What an awesome PS by the always talented fans at DC gallery.
I’ll admit I have sweaty palms clicking the eps this week, nervous this will fall apart like so many dramas prior. We know the drill, drama gets better and better, slowly latching on, then a JOJ8 drops kind of out of nowhere. And what’s next?! I was totally prepared for a few slower filler eps, JaeHee to make an entrance (right!? I’m so not sure) and that takes some drama-brick laying. But nope, still this assured pace not skipping a beat with punches to my gut, or some gooey body part inside me that is infested and out of control. There are scenes, quite a few of them where I go do my little claps and cheers and somersaults in my heart for a job well done.
Super wordy, probably my worst case of babbling mess. Spoilers, gifs ahoy. All credit to DC JOJ gallery and baidu bar.
This drama does things to me, episode after episode, after yet another episode with 10. Words and actions effectively propped us right there with every character when he/she experience the emotion, having that thought, making the decision, hatching that murky necessary scheme because we can reach back from their experience, often presented to us earlier on as a congruent part of storytelling as in, but given more significance for character growth as well. It’s not perfect, but it is not biting off more than it can chew. The plot is holding my attention, every turn, it’s not the most convoluted storytelling or twisty character development, but it is simply because they feel real and alive to me in their confines, I care, I’m invested, I want to know. It may not be seminal, dazzlingly brilliant and flawless but it’s so tugging things inside me. All that matters really.
The director seems to stay put from keeping his meddling to a minimum and let the scene and the actors speak for themselves. I LOVE IT. A scene is still nicely framed and directed, but the effort is not whoring for our praise, distracting us from what is actually happening. There must be a trust and confidence in the material and his able actors. After suffering That Winter, how much more do we appreciate close-ups making a point? He put the storytelling first, punctuating it only when it serves a purpose. I wished the music can use even better editing, there are tender swoony moments with the OTP when it’s few seconds extra just to rhyme with the completion of the scene, like a cassette tape autoflipping, repeating a few notes which would have been more poignant if left out. The storytelling has a flow that is a breeze to follow even with so much going on with all the tangents. Everyone has a role in the story, a chess piece at play. I’m not aware of every detail thrown in maybe serving more than one purpose, too used to plots being forgotten, left hanging. Instead, past events are the levain, leavening the story from point to point, livening up the character from within, just like past experiences, memories never really part with us, but shape us further in life.
I love everything about this episode, another layer is added to the characters across the board. Many tropes and plots are nothing inventive, but given a better use than usual, well controlled without any milking it, moving the plot along without ever tiresome.
Take the very first shot of the episode, where the ladies exchange loaded glances, silently announcing ‘game is on!’ with their eyelasers. Usually the deal begs us and all the bystanders in frame to roll our eyes out waiting for them to be done taxing their eyeballs, camera slowmo swirling, putting everyone else at a standstill, they are in a vacuum with no connection to scene. Here OkJung is there to make her defiant protest with her body blocking InHyun’s path. She got the promise of his hand, the king, and their mutual feelings exchanged. He risked his precious life for her for all to bear witness, she is his most important person, yet she’s left rotting outside the gate, not even allowed to see how he is while the other woman is rushing in to be his wife…her place if all that matters is the heart.
She has every reason to be the cliche, a lowly girl flopping herself, inconveniencing the noble entourage. In Hyun is so terrifically fleshed out this episode, she gives OJ a stare, is alarmed, fully aware of OJ’s point but halt herself casting another look at OJ, her passive aggressive way of cutting OJ to size, lest OJ forgets she is the queen in waiting and OJ deserves no such attention as any worthy rival, is nothing but a discarded slave. Her deliberate brushing off prompts OkJung intensifying her stare a stare that is not leaving InHyun one moment, she has no concern of her own being, and we only got a moment to dwell in the charged wordless exchange when she’s promptly thrown to the ground by the guard doing his job.
I love PrinceD in this episode. He is not the noble idiot. He has not lost his composure and priorities. He shelters OJ to keep her chastity intact not purely out of his love for her against decorum and earning him new enemies in the QueenMotherDowager camp. It was after a wise discussion with his faction, backed up by loyalty to the king. Very very smart.
*I know I’m being very nnoying but SIGH one last time: SANGYEOB HAPPY BIRTHDAY CUTIE! Y U SO CUTE BUT Y U CANT ACT?!?!!* The character construct itself is glorious. He is tactful and perceptive. It is convincing why the brilliant young king has complete trust in him as his best friend and confidant. he offers OJ a very viable argument, he let her know the formidable Lee Soon, the savvy ambitious, at times ruthless king he knows the best for most of his life as his friend, his confidant and his servant. He informed her of the outward pull of the political marriage in progress no man can deter. It is not only self-serving but objectively a better and safer way out for OJ is to follow him to Qing. He’s forthright with her, when he told her the king won’t be looking for her even if he knows her whereabouts because love does not have a place in the king’s heart, it is based on the Lee Soon’s own words prior to his fall for OJ.
PrinceD respects her, he respects the king, and most winning of all he respects their love and at the same time let his thoughts and frustration be known to OJ, so she can be most informed to make up her own mind. He honors his promise to her plead, every word answered by the King stabbing into his heart, but he is most heartbroken, with only the king’s discarded robe to mope with, his hands are dirty in sending her off to a place he can no longer protect her. He must also be aware of his own fate, he can’t protect her, but it doesn’t mean he won’t risk his life for her. Now he’s out in the open an enemy to minister Min’s faction when he has been living with a meticulous teetering, staying out of trouble all along.
The depth and shades given to InHyun this episode is so alluring, she is a very worthy and intriguing character on her own right. How awesome is that?! IH is groomed since birth to be the queen, the political accessory to her ambitious father, but she has a mind of her own, making her own conscious decisions, at times more worldly than her Dad. She is not raised to indulge in the freedom of messy human feelings. She is from the same pod as Lee Soon, actually. Love is nothing worthy for the noble birth. When InKyung took her place as Queen, she was pissed because she is obviously the better fit for a queen than IK, pondering the king’s true affection doesn’t bear much of a thought. She was never as shaken and threaten in the core as with OJ when his love is at play. Her notion of love in marriage is confucian obedience, she is filial and the role model of a properly raised virtuous yanbang lady, befitting the mold set out for her by the male dominated society. We know her as bright and considerate with a very keen, attentive, observing eye, her winning qualities are serving the purpose to be a competent queen., of course. As sheltered as her life must be, she can process ideas foreign to her. She is raised to be the moon, the auxiliary to the sun, the King, giving off an eternal passive reflection of his glow. Bewildered, she can still take in OJ’s fancy to be a firefly, a lowly birth giving her all for a dazzling short-lived glory. OJ has been leaving an impression on IH by speaking her mind. How she has been engaging with OJ is so spot on for her characterization. Never for a moment did she not keep OJ at her proper station in her mind, but she is calculatedly polite and engaging with the proper distant etiquette. She will initiate a conversation with OJ, but it was never intended to be friendly. OJ will be her seamstress, a very able servant advantageous to acquaint in the court. While all the coincidences of OJ and LeeSoon bloomed a breathtaking romance, OJ’s wit and talent impresses and threatens IH. It is because she is keeping a keen eye on OJ that she senses that something disconcerting: their blossoming romance. All is now awaken, with her shaky hands, I wonder if IH is contemplating her own true feelings maybe for the first time, nursing Lee Soon. We are as unsure as her hands are shaky, the only definitive is the king will never love her like OJ, that might’ve sparked a want in her, a want for the intimacy, for simply touching his chest instead of be chaste and settle with his hands……we never desire things we do not know existed.
Even QueenMotherDowager is given more meat. I’m still peeved by the OTTing, but she is more than a necessary devil. She honors her duty. Her role is not only be a minion to minister Min, serving his agenda and their faction, she is also a mother and will sacrifice for her son, her country, betting on superstition, repenting as in she is at least aware of her sins against her son.
I love only Lee Soon knows what brought him back from coma. As cheesy as it is with the whole head trauma and the acupuncture forming new synapses patching memories connecting dots and thus jolting him back to life (or his Mom’s prayer in icy waters have a part too, or the horrible person in me thinks her pesky presence leaving him alone has healing powers)… I’m so digging it. It is a promise he did not keep that he’s revisiting, the promise of his hand to the girl that caused his heart to flutter for the first time the one who is keeping him hanging on his life now, when he realizes she is OJ. This is fated childhood romance put to good use. His first taste of love is not life-changing. The life he’s leading now stays on its destined course, mostly. It is a crush that he’s grown out of, a fond but vague memory almost forgotten, the promise dishonored. He is not conscious of that awakening has never left him, without which he may not have cast another look at the beautiful girl of lowly birth at all.
Oh LORD have mercy on us ALL:
YAI, oh YAI. OH MY HOTNESS YAI!!!! He is on fire. He has gravitas. I do not know how many takes that scene took, but I will bottle every one of them and make a weapon of massive panting with it. It makes me so happy I can tell this is delightful for him. He is more and more attesting by the scene and it’s resonating in his Lee Soon. He is formidable when necessary, mixed with vulnerability and lovelorn the next. And I’m still in shock, utter shock he and KTH has so much chemistry it is boundless and he is aware of it and the suave, how he is carrying himself makes his king down right too smexy he is unreal. What he replied to every testy question of PrinceD is spot on for the young King, starting with what his beliefs, his priority in the core…ending with a stern and assured exception, a change of heart because of this lady, he can heck it all as if it, his throne, has never existed. Swoony befitting words because he’s young and untested still, because things are rosy and boulders are not falling yet.
HAHA but I do concur with the baidu dearies he may be enjoying the…horizontal scene with KTH too much, there is this split second of a boyish gloating smile that I’m not too sure if it’s in character. How we have the building blocks for what forms the character, he is young and passionately, madly in love, that is this young king’s irresistible charisma, but his cold ruthlessness can be switch on at a wimp, even to his dearest, he did not hesitate showing it to his mother when she’s in his way.
No one can not love that intimate scene, even when a romance progresses this naturally in a drama, we are usually shortchanged from witnessing the intimacy. It is not my pervie fangirl talking here, because if she’s present she would demand some defining silhouette in the translucent 中衣 of YAI’s back side the smexy is most proud of. Charged with emotional intimacy, the pillow talk is so lovely I can feel their love grows with every subsequent word, the embrace, making even consummation itself prior less precious than every living moment they are sharing after.
*on top of my kink for their lovely height difference, his hand is so huge against her tiny face *__* …and this time, he does not hesitate to touch her like he wanted to after the hot kiss in the rain*
This is too good to be true. This is cheesy, but it’s the power of love at work, giving OJ this new strength, new faith to just live for love alone, not for anything else, let alone a title. We sense the disconcerting in OJ and all of us watching the scene has this annoying irking we all want to shush it, but can’t. *sigh* So she Live For Love, and without his love, she literally can’t…live, huh?! Enjoy it while we can guys.
Let it be known I find Sung Dong Il and his Jang Hyun very magnetic. I can’t stop my urge looking forward to his scenes on my screen. This is one shady character that is so chewing up scenery, very intriguing and so understandable.
He makes menacing scheming attractive I’ve flushed my morals down the drains. This is a character with his wheels constantly turning at high gear for survival for his agenda, and oh how the mind can be the most attractive organ of all! This is how my dream baddie schemer should be, a meek weasel on the surface so he can lay low all the while plotting his revenge, just underneath that a cold shrewd mind is churning every breathing second. He’ll let you know he’s up to something when your knowledge is to his advantage, but otherwise the poker face is always on. It is not strange of me, is it? Who doesn’t grow a special eternal soft spot for Song’s Daddy in Reply 1997?!?!?!?!
Even big baddie Min can be read like a book, in a good way. I get where he’s coming from, a slave girl is not worthy of meddling in his business let alone when the future of his daughter, himself and his entire clan is at stake. What spit out of his mouth is disgusting but that is the harsh reality.
How kickass is every word OJ spit back at him though?!?! It is again their love giving her this clout to step up and size up big bad wolf minister Min. And a itsy bitsy KTH is somehow as large in presence as all those terrifying evil men combined. She is the king’s woman, their love is the most noble worthy thing regardless of her lowly birth. Even though it’s not effective to alter her demise, especially when her Uncle has a hand in the manipulation, I can not put it to words how much I love OJ not making the connection of her young love with Lee Soon till now. I do not remember seeing OJ flashing back to the puppy love, it is always LS feeling the rendezvous. Gah, I love a heroine who can put aside a crush which is trivial tbh, and a betrayal and let it not make an emotional dent in her. Now that she made the connection, it’s just a cherry on the cake.
I respect IH more and more every passing scene, maybe not love but we should be taking notes of how to succeed as a Joseon’s courtlady by her playbook. Her priority is not self-serving, but preservation of her king, his throne. This is what she’s trying to hammer in the point every exchange with Lee Soon. Without which, how safe and sound she has built her own fortress is futile. We can totally see her insight worming into LS’s heart later on whether he is conscious of it or not (if that’s the writer’s intent). Her wisdom gives her the confidence in holding her own, how brilliant of her to have the insight of time is a man’s, and more so a beautiful woman’s best enemy and she can use it to her advantage in this war of the flowers? She is a graceful, honorable presence in his court, she stated her worth and what exactly she wants at her end so eloquently. This episode alone has so many solid scenes it is getting ridiculous but the one between LS and IH must be one of my favorite thus far. The king calls IH to meet him alone in his chamber, he does not hesitate to hurt her pride professing his love for JOJ. He made it a point to end every hurtful praise to IH’s ears with her name, JOJ. YAI’s face is at times scary, like a prowling lion in front of his prey, but it’s also laden with helpless pleading. He is bluffing. He is entrapped, he can not follow his heart without the dire political consequences, it will be a death for him, losing everything he’s gained at his court because of a woman. He can not make himself to do the deed and he’s actually begging for IH’s help.
The ball is in IH’s court, his only way out is to scare her off a loveless marriage, thus freeing him to follow his heart. But what terrific game IH has, what is the worth of her happiness against his throne?! Nothing. She is softly and gently slapping sense into him with her eloquent words. This is for his good. Love has no place with what is at stake. Country is above all, that is the duty of her birth and so is his. It is not her choice to call off the marriage, it is also never his. She is not doing it to rob anything that is not hers, happiness is what she’s after, it is the legacy of Queen, the stability of the country. She will even look for OJ for him, let him have his romantic dallying on the side. And most terrifying of all, these are no truer words, and SukJeong is finally grasping the helplessness of their fate. She talked some sense into him and he is deflated, yet looking at her with some new understanding. YAI has it all written on his face, not that HSH is any less awesome.
I do not know if SDI ahjusshi watched a truckload of Animal Planet for this role, but this is one stealthy face of a predator in ambush, his prey a bite away, nonchalantly showing his minion the ropes. I absolutely love he lets his Jang Hyun loose, unable to contain the glee all over his face when OJ is joining him as partner of crimes. Jang Hyuk has been walking a tight-rein for revenge, without much of a misstep, and this is the moment befitting a cheer for all the years he has bottled up.
KTH is leaving me in awe, still. How fucking shuai is she?! Last time she made up her mind entering those palace gates, it’s purely out of love for her Mom and her love for a regular guy Lee Soon. This time, it’s for love and desire and want and LOATHING. She may still have a flicker at the beginning of the conversation, but the cunning wolf uncle is nailing the coffin throwing in the fact the despicable monster who humiliated her, stampeded all over her love for Lee Soon, and have every intention to burn her alive is the father of IH. She is growing thorns before our eyes learning the fact, sparking that dark passion for revenge. We lament the old OJ forever gone, but still she plays her with such heartbreakingly earnesty. We are all cheering for OJ to go bite them, all of them, and make them PAY, while wanting so much to reach in the screen and give her a hug. She is beyond effective now, this is downright powerful. And so within half an episode, Uncle and all these external push and pull planted this seed of desire in her that is no longer simply his love, but tainted with the drive for the power and vendetta, all these things are more than she should hope for, and once she has it, and her ultimate demise in the hand of the king she loves, it’s no longer simply his doing at play. And to juxtapose IH, as eloquent and moving and stately and subservient are her gentile words, she is harboring a desire she should not., One can’t be unfazed with those passionate words from this charismatic young king declaring his love for a woman, even if the lucky (or not) lady is not you, may never ever be you. It may be precisely his explosive professing of his love, to the point he’s thinly veiling a plea for her to let him go that strikes a cord in her still virtuous heart. His love is probably something she should not ever dream for, it’s outside her ‘station’, especially when she’s now bringing back the person he loves betting on her wit can put everything in a tight rein, on top of striving for his heart.
There is a scene on the editing floor that the DC JOJ gallery fans are furious about:
They filmed a hug, the scene when Lee Soon finally finds OJ who is standing at the terrace waiting for him. They planned for the 2 to run to each other in a lovely urgent embrace. THEN HE CARRY THE WILLING HER BACK TO BEDCHAMBER. I share the fans anger, ME WANT too!! I care not of the skinship but this makes so much sense, I would desperately want to dash to a YAI in a hot sobbing embrace if he comes looking for me. WHO WOULDN’T?!?!
I have no idea what TaeHee said but haha I sensed she is like one of the guys on set, not the shy type. haha I’m imagining she said something pervie like how about I touch your butt AhIn?! XDXDXDXDXDXD
More bts gifs: YAI is just being a notty boy joking around where his hands should be placed <_<