hoping for a twist on the obvious. It’s interesting that the show added a second Ghost Mask, so maybe Ghost Mask has never really been one person. The show is heavily implying that Gyun Woo is the second Ghost Mask, but I hope there’s something more to that mystery.
Overall this episode was a decent follow-up to last week’s big revelation. I will say that I think the show delivered in the department of plot twists with Gyun Woo’s forgotten memories. It’s a good setup, but the more we delve into the angst, the more I wish this plot line was treated like the focal point of the story all along, instead of creeping along just in the shadows. We wasted so much time adapting My Sassy Girl into the Joseon era, and while conceptually I understand what the show was trying to achieve, it still felt like a drawn-out side plot.
Ultimately, I don’t think the two distinct ideas of the show fit together as well as they needed to. My Sassy Girl in Joseon sounds like a fun movie remake instead of a television show, because as evidenced through this show, the hijinks kind of run their course rather quickly, and there’s a need for something meatier beneath the surface to justify sixteen episodes. The dramatic setup in this story is great on its own, but it matches a melodrama vibe with its star-crossed lovers concept, rather than a show that started out as a slapstick comedy. But, it is what it is.
For this episode, the conflict between Hyemyeong and Gyun Woo was well-handled. I am kind of proud of Hyemyeong for clearly telling Gyun Woo how she intends to help clear his name, because she knows his actions were done in ignorance, but she does not want him to mistake her actions for lingering affections. The actors did a great job delivering that scene in the interrogation room.
I really like how mature and clear-headed Hyemyeong is in handling all these devastating truths, particularly in contrast to the king, who can’t see beyond his hurt and rage. It’s understandable, especially since the story the queen told about Minister Gyun being the mastermind actually seems possible, given the damning circumstances. I am kind of impressed with Minister Jung for coming up with that plan, to be honest.
On another note, I know the prince is just an adorable little boy, but I worry about what kind of damage shielding him from all these dramatic events is going to do for him down the road. Perhaps it’s nonsensical to worry about a character that will never age, but thinking from his perspective is rather depressing, and very confusing. Hopefully, he gets his real mom back soon and a good Joseon therapist to help him navigate through all the lies he’s been told.
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