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Showtime Begins!: Episodes 11-12

We dive deep into the past this week to learn how our leads met their fate in their former lives. It’s quite a shift from the previous episodes, but it seems the only way to right what went wrong all those years ago is to first understand how it went wrong.

 
EPISODES 11-12 WEECAP

While Cha-woong and the other shamans confront the Full Moon Killer, Seul-hae pleads with the ghosts who have barricaded her in Cha-woong’s house. Realizing they won’t budge, she pretends to give up and then sneaks out the window.

She arrives just as the evil spirit is overpowering all three shamans. She tases him, but he just tosses her aside and again lunges for Cha-woong – who’s zoned out, reeling from more past-life flashbacks. Just as he goes in for the kill, Seul-hae throws herself in front of Cha-woong, and in the same moment, the two are encased in what looks to be a force field.

Cha-woong, eyes glowing bright blue, is controlling it. With newfound supernatural power, he incapacitates the spirit, forces it into a bottle, and seals it with a talisman. The host body wakes up bewildered and frightened, and flees.

But the strain of all that energy completely drains Cha-woong. He falls unconscious, and though the others rush him to the hospital, he flatlines.

Three things happen as a result of that fateful night. The first is that Hee-soo receives a tip about the Full Moon Killer, chases him down, and apprehends him, winning widespread acclaim for putting a true end to the killer’s rampage.

Next, Seul-hae is mysteriously granted the ability to see and hear ghosts. And just when I was starting to think Showtime might have taken a fascinating but saddening turn and have the rest of its run be Seul-hae working with Cha-woong’s ghost to solve crimes, we learn the third result: Cha-woong is still alive – but in a deep, dream-filled sleep.

Three months go by, with Seul-hae looking after the ghosts and spending hours in Cha-woong’s hospital room. Then we jump inside Cha-woong’s dreams, wherein he’s reliving his past life as High Priest Poong Baek in the court of Princess Cheon-hwa (Seul-hae’s past-self) and her father.

Up to this point, we – and Cha-woong – have only seen flashes of this story, disjointed and out of order. But now, we get the full picture.

Though Poong Baek possessed incredible power, all that power was due to his Sacred Mirror, a gift only to be used for good, never harm. Cheon-hwa openly adored him, and though he loved her in return, he held back from expressing his feelings due to his lowly upbringing.

Choi Geom (now our General spirit) was Cheon-hwa’s bodyguard and Poong Baek’s good friend. Seeing their mutual pining, Choi Geom revealed to Cheon-hwa that Poong Baek retreated to a private cave when his feelings got too strong to control, where his secret confessions of love literally made flowers bloom. Awww I love him.

When Cheon-hwa confronted Poong Baek in the cave, he finally admitted that he’d tried not to love her, but failed. She kissed him, causing the last of his protests to falter, and then she went straight to her father, who by this time had already wholeheartedly agreed that he wanted Poong Baek for his son-in-law.

But, as we already know, their story didn’t progress happily from there. The prince of a neighboring – and far more powerful – kingdom took one look at Cheon-hwa and decided he had to have her. So he pressured her father into agreeing to an arranged marriage as a peace treaty. And yes, he’s HAE CHEON-MOO (Lee Dong-hwa), the man who would become the evil spirit plaguing our leads in the modern day.

Cheon-hwa begged Poong Baek to run away with her, but he couldn’t bring himself to endanger her or forsake his duty by provoking war. And Cheon-moo wasn’t finished with him. He fabricated evidence that Poong Baek was sending military secrets to an enemy kingdom, earning Poong Baek a flogging and exile.

Cheon-hwa escaped the palace to find Poong Baek and return his confiscated Sacred Mirror. But Cheon-moo was hot on her heels, and Poong Baek broke the sacred rules by using the mirror’s power to fight back, hoping to buy Cheon-hwa’s escape.

The cost of breaking the rules was his life. As Poong Baek’s strength faded, Cheon-hwa threw herself in front of Cheon-moo’s sword. Stricken with grief, Poong Baek used the rest of his power to tear Cheon-moo’s spirit out of his body and imprison him in a bottle, writing the talisman on it with his own blood.

With their dying breaths, Cheon-hwa and Poong Baek promised to meet again someday, and he vowed to love her as she deserved.

Only after the whole story plays out does Cha-woong awake in the hospital and find Seul-hae at his bedside. While she frets over him, he’s speechless with joy and sorrow, now understanding how meaningful it is that they’ve found each other again.

Cha-woong wastes no time in making good on Poong Baek’s 2,000-year-old vow. He expresses his feelings for Seul-hae every chance he gets, even embroidering a handkerchief for her just as Cheon-hwa did for Poong Baek. But while she appreciates the gestures, she’s also really weirded out by the fact that he’s making their current life all about their past one. Which, fair.

Understanding the past also gives Cha-woong a new perspective on Choi Geom, but this perspective isn’t a good one… because he was the one who presented the “evidence” of Poong Baek’s supposed treason.

He did it to protect his younger brother – the actual traitor – and when he found Poong Baek and Cheon-hwa dead, he took his own life out of guilt. Instead of moving onto the afterlife, he was tasked with making things right.

But lest we think the past is finally put to rest, there’s actually one more result of the night the Full Moon Killer was caught. Hee-soo didn’t just arrest him; he killed him. After the spirit of Cheon-moo lured Hee-soo there and possessed him instead.

It was certainly an interesting choice to spend most of these two episodes entirely in the distant past, stalling the present in the process. And now I have a problem: I loved Poong Baek and Cheon-hwa way more than I expected, and I’m devastated that they didn’t get a chance at a happy life together.

While I can appreciate the present-day second chance to an extent, Seul-hae was right – she’s not Cheon-hwa, and he’s not Poong Baek. And the story of the princess and the high priest will remain a tragedy no matter how Seul-hae and Cha-woong’s story plays out.

Two things I can get behind, though:

1) Since we’re running with past lives reconnecting, I loved the detail of Cheon-hwa’s faithful maid who died helping her escape being Seul-hae’s present-day friend and roommate. I always like seeing fated connections that aren’t romantic, because platonic or familial bonds can be just as strong and special.

2) I’m ready to see Choi Geom to earn his centuries-overdue redemption and for them all to get rid of Cheon-moo for good.

 
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Here goes my theory of the chief being possessed by the spirit and the son needing to kill him. But this is more logical because the obsession the spirit had was with chung hwa and possessing her first love is the quickest route to fulfill his with.

On the note of fated connections, is it just me or the criminal helping the chief to catch the full moon murderer (and who is now helping Hee Soo) is the same guy who was a commander in the old king's court and helped the enemy prince and framed Poong Baek.

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Yes the present day criminal is the past-life commander. Another nice tie-back.

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i enjoyed both these episodes. I Also knew from the time jump and him accepting the award that the detective was now possessed. fully confirmed with the hand scar . good job on the actor for expressing this in the eyes.

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I've said this every time I comment on this show, but it always seems to me they are a little short of material on this show, but that's because scenes are extended beyond my limited attention span, I guess. One and a half episodes on the past (which I now know were in the Gorguryeo period, thanks again @sicarius!) were just too much for me, especially since some of it had been hinted at in previous episodes.

While I did like the anachronistic cheer led by Princess Cheon-Hwa--in fact the anachronistic everything of Cheon-Hwa--they could have made the past circumstances a bit more complex, by, say, having Cheon-moo being less evil in the past, and maybe the princess being at first attracted to him, mirroring the present day Hee-Soo situation.

Anyway, as I was watching what seemed to me to be an overly long excursion into early kingdoms, a grey mist of an eternal drowsy spirit drifted through the air and began possessing me. Fortunately, I was able to hold aloft my Sacred Snack plate, my eyes flashed blue, and the magic power of pretzels awakened me.

What would work best for me next week, though, would be a full return of the 3 ghosts into the action!

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"What would work best for me next week, though, would be a full return of the 3 ghosts into the action!"

Yes yes yes

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It should definitely have been 12 episodes like the writer's last show. Alas, not much she could do about that. :(

More historical details below, which you definitely didn't ask for! Especially since I love Three Kingdoms Korea, and you clearly less so! hahaha

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I feel the writer is not that strong in writing an evil character with depth. After the initially creepy build up the evil spirit feels like a threat to the OTP's romance than a peril to the world. Maybe, it is because of the way the past story was unraveled where the baddie seemed puny infront of Poong's super power.

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I originally thought she was getting better at it from last time but the last few weeks have made me think, maybe not haha.
I haven't actually got to 12 yet but OP Cha Woong/Poong Baek makes well balanced conflict a bit difficult.
(And also that this director does her work no favours honestly. Not a good director. Will be steering clear of them in the future lol)

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I just finished watching these episodes and I really hate that I was right about the spirit possessing Hee soo. I honestly wouldn't have minded if we were done with the evil spirit story arc and spent the 4 remaining episodeswith our ghost trio + magic tricks and the love story between our OTP.

Is it just me or was Advisor Choi's acting a bit off during those scenes if him begging Cha Woong which were supposed to be emotional (I felt nothing) ; his brother was even worst I think.

JKJ and PHJ have some sweet chemistry going on. The flash-back scenes were good because we got to see more of that.

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I actually thought the evil spirit had been truly wronged or had some legitimate reason to be angry only to find out that he has simply just been evil from the creation. Sigh

Ps: I appreciate Park Hae-jin's beauty with each episode 😂

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"Ps: I appreciate Park Hae-jin's beauty with each episode" - I have seen him in some other roles but never noticed how good looking the man is. I was taken aback when he looked good in the old world get up with those weird ponytail. He looks ethereal.

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You were on the money about Heesoo - I didn't see that coming! I also did feel that Advisor Choi's misery just didn't quite land, it just didn't really feel the sincerity? But I thought Park Haejin gave an excellent performance carrying that feeling of betrayal (also on this note, I also have become such an ardent Park Haejin fan - his beauty is something else 😍 I'd so embodier banners for him too)

And yes shame that the evil guy was just evil for the sake of it, I think it would've been cooler if he'd been set up as someone who maybe was pushed to the 'bad side' because of circumstances. But if this show ended up having a really complex villain as well it would've been too good to be true hahahaha I honestly was really happy with how the past life stuff played out in general - to the point where I'm actually slightly more emotionally invested in the past life story than the present?? - so I'm willing to overlook the big baddie being rather two dimensional for now.

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"i just didn't really feel the sincerity?"
Yes, that's it.

We have 4 more episodes to marvel at PHJ's beauty 😆😆😜

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It comes across as very insincere because he's known his sin from the minute he figured out who CCW was. Yet we saw no remorse or guilt from him. He continued to bully him and make him get points for his Nirvana mission. He only showed remorse after getting caught and being confronted. He even planned on "going" away without apologizing or righting his wrong. I've never liked the character to begin with because I felt he bullied a family for generations for his own sake. Now we find out that he lied to the family this whole time and was bullying the very person whom he had so wronged. I could understand why he made that decision in the past life, but his complete lack of effort to apologize and address his sin in the current life is terrible. On top of that he kept information about their past lives to himself (putting them in danger) just so his wrongs wouldnt be found out. So I also felt absolutely nothing while he was "apologizing".

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I felt the same way too about his apology. And it's a shame because I liked Adviser Choi. Even if CCW wasn't Poong-baek's reincarnation, him having Poong-baek's face should have generated a little bit of guilt and horror. At least, he was nice to Seul-hae.

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Spot on

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Advisor Choi's sincerity did not have a reach because after Cha Woong regained the memories of his past life, Choi had a complete 180° change from his initial haughtiness. For someone who was ashamed of betraying, Choi bossed around Cha Woong and acted all holy-than-thou.

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I’m just happy to have a drama, any drama, depict a pre-Joseon time period. I’ve desperately wanted a sageuk set in Gojoseon/3 Kingdoms for the longest time. This may not be an actual sageuk and just two episodes, but I’ll take whatever I’m given.

However, now I’m in a bit of a bind. I find myself more attached to the past version of our leads and their tragic love (not unlike a certain other recently ended fantasy drama). Cha-woong and Seul-hae are cute, but mannn… Prince Cheon-hwa and Poong Baek got to me. They’re now the true OTP of the show for me! And no, the former being reincarnations of them don’t count. As Seul-hae correctly puts it, they may be connected, but they’re not the same people.

Anyways, I’m still having fun with the show but I have to agree with my fellow beanies when they say some of the scenes are dragging. The show would benefit from shorter, more concise episodes.

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It seems I am the only one who likes the present day couple more than their past selves. Especially PHJ as Cha Cha Woong is cute.

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You are not alone. The past couple were cute but that's it. I want romance to progress in the present timelime. Also, I miss Cha Woong being stingy with money😂😂

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And petty as well!

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Let me talk about eyes :

1) The embroidery representing JKJ eyes (mistaken to be 2 mountains) is actually on point. This is exactly how JKJ's eyes look like when she is smiling widely, and that smile is really lovely and infectious. I find myself smiling every time she does.

2) The 2 actors playing the modern day possessed villains are actually very good. Those eyes are chillingly evil.

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That embroidery!!! :-D

And you are right, both the actors are really doing splendid job!

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Ditto to both! I also thought the embroidery looked like her eyes when I first saw it. I wondered if it was meant to be 1 mountain like the original embroidery and then the production was like, let's make it two peaks because of JKJ's eye-smile.

Random thought -but I really want her and Yoon Kye-sang to play siblings one day since they both have similar cute and infectious smile-faces. (^_^)

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I absolutely loved these episodes, and they were exactly what I needed after the miserable Sh**ting Stars episodes. Force field protecting SH, Swoon #1. The cave scene when the flowers bloomed! Swoon #2. When CCW woke up and realised what SH meant to him, Swoon#3. Pick me off the floor everyone...
I loved the entirety of these episodes, and even better that I hadn't seen Advisor Choi's past life betrayal coming, I had wondered why he didn't tell CCW everything in previous episodes, now I know why.
I totally get SH being weirded out by CCWs attention and making up for lost time, I'm invested in how that will work out. Both hero and villain fixated on past love and trying to win SH.
Bring on next week!

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Oh. This show knew EXACTLY how to regain my attention after last week hahahaha~
*put the fantasy more into a sageuk setting and Sic automatically is more invested lmfao* *I am so gosh darn predictable help*

Is this the closest I’m gonna get to a Three Kingdoms Fantasy Sageuk? Is it? Is IT?!!? Omo, omo. Probably.
( alchemy of souls doesn’t count don’t talk to me about it)
Could it have been executed better? SURE but I was hooked instantly because I’m predictable Three Kingdoms and fantasy sageuk trash.
And also the ~pining~. And Jin Ki Joo's SMILE. Who wouldn't fall for her.

Uh historically, this looks like it’s a fictional version of early Three Kingdoms, rather than directly mentioning them; “Seora” and “Hwangryeo” as it were -
Seorabeol (where I’m guessing they stole “Seora” from, like duh) was the ancient capital of the Silla Dynasty (what an underrated ancient city oh my gosh- Sic the show isn’t about Seorabeol calm down- mian), and Hwangryeo was a clan of the Goryeo Dynasty, which was the descendent state of Gorguryeo
- Clearly just supposed to represent Silla and Goguryeo without naming them directly for some reason. My inner 3K nerd is a little bummed but she’ll survive (sorry @kiara your fictional fantasy Gorguryeo is for some reason the bad guys :P :P one win for me, the Silla fan mwahaha)

What else? Oh yeah- HE GREW HER FLOWERSSSSSSSSS AWWWWW. JIN KI JOO LOOKS SO GOOD IN PRETTY PINK THREE KINGDOMS HANBOK I’M GONNA CRY.

Ok, I’ll be back when I’ve finished 12~ toodles.

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Thanks for the informative ramble--it almost makes me want to don a hanbok and perform a rain ritual! (we sure need one here in the U.S. west).

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Princesses hanbok were all pretty, but yellow was my favorite. Ji Jin Kin looked so pretty but her wig was totally out of place. I was looking at the ends of her wig and was squirming in my seat to have someone properly gel it or cut it.

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*me thinking it was just her hair* PHJs wig annoyed me more hahaha

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Also- it's always RAIN RITUALS in these fantasy sageuks isn't it?
Are there salamanders in this one too? (sorry, couldn't resist :P)

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What is Salamander reference? :-D

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It's from Lovers of the Red Sky 😅🤣
The last full Fantasy Sageuk haha
There was child sacrifice and a rain ritual and a Salamander song (don't ask, it won't make sense either way lmfao)

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;-D Okay. I was wondering if that is something cultural. In one part of my country (maybe more but I do not know), it is common to use a frog for rain rituals. (I do not think they sacrifice though, they are considered a harbinger of rain)

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The song itself used was a very beautiful and eerie folk song that I have yet to be able to find the source of outside the drama.
The lyrics also mentioned frogs! The Salamanders are at least lyrically the harbingers of the rain.
So yes, it is probably cultural.

However - the scene it occurs in is a rain ritual where in this case the ML of the show is the harbinger of the rain as he is a Child of born with the energy of the Water or something. There are two Shamanistic groups involved in the ritual - the opposition group thinks they must sacrifice the child for the rain to come, rather than him just being present.

I remember wishing the song had had more to do with the actual lore of the show though, as despite what could've been an interesting set up, the worldbuilding logic dissolved on itself fairly quickly and nothing really made sense by the end.
And the Salamanders were only mentioned once.

The drama had little historical accuracy as it was a fantasy show set in Joseon which historically suppressed and limited all practice of religion or supernatural arts.

It was all a big mishmash of ideas! Haha

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I immediately thought rain ceremony when I saw the set up. 🤔😉

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Yes for historical bits that aren't Joseon! They could have easily done alternate-universe Joseon too and recycle the Joseon hanboks, but yes for exploring some other time period!

The past was pretty tragic for such a cute couple, though I always side-eye how someone can die from a slash to the back that don't generate a lot of blood. Or why someone chooses that technique to kill someone rather than stabbing or a throat slit? I'm glad Poong-baek didn't kill her by accident and it was all the creepy prince's fault. Can't help but think what happens after the bodies were found. Seora probably gets invaded within days.

I knew something must have gone awry with trapping the evil spirit once we learn that Hee-soo had killed the Full Moon Murderer, but there were no scenes showing any sort of emotional conflict at his award ceremony, since he ended up unintentionally doing something that helped his corrupt dad. The switcheroo was definitely worth of a show featuring a magician.

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"Or why someone chooses that technique to kill someone rather than stabbing or a throat slit?" -
Once again I am compelled to say, it's because dramas don't know how most weapons work. Or how killing people works. :P

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Hear hear!

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The past romance was cute but spending 1 1/2 episodes on it lost some of the entertainment. I wish Cha Woong would stop trying to be Poong because it has been 2000+ years, so the reincarnation plot to be that emotionally impacting is unbelievable.

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I liked the backstory but the past life/past love was unnecessary to have the two leads fall in love in present time. They're already working together to solve crimes of the week plus capture the Full Moon Killer, and with all that time spent together, they naturally started liking each other. Plus they already have a past connection with their dad/grandpa acting as partners to stop the killer. It plays nicely into Seul-hae's wish for Cha-woong to acknowledge her as his partner...partner in crime-solving and partner in love.
The backstory only helps to make Advisor Choi's connection with Cha-woong more relevant than the Advisor's being an heirloom ghost.
Now that Seul-hae can see ghosts too, I hope to see more ghost crew interaction.

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I’ve been enjoying PHJ’s work in this drama. I think it’s the first time I’ve seen him doing comedy and I think I’m becoming a bit of a fan.

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