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Rookie Historian Gu Hae-ryung: Episodes 21-24 Open Thread

Our rookie historian bravely faces the consequences of the life she has chosen for herself, coming up against her most terrifying foe in the palace so far. The good news is that she has far more allies now than she did when she first entered the palace, and although the historians might have to literally risk their lives to stand on their principles, at least going through adversity together is a bonding experience like no other. And it doesn’t hurt that a certain prince has personally dedicated himself to her well-being and comfort.

 
EPISODES 21-24 WEECAP

Not only is Hae-ryung arrested for refusing to tell the king what she overheard him saying to Councilor Min, this sets off a full-scale war between the king and the Office of Royal Decrees, because it’s unprecedented and illegal for a king to read the historians’ records, and they’re not having it.

That doesn’t stop the king from sending officials from the Secretariat to confiscate them anyway, which leads to a hilariously wimpy, over-the top fistfight in the historians’ courtyard that even the apprentices get in on. (Except Woo-won, who is quietly a badass. Of course he is.)

Hours later, the historians battered and barricaded in their inner sanctum, Yang gives a rousing speech about not giving in to the king because it will undo hundreds of years of effort from their predecessors, who fought for more access to the court despite harsh and despotic monarchs.

The male historians are all moved to tears in a sweet but funny moment, except Woo-won, who sighs long-sufferingly. The female historians are embarrassed for—or of—them, haha. (I’m with mary: Yang is totally the mom and Woo-won the dad of this group.)

Meanwhile, Rim sneaks into Hae-ryung’s cell with blankets and the Joseon version of a Lunchbox of Love, vowing that he’ll be her neighbor if she’s exiled, or help her run away if she needs to. She’s touched, and they nearly kiss, interrupted by an ill-timed yell from Sam-bo. She gives him a shy kiss on the cheek anyway, sending Rim into a paroxysm of joy.

The next day, Woo-won enacts the ultimate petition: he lays an ax before him and asks the king to either rescind his order to see the records, or take Woo-won’s head in forfeit. He declares loudly that the king has no right to the historians’ records, which prompts the king to try to actually use the ax on him. (Balls of steel, this one.)

From behind him comes an eerie sound, as the scholars of Sunkyunkwan approach all in white, engaging in the Wailing Protest, their ranks beautiful and mighty. The historians join in, renewed in their resolve. The king, enraged but already at his wit’s end from floods of irate petitions, realizes that he can’t deal with an uprising from the scholar class and gives in, rescinding the order and releasing Hae-ryung.

She returns home to a sobbing Seol-geum and a stoic Jae-kyung, who implores her to quit now before something worse happens, promising to let her do whatever she wants in return. Hae-ryung tells him that she’s always been jealous of the fact that he had a place to go in the morning, and now she does too—a way to be useful, a place she belongs. She promises to take responsibility for the consequences, whatever they may be.

Those consequences come before the rising of the sun. Hae-ryung is ordered to attend the king constantly, following him and recording every single thing he does, including witnessing the expulsion of the Royal Poop—and overseeing its transport.

She refuses to give in and shows up every day at 4am. The other historians are powerless to stop Hae-ryung from being made into an example, and Woo-won especially feels terrible, apologizing to Hae-ryung and providing helpful advice.

This psychological warfare goes on until the king can no longer keep up with his own ruthless schedule, and bluntly asks Hae-ryung to name her price in exchange for destroying what she wrote that day. She confesses that she heard and wrote nothing. She points out that if an excellent historian is one who doesn’t fear the king, then an excellent king knows to fear historians. She praises him for rescinding his wrongful order, and for attempting to communicate with an apprentice female historian instead of threatening her into submission—and reminds him that historians exist not only to point out the king’s flaws, but to record wise and excellent deeds like these for posterity. Smart woman.

This cools the king’s anger, and he writes a truly stunning letter to the Office of Royal Decrees acknowledging his wrongdoing and allowing them free reign in the palace with his backing. Hae-ryung returns to her colleagues a hero, and they go out on the town to drink and be merry.

Rim, who has been stalking watching over Hae-ryung the last few days, is caught muttering jealously by some latecomers, who drag “Clerk Yi” along with them, forcing him to drink strong liquor, to Hae-ryung’s worry and Woo-won’s absolute horror. Rim enjoys himself though, and when she walks him back to Nokseodong, Hae-ryung tipsily explores his room.

She discovers the poem he had planned to give her much earlier, tears gathering in her eyes. She quotes it back to him: “I hope you live for a long time and be the owner of my heart.” Then she kisses him.

This week’s episodes gave us the most serious stakes yet, with historians explicitly risking their lives in order to protect what they see as their duty to the kingdom and its people. I really enjoy how this show portrays history as an ongoing process and Joseon as an evolving political system rather than something monolithic and fixed in time, which is what we often get in historical fiction. There is a sense both that the historians feel the weight of creating history with their own hands, and of them being the heirs of hundreds of years of scholarship and precedent. They understand that their ability to literally oversee and judge the king in the eyes of untold future generations is a hard-won privilege and one that could be taken away at any time, for of course the law itself has limited meaning when you live under an absolute monarchy.

I love that we got to see the historians grapple with the very real implications of this. I cheered when they brought the entire workings of the court to a standstill with their boycott; their last stand at the Office of Royal Decrees was as moving as it was hilarious. And that moment when they joined the scholars in chanting “Aigo, aigo” was so powerful it gave me chills.

Not to mention, the battle of wills between the king and the historians was so unusual and refreshing to see. Joseon’s structure of government was so strictly top-down that sageuks set in that era by necessity use the king as the ultimate big gun, because no one can realistically go against him except by using trickery and manipulation. But as we’ve seen repeatedly, Hae-ryung’s honesty, fearlessness and her creative way of approaching a problem mean that she destroys the tropes that many a drama is built on by simply existing. It never occurs to her to keep quiet about the truth, or to not speak up for justice; not because she’s naive, but because she doesn’t want to disappoint herself by betraying her principles. God I love her.

And she’s the same when it comes to matters of the heart. Sam-bo’s hilariously awful courting advice isn’t as disastrous as it should be, because neither Hae-ryung nor Rim has the inclination (or the ability) to be anything other than transparent about their feelings. I was sort of crushed when Rim’s gift of the poem got interrupted by the king a few episodes ago, but I’m glad that she found it now, when they already have an unspoken understanding, and all that’s left is to put their love into words. I’ve found her unconvincing in romance before, but Shin Se-kyung’s acting in that last scene had me actually holding my breath.

And how tickled am I that while Hae-ryung was going toe-to-toe with the king and winning, it was Rim who pined for her and brought her food as a good supportive love interest does? I love that Hae-ryung continues to be the heroine of her own story, bluntly declaring her intentions and going after she wants, while Rim swoons over her gestures of affection and giddily dreams of marrying her and living happily ever after. His rash but bold enumeration of the king’s faults in order to impress her shows that he knows what she values, too, and is willing to step up to be the man she needs.

Jin was far less of a presence in these episodes, except for his somewhat baffling outing with Sa-hee. It was a sweet interlude, but after what we found out about the crown princess last week, it makes me sad to see these two sort-of flirting outside the palace. It has me wondering what the endgame is for Sa-hee, whom I’ve grown to really like despite her shady connections; she deserves more than a spot as one of Jin’s concubines, entwined in poisonous court machinations for the rest of her life—speaking of which, whatever the dowager queen is planning had better not cause some kind of tragic fate to arise between Rim and Jin. Because none of us will survive that intact.

 
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Thank you @laica for such a spot on squeecap.

I had my share of sageuks, but RHGHR continues to surprise me with its unique way of tackling the storyline - - which is, in my opinion, the Historians of Joseon Era. I love how every episodes never fail to remind it's viewers that this drama is about the historian, their story and we should treat them as important part of history.

I agree with @laica on everything she wrote. I love how the historians fought for who they are, what they are and where they are in the whole history spectrum. I find it so refreshing, especially on how the writernim subtly injected it scene after scene. We do not even need a whole half an hour of innercourt bickerings, or political factions secret meetings at night to topple each other for power. The historians made every scenes their own and at the same time, te us their story.

Some viewers are impatient of the HoDam and Prince Rim story arc, which is really not highlighted from these episodes. But I believe, both arcs are just supporting arcs of the whole historian story. And I am okay with that. This is first and foremost the story of GooHaeRyung, not of Prince Rim. And I love the fact that writernim never let us forget that.

I am looking forward to how the story will weave Hodams/Rim's arc to that of the Historians. I felt like... the romance will be sacrificed in the end - - to make a point!

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Yes, I’m worried that Our Prince is going to have a sad ending to make a statement about history. 😳

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I kindda jinxed it, eh? Now he is marrying someone.

And I felt like that someone is SaHee. Talk about sacrifices.

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I think I know what I like about this show and it's characters, the growth that they all have. And it is not limited to the younger people on the show.

And it is not superficial, on the surface, it is actual growth. The writers of this show managed to have the topics that are tackled feel so modern in how it plays out that you find yourself sometimes forgetting you are watching a fictional program.

Also, the fight scene was just freaking hilarious. I was wiping tears from laughing so hard.

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I felt like these episodes did two things very well: on the one hand, the grand story of the historians and their role in the royal court; and on the other, the little personality details that bring that first story to life. I love how Officer Yang hung back and let his men fight the battle, and how his scribe counterpart tried to get him to fake a fight so they could stay out of the brawl, and all the king's pettiness. I liked the attention that went into making the historians individuals with wives and families, who weren't ready to give up their lives to save history. And then the contrasting epic storyline of Officer Min laying down his life for the principle of impartial history (the closest thing to a free press) and for Hae Ryung's release. I know it's naive, but I actually felt like I was watching history. I'm glad the romantic moments were kept to a minimum. I'm honestly not sure what Hae Ryung sees in the prince.

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I agree about Hae Ryung and Rim. I completely get why he would be in love with her (besides the fact that she is the only friend he's ever had, she's awesome). But I don't get why she would like him back, knowing the kind of woman she is. Then again, I guess I can't assume that she would fall for a specific type of person because of her personality.

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Maybe he would be the kind of guy she wants and needs. He is encouraging of her, he wants to be better for her and wants to also take care of her in anyway he can.

I can see why she is interested.

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Yes. And in a way Prince Rim is a non conformist like her.
He doesn’t mind her taking the lead, he has never advices her about what she should or should not do as a woman etc and deeply cares for her.
Also he is a man who wrote romance novels who had a major female following. Am sure she saw the way he represented women in his novels.
Plus, apparently he has a ‘genius face’ so it’s natural she likes his looks too :)

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I agree with this assessment. I also think that her once-fiancee would been supportive like Prince Rim, but she did not have the chance to know that before they were to be married. Plus she would then have been married. Bye bye freedom, historian exam, and everything. I can see why she likes Rim & not say, her ex-fiancee. IF at all this girl is to be with a man, then Prince Rim is a good fit.

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Also I think one of the purpose the smallpox incident was to allow Hae Ryung to see the other side of Rim beyond just a naive prince who knows nothing but write novels. She got to see his innate goodness: how he genuinely cares for the people, got angry in the face of injustice and was able to make a hard decision for the sake of the people when needed, despite being secluded in the palace his whole life. I’m sure it’s one of the reason she is able to develop feelings for him.

And like you said he’s very supportive of her and she always seems touched by how much he cares for her. Maybe she never had any guy who treats her this nicely and gives her this much affection. I’m guessing she started to develop feelings when Rim allowed her to cry alone in his room.

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He’s a guy who is open in his affections for her without being demanding or aggressive, he’s sweet and innocent, he wants to help people, he always looks out for her and tries to keep her well-fed and happy, he’s attractive (in her eyes as she has pointed out), and she her heart goes out to him due to the position he’s in with his father. Why wouldn’t she like him?

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Agree. I think he is always genuine from the beginning when she met him and never judged whatever she did. She feels comfortable around him. But I also hope the writer would give him more room to grow. He needs to keep up with her.

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He's a motherless boy, she's a friendless (before now) intellectual: in the words of Avril Lavigne, can I make it any more obvious? I'm with you on the dynamic not being to my taste, but I can see why they suit each other, and why they need each other. He needs a mom, she needs a playmate.

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Thanks for the recap! I found these episodes had more silly humor than the show has had so far. I honestly would prefer if it did not continue like this because I was really enjoying the style of humor from before to this over the top one I still really enjoyed the historical emphasis that this episode had. Despite the general levity of the show, I was completely drawn in by the seriousness of the conflict.

I'm not into Sa Hee and Crown Prince's interactions at all. I still have that bias against her from the fact that she is/was(?) a spy. Her story with crown prince seems typical of many a sageuk I've seen though. Like Dong Yi.

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I still don't get Sa Hee's true intentions. Is she just a spy? Did she have a change of heart? What is she feeling right now? I wanted the Show to be a bit clearer on that .

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Me too on the lack of clarity. I want to know why she would spy in the first place when she's been so hard on her father for his shady dealings. It could be misguided, but she seems to be the most astute of the rookie historians, especially when it comes to politics, so I would find that hard to believe.

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One episode she's this, then the other, she's that. It's confusing so I don't know whether to root for her or not.

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I wonder if it's intentional that they wrote her to be wishy washy with a hint of jadedness and self-absorption. Most of the people in the royal court are like that -- always looking out to cover their ass hahaha. Maybe it's to contrast against everyone else and set up a moment of redemption later on?

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She was the spy. I think this show is about to pulled how to push a ship/ forced a ship 101. They want us to forget Sa Hee is the spy and push this pairing between Sa Hee and Yi Jin. I wouldn't be surprised if they try to make the Crown Princess the spy and call it a twist. Also have everybody find out about it but never learn Sa Hee was the spy.

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This drama is starting to give me whiplash.

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If I have to pick, the interactions between GHR and the king was my favorite. It was so much fun watching the pettiness of the king and the way she bulldozed him.
‘If you are trying to get me drunk don’t bother, I have high tolerance’ And immediately the king puts the cup down in frustration.
I laughed so hard!!
This show is amazing and nicely balanced the humor and seriousness. And I love that all the characters are interesting.

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Me too!!! I never thought the king could be hilarious. Isn't he suppose to be a villain in this story? LOL! But I like it. This drama really made my day.

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He's definitely got some shady shady style, but it's kind of a refreshing thing to see that he's still human after all.

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Yes to all that! Plus the way the King came out of that was very satisfying. I thought that Haeryung "forced" him to write the letter in exchange for what she wrote but that beautifully written letter was actually the King's real feelings. He accepted the historians wholeheartedly and he decided on that HIMSELF. He's usually controlled by the Chancellor so it felt good to see him as his own person. I saw so much potential in him and a not so tragic ending for everyone else.

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I totally enjoyed the last episodes, along with the (mis)adventures of the Historians.

The daily 4am routine was hilarious in how it fired back at the King. lol.

Is it wrong that I want to ship Gu Hae-ryung with almost everyone? Her and Rim? Her and Woo-won (even if it's just friendship)? Her and the King (nooooo, not in a romantic way!)? Her and the Crown Prince? I feel like she brings out something positive and joyful from each of them.

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Exactly! She really does bring out the human being inside all the characters. I too ship her (not necessarily romantic) with all of them. Even the ex-fiancé :)

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the ex-fiancé was soo sweet !

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I ship this comment.

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I ship this comment and the replies~

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i was legitimately cackling during that fight scene. it improved the quality of my life 100 fold.

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HAHAHAHAHA Officer Yang yelling "Don't back down!" while walking backwards. On point comedy.

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Yang was totally the MVP of the historians this week! I was dying of laughter.

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Then the cutscene to everyone looking defeated inside the Office of Royal Decrees while actual teddy bear Historian Son stewing “I should’ve thrown them all out of the palace.”

And did anyone else catch in the chaos how Kim Chi-guk (the maknae historian) was clinging to Sa-hee’s skirts while she beats up his opponent for him? She’s totally the big sister of this family. XD

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And Woo won saying: "It's going to be a long night."

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I absolutely loved this whole fight scene, with the stand-off at the beginning, followed by the catfight between all these nerds who don't know how to hold anything other than a brush. The camera's alternation between real-time and slo-mo had me in stiches, because I could see every detaiI. I think I saw Officer Min on the floor clutching an opponent's leg XD

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Min woo won trying to act sick with the others was lit too😄

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That was the bit that cracked me up the most too. Also the way the subbed translated dong as Number 2.

(Really appreciated the slowdown strike altogether.)

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He looked so embarrassed and unsure doing it! 😄😄

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And so adorably awkward.

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Thank you @laica for the recap!

With more than halfway through, I love that the show has managed to stay focused on the historians which are the heart of the story, instead of being muddled with the royal family politics.

And I keep being pleasantly surprised, I can’t believe they make me like the king, who is supposed to be the villain! He’s hillarious in the latest episode and he is actually just a petty kid.

The mystery of Hodam will surely start to get unveiled soon, and I hope they will show the importance of the historians’ role in the midst of it.

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I really enjoyed the way the conflict between the historians and the king was done. It felt so realistic and relevant. Regardless of time period, there will always be moments where people have to fight for their rights to prevent abuse of power or even autocracy. What a nice change of pace from the typical sageuk politicking!

I also felt the outing with the Crown Prince and Sa-hee was weird. It came across as kind of forced and awkward. I wasn't feeling that at all. I'd rather they not go the romantic route with those two.

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I agree....I ffw it...

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I agree. It was forced. After his interaction with the Crown Princess, I wasn't interested Sa Hee and Yi Jin. Plus Yi Jin was suppose to be spending time with the Crown Princess.

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These episodes were super awesome except that outing with the Crown Prince and Sa-hee. I was disappointed that the CP bought her hair accessories. I was like seriously dude? I thought you'd buy it for your wife. Wow.

He was super cold to her too in the beginning so this really felt forced just to create some sort of line between them. I'm not buying any of it until I find out what's really going on with Sa-hee. I thought I got her and was rooting for her to achieve her independence and follow her dreams but she became too all over the place. I hope the writer knows what he/she is doing.

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I also feel this part is a little weird. I don’t know what I’m supposed to feel about this line. I know the story is focused on the historians, but no point to add another line here. I would rather see more interaction between CP and his wife.

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Or better still, the show explains better why the crown prince and his wife can never be. Her father is one thing but that isn’t an excuse to treat her that way, from what we’ve been shown about her, she doesn’t seem to be that bad unless we’re yet to see her true colors but from what we’ve seen, she doesn’t deserve to be treated that way.

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I also think it was too sudden (and this is coming from me--a serial shipper). But they had this intense scene in eps15-16.

When Sa-hee donated the grains her father was hoarding, CP accused her of doing that so she can record her own father receiving a gift from the crown prince and looking good in history. Sa-hee looked offended, she opened her sachaek to read what she actually wrote (that the corrupt Section Chief hoarded the medicine). CP felt guilty, especially since, he's been making snide remarks at her every time she's assigned as his historian.

The market date is the first time we see them "alone" together again after that grain issue. Maybe CP felt a bit guilty and genuinely interested in Sa-hee after knowing she's not the same as her father.

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Thanks for that different point of view! I never thought of the guilt he might have felt. Now, does he not feel guilt over leaving his wife alone in the palace with nobody to lean on while being criticized left and right? I guess my issue about the market outing was why Sa-hee and not his wife? Funny coz I usually didn't mind the queens in other dramas. Seems like the one scene we saw her in really got to me.

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Yeah I felt so bad for her.

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She was really good in that one arc we saw her (the crown princess). I want her to be happy too, I don’t know how that can happen unless Daddy Min dies quickly without being branded a traitor. Then they can make all the babies with Uncle Wooowoo haplessly changing diapers. (Told you I’m a serial shipper LOL)

I just had to share that bit about CP and Sa-hee because it seems people forgot how intense that scene was. I went back through the past eps to look for why Jin is being nice to Sa-hee. Hehe

I saw him being genuinely guilty for treating Sa-hee harshly the whole time.

Just wanted to share that with y’all. It seems the show did take tiny steps to get us here (still too fast IMO).

I don’t believe Jin did the market thingy to know what Hae-ryung wrote in the sachaek. I bet it was just the writer’s way of showing that Sa-hee is also highly calculating and not used to people being nice just because (look how she scolded Hae-ryung for drinking the alcohol for her, and how she takes her debts seriously like spying for Councilor Min in exchange for convincing her Dad to let her be a historian).

I think the show is going to do that thing where Sa-hee’s noble pride/righteousness threw Jin off guard, and now Jin’s plain niceness throws Sa-hee off guard. Recipe for romance. Except we’re all here screaming BUT WHAT ABOUT THE ROYAL BABBBBIES???

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@mary the royal babies are important. We need to see Uncle Woo-woo changing diapers and kissing the ouchies of the kids.

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The grain scene that @mary mentions had Crown Prince doubting Sa Hee's intentions in recording it, and in this round Sa Hee doubted the Crown Prince's intentions, asking if he wanted to bribe her for information with a gift. Which he obviously did not intend, judging by his hurt look. I think he just meant it as a friendly gesture, maybe he doesn't even consider it romantic.

Yes, he could have taken the ribbon to his wife but he doesn't like her and probably doesn't want to give her false hopes. Poor Crown Princess.

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I can't ship the Crown Prince and Sa-hee. He seems like such a generally nice, happy guy... and she's all prickles. Would love to know their backstory though. When she was first hired as historian, they had that awkward moment where she took the scroll and her hands were too close to his. Did they date? Did she like him but had to back off bec of an arranged marriage? Were they childhood friends? And why does she always look so tired and bitter? She and Woo Won seem to have a running contest on who looks more fed up with life😂

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Me either. I can't ship them either. I just know they are gonna continue forcing them & Hae Ryung and Yi Rim.

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Also 'cause, I know I'm hugely late to this party, but I could have sworn the show was setting up Saehee and Woowon.

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What Yi Jin doesn't know is Sa Hee is kind of like her father though. She is also one of the Second State Councillor's minions. I do hope he finds out it was actually Sa Hee who was the spy and not the Crown Princess.

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Yeah -- her character's unravelled a bit, hasn't it? I think this ep clearly signalled that she genuinely likes Jin. But I thought the comeback about him trying to gain information from her was weirdly misplaced (although Jin's response to that wasn't entirely free of calculation). And we haven't seen her speak to Councillor Min in a while. I like that she and U-won enjoy but set themselves aloof from the middle-class antics of their colleagues, it's a nice bit of exposition about their respective upbringing. But she's been held back once too often for my liking now.

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I really like those episodes! It's really an office drama but in past times.

The female historians showed their badass sides and Officer Yang can't deny they deserve to be historian anymore!

I liked the scene with the Crown Prince and Sahee because I really like his character and there isn't enough scenes of him for me. I like her too. I don't think she's a real spy, all she said until now wasn't so important. It's hard to judge his relationship with his wife because she's the daugher of the villain and we don't know how they got married together. But at least he showes respect toward her.

The scenes with the King were really interesting. He always has been mysterious until now... Good or bad King? His decisions were not all bad, for example send Prince Dowon was pretty smart because he needs the Crown Prince. But his behaviour with Prince Dowon is not very kind and we still don't have any idea why...

The love story is still the weakest part for me but it doesn't take a big part of the story, so it doesn't bother me so much. But if we take off the character of Prince Dowon, the story doesn't change so much... I prefer the scenes between Office Min and GHR, they share something important for the both of them and they learn from each other.

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The King is a puppet. That is how he is written. Whether it is Chancellor Min or The Queen, someone is pulling the strings.

He is not as smart as he thinks he is and these episodes showed that. Sure he has a temper and is petty, but he was seen as someone who can be manipulated with flattery to get the results that they want.

We also know that Chancellor Min knows where the bodies are buried. We still don't know what happened to his late brother.

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Beanies have discussed all the great things about this episode so I'm just dropping by here to say that I LOVE HISTORIAN DAD YANG AND HISTORIAN MOM MIN. THE OFFICE OF THE ROYAL DECREES IS THE BEST FAMILY IN A SAGEUK DRAMA WORKPLACE EVER. ❤

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I would so love a crossover with Moonlight Drawn by Clouds

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An eunuch in drag and a writer prince disguising as anything but a prince? Sounds like a fun disguise drama I would watch. Jang Dong-yoon's cross-dressing drama isn't out yet but he can be added into this mix for more fun!

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And we can ship Hae-ryung with everyone so it'll be fun to see

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Thanks for this recap -- so good!

One of the excellent things about this show is that it's steadfastly refused to paint its antagonists as villainous -- neither the king nor Councillor Min make any pretense at being nice men, but almost all their decisions seem underwritten by pragmatism or some clearly signalled (if unexplained) motive. That allowed for these episodes to really bring some depth to the king's character, which was their biggest success for me.

Agree with the commenter who said they could do without the comic tone of these episodes. They really enhanced GHR's character, with her superb comebacks and her responses to challenging situations; and they also made the historians' role expand with a beautiful light touch. But I thought it took Jin and Sa-hui off the rails a bit (IDK whether to be happy or sad that Park Ki-woong plays him like a truant schoolboy in the 'Seja-joha's Day Out' sequence). And I'm not thrilled that we didn't get more backstory to the Ho Dam plot.

Min U-won is too good for this world and I'm extremely worried they're setting him up to be a tragic sacrifice. Death-defying courage to protect principle, a "pooped my pants" joke, AND bringing GHR ice-water for her blisters? I'm shook, I'm a convert, I'm praying for your safety, Officer Min!

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My only concern as of the moment is that Prince Rim seems like he was forgotten by the writer. He's just like a side character at least for these eps.

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Laica... WHY DO YOU ALWAYS GET THE LOLARIOUS and CHARACTER-BUILDING EPISODES???

I love everything you pointed out and everyone’s comments rehashing the awesome and the funny things this week.

I can’t believe they made me care for the King! Now I’m rewriting my conspiracy theories. Watch me pin all the blame on Daddy Min now.

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Heh, I have to be honest, I really LOVED recapping the Historians' Revolt. Definitely a standout in all the sageuks I've seen!

Um... sorry? <3

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I forgot another funny moment: Woo-won’s scandalized looks every time his fellow historians talked down on “Clerk Yi” and belittled his upbringing. XD He’s such a stickler for propriety, he must’ve had multiple heart attacks during the party.

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We saw some WooWon moments. His trying really hard to play along the ‘I ate bad food’ drama and avoiding work. He was just so awkward but he made it. Somehow made it.
And then the drinks. I do think he barely survived that night. poor WW.

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"How dare these junior historians insult His Magnanimous Majesty who told me to be careful of splinters in the firewood!"

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ROFL

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His expressions were priceless. I must've replayed that scene like 5 times. How do you say "WTF" in Korean? Hahaha

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I see Hae-ryung as the totally in-charge "husband" while Prince Rim as the "wife" she likes to pamper and tease.

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Nice

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The most intriguing development was the King’s character arc. As HR d, if he had been a tyrant he could have used any number of tyrannical methods to threaten her. Instead, he chose to try and work her into surrender, and failing that try and get her drunk. So, if the King is not a natural bad guy, ... that leaves Historian Min’s father as the last villain standing?

Not that I much care about the villains...the Tales of the Historians arc is the interesting part.

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(unrelated to the rest of my comment: i love everything about this recap--thanks @laica as always so appreciated and so fun to read <3).

i know i am in the minority here, but i'll just throw this out there: i'm not getting much of the mutual attraction vibe between the Crown Prince and Sa-hee. I do sometimes get the impression she's trying to make a move on him, and maybe that's for political (spying?) reasons, but I read him as feeling more sympathy/respect/pity for her than attraction/interest. I think that's why he let her tag along and why he bought her the hair thingie. Like, he just wanted her to have a nice time outside the palace for once. To be free from all the weight she bears (even if a lot of that weight is self-inflicted). Maybe he can sympathize with that?

Anyway this could be way off; I do think the show is going out of its way to cast the Crown Prince as "lonely bachelor" type even though he's married (and all the drama with the Crown Princess seems a little unnecessary to me). Maybe that's so we are less judgemental when he hooks up with Sa-hee? In any case, the chemistry between Sa-hee and the Crown Prince (or the actors at least) just isn't quite there for me. Sa-hee is still a mystery, though, as many commented, and it will be interesting to see how her story plays out. And I like the Crown Prince a lot; I'm enjoying how he's written and acted.

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What you said about the Crown Prince being the lonely bachelor type reminds me of someone tweeting about Jin, "I ship him with myself." XD

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lololol i love that

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Oh, you are so right! Really hit on a thing I was having trouble articulating. She vacillates between restraint/secrecy and unusual openness (the bandage when he hurts himself shooting!), he is sometimes her boss and sometimes her collaborator (he gives her the chance to record her father's "contribution" to public health). After all this while they're still testing each other -- he's daring her to betray him, she's daring him to cower her.

In counterpoint, though, all the show's expressions of love are complicated, restrained, hot-and-cold, tangled up in other stuff -- there's only one straightforward lover here, and he is the romance novelist who's been locked up for most of his life.

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ooo yes, true. very insightful counterpoint. and the way you've phrased it made me think of how all these tangled relationships (with undercurrents of love) are sort of an allegory for history itself---what we express, what we restrain, the hot-and-cold, the "other stuff" that affects what makes history.

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They are. They are acting like he ain't the one rejecting his wife.

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If he hooks up with Sa Hee and she gets pregnant, that would be cruel. I think the Crown Princess would be pissed and I wouldn't blame her.

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Aw, @anothernicole, I'm sorry for this late reply because school just started again, but thank you! Your comment perked me up after a really punishing week. (Also I stayed up til 2:30am working on this thing.) I'm glad it was fun to read! <3

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❤️❤️❤️❤️❤️❤️❤️❤️

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I may be the only one, but I cried serious tears during these episodes because it mirrors my country's current political mess and the rush to destroy institutions in order to favor a man-child. If only it could be corrected so easily here with a rookie historian and an experienced historian putting their lives on the line. Sigh.

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I still bad for the Crown Princess. Her husband out here interacting with the real spy and rejecting her because he thinks she is the spy. They are really forcing Sa Hee and Yi Jin on us. All I know Yi Jin better be ready when that date comes.

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*feel

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Officer Min did that.

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Hae Ryung and Yi Rim do not have chemistry. It is so forced.

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