240

My Dearest: Episodes 1-2

Get ready for a beautifully directed, achingly romantic historical drama that’ll have you laughing through your tears! My Dearest comes out swinging with the world’s most lovable pairing: two delightful chaos magnets who cannot stop messing with each other. But sunny, springtime antics are due to be cut short by the Qing invasion…

 
EPISODES 1-2

Namgoong Min My Dearest: Episodes 1-2

It’s a grim day in 1659. INSPECTOR SHIN YI-RIB (Ha Kyung) is urged to investigate a section of the court record. The facts are sparse. It mentions an officer who lured the crown prince astray. A man struck by madness, whom the king banished from his sight. His name? LEE JANG-HYUN. Inspector Shin is led to an asylum for nobles deemed unfit for society — “asylum,” in this case, being a euphemism for “cold, lightless prison.” Here, he approaches a long-forgotten inmate: a white-haired man who insists that one day someone will come for him. Is that person, asks Inspector Shin, Lee Jang-hyun?

Years roll back. The man in question, Lee Jang-hyun (Namgoong Min), rests bloodied and despairing by the sea. Behind him, an army advances, weapons raised. Do you hear, he murmurs, the sound of a flower? With a look of utter defeat, he lifts his eyes to the setting sun. Then, turning to face his attackers — he advances.

Ahn Eun-jin My Dearest: Episodes 1-2

When we move back in time again, it’s to the spring of 1637, in the sleepy village of Neunggun-ri. Here, we meet our heroine: the irrepressible, the charismatic, the bewitchingly vain YOO GIL-CHAE (Ahn Eun-jin)! She’s the Marmite of 17th century Joseon: love her or hate her, you’ll never forget her! If you ask her teachers, she’s a brazen minx. If you ask her schoolmates, she’s a bit much… that is, if they’re being polite. But if you’re a tongue-tied scholar with a yen for romance, she’s a veritable goddess of love! Gil-chae has most men hanging on her every incorrigible word. It’s just so hard to make friends with other girls… but their boyfriends are so easy to steal!

Still, beneath Gil-chae’s flighty exterior beats the heart of a true romantic. Every night, she dreams in technicolor intensity, yearning for true love. In her sleep, she chases a scarlet thread of fate through forest, hills, and snow, emerging onto a beach. Here, a faceless man — who bears more than passing resemblance to our hero — touches her cheek, and tells her he’s been waiting. But before their lips meet, she’s invariably startled awake by her long-suffering maid, JONG JONG (Park Jeong-yeon).

Ahn Eun-jin My Dearest: Episodes 1-2

Gil-chae has set her sights on a less-than-impressive dream man: the platonic ideal of a second lead, NAM YEON-JOON (Lee Hak-joo). Pity is, out of all the scholars in Neunggun-ri, he’s frustratingly only half in love with her… and wholly attached to her friend, KYUNG EUN-AE (Lee Da-in). Nonetheless, when Yeon-joon interrupts the flower-picking festival, our girl is alive with matrimonial hope. Alas, his concerns are purely sociopolitical. Across the border, the Ming dynasty are at war with the Jurchen-led Jin — a group dismissed in Joseon as barbarians. The Jin leader, HONG TAIJI (Kim Joon-won) has declared himself head of a newfound Qing dynasty — and the king, to Yeon-joon’s outrage, won’t fight back.

Enter the living personification of chaos: our hero! For here he is, lounging carefree on the edge of the crowd. Jang-hyun pierces Yeon-joon’s puffed-up indignation with a single, well-aimed query: what makes you so certain the Ming will win? Sure, they claim the mandate of heaven. But you know who else had that? The so-called barbarians, generations ago, when the Jin dynasty ruled! With gleeful historical accuracy and zero remorse, he proceeds to demolish Yeon-joon.

Jang-hyun — gentleman, merchant, and scoundrel — has fast become the terror of Neunggun-ri. Swaggering into town, fan held aloft, he asked to enroll at the village school. Undeterred by the news that he’d have to take the entrance exam, he sat deadpan amongst a cohort of toddlers, ink brush in hand. However, the essay topic — chastity and loyalty — so offended his libertine sensibilities that he opted to bribe the elders instead. Now, he’s settled into a pleasant routine of flirting, making witticisms, and shocking all and sundry as he consorts with Jurchen traders.

Jang-hyun is ready to welcome spring with a casual fling or five, when word hits the village: he’s a dyed-in-the-wool anti-marriage activist. Quoth our hero: people are shallow, love is fleeting, and he’ll live a bachelor till the day he dies! This, Gil-chae declares slyly, sounds like a man with performance issues.

But she’s got much more important items on her agenda: a) be bold, b) seize the day, and c) don appropriate footwear! All are in relation to a cunning scheme: she’ll snag Yeon-joon’s attention, or quite possibly die trying. So, rolling down her socks, she steps up onto a swing, and urges Jong Jong to hurry and push already! Soon, the clearing is swamped by the deafening silence of numerous scholars trying hard not to think about Gil-jae’s bare legs. This is interrupted by utter panic as Gil-chae rises into the air… and slips.

Ahn Eun-jin Namgoong Min My Dearest: Episodes 1-2 Ahn Eun-jin Namgoong Min My Dearest: Episodes 1-2

Woe! Woe and despair! Our poor heroine is hurt — nay, wounded! — and requires the help of a strong, capable man like… wait, where’s Yeon-joon? Cut! Shoving past her crowd of far-too-helpful admirers, Gil-chae declares it’s time for take two. To the horror of all (not the least, her maid, whose loyalty is wearing thin), she steps back onto the swing. Jong Jong’s timing is impeccable. A rope “comes undone” the instant another man steps into sight. Gil-chae goes flying — straight into the newcomer’s open arms. The only hitch? Well, her rescuer is a tad more cool, smirky, and sardonic than Yeon-joon…

But rewind, just a moment. Jang-hyun — for indeed, he’s our mystery rescuer — arrives in time to witness Gil-chae swinging carefree, looking impossibly beautiful amongst the trees. He stares, transfixed. Do you hear? he murmurs. The sound of a flower.

Ahn Eun-jin Namgoong Min My Dearest: Episodes 1-2

Jang-hyun was expecting a grateful, blushing maiden. Instead, he gets exactly what he deserves: his match. Halfheartedly aiming for a charming smile (she makes it to “patronizing”), Gil-chae notes how lucky he is to talk with her… now, scram! Jang-hyun looks like his world just slid unpleasantly on its axis. But soon, Gil-chae decides our hero has his uses. After all, Yeon-joon spent time in Hanyang. Maybe, if she can strong-arm Jang-hyun into spilling the beans on what’s so special about city life, she’ll understand him! She’ll even throw in a bribe: the topic of the next exam.

Jang-hyun doesn’t explain the thing with the toddlers. Instead, he squashes his laughter, and solemnly agrees. Soon, he’s steering Gil-chae across the river to a totally-practical not-date into town, to talk Hanyang fashions. And what could be more practical than, uh, getting her to dress as a boy? Sneaking into the local gisaeng house is the quintessential city experience! Perhaps they both linger a smidge over Jang-hyun tying back Gil-chae’s hair… though before long, Gil-chae gets distracted. I mean, what do you want her to do — not marvel at her face in the mirror? Please.

Ahn Eun-jin Namgoong Min My Dearest: Episodes 1-2

And yet, what truly seals the deal on Jang-hyun’s big, embarrassing crush is when Gil-chae reveals hidden depths. He brought her to the gisaeng house to see RYANG-EUM (Kim Yoon-woo), a Hanyang singer of great renown. Several bars in, and Gil-chae is utterly gone. Soon, she’s sobbing outright. Jang-hyun sneaks a glance, face softening.

On the boat back, Gil-chae needles Jang-hyun: why’s he unflustered by her presence? Alone! And so close! As she suspected: he must be impotent. Jang-hyun blinks for a moment — then collapses into laughter. The men you’ve met so far, he says, are blustering schoolboys. To prove his point, he offers to lift her from the boat. Fatally, she hesitates. He takes her by the waist, setting her down — and then, as she looks up, decidedly un-unflustered… turns away. Never kid a kidder. Still, the beauty is that this applies to both our leads. Gil-chae asks when to return the clothes. Tomorrow, says Jang-hyun, with a knowing smile. The next day, our bold, hedonistic ladies’ man… waits for her patiently by the road. She sends Jong Jong. We witness the pleasant, neutral expression of a man crushed.

Heart a little heavier, our hero sets off for Uiju, on Joseon’s border, where all manner of less-than-legal trade flourishes. Here, GOO YANG-CHUN (Choi Moo-sung), the local crime boss, tries to deal with the growing beef between two warring subordinates: NINGGUCHIN (Kim Jun-bae) and KKEUT SOE (Lee Ho-cheol). Here, with the flourish of a familiar fan, our hero emerges. He’s moonlighting as Yang-chun’s right hand man. By his side? The singer, Ryang-eum!

The factional war boils over as a cry pierces the market: Ningguchin’s informant, Seida, has been stabbed. Both sides deny responsibility. But all’s fair in love, war, and sneak-thievery: Ningguchin and Kkeut Soe find themselves hosted — bound and gagged — by Jang-hyun. Turns out, they were conspiring to murder Yang-chun, with Seida as their go-between. However, their subordinates each think the one is to blame for the other’s kidnap. All Jang-hyun has to do is lift the latch, let them in, and enjoy the chaos.

Later, Yang-chun and Jang-hyun share drinks. Stay here, urges Yang-chun, and be like my son. Jang-hyun responds with flat disdain: are you senile? Vindictively, Yang-chun sends YOUNG-RANG (Kim Seo-ahn), a fifteen-year-old gisaeng, to Jang-hyun’s room — a move that fills Jang-hyun with such rage that he threatens to leave on the spot. At this, Yang-chun sinks to the floor. I’m old, he says. You said you would return. And I will, says Jang-hyun, relenting. But for now, he leaves — on the way back, revealing one last piece of intrigue. He was the one who ordered Seida killed.

Soon, Jang-hyun is back in Neunggun-ri, where he exchanges skullduggery and murder for the next best thing: party planning! The elderly couple he stays with are as loving as the day they met — and though he claims to find this revolting, he also masterminded their 60-year anniversary. As the lovebirds exchange devoted glances, Gil-chae looks at Yeon-joon with undisguised longing. Jang-hyun follows her gaze, and makes an unpleasant discovery.

Kicking dignity to the curb, our hero retreats to bravely mope in a barn. Unfortunately, this is the place that Gil-chae has chosen to stage her last-ditch stand for Yeon-joon’s heart! The rarely-attempted Barn Kiss Gambit goes like this: she’s going to kiss Yeon-joon. That’s… pretty much the plan. She sends out Jong Jong with word that she’s indisposed! Unwell! Collapsed, in fact! (Jang-hyun snickers.) Sure enough, Yeon-joon rushes to her side, comforting her as she whimpers. Their faces draw close. But before their lips can touch, Yeon-joon reels back, alarmed. He’s promised to Eun-ae — this is wrong!

Worse still, Eun-ae bursts in, calling for her. Before Gil-chae is busted, Jang-hyun pulls her into hiding. Gil-chae is so overwhelmed that it takes a full ten seconds before she remembers to be outraged — which is good, because our hero isn’t finished being outrageous. You don’t have a chance with Yeon-joon, he insists. Don’t long for someone hopeless. Then, nonchalantly, he adds: come to me instead. Gil-chae gapes, utterly floored. Is this, she asks, a marriage proposal? No. No, it is not. Her smile grows lethal as she realizes what he’s actually offering. Leaning close, she utters the sweet words she’s always longed to say to him… I hate you. And your face is ugly.

Back at the celebration, Gil-chae watches everyone whisper about her, desolate. I wish I could love many men, she says to Jang-hyun — who, with admirable devotion, is still by her side, despite the slander against his face. But all I want is to give my unchanging heart to someone equally constant. Jang-hyun looks at her, suddenly vulnerable. As her eyes well with tears, he reaches out to brush them away — then stops. A scholar bursts through the crowd, distraught. The Qing have invaded — and the king is surrounded.

Folks, I’m in love already. It’s the sweet, comforting feeling of sinking into a drama and knowing you’re in safe hands: the characters will sparkle, the historical resonance will be profound, and your heart will be hurt so badly by the end that you’re already pre-grieving. I’ll say this for Namgoong Min’s face: every subtle flicker of expression is perfect. He’s working miracles with Jang-hyun, who is somehow both mysterious and readable — I’m with him every time he’s moved, or anguished, or secretly smiling whenever Gil-chae does something lovable. As for Ahn Eun-jin, I’m so happy she’s finally landing lead roles! Gil-chae is sparkling, mercurial, and thoroughly adorable. Those smug, manipulative little smiles! What truly sells the pairing for me is how shamelessly chaotic they both are — it’s the perfect fit.

Another gorgeous thing about this drama is how deftly it blends past and present — and in doing so, political and personal. That interweaving of the wedding dance and soldiers riding to battle was such an iconic moment. It was a great statement on what this drama aims to do: that tiny instance of our hero reaching out towards our heroine is cut against the gravity of invasion, and both are equally momentous. Meanwhile, against this is a celebration of enduring, ordinary, sixty-year-long love: a reminder both of the happiness our heroes have to gain, but also of what war might destroy. It’s beautifully done, and I’m itching for more!

 
RELATED POSTS

Tags: , , , , ,

240

Required fields are marked *

So despite most of the two episodes we know we are in for ANGST and I am ready, sort of. NGM and AEJ are adorable together. I love Gil Chae's confidence so much and her little pettiness. She is so full of personality, it is delightful. As for Jang Hyun he is fun. So I look forward to their love, as for the rest, politics blah blah blah, lol.

15
3
reply

Required fields are marked *

Based on the first 2 episodes I’m already sold and think that this journey will be too beautifull to be passed, but because it’s beauty, I don’t think I have heart for the angst. I’m in denial of sad ending but also kinda preparing my heart to be broken.

8
2
reply

Required fields are marked *

This is the way.

4
1
reply

Required fields are marked *

This is the way!

3
reply

Required fields are marked *

@alathe, I don’t know if there are words to describe how engaged I am to read your summaries of this drama…you will make me want to watch, which I also know is the last thing I want to do.

Fate be with you all.

15
4
reply

Required fields are marked *

@attiton Thank you for expressing so well my sentiments exactly. It would take a large sum of money (well, maybe not THAT large) to get me to watch this, but for sure I will read closely every one of @alathe’s recaps. I’ll have to fight my really obnoxious impulse to respond about something I know nothing about.

2
3
reply

Required fields are marked *

If it’s the promised heaviness of the drama that’s holding you both back, I understand. But also, if that’s the case, I say try the first two episodes. They are (mostly) so fun and light, you’ll have a ball.

6
2
reply

Required fields are marked *

Yes, that’s it exactly! But if the first two episodes are light, the heaviness will hit harder, I’m afraid. Best I follow along with recaps and remain silent. probably a good general policy for me-

0
1
reply

Required fields are marked *

Yup. It’ll be heavy. I mean, history and all that foreshadowing… So I understand. But we don’t know 100% yet if it’ll be a fully tragic ending for the couple. Someone will do a better job of a scene analysis, but the show was tricky, never showing the prisoner’s face, nor JH’s demise. It’s very clever to hold out a drop of hope like that because for folks like me, it gives them enough strength to carry on. I also thought the story of the old couple and GC’s hopes for her old age were also hints for some kind of late reunion for our couple. Wishful thinking perhaps.

12

Sageuk Gang, rise~

(Except I haven't started yet, so I'll be back. I know, I know, letting the team down 🤣)

12
35
reply

Required fields are marked *

Great news! The sageuk club has resumed its meetings!

I'm working on the timeline for all the yummy background history so help me out when I post it. You know I'm not here for just the romance.

13
6
reply

Required fields are marked *

Oh, goody about the timeline and you guys going to town on the history, you always make sageuks so much greater, along with @alathe’s recaps.
Squeee for history 👏🏽👏🏽👏🏽

I’m not sure if it makes any difference but I think the current year is 1647. At least, the Viki subs had one of the elder ladies tell a story about “ten years ago, in 1637”. (I’m trying to pay close attention from the beginning this time so as not to get lost later ☺️).

10
4
reply

Required fields are marked *

Hi @bbstl

The way it's being told in the drama can be confusing because it's not in chronological order.
The current timeline is 1636. Joseon was using the lunar calendar so it's 1637 to them.
Ten years ago would be 1627. The 2 ladies were talking about the 1st Manchu invasion, also known as the Jin invasion.
I made a comment about it on the viki subs so they changed it from 1637 to 1627.

The writer is striving to keep the historical events accurate while also incorporating the fictional love story of our couple into the narrative.

12
3
reply

Required fields are marked *

Cool! Thanks so much for explaining that!

3

Yes, it's that one.
It explains the faction debating with the king in court, as he and the pro-Ming faction had deposed his predecessor only a few years earlier.

2

@narrativeaddict,

Right, the whole court debate is historically accurate. I wouldn't change a thing except add a bit more to it later.

2

Bring on the History Rabbit Holes 😅🤣

5
reply

Required fields are marked *

Is it open enrollment for the Saeguk Gang? I hope?!

7
14
reply

Required fields are marked *

I hope you still consider yourself a member. :) If you love sageuks, this is your club.

6
2
reply

Required fields are marked *

totally love them! I've learned so much from them about historical figures and timelines. I love the culture bits and clothing and even they way they speak. I love swords and martial arts and yeah, what's not to love? Saeguks rule! So does this club!

7
1
reply

Required fields are marked *

I forgot those poor horses that always have to travel full speed to the next province miles and miles away.

6

What Kiara said! If you like Sageuks, well then, you're already here!

6
10
reply

Required fields are marked *

I want to join this club but gats happened.

8
9
reply

Required fields are marked *

E-Lin-or! 👏🏽 👏🏽👏🏽 E-Lin-or! 👏🏽👏🏽👏🏽 You can do it! I felt the same way (and think a lot of Beanies have done as well) and then poof! GatFear somehow disappeared! And the hanbok are soooooo pretty 😍

8

Idk man, should we let in a gat hater... they're really not that bad... :P
If I wrote a gush piece on historical headdress, would that help... 🤣

6

If it helps, we have many gat-less non-nobles, including a particularly fine, long-haired singer.

8

@bbstl @sicarius @indyfan
I dunno, man, I've spent all my tiny stock of gat-tolerance on unworthy objects like Forbidden Marriage and OBY and bitterly regretted it because I had nothing in reserve for, e.g., Secret Romantic Guesthouse or some older shows I would probably have liked (at least from the eyebrows down). Hanboks are indeed pretty, but I found my gat-aversion increased over time and with more bead-chain-and-horsehair-brim interference with kisses. Joseon cross-dressing and pincushion-heads are also not my faves. Plus we already know that he ends up old, alone, and in a dark jail cell? I can watch without certainty but I can't watch without hope.

TL;DR: I gave hope to the Dúnedain, I have no hope left for myself. This is probably someone else's show, alas.

4

@elinor
🤣🤣🤣🤣🤣

Shame about the older dramas. Better stay away till you build up enough gat tolerance to venture another one down the line, and pick that one EXTRA carefully, and then watch the Goryeo Khitan War and Queen Woo with us, where there will be, no gats. (Although there might be a lot of bad wigs... and the odd sedge hat... Do you have something against the latter, too? Answer carefully; the one on my wall might be offended otherwise ;) )

Leaving here all the more for, as usual, me, Erstwhile Defender of the Gat. 🫰

8

(p.s. Bead Boy is SO sad you slandered the beads. But he'll forgive you. xox)

5

Gat's all, folks.

9

Good gats! just ignore them! LOL!

4

ooooomg, Pincushion Heads 🤣🤣🤣 From now on I will always see them that way.

5

Here and ready to start this! I’ve been taking care of some things in real life, but planning on catching up this week!

5
6
reply

Required fields are marked *

Woooot! 👋🏽 waves to @ally-le!

3
reply

Required fields are marked *

What do you think of the ost @Ally?

My Dearest OST Part 1.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1efFXKTJ50A&ab_channel=kDramaFullOST

2
4
reply

Required fields are marked *

Omg I didn't think it'd be released so soon! <3

2
reply

Required fields are marked *

Love it. I tend to love sageuk OSTs. Only one show have I just hated.

2
2
reply

Required fields are marked *

I'm so curious to know which saegeuk OST you didn't vibe with!?

1

@lapislazulii, I guess it’s not common knowledge, but River where the moon rises. I actually wrote my own OSTs to replace some of the ones I especially couldn’t stand. https://youtube.com/playlist?list=PLan98REOrWaQbMt5PhuO0a7jd0U5qCLxS

2

Take me in as well.

5
2
reply

Required fields are marked *

Welcome @kdrama-bunny!

4
1
reply

Required fields are marked *

Thank you so much. Let's hope for a masterpiece ahead of us.

3
reply

Required fields are marked *

@sicarius Sic, @kiara Kiara. This is a first for me but I feel I need to request from my Sageuk Sages an 'Official Leave of Absence' from MBC's MY DEAREST (Viki US).
Although MD looks REALLY enticing (being a NGM fan for one thing) I am going to stay with my plan to hold off new sageuk watching until the arrival of KBS's S/S (32 eps) THE GORYEO-KHITAN WAR on Nov. 4, 2023.
I am slowly starting to get into MBC's 81 episode JUMONG (2006/2007) (Viki US) so I am not totally sluffing off from the genre.

For those who have not experienced a classic Kiara Sageuk History Tutorial you are in for a treat.

7
2
reply

Required fields are marked *

omg when the teaser for goryeo-khitan war came out I was not prepared; for some reason I thought the kbs sageuk was going to be about something else? I'm super excited for a good ol' kbs-choi soo jong historical and I'm curious to see how dongjun does in a sageuk.

4
reply

Required fields are marked *

@marcusnyc20,

I don't blame you. I've been searching for something to watch from the Khitan's side. "The Legend of Xiao Chuo" was not what I was looking for.
Enjoy JUMONG and we'll meet up in November for the GORYEO-KHITAN WAR.

You are too kind. I'm learning the history along with you guys.

5
reply

Required fields are marked *

@alathe Thanks so much for the recap! You managed to encapsulate everything I love about this drama so far. I should have been packing for my roadtrip tomorrow, but I couldn't help myself and watched this instead. I can't describe how much I loved watching Gil-chae confound Jing-hyun! They're both so amazingly likeable in spite of, or maybe because of, their flaws. Truly perfect for each other!

Love this show already, even knowing it's going to break my heart. I have to admit my eyes were welling up during the 60th anniversary scene, it was so very touching.

13
6
reply

Required fields are marked *

I was surprised that I was teary-eyed during the anniversary scene too. The tears from the old couple.

7
5
reply

Required fields are marked *

I think the inspiration for this event came from the movie WAR of the ARROWS, which portrays the initial Manchu invasion of 1627. During the attack, a wedding ceremony was taking place in the village.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VAhbDN62o7A&ab_channel=WellGoUSAEntertainment

8
4
reply

Required fields are marked *

Oooh thanks for sharing!

1
reply

Required fields are marked *

That makes it even more touching. Thanks for the info!

1
1
reply

Required fields are marked *

It's a touching story about a brother who did everything to protect his sister during the invasion.

1

Correction 2nd Manchu invasion1636.

Film review by HeadsNo2
https://www.dramabeans.com/2012/02/movie-review-bow-the-ultimate-weapon/

0
reply

Required fields are marked *

Did anyone else get reminded of Gone with the Wind? The leads are pretty similar and the war background is telling ..

12
16
reply

Required fields are marked *

Yes! I was thinking the exact same thing! Even the love square! Gil-chae flirting with everyone’s boyfriends at the Flower Festival like Scarlett at the picnic; Gil-chae confessing her love to Yeni-joon and Jang-hyun overhearing it, like Capt’n Rhett Butlha (not a typo) in the library overhearing Scarlett’s confession to Ashley. And then there’s Eun-ae, the kind, long suffering best friend (Melanie). There’s the backdrop of the war, and both leads having less than sterling reputations, and of course, Jang-hyun being a shady supply guy.
It reminds me so much of GWTW, I had my handy AI Assistant play Tara’s Theme when it was over! Great minds!! 👍🏼

14
8
reply

Required fields are marked *

Holy cow, I totally missed all that! Thanks, you guys! (Was going to crack a joke about having a hanbok made from the curtains but remembered there are no curtains in sageuk!)

5
7
reply

Required fields are marked *

Lol, a handbok from the curtains! I love it! That’ll probably be episode 5. 😂

2
2
reply

Required fields are marked *

Maybe it will be made from a tablecloth, there are lots of those in sageuk! 🤣

4

Or maybe from old bedclothes would work too 😂

4

Can totally visualize a hanbok made from pojagi!

1
reply

Required fields are marked *

I’m reminded of a take-off skit about GWTW. Carol Burnett plays Scarlet, wearing the green velvet dress from the curtains complete the rod through the shoulders. Scarlett, annoyed with Melanie’s sweetness, tells Melanie (played by singer Dinah Shore) to just go stick her head in the sugar bowl — which she did! Pure Gold.

2
2
reply

Required fields are marked *

Someone compliments her on her stunning dress and she replies, “oh it’s just something I saw in the window” 🤣🤣🤣 Classic

2

I remember that skit! You are right; pure gold. 🤣🤣🤣

1

Very much, and that scene of FL crying over a song in gibang while ML watches her mesmerized made me think of PRETTY WOMAN's opera scene. Wonder if all those are intentional homages.

6
4
reply

Required fields are marked *

One more film reference. I looked up the phrase "the sound of a flower" It's the title of a film on Korea's first recognized female pasori singer. Makes me wonder if this is a famous line. Certainly evocative.

10
1
reply

Required fields are marked *

Yeah, that one with Suzy and KNG, I think? Line probably IS famous, it sounds very much like something from a folk song or maybe a poem.

7
reply

Required fields are marked *

That scene also reminds me of Lee Jun-ki's character from "King and the Clown." He has a feminine appearance and gives off a vibe of being the biri of the group. The final performance.
I've never seen a man perform in a gibang before, but I do understand why she had to dress as a man since women were forbidden from visiting a gibang.

6
1
reply

Required fields are marked *

Yep, his styling is pretty telling, unless there is another logical explanation why Joseon guy runs around with his hair like that.

Neither do I. It seems like traditional gibangs only had female performers for obvious reasons, tho there probably were some black market options for people interested in, uhm, male entertainers too... But most guys likely were street performers with no permanent workplace.

As usual, kdrama casted very obviously feminine looking actress to make her do a cross-dressing scene *sigh* They never learn, do they?

3
reply

Required fields are marked *

It definitely looks like an adaptation of Gone With the wind.

2
reply

Required fields are marked *

Just watched episode 3 and my immediate thought was Gone with the Wind.. Also Jane Austen's Emma vibes. I hope it's not just a straight adaption or I might have to give up on it. I don't really like where Scarlett's character goes in Gone with the Wind...

1
reply

Required fields are marked *

I'm in love with this drama, too. It's exactly the kind of sageuk I find immersive and worthy of obsessive watching and discussion--centered around a romance and full of both depth and lightness. Like @alathe, I almost immediately felt an overwhelming trust in the production, like I could simply watch and let the story unfold without questioning or worrying over what's to come. I don't expect this one to end happily, at least not conventionally, but there's no way I won't watch and savor it anyway.

One thing I really like is the way both protagonists are privileged in one sense (she's a noble; he's a man) but powerless in another (he's not a noble; she's a woman). As such, they both seek control over their own lives in a very intentional way. Gil Chae knows her marriage will determine the rest of her life, so she's working hard to make sure her husband is a man of her own choosing. She's very much a product of her environment, and she's not interested in changing the world, but her desire to control her fate within the very narrow realm in which she exists makes her feel real and interesting.

For his part, Jing-hyun wants the freedom to live his own life, and realizes that the only way that's possible is to pass as a noble. After watching, I re-read the synopsis, and have to say that I didn't find him cold-hearted at all as he was described; he's cynical and a bit of a hedonist, but not emotionally shut-off or cruel. Neither protagonist is either truly rebellious or subversive, either--they just want to be able to have what they want and aren't particularly interested in fighting injustice or calling for massive change. That's refreshing in a genre where we typically meet characters who are either righteous and pure of heart or evil schemers. These two somehow feel more real, and that makes the love story all the more compelling.

I only have two minor gripes. The first, is that in that scene in episode two where Jing-hyun and his man comment on how down Gil Chae looks, they're positioned behind her as she walks away, and there's never a shot that explains how they would have seen her face. Nitpicky, I know, but the editors should have caught that.

Finally, I love everything about Namgoong Min's performance, but I think he's overdoing it with the fan. There were several points where I found it distracting. But maybe I'm just prone to be more critical on this front because Jang Hyuk used his fan so perfectly in "My Country."

19
6
reply

Required fields are marked *

You’re not alone in the minor gripes. I too was wondering, wait, they didn’t see her face! And tho I understand the why, I could have also done with a little less fan preening.

On the plus side, I also loved our imperfectly perfect characters. So well done.

2
1
reply

Required fields are marked *

I saw this differently. The last time he saw her walk (from her back) she was chirpy and strutting confidently but that night when we saw her she was slumping and he saw that. Hence his comment that she was down. He didn’t have to see her face to know she was down.

1
reply

Required fields are marked *

Okay, and you’re not alone on the fan abuse. He’s overdoing it and I found it distracting too.

3
reply

Required fields are marked *

Haha, I noticed that minor gripe too. I even replayed the scene to check if they actually saw her face lol!

0
reply

Required fields are marked *

I like that you have a good outlook on the two lead characters.

I find Jang Hyun to be quite enigmatic which I like. I'm curious in learning more about his background and how he ends up being a close confidant to the crown prince of the country.
It seems that he attended the most prestigious educational institution in the country, a privilege reserved for sons of high-class nobles. However, the question remains: why was he expelled? Could his political views have been a factor? Was his father demoted while he was a student?

I don't quite buy the fake noble remarks, because I don't trust Gil-chae's judgment or what comes out of her mouth.

Oh, the man with the fan can only be Jang Hyuk, sorry Nam.

9
1
reply

Required fields are marked *

orrrrrr Song Joong Ki. He knows how to work a fan, at least in my view *wiggles eyebrows* 😍

2
reply

Required fields are marked *

I was expecting a good drama, but I was still surprised by the quality. It’s like an old epic Hollywood movie! Those were real oxen pulling those carts. Idk why that struck me, but it did. The scene with the Qing warriors was awesome and fearful.
There were beautiful scenes too, like the young women dancing on the bridge, and the anniversary party was touching. I liked the little scholar hat on the donkey.
I know this drama, though beautiful, is going to break my heart. But if it’s done right, I’m up for it. 💔

14
3
reply

Required fields are marked *

I'm so glad you brought up the scene with the women dancing and singing. Usually I don't like musical interludes in any show--I can even get cranky when I feel like the OST is getting in the way of what should be dialogue--but I loved that little sequence. The scene at the gisaeng house was beautiful, too, thanks to that gorgeous and sad song.

6
2
reply

Required fields are marked *

Dancing noble ladies did give me pause - couldn't help but doubt whether it was allowed - and then their teacher showed up to lecture them against such inappropriate behavior, hah)))

4
1
reply

Required fields are marked *

During the 17th century in Joseon, the Pansori era was born. It seems that the music was specifically selected to reflect this time period.

5
reply

Required fields are marked *

I came ready for tragedy, armed with a tissue box. I just didn’t expect to use said tissues for wiping away tears of laughter. Of course, with Chief Kim Namkoong Min rolling in town, we shouldn’t have expected anything less. NM’s version of Rhett Jang-Hyun is a delightful mix of cynicism and heart, worldly and fun. But an equal shoutout to Ahn Eun Jin’s scheming Scarlett Gil who is petty, vain and a hoot. I liked not only their individual characters but their bickering relationship—such fun. I could see why he falls for her with growing levels of depth as the episodes progress.

However, there were moments I was a little uncomfortable with their pairing. NM looks like a fine, really fine man in his 40s and AEJ looks 15, more so than the courtesan he rejects! Of course, she’s not IRL, nor would it be historically inaccurate if she were that young, but anyway, my love of their dynamic soon pushed me past that. (So don’t hate on me too much :)

The cinematography is everything we were promised and more. The beach sequence, the dream sequence, the sageuk musical, the…wait, I’ve only gotten to the first half of the show. Better stop. Anyway, while I wait for a certain other Beanie to explain why the contrast of the tragedy/idyll, village/larger world worked well (and it did), I think it could have been stitched a little better, perhaps with a wee less contrast in palette, the plantation village life a little less idyllic, but mostly less confusing. It helped that I read the Wiki entries (gulp!) but not that much. Sageuk Gang, you will be needed!

Anyhow, small complaints to what were overall a solid two episodes for me. I’m ready for the epic ride.

9
4
reply

Required fields are marked *

Honestly, I've noticed their age gap too and I'm mostly past it, thinking that this would be common during this time period, at least.

Also, both characters are tough and self-confident so that's a plus.

7
reply

Required fields are marked *

I don't think drama ever specified ages of leads. GC is of a marriageable age, that's clear, likely somewhere in the middle of it - not 15 like that gisaeng ofc but probably not old enough to be called an old maiden yet, because I'm sure her pool of female frenemies wouldn't hesitate to use that card too. JH is ??? - can be anything between mid-20s (his outrage over gisaeng's age hints he's more than few years older) and way over 30. Not to the point of 40+ tho or she'd TOTALLY comment on him being too old for her at least once. Anyway, let's not focus much on that and just think that GC is extra baby-faced while JH is extra mature-faced (which I believe NGM also is irl).

6
reply

Required fields are marked *

OMG, I did not realize NGM was 45, I had in my head that he is 41 or so, but that is a large age gap. At least she is over 30.

5
reply

Required fields are marked *

I felt the same about the age gap until I looked up her age. She looks very young.

1
reply

Required fields are marked *

TIMELINE EPISODE 1 and 2.

OPENING SCENE

1659 - Spring, 10th year of King Hyojong's reign.
- King Hyo-jong ordered inspector Shin Yi Rib to discreetly investigate the truth behind a royal scribe's record involving Crown Prince So-hyun and a man named Lee Jang Hyeon.
- Inspector Shin goes to Hyeminseo and asks Physician Han to enter the secret asylum where the man of interest is being held.

1645 - "May 21st, Crown Prince So-hyun dies."
- Flashback to Lee Jang-hyun on the beach (of non-doom).

CURRENT TIMELINE

1636 - "February, Huang Taiji proclaimed himself emperor and changed the title of his kingdom from Jin to Great Qing. The Qing Dynasty was established in name, but not yet over China."
- Spring, the Fourteenth year of King Injo's reign.
- Joseon envoys return from Jin now Qing.
- Lee Jang-hyun and Yoo Gil-chae meet for the first time in Neunggun-ri village.
- The 60th Wedding Anniversary celebration for Song-chu and Yi-rang.
- "December 9th, The 2nd Manchu invasion aka The Qing invasion."

1592 - May 23rd, Japanese invasion aka the Imjin War.

1627 - January, The 1st Manchu invasion aka the Later Jin invasion.

@sicarius, would it be better if I do it chronologically or follow how it's revealed in the drama?
I still have comments and references to add for each year/event.

15
22
reply

Required fields are marked *

Thank you. It was the two level flashback that threw me off so I appreciate how you matched the timeline to how it is revealed in the show.

And now that I see the link of events in 1645, I am a little bit 💔.

2
0
reply

Required fields are marked *

Comment was deleted

0
reply

Required fields are marked *

Great! I already had missed that the bloody beach was 1645.

4
reply

Required fields are marked *

@kiara, was the beach of non-doom scene from 1645, the year of Crown Prince Sohyeon's death?
I did not expect the story to be told as a flashback. I found the opening scene in 1659 mysterious and intriguing.
I get the impression that the drama will portray Injo in a more sympathetic light. We will see.

2
6
reply

Required fields are marked *

Interesting. My instinct was it would favor Prince Sohyeon. Still, I barely know the surface of Korean history. But whichever way it goes, will it be controversial?

3
1
reply

Required fields are marked *

Same, but I don't think it'll be controversial either way, because this record doesn't exist IRL.

5
reply

Required fields are marked *

@snowflower, I put it there because he is somehow involved with Crown Prince So-hyun.
Since no one knows his whereabouts, there is hope. I also think he was loyal to the crown prince and Injo is looking for someone to blame.
You are probably right though. This is the same writer of Yeonsangun's REBEL.

5
3
reply

Required fields are marked *

@kiara,

I posted some notes on the historical background (first half of 17th c. Joseon) on Kfangurl's blog during the epic Chuno group watch almost 3 years ago. I can edit them and post the info relevant to My Dearest on my wall. Too tired to fish for old comments now...

5
2
reply

Required fields are marked *

Please do share.

0

I did fish my comments on historical background and posted them on my wall.

1

BACKGROUND HISTORY IN CHRONOLOGICAL ORDER.

Grandma Ae Bok and embroidery teacher Hyeon Kyeom shared tales of brave and virtuous women who lived during the barbarians' invasion of 1592 and 1627.

May 23, 1592 – December 16, 1598, Japanese invasion aka the Imjin War.
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Japanese_invasions_of_Korea_(1592%E2%80%931598)

January - March 3rd, 1627: The 1st Manchu invasion or the Later Jin of Joseon.
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Later_Jin_invasion_of_Joseon#:~:text=The%20Later%20Jin%20invasion%20of,sovereign%20tributary%20overlord%20over%20Joseon.

I appreciate that the stories are told by the two women who experienced both invasions firsthand.
Gil-chae's commented.
"She talks like the savages are on their way right now."

9
3
reply

Required fields are marked *

Oh, girl should've known better than saying that, such words SCREAM personally inviting doom to your doors...

5
2
reply

Required fields are marked *

Yes, there is no kidding around when it comes to the northern barbarians.

At this point in history, Hong Taiji had already dispatched his soldiers to secure the border so Ming doesn't interfere with their plan to invade Joseon.
She is right, the barbarians are on their way.

5
1
reply

Required fields are marked *

GC was the epitome of careless youth there. Like it wasn't even that long since the last one, there are still tons of people vividly (because that's not something one can ever forget) remembering horrors of MULTIPLE invasions personally, but do these youngsters only busy with their love troubles care? Nah! The reality check is gonna be brutal.

It was HTJ's father who failed the previous attempt, right? His speech sounded like he ascended the throne not so long ago. Then he's doubly smart to learn from mistakes of previous generations - something his opponents clearly lack.

4

SPRING of 1636, the FOURTEENTH YEAR OF KING INJO's REIGN.

Part 1: “The Tale of Chunhyang” (the swing scene).
(Jumping ahead, saving the politics for later since it's too long to explain).

Gil-chae to Jong-yi. (viki's sub)
"You've heard the rumor as well, right? Far down south in a province called Namwon or whatever, a young master named Lee Mong Ryong, who passed the state exam, fell for a courtesan named Chun Hyang and made her his wife."

Jong-yi
"I did hear the rumors but does that make sense? How dare a mere courtesan ..."

Gil-chae
"Why doesn't it make sense? Anyway, do you know why Lee Mong Ryong fell for Chun Hyang?

Jong-yi
"Well, I heard he fell for her while she was on a swing."

Gil-chae
"Precisely, so why did he fall for her while she rode the swing?

https://world.kbs.co.kr/service/contents_view.htm?lang=e&menu_cate=culture&id=&board_seq=129349&page=16&board_code=akoreas_ani#:~:text=%E2%80%9CThe%20Tale%20of%20Chunhyang%E2%80%9D%20is,a%20young%20girl%20named%20Chunhyang.

The Movie "Chunhyang" (2000) staring a young Cho Seung-woo.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Mwm4FI0oMWs&ab_channel=1994hexiiik

DB movie review by refresh_daemon.
https://www.dramabeans.com/2013/08/movie-review-chunhyang/

8
6
reply

Required fields are marked *

I loved that, including the Chun Hyang story like it was local gossip!

3
5
reply

Required fields are marked *

"Chun Hyang" is the mother of all beloved classics.
I feel like the writer is taking us on a classic easter egg hunt.
Fun fact: The people of Namwon are still celebrating the story of "Chun Hyang." Celebrating the achievement of overcoming class barriers is valuable.

4
4
reply

Required fields are marked *

Love it!
Also, counting on you to find the Easter eggs!

2

@bbstl
Here is another classic folktale for you, but you may already know this from So-hyun's "RIVER WHERE THE MOON RISES."

EPISODE 2. ONDAL the Idiot, Fool, or whatever you call it.

Jang Hyun ran into Gil-chae and her maid on the street at night.
Gil-chae: Were you...waiting for me by chance?
Jang Hyun: What? No, I had business to take care of at school. My gosh.
Gil Chae: Please, let us not do this. How did you know I travel on this road?
Jang Hyun: Look here. There is a limit to my patience. I was...not waiting for you. I was on my way somewhere else. I walked looking straight ahead and nothing else.
Gil Chae: I'm sure you were. That is what everyone else says. Such a lame line, it only foolish Ondal would have used on Princess Pyeonggang, 1000 years ago. Anyhow, I'm busy. (walks off)
Jang Hyun: Foolish O-Ondal? Lame line? Oh, how absurd.

Sometimes I don't get the point of reference since Ondal was the male Cinderella of Goguryeo and Princess Pyeonggang was willing to marry a fool below her status.

https://www.korea.net/NewsFocus/Culture/view?articleId=122048

3

Huh, that’s not a straight line from the story to what Gil Chae said if Ondal turned out to be far from a fool, is it? Maybe Gil Chae had the story backwards 😂 and that’s what he means when he calls her absurd!
Thank you, kiara, I’m glad to know this story.

2

@bbstl
She says random things at times. He is frustrated but she is open and fearless. I think he likes that about her and so do I.

2

HELLO I AM FINALLY HERE

Hmmm I am not sure about whether to do it chronologically or by what the show gives us... maybe it will depend on how many more flashbacks they give us from this point forward, or if they will continue relatively chronologically from 1636 onwards? I think this format works well for this week, and we can always see what next week brings.

(My initial thought is to say Chronological, but it might be better to help people's viewing comprehension first 😂)

3
1
reply

Required fields are marked *

Sounds good!

2
reply

Required fields are marked *

I love me a Seguek, but I feel awfully anxious about sad stories.

As usual @alathe, your recap is fabulous, so good to read them again. I got introduced to recaps through you on this forum (OBY) and I still sometimes go back and read them, they were so good.

I am still on the fence on this one, I will wait for it to finish.

4
0
reply

Required fields are marked *

First thoughts...

SQUEEEEEEEE!!!!!!!!!!!

Finally, finally a show that leaves me feeling so gleeful, giddy and full of heart fluttering sensations.

The leads are so charismatic and absolutely, freaking fabulous.

I am transported to this period in time.

The Cinematography is sublime.

The colour palate and costumes are sublime.

I want more :)

Thanks for a wonderful recap alathe.

10
0
reply

Required fields are marked *

Wow, your recap was such a pleasure to read @alathe!
Had me smiling and laughing out loud.

This beautifully shot drama has completely drawn me in. I know there'll be angst and dire situations so I appreciated the happy, carefree scenes. I wonder if they will be able to juggle more light and serious times instead of all sadness and politics in future episodes.

The juxtaposition of the wedding party and the invaders' charge was compelling yet unsettling.

I had to look it up. I've only seen Namgoong Min in ONE drama and I'm pretty sure he played a villain.. Anyway, I'm so charmed by him here! All of his secret smiles and curious glances. Subtle expressions. And his character is quite a mystery.

It's fun to see both Jang Hyun and Gil Chae having sparks of attraction towards each other. The scene of Jang Hyun tying her hair gave me all the heart flutters when he paused. I love it when cocky characters stumble and get captivated by the other person especially during non-romantic tasks like this one.

I really like the inclusion of the guy singing traditional music. The beautiful song was heartwrenching and totally fitting. Rarely ever see a guy doing the singing too. And I forgot.... Does anyone know why he wears his hair down unlike Jang Hyun? Is it because he is not a nobleman?

9
3
reply

Required fields are marked *

One minor quibble was Gil Chae's falling and landing in Jang Hyun's arms during the swing scene. It just looked super fake. If only they had used another method or made the falling a little more natural...

5
2
reply

Required fields are marked *

Yup, it was the falsest note in their interaction, and unfortunately, weakened the impact of the voiceover and episode closing. The rest of their relationship that followed, however, was so well done I forgave it. In fact, I wished we had more time with them bickering before war arrived.

5
1
reply

Required fields are marked *

Alas, that war waits for noone~

4
reply

Required fields are marked *

Gosh, how I love Namgoong Min and his ability to convey so much with his face and eyes.
@alathe thanks for this terrific recap that helped me understand, enjoy and like the drama much more! It’s so much fun when a recap has you laughing and smiling.
I didn’t love the CGI bird and spool of thread and the fake azaleas for flower picking day but then gave myself a little kimchi slap and got over it in the interests of all the good stuff to come.
The elderly couple’s wedding party was so lovely, what a charming village where it looks like all classes mix and help each other. But still, life is really only good if you’re a noble. I dread to see what will happen to secondary characters that I already like during the war that’s coming.

8
0
reply

Required fields are marked *

Some historical notes:

Joseon was closely aligned with Ming China at the time ( early 17th century). The Jurchens (also called Jin) were considered barbarians by both Ming and Joseon. King Gwanghae (reigned 1608-23) saw the threat that the Jin posed for Joseon, and tried to negotiate with them and to stay neutral in a potential Ming-Jin conflict. That realistic attitude did not sit well with the court officials. Gwanghae was dethroned and exiled, and Injo was installed as king. Injo continued to follow the anti-Jin/pro-Ming policy and as a result the fragile relationship between Jin and Joseon deteriorated. The drama mentioned the Jin invasion of 1627.
By the Second Invasion of 1636, the Jin had become stronger. Their leader proclaimed himself as emperor of the newly-established Qing dynasty. Both Joseon and Ming were doomed...

13
18
reply

Required fields are marked *

I haven’t started the drama yet. But I am going to need all the context and help on my first ever true sageuk. Thanks for this!

4
reply

Required fields are marked *

I don't know if it was intentional or not but I love that you called him KING Gwanghae... 😏🤭

2
16
reply

Required fields are marked *

I'm sure it was intentional since none of us likes the current.

3
2
reply

Required fields are marked *

As it should be~

2
1
reply

Required fields are marked *

I'm going to redo our timeline and add more for the next episode. We should start with Gwanghae and end with Hyojong.

2

Well, he WAS a king. He never received a posthumous temple name (ending with -Jo or -jong) because he was dethroned and his enemies wanted to erase him from history. Gwanghae was his Prince name and that's how he is remembered.

4
12
reply

Required fields are marked *

Oh Iknow.
I just like that you recognised what history, his enemies and even people now sometimes won't.

3
reply

Required fields are marked *

Wasn't he given a proper kingly temple name as a "sorry, you were wronged big time" gesture from SK authorities somewhat recently? I think I read about it, but forgot what the new name was. Wonder if he's still just Gwanghae in newest history books...

1
10
reply

Required fields are marked *

I did not know that! Will try to look the info up.

0

Really???? 🤔🤔

@snowflower let me know if you find anything... A brief search just now didn't bring anything up for myself anyway.

0

@sicarius, my search produced no results, alas...

0

Ahh, alas indeed ~

0

@snowflower @sicarius , now this is royally weird because I SWEAR I read it some time ago! Perhaps it's not on English Wiki yet? Info about k-history in this language seems to be rather incomplete, to put it mildly. Or was it just announcement of plans to do so? Anyway it's too wild of a thing even for my imagination to produce, something is sus here.

3

@gikata, it is possible that the announcement was in another language. I read English and my native language, but neither is related to Asian languages. Thank you for the info. Looking for more Gwanghae information online led me to look up the Manchu language and I fell into a rabbit hole.

3

@snowflower , I can read in 3 languages, but none of them are Asian and this topic is even less researched in the other two so idk if that can explain this situation. All the translated info about him seems to come from the same source, it's basically copy-paste with little to no tweaks *sigh*

Oh, Manchu language in a drama caught me off-guard, it sounded like nothing I've ever heard! Somehow I expected the show to not try hard and just go with badly pronounced Mandarin or even Korean (it always cracks me up when foreigners in kdramas talk in Korean to each other instead of using their own language), but they really did their homework, respect.

5

@gikata I did wonder if it was plans to give him one that you had come across. That did cross my mind. I wonder where the article went 🤔
Funny you should mention languages because I did actually do a quick search of 광해군 (Gwanghaegun) and 묘호 (temple name) in Korean too, and although I can't read Korean, nothing came up for that either. Nothing was picking up those words.

The Manchu, the dialects and accents of those in Uiju, the Japanese, and the Jurchen speaking Korean but poorly, heavily accented and with a limited vocab (plus the joke about him knowing lots of swear words), were all good touches. I imagine the pronunciation of some foreign languages is a little off, but I respect the effort, and since I can't properly tell for anything other than Japanese, and maybe Mandarin... Eh! 😂😂

3

@sicarius , now I wonder whether an article I've read was completely false or perhaps someone's wishful thinking... But damn, they should seriously consider doing that, it's super easy and would mean a big deal to restoring his good name. Not to mention that's a much more productive way of protecting Lee clan's reputation than bitching over silly fantasy dramas very loosely based on historical events...

Hah, swear words is pretty much the first thing everyone picks up when learning new language from environment)))

3

Maybe we should start a petition haha.

Re. Swear words- and yes, exactly! That's what made it! Because it was so realistic hah.

3

I’m a little torn on this one after watching episode 1! Namgoong Min of course is reason 1, 2 & 3 to continue watching this. His acting is really superb, yet again! What threw me off the rails was the anticipation of an epic, serious, heart wrenching story, which seemed reasonable after watching the first few minutes. But then the stark cont