Welcome to the Open Thread, everyone! Thank you for joining me on this watch of sparkling modern retro classic, Queen In-hyun’s Man! 😍
SOME IMPORTANT ANNOUNCEMENTS, before we begin:
ZERO SPOILER POLICY
1. We will be adopting a ZERO SPOILER POLICY for this Open Thread, except for events that have happened in the show, up to this point.
The spoiler tags don’t work in email notifications, therefore, please take note that WE WILL NOT BE USING SPOILER TAGS FOR THIS OPEN THREAD.
ANY AND ALL SPOILERS WILL BE REDACTED to protect first-time viewers in our midst (although, I’d appreciate it if you would save me the trouble of having to redact spoilers, heh 😅).
This includes, but is not limited to, how characters &/or relationships develop, later in the show.
We need to protect the innocent! 😉
2. HOWEVER!! If you’d like to discuss spoilers from a rewatcher’s point of view, I’ve created a SPOILER ZONE for you, where you can discuss all the spoilers you’d like, without the need for spoiler warnings. You can find it here!
Without further ado, here are my reactions to this set of episodes; have fun in the Open Thread, everyone! ❤️
It’s literally been a full decade since I first watched this show, so this is pretty much as fresh as it gets, in terms of having a rewatch feel like a first watch.
One of the main things that strikes me, during my watch of this first episode, is just how quickly things move along. Gosh, Show gets a whole lot of set-up done, in just 45 minutes.
That’s a far cry from some of the movie-length episodes we see these days, and honestly, it doesn’t feel like Show suffered from having less screen time.
In fact, thanks to the tighter editing and the condensed screen time, it feels like I’m on a bit of a rollercoaster. I just.. don’t have time to get bored, with this one.
Immediately, with Show’s opening scenes, we get a good sense of the whimsical sort of vibe that will dominate much of our story.
I think this is super helpful, because we spend a good chunk of our initial minutes, on the Joseon backstory, which is far from whimsical, and might therefore turn away unsuspecting viewers who aren’t in the mood for palace intrigue.
I like that without having to know too much background story, we get a good general idea of the situation in our Joseon timeline, and where our male lead Kim Boong Do, is situated in all of this.
So far, we know that he’s loyal to Queen In-hyun, has fast reflexes, fights well, and is pretty shrewd as well, given that he’s smart enough to figure out what’s going on in the palace, and has a plan in place, to protect Queen In-hyun, and take down the people who are plotting her death.
That’s.. pretty much all we need to know about Kim Boong Do, for a start, and it’s impressive, that Show accomplishes all this, in a matter of minutes.
On Hee Jin’s side of things, I am immediately charmed by her.
This has a lot to do with Yoo In Na’s personal charm, certainly, but my goodness, isn’t she as cute as a button?? 😍😍 She’s adorable in a way that only people who are naturally charming can be adorable, and I am very quickly smitten, and in her corner.
One of the things that makes Hee Jin so endearing in my eyes, is the fact that she’s so scrappy.
What I mean is, in Dramaland at least, lots of beautiful women just aren’t the scrappy sort. When we have a scrappy female character, most dramas would have you believe that she’s not beautiful (even if she really is), because it just.. seems to come with the territory.
In this case, however, Hee Jin is clearly beautiful – but that doesn’t prevent her from being hardworking, determined, and willing to put up with less than ideal situations, while in pursuit of her acting dreams.
There’s the way she quickly improvises by borrowing a pair of heels from a random stranger (who turns out to be a fan), when her own heels break. And there’s the way she’s willing to change in a makeshift changing room, even though there’s a risk of being discovered / exposed.
Plus, there’s the way she states it so plainly to Han Dong Min – that he’s a big Hallyu star, but she’s not, and therefore has to keep trying out at auditions – is so matter-of-fact, and almost defiant, which I kinda love.
It makes me feel like she won’t allow her less than ideal starting point, to get her down; she’s going to do what it takes, and I kind of love her for it, already. 😍
Last but not least, there’s how she’s not above kneeling over drain cover, to answer her phone that’s dropped through the grating to the drain below. The way she huddles over that drain cover, and yells her gratitude to the PD, for casting her, is so down-to-earth and endearing.
As for Han Dong Min.. I remember hating him a lot more on my first watch, but so far, I have to say that I find him more annoying than hateful.
What I mean is, it’s definitely not nice of him to tease Hee Jin the way he does, when he comes upon her in a compromising situation like that. But I realize that he doesn’t actually have any intention of exposing her to his co-workers, like he threatens.
He’d been teasing her for fun, and while it’s still not a cool thing to do, I feel like he might have been teasing her like that, because Hee Jin’s just really cute. Y’know, like how boys like to tease the girls they like, at the playground? Kinda-sorta like that.
Again, to be clear, this is not cool. But it’s not malicious, I just wanted to mention that.
It’s not clear whether Han Dong Min has anything to do with Hee Jin being successfully cast as Queen In-hyun, but I’d like to think that Hee Jin earned that opportunity on her own. Let’s see if that turns out to be true.
So far, it’s not clear how Boong Do travels to the present, but from the way the fighting scene plays out, it seems that it has something to do with the talisman which his gisaeng friend had given him.
It makes lots of sense, actually, that Boong Do ends up in the exact same room in the exact same palace, in 2012 – which is now being used as a filming set. I would much rather this, than have him appear in some random location elsewhere.
And, it makes perfect sense that this would be where he runs into Hee Jin, because she’s just been cast as Queen In-hyun.
Ahhh. I love how organically this fits together, right away.
The first meeting between Boong Do and Hee Jin is low-key amusing, as Boong Do asks her if he’s dead, or dreaming.
What I do really like, is the fact that Boong Do appears to be so observant of his surroundings. He watches and absorbs everything that he sees before him, before formulating his question to Hee Jin.
And how genial of Hee Jin, to not only offer him snacks, but cheerfully tell him that he’s probably just been drinking too much.
Cute! Very cute.
What an efficient first episode this turned out to be. Not only do I feel like I’ve got a solid grasp of our two timelines and our two leads and what they’re about, I’m also genuinely curious to see what happens next, and soon. Very nicely done.
We get more set-up this episode, which means that by the time we reach the end of this episode, it feels like we’re all geared up and ready to roll, to wherever Show takes us next.
I hope that’s correct, because I would like to see Boong Do and Hee Jin sharing the screen more. Show’s just way more fun, when they’re together. And so far, in these first two episodes, they’ve spent more time apart, in their individual timelines, than together, in 2012.
Hopefully, that gets adjusted, going forward. *rubs hands*
For now, we’re given more context about Boong Do’s background, and I’m rather taken aback to learn that he’s lost his entire family, due to political machinations. The scenes of his family members being killed in various ways, was sad to watch.
Ack. I can only imagine what a nightmare that must have been, for Boong Do to live through that.
Another interesting nugget of information we get, is that Boong Do is a widower.
Show isn’t super clear on whether his wife had been killed by his enemies, or if she’d died of an illness, but the fact remains that Boong Do’s lost his family in every way that one can lose a family, it seems.
These reveals have my heart going out to Boong Do in a big way already.
Not to mention that on top of all this, is the fact that his enemies are now actively after his life, because of his involvement with Queen In-hyun’s affairs.
Gosh, can’t a guy catch a break around these parts?? 😭 I’ve just met Boong Do, and I already feel so sorry for him.
I do like that Boong Do proves himself to be a quick thinker. We’d already had an inkling of that, in episode 1, but we see more of that in play, this episode, like when he talks his way out of the palace, even though there is an order in force, that no one is allowed to leave.
Gotta love a male lead who’s good with his brain AND his fists. 🤩
Over on Hee Jin’s side of things, I continue to enjoy her a great deal.
One of the things that I find myself liking the most about her, this episode, is how she is so principled.
For example, she doesn’t want anything to do with Dong Min, in principle, because of how he’s behaved in the past, not only towards her, but also, in being a serial flirt, with the ladies.
So when he comes to her home and basically tells her that he’d like them to date again, she reacts like he’s a crazy jerk, and isn’t moved at all, by his attempts to talk her around.
Plus, she continues to insist that she passed the audition and won the role fair and square, and was selected by the PD himself, and that it has nothing to do with Dong Min. I love her bluster around this, and I love that she won’t just take Dong Min’s words at face value.
I’m completely charmed by her, and so I guess I kind of get why Dong Min’s completely charmed by her too?
I mean, his approach is childish and petty, using tricks and bluffs and all, which is not great, but I understand why he’s so beside himself with hearts in his eyes for Hee Jin. His technique is sorely lacking, but right now, I can’t fault his taste. 😅
It’s so great, though, that Hee Jin is so disgusted by Dong Min and the surprise attack kiss that he launches on her, that she brushes her teeth like there’s no tomorrow. 😂
I also really like how Hee Jin genuinely wants to be pleasant, and just get along with others. Like when her snooty co-star, who plays Lady Jang, uses unreasonable airs around Hee Jin, Hee Jin doesn’t fight back, and tries to smooth things over by being agreeable.
The stress does prove a bit too much for Hee Jin, though, particularly with Dong Min claiming that he did actually help her land the role, and that’s how we have her running off to get some fresh air, just before the press conference.
..Which is when Boong Do comes crashing through thin air, with not only his horse, but an attacker on his tail.
What a shock it must be for Hee Jin. I completely understand her reflexive instinct to screeeam, loud and long. 🙊😅
Plus, how very shocking, that Boong Do overcomes his attacker by killing him, right in front of Hee Jin – and the attacker’s blood even gets on her clothes. Eep.
Even more shocking, is how the attacker’s body then dissolves into thin air, right before their eyes. Yikes.
It’s no wonder Hee Jin collapses into a dead faint; it’s just too much, all of it.
How nifty, though, that Boong Do’s got those quick reflexes, which have him catching Hee Jin, and cradling her head, before it hits the ground. It’s way too soon to squee, but I kinda want to, anyway. 😅
I can’t wait to see what unfolds next, particularly if Boong Do sticks around in 2012 longer this time, compared to his last visit. 😁