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Ruler–Master of the Mask: Episodes 37-38

As Sun reclaims what’s rightfully his, he struggles to protect his people — and himself — from Dae-mok’s scheming. Thankfully, our king both protects his people and finds his strength through them. I enjoyed these episodes, though I can’t say whether it’s more because they were genuinely enjoyable or because I’m happy to see everything wrap up in a happily-ever-after. Ruler–Master of the Mask may not have been all of our hopes and dreams, but I’ll be glad to live on the few shining moments it did give us as we get ready to say goodbye. Forever.

 
EPISODE 37 RECAP

Faced with two conflicting kings, the ministers demand that Sun and Lee Sun prove their identities to the court. Sun complies at once, describing a prank he once played on the Minister of Justice as a child. The startled Minister of Justice confirms the truth of the memory, causing a stir among the court. Lee Sun immediately counters with a memory of his own, however, putting them back at square one.

When the second state councilor notes suspiciously that only one of the kings could describe his childhood, however, the chief state councilor (Dae-mok’s advisor) takes matters into his own hands. Knowing that Lee Sun has three moles on the back of his neck, the chief state councilor declares that the true king has three moles on the back of his neck, and asks the court to see which man has those moles. Lee Sun smugly reveals his moles to the ministers, sending them leaning back to Lee Sun’s side.

But the Minister of Inspector General steps up to offer his own test. He describes a time when a young Prince Sun was badly injured playing ball, giving him a cross-shaped scar on his arm. When another minister confirms this memory, Sun pulls back his sleeve to reveal the scar to the court.

The minister moves toward Lee Sun to check his arm as well, but thinking fast, Lee Sun shouts at him not to dare touch his royal robes. The other ministers erupt, arguing over which proof is sufficient.

The chief of the Water Bureau interrupts next, urging the ministers to have the kings remove their masks – even if no one knows the king’s true face, they just might recognize the impostor.

Sun agrees to take off the mask, telling Lee Sun to remove his mask as well. As soon as they do, the chief of the Water Bureau loudly identifies Sun as the chief peddler, causing the ministers to accuse him of impersonating the king.

As the ministers start to order Sun’s arrest, however, Chung-woon steps forth. A minister recognizes Chung-woon as the prince’s bodyguard, surprised that he’s still alive. Sun takes advantage of Chung-woon’s disruption to declare that he is indeed both the chief peddler and the crown prince, and that he was forced to take the guise of the chief peddler five years ago, when Dae-mok murdered his father and placed a false king on the throne.

When the chief state councilor starts to accuse him of lying, Chung-woon steps forward as a witness, confirming Sun’s statement. Lee Sun challenges their claims, noting that there is no record of the king’s murder, but Moo-ha points out that the record could easily be manipulated. The tide seems to turn back to Sun’s side.

Lee Sun, however, has one final trump card. Declaring that the queen dowager must surely know the truth, he summons her to attest to the identity of the true king. The Pyunsoohwe ministers smile at Lee Sun’s brilliant suggestion, while Sun and his team look panicked.

The queen dowager arrives at the court with a look of cold determination, hardly willing to be Lee Sun’s puppet. So when Lee Sun commands her to reveal the “truth” of five years ago to the court, the queen dowager instead corroborates Sun’s claim. To Pyunsoohwe’s shock, she confesses that the late king was indeed murdered by Dae-mok, and that Dae-mok replaced the prince with an impostor.

Saying that she didn’t reveal the truth until now for fear of the violence it would cause, the queen dowager names Sun as the true king. The chief state councilor points out that the queen dowager has never seen the crown prince’s face either, but she tells them that a mother can always recognize her own child. Once again, the tide of ministers shifts to Sun.

This time, Woo Bo steps forth, claiming that there is one more piece of evidence to prove Sun’s identity. The true king, Woo Bo says, is immune to poison because he was poisoned as an infant, although the kingdom was told that he simply suffered from a fever.

The Pyunsoohwe ministers demand to know who could have poisoned the prince. At that, the queen dowager grimly admits that she had joined forces with Dae-mok at the time, and that she was the one who tried to kill him.

Woo Bo goes on to explain that when the true king is poisoned, the character “Sun” appears on his left shoulder. The chief state councilor points out that no such fact is recorded, making Woo Bo’s claim totally groundless. Without evidence, Woo Bo is unable to argue.

Meanwhile, a frustrated Ga-eun searches the greenhouse top to bottom for the jar containing proof of Sun’s royal identity, but Consort Lee seems to have hidden it a little too well. Only when she begins to smash open flowerpots does she spot it in a hidden dark corner.

Clutching it to her chest, she hurries to take it to Sun. When she is stopped by a couple of armed palace guards, Mae-chang comes to her rescue, taking down the guards with some badass moves. She tells Ga-eun to go ahead while she takes care of the guards.

Ga-eun hurries on, but is once again stopped by the guards just before she reaches the ministers’ court. They tell her that the king has forbidden anyone to enter and order her to leave – but this time, it’s Gon who comes to her rescue. He takes them down with some even more badass moves while Ga-eun goes inside.

Just as all seems lost to Sun and Woo Bo’s argument, Ga-eun announces that she has brought evidence to prove the king’s identity. To Lee Sun’s horror and Sun’s relief, Ga-eun steps inside with the pot.

When the ministers demand to know who she is, she explains that she is the late Deputy Minister Han’s daughter, and that she was with Consort Lee the night that the king was murdered. The consort had told her about the pot that holds evidence of the king’s identity.

The queen dowager opens the pot to find a letter written in the king’s handwriting and bearing his royal stamp. Inviting anyone to come check for themselves, she reads the letter out loud: “When the crown prince ingests poison, the character ‘Sun’ appears on his left shoulder. That person is the true king of Joseon.”

With that, the chief eunuch hurries to bring some poison to carry out the final test. The queen dowager holds up the cup of poison to the two kings before turning first to Lee Sun, telling him that if he is the true king, he should have no problem drinking.

Trembling, he reaches for the cup. Ga-eun begs him not to drink it, but that only seems to fuel his anger further. He starts to lift the cup to his lips, and this time, Sun grabs his wrist to stop him.

Taking the cup from his hands, Sun drinks the poison himself. He stumbles back in pain, but seems to recover after a few seconds. The queen dowager orders him to reveal his shoulder, and to the ministers’ amazement, the character for “Sun” appears in red.

With no more doubt of who is the true king, the queen dowager orders the guards to arrest the impostor at once. Just as they step forward, however, Lee Sun suddenly bursts into deranged laughter. He shouts at the ministers, demanding to know what has changed: “You have all been bowing your heads to me up until today, have you not?!”

He asks the ministers whether “legitimacy” is more important than their own lives. The chief state councilor steps forward to agree, declaring that the true king is the person that Dae-mok chooses, since Dae-mok is the one who truly controls their lives.

Sun, however, tells them that it’s true that their lives are the most valuable thing they have – but Dae-mok can no longer control them with poison. To the ministers’ shock, he reveals that Dae-mok’s poppy fields have burnt down. At his order, the head eunuch then brings him the copy of Dae-mok’s hit list. Sun shows it to the ministers, explaining that Dae-mok plans to save only a select few loyal followers.

Horrified, the second state councilor turns to the chief state councilor, demanding to know if it’s true. The latter tries to convince him that Sun is lying to interfere with Pyunsoohwe, but Sun tells him that the second state councilor himself is on the hit list: “You were crucial to Pyunsoohwe’s early development, but trying to make your daughter the queen was a heavy blow to your perceived loyalty. Kill.” Damn, that’s cold.

Now realizing that his life is on the line, the second state councilor confronts the chief of the Water Bureau next, asking if the field truly did burn down. The chief nervously starts to answer before hightailing it out of there.

When Sun gravely explains that Dae-mok only plans to save seventy-five followers and that the rest will die in five days, the Minister of War falls to Sun’s feet and asks if his name, too, is on the list. Soon, all of the ministers clamor for Sun’s attention, begging to know whether they are on the list as well. Lee Sun watches the pathetic display with a cynical smile.

At that moment, the queen dowager screams at the ministers to quiet down. Reminding them that she, too, has been poisoned, she tells them that there is only one way for survival: “Return the true king to the throne, and entrust him with our lives.”

The queen dowager asks Sun if he will save them, and Sun readily agrees: “I will create an antidote, and save everyone.” At his words, the ministers all bow down to Sun, swearing to enthrone the true king.

She then orders the guards to arrest Lee Sun. As he’s dragged away, kicking and screaming, he shouts that everyone will die with him anyway, since Dae-mok is the only one who knows how to make the antidote.

But just before the door closes, he catches sight of Ga-eun’s expression, watching him with hopeless sorrow.

 
EPISODE 38 RECAP

Lee Sun is thrown into jail, still screaming at the injustice. But when he recalls Ga-eun’s expression, he begins to sob in despair of his fate.

At Pyunsoohwe, the chief of the Water Bureau hurries to tell Dae-mok the news: All of the ministers know that Dae-mok no longer has any poppy flowers, and have even seen his death list. Worst of all, the ministers have all agreed to reinstate Sun as king.

Realizing that the palace guards will likely come to arrest him soon, Dae-mok orders the chief to gather all of their forces and prevent anyone from entering Pyunsoohwe.

Meanwhile, Sun returns to his throne and immediately gets to work. He orders all of the palace doctors to work together to make an antidote within the next five days, and then declares that he will replace the current system with a merit system.

As such, he dismisses the chief state councilor, the second state councilor, and the Minister of War for the crimes of working for Pyunsoohwe. He instead appoints Woo Bo to be his new chief state councilor, and appoints the Minister of General Inspector and Moo-ha to the Ministry of Justice. Finally, he asks Chung-woon to continue protecting him. They gladly accept his command.

Sun then orders his royal forces, led by Moo-ha, to capture Dae-mok. The chief of the Water Bureau frantically reports to Dae-mok that they are hopelessly outnumbered. In response, Dae-mok simply tells him to tell the royal forces that Pyunsoohwe will destroy all of their antidotes if they don’t back off.

The chief is confused, wondering why Sun would care whether the antidote is destroyed, since only Pyunsoohwe’s members would be affected. But Dae-mok simply tells him that Sun is that type of person, and that although he acts mighty now, he’ll crumble in a few days once he realizes he cannot make the antidote: “Then, he’ll come groveling to me.”

Moo-ha hurries to report Dae-mok’s threat of destroying the antidote. Chung-woon and the new Chief of Justice (the former Chief of Inspector General) urge him not to show Dae-mok any mercy, but Sun insists that he cannot allow any of his subjects – Pyunsoohwe or not – to die. Instead of arresting Dae-mok, Sun orders Moo-ha to surround Pyunsoohwe to prevent Dae-mok from escaping.

That night, Sun goes to pay Lee Sun a visit in prison. Lee Sun is aggressive, demanding to know if he’s come to rub his defeat in his face. He screams that this is all Sun’s fault – but Sun agrees sadly that it’s true. Weathering all of Lee Sun’s fury, Sun promises to develop an antidote and release Lee Sun soon.

Lee Sun, however, is near deranged with suspicion and fury. He refuses to believe Sun, certain that he was using him – but Sun swears that he’s always considered Lee Sun a friend. Even as Sun leaves, Lee Sun screams after him, calling him a hypocrite and a liar.

As Sun leaves the prison, Lee Sun’s mother, accompanied by Kko-mool and Ga-eun, immediately prostrate themselves at his feet. She begs him to save her son’s life, swearing to take any punishment, but Sun gently assures her that he would never harm a friend or his mother.

They all thank him for his mercy, and Sun smiles before noticing the cuts on Ga-eun’s hands from breaking open the pots in the greenhouse. He takes her to a private place to treat her wounds and fuss over her.

Ga-eun then thanks him for saving Lee Sun’s life. He laughs, wondering if she really thought he’d hurt Lee Sun, before promising never to bring sorrow to them again.

Meanwhile, Lee Sun’s mother and Kko-mool go to visit Lee Sun in prison. He immediately turns his back to them, screaming at them to go away. Lee Sun’s mother sobs in sorrow before she finally gets up to leave.

Little Kko-mool, however, bounces back to give him directions to their house: “It’s really easy to find. You have to come see me and Mom, okay? We’ll wait for you.” Oh gosh, that’s precious. Only when Kko-mool leaves does Lee Sun start to cry, defenseless and ashamed.

Woo Bo, Mae-chang, and Ga-eun spend all night trying to figure out the antidote, but are left only with failures by morning. A disappointed Sun asks them to keep trying.

Meanwhile, the ministers in prison and the queen dowager start to show symptoms of the poison, becoming more and more desperate for the antidote. At Pyunsoohwe, still surrounded by royal forces, Dae-mok looks at his inventory of antidotes, waiting.

When another day passes, an increasingly desperate Sun tells Chung-woon and the Minister of Justice that he must go see Dae-mok and get the antidote. He releases the chief state councilor from prison to deliver the message to meet to Dae-mok.

Later that day, Dae-mok and Sun meet, each accompanied by their troops. Dae-mok asks why he wants to save those who betrayed him, and Sun explains that they are still his subjects.

But Dae-mok just laughs at that. Throwing a bunch of flower petals into his teacup, Dae-mok tells him that it seems he’s unprepared to be king: “To open a new world, you must abandon what is inside and pour it again, or change your cup entirely.” He throws the tea, flower petals and all, to the ground. “This is your opportunity to change your cup,” Dae-mok tells him.

But Sun says that a ruler has a responsibility to the lives of all of his people. He tells Dae-mok that he has no right to talk when he is the cause of their suffering, and demands the recipe for the poison antidote. Only then, Sun says, will he spare Dae-mok’s life.

Dae-mok, however, points out that once he fails to find an antidote, the people will abandon him. Knowing this, Dae-mok refuses to give up the antidote recipe unless Sun gives up the throne. At a standstill, they glower at each other.

Meanwhile, the search for an antidote is still as futile as ever. Woo Bo reports to Sun that they’ve tried everything they can think of, but to no avail. Worse still, Ga-eun adds, they’re running out of poppy flowers to use for experimentation. Gon watches their struggle from the sidelines in silence before slipping away.

At Pyunsoohwe, Dae-mok orders the chief of the Water Bureau to spread a rumor among Joseon’s water deliverers that the king is attempting to disband the Water Bureau. The chief state councilor realizes that Dae-mok is attempting to start a rebellion, which will create violence and anger against the king. Dae-mok smiles, wondering how long Sun will be able to hold onto his love for the people when they hate him in return.

Hwa-goon’s father spends his day drinking in sorrow, mourning his daughter’s loss. When Gon appears behind him, Hwa-goon’s father offers him a drink, but Gon remains silent as ever. He sighs that Gon never says a word: “Even when the woman you loved died for another man.”

Hwa-goon’s father asks whether it truly doesn’t anger him. To his surprise, Gon responds that even as she died, she looked happy at having been able to help the king. “All she ever wanted was to protect him,” Gon says. Recalling Hwa-goon’s expression as she died in his arms, Hwa-goon’s father realizes that he’s right.

Gon then falls to his knees to request the antidote recipe from him. Telling him that the king only has two days, Gon reminds him that it’s what Hwa-goon would have wanted.

So that night, Hwa-goon’s father goes to see Sun at the palace, telling him that he knows the recipe for the antidote. At Sun’s shock, he explains that even Dae-mok doesn’t know that he knows how to make it. Hwa-goon’s father agrees to give it up on one condition.

Sun agrees, prepared to do anything for his people.

 
COMMENTS

Aw, Gon! Surprisingly, Gon seems to have achieved the most character development throughout this drama – and only in these final moments did I realize how much I enjoyed watching him grow. I’m glad that the show addressed, even indirectly, his romantic feelings for Hwa-goon, because it does add a lot of depth to his character as an unfeeling, dutiful guard to a citizen with purpose and room to change. He probably spoke more words in the last five minutes than he did through the show’s entire run, and I found his speech convincing and well-done, and probably only as effective as it was because of his established character as an obedient servant thus far.

The fact that the plot picked up so rapidly in these last few weeks has made it hard for me to hate Ruler—Master of the Mask as much as find it unfortunate. With details like Gon’s character development, Lee Sun’s relationship with Kko-mool, and Lee Sun’s surprisingly discomforting expressions of cynicism against the king and the system, I found moments that I really enjoyed in these episodes – at the bare minimum, enough to aleviate my raw disappointment for the aspects that weren’t so well done (cough Ga-eun’s character cough).

I don’t think this show was necessarily bad, especially when looking at it from a holistic perspective – that is, the cinematography, the performances, the music, etc. Though the writing left much to be desired, I think that realizing that the writers are newbies makes this show less an overambitious failure and more of a serviceable starting point for them to learn from their mistakes. Plenty of the show worked fine, just not great; it seems that they bit off a little more than they could chew in their idealism, perhaps blinded by the epic concept and unable to look at it from a big picture perspective. Writing is a learning process, however, so I can only hope that the writers will take this opportunity to learn.

I’m most disappointed that the principal idealistic questions that I was excited about – the relationship between the servant Lee Sun and king Sun, the duty of the mask, the question of finding yourself beneath societal obligations – remain totally unanswered. By the end, it became clear that the fast pace that was such a boon in its early run became a bane to the show, because it resulted in constantly generating new story threads where there really didn’t need to be new threads, creating a mess with too many plates to juggle effectively.

If only the show recognized that its initial episodes carried plenty of potential for emotionally weighty character investigation, I can’t even imagine what a masterpiece the concept could have created, and what a challenge in acting it would have presented the actors, pushing them to give more personalized, dynamic performances. But the fact is that the show is coming to an end, and it’s time to say goodbye. It may have abandoned its idealistic questions, but at the very least, it seems that the production team plans to neatly tie up the key plot questions and give us closure there. I’ll at least look forward to seeing Dae-mok’s face when he falls off his throne of darkness and runs out of tea.

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Que Sera Sera, let's just hope that everyone involved in this grows from the production. At the very least, it seems like the cast genuinely got along and become friends from the BTS. I just still continue to feel bad for Kim So Hyun- she obviously gave her best but in her post-interview she admitted that she could understand her character or the character's motivations beyond the beginning few episodes. Still I think she did a stellar job together with the rest of the cast with whatever material they were given.

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GE was finally useful. Just took us forever and a day to get to this point. If it weren't for Kim So Hyun this character would have been absolutely terrible. It hurts to see KSH doubt herself and I'm glad she voiced her sadness so honestly and openly. But KSH really loves acting so I know she'll never give up.

So glad this show is finally over though. Will only miss the fabulous chemistry of YSH & KSH both on and off screen!

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When did KSH address her character and her feelings towards the writing? I feel like there's nothing being translated in regards to this show.

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Awwww only in this episode did I really realize that Gon's love for Hwa Goon was more than a Guard to his owner , but rather of a Man to a Woman. Gon also showed the greatest love by not revenging for Hwa Goon, but rather respect Hwa Goon's last wishes to protect and help the King.

In my opinion, the people whom i felt really grew has to be Hwa Goon, her father and Gon. Hwa Goon stayed true to her feelings and helped Lee Sun till the end, not once wavering. For her father and Gon, instead of taking revenge, realised her last wish and helped her finished it. Thank you show for finally making characters i can feel a connection with. ( errr but only at the last few ep ??? )

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Agree. Hwagoon in the end became such a compelling character (esp compared to the rest of the other characters) that I was saddened and even enraged with her death. Gon's words: "She looked happy" was absolutely moving and spoke so much about him as an individual.
And I just loved how Gon basically became Sun's second bodyguard after she gave him his last mission.

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Must say, I am proud of Yoo Seung Ho and Kim So Hyun for bringing in the audience week after week with their performance despite the terrible writing. They have proven themselves as a successful pairing. Shall wait for your reunion now.

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Hopefully in a modern romcom with no masks, poisons and pot jars involved, I'm in.

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Hopefully sooner rather than later!

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The way MBC promoted this, a 12.4% isn't even impressive. If it didn't have the goodwill YSH and KSH already have, it will be shredded to pieces more. A shame since it didn't really do any good to the two star's career. But lucky for them since MBC is in a slump, I'm sure they'll get trophies at the year end awards, if it was on KBS or SBS though, they'll be completely shut down.

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*12.4% average rating

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YSH & KSH really saved the ratings for this show and kept it at no 1 spot. It's average ratings are not bad considering how horrid the story and characters actually were. Atleast the show validated their star power if nothing else.

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Yeah, that "star power" that were accumulated since they were kids. I get that they're well-liked but that adoration should be transformed to better and more successful projects than this. They still haven't carried a ~hit now that they're playing adult roles.

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Yeah, people do get tired of their stars no matter how much they like them if they keep on delivering bad projects. /end

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And yet Suzy has a career. Hmm..I don't think so. Popularity and age are important factors.

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@Solo: Suzy has had hits in film (Archi 101) and TV (Dream High), she was also an idol for JYP and has a successful solo singing career. She's also a goddess in SoKor. So, really, I just don't know why you're questioning the obvious. I don't want to argues. So bye!

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I get you're a Suzy fan and I'm not criticizing her because I actually like her as an artist but her acting career has more flops than hits. My point was only that star power superseeds the quality of your drama. Which is why LOTBS did so well and even Doctors. It does not fade like you are saying which is why despite the poor writing for UF it pulled in better numbers than SP did in this run.

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@Solo Did you just assume I'm a Suzy fan because I have the same name as her? Ugh. No. Please. I don't even like her. But Suzy is Suzy. She is a top brand name in SoKor because of her representative works that preceded her hits. She became a wall, before her flops, that's why she still has a career (plus her face and voice).

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*She is a top brand name in SoKor because of her representative works that preceded her dud.

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@Suzie I'm making the same argument as you so I don't know why you're fighting with me. All these child actors already have represented themselves and have acting career of 10+ years so they are already a wall. Also their looks. Anyways I'm going to end it here because we are just going round and round for no reason.

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@Solo: I'm pretty sure Suzie is referring to their representative work as an adult actor which YSH an KSH doesn't have yet. Their rep role as child actors will just cage them as child actors forever that's why they need that elusive hit role for their adult careers.

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Well Park Shin Hye didn't have a single hit drama till Heirs in 2013 and she was 23 then and it was her 4th role as an adult leading star but look at her now. While Moon Geun Young had a number of hits early on but has basically fizzled away now.

And this is only Yoo Seung Ho's 3rd adult role and Kim So Hyun's first. And technically both Remember and LFG did well domestically and internationally.

Nonetheless, while Yoo Seung Ho, Kim So Hyun , Yeo Jin Gu and Kim Sae Ron may not have any major hits to their name just yet it's better to rise slowly than burn out fast. I'm quite satisfied at how they've built up such a loyal and devoted fan base at such a young age.

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Regarding PSH, I thought Heartstrings and You're Beautiful were hits too?

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Only internationally. They had not so good ratings in Korea. Especially Heartstrings.

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??? ??? ??? I just don't know why you seem so upset with all this... nobody is disputing they're good actors, nor that they're young and still has a long way to go. I'm just saying that the projects they were in the past two years were unremarkable. YSH was (spectacularly) overshadowed by Namgoong Min in Remember, and wasn't buzzed about just like his films. I also do consider this KSH's third (teen/adult) lead role already. Anyway, I was just pointing out that they still don't have a representative work yet and are still known as "child-actors-who-grew-up-well". They should tread lightly with their next works or they'll end up like Lee Hyun-woo, who was also a well-liked and talented child actor.

(And yes, it's quite obvious they do have devoted fans, like you!) /END

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All child actors have this problem so I don't understand your point. And LHW did well in Liar so you've really lost me on that. It takes longer for child actors to break out because people still see them as children who have grown up in front of their eyes. It will be years before any of the current child actors break that image but what has that got to do with their growing popularity. Heck even Seo Hyun Jin didn't get a representative work till OHYA. Besides all child actors representative work shall always be the project they did as children. Like for Park Shin Hye it's Stairway to Heaven, for Yoo Seung Ho it's The Long Way Home and for KSH, KYJ and YJG is Moon That Embraces the Sun and for KSR it is The Man From Nowhere.

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@Solo: That's exactly my point. You may think LHW did well in Liar but Liar flopped hard even in cable standards. Moorim flopped. If these child actors, no matter how liked they are, keep on flopping, they'll go down to irrelevancy. That's why they should be extra careful with their works. They shouldn't rely on the public's goodwill and deliver great projects that will go along with their talents.

And PSH's representative work is more Heirs or You're Beautiful than Stairways. And KYJ has Moonlight under her belt now. Those two did break out. (And SHJ was a idol so her case is different.)

Anyway Solo, agree to disagree. Whatever. I'm done with the back and forth. Bye! /END

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Kim Yoo Jung had a hit bt she still considered child actor. Was recently on a list of well grown child actor along with leads. The four exist in their own acting bubble. Very good actors all.

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@Nana: That list is irrelevant. They're not considered child actors anymore, anyone of them. People here are just pointing out that KSH, YSH, LHW, etc. still don't have a representative role as an ~adult, which PSH and KYJ already have.

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@mel why rep work needs to be rating hit? So Hyun have School and Seung Ho have I Miss You and Jin Gu have Orange Marmalade All very good work. Why rating = rep? They all very good adult actors with good work.

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@Nana: Because a representative work is what the masses identify an actor with. It's not just a work a random fan likes. People wouldn't know the actor's rep work if they haven't seen it (ratings), heard about it (popularity) or like it (quality).

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Being hits is a combination of skill, hardwork and luck. Luck comes in a right time. Maybe this time isn't YSH and KSH to make a hits project.............

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Suzy have hits. She is national first love. She is a brand already. Unless she has a really big scandal, shes gonna be there another 5-10 years, no matter its a hit or flop. She has advertisement and idol career as well.

I thought Remember is YSH hit? its 20%

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It only hit 20% on its last episode and it didn't really light-up SoKor. You know those shows that get good ratings but didn't get talked about? That's Remember. He was also overshadowed by the crazy great Namgoong Min who even got a Baeksang Best Actor nod for the role even when he was like fourth billed. It did fine but wasn't popular.

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If you asked me who starred in Remember I would have said Namkoong Min. He was glorious there. YSH was overshadowed by every other cast, unfortunately. His role was poorly written. But yeah, it did fine and averaged 15% but it wasn't really buzzed about, even overseas. Everybody was crazy over Reply 1988 then.

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Suzy is benefited by having multiple threads of a career that keeps her huge. She doesn't rely on acting only but made a brand name of her idol and CF career. It's good to branch out and have multiple things to secure your brand and popularity. If you consider 'hits' she's had multiple hits from acting to CFs to idol songs.

I think KSH and YSH are safe for now, but they really only have their acting to rely on unless one or both have a huge CF that goes viral or something. I think there will always be a place for them, but if they aren't able to really get a hit under their belt their careers will remain stagnant and their potential cut short. They won't just disappear, but they'll just be standing still while other actors and actresses jump over them.

I mean YSH is well respected, but Park Bogum is leaps and bounds ahead of him in terms of popularity right now. YSH could be there too if he got hits.

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I think Rebel will do well at the awards. Despite MBC paying Rebel: Thief Who Stole the People dust with regards to promotion and budget and it still managed to reach 14.4% and the drama and performances were very well received.

Meanwhile Ruler was hyped, promoted and media played for six months but it's highest rating was only 14.9% and looking at Knetizen's comments and from the finale they were not impressed with this mess of a drama either.

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If Ruler had a strong writer like Rebel then it would most likely have met it's 20% target. As Knetz themselves said, it was the story and not the cast or hype that failed this drama. But I honestly want to know if no one at MBC vetted the script before going full on with the promotion. The hate from knetz towards the writer-director is strong while Rebel received a lot of love for its writing, direction and acting. If it had more popular leads would have definitely achieved higher ratings.

And Rebel people got dirt pay!?? Really!?? That's terrible!

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@Solo: Sorry 'paying dust' is just slang to mean ignore something. I was just referring to how they did bare minimum promote Rebel. I'm not sure about how they were paid but I believe it didn't have a high budget. Don't want to spread unfounded rumours about MBC!

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Nobody is questioning the cast. But the hype definitely backfired on them too. Like, people were teased for six months on this! There were regular V-live exclusives, the media was dubbing it the second Love in the Moonlight, and the director saying it's Korea's Game of Thrones certainly didn't help. The viewers were already excited about the pairing, but MBC still aggressively promoted it. Better to be cautious about such things because hype results to double the disappointment. /end

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I think people have their facts wrong. First of all Ruler still topped out it's time slot and had the highest rating of all currently airing dramas except FIS. Second, the cast is bring lauded for their acting and KSH & YSH for their chemistry. The only thing that's failed this drama is the writing and director. People are crazy waiting for YSH & KSH to be united and the other casts to move on to better projects.

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@Solo: I get that you're let down because your faves' project didn't deliver and that's fine and dandy but really, I don't see anyone here putting them down so I don't get these repeated sentiments. We're all aware that it hit double digits and was top of its timeslot but the drama is still a mess and 12.4% is still a disappointment especially since we have been bombarded by its promos since last year. Anyway, better luck for their next projects.

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Trust me I have like 10 faves so it's not even that. I'm just tired of seeing comments make it sound like the drama doing badly is somehow the leads fault because they were trying to further their career or something. Yes this was a bad drama in terms of writing but like the recapper said it had the potential to be a good drama. And the cast never let this drama down so why not give praise to all the cast including the leads who really did have to carry the weight of the drama more than the others by virtue of being leads. I don't know why my comment is being seeing as being something negative. I personally stuck through this drama for HJH who is just brilliant. But all the comments about the leads not being able to churn out good dramas is starting to get to me. They have churned out good performances and sometimes that's more important than a ratings hit, case in point DOTS.

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@Solo: What are you on about? This isn't charity. Of course the leads took this because it will further their careers. They themselves would want this to be successful so they cannot just be seen as capable actors but actors that can deliver ratings and actors who know how to pick quality projects. And please, the leads have been praised to high heavens even before this drama began. It's understandable that people are letdown because the production was a mess, and are just wishing the leads to pick better projects next time. I don't get what you're fussing over, really.

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@Una clearly you missed out the comments where people were criticizing the leads for trying to be the next Moonlight. I'm sure neither of them was aiming for that. And I never said I didn't want them to pick a better project but all this talk about they don't KNOW how to pick projects is silly. They might pick some not hit making projects but they are steadily building up their resume. That much is sufficient. And LHW is not a washout, please check the comments section for Liar.

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@Solo: Dramabeans isn't the world. And whether you like it or not, LHW is now known to pick bad TV projects. He's even being pitied for it.

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Also Rebel was up against Whisper, Defendant, both are 20% - 28%. Rebel even no 1 few weeks.

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I remember Whisper was quite hyped as opposed to Defendant but that was probably because it was LBY's first project after giving birth but even that show got convulated in the middle which is when Rebel pulled in better ratings. Still I liked both shows which were so much better than Hwarang but even that pulled in solid 7-8 percent ratings despite its flower boy cast. Overall Mon-Tue dramas tend to do better these days.

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The comments were all glowing too. Rebel really did well! I'm proud of the cast. It was YKS and CSB first leading roles as well!

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"Gon seems to have achieved the most character development throughout this drama"
Agree, maybe he looked up to his agasshi, who have achieved character development too?
I like Hwa goon better now than before; I like her more than Ga eun.
1. Hwa goon
2. Badass court lady
3. Kko mool
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Ga eun

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It's so funny to see how people's opinions of Hwa Goon changed. She's been my girl since the start of the drama so I feel vindicated. They should have gotten rid of the annoying damsel in distress Ga Eun character and her plot-related pot amnesia and made Hwa Goon the lead female and romantic interest. HG character had way more romantic and dramatic potential and it would have streamlined the plot as the director/screenwriters were incapable of managing the different threads.

I also think Kim So Hyun and her team should have pushed to play the Hwa Goon character. HG completely eclipsed the dull GE and in the hands of a stronger actress (disclaimer: I'm a new fan of Yoon So Hee after this drama and I personally think she did a good job but will admit she isn't the strongest actress yet) would have dominated the whole drama.

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Yes I agree, Kim So Hyun should have played Hwa Goon and Yoo Seung Ho should have played LS because both characters were far more interesting than the leads. It's strange how the better characters went to the weaker actors but they did the best they could so that's fine. In fact everyone did the best they could with their given character.

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Yes no pot. Definitely no pot.

Please let it be a romcom or a light drama at the very least.

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This comment was meant to a response to kayedrama. Don't know how it ended up here.

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Gah! I can't believe there's only 1 (2) episode (s) left! It was a long, tough ride, Ruler, but I'm glad I picked you back up again. So excited for how they'll end it! (I can't even beging to tell you how happy I am that Ga Eun FINALLY found the jar!!!!!!!!)

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I stuck through - only for the love of Yoo Seung Ho & Kim So Hyun.

Perhaps it is just me - but I find it really hard to appreciate L's acting. All I could hear and see from him was growling, screaming, and more screaming. It came to a point where I had to skip his parts because, unfortunately it became annoying.

I knew that he's pretty green when it comes to acting but I guess, when acting next to such an emotive actor like YSH, his inexperience shone through.

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I don't know how many times I rolled my eyes while watching these two episodes. When they're debating about who's the real King, it's just plain stupid. It's so cringe-worthy. All those scholars and ministers stupidly switch place from one King to another. I don't know if the writer and director intent to make it funny or what. And it's just freaking weird, especially those minister who just being forced to drink poppy pills in the previous episode. Why would Queen Dowager lie about Dae Mok and about how the previous King was assasinated? And I thought a lot of people said CP's look is just like his father when he's young. And no one seemed to think about it? And Ga Eun...gosh, Kko Mol is way more useful than her. And how she stupidly bleeds her hand by smashing the pot that way. I mean, who does that? And she still needs someone to save her while she brings that placenta jar to the assembly room. It's not something heroic at all.

And geez, thanks writer for letting us know that Gon has feelings on Hwa Goon. If so, why can't you let her be happy with Gon?

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I don't think her hand bleeding is a problem. Of course she has to smash the pots and that can cut her hand. In fact that was the most logical thing they made her do. But yes why she needed saving when she's been named as a Queen to be who should have access to the palace was pointless.

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You are right, her hand bleeding isn't a problem. Her head is.

I mean we all know Ga Eun is not altogether up there
1. She could have just removed those flowers and looked inside. Only smash those which have something worth investigating.
2.She could just smashed those pots onto the floor or make a bigger hole? Did she want to make it less noisy? Not evident by the pieces of clay dropping in chunks onto the floor.

Instead of trying to look less suspicious or hide the pot under something, she burst out of the greenhouse, straight into the guards.

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Thank you for saying what I wanted to say. Hahah

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Just by reading the recap I can't already stop laughing in the way they debate in who's the real king. It's like a game show and all. LMAO. But glad that at last, the real king gets to sit on his throne. I told myself that I will watch the last episode just for closure but I think I will just stick with the recap just to see how this show ends.

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As much as recent episodes have action they feel better, but I feel the writer is suddenly rushing to get all bases covered before she is out of time. Full marks to Mae-chang and Gon (Hwa Goon you certainly knew how to protect the one you love) for their badass moves. Find myself wondering why the King would write the letter hidden in the placenta jar, did he know there would be a fase King?
For me Hwa Goon's father is a very thin character with barely any emotional development so I find it hard to believe he really loved his daughter, let alone tried to understand her. Gon is the one who did that. His ability to go on caring for and serving her even though she loved and lived for another man echos Haw Goon herself. It makes both of them tragic but noble figures - thin on the ground in this drama. L's portral of Yi Sun seems to flip flop between being parody and convincing. I cannot decide if it is his acting or the writer and director.I'm going to blame them as he really makes a fist of the finale.The minor characters have so little to do in this drama but they add a lot and my absolute favourite is Kko -mool. This drama never explains how Haw-goon and Mae-chang knew each other and how and why they cooperated. Instead we were thrown lots of trivial and unnecessary plot lines.
Yoon -sohee released an IG message saying how much she has enjoyed the making of this drama and sharing many fun moments with the cast, she makes a point of paying tribute to YSH KSH.

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I forgot to say why the abrupt change of heart in the dowager queenn not convincing at all. For all those Ga Eun fans she has a moment to steal the show in the finale, not tearful staring at Crown Prince, but it does not convince which has me really perplexed because something similar happened to other characters and was far better done. The closing scenes of the finale redeem it for me but the weakness of this drama will always rest on its dependance of the YSH KSH fanservice to keep it alive.

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Without Yoo Seung Ho and Kim So Hyun the show would most likely have pulled only single digit numbers. Almost every single comment from Koreans or International viewers is 'I only saw it for YSH' or 'I only saw it for KSH' . I wish people would at least have the decency to give credit to the leads for the ratings as their names were what was used to promote the drama. Stop making it look like the leads used their fanbase to promote the drama. Blame the production and not the leads for the hype. Why must you malign them? They are the ones who got stuck with terrible characters and editing but why must people use that as an excuse to invalidate them. They are veterans in the industry. Please let's respect their careers.

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This was not meant to be a reply to anyone. I don't know why my posts are posting so randomly. Something is wrong with my system.

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??? Nobody is disrespecting them though? And of course they did encourage their fanbase to support their work. That's why KSH was frequently posting about Ruler on her social media. The cast also did fanservice through V-live. Of course they want their fanbase to watch them. They themselves are the root of the hype because they're good and well-liked actors. MBC just made it over-the-top because they were desperate for a hit. That's the problem. And of course the terrible production team. /END

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Well I would just like to say that L, Yoon So Hee, Gon, WB, Daemok all posted on their instagram. And the Vlive's were done by MBC to promote the drama. It's an actors job to comply to what the production wants. Also Ji Chang Wook, Park Seo Joon and all posted on instagram and did Vlive so why only target them. If you don't like the leads then just say it. Please stop trying to pull them down. They are only doing their job.

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I think SidusHQ gave KSH bad advice to take this drama it did nothing for her reputation and she had problems with the part of Ga Eun as she makes clear herself. It is not an excuse to say their names were used to promote the drama, it is so.

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Yes, the king definitely know there would be a fake king. He himself planned it to protect the crown prince from Daemok. Hence he hid the evidence there.

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Thanks Ruler I had forgotten. There's a worthwhile Youtube video where the main cast and director give interesting comments [KSHYUNVN][Engsub] 170508 Q&A Ruler - Master of The Mask Press Conference

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Anyone who wants to see what L and Yoon so-hee can do watch The Day After We Broke Up (2016) also called One More Time.

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I thought trying to prove who's the real king dragged a bit, I was waiting for Ga-eun to bring the jar, and waiting for someone, anyone to just bring the poison so Sun could have it and survive it and we get our king! I laughed at how the ministers went back and forth between siding with Lee Sun and Sun, I know it wasn't meant to be funny (or was it) but I still laughed!

I haven't watched the last episode yet so I want to know what Dae-mok will do when he finds out that his own son betrayed him and is going to help Sun make an antidote, I don't think he fears anything at this point, he lost his daughter and has nothing else to lose!

I really think L's done a good job here, he's improved quite a lot from his previous works but that scene when the guards were pulling him away and he saw Ga-eun watching him, I wished there was something more to his expression, this is a side of him he would never wanted the girl he loves to see, he would never wanted to be in this state in front of her, I wanted the look that Ga-eun gave him to break him, I just wanted a little more!

Thank you for the recap.

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LOL at some of the comments here. YSH and KSH fans need to chill. This project didn't make them less famous or less good, it just didn't advance their careers or gave them their representative roles as adult actors. It's a shame that they wasted 7 months (!) filming this, so you guys just hope that their next project is a step-up from this production (not a hard thing to do, really).

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Haha, yes they could have used either set up but I'm sure she would still have cuts on her hand since that was meant as a plot point to show affection/concern. Why the guards dared to stop a future Queen I have no idea. Or why she needed not 1 but 2 people to save her. Just don't understand this character or writing.

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This is a response to @outofthisworld. What the hell is wrong with my system???

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You got it right again! The entire bleedin hand scene was set up so that we can have some cheesy scene of Sun taking care of Ga Eun's bleeding hand. This is so representative of all things wrong with these characters. Senseless things happened to manufacture set ups which the writer thought viewers would love. Well, I can't say they got it wrong because there were many fans who were crying along with OTP and gushing about their lovey dovey scenes.

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Somehow after reading Kim So Hyun's interview I feel even worse when I see such contrived scenes. While I want OTP moments I just wish they made sense. I feel bad thinking that they might be blaming themselves for their characters actions. As if they have any control over the writing.

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I get what you mean, and that's why I was trying to say about how her hand bleed. The way she tried to find the placenta jar is just stupid. And when she smashed all the vases like that, and bleed her hand, it seems forced. It seems like the scene is necessary just so that the King can put ointment on her hand later. So I do have a problem with the directing and writing in this drama.

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I agree, if they wanted an OTP scene there could have been a 1000 other things they could have done. And that scenes with the Ministers was really random. And for a political/action saeguk there were too few sword scenes and wasn't Gon with them as they debated the ministers or did I miss him slipping out?

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I think he was never there in the room, I don't think I see him there.

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Clearly I haven't being paying attention then. Haha

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Even after death it's hwa-gun's love which protects Sun. It really makes me sad reminding me of Yeok's swooning declaration this week "even if u kill me, as a ghost I wil forever stay with cae-kyung". Hwa-gun is the perfect example seeing how her love protects him even after death. I have always wondered why Gin is not talking much but hearing that one word "she looked happy" broke my heart into pieces. It kind of resembles snape character in harry potter "always". Okay I feel pity on Lee sun hope he gets a happy ending. That's it.

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I dropped this when it got a bit boring (plus Real Life was a mess) and i only watched a few episodes in between in now the last few. I wanted to hang on for KSH but alas, I had to make choices. So sorry. Maybe in the future when I'm not too busy, I'll give it a full run. ;)

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Here's the secret to KSH getting a really memorable adult role and cementing her reputation ... it's fixing what she pointed out on High Cut interview as being lacking in experience "I can do light, lovey-dovey acts, but I have trouble with acting where a couple open up about their feelings eye to eye. Even in movies, it's like that. They love each other but because they don't say so, they end up misunderstanding. Honestly, because I've never dated before, I can't understand those things fully. But how can you experience for yourself every acting situation? So I ask others around me instead... For now, I'm sticking to learning with my head."

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This is a link for KSH's inteview where she opens up about Ga Eun.

https://twitter.com/KSHPhilippines/status/886113013211607041

That's pretty much how she came over to me. More than ever I think the direction was lacking.

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