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Haechi: Episodes 25-26

It’s bad enough to find yourself in a situation where everything you do can be interpreted badly, and turned against you in ways you never intended. But when you’re the crown prince, and a misunderstanding can mean your death, every move you make has to be weighed and calculated and examined form every side before you make it. Our prince has gotten himself in an awful tangle of lies, deception, and even treason – all because he wants to be a fair and considerate ruler.

 
EPISODE 25: “Temptation”

Yi Tan hires someone to write up a petition, which he has delivered to the king, that requests that Yi Geum be allowed to rule the country in place of the king. It plays into King Kyungjong and the ministers’ worst fear — that Yi Geum will want to seize control before King Kyungjong lives out his natural lifespan.

Yi Tan visits Yi Geum to gloat that there will soon be a storm in the palace. Dal-moon learns of Yi Tan’s dangerous political move, but he tells Geon-tae not to do anything for now.

A furious Chief Justice Jo yells at the other Soron ministers for not taking the petition seriously enough. They cancel Yi Geum’s daily lessons, and Yi Geum wonders if this is the beginning of the “storm” Yi Tan mentioned.

Hyuk is now the section chief, which means he’s in charge of appointments to all three agencies — Saheonbu, Saganwon (Office of Censors), and Hongmungwan (Office of Special Advisers). He puts together an announcement that he’s decided to re-evaluate every single official from all three agencies, which causes a mild panic when it’s posted.

Moon-soo looks so proud when he reads the announcement, knowing that if rank appointments were made due to corruption, the officials could be demoted, or even fired and arrested. The officials see this as a flimsy excuse cooked up by Hyuk and Yi Geum to enact political change, and Byung-joo says that Hyuk is just throwing his weight around because the king and crown prince are behind him.

The king is actually surprised by Hyuk’s decision, and Hyuk visits the palace to discuss it with him and Yi Geum together. But, having seen the so-called petition, King Kyungjong now sees Yi Geum and Hyuk as a potential threat to his rule.

Soron Minister Lee and Minister Jo defend Yi Geum, saying that the petition is just a petition and nothing more, but Chief Justice Jo argues that it’s suggesting that the king retire and let Yi Geum rule. Soron Minister Lee insists that the Yi Geum he knows wouldn’t threaten the king, but Chief Justice Jo says he’s being threatened, regardless.

Yi Geum tells King Kyungjong that, while he believes Hyuk to be essential to the reform he wants to enact, he thinks that the agency officials should be given a chance to change themselves before they’re evaluated from an outside perspective. He says that he doesn’t want this to burden the king, which the king hears as “I don’t think you can handle it,” which is not at all what Yi Geum means.

Hyuk agrees with Yi Geum, and King Kyungjong sneers that they must think he’s a ridiculous king. Yi Geum finally realizes that something is terribly off, but King Kyungjong cuts off his attempt to explain and tells them to do as Yi Geum suggests, and for all reports to go to the Crown Prince Palace, even all approval requests.

Looking horrified, Yi Geum says they can’t do that, but King Kyungjong snaps that he’ll be good at it — better than himself. Oh, crap. Hyuk asks Yi Geum why the king is acting strange, but Yi Geum says he’ll explain later.

The Norons still don’t know what the petition said, only that the Sorons are suddenly acting very suspicious. Minister Min guesses that there’s a problem they’re trying to hide, and he tells his lackeys to find an informant and learn what the petition was about.

Yi Geum heads straight to Dal-moon and tells him what Yi Tan said, and how the king was behaving. But Dal-moon lies that his people haven’t seen Yi Tan acting strangely at all, so Yi Geum assumes that the king’s suspicion is about something else. Dal-moon offers to find out for him, and Geon-tae overhears them talking and wonders why Dal-moon is lying.

Byung-joo stops by Ji-kwang’s gibang because the officials from the three agencies are gathering there for a meeting. He objects to Ji-kwang’s blasé attitude and draws his sword, but he’s called to the meeting, and after he walks away, Yi Tan comes out of hiding. He says that Byung-joo is another chess piece that will help him gain the throne by getting rid of the crown prince, and instructs Ji-kwang to tell him what Yi Tan said.

In the meeting, Byung-joo vehemently argues that they can’t let the king and crown prince trample them. He learns that they’re being given a chance to get rid of the corrupt officials themselves, and he yells that it’s a plot to divide them. But the Saheonbu officials see this as a signal from the king and Yi Geum to hand over Byung-joo, as he’s known to be at odds with Yi Geum — and he’s a Namin, on top of it.

He hears them planning to betray him, so he goes back to the Saheonbu headquarters and tells Young-han to burn all the evidence from the cases he’s been working on. Moon-soo walks in and sees papers everywhere, and he says casually that Byung-joo must be worried about something.

He picks up one letter and refuses to give it back, saying that it’s evidence of Byung-joo’s corruption. He invites his Saheonbu friends in and announces that he’s been charged with inspecting Byung-joo for corruption. Ah-bong and Jang-dal hold Byung-joo back from attacking Moon-soo, and Moon-soo tells Byung-joo that the officials are sacrificing him to save themselves. He promises to find all corrupted officials and send them away.

Yi Geum meets with his friends after dark, who report that their plan worked — the Saheonbu officials gave up Byung-joo almost immediately. Yi Geum still feels bad for him, since he was turned in mostly because he’s not a Noron, but Moon-soo reassures the prince that this won’t end with Byung-joo. Yi Geum warns Moon-soo not to let his guard down, because this could lead to political reform, but it could also backfire on them.

Yeo-ji asks how things are at the palace, where she heard he’s gathering information. He sidesteps the question, telling her it’s nothing to be concerned about, but she senses he’s not being truthful. Moon-soo finds her still worrying later, but he says he’s just reminding himself that she’s the manly maknae of their brotherly group.

He adds awkwardly that he hopes the three of them can remain sworn brothers, and seems a little disappointed when Yeo-ji says that she’s worried about Yi Geum. Moon-soo asks about the thing she mentioned to Yi Geum, so she tells him that Yi Geum and Dal-moon are observing the king and she’s worried about why.

The king refuses to see Yi Geum that evening, claiming indigestion, and when Yi Geum says he should bring the king medicine, Chief Justice Jo intercedes and declares that he’ll do that from now on. Yi Geum asks if this is what the king wants, and Chief Justice Jo says it is, and that Yi Geum can’t override the king’s orders.

In the king’s quarters, Chief Justice Jo advises King Kyungjong to punish Yi Geum so that he won’t try to go against him again. King Kyungjong says that Yi Geum may not even know about the petition, but Chief Justice Jo says that the fact is, someone wants Yi Geum to rule vicariously, which makes Yi Geum a threat.

Geon-tae brings Dal-moon a note, which he tells Geon-tae to show to Yi Geum immediately. It’s the contents of the petition, and it has Yi Geum storming out of his room as Ja-dong explains to Jo-hong that it could lead to a treason accusation, even if they know Yi Geum would never want such a thing.

EPISODE 26

Yi Geum accuses Minister Min of being behind the false petition, and Minister Min awkwardly dismisses the other man in the room. He tells Yi Geum that that was one of the royal secretaries, who had brought him a copy of the appeal, which wouldn’t be necessary if he’d written it. He says it wasn’t him, and that he can’t figure out who it was.

Dal-moon visits Yoon-young and tells her that he’s been following Yi Tan, and he’s discovered that Yi Tan is trying to corner the crown prince. He mentions the petition and asks if it was Yi Tan’s plan to get rid of Yi Geum, and he can tell from her expression that it’s true. She asks why Dal-moon didn’t he tell Yi Geum, and Dal-moon says that he was lured by temptation and lost his judgment.

He says that humans can be tempted for different reasons, even when they know it’s wrong. Yoon-young tells him that the crown prince isn’t fit to be king, trying to entice him to side with Yi Tan, and he asks if he’s finally capable of giving her what she wants.

Yi Geum is convinced that Minister Min isn’t behind the petition, but he also believes Dal-moon when he says it wasn’t Yi Tan. With that in mind, he wonders who on earth it could have been.

While helping Moon-soo look through Byung-joo’s documents, Yeo-ji finds a list of people he’s been in the process of impeaching – all of whom are Sorons, and most of whom were framed. Moon-soo says he must have been bribed, and instructs the team to look for evidence of bribery, to make sure that he can never become an official again. Ah-bong rushes in, breathlessly gasping something about trouble at the palace.

The Sorons convene to discuss Yi Geum, while Yi Geum himself approaches the king about the petition. King Kyungjong asks Yi Geum his opinion on the petition’s suggestion that he take over the royal duties. Yi Geum says that the suggestion is treason and tells the king not to be bothered by such manipulation.

But the king snarls that Yi Geum gained the people’s trust with his speech, then attempted to end the corruption of the three agencies, so it seems to him that Yi Geum is already involved in politics. But when Yi Geum tries to deny it, King Kyungjong shocks him by saying that he’s considering granting the petition and handing over the royal duties to Yi Geum.

He has a smaller throne brought in and directs Yi Geum to sit and perform the royal duties, while he sits back and watches like everyone wants him to do.

Moon-soo is scared for Yi Geum, knowing that Yi Geum wouldn’t want any of this. Dal-moon says that words are cheap in the palace, and that Yi Geum’s only hope is to perform a repentance ritual, where Yi Geum would beg until the king punished him. But it infuriates Moon-soo, who knows Yi Geum didn’t do anything wrong.

But that’s exactly what Yi Geum does — he writes a formal apology, then removes his crown prince trappings and kneels in front of the king’s palace, prepared to formally beg forgiveness. When Minister Min hears of this, he decides to let the Sorons handle it, since they don’t know who started it.

Soron Minister Lee approaches Yi Geum, who asks if he still believes he covets the throne, like he did when Yi Geum first entered the palace. He looks devastated as he wonders to himself if this is how things end, and if there’s nothing he can do.

Yeo-ji dresses in disguise as a court lady, and she finds Jo-hong in the palace to ask where Yi Geum is. Jo-hong says she can’t see him today, so Yeo-ji asks if she can at least check on him from a distance.

A distraught Minister Jo rants that they should be protecting the crown prince, so Soron Minister Lee asks Queen Inwon to appeal to the king. She says that the king is just sensitive, but Minister Lee warns that if they don’t stop this, someone will exploit the situation to drive an even bigger wedge between King Kyungjong and Yi Geum.

As the pounding rain lowers everyone’s spirits even further, Geon-tae tells Dal-moon that he’ll follow his orders, but he that thinks it’s wrong if Dal-moon truly plans to abandon Yi Geum. Meanwhile, Yi Geum remains on his knees in the courtyard, shivering from the cold and wet.

Yi Tan tells Byung-joo that this entire thing was his idea, and that he’s not afraid of Byung-joo turning him in because he knows he probably won’t be in the Saheonbu much longer. He said he sees a lot of himself in Byung-joo — someone who went through a lot to get where he is so he won’t give it up easily, and who wants to destroy Yi Geum.

Byung-joo says it won’t be as simple as a fake petition, but Yi Tan says he has a lot more planned. He offers to make Byung-joo the head of Saheonbu if he helps him get rid of Yi Geum and become king. He gives Byung-joo a scroll on which is written everything they need to attack Yi Geum, but Yi Tan says almost dreamily that it’s not time yet, because Yi Geum is currently torturing himself doing his repentance ritual.

Poor Yi Geum looks ill and close to death, and Jo-hong begs him to give up before he harms himself. He tells Ja-dong to take her away, holding back his tears at the sound of her misery.

Queen Inwon does talk to King Kyungjong, saying that she understands how both he and Yi Geum feel. She tells King Kyungjong that he lives with the fear of being dethroned, but he’s making Yi Geum go through that same pain. She appeals to his sense of what’s right, saying that he’s being shaken by evil words.

The eunuchs alert the king to a new problem — a report of treason from the Saheonbu. Moon-soo belatedly learns of Byung-joo’s release, and the treason case, and he guesses that the two are linked. Byung-joo has taken the Saheonbu guards, and they arrest a group of young nobles who were together at Ji-kwang’s gibang, complaining about their fathers’ involvement in the crown prince issues.

All of Yi Geum’s strength is going towards saying conscious, and after a while, Yi Tan drops a canteen of water in his lap and tells him to drink. He urges Yi Geum to hold out, because he’ll feel sad if he isn’t the one to bring him down. Yi Geum gasps for Yi Tan to worry about himself, and that he’ll kill him so that he won’t feel sad.

They break apart when the king is announced. King Kyungjong tells Yi Geum that he tried to trust him and think of him as a brother instead of an enemy, but that Yi Geum tried to bring his sword against him. He throws a paper in front of Yi Geum, and Yi Geum looks up at him, terrified of how this may have gotten even worse.

 
COMMENTS

Wow, Yi Geum is really being put to the test to prove that he deserves to be king. He’s in a terrible position because every time he does something good, it’s flipped on him and made to look like something bad. If he lies low and tries to stay out of the spotlight, nobody believes he’s capable of ruling the country. If he gets the support of the people, Yi Tan makes it look like the people want him to rule now instead of King Kyungjong. Yi Geum almost literally can’t win, and I feel like his luck is going to run out soon if he doesn’t find some way to get King Kyungjong to trust that he in no way wants to take the throne from him before it’s his turn.

As much as it kills me, I’ll give Yi Tan credit that his plan to create a fake petition suggesting that Yi Geum vicariously run the country was pretty ingenious. It played into everyone’s worst fear — that Yi Geum, being only a few years younger than King Kyungjong, would get impatient waiting for the king to die and try to find a way to rule before his time. In fact, history tells us that this was a concern when the king died mysteriously, though Yi Geum was eventually exonerated due to his positive reputation and the fact that the king ate badly stored seafood in the middle of summer. But I digress — Yi Tan has found a way to throw pretty much every person in the palace into a tizzy with his petition, and he’s only getting started, and unless someone discovers what he’s doing and stops him, people are going to die.

Even Dal-moon, who I thought was a rock until now, is wavering because he’s reconnected with his first love. He’s clearly still shaken by Yoon-young, and he still wants to give her what she wants, which is money, power, and status. I do believe that initially, Yoon-young was thrown for a loop to see Dal-moon and that she has some unresolved feelings for him as well, but in this episode she had no problem attempting to manipulate him into helping Yi Tan become king so that she can be queen. I still trust that Dal-moon will make the right decision and help Yi Geum in the end, but it’s going to be heartwrenching to watch him struggle with denying Yoon-young.

On the flip side, I love Moon-soo’s confidence these days! He’s always had more than his fair share of confidence, but before he passed the civil service exam and became a Saheonbu inspector, he didn’t really have much to back it up. But now he’s achieved his goals, he’s friends with the crown prince, he has supporters within the Saheonbu, and he’s firmly on the moral side of the political issues, so his confidence is bolstered by a sense of self-possession that he didn’t have before. It’s a calmer, more grounded type of poise and levelheadedness that drives Moon-soo these days, which is awesome because it’s a lot more menacing to his enemies than his previous flailing that he’d “get them all,” but with no plan or backing to make it happen.

I feel like Moon-soo is Yi Geum’s key to finding a way to earn his king’s trust, and calm the fears of the political factions. Moon-soo may not be a brilliant tactical mind, but he has an unwavering sense of fairness and justice, and a dogged determination to make things right no matter how long it takes. The only thing that could sway Moon-soo’s loyalty would be if his feelings for Yeo-ji got in the way of his devotion to Yi Geum, but I feel like he’s so honest and his dedication to Yi Geum began long before he started noticing Yeo-ji, that while he may let himself be sad that she doesn’t return his feelings, he won’t let it stand in the way of helping Yi Geum.

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Thank you for recap!

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Part 1 of 3

Thank you for your recap, @lollypip! Man, is this hour a case study in everything going south. Infallible human nature comes to the fore, and it’s a disaster for Yi Geum.

Jung Il-woo is giving a terrific performance, particularly during the repentance ritual and his conversation with Yi Tan. The look on his face when King Kyungjong confronts him with the report of treason is one of wordless incomprehension and betrayal. Well done, JIW!

The King and his supporters, including the Queen Dowager, seem to have collectively lost their memory. He would not even still be on the throne were it not for Yi Geum’s having stepped up to the plate to serve as Seja when King Kyungjong was in danger of being deposed because of his permanent inability to father offspring. Have they really forgotten that so quickly?

Heck, Yi Geum was drafted as Seja because the late King Sukjong had told Chief Inspector Lee Yi-geum that he wanted him in the line of succession instead of his younger son. Too bad he had neither put it in writing nor discussed it with Yi Geum. So this is actually the second time that the prince has been drawn into palace politics out of the blue.

And then there’s the little matter of Yi Geum and friends foiling the serial killer Yi Tan, resulting in his exile to China. Alas, he was only gone for a year. How is it that the infamous Prince Mil-poong was not arrested when he showed up back at court? The King and his courtiers are a pathetic bunch when it involves royal criminals.

The fraidy-cat King has gotten bent out of shape once again, this time because Yeoning Seja followed his instructions and did stand up to his yangban detractors at the banquet. In speaking his mind about the treatment of the nation’s lowliest, most vulnerable subjects, he was a little too successful, which only made his brother feel even more insecure than usual. Seja’s quick mind saw evidence of corruption within the Samsa [Three Offices], and he took action to aid and support the King’s position, which only made the dull-witted monarch feel inferior. (Sorry, Your Majesty, but you are not the sharpest pencil in the box.)

- Continued -

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Part 2 of 3

The whole danged system at court is ridiculous. Innuendo has been a blood sport there since time out of mind. Innumerable royals have been falsely implicated in treasonous conspiracies by rivals, and many have been killed for it. The wickedly twisted Prince Mil-poong knows this, and has woven a tangled web to entrap Yi Geum in a way that is truly inspired. I expect him to do such things. It is his nature. And he came through with bells on by paying a gifted writer to compose a petition asking that King Kyungjong basically abdicate without actually stepping down from the throne. It’s an eloquent no-confidence statement guaranteed to insult the monarch and insinuate that he is inferior to his designated successor. I shudder to think what else Yi Tan has up his sleeve if this is only the opening salvo.

Those dopey young yangban that Yi Tan has been wining and dining at Do Ji-kwang’s gibang are in his crosshairs. They are the son and grandson of Minister Lee Yi-geum and Prime Minister Kim, respectively. If Mil-poong succeeds in getting them convicted of treason, both ministers will be executed along with two more generations of male descendants. I assume that the fix is in, and that the proprietor will testify under oath that the young fools who have never heard of TANSTAAFL (“There ain’t no such thing as a free lunch.”) have been conspiring to overthrow His Majesty.

On the other hand, I do not believe that such duplicitous behavior is also necessarily Dal-moon’s nature, and I am sorely disappointed that he has betrayed the one royal who is looking out for the information broker’s own underclass. (I admit he’s pulled some dirty tricks in support of his former patron, Lord Min. But since meeting Yi Geum, he has really cleaned up his act.) I understand that he has caved in to emotional blackmail by Cheon Yoon-young, his faithless former lover. He still has a soft spot for her, and that may well be his fatal flaw. I was ready to scream when she tells him that she’ll die if Yi Tan does not ascend the throne – and the big doofus believes her.

Later she spins her argument to appeal to his sense of self-preservation by telling him that if he continues to support Yi Geum, he’ll lose his life when Seja is deposed, which is imminent. Gads, I loathe her. (I’m hoping that when Yi Tan finally goes off the deep end, as we all know he will by the finale, he and his floozy take each other out. Or both receive his ‘n’ hers bowls of poison. Oh, wait. She’s a commoner. She can look forward to hanging, unless women were also dismembered for treason.) I hope that Dal-moon comes to his senses before it is too late and irreparable damage has been done to Seja – and himself.

- Continued -

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Part 3 of 3

As I expected, Yi Geum takes the high road and attempts to mend fences with his brother by performing a repentance ritual. At least the paranoid King has left Yoon Hyuk in his new office as personnel officer for the entire Samsa. I have a feeling that he will somehow come into play in the next round of retribution in the palace.

I thoroughly enjoyed seeing Saheonbu Executive Inspector Wi hauled off to the hoosegow by Moon-soo & Co., but had a feeling it is too good to be true. How is it that Wi gets to meet with Yi Tan while in the slammer? (Exactly how is Mil-poong involved in the case? It’s not as if he’s the guy’s lawyer.) Next thing we know, Wi leaves prison while awaiting sentencing because of a synchronistic report of treason. The jailers just let him just walk away – and lead a party of guards to arrest other people?! Isn’t there anyone with half a brain in the palace who thinks this is suspicious?

Right about now I’m so disappointed with King Kyungjong that I’m counting the days until he turns up his royal toes. He’s hopeless. I shudder to think what kind of a Queen Dowager his widow will make. Inwon Daebi, however, is actually pretty good.

Keep in mind that there were two purges during Kyungjong’s reign, and we haven’t seen them yet. Perhaps they are about to commence.

-30-

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@pakalanapikake,
Bravo! Caught up. Excellent synopsis. My (usual) few thoughts:
1. As the episode began I kept checking the minutes thinking Yi Geum still doesn’t know. His lack of intelligence of what is going on in the palace is criminal. Something has bothered me for awhile. As Seja and living in the palace shouldn’t YG have a Eunuch or eunuchs in his service? Those guys probably could find out in a flash about some d*mn petition;
2. An anonymous petition. One would think a petition to the king would require a signature. And the King and Soren leadership blindly accepted it. Nuts. Minister Min (second to give kudos to Lee Geung-young) is one of the few Seniors keeping it together; and
3. What a disappointment King Kyungjong has quickly turned into. Old King Sookjong would have known how to handle this. I do respect the Dowager Queen.
2.

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@marcusnyc20 bong-soo,

Thanks! I'm glad it was worth the wait. ;-)

For some odd reason, I didn't find your comments until well after midnight.

1. Excellent observation about Yi Geum's crappy servant situation. You're absolutely right. Good help is hard to find. You'd think the Crown Princess would be raising hell over it -- and that it would fall under Daebi's purview. She wouldn't saddle him with untrustworthy servants. Too bad Seja doesn't have a Eunuch Jo in his corner.

As it is, Yi Geum's Saheonbu buddies don't have easy access to him. Dear Cho-hong is probably pretty low in the pecking order, and the same goes for faithful servant Ja-dong. Yeo-ji's proposal to work in the East Palace makes a lot more sense when viewed in this light.

2. Is the vicarious governance petition really anonymous? If so, that's truly pathetic. Everyone is getting their knickers in a twist over something that cannot be attributed to an actual citizen. For all anyone knows, it could have been concocted by foreign enemies. Sheesh.

3. King Kyungjong still has a ways to go before keeling over. If he has the grace to expire while Yi Geum is still Seja, Yi Tan would have to resort to bare-faced treason to usurp the throne.

Since we have another 20 episodes (10 hours) to go, I have no idea what's going to unfold. But I sure as heck hope we get Yeo-ji and Dal-moon's backstories, dang it.

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Absolutely, I hope Yeo Ji and Dal Moon's backstory will worth explaining and fix everything.

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Thank you for the fast recap @lollypip! You are working so hard these days!!!
This show continues to amaze me in how it keeps me interested. No matter how bad it seems to get for Yi Geum, something happens to help him rise up so everyone can see what a good man he is.
Dal Moon is intriguing as he is cagey. I wonder if he existed in real life.

As to the King I feel so sorry for him. He was made King but never felt like he was really up for the job - but it seems the influence of Yi Geum was helpful and he seemed to be stronger. Still his insecurities are always there and unfortunately are too useful for Yi Geum's enemies.
The music is good as is the acting and cinematography. Right now this is my go-to show for Mondays and Tuesdays.

Unfortunately it reminds me too much of the political turmoil in my country with a man-child in the WH - and wishing we could have someone like Yi Geum there instead. sigh...

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Auughh... This eps made my head hurt. For once, Yi Tan was being hatefully clever and effective in his political machination. This situation definitely didn't look good for our good guys, but it made for a very interesting watch. I was screaming for King Kyungjong to please believe in our Crown Prince and also for Dal-moon to stop withholding important information from others. But I also understand that Yi Tan has cleverly struck a vulnerable spot for everyone involved (and also delivered a scheme that politically benefited many other important figures in the palace, grrr...). I hope Moon-soo and Dal-moon could bring some breakthrough next eps because I don't know how else Yi Geum is going to free himself from all these damning accusations.

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@gadis,

Yi Tan has gone from being a cartoonishly bonkers serial killer to Niccolo Machiavelli in one fell swoop -- but perhaps it only appears that way because he was in China for a year. Maybe he read Sun Tzu's The Art of War (in translation!) while he was there. Prince Mil-poong is as crazy as a fox. I like his character development as he has turned into an opponent worthy of Yi Geum.

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thank you, Lollypip!
i used to think that Jung Il woo was too self centered after his sucess in 49 days and FBRM. thus choosing bad roles or the ones where he was solely the satar mistreating the leading ladies
With Haechi i found him really superb in this role. finally one where his showing all his acting skills. to be honestly kudos to the writer and PD. bc i think in his previously roles were more about his looks. not that in haechi the writer doesnt teases us. but it's subtle without being annoying nor overshadowing characters. even in Moon embrancing the sun the only parts that i like him were him crying or suffering. even being funny and his faces were not that good. JIW finally found a away to balanced his choices in acting. i'm happy for this. and i hope he continuous taking good roles, with ensambles casts.

the only thing that the writer need to address next is Yeo-Ji absence. that's all i ask. she cant go away for 3 eps and threat like nothing is happening. i just wish she is recovering well.

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Yeah, I hope they will justify Yeo Ji's role. I miss her in the set. Really wish that her back story upon her return will be worth watching for

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I really miss seeing more of Yeoji. Her absence will be felt the next few episodes. Go Ah-ra please recover quickly and comeback.

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Writer-nim might handle Go Ara's enforced absence with her being injured offscreen. Even better would be her conducting an investigation on her own, perhaps undercover at Moon-soo's or Yoon Hyuk's behest.

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Thank you for recapping this drama. Although not many people seem to be watching it, unlike the other dramas, I actually think it's has a very interesting story to tell. Full of complex politics and a lot of side characters, but if you're the kind to enjoy stories of underdogs making their way to the top, then I think you'll enjoy "Haechi". It's not heavy on the romance, though, so if you're the kind of viewer who puts premium on the romance in their sagueks, then this might not be for you.

This drama introduced me to Jung Il Woo, and I must say he holds his own very well in his scenes with the seasoned actors and in those intensely emotional scenes that require him to do nuanced acting. He's a revelation to me because he doesn't give off this vibe of idol-dressed-in-sageuk-clothing-trying-to-act-with-gravitas. He's perfectly cast as Yeoning, with just the right amount of sass and sensitivity. And he does have charisma, which is very important when you're playing the part of an important historical figure. And a king, no less.

I do hope before the drama ends its run that more people discover it. ^_^

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I fell for him in Return of Iljimae, which was one of the first kdramas I watched. This is only the second drama I’ve seen him in, but he’s one of my favorite actors, and is perfect in this role.

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I'm already searching for his earlier dramas and have lined up Diary of A Night Watchman and even High-End Crush (though I think this one is gonna be a bit on the juvenile, lighthearted side). I'll check out Return of Iljimae and 49 Days as well. ^_^

I wouldn't say Jung Il Woo is devastatingly good-looking, but when he gets into character and is dressed up as Yeoning, he just exudes charisma onscreen, making you want to believe in him. So it goes beyond physical beauty.

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Jung Il Woo has a unique look, IMO. He isn't classically "pretty" - often with the obvious help of cosmetic surgery - in the way many of the younger Korean actors are, and I find that refreshing. I also like that sometimes he appears somewhat plain, and other times he appears very handsome, but all times he has a charisma and sex appeal on screen that I find much more attractive than the cookie cutter prettiness that so many of the younger actors (especially the Kpop idols from the various boy bands) share. (I think this may be, in part, because Il-woo has a face that shows it if he gains weight or is "puffy," so his eyes and features can look very different from one week to the next. And he looks pretty natural, and not like his face has been reworked by a plastic surgeon).

I really loved him in Return of Iljimae. I've always been surprised that particular drama isn't more popular, but it seems that when it comes to rating dramas, the ones get the 9.5s and higher are the ones with the most popular pretty boys - often the boy band members - in them, even if they are total dreck. This seems especially true of sageuk dramas, which don't seem to be as popular as the romcoms, and need those pretty Kpop idols to get the ratings.

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Yet another two episodes where I am on the edge of my seat the entire time. There is never even one second that isn’t riveting, and I am constantly wondering how the hell Yi Geum is going to manage to survive what’s happening.

I am furious with Dal-Moon, but holding out hope that he isn’t really selling out Yi Geum because he’s still mooning over that sloped-out ‘ho, Yoon-Young. Sure, he has questionable ethics, but he’s smart, and seems to care about his “people,” which is why he’s had no problem taking money to help the upper classes and nobles betray each other. But he knows Yi Geum shares his visions of a better world for the poor and lower classes, and has to know what a horror Yi Tan would be as king, so I can’t fully accept that he would help put Tan on the throne just to give his ex her dream of ultimate power.

Every character continues to be intriguing, and I continue to be impressed with the acting.

I was really sorry to hear that Go Ara was injured, and even more sorry that it’s apparently going to keep her off the drama for several weeks. I will miss her character, and hope they can work the story around her without compromising the so-far excellent story and pacing.

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