Open Thread: Queen In-hyun’s Man Episodes 9 & 10

Welcome to the Open Thread, everyone! I don’t think I’ve ever been so happy to see someone in a phone booth, as in this scene – which is why I had to have it headline our post today. 🤩



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! ❤️

My thoughts

Episode 9

Ooh. Innnteresting.

I have to confess, Show had me completely befuddled in the first couple of minutes, this episode, because it’s a scene that we’ve already seen before. I legit wondered if I’d gotten mixed up on which episode I was on, or if the episode had somehow been mislabeled. 😅

It was only after a bit of back and forth, that I decided to just watch a few minutes of this episode, to see if it was possibly the right one.

And of course it was, as you would know by now, if you’re reading these notes. 😁

Show was just getting ready to clue us in on the alternate reality that had taken place, upon the talisman being sliced in half, is all.

I find it a very novel and interesting approach, that in 2012, Hee Jin is the only one who remembers the version of events with Boong Do in it, while everyone else thinks she’s crazy (or sick, or dreaming), because they’d lived through the new and different version of events.

And then in our Joseon timeline, it’s the direct opposite, with Boong Do being the only one who’s lost his memory, while everyone else remembers all the weird oddities around his behavior and movements, during the period when he’d been time traveling.

I can honestly say I haven’t come across another show that treats time travel in a similar way, with the effects being different in different timelines, so this is all very novel.

Additionally, the fact that things are “leaking” through to Boong Do, despite his having lost his memory, indicates that the way these time travel rules are applied, aren’t super strict.

I feel like if he’s able to subconsciously retain fragments of information, like modern phrases, and Queen In-hyun’s posthumous title, this indicates that perhaps the emotional connection that he has with Hee Jin, is strong enough to overcome the physics of these time travel rules?

I’m also happy to say that the contrast in treatment between our two timelines, means that I was entertained by both timelines this episode, albeit in different ways.

In our 2012 timeline, I was amused at the fact that Hee Jin’s alterna-reality is that Dong Min is her boyfriend.

While this Dong Min is much nicer to Hee Jin, I still enjoyed the idea of him being so perplexed at the fact that he’s got an imaginary love rival, thanks to Hee Jin “dreaming” of having met a man by the name of Kim Boong Do. 😁

I actually find it really interesting, that as Hee Jin encounters these bits of new-reality information, she actually gets memories that back up this new reality, while still retaining her original memories of Boong Do.

That seems rather unusual, doesn’t it? I feel like in most time travel stories, you either keep one set of memories or the other; you don’t typically get to keep both.

I’m rationalizing that, similar to Boong Do’s experience, Hee Jin’s emotion connection to Boong Do is helping her to rise above the physics of these time travel rules. At least, in my head, that’s the reason she’s able to retain two sets of memories, when logically, she should only retain one.

I have to say, Yoo In Na’s delivery of Hee Jin’s tears, as she cries over the fact that nobody else remembers Boong Do, is so very believable.

There’s a perfect blend of confusion, heartbreak and plaintiveness about her, as she asks Soo Kyung if Soo Kyung can’t remember Boong Do either. Just really well done, in my view.

Over on Boong Do’s side of things, I enjoyed watching him slowly come around to the idea that he’s forgotten someone very important, and needs to find her again.

Ah! I am also pleased that Show clues us in to the fact that Boong Do’s topknot is a fake one.

So, his hair is still short; his servant had just given him a fake one, so that there wouldn’t be a furore over Boong Do cutting off his hair (a big no-no at the time, as it was considered disrespectful to one’s parents, to whom one is indebted for one’s body).

Once again, Boong Do’s adaptable, analytical mind comes to the rescue.

I mean, yes, there are oddities around him, but I feel like most people would be more dismissive of these oddities, than Boong Do.

I like that he’s open minded enough to consider the possibility, given that it sounds so bizarre that the talisman had led him to a woman whom he’d considered a savior, in a place where he’d learned odd turns of speech, and Queen In-hyun’s posthumous title.

I’m glad that Hee Jin’s convinced herself (mostly) that Boong Do must be real, and even goes to wait for him at the phone booth in the park, at the appointed time of his next visit.

It’s too bad that instead of Boong Do, it’s Dong Min who shows up.

Boong Do still needs to (a) find that talisman, and (b) figure out a way to make it work, now that it’s been sliced into two, so that he can find his way back to Hee Jin, and hopefully recover all his lost memories at the same time.

I.. hope that that’s not too much to ask. 😅

Episode 10

I realize that this pair of episodes was supposed to be our angsty stretch, since our OTP is separated for most of it, but it occurs to me, that this set of episodes was actually not very angsty to watch.

I think that’s a big reason why I liked this show so much, back when I first watched it. The angsty stretch isn’t hard to watch, and I always felt like our story was moving along at a nice pace.

And, it totally doesn’t hurt, that my big ask of Show, to let Boong Do get his talisman back, and figure out how to make it work, and find his way back to Hee Jin, AND get his memories back, is completely fulfilled. Wow. And I thought I might’ve been asking for too much, even.

Nice work, Show. Really nice work. 👏🏻

I think one of the things that really helps to make this separation work, is that each in their own ways, Boong Do and Hee Jin have their minds on each other, and basically refuse to gloss over the past and forget, the way the people around them are saying they should.

Even though Boong Do can’t remember much of anything at all, his instincts tell him to hedge on the marriage that the King wants to bestow on him.

And even though Hee Jin’s been convinced on the surface, by all the arguments that Boong Do had been a dream, she just.. can’t let go of him.

I love that detail, that she keeps tabs on him via the historical records, and gets all peeved, upset and jealous, when she reads that the King had match-made Boong Do with the allegedly very beautiful daughter of the Prime Minister.

I do think that it’s because our OTP continues to cling to each other like this, even when the circumstances dictate that they should do otherwise, it makes their separation so much more bearable.

It helps to buoy the narrative, in a manner of speaking, and for that, I’m grateful. It would’ve been a real drag, if Show had taken a different approach, and had Boong Do happily accept that marriage, for example. 🙈

I also find it amusing that Hee Jin is instinctively so repelled by Dong Min’s nearness, even though, in this alterna-reality, he’s supposed to be her boyfriend.

There’s something quite romantic, isn’t there, in the idea that every cell in Boong Do and Hee Jin, rebels against the reality that they’re being fed?

It somehow gives me a good amount of gratification, to see that Hee Jin’s ready to break up with Dong Min, because she simply can’t bring herself to carry on the charade of a relationship with him any longer.

On that note, I thought I ought to at least mention Soo Kyung, in all of this.

I concede that Soo Kyung comes on rather strong, especially at the part where she threatens to quit being Hee Jin’s manager, if she breaks up with Dong Min right before she’s due to attend that awards show with him.

At the same time, I think it’s only fair to acknowledge that as far as Soo Kyung knows – especially with her altered memories – Hee Jin really is acting very strangely, and it really would be a PR nightmare, if Hee Jin were to break up with Dong Min, after causing a furore by dating him in the first place.

Also, I do think that Show means for Soo Kyung’s behavior to lean funny, rather than aggravating, so there’s that.

That said, I love that Boong Do really does put his life on the line, in order to find his missing memories, AND HE SUCCEEDS!!! HUZZAH!!! 🤩

I’m just so, SO glad that Boong Do gets his memories back, and it’s just so gratifying, to see that signature twinkle come back to his eyes, when he remembers Hee Jin, and how adorable she is, and how much he likes her. 😍

I love that he makes straight for the telephone booth in the park, because that’s where they’d agreed to meet. Aw. Every little bit of evidence that he remembers, and cares, and wants to stand by his word, just makes me melt a bit, y’know?

It’s a bummer that Soo Kyung doesn’t let Hee Jin answer his call, but.. in Soo Kyung’s defense, she can’t actually remember him, even though he’s got his memories back?

And, given the timing of it all, the manager in her can’t afford to let Hee Jin go nuts over Boong Do’s appearance, right before the awards show?

I’m just glad that Boong Do is resourceful enough to figure out where Hee Jin will be, and finds his way there.

I love the idea that they are so hyperaware of each other, that Hee Jin would manage to spot him in the crowd like that.

Eeee!!! The way they lock gazes, with Boong Do giving Hee Jin that warm, affirming blink, just gives me all kinds of warm fuzzies.

It’s like he’s assuring her that he’s there now, and I am so here for it!

Now, going forward, let’s have our OTP share some quality time in 2012, pretty please? 😍

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1 year ago

Ah, these episodes were angsty but the angst worked, imo. I loved that they both can’t let go of each other (or the vibes that there’s something more, for Boong Do) despite their realities telling them otherwise. Also, how smart of Boong Do to make his way to 2012 and figure out what’s happening! He really is so smart.

About her manager – I know it was aggravating when she lied to Hee Jin about Boong Do calling. I was frustrated too. But to be fair to her, Boong Do doesn’t sound real and seems like just a figment of Hee Jin’s imagination. And given that Hee Jin is supposed to be at an awards show presenting an award, I don’t blame her for not telling her so that Hee Jin won’t disappear and run away looking for Boong Do. I find the manager friend understandable!

And that look between our pair – the expression on Hee Jin’s face – of shock, pain, disbelief, etc – what a look. I can’t wait for more!

Last edited 1 year ago by MC
Ele Nash
1 year ago

Ooh, it has got a little timey-wimey, hasn’t it?! Like, what is actually “real” now he’s back in 2012? Only their shared memories, I’m guessing. The whole sword disappearing from the past (to be sold in 2012 for the car) and then reappearing in the past feels significant. Like the physical changes Boong-do affected in 2012 rebounded once the charm got spliced. Hee-jin had to crash because the car had to change! I am glad Hee-jin remembered though, and then Boong-do regained those memories too. I rather liked he worried he’d had an affair with the actual Queen(!) but it’s better he knows that it was actually our Hee-jin dressed up 😅

I agree, kfangurl, that Hee-jin crying in the bathroom because no one remembered Boong-do was very well acted. She encapsulated all that confusion and loss brilliantly. I won’t even go there with The Manager… Suffice to say, my teeth were on edge…

It’s funny but my subs called her “a fairy” in that conversation with the monk first time around, and then “an angel” the second. I guess it doesn’t matter. I mean, both are cute and have wings, right?! 😂

1 year ago

The thing about time travel shows is that, since time travel isn’t real,* you can play it however you want. That being said, I think the way that they kinda-sorta address this coming up (avoiding a minor spoiler here) as good as anything. One rule that they share with another show involving time-travel, Outlander, is that the same amount of time passes for each of our characters regardless of which time frame they are in. I approve of this rule.

Could someone help me with the bit about Queen In-Hyun’s posthumous title? I missed that totally. And while on the topic, one thing that I find refreshing is that Show doesn’t use the same actors to play the Joseon characters as the modern actors portraying them. ‘Cause some dramas would do that.

[*I know time travel doesn’t exist because, if it did, I’d have watched more dramas by now.]

Last edited 1 year ago by j3ffc
eda harris
eda harris
1 year ago
Reply to  j3ffc

j3ffc, find my answer in “spoilers”.

1 year ago
Reply to  eda harris

Thanks, @Ele Nash. I ventured over to the Spoiler Zone (why do I hear Kenny Loggins as I write this?) to see your comment. Thanks again…and yikes!

eda harris
eda harris
1 year ago

KFG, wonderful wonderful recap. since i have seen this drama several times (don’t get panicked, no spoilers), your thoughts add a totally different dimension to my whole experience, i mean it adds another layer of pleasures to my already existing ones, since you have such a great way with words.
anyway, back to reality.
how devastating it must be to have YOUR reality snatched from under your own fate, a different reality imposed by others on you, substituting YOUR reality and on top of it declaring you crazy. wow.
that’s for our girl.
a different story unfolds for our young noble/aristocrat, depriving him not just of his memories but also his magic charm, and in his case, everybody remembers and reminds him of his supposedly bizarre adventures, some woman-angel that he met but can not connect his present to the past spent actually in the future. wow. that must be pure torture, especially having these fleeting colorful flashes of something in his experience, but he can not find the bridge connecting all of those. the situation is utterly schizophrenic for both of them, but i am glad that the internal connection between them keeps those memories somehow rising to the surface for a breath of air.
i am super glad that the situation didn’t drag on for much longer…he’s back! a sigh of relief.

1 year ago

I’d love to watch this drama again, but can’t find it streaming anywhere in US on legal site.

eda harris
eda harris
1 year ago

it’s on youtube. enjoy.

1 year ago

Yes, it struck me yet again when watching these two episodes, what an easy watch Queen In-Hyun’s Man is. The episodes fly by.

I have always had the thought that the charm is what keeps them connected or allows their thoughts to trickle through regarding each other in the different realities. So, the charm is also guiding their fates – intertwined like the earth and the moon.

Rikki don’t lose that number…

eda harris
eda harris
1 year ago
Reply to  seankfletcher

sean, Rikki don’t lose that number
what does that mean?

1 year ago
Reply to  eda harris

Tagging in for @Sean Fletcher! It’s a title and lyric from a Steely Dan song: “Rikki, don’t lose that number/It’s the only one you want/You might use it if you feel better”

1 year ago
Reply to  j3ffc

– I just knew if you were around, you would pick it! I got to see Donald Fagan a few years ago. He was with Cheryl Crow and John Mellencamp – it was an awesome night out!

1 year ago
Reply to  eda harris

@eda – Boong Do can’t afford to lose that charm and t way he uses the phone box to contact Hee Jin is delightful (and vice versa of course).

1 year ago

Like you KFG, I was so happy to see him succeed in getting his charm back and simultaneously getting back to 2012 so he could make his way back to Hee Jin. I second your HUZZAH!!

I think it kinda makes sense that everyone in the past remembers all the things Boong Do said cause the past doesn’t change if something happens. Where as the future/present will be determined by what happens in the past, like the charm being sliced, cutting the connection to the future, therefore making it as if the things that happened while he was in 2012 had never happened. But I am glad that they chose to have Hee Jin keep her memories of the time she shared with Boong Do, although it made things a bit rough for her with everyone not remembering and thinking she was crazy for thinking a ‘dream’ was more real than reality. I like your theory that their emotional connection is what is allowing her to kind of bend the time travel rules.
I am anxious to see what will happen now that Boong Do is back in 2012. Will all the things change back or will they continue on from here we are at the moment. I noticed when he came back this time, nothing happened to Hee Jin like when she crashed her car when the charm got damaged. Maybe that means things are going to get complicated from here on out, with Hee Jin and Dong Min being a ’couple’ and no-one remembering Boong Do except Hee Jin.