Today, I thought I’d share my episode 1 notes on Bloody Heart, because I’m enjoying it nicely, and I was wondering if you’d like to join me? 🤗
These are my episode 1 notes, exactly as they appear on Patreon, ie, without screenshots (I’m saving those for the actual review).
I hope you all enjoy, and I hope you’ll consider joining us over on Patreon, for the rest of the discussions! ❤️
E1. Well. That was quite a lot, to take in, in just our first hour.
First of all, let me say that I like it, but I’m still in the process of wrapping my brain around what this show is about, and what it wants to be. It’s certainly darker and more dramatic than I’d expected, even though I’d already expected it to be quite dark and dramatic.
So much happens, and it’s all quite convoluted and intense, and we’re only just done our first episode.
On that note, I can see why Show chose to make this story about a fictional king, heh. It really gives Show the freedom to just go ham with all the dramatic developments, without having to worry about upsetting netizens for historical inaccuracy.
I have to admit that I’m not suuper clear on the details of what’s happening on my screen; the way Show approaches storytelling, is to basically throw us in the deep end, without any handholding with any specific exposition, and let us flounder &/or find our bearings.
In that sense, it does vibe rather movie-like, to my eyes, because I feel like movies tend to do that a fair bit.
The darker theme, of kings who have little power, and are at the mercy of powerful ministers like the Left State Councilor, also makes this feel more movie-esque, to me.
Another thing that puts this story world in slightly more movie territory, for me, is how gray our characters are, including our protagonist, Lee Tae.
Before coming into this watch, I’d imagined that Lee Tae would be our proverbial “good guy” who would be easy to root for, but I have to admit that he’s coming across as much more morally ambiguous than I’d bargained for.
For example, I’d expected that at least in the flashback to his younger days, that he’d come across as more overtly “good guy,” so I was quite taken aback at the way he stomped on those eggs, for no good reason at all except to prove the girl (whom he doesn’t even know at this point!) wrong.
That strikes me as quite the jerk move, filled to the gills with some kind of superiority complex, and doesn’t inspire a great deal of confidence in Lee Tae’s core character, to be honest.
I’m also not terribly wowed by his decision to marry the girl, listed as Yoo Jung, because he’s satisfied with her.
What I mean is, sure, I do think he’s impressed by her and at least likes her a little bit, but there’s really nothing that tells me he actually really likes her.
Therefore, the whole thing about making her his Crown Princess, lands more of a result of his whims and fancies, rather than as a result of him actually liking her and valuing her for who she is.
..Which makes the eventual massacre of her family feel even more horrible, because I can’t help but think that if he’d just minded his own business and never stepped on those eggs to begin with, Yoo Jung’s family might have lived.
And then sure, he saves her and beseeches her to live, as he will too, because he will make it his mission to destroy the people who had brought about the death of his mother.
First of all, she wouldn’t be in this position if not for him, so.. the fated love thing is already a hard-sell from my point of view.
Secondly, it seems that Yoo Jung has no idea that the person who’d saved her, is actually the person who’d indirectly caused her family’s destruction. So, the idea that she’s now got this long distance love relationship going on with him, without knowing that he’s the reason her family had died, just makes me uncomfortable.
But, I suppose that’s the whole point. She will eventually find out, and this is going to cause a huge rift between her and Lee Tae, which will add to the drama – and the angst! – of this story.
Speaking of angst, man, does Show serve up a lot of it, this first hour.
A lot of that angst has to do with how powerless the king really is, in the face of his Left State Councilor.
The arc that really brings that out, for me, is the one where Park Gye Won decides that something needs to be done about Lee Tae making Yoo Jung his Crown Princess.
The fact that he’s able to take two inconvenient things – the fact that the Queen is an inconvenient survivor of an enemy family, and the fact that Yoo Jung’s family is from the enemy Sarim faction – and use those two things to cancel each other out, demonstrates just how much power he has – and how little power the king has, in reponse.
It’s tragic that the Queen feels that there is no way forward, except to poison her own son at least a little bit, while taking her own life.
And even then, this card, which is bought at such great price, doesn’t actually seem to hold much water, judging form how Park Gye Won successfully has Yoo Jung’s family beheaded.
On that note, I can’t help but say, DANG, Jang Hyuk is giving me Darth Vader vibes in this.
Mainly, it’s to do with how he’s using such deep registers in this voice, and the way he’s speaking, which, curiously, sounds big and booming, yet also restrained and coming from the recesses of his throat, at the same time.
We don’t see him do a whole lot, this episode, but what he does do, already results in the deaths of entire families, which makes me think that he’s capable of a lot more, given the appropriate situation and provocation. Which I’m sure will unfold in due time, in our story.
I am fascinated by his character, listed as Park Gye Won.
Park Gye Won wears all the trappings of a faithful and loyal servant to the throne, what with his repeated mantra, that his role is but to advise and thereafter carry out whatever orders the king gives, but he’s so clearly the one with the real power and influence, to whom the king must pay heed – if the king wants to survive.
In my head, I can understand that Lee Tae is basically forced to play Park Gye Won’s game, in order to survive, but I still find that grayness of his character difficult to digest.
For example, when he stages the rescue of Yoo Jung from the prison, it literally entails that dozens of other people be burned to death, just so that he can rescue her. That’s pretty disturbing to me, that he would readily sacrifice so many people, to further his own interests.
But at the same time, I can recognize his desperation to save Yoo Jung. It’s.. complicated, to say the least.
And then there’s how he treats his Queen, in this episode.
On the one hand, I can understand that he is impatient to get rid of her, because she had been forced on him, for political reasons, and he desires to be connected to a more supportive faction.
On the other hand, am I to understand that he’d had a hand in poisoning her, since he knew that she would die?
And, he’s really pretty cold and cruel, in the way he toys with her feelings, even while she’s so close to death. 😳
It’s things like this that give me pause – and yet, in our story, it seems that Lee Tae is the lesser of two evils; the larger evil being the formidable, inscrutable Park Gye Won.
The only true bright spark of an overtly good character, is Yoo Jung herself, whom Kang Han Na is bringing to life with a great deal of ease and charm.
She’s self-possessed, confident and appears to be a shrewd businesswoman, on top of everything else.
Plus, she possesses a lovely sparkle that belies the tragedy that she’s experienced in her life; I can’t help but be won over by her, in the few short minutes that we see her, this episode.
As we end the episode focusing on the dreamy, almost magical display of fire sparks floating above the water, while Lee Tae and Yoo Jung smile at each other on the bridge, I find myself suitably curious to see what unfolds next – even as I gird myself for more tragedy and angst, because that’s surely in our future, yes?
*This show is being covered on the VIP Early Access (US$15) Tier on Patreon*
To view episode 1 notes in Patreon, along with everyone’s comments, you can go here!
Episode 7 notes will be out on Friday, 3 June 2022! I hope you’ll consider joining us!
It’ll be a way to have fun, and support me at the same time? ❤️
PS: For more information on what the Patreon experience is like, you might like to check out my Patreon update post for June, which you can find here!