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Our Blooming Youth: Episodes 13-14

Once again, our prince must decide how far to trust his unlikely ally. But how can she convince him her memories are reliable when they contradict the established facts? And how far is he willing to protect her. Perhaps the only answer is to arm herself — and fast!

 

EPISODES 13-14

Hwan finds himself between a rock and a hard place — wherein both “rock” and “hard place” translate to “my dear friend brandishing a sword at my other friend’s throat.” But he’s grown up a lot in the past few weeks: this time, he finds the middle ground between blind trust and banishment. Gently, he tells Jae-yi that her memories must be muddled. Tae-gang isn’t the Gaeseong murderer: he was with Hwan on the day the Min family died. The same is true of when red letters rained from the sky. Hwan urges Jae-yi to take the day off and rest.

Of course, this is Jae-yi we’re talking about. Beauty sleep is less of a priority than weapons acquisition. She can’t discount her own memories — not when they’re so vivid. Time for dagger shopping with Ga-ram! Alas, this backfires: Hwan, having cottoned on, cuts in before she can snag a decent stabbing implement.

Granted, he goes in for the classic wrist-grab, but the truth is, he’s not mad. He’s got something to show her. They approach a cliff overlooking the city: his brother’s favorite haunt. Here, he’d observe the smoke trailing from the chimneys of each dwelling — a sign of dinner being prepared. As famine hit, he watched these signs dwindle. Now, Jae-yi has given Hwan the strength to return to this place. To protect his people the way his brother would have wanted — and to protect her too. But, by now, he knows that’s not enough. Not when she yearns to protect herself. Back at the palace, he slides her dagger towards her. It’s hers — to wield only in self-defense.

Jae-yi stays true to her word: later, encountering Tae-gang in the library, her hand strays to the hilt, but she doesn’t attack. He’s allegedly looking for some books. And hey, if Jae-yi points them out with her foot — and if that foot kicks close to where she once kneed him very hard? Well, no one said she was a saint! Still, Tae-gang’s parting words are much like a knife to the gut. He now knows the truth of Jae-yi’s identity. If she really is innocent, then she must know what it’s like to be falsely accused, and powerless to prove it. Can’t she see that’s how he feels now?

Back in the city, Ga-ram sheds one disguise and dons another: a noblewoman’s silks. Her target? One especially haughty woodpecker — otherwise known as the daughter of the Minister for General Affairs. Swathed in finery, she approaches Myung-jin’s fiancee… and begs her, fervently, to give up on the man that she, Ga-ram, reveres. Myung-jin deserves a partner who appreciates his brilliance! No ordinary family will suffice! Affronted, Lady Woodpecker reels back, and promptly trips. Ga-ram’s breath catches: she’s wearing Jae-yi’s old bracelet.

Elsewhere, at the inn, last week’s starving children come toddling over for a much-needed meal. Man-deok and Bok-soon are happy to oblige. But the atmosphere takes a turn when the kids give their names: MEO-RU (Yoon Ga-on) and DAL-RAE (Kim Sun-yool). Bok-soon drops a tray. At Man-deok’s quelling look, she fights to school her expression.

Meanwhile, Hwan and Jae-yi receive word from Sung-on: he’s finally found OH MAN-SHIK (Jung Han-bin), the runaway saboteur from the Department of Taoism. Our intrepid trio speed off in his direction. Unfortunately, they’re not the only ones. Councilor Jo is uneasy: he had no idea his old accomplice was from Byeokcheon, and suspects he’s been played for a fool. Still, it’s nothing a spot of good, old-fashioned murder won’t fix. And if Sung-on happens to step in the path of an arrow or ten? So much the better. Bwahahaha!

Man-shik skedaddles the second our heroes approach. A heart-pounding chase through the market ends with him cornered in a sprawling field. Fine, he says to Hwan. Kill me here — just like your father butchered my family. His next words die in his throat as an arrow slams into his chest. As half a dozen masked assassins converge, chaos ensues.

Our protagonists hack and slash their way to stalemate, and look exceptionally cool doing it — but soon, Jae-yi and Sung-on are forced to the edge of a cliff. For the second time in as many months, Jae-yi goes toppling towards the river below. Sung-on leaps after. It’s a smart move: dizzying plunges into bodies of water carry a 90% survival rate in the Joseon period; arrow wounds have nastier odds. This is bad news for Hwan: after fending off several fighters at once, an arrow to his side sends him sprawling.

Sung-on pulls Jae-yi from the water. As soon as she opens her eyes, she screams for her prince. Hoisting herself forward on an injured leg, she searches relentlessly, while Sung-on begs her to retreat to safety. But she won’t. Hwan mustn’t be dead. She has something important to tell him. Across the forest, Hwan stumbles painfully to his feet, unable to think of anything but the letter’s curse. Please, he thinks, let my friends be alive. Let my destiny be proved wrong.

Inspiration strikes Jae-yi. The sun is setting in the west, meaning the opposite direction must be east. The eastern palace, where the sun rises… it’s here that she’ll find her prince. Sure enough, Hwan comes staggering into sight. Heedless of her leg, Jae-yi sprints to him, throwing herself into his arms. Hwan meets Sung-on’s eyes and smiles. His hand slackens, dropping his sword. Then, he slumps to the ground.

Back at the palace, Councilor Jo is sent into further paroxysms of maniacal laughter. Man-shik, Sung-on, Eunuch Go, and Crown Prince Hwan, all felled by one humble murder plot? Success beyond his wildest dreams! He approaches morning assembly with a spring in his step, eager to gloat. Hwan is allegedly confined to quarters with a cold. One word from him about the prince’s extracurricular excursions, and the king is storming towards the eastern palace. He and the councilors burst in — only to find Hwan sat meekly at his desk, standing to greet them.

However, the second the king dismisses his ministers, Hwan drops like a stone. The king is livid with fear — didn’t he warn Hwan against antagonizing the Jo family? Hwan can’t afford to act rashly. Still, Councilor Jo is berating himself for the same thing: it seems, reports of everyone’s deaths were greatly exaggerated. With informants like his, who needs enemies?

Later, Hwan drifts in and out of fever. When he blinks back to consciousness, he realizes Jae-yi has been tending to him the whole night through. He calls her name. She turns, astounded. How, he asks, did you know that I’d wait for you in the east? I think, she replies, half-wonderingly, I can find you wherever you are. He nods: now he’ll always know where to wait. Half startled by his own admission, he makes a heroic attempt at a subject change. Is Jae-yi hurt? No, she lies blithely. After all, tending to her leg wound in secret is hardly a hassle. For one thing, it gives her time to squeak happily to herself over the fact that he said “Jae-yi” to her!

And it’s true. He did say “Jae-yi” to her. But he’s about to axe that progress entirely. Soon, Jae-yi is roped into a time-honored eastern palace tradition: getting bagged over the head, locked up, and mock-blackmailed into betraying the prince. Needless to say, Jae-yi exits this “loyalty test” unharmed, followed by two very sheepish and beaten-up colleagues. But Hwan is too furious to see the funny side, whisking her away to tend to her scrapes. (It’s nothing, she demurs, dodging the topic of her totally irrelevant leg wound.) Throughout, she struggles to hide her smile. Maybe, she admits, I’m glad you were worried.

But Hwan’s not in the mood. Instead, he steels himself to say the unforgivable: I should send you away. Go back to your fiancé. Jae-yi’s face falls. Does he truly want her to leave? Hwan dodges the question. Deliberately, she rephrases: does he truly want her to marry Sung-on? I can’t keep putting you in danger, Hwan insists. With subtext yielding no results, Jae-yi forced to resort to desperate measures: the truth. She can’t marry Sung-on. She… she isn’t in a condition to do so. She’s in love with someone else.

A whole day later, and Hwan hasn’t forgiven her. In fact, he still has the flummoxed look of a man doing complex calculus. In what world does this make sense? (Her face falls.) Who is it? (She peers at him, disbelievingly.) Is it — a eunuch? Someone outside the palace? Who else is there?? Jae-yi gives him a withering look. Flatly, she informs him that the person she’s in love with… is deeply stupid.

To add insult to injury, when they reach the lab, Myung-jin’s mooning over another girl he’s never met: the beautiful (probably) stranger who defended him before his ghastly woodpecker fiancée! Ga-ram is doing her best to look disdainful rather than pleased, and failing rather miserably at it. Luckily, everyone is too wrapped up in their personal drama to notice.

Still, the one thing I love about our four protagonists is that they genuinely enjoy each other’s company. Drama notwithstanding, it’s not long before they’re merrily sharing a meal at their favorite inn, with Meo-ru and Dal-rae ordering all they desire, and Hwan gamely footing the bill. For our sheltered royal prince, it’s a revelation. Meo-ru introduces him to food-throwing folk customs, Myung-jin trounces him at jegi, and before long, Ga-ram has the entire table singing to chopstick percussion. It’s delightful!

Back at the palace, the plot thickens. Ever since Episode 1, we’ve seen an intricate spy network in operation: court ladies passing information across the palace. Turns out, the owner of this network is not, in fact, Councilor Jo. It’s the queen. The latest message reveals that Eunuch Go is suspicious of Tae-gang. COURT LADY KWON (Yoon Ye-hee) regards her mistress, worried. She asks: shall I tell him to be careful?

Meanwhile, Councilor Jo has ample reason for cackling. His own spy has returned from Myung-jin’s lab with a poster of Jae-yi. The slave hunters tracking Ga-ram have finally cashed in on their knowledge: now, the identity of Myung-jin’s apprentice is clear. All the evidence slots into place. Of the four friends, only one is unknown to him. Grinning, he folds the poster until only Jae-yi’s face is visible — similar to how it might appear under, say, a eunuch’s cap. He’s finally unraveled the mystery of Go Soon-dol.

As a villager yells for help, our heroes are interrupted mid-song. Someone has died! They rush into the street, where a noble lady lies motionless in the arms of her maid. Ga-ram nudges Jae-yi: she’s wearing the bracelet Young once gave her. Jae-yi bends down to retrieve it, then subtly passes it to Hwan. Myung-jin begins to comment, but breaks off as Ga-ram shakes her head. The four stare aghast at the corpse. It’s the daughter of the Minister of General Affairs: Myung-jin’s fiancee.

Protection appears to be this week’s theme, whether it’s self-defense or shielding a loved one. Hwan’s been trying to strike a balance between respecting Jae-yi’s competence, and steering her from harm’s way. Crucially, “trying” does not mean “succeeding.” At his best, he recognizes it’s a mutual thing: she’ll let him protect her, provided she protects him too. At his worst, he swoops in to shield her from the world — which she justifiably hates.

Still, Jae-yi isn’t exactly the picture of healthy boundaries in this regard. She blames herself entirely for Hwan’s recklessness, whilst ignoring the consequences of her own. I half hope neglecting that leg wound will come back to haunt her! Tae-gang pointing out that his position is similar to Jae-yi’s — that neither of them can defend themselves as much as they’d like — was really compelling. There are plenty of parallels between the two: both are fighters; both are young and stubborn; both are in a unique social position, as favored subordinate to the prince.

I’m also super fascinated by the range of roles Ga-ram plays: female slave, male apprentice, scholar, noblewoman… She’s the most in her element in that last role, which is a very different gender expression to what she’s used to. Unlike Jae-yi, she never got to explore the opportunities afforded by being a minister’s daughter: there’s plenty of freedoms Jae-yi took for granted. The great thing about this series is that it puts our protagonists in a range of unexpected social positions — there’s an anarchic element to it that I love. Here’s to future role-swapping shenanigans!

 
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Nothing like a little danger to really clarify how you feel.

I thought both of our disguised women were going to blow their cover in ep 13. Ga-ram took a real risk dressing up like that, and I wondered if Seong-on would see something he shouldn’t when he was trying to revive Jae-i after their fall off the cliff-of-not-doom. I guess it’s possible one of both of them did blow it, just in hindsight. Seong-on is not an idiot and he is only going to get more suspicious as he sees Jae-i and Hwan together. I wonder how much he suspects at this point. I sort of wanted one of the good guys to figure it out before Minister Jo did, but I guess years of scheming have made him more observant than most.

I love that Hwan tried to do the right thing by his friend. He realized after his injury and her “kidnapping” that he was getting in too deep, and tried to step away. I hope Seong-on understands in the end, and the fact that Jae-i refused to be sent to him is on her, and no one else. The whole conversation between Hwan and Jae-i where they confirmed they know where to find/wait for the other made me very worried we’re going to end up with a multi-year time skip toward the end, with them finding each other only after a long search. I could really do without that in this drama, so I’m hoping I’m reading that wrong. (Then again, have I ever watched a sageuk that did not have a time skip at the end? I don’t think so.)

The king stepped up this week but it didn’t make me like him any more. It’s a bit rich for him to tell two of his ministers that he trusts them when he was so adamant to Hwan that no one can be trusted at all. At least he’s not actively being terrible. I’m also fully on-board with our Tae-gang twin theory. I believed him when he told Jae-i that she should know how he feels, as a falsely accused person. And I like that Hwan still trusts him, both because it’s impossible for him to have been in all those places and also because Hwan’s come a long way in that department.

Quote of the week comes from Hwan to Myung-jin: “Which is the part of that story that made you so happy?”

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Thanks for the time-skip warning. Logically I don't see any way these two get together. Jae Yi failed all the conditions that were mentioned in choosing a princess/future Queen.

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But she is: a) a noble woman of highest class background, b) not from Jo clan. Her supposed virtues are debatable though. Maybe one of "our" ministers can adopt her legally thus solving the "need to have living healthy parents" problem? Once her reputation is restored ofc. Actually she'd likely to be a strong contender for Hwan's hand if not for this murder and mayhem thing and her rushed engagement to Sung On. Marrying your teacher only daughter sounds like a super confucian to do.

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*thing to do

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May be it’s not a Joseon thing, but aren’t scars considered a big no-no? Especially for women being chosen for the royal family?
May be I am confusing with cdramas.

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You mean her leg wound? It's 50/50 at this point, we've never saw how severe it actually is and she's been getting it treated since then.

You're probably right, but I don't think: a) writer is experienced/researched enough to cover all the details like that, b) King as a main matchmaker here gives any royal damn about his future daughter-in-law's skin condition as long as she fits all the political criteria and can potentially give him legitimate grandsons. He's chosen a girl he likely never saw, who has a provincial low-ranking official for a father purely because she's a relative of his main supporter and he needs to marry his son asap. Dude is in no position to be picky!

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@gikata I meant since Ep one she has been having injuries/scars. We saw her treating her wound in the cave. Then wasn’t she hurt again in her head and Hwan was taking care of her? Then the hazing left a small injury on her face. And then the leg wound.

Let’s see how they take this forward.

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She would be a strong contender before the start of the series. I'm guessing her dad chose Sung-On's family instead of waiting for the palace to open Crown Princess selection and have her as a contender was because he felt like she would have a little more freedom with Sung-On's family.

I'm not sure if her reputation can be restored enough. Society is extra hard on women. They may clear her of her murder reputation, but then they'd pick on how she was mingling with men.

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Reputation thing bothers me too, but then again, as long as King is on board with it (or frees the seat for Hwan to take lol), anything is possible. Irl Joseon knows even more wild cases of women with scandalous reputations getting up there.

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I took Hwan's and Jae-i's confirmation that they know where to find each other as merely an indication that they are meant to be together and will be together in the end.
Until then, the king's favoured candidate for the role of crown princess will have to disappear from the scene again. Looking at the preview, there are hints that there is already a possible solution for this.
The only question is how Jae-i will be brought in as the new candidate. But since the king has no problems with bending the facts (if one can speak of facts at all with horoscopes and the like) a little, a way will surely be found. I also remember Hwan's comment that not every tradition has to be followed blindly (see loyalty test for new eunuchs).

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I'm hoping you're right about this, but steeling myself just in case. I really love this drama, so I don't want to end up super disappointed at the end.

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I have even become slightly obsessed with this drama. I found the first episodes mostly quite boring, but that changed a fortnight ago. Since then I have rewatched the previous episodes and my opinion has changed completely. It's exciting how much one's mood and personal circumstances can influence what one enjoys.

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This drama is my favorite thing airing right now by a lot. I'm not sure exactly what it is, but I've been pretty obsessed from the beginning. Even this week, when I am totally swamped with other things, I still found time to squeeze in these episodes and steal a few moments to comment here because I can't stand not to interact with it! So glad you're enjoying it too :)

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Me too! So embarrassing. This show gave me the impetus to actually join Dramabean for real so I can chat with you cool folks :).

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@koalatown Yay! Welcome for real! I'm so glad you've been sucked in, and extra glad that this was the drama to do it!

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There's also this strong foreshadowing feeling that Jaeyi will eventually end up kicked out/stuck outside of the palace and will have to fight/scheme her way back in and to Hwan. Plus King just did an apparently unprecedented thing and gave ALL the authority to his military power to "good" ministers with an order to protect CP by any means. I'm thinking we're getting a HUGE scuffle in the finale, maybe even full blown coup attempt.

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Yes... I am wondering about a big battle. Somehow the rebels have a number of well trained ninja type people and they are amassing a lot of resources in Gaesong (rice/fabric etc.) which they could have bought but instead are getting from donations from their hidden spies/loyahlists from Byeokcheon. If they were to buy all of the item in large quantities that would likely alert the authorities which we know are all corrupt Jo's.

So maybe they're planning something big and once the CP learns what their cause it (likely trying to take down the corrupt government built by those Jo's) he may join them in the fight and be pitted against the Jo's with hopefully the 2 loyal ministers still on their side.

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Problem is, rebels seem to want get revenge on King and all his bloodline just as much, if not more, as on Jo clan. Which is somewhat justified in King's case, but I've had to roll my eyes when that guy was blaming Hwan to his face for massacre decade ago - he was a kid back then, hello! So even if logically and sympathetically Hwan agrees with rebels' reasoning to a certain degree, they still want his whole family and himself dead. He may try to find a compromise, even possibly at the expense of his own neck, but that's it. He won't let them have more no matter what. Same fierce protectiveness extends to Jaeyi, Sung On and other "his people". If one of them gets harmed in process, I think we'll get the front seat to witness how unhinged and murderous Hwan can actually be. Beware the nice and quiet ones, remember?

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@koalatown, I'd love a conclusion without bloodbath, but there are few issues that need resolving before making a peace. Death of Hwan's hyung - who did that? Who almost crippled and kept torturing Hwan himself? Who murdered Jaeyi's whole family and made her scapegoat? Idk about our indeed generous and compassionate CP, but I'm not very forgiving. Someone better to pay for all that.

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Yeah, that's what I got from that interaction too. King will die, huge fight for power will ensue.

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@Gikata. I think that all the interactions with tavern couple showing how compassionate Hwan is, willing to listen and learn and different from his dad will help them sway the rest of the rebels that he's different and not worth killing/overturning. I think those scenes are more meaningful than just giving us some enjoyment of watching the investigative team interact together.

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This time I've tried my best to do this in advance – mainly because I was too emotional that I NEEDED to get it off my chest asap. Essay warning.

This is gonna be polarizing because I LOVED Ep13 madly, believe it was show's peak so far, was excited for the follow up... and THEN Ep14 happened. Let's start with the good things so I can rant the hell out of the rest later. Ep13 was epic in all aspects – visually (landscapes! camera work! FITTING slow-mo!), plot-wise, acting-wise (these 3 broke me multiple times), there was barely any dull or questionable moment (even LONG convo between King and “good” ministers actually had purpose and results other than stalling time and annoying us once again with their overall uselessness... let's wait and see how far their rare enthusiasm goes). Even OST improved – Janet Suhh is always on point. What a winner! If only rest of the show was like that.

Last week we were – as usually – left with more questions than answers, so our dynamic trio finally decided that's enough and arranged provincial trip to dig more info. And while they – what did I hoped for anyway lol? - didn't get the answers they went for, they've got a lot of clarity in other departments. Namely the matters of heart – yay, Jaeyi FINALLY had her eureka moment, we (and poor Hwan) are not in gloomy onesidedland anymore! Thing is, she supposedly knew for a while and either suppressed it (does this remind you of someone?) or didn't want to admit what she feels in words... or writer is flipping her mood/motivations yet again for the plot convenience. Yes, I've had this slightly uncomfortable impression, but it was easy to ignore because things were going in the right direction for a moment. Like who cares, when she got it as long as she did, right? And wow, did she! Girl was hit with the feels HARD, nearly had a panic attack, then adrenaline rush and finally a total mental breakdown in the span of a few hours. Oh, and it was at the same time she decided to spit it out for good – even better! Yeah, sure *bitter laugh*

Anyway, while I expected her to be bold when time comes I never really imagined that she'll literally FLY into Hwan's arms and nearly knocks the remaining life out of him. Now that's the way to reunite with your lover! *standing ovations* Good thing Hwan had an excuse of a severe blood loss - plus a diploma from Ahn Minhyuk's school of how to be a romantic fairytale's princess WITH CLASS - and elegantly fainted to avoid the need of, you know, reacting to what the hell just happened))) Oh, and Sun On was there the whole time, poor confused and now officially dumped soul. Isn't it amazing how drama pretty much revealed that it's not Jaeyi at the center of their love triangle but Hwan – both her and Sung On love Crown Prince more than their own lives and he loves them equally (well, maybe not in the same way, tho it's up to debate – and fanfiction, lots of it)?

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Case closed, thanks for supporting our One True Threesome))) Too bad there are still many episodes to come...

Jaeyi's actually is not the only one with poignant character development this week – Hwan, our prone to overdramatic reactions victorian... sorry, Joseon bachelor also made some steps forward. First of all, he's not running away from skinship anymore! Not that he has much choice when it comes to Jaeyi's trademark glomps, but he's ok with holding hands now! And even initiates it himself sometimes. That's huge for him, let's throw a party in celebration))) Also the way he got used to stay CLOSE to her or to touch her (that scratch-treating scene where he lifted her chin for a better, ahem, access got me – how about an encore, sir?). Now there's only one big milestone left from Jaeyi's infamous dating guide (I assume she did get a good sniff of royal pheromones during The Hug and while nursing him) and we need it happen ASAP! Or I'll do something very nefarious to the writer. Hwan's excuses are getting weaker too, at some point boy literally stopped trying to lie his way out of Jaeyi's armor-piercing questions and just sat there silently with sad eyes hoping for the best. So is waning his once impressive patience – maybe maine coon prince isn't so passive after all and would eventually snap into action before his lady does. There were few instances where he looked THIS close to saying/doing something he's likely vowed to himself NEVER do))) Alas the fortress has yet to fall, tho it clearly won't last long. If only MY patience was as steely as his... Oh, and let's not forget about emotional intimacy! The amount of passionate indirect confessions he delivered this week was DEADLY. Dude, chill, how can you expect a girl to willingly leave you for another man after all those epic lines? Or calling her name in THAT voice? And in banmal, wow - thank you, fever! No wonder she had trouble calming herself to sleep afterwards... Btw, she totally calls him “my sun” in her head now, isn't she?))) Future hide and seek roleplays are gonna be super easy – both already know where to wait and what direction to go. So just stay put and let her come to you, mister!

That was the good part aka the whole Ep13. Some things, like Hwan thinking ahead of Jo and giving him a good smack by NOT dying somewhere in province when he was supposed to stay home and study like a good kid, or Hwan again thanking BOTH Jaeyi and Sung On for also not dying and staying with him were satisfying as well and leveled up Ep14 significantly. Too bad the bar was already too low to make any serious impact. Let's get straight to the point – why, show, just WHY? Why did you followed such a deep, strong dramatic episode full of character and relationship development with not just annoying backtracking but also SO MUCH of a dumb comedy, effectively spoiling progress you just had?

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aeyi nearly cried her heart out over the fear of not being able to confess to Hwan before he's gone forever? Don't worry – the moment she gets her chance to do so she confesses indeed – but WITHOUT telling him WHO she likes! *sound of angry teeth grinding* And Hwan, despite all his personal evolution lately, suddenly got his EQ dropped 2 digits and has NO CLUE whatsoever who she's been talking about, going onto “very funny” jealousy rants in typical Hwan fashion... if we were talking about Hwan circa Ep6-7, not 14! What in the fresh Joseon hell?! Did writer accidentally sniff one of the amnesia peonies and got her notes all messed up? Fine, I get – begrudgingly – Hwan not believing in his luck that easily and DOUBTING the identity of Jaeyi's mysterious beloved, but him literally doing the head count of all the males in palace and capital yet never for a moment thinking about including himself in that list (what's wrong with your self-esteem, honey? you're a man too, and quite a catch at that) was just too much. Especially after Jaeyi's heated and heavily hinted rant about how dense her man is... I love seeing Hyungsik flexing his comedy chops playing all petty and jelly (that face he made after yeot convo, help!) as much as everyone, but this is not the time for that! Let alone to have 80% of the episode dedicated to such humor with no other purpose than cheap laughs and stalling the time.

Number 2 in dense guys squad – Myungjin – had his moments too, but in his defense he never got more than glimpse of his “secret admirer” lady so how would he know it was Garam? Two situations are totally incomparable, sorry. I do wonder where did she get those expensive hairpins to finish her disguise tho. But wow, girl's an actress! And looks great in yangban fashion, let's upgrade her to that soon. Another humor that needs to go like yesterday is Myungjin's abusive mom. Why she's still there with her damn broom? To explain his “type”, like Hwan snarkily pointed out? Cue even more pointless comedy with diss/sport match, kids that need to get checked for parasitic worms, red bean soup curse (the real one!) and Hwan not knowing how to sing. Ok, last one was lit, Hyungsik's 3+ octaves can't relate.

Tae Gang fared better than others here, even had decency to low key apologize and assure Jaeyi he's not that guy. Who btw works for Queen, just like court lady, no shock here. Jo continues his evil cackling ways – and now knows about Jaeyi, damn. King wrote his will (right on time!) and is determined to marry Hwan asap (good idea, wrong girl), so we're gonna have marriage angst before dating or kisses, ugh. Lady Bitch's gone (good riddance) and fish bracelet is in the game again, so more investigating next? Anything but moronic jokes pls! And I'll NEVER forgive drama for not giving us elaborate wound treating scene. The audacity!

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I'll NEVER forgive drama for not giving us elaborate wound treating scene.

As penance, can we please have a scene where Myung-jin reveals Ga-ram is a girl via a ticklefight? We almost got there. Can he really still be ignorant? His mischievous expressions when he teases her say no. Either way, I’m nearly done with his doofiness and don’t understand what she sees in him.

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I dunno anymore because writer has no respect to let us have ANY certainty about who knows what in this drama.
Well, nerd fetish IS a thing...

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Additional short notes that didn't fit into the main thing:
- Scholar Park's gat beads turned sour green (from jealousy?), and so is my mood after all that noble and not-so-much idiocy.
- Sung On was acting suspiciously caring to eunuch Go... only to be shown questioning said eunuch's "unmanly" behavior later. And I've called Hwan dense...
- 3 of them charged into fight and final result was: Hwan - heavily injured, Jaeyi - lightly injured, Sung On - tiiiny bruise on the face look a little battered. Guess we know now who's the best warrior here)))
- so what's Jaeyi's excuse to not tell him even now? After she, you know, decided to never marry him anyway? Other than prolonging his and Hwan's suffering ofc...
- makeup team deserves a raise, they really made Hwan look sick.
- who takes out an arrow they got shot with when there's no doctor around? You're supposed to have basic medical training, Your Dumbness!
- if Jaeyi doesn't snog Hwan aggressively after calling him some more names the next week, I'm starting a bloody riot!

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What in the fresh Joseon hell?! Did writer accidentally sniff one of the amnesia peonies and got her notes all messed up?

😄😁😄😁😄😁😄

I was just glad they got outside the city walls, I was getting extremely claustrophobic so those green fields were a welcome sight. I also want Hwan and Jae-yi to take their hats off and shake their manes out. It would likely help the romance along, although as neither she nor Sung-on lost their headgear and topknots in the plunge off the CoD, perhaps they are now permanently attached no matter what. I didn't think I could ever get so nostalgic for the sight of hair flowing, but here I am.

Agree about the "comedy". Hwan has been immune from the Joseon form of idiocy for all these episodes but was suddenly afflicted for no good reason. I hope we don't have 5 more episodes of this, complete with ornamental hats, before confession time in ep 20.

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I'm fine with hats and lack of manes - it's been a while since sageuk blessed my eyes with some pretty flowing hair - but they surely need to drop some self-restraint! Hwan has already done that to his paranoia, hat, table manners, no skinship rule and even honorifics... What is just a little more of emancipation?

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I think letting his hair down would help with that. And loosening his corset and removing his chastity belt.

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@kaddicted,
Joseon Crown Prince with his hair loose? He'll probably opt to be fully naked instead, that's way less scandalous by customs)))

Chastity belt won't go away unless she knocks him down to get rid of the thing. But I'm afraid progressive viewers won't find such plot twist appealing in terms consent ¯\_(ツ)_/¯

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Talking about letting the hair down: How often do you think a CP washed his hair back then?
One of the questions that weighs heavily on my mind is whether CP washed his hair while under house arrest and who helped him do it.

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@Nefret, I assume he had to tend to himself in terms of personal hygiene during that month... after sending poor Jaeyi running to get him hot water for all that giant bathtub of his))) What a wasted opportunity to include a scene where she innocently suggests to lend a helping hand and he gets all worked up over that - before rudely kicking her out and locking the door from inside just in case)))

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@nefret @kaddicted @gikata jumping in on the hair discussion… how weird was it that Hwan had his hair band thingie still stuck to his forehead while he had a fever and Jaeyi was dabbing his face with a cloth? Like… why couldn’t they remove the dang headband?!

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@happyokaytales, headband is part of the wig usually, that's why sageuk boys rarely take them off circumstances be damned - unless actor has his real hair long enough to make it work even without headband covering all that needs to be covered. Some actually grow their hair out for sageuks - not fully, ofc, that's not something you can do even in a year, but a bit to achieve the more comfortable for stylists length.

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@Gikata: Such a funny scene...him kicking her out from the tub area!

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Oh, I'd like to see sageuk with flowing hair, like Lee Hwi in The King's Affection, just on men. It must be too difficult to achieve with wigs.

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Great write-up 😂👍🏻.
I only disagree in one thing: I just loved the scene towards the end of ep14 when they walk together through town and he questions her on whom she loves. Yes, it’s a set-back and yes it’s unrealistic at this point. BUT it is great comedy, very well written and acted even better. How the music swells, you see Hwan thinking, the music suddenly stops al he says another dumb thing, her expression following that… priceless scene! It would have been better dramatically to have it before ep13 though.

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That's the thing - scene itself was good and funny and perfectly acted from both sides, but it made no freaking sense at this point of the story! Why Hwan has to ponder the identity of Jaeyi's YET ANOTHER imaginary secret lover (regression couldn't be more obvious since we already had exactly that 8 episodes ago) instead of very real and very recent issues like that hug she gave him? Or the fact that she apparently got some nice view to enjoy during the initial treating of his wound that's conveniently located somewhere below the waist... Do writer really wants us to believe that for Hwan all this meant nothing? His crush threw herself at him! Then saw him half (at least) naked! That's a lot to digest for anyone, let alone the jumpy innocent guy who believes his feelings are totally hopeless.

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Maybe it's because he's too used to the king+subject/servant relationship where the subject/servant is often going "Jeoha. You did great! Your words are so wise!" To paraphrase Myung-jin, the prince doesn't is self-centered and doesn't have a good perspective since he is too used to people going "Jeoha Jeoha" *cue gesture of supplication* Maybe he just assumes Jae-yi is being a very VERY loyal subject.

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@asianromance, I have a slightly sadder interpretation - he's so NOT used to people sincerely worrying about him (let alone expressing such worry with PDA), that he has trouble to see the difference between all kinds of love. Yes, he got it about himself regarding Jaeyi, but for him to understand that he is, in fact, loved back as a man and not just a friend/brotherly figure... That's actually a point - she used to have 2 brothers approximately around his age, one not related by blood at all. Maybe that's how Hwan thinks she perceives him too. He also doesn't seem to pick up his own sister having crush on Sung On (unlike the man in question imo).

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I absolutely love your take. The archaich bottling up of sexual desire was a trumped up virtue in most Eastern societies. The wives living completely separate from husbands and not able to meet them at will seems so ridiculous today but that's how this Prince was brought up, so him trampling down on any of these 'ghastly' feelings probablyis another of his 'virtue' he is so proud of holding.

What I love about this show is the consistency of characters shown.

Thing is, Hwan is used to Jay-yi being ..... Jay-yi. She keeps doing most unconventional things - she gets drunk (the first sticker shock for our very uptight and prudish prince), and she has actually spoken to him about 'ghastly' things like 'kissing' and 'smelling' and 'spending rest of the her life in her husband's bed' in a complete drunken state - and yet at one poignant moment when he lets his guard down and tells her she could have asked him to buy her ribbons, she is shocked that he could even think she would ask somthing so personal from him - so Jay-yi too has gone above and beyond to maintain the very personal distance of physical intimacy in a sexual form. She is in a very intimate setting with him everyday - she dresses him up - and yet she is all professional.

Just not that. She holds the royal guard by collar. He does not even blink before taking her flying into the mountains to chase the male assasins. She tosses Eunuchs around and soundly beats them up for their transgression. By this time he is used to seeing her treating men like a man would.
Nothing that Jay-yi has done in his eyes points at anything but her being the first order of servant at his feet. So when she finally tells him she is in love, he cannot bring himself to even consider himself - the girl would not even have him hold her hand or tell him that she wanted ribbons......consistency.

Coupled with the fact he seldom lets his guard down around her, he is almost afraid that on misstep from him might make him lose her. He is so desperately friend zoning her, it's heartbreakingly funny. The only time he truly let his guard down is when he sees her sleeping - that gentle reaching out to touch her broke my heart (and that typical PHS look, someone kill me please) . He looks at her unguardedly for the very first time, before he calls out her name. That scene is so beautifully done.

Jay yi though knows her Prince has fallen for her, and her exasperation at his denseness is endearing and hilarious. "One who keeps coming in and out of palace' - I laughed so hard at that.

The set up is ready. I think the roler coaster of their feelings has just dragged itself up to the peak. I am getting ready for the plunge.

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Omg, thanks for all your excellent points! I offered my own explanation of why Hwan is perhaps willfully in denial of Jaeyi reciprocating his feelings, but your analysis makes a lot of sense, too! You’re right that the characters have been consistently drawn— in fact the longer the drama goes on, the more even what I previously saw as inconsistencies in the characters (mainly in Jaeyi’s wild actions that felt all over the place) have proven to be consistent and well-justified based on their motivations and mindset in hindsight.

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Agree. From my perspective she's kinda unfair to him with that "how can you not know?" because he's like WAY more obvious with his feelings than she is with hers. He keeps getting loudly jealous, constantly asks her loaded questions, always assures her how important and special she is to him, offers to do all he could for her if she only asks, not to mention those little slip ups in his words and actions that are super telling. Or him dodging all her questions about whether he actually wants her to leave him and marry Sung On. If she was a bit better at debating she'd bury him alive right there for such non-argument defensive arguments)))

Ribbon scene is actually so sad if you think about it. She wanted just one in a spur of a moment and he was like "I'd love to give you hundreds" - imagine this dedication and generosity applied to a real, confirmed romantic relationship? And then he goes and buys her a bracelet she never asked for because his desire to spoil her royally is this strong - only to end up not having courage to give it to her because, again, he's afraid she won't accept his gift of affection. His bravery and confidence are limited to food presents, I guess - she gave him a green light for that)))

Hyungsik plays being in love so masterfully, it's ridiculous. Not sure if I envy or pity the poor people who had to experience full range of his romantic skills irl)))

If Jaeyi knows it mutual, why didn't she tell him everything? As revenge for trying to kick her out again? Do we really need a potential Crown Princess as a catalyst to drive them together finally? It feels cheap after everything they went through. Up until now show did a fine job at developing their romance without leaning too much on love rivalry and misunderstandings. Why the most important, final step has to be so forced and tropey then?

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I think she is still not 100% sure of his reaction. He keeps pushing her to his friend, determined to keep his word and honor his friendship. And while he is always ready with hs jealous bouts, the moment she asks him 'why' about any of his actions - he cleanly dodges the volleys and goes right back to 'you should go back to where you belong'. She all but begged him to answer - did he really want her to leave - and he not only was obtuse to her feelings, he didn't even meet her quarter way. No wonder she was super annoyed at his one more jealous bout. He just does not read her yet (no fault of his, she has been meticulous in maintaining her servant form to the T)

The bracelet point scores this situation.

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Right. Actually wondered, when did you throw those ‘loving eyes’ exactly? I mean, the viewers themselves (who have seen everything that happens in the story) took a while to figure out that Jaeyi did actually have feelings for Hwan. I’m not surprised Hwan didn’t notice. Not even adding his purposeful denial and obliviousness most of the times.

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@minniegupta1, in conclusion, both of them are dancing to very different tunes - she's all for something fast, risky and probably latin while he... uhm... whatever the hell his dancing style is, it's painfully slow and equally painfully dramatic. And none of the footwork matches so far, only hand gestures once in a while.

Somewhere in between those cooking lessons she took before weeding should've been included a lecture-slash-warning about most men being unable to get hints or spit it out unless you choke and shake them hard enough. That would've save her and us a lot of time and heartbreak.

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@mmsik16: She has been gazing into him a lot lately even before the melt down at her panick of losing him. And he also deliberately kept her at an arm's distance (the whle shadow thing - she is openly flirting and he is so squeemish haha!)

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@mmsik16, maybe she meant those beaming smiles she keeps giving him? *scratches head* Because everything else that fits the bill either happened when he WASN'T around to take useful notes from her reactions or reactions in question were way too delicate for never-dealt-with-a-woman-before kind of a guy to discern.

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@minniegupta1, right, how could I forget about shadow scene? He probably took it as a meaningless teasing though, just like that one time when she was advancing on him in a tiny dark alley and clearly enjoying his flustered panic. Wait, now I am also starting to wonder if she was just THAT drunk and thus silly for no reason back then or there was actually more to it...

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@gikata there was more to it. I’m reading every action of hers differently in hindsight, and realizing that all her supportive comments, the beaming into his face, her teasing and clinging, the drunken comments, those were all excuses to get closer to him. She was growing her affection for him right from the beginning once she realized his character and felt for his pain from the arrow injury. She admired his strength in overcoming what he has, felt for his loneliness and pain, and trusted him and desired his trust. The little sparks of affection from him, the food gifts only added to it… by the time he threw her out of East Palace due to the adopted brother’s suicide note, she was desperate and heartbroken bc she was already in deep. My opinion is that that’s when she realizes she had more feelings than admiration for the CP (but kept it to herself). That’s my read, anyway.

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@happyokaytales, so we presume that not only did they fall for each other simultaneously almost from the very start, but also realized their feelings at the same point - when he kicked her out? Damn, we've been played... Almost as much as they played themselves with all that precious time wasted))) How about a cheeky meta of Jaeyi being all "we should've done this MUCH sooner" once they finally get to the business?

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@gikata, oh yeah, I think we’ve been played for sure. Jaeyi was developing feelings at the same time as Hwan, but the writers played it such that we were only let into Hwan’s internal monologue, and shown Jaeyi’s actions, which remained as opague to us as they did to Hwan, absent any glimpse into her thoughts. And in the end, we are only revealed her thoughts through her actions— the desperate search for him, only caring about finding him when injured, the running hug, the nonstop weeping when he was injured, etc… but Hwan didn’t see all that from our same perspective while unconscious for most of it (and since he saw even less than Sung On, Sung On is probably closer to the truth than he is, for that matter). So Hwan’s left to interpret Jaeyi’s actions in the most conservative manner— she cares deeply for his well-being as a servant and friend, they have a connection and they need each other, that’s it.

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@happyokaytales, oh, I like this take of most of their "romance" so far being shown from Hwan's POV. Poor guy, he missed like 90% of the most crucial episode in this melodrama, and there was no reruns in Joseon, dammit! It's probably too much to expect Sung On to friendly enlighten him, right? They're not exactly on "dude, wtf is going on between you and that cute little eunuch?" terms...

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My take is she fell for him the moment he told her "You try, you can". The ease with which she made eyes at him to come up with a name - she just had gotten battered by him (the dude almost punched her in the face, the closest he has possibly come to touch a female lol!) and yet she had no fear of him at all. To me that was very telling.

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@minniegupta1, there's also this little but important detail of him being her father's favorite student... Like a lot of shared values and other familiar things here, ofc they hit it off pretty fast.

Nearly punch in the face, also nearly a brain concussion (twice), nearly slashed throat, nearly sprained wrist, nearly broken ribs and some pretty bruises from all the face grabbing for a final touch. I'd say his (presumably) first serious physical interaction with a woman went pretty smoothly and memorably, if a tad bit too intense)))

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Oh, and to add, she immediately read his discomfort when she was tying the belt, so she knew how uncomfortable he truly is at close proximity, immediately set him at ease by telling him to treat her like a Eunuch. So when she teased him in the alley by getting close to him,after passing shared food to him, very little chance she didn't know how squirmy he would get lol! Though if you notice she does that only when she is drunk, so she defintely loses some of the prudish inhibition a Josean noble woman like her generally would sport othrwise.

I absolutely love her character.

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Props for the effort, but I don't think her words during belt scene were of any help)))
I'm eagerly waiting for their next drinking session and whatever life-changing shock she bestows upon him this time.

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Wow.... I thought the Queen was sus but I didn't realized how ruthless she is- she sent Oh Min Shik to the Right minister with the proposal for the celebratory blood water trick knowing she was putting him and his family at risk given that she knows how evil/vile her uncle is. They get murdered for their part and all she says is that she hopes he's buried with the family in a site that gets sun.

I guess her Court Lady Kwan is a double agent and they have been using her to feed stuff to the right minister so he's a bit of a puppet without realizing it. Who were they talking about when Lady Kwan asks the Queen if she should tell him to be careful? Is it the twin who needs to be careful because it sure seems like TG is innocent? He clearly pretended to need a book in order to just appeal to JaeYi about his innocence and how similar their situation is. He has also honorably kept her identify a secret. I want him to be good and for him to continue his cat and mouse relationship with JaeYi (love/hate).

So Court Lady Choi of the Eastern Palace works for them as well. There must also be a guard as well since we saw a guard go to the prison and the shaman recognized that hidden person and was very respectful to that person suggesting they should be high up in the system. Who could that be? Maybe this Court Lady dressed up as a man too? Interesting social commentary if it's a rebel group ruled by women who take down the male dominated Jo family.

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There must also be a guard as well since we saw a guard go to the prison and the shaman recognized that hidden person and was very respectful to that person suggesting they should be high up in the system. Who could that be?

Could that be the fake Tae-gang?

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Maybe... it just seems the shaman was a little surprised and I thought awed by who came to see her which makes me think someone important in the rebel cause. The guard actor just looks/acts so green it's hard to imagine him having the gravitas to illicit such a reaction. However, maybe his evil twin is more menacing/powerful in their hierarchy. I think I heard that main eunach from the eastern palace actor is pretty famous so I am wondering what role he may be revealed to play in all this because right now he's barely more than a doormat.

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Maybe twins (I think we all agree at this point that there are twins) are relatives of someone important - and it's not their own face, but the person's they resemble that gives everyone weird reaction? Tae Gang doesn't exactly look like Song actor we saw, but it's a kdrama. Maybe the guy who got executed as rebel leader was not Song? Or Song wasn't the real leader. Or producers just couldn't find an actor with more fitting visuals)))

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I feel Queen is red herring. I strongly feel she is just keeping a close eye on the Prince to ensure his safety after his attack. She has a strong connection to the whole Bacheon drama, and she takes care of them. Question is, did she know the guy was involved in the celebratory message incident? Or did she know after the fact or she does not know at all, just that he and his family was kiled.....a lot will depend on these answers.

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I think the fact that she the first question after her court lady Kwon told her that the prince must have gotten getting injured in Paju was to ask about Oh Min Shik’s body means that she is more than a mere spectator. She knew that guy was hiding in that town which means she knows why he needs to go into hiding. The lady Kwon said she ordered them to bury him with his family where it’s sunny. This means she’s in some kind of superior role in the rebellion to be giving orders and not just an accomplice. Since she is reporting to the queen the queen must be even higher up. I think if she didn’t have a role in sending Oh Min Shik she would have had a stronger sadder reaction to his and his family’s death.

I think for 10 years she has been plotting a way to take down the king and Jo’s for slaughtering her loved ones. She has been using the ghost letter and CP as bait to essentially create a weakness for the right minister to exploit to commit treason and expose what he did in Beoykcheon. Poor JaeYi’s family probably accidentally witnessed something at their ancestor’s memorial that got flooded which meant they needed to be eliminated. To avoid early exposure before the plan is fully hatched they kill the family and frame JaeYi.

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Actually that's a great point.

I have a feeling the new would be crown princess in town is also a pawn - that jade ring in the trailer looks suspect.

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Or maybe Crown Princess-to-be just has a boo and is as "excited" to marry Hwan as he's gonna be once he hears about their impending wedding.

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I agree. Throughout she seems to try and help Hwan, and every time Right Villain tells her she isn't his mother/she will be in trouble if he becomes king etc, she kind of rolls her eyes. Wouldn't be at all surprised if she was the one who sent the letter asking for investigative help from Jaeyi's father.

Her lack of sympathy for Oh Min Shik might be due to his willingness to be used by/association with Right Minister who she clearly hates (presumably in part because he was really responsible for Beokcheon and she knows it).

My current pick for the real baddy (ghost letter writer and giver of the peach) is either Chief State Counselor (most likely) or Left (less likely). He doesnt seem like the type to want a strong king (and unlike Left, has no direct ties binding him to Hwan that might be built on), and has probably been happy for Right State Minister to do some of the dirty work for him. And he now has blackmail material on Left State Councillor and ability to mobilise military power...

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My thoughts are same. I have this awful feeling that it's seargent's father, Left Monister who is the kingpin, and possibly because he thinks Josean is in bad hands and wants to change things. The conversation between Seargent and Crown Prince - that Seargent would go against his own father if ever a time like that came - could be very significant.

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To add, I also found his crowing of Crown Prince glory to Right minister at the Archery ceremony instigating, and telling. It's almost like they are setting the Right Minister to take the fall for everything bad that happens to CP.

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Thanks @alathe for another great recap--clear, colorful, and funny. I get a little frustrated with this show because I really do like the 4 leads, they are great together--although the Prince takes the prize for relationship stupidity, plus he has the quality of male leads in too many kdramas that is extraordinarily irritating--they supposedly wouldn't know physical desire if it leaped up and kicked them in the groin.

But, even though I enjoy the lead characters, why do we have to have the evil right minister ha-ha-ing his villainous chuckle every 15 minutes? What happened to the mystery/detective aspect of the show, and I thought the Queen was going to assume center stage as the main mover behind what is presumably a vengeance/overthrow of the ruling dynasty plot? And yet she hardly appeared in these episodes. It seems like the show can't quite balance its story lines.

Also, I have to be honest, I'm so invested in the two main couples having a happy married ending that if it doesn't happen, and from time to time the show hints that it won't-- I'll never believe that youth can bloom again!

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The show gives me a high one moment and then drops again.. I find the romance the weakest in these two episodes. Hwan's jealousy this late seemed totally out of place. By now he should know. Nothing else explains the hug/the crying (way too much crying in these episodes) etc etc. Even Sung-on sees it.

Also, I was surprised he fell off the cliff trying to save a Eunuch when the Crown Prince is alone and in danger!! I was thinking that the scene was included to create a situation where Sung-on gets to find out she is his fiance. Nope, they were back on the mountain in no time!
(Jae-Yi can now write a book on 'How to survive Cliff falls')

Now the right minister knows... I hope our main characters get to know this soon because its be dragging on for a bit too long. Now with the bracelet scene, Myung-jin needs to be told the truth. I need our smart people to start working together soon. I cannot watch the Right minister's sinister laugh anymore..

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Ha. With the way this drama handles reveals, I bet we will find out later that Sung-on indeed found out she's a girl while dragging her out of the Water of Life (for which he didn't even get a "thank you" by the way). He can't be so dense with all the crying and hugging that the "Eunuch" did this episode, right?

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We had a scene where he was pondering about Eunuch’s reaction. The excessive crying was not lost on him.

I don’t think anyone is smart enough to figure out that these two women are in disguise. Especially the men who are so close to them!

Lol. No thank you :) well, he had one job. To keep the CP safe. Instead he fell off a cliff trying to save a Eunuch who was already half way down 😂

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I thought so too until the scene where he's at the desk thinking back and then says "but he's a man!"

I guess they are trying to build up the fact that when he does finally figure it out or is finally told (maybe by the bad guys at this point) he will reflect back on all the crying and realize he was never in her heart and voluntarily just give up. There was an early interview in which they asked the Sergeant actor if there is a love triangle and he said he wasn't sure since he filmed it for such a long ago. I had assumed that was a coy answer... but maybe .... is it really a triangle if his character never had a chance? Hmm....

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I admit it: I had no idea what was up with Oh-Man Shik, or why the trio was pursuing him, but all three characters looked great in that warrior garb. PHS was especially striking. The costumes in this drama are truly beautiful and appear to be very well tailored as well. OBY may lack in storytelling at times, but the visuals are never disappointing.

My favorite part of these episodes, however, was Garam in her element playing the part of haughty--yet extremely loyal and fangirly--noblewoman. She and Myung-jin would be a great couple, but only if he continues to treat her exactly as he's doing now. Yet despite all of his unconventional behaviors, he still strikes me as very socially conservative and traditional when it comes to gender roles, so it would likely be impossible for him to continue to see Garam as a true partner, or even as a student. Nevertheless, I wish he'd figure out she's a woman already. Ditto Hwan. You'd think the fact that he knows Jae-yi is a woman would make him more skeptical of fine featured, very slender young men in general, but nope.

That said, Hwan is being exceptionally dense right now. I guess I could maybe sortof see him believing Jae-yi was confessing feelings for some other palace dude, because she has certainly flummoxed him before with her unconventional views on marriage and kissing before it, but not after that teary hug. That was about as subtle as a submission hold--even the equally dense Sargant understood her over-the-topic panic-turned-to-rapturous-joy to be the expression of love it was. Of course, he still thinks Eunuch Go is Eunuch Go and is stuck in his heteronormative head, puzzling over how, how, HOW could it be possible for a man to feel that way about another man. Gotta say, all this ignorance of the obvious is very hard for me to just swallow at this point in the story.

Where did the Princess and the Grand Prince go? Even the Queen had only one short scene. For a 20 episode drama, they do seem to have trouble portioning out the screentime.

I did like the sudden death of the Woodpecker. I thought she might get ill from the bracelet, but I didn't expect her demise. The Right State Minister's antics may be predictable, but it's nice that the drama can still surprise me in other ways.

I expected Hwan to attempt to push Jae-yi away and back towards the Sargant, and in some ways, that is the right thing to do. If this was a realistic sageuk, these two would never be able to truly be together, and even in this fantastical world, Jae-yi's life and heart are in constant jeopardy the longer she stays close to the CP. At the same time, as I watched those predictable scenes of back-and-forth between them, I couldn't help but envision another path this story could have taken, where these two would have realized early on that they may not have a future together, but they have the present. I know this would never happen in a kdrama, but two young, attractive, in love people in close...

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But Myungjin was so excited over idea of solving crimes with his celeb crush Jaeyi! I don't think he'll have that much trouble seeing woman as equal. Surely not after living his whole life in the household ruled by iron gloved matriarch.

Hwan and Jaeyi having this super convenient love nest at their disposal all this time yet never using it for any practical loving has me confused too. She even sleeps comfortably in bed - HIS bed! - now, but nothing more. Plus I disagree with @hacja about him being 100% unaffected by the physical presence of the woman he loves - he took his sweet time letting go of her hand that one time and didn't he try to touch her when she fell asleep at his bedside? Wait, that sounded dirtier than intended... Point is, show made it pretty clear he has some urges actually, but simply psyches himself again and again to hold them back. The hug scene was rather interesting in that regard - he dropped the bag he was carrying when she jumped him - out of shock, additional pain or relief - or was he trying to lift his hand and touch her back but simply didn't have any strength left to do so?

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Great point about Myung-jin's excitement over teaming up with Jae-yi. I'd forgotten about that, but now you've given me hope that he will be equally excited over the possibility of partnering with Garam.

I agree that Hwan is generally aware that he does not view Jae-yi in the same way he does his sister or the palace women around him, but I also think hacja's point is well taken. First, it seems questionable whether Hwan's imagination of what that desire means goes much beyond imagining gently holding Jae-yi's hand or maybe touching her face and second, the general idea in these kdramas that sexual desire (be it his own or Jae-yi's, which he clearly hasn't picked up on at all) is something that can be ignored, diverted, or deemed unimportant.

So again, it's not so much that Hwan doesn't realize he's drawn to Jae-yi in a non-platonic way but a) he doesn't seem to fully recognize or understand what that means and b) there's no acknowledgement of the very likely reality that the months these two have spent in proximity would mean that that physical desire really couldn't be ignored or disregarded. It would be urgent and undeniable, and both would struggle to deal with it on the daily. Again, this is a kdrama, so we're not going to see two characters grappling overtly with sexual feelings, but I think hacja's point does speak to the overall way that Hwan's passivity on this front illustrates an overall glossing over of the very normal and natural desire that would and should be ever-present between these two at this point in the story.

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Thing is, this is Joseon, fictional or not, and that was a VERY sexually oppressive era for everyone. Yeah, TECHNICALLY as a man with money and connections (and looks all the ladies with functional eyes lose sleep over) Hwan could've find his way of getting some if he really wanted to anytime - which is what Jo and his minion officials were likely implying when revealing his habit of sneaking out in disguise. They've all but directly told the King - and whole court to hear and later gossip about - that Hwan has been partying his blooming youth away at brothels instead of studying))) Which, again, has always been an option - but a wrong, legally and morally forbidden one. And he, as a future king, is a living embodiment of strict morals. Which also includes never touching, even probably seeing the face of woman he ends up bedding and having kids with before the marriage day or at least VERY formal engagement. THIS is the norm he's been taught all his life since diapers - not the modern "desire is healthy, suppressing it is not". I wouldn't be surprised if he actually thinks that him having hots for Jaeyi is, in fact, not just morally wrong because of Sung On, but also a literal perversion, a flaw on his shining princely virtues that he needs to fix asap before something truly wrong happens. Being able to respect himself matters a lot to him as we've learned. And if he's not the perfect CP everyone expects him to be then what he is at all? I don't see how he's supposed to recognize physical desire for a woman that's not "his" in any legitimate way as something that NEEDS to be acted upon or at least discussed when everything about the setting he lives in, his status and education ever told him the very opposite))) He does have a bit of rebellious streak in him so it's not a 100% hopeless case, but getting over something so deeply ingrained into one's mind takes time and effort. Which is why I've betting on Jaeyi making the ultimate move this whole time. She's much more free-spirited and has been inspiring - or forcing - him to break out of his shell constantly))) But apparently writer decided that girl's gotta have her dignity too and can't just jump, confess to and take advantage of her dream man all at once while all he does is going with the flow. So now we're waiting for HIM to get it - and get something done about it. Good luck to us all with that, lemme bring popcorn and a lot of drinks for this LONG waiting session.

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Forgot to add that this is exactly where all his extra fiery indirect confessions that often sound suspiciously close to paraphrased marriage vows come from - he wants her and HATES that he can't, hence his subconscious always nudges him to find at least one good reason, some basis to lay his claim on her once and forever and proceed at full speed from that. Like "if you'd just ask ME for that damn ribbon" or "if you'd just FINALLY told your not-so-ex-fiancee that you two are 100% over"... All she has to do rn is giving him an excuse. This will do WONDERS on him, I'm sure of it.

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All I'll say is the body doesn't listen to the mind, as anyone who ever had a baby can testify!

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@kaddicted, watch my jaw to be forever glued to the basement's floor if Hwan ever let's himself go enough to perform something that can result in babies before he and Jaeyi are properly married. He may want it and she may try to seduce him (wouldn't put it past her, girl is shameless, hot-blooded, curious and madly smitten - explosive combo), but he won't give in unless he's 200% confident it's okay to do so. I'd love to see him struggling with temptation though...

P.S. As a walking result of shotgun teen wedding I can't really argue with your main point)))

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I should have been clearer - I was talking about the mind having no control over the body when giving birth, not how the baby got there in the first place! 😄 However on that subject, I don't think men are as able to control their physical responses to women in the way we can control ours. So I'm agreeing with hacja on this. There's no way our CP cannot understand what his body is doing or requiring, and it is perverse of these mostly female writers of k-dramas to pretend otherwise, unless they are all committed virgins from the Joseon era themselves.

... watch my jaw to be forever glued to the basement's floor if Hwan ever let's himself go enough to perform something that can result in babies before he and Jaeyi are properly married

You may be under-estimating them both. It's a short step from people wondering what exactly is their relationship anyway to actually going there. Sung-on is wondering, Tae-gang is definitely wondering. Hwan has also never seen Jae-yi dressed like a woman. Wait until she borrows Ga-ram's props and then throws herself at him. I think he might be dropping more than his bag!

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Nah, that's also TV censoring speaking, not just female writers lacking understanding of how the body of a healthy man in love works))) I'm amazed to this day that other Hyungsik's show, SWDBS, actually got away with a rather elaborate scene of his character struggling with a badly timed boner... We don't see that in kdramas often.

I'd agree with you, if not for one thing - the very same babies that physical intimacy between our leads can result. This is not a modern show where birth control is a thing and characters can have all the fun with no unwanted consequences unless plot calls for pregnancy drama. Joseon era had what, abortive and other questionably effective potions? Not sure if I want to think about the topic in details, ewww. I've already mentioned this before - Hwan is not just a proper Joseon man and CP, he's also a second generation child of an extramarital affair (or one night stand, drinks and rapey aspect possibly involved). Which fact did nothing but great harm to him and his family. I don't see him agreeing with the risk of passing such unlucky fate on his own children, not to mention all the danger accidental pregnancy can put Jaeyi in her current situation. As much as I'd love them to go full honeymoon rn, boy has all the legit reasons to keep it in his pants until their circumstances drastically improve.

Hwan has also never seen Jae-yi dressed like a woman. Wait until she borrows Ga-ram's props and then throws herself at him. I think he might be dropping more than his bag!

I was thinking about it too. He obviously gives more importance to appearances than she does, even if her male clothes didn't stop his feelings. I really hope we'll get such scene, his face will be epic in that moment))) Not sure even that is gonna be enough to gave up his defenses completely though.

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"watch my jaw to be forever glued to the basement's floor if Hwan ever let's himself go enough to perform something that can result in babies before he and Jaeyi are properly married. He may want it and she may try to seduce him (wouldn't put it past her, girl is shameless, hot-blooded, curious and madly smitten - explosive combo), but he won't give in unless he's 200% confident it's okay to do so. I'd love to see him struggling with temptation though..."

LOL! This. The struggle will be real. But I can tell you, as someone who has grown up in a very con servative society as a young child, the children do learn restraint, and a lot of it. And it won't be a surprise if Hwan glues a proverbial arm between him and Jay-Yi to keep things in perspective, but no matter how modern her outlook is, she would be equally conservative as far as physical intimacy goes (ribbon scene is quite telling in that respect, no amount of love would have her breach the decorum of her relationship with Hwan. To note, she does everything outragous that a man is allowed do, but never anything remotely inapprorpiate that a woman would do).

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@minniegupta1, but she didn't really have a lot of opportunities to do anything inappropriate for female mainly because she's been acting a man 24/7 for months now. Hwan is one among big crowd of 2 people who knew her real identity all along and we've already concluded that she barely allowed herself anything girly around him out for reasons - up until this point, that is. Now that she accepted the "harsh" reality and her desire for him to do the same like yesterday preferably she won't sit still for long. Like why she even wants him to get it so desperately if she's not planning to do anything of substance about their MUTUAL feelings when he eventually does? And why was her infamous dating bucket list even included in the show in such a detailed manner coupled with Hwan's "no way in hell" reactions to every single point of it if not as foreshadowing of things to come?

I think ribbon scene confused us all too much in too many ways. Truth is that she didn't want a ribbon from either Hwan or Sung On specifically - she JUST wanted a damned pretty thing because she was missing her female identity despite all that bravado about "life as a (fake) eunuch is perfect", and it just happened that Sung On bought it for her and Hwan caught her red-handed at that. So she had to quickly improvise some fitting excuse why things turned out this way, but failed miserably and couldn't come up with anything better than "how could i ask YOU of that?". If accepting any gift more meaningful than yet another snack from Hwan is THIS too much for her, why was she all giddy and expectant over the bracelet? She wants that token of whatever is going on between them, meaning she wants THINGS from Hwan potentially, not just words or longing stares. Specific extent of those things is debatable, that I agree.

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I have wondered about that opressiveness. The narative in any case was really strict, but we all know that sexuality repressed only leads to excesses, witness the number of present day politicians touting their virtues only to be revealed to be total pervs.
Makes me wonder what Hwan is up to whilst taking a (fully clothed cuz Joseon) bath and simultaneously thinking about Yj. Sorry 😉

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@decraew, I think Joseon's morals and customs were the strictest ever in Korean history due to heavy Confucianism. Before that it was comparatively lax Buddhism ruling era - women had far more rights, less sexual restrictions to everyone, divorces were a thing, even fashion allowed flowing locks and some skin shown.

Ofc that doesn't mean Joseon was as pure and austere as it tried to present itself, far from it. Even in drama it's kinda shown by evil officials spending half of their screentime at brothel's party table (best ever place for scheming apparently). Or the fact that ML's grandma wasn't even a concubine but some random palace maid his grandpa had short fun with. So you're right, there was a lot of hypocrisy going around those supposed restrictions.

We've seen Hwan bathing once (Ep1 or 2), and he actually does that naked, bless him! About "thinking of Jaeyi" part, well, I don't even know, he's SO annoyingly stuffy about anything sensual. Maybe he just switched to ice baths since his crush developed instead of approaching the issue logically))) I did notice that his nightmares apparently calmed down big time but he still broods every other night with little to no sleep...

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@gikata:
"he's SO annoyingly stuffy about anything sensual"

Switched to Ice-bath hahaha!

It would be so much fun to watch having Jay-yi force him to her infamous 'dating' playbook lol!

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@minniegupta1, they've already held hands and hugged, so only the high level quests left, I'm afraid. His body may be ready, but his brains are surely not)))

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proximity 24/7 would be taking every opportunity to get physically and emotionally closer while they could. I am a little sad that we'll never get to see that story, or the OBY that put this forbidden and very complicated romance at its center, rather than its periphery.

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You think the costumes are that good? They seem the typical Joseon gowns to me. And don’t get me started on those same ‘ole same ‘ole dorky hats 😉

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Oh, they ARE good. Joseon fashion wasn't exactly diverse, there was a lot of restrictions about styles, colors, fabric, patterns, jewelry etc depending on social, marital and other statutes. The fact that all characters look distinctive and good despite that means a lot of work from costume team. Like Scholar Park and Myungjin, for example - drastic difference in variety of colors and patterns (flowers for former, leaves/other things for latter), plus Myungjin prefers this particular style of outer robes Park NEVER wears himself. Eunuch Go's hanboks are simpler/cheaper with no patterns (and no beads on hats, I think, those can be REALLY expensive), usually all ensemble within the same color scheme to look plainer compared to dress to impress rich ass noble guys around. Garam only has few sets of clothes because that's all she can afford. Jo is always heavily overdressed (complex patterns everywhere) to flaunt his wealth. Councilor Han likes muted colder colors befitting his strict personality and his son is roughly the same with some occasional splashes of more vivid tones (mostly in hat beads). And none of this looks cheaper than it was intended, unlike in low-budget sageuks.

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@decraew also Kdrama Saeguks in today’s environment have to be even more careful not to be too creative with costuming for fear of “historical distortion” claims leading to cancellation.

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This is so enlightning. Loved the info.

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Of course the guy from the Daoist office was going to die. I hate it when heroes are too slow. Of course they would decide to a) set out early tomorrow b) wearing conspicuous black outfits, and c) approach him all at once in broad daylight so that d) he escapes and gets shot by the baddies before he can say something crucial. *rolls eyes*

I knew the fish bracelet would be important, as it probably contains poison, but I have no idea how it ended up for sale in the marketplace. Is it Jae-yi's bracelet? I thought she kept hers in a drawer in the library. I'm lost there.

No idea where the show is going with Ga-ram because she is a slave and cannot dream of marrying Myung-jin.

Anyways, thanks for the recap @alathe! I loved the bwahaha moments of your writing.

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I think the bracelet Jaeyi keeps is her brother's, her own got lost during her escape. Not sure if the one that had Lady Bitch killed belonged to Jaeyi... That's too convenient even for a drama. Maybe someone just doesn't want noble ladies with ambitions to be there for Crown Princess selections and she was only the first one among many to drop dead? I do recall the curse mentioning something about Hwan dying wifeless and childless...

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Whew, thank you. I have a hard time remembering random things that happened in this drama that are now supposed to be important.

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I think the bracelet and the food in the sedan chair worked together to poison the mean fiancé. It doesn't matter whether it is the one Jaeyi was wearing or the foster brother was wearing. This is a drama about poison--the snake, the peonies, even the older brother's death. It's also about how things that are innocuous can be deadly in combination--see the scene with the warehouse.

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I've forgot there was some food in the palanquin. You're right, now it makes sense.

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I think the poison gets combined with food and is deadly. The trailer showed a [SPOILER].

That's who the jade ring that the new character of would be crown pricess has is suspect.

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@minniegupta1, we're not thinking about that ring ALSO having poison stored inside, are we?

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@gikata: I am thinking.....could that be the ultimate kick? Use the wedding and the new bride to bring the family down? The jade ring is very very suspicious.

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I find everything about the situation sus, honestly. King says he needs to marry Hwan asap and ministers are all "too bad we only have sons, what to do?" and then HE has to remind Han of the very existence of his pretty and age appropriate niece somehow? What? Girl herself is also weird, I just can't pinpoint what exactly bothers me here... Tho maybe it's just a result of crash course of how to marry CP forced on her suddenly after years of quiet province life. And then [SPOILER] in preview... This drama's paranoia mood is contagious, now I'm even doubting totally normal desire of a girl to know who she's gonna marry!

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We saw in episode 1 that when the soldiers went to search Min JaeYi's house that one of the soldiers found her bracelet in the dirt. I assume he pocketed it, seeing that it was an expensive jade item and then pawned it as soon as he could.

Agree there must be poison in it and assume it has to be released when Sim Young touched her hand/bracelet. I wonder if that woodpecker had been playing with it and accidentally released some more and didn't notice that something came out onto her biscuit she was eating it. Clearly the soldier and seller didn't die so it isn't coated with it.

I suspect that was why SimYoung was wandering/searching the house trying to find the evidence.

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Thanks, this makes a lot of sense. Episode 1 happened a long time ago so I would not have remembered that. Plus we are only assuming the soldier pawned it off... Getting bits of the story told in flashbacks is killing me. Maybe it's just me, but I prefer coherent storytelling.

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Yes, yes, yes and yes to A through D! I love our gang of detectives, but boy, they aren't great when it comes to stealth. Matching "undercover" outfits that stick out among the ordinary folk. Thinking that pulling someone off the main street is enough to make a conversation "secret." Not surrounding their target from all sides before making their presence known. Even hiding the letter in a book. No -- you hide the letter in your clothes and carry the books as a decoy.

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"Even hiding the letter in a book. No -- you hide the letter in your clothes and carry the books as a decoy."

Exactly. How stupid was that? But the cackling minister had to get his hands on Jae-yi so she was required to be an idiot to serve the script. Tbh it's my problem with k-dramas as a whole, and especially many female characters who are often unlikable, stupid, dense, angry, emotional, toddlers. Even our two detectives here are utterly moronic at times, despite the daring way of life they lead. How about writing a story where everyone behaves in a coherent way, instead of having to suddenly act out of character because Evil Baddie 1 needs to shake someone down for information?

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While there is character consistency throughout, the situation inconsistency can be a bit jarring.

For example, having been already followed once and having their ledgers changed, you would think these young detectives would be a bit more careful to check if they were being followed.

The whole O Ma Shik thing was though a kind of incompetency one could expect from a very sheltered but very brave Prince and never been to field but a warrior Seargent maybe?

It does not help that one of them is so handsome that traffic literally stops hehehe!

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About the letter thing though, it made complete sense to me. Jay-Yi was in a difficult spot as a conduit. She could not keep it right on top because that's where everyone keeps them anyway, so too obvious. She would have to hide them well. It would have been awkward for her to fumble with her clothing to get the letters out - both for the royal gurad as well as the seargent, who didn't know of her gender, never mind it would be equally if not more embarrassing for her to shove it inside her clothes in front of the Crown Prince in that kind of an intimate setting they had been thrown into. The lack of privacy she actually has is sad. I wonder how she has dealt with her periods. It would have been nice to see something on those lines as well (I loved how they showed that in Nevertheless).

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Right on top as in upper folds of her tunic.

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I was thinking during the scene that she should've hide it in her hat - it's not transparent, seems sturdy and there is quite a bit of hollow space to fit a small piece of paper.

Hwan's traffic stopping beauty being a hurdle during field missions had me rolling))) Should've give him that dark cloth face mask that every other ninja in the show seems strategically sporting. Then again, even that wouldn't help with hiding his remarkable physique and Them Eyes. Sometimes I wonder if there's a small breeze happening every time Hyungsik blinks...

Re: periods - that's hardly discussed even in modern dramas, let alone sageuks. She still has that first aid kit Hwan used to treat her head injury early on, right? I suppose there was some clean soft fabric for wound dressing in it that she could use. And I still stand on that there HAS to be a small bathroom hidden somewhere in that Batcave - or very nearby the library - for original owner's convenience.

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@gikata On mobile so I don’t know how to do quotes, but this:
“Sometimes I wonder if there's a small breeze happening every time Hyungsik blinks...”

I feel like this is such a weird thing for me to be attracted to, but Hyungsik’s blinks are like my kryptonite. He has that double set of thick lashes and those pensive, almost droopy eyes, so when he blinks, it’s like, woosh to my heart haha. Park Seo Joon said it best during Hwarang promo days, “his eyes stir up our protective instinct.” Maybe not just protective instinct lol, but what a naturally sweet gaze. No wonder he was so well loved as a kid. I’m sure he got away with everything. The Koreans have it right describing them as honey dripping eyes. Anyways, yeah, no way Hyungsik could be effectively disguised if you can see his unique eyes…

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@happyokaytales, Hyungsik's blinks are really mesmerizing, hardly anything weird about it at all. Totally disagree with PSJ's take on the matter though - what protective instinct, dude? It's US who have to be protected from those hypnotic eyes, not vice versa!

I’m sure he got away with everything.

I bet he still does)))

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I was totally expecting that guy to get killed mid-sentence. That's how it always goes for those with information useful to the protagonists! I looked away because I just knew he wouldn't get to say anything useful.

I think Jae-yi - once her name is cleared- or Hwan can released Garam from her slave contract. I think Jae-yi was planning to anyways after she got married and would prepare to get Garam married too.

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@asianromance ha, my thoughts exactly. I just knew he'd get killed mid-sentence.

Even if Ga-ram is freed, she cannot move up in society. She would be a former slave turned free commoner, which by Joseon standards does not make her an equal match with Myung-jin. At the most she could become his concubine and any sons would be illegitimate 😥 (like in MY COUNTRY - I've seen too many sageuks with the bitter illegitimate son who is barred from government posts). Realistically I just don't see a way for them to get married happily ever after.

Let's see what the drama conjures up. I will be very mad if Sung-on and Ga-ram are sacrificed to save their besties or loved one.

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So much running! With open wounds! It was all gorgeous - the sea of grass scenes especially - but if our heroes are smart enough to solve mysteries using Science, they should be smart enough not to stand together in the middle of an open field or run aimlessly around a forest when they know their attackers are good at hiding and bow-hunting. Despite the entrancing beauty of those settings (and actors, and costumes!) and the way they were filmed, I found myself saying "oh, come on, don’t be so dumb!" far too many times during ep. 13's endless chase.

I’m a sageuk newbie - Is this combination of silliness and ponderousness typical? I’m enjoying enough of the show to keep going, but I’m getting whiplash from the switching from agonizingly stilted conversations and meaningful stares to implausible informality and unbridled foolishness - both from the leads and from Myung-jin, who is over the top.

The “I’m secretly in love with a man and I won’t tell you who he is” bit made just me roll my eyes. Honesty between the leads has been their strength and it was regressive and disappointing that the show indulged in that sappy cliché. I also suddenly found myself shipping Tae-gang and Jae-yi because enemies-to-lovers is a lot more fun than smart-people-to-noble-idiots.

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"I’m a sageuk newbie - Is this combination of silliness and ponderousness typical?"

Yes, especially in the more "modern" and fusion sageuks. "Mr. Queen" is the only one that I can think of that pulled off this balance, with humor that was truly humorous, even when it was silly, and ponderous scenes that still managed to move the plot forward.

OBY is definitely not the worst on this front, but I think they would have done better to stick with the 16-episode format. That would have helped them avoid some of the major drag that happens in the ponderous scenes (which are typically, like that scene with the King and the two loyal ministers, too long) and the excessive silliness of most of the comedic scenes.

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RIP the honest, connected on a deeper lever OTP we almost had. Writer is a sageuk newbie too, so maybe that's why she also doesn't know any better...

I can't imagine shipping Tae Gang with anyone here. He's still very much a kid - and a brat, and I loathe the combo)))

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I watch fewer sageuks these days because of the sageuk tone, endless flashbacks, exaggerated characterization, and awkward pacing, so definitely yes. Unfortunately, this show is combining disparate tropes that either always annoyed me, worked better elsewhere, or do not work well together. For example, if you want to see how similar dramas have handled the lighthearted stuff, you might want to check out Sungkyunkwan Scandal, Love in the Moonlight, or even Rookie Historian Goo Hae-ryung. Our Blooming Youth is different in that the main characters have experienced multiple tragedies, so angst seems more natural than comedy, but the angst doesn't quite work for me, either. I mean, you have at least three epic tragedies, including Jae-yi's backstory, the suspicious death of the original crown prince, and the Byeokcheon Case. I'm not sure if it's the endless cycle of Jae-yi and the prince emoting over every unrelated thing or the meandering focus, but I felt more invested in the storylines of other sageuks. Also, this drama really overdoes the fake laughter, even by sageuk standards. It's not just Jo Won-Bo or Myung-Jin. There's also Jo Won-Ho, Song's evil caricature (as depicted in Won-Ho's story), and a few other members of the court. You could probably get drunk if you drank each time someone laughed stupidly.

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I just wanna say I don't care about any foolishness, I flippin' loved that whole chase sequence in the field, I would like 10 more of the same and watch them on repeat. SO cool. I enjoyed every moment, starting with the symbolic wall leaping by our leads as they chased Oh Man Shik out into the open field, to the archers and assassins showing up and descending on them, to them hiding in the tall grass, only to spring up to surprise the assassins with some nice hand-to-hand combat and sword fighting, even the ill-advised chase in the woods had some good tension and excitement. I could've done without a second cliff of doom leap, but up til that point, the action was 11/10, so fun to watch. I was really looking forward to see some of this action sequence from the BTS video, but sadly, the only BTS we got on the field was Jaeyi and Sung On running to Hwan, for some reason. Maybe all the fighting and stunt work was too involved for the making camera to get in there.

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Really enjoyed the cinematography of the chase/fight in the field too. I was wondering if there was pressure to get the wide shots filmed in a single take because they couldn't "refluff" the grass once it had been trampled. Too bad there isn't BTS video to show us how it was done.

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The lines of trampled grass was so cool. That wide open field and the aerial shots were so cinematic. I felt like I was watching a well-made wuxia film.

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At the risk of spoiling the magic, I watched the grass-running scene closely both because it was marvelously beautiful and because I was wondering how the actors handled running fast and almost blindly through it, and I did see a few moments where a section of trampled grass was visible ahead of them (one is at 34:26). It was mostly hidden by using a lower or oblique camera angle or framing the actors from the waist up. The aerial shots with untrampled grass ahead of them may be of stunt actors, and they could have run parts of the path twice, perhaps slowly first and full-speed once the trampled path was established, and combined sections of footage to make it look like all one uninterrupted run. Nonetheless, I admire their (and maybe their stunt doubles’) fortitude - one foot wrong, a sprained ankle, and you’re done filming for quite a while, so it took both guts and athletic ability.

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@Elinor,
How about that epic scene where guys plunged into the grass after Jaeyi's warning shout - in the opposite directions, but perfectly synchronized? Like alerted wild rabbits lol)))

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@elinor far from spoiling anything, I love figuring out the workings behind “movie magic”— in a world of overused CGI making everything look increasingly stale, I am so delighted whenever a movie uses practical effects and I get to see the old fashioned camera tricks and cleverness used by the filmmakers through bts vids.